Essex gets funds from Army to develop radar technologyThe...

Business Digest

August 21, 1996

Essex gets funds from Army to develop radar technology

The Essex Corp. of Columbia announced yesterday that it has received $426,000 in new funding from the Army to finish developing radar technology that could provide exceptionally detailed information on the range and speed of a target.

The company has been working on the Range-Doppler Imager since 1991, with a total military investment of $2 million. That is a small amount in the world of defense contracts, but the technology is thought to promise widespread applications, said company Chairman and Chief Executive Harry Letaw.

If the imager can offer a cheap, compact way to process ultra-detailed wide-band radar, it could be used for air traffic control as well as military purposes, Letaw said. The prototype is to be completed next year.

Cel-Sci raises $5 million through sale of stock

Cel-Sci Corp., a biotechnology company with offices in

Baltimore and Alexandria, Va., said yesterday that it has raised $5 million through the sale of Series B Preferred Stock to institutional investors.

The preferred stock is convertible into Cel-Sci common stock by August 1998, the company said.

Cel-Sci, which is attempting to develop treatments to stimulate the body's immune system as a way to treat cancer, tuberculosis and HIV, said the investment money would be used for research expenses and to help fund clinical trials for its cancer and HIV treatments.

More group doctors than solo doctors for first time in U.S.

For the first time in U.S. history, doctors working as employees at large group practices outnumber solo practitioners. Now employee-physicians outnumber solo practitioners nearly 3-to-2, researchers said in today's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The crossover occurred in 1992 or 1993, and is attributed in part to the growth of the managed care business, which makes it more difficult for solo practitioners and small group practices to negotiate group contracts.

Between 1983 and 1994, the share of doctors who were self-employed in solo practices fell from 40.5 percent to 29.3 percent, according to survey data provided to the AMA by U.S. physicians. The proportion of doctors self-employed in group practices fell from 35.3 percent to 28.4 percent, and the share of physicians practicing as employees rose from 24.2 percent to 42.3 percent.

FDA approves test for advanced lung cancer

The Food and Drug Administration approved a noninvasive test yesterday to help determine which patients have an advanced form of lung cancer that does not respond to therapy.

To be sold under the brand name Verluma, the test is a monoclonal antibody that seeks out a protein found on most small cell lung cancers and attaches itself to those cells. The antibody is radiolabeled, so that when doctors view the patient with special cameras, the cancer cells appear as "hot spots."

Lung cancer is the nation's most common malignancy, striking 177,000 Americans a year. Small cell lung cancer is the least common kind, striking about 30,000 Americans a year, but virtually all of them die from it.

Kansas, Arizona file suits against tobacco firms

Kansas and Arizona filed lawsuits yesterday against major tobacco companies to recover Medicaid costs for smoking-related illnesses, joining a growing list of states and cities taking on Big Tobacco in court.

Kansas Attorney General Carla Stovall told a news conference her state's lawsuit is the broadest filed to date. In addition to trying to recover Medicaid costs, she would seek to require companies to stop marketing products to children, to disclose ,, their knowledge of nicotine addiction, to publish corrective advertising and to finance a public education campaign on smoking.

Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods said his state is seeking more than $300 million in damages related to Medicaid costs his state has incurred in providing health care to indigent residents with alleged tobacco-related illnesses.

Justice Department investigating W.R. Grace

W.R. Grace & Co. is under Justice Department investigation in connection with Medicare fraud allegations made in a sealed $600 million lawsuit filed by a company whistleblower, the department said yesterday.

Grace, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based chemical and health care company, disclosed in a regulatory filing that the suit by a current or former employee alleged fraudulent Medicare billings for kidney-dialysis treatment. Justice Department spokesman Joseph Krovisky said investigators are looking into the allegations to determine whether the federal government will join the suit as a plaintiff.

The suit, filed in 1994, was amended last month and partially unsealed by a federal court in Florida so Grace could disclose the allegations. The plaintiff was not named.

Carver Federal's board backs independence

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