Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

October 24, 2002

In the Region

Mead Johnson tells FDA of lactose-free formula for infants

Mead Johnson Nutritionals has notified the Food and Drug Administration that it intends to launch a lactose-free version of Enfamil Lipil, Mead's infant formula containing nutritional oils made by Martek Biosciences Corp.

Columbia-based Martek makes the nutritional oils, known as ARA and DHA, from microalgae. Martek notes studies showing that the nutrients are important to infant brain and eyesight development.

Mead Johnson and the Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories began selling infant formula supplemented with Martek's oils in the United States this year. Both companies market several versions of the oil-supplemented products.

The U.S. sales helped boost Martek's nutritional product sales to $13.2 million in the fiscal third quarter that ended July 31, up from $4.9 million in the corresponding period a year ago.

Panacea Pharmaceuticals gets grant for cancer test

Panacea Pharmaceuticals Inc. has won a grant from the National Institutes of Health to back development of the company's diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer.

The Rockville-based company said yesterday that the $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant will help it develop a diagnostic test based on the levels of a certain enzyme - known as HAAH - in samples of patients' body fluid.

Panacea has given MedImmune Inc. the exclusive right to commercialize any drugs the companies co-develop based on Panacea's technology targeting HAAH, Panacea Chief Operating Officer Kasra Ghanbari said.

The MedImmune deal is worth up to $80 million plus royalties for Panacea, which retained rights to develop diagnostic tests based on the enzyme.

Mexican-restaurant chain wants 10 Maryland outlets

Qdoba Mexican Grill, a Mexican restaurant chain started in Colorado seven years ago, is seeking to open 10 restaurants in Maryland as part of a nationwide franchise expansion.

Towson-based NAI KLNB Inc. said it's helping Phil and Brad Hoag, owners of the Maryland franchise rights, find 2,500- square-foot stand-alone or strip shopping center locations in the Baltimore metropolitan region. No deals have been completed.

A time frame for the Maryland restaurant openings was not announced

The Wheat Ridge, Colo.-based chain has 81 restaurants in 16 states, with the nearest location in New Jersey. A Qdoba official said the chain is opening 20 restaurants this year and plans for a minimum of 60 new restaurants next year.

Elsewhere

American Airlines lifts fees, restrictions on tickets to D.C.

American Airlines has temporarily lifted fees and restrictions on changing travel dates for passengers who might be wary about flying to the Washington area because of the recent sniper attacks.

American will waive the $100 change fee for tickets bought on or before Oct. 10 for flights to Washington Dulles International Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport or Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

The change is good for tickets of any price for travel dates up to Oct. 28.

Travelers can switch to a future date, or receive a voucher for the cost of the ticket that can be applied to a future fare.

The airline said it hasn't seen many cancellations in Washington or Baltimore.

Tyco International to pay New Hampshire $5 million

Tyco International Ltd. will pay New Hampshire $5 million to settle allegations that shareholders and the public were hurt by alleged financial misconduct by some of its former top officials, according to a settlement announced yesterday.

New Hampshire authorities alleged that former chief executive L. Dennis Kozlowski, former Chief Financial Officer Mark Swartz and former corporate counsel Mark Belnick misused corporate funds, made transactions without proper approval and filed false and incomplete regulatory statements with the state.

Tyco admitted no wrongdoing in signing the settlement. It said most of the allegations were uncovered by its own internal investigation and reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Sept. 17.

Charter Communications places COO on paid leave

Charter Communications Inc. of St. Louis has placed its chief operating officer on indefinite paid leave amid a federal investigation into its accounting practices.

It's unclear what role David G. Barford, a former Comcast Cablevision executive who joined Charter in 1995 and was named executive vice president and COO two years ago, has assumed in the grand jury's investigation. The company issued two statements on the matter Tuesday, but did not return calls seeking comment.

Carl Vogel, Charter president and chief executive, has assumed Barford's responsibilities on an interim basis.

Court upholds $290 million injury award against Ford

The California Supreme Court let stand yesterday a $290 million personal injury jury award levied against the Ford Motor Co. stemming from a Bronco rollover accident in 1993.

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