In the Region BDC agrees to lend Performax $600,000 to...

BUSINESS DIGEST

April 10, 2002

In the Region

BDC agrees to lend Performax $600,000 to consolidate offices

The Baltimore Development Corp. said yesterday that it has agreed to lend $600,000 to Performax Inc., a health benefits company, to help the company make improvements to its new offices in Tide Point.

Performax moved into the leased, 50,000-square-foot space last month to consolidate its three Baltimore offices and 135 employees.

The loan has a 2 percent interest rate, payable over 15 years. A large portion of the interest will be forgiven if the company gets its work force up to 175 in two years and then averages 175 employees until the end of the loan's term. Jeff Pillas, chief financial officer for the city's development arm, said the loan was made to keep the company in the city.

Allegheny Energy gets OK to build plant in Arizona

Regulators have approved construction of Allegheny Energy Inc.'s first power plant in the western United States, a $540 million, 1,080-megawatt merchant facility planned for La Paz County, Ariz.

The Arizona Corporation Commission voted 2-1 to approve the natural-gas-fired plant. It is considered a key element of Allegheny's plans to grow into a national energy supplier and provide power in the energy-strapped West.

Allegheny, of Hagerstown, has a $4.5 billion contract with California to supply the state with enough electricity for up to 1 million homes over the next 10 years.

Guilford calls anesthetic promising in human tests

Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc. said yesterday that early-stage human testing of its drug Aquavan shows it can induce sedation and anesthesia without causing serious side effects.

The Phase I clinical trial results were presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Anesthesiology in Nice, France.

Aquavan is a water-soluble version of the drug propofol, the world's best-selling anesthetic. Propofol, however, can cause side effects such as injection-site pain and IV line cracking and clogging during long-term infusion, Guilford said.

Feb. BWI passenger traffic fell 12.3% compared to '01

Following a national trend, passenger traffic at Baltimore-Washington International Airport declined 12.3 percent in February compared with the same period a year ago, airport officials said yesterday.

The decline was largely the result of US Airways' decision last fall to scuttle its MetroJet service, which accounted for about half of the airline's service at BWI. US Airways handled 125,885 passengers at BWI in February, down from 357,341 in February last year. Southwest Airlines, the airport's busiest carrier, handled 557,647 passengers in February, up 1 percent from the previous year.

MedImmune asks judge to cancel royalties

MedImmune Inc. asked a federal judge in Greenbelt yesterday to excuse it from paying royalties to Johnson & Johnson's Centocor unit for MedImmune's top-selling Synagis treatment for infant lung infections.

MedImmune claims in a federal lawsuit that Centocor fraudulently obtained a patent for the treatment and threatened to sue if MedImmune did not sign a licensing agreement.

The Gaithersburg company wants a judge to either rule the patent invalid or say Centocor can't enforce it.

Giant Food pharmacies can fill doctors' `e-scripts'

Giant Food Inc. has begun using an Internet system that allows doctors to fill prescriptions using computers or mobile phones.

OnCallData, developed by InstantDx, enables pharmacists to send information over a two-way network about potentially harmful drug reactions, as well as a patient's insurance coverage, the companies said. Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed.

An agreement between NDCHealth Corp., Giant and InstantDx will allow 30,000 doctors in the mid-Atlantic region using NDCHealth's Medisoft and Lytec software to send electronic prescriptions, or e-scripts, to Giant's 154 pharmacies, the companies said.

Blakeslee Group hired by Deluxe Ice Cream

Blakeslee Group has been retained by Deluxe Ice Cream Inc., of Salem, Ore., to conduct a market research study to help the company determine expansion strategies.

The research is the first step in developing a marketing plan to expand the brand regionally and then nationally. Founded 90 years ago, Deluxe ice cream and novelty items are sold throughout Oregon and Washington in grocery and convenience stores. Billings for the account are not being disclosed.

Baltimore-based Blakeslee, which has about $46 million in annual billings, is handling the new business from its office in Park City, Utah.

Elsewhere

Boeing says it won lawsuit brought by whistle-blower

Boeing Co., NASA's biggest contractor, said yesterday that it won a lawsuit filed against it by a whistle-blower who claimed the company's Rockwell International Corp.'s defense and aerospace business overbilled for labor on the space shuttle program.

A federal judge in Houston found that the charges weren't credible, the company said in a statement. The government declined to intervene in the case, Boeing said.

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