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Mars Buys Into Water-Purifying Technology

Monday, March 14, 2005; Page E02

Mars of McLean, the closely held manufacturer of M&M's candy and Pedigree dog food, has invested $3 million in a small manufacturer of chemical technology used to purify water.

Vanson HaloSource Inc. of Redmond, Wash., sold preferred stock to Mars in a private transaction, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Vanson manufactures technology based on chitosan, a chemical compound derived from ground-up crab and shrimp shells. Michelle Weese, a Mars spokeswoman, told Bloomberg News that the water-purifying technology has possible applications for the company's pet division -- to keep fish tanks clean -- and for vending-machine-coffee products that Mars sells under the Klix and Flavia brand names.

Mars, a $16 billion company owned by the Mars family, is as the second-largest U.S. candymaker, after Hershey Foods Corp.

VIRGINIA

Mpowerplayer of Potomac Falls said its software for mobile game-playing is available on the Sun Microsystems Web site (www.java.com). The software allows users of cell phones and other mobile devices to sample online games based on Sun's Java technology.

MARYLAND

Penny Lewandowski, who has been executive director of the Greater Baltimore Technology Council for six years, plans to leave the post by the end of May. Her successor has not been named. The council said she has accepted a position with the Edward Lowe Foundation in Cassopolis, Mich., which promotes entrepreneurial ventures.

Systems Engineering Group of Columbia was bought by Telephonics Corp. of Farmingdale, N.Y., a subsidiary of the Griffon Corp. Terms were not disclosed. Systems Engineering's customers include the Navy and the Federal Aviation Administration. . The company, which will remain in Columbia, provides services including radar and sonar systems analysis, antenna-system engineering and missile-threat modeling.

United Therapeutics of Silver Spring said France's drug-regulatory agency approved its drug Remodulin for treatment of pulmonary hypertension. The company said it expects approval throughout the European Union, based on France's approval.

Ibiquity Digital of Columbia, the developer of HD radio technology, expanded its office in Pontiac, Mich. The company hired Steven Cowherd, a veteran of the auto-parts industry, as a senior director of business development to work with automakers and suppliers.

MobileComNetworks of Bethesda said it is launching LocalBuddy, a service that will provide targeted information and advertising to cell phone users who sign up. The company said LocalBuddy will send material based on subjects that users request and on their location when they ask for it.


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