Wholesale inventories downInventories at the wholesale...

BUSINESS DIGEST

March 10, 1994

Wholesale inventories down

Inventories at the wholesale level fell in January for the first time since last October, while business sales increased, the Commerce Department said yesterday.

The 0.4 percent decline in inventories, to a seasonally adjusted $215.59 billion, was the first drop in stocks of unsold goods since a slight 0.1 percent fall last October. Sales rose 0.8 percent, to a seasonally adjusted $162.66 billion, in January, after falling 0.4 percent in December.

Hopkins sues in patent case

Johns Hopkins University and two health care companies have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Delaware charging that a cancer research and potential treatment product sold by CellPro Inc. of Bothell, Wash., violates a Johns Hopkins patent.

Two years ago, CellPro filed a lawsuit in Washington seeking to have the patent declared invalid. That lawsuit is pending. Johns Hopkins' suit was filed Tuesday.

The patented technique, which segregates and collects disease-fighting stem cells from blood and bone marrow, has shown promise in connection with bone marrow transplants performed for the treatment of women with advanced stages of breast cancer, said Joann Rodgers, spokeswoman with Johns Hopkins Hospital. She said it also has potential for the treatment of patients with other advanced-stage common cancers.

Joining Johns Hopkins in the lawsuit are Baxter Healthcare Corp. of Deerfield, Ill., and Becton Dickinson & Co. of Franklin Lakes, N.J.

Fiber optics to link state offices

The state Board of Public Works approved a $100,063 contract yesterday with Fiber Optic Systems Inc. of Baltimore to install fiber-optic cable linking state office buildings around the city with the private branch exchange, or PBX, at 301 W. Preston St. in the Herbert R. O'Conor office complex.

Dave Humphrey, a spokesman for the Department of General Services, said the state-owned link will save the government $700,000 a year in payments to Bell Atlantic-Maryland for Centrex services. Fiber Optic Systems, which won out over three other bidders, will connect workers at 311 W. Saratoga St., 200 W. Baltimore St. and 1100 N. Eutaw St. with the central PBX. The connections will let workers at those buildings dial other state workers on the PBX with four digits rather than seven and will make those calls toll-free.

Supplier plans Waldorf office

Eastern Medical Supplies, an East Baltimore-based medical supply firm, said yesterday it is expanding its Charles County operations, taking over the old Kinney building in Waldorf.

The privately held company specializes in home health care products and has grown 25 percent annually for four years. Sales in 1993 were $3 million, and the company employed 38, including 34 in Baltimore. The Waldorf expansion calls for hiring five people, a company spokesman said.

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