Business Digest


January 09, 2004

In The Region

MedImmune's CFO is leaving; Zoth gets interim post

MedImmune Inc., maker of the inhalable flu vaccine FluMist, said yesterday that its chief financial officer, Gregory Patrick, is leaving the company.

Patrick's departure comes just weeks before MedImmune is to report its fourth quarter and 2003 earnings. A disappointing launch of its new nasal spray flu vaccine, FluMist, forced the company to downgrade its outlook in November. The recent shortage of flu shots has since boosted sales, but FluMist remains expensive compared with traditional vaccines and can be used only by people between 5 and 49 years old.

In a brief written statement, MedImmune CEO David Mott thanked Gregory Patrick for "his many contributions to the growth of MedImmune over the past three years." The news release said Lota Zoth, vice president and controller, would take Patrick's place while a new CFO is sought.

MedImmune spokeswoman Lori Weimann said Patrick is leaving for personal reasons and that he was not fired.

Lionel denied in effort to get suit dismissed

A Columbia company's lawsuit against model train maker Lionel LLC over trade secrets can proceed, after a federal judge in Detroit issued an order Wednesday denying Lionel's motion to dismiss.

The plaintiff, Mike's Train House Inc., claims that Lionel sold trains made from designs stolen from a South Korean manufacturer hired by Mike's. The suit, filed in April 2000, seeks more than $29 million in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages and a permanent injunction against Lionel.

Mike's Train House was founded in 1980 by Mike Wolf, who started the business assembling trains in the basement of his family's home.

Jos. A. Bank raises its earnings projections

Men's apparel chain Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. raised its earnings projections for the fiscal year yesterday to at least $2.04 per share, which would be a 32 percent jump over earnings of $1.55 per share in fiscal year 2002, thanks to stronger-than-expected sales.

Bank said it expects to report net income of at least $15.1 million for the year that ends Jan. 31, a 39 percent jump over the net income of $10.9 million posted for fiscal 2002.

Robert N. Wildrick, chief executive officer, said all the major product categories performed well in December, with especially strong sales of higher-end products.

Gross profit margins also remained strong for the month, he said.

Delmarva Foundation wins California contract

The Delmarva Foundation said yesterday that it had won a three-year contract to monitor HMO quality in California's Medicaid program.

Delmarva said the project would be worth $1.9 million for the first year and could grow to $9.2 million over the next five years.

Delmarva, based in Easton, operates health quality monitoring programs in 20 states.

The new contract is to be handled by its Sacramento office.

PosID wins grant for ThermoID work

PosID Inc., a Lexington Park company that is developing biometric authentication systems, received a $50,000 grant yesterday from the Maryland Technology Development Corp.'s Maryland Technology Transfer Fund to help it further develop and improve on technology that uses thermal variations on the thumb and fingertips for identification purposes.

PosID has already developed a demonstration prototype of its ThermoID, but will use the money to build a beta version that will simplify the entire system into a personal computer card form. The grant will help finance the work, and the National Security Agency will collaborate with PosID on testing both versions.

The ThermoID processes infrared patterns in the fingertips, using a camera to measure the thermal properties of blood vessels, muscles and fat deposits, characteristics that are unique to each individual.


HealthSouth ex-CEO loses a round over $25.2 million loan

Richard Scrushy, former chairman and chief executive officer of HealthSouth Corp., failed to persuade a judge to reverse his decision ordering repayment of a $25.2 million loan in cash, and will appeal to Delaware's supreme court, his attorney said yesterday.

Judge Leo Strine of Delaware Chancery Court on Wednesday reaffirmed his order of Nov. 24. Scrushy's lawyer, Thomas Sjoblom, said he had urged Strine to change his ruling after another former HealthSouth official in Alabama didn't implicate him in a $2.7 billion accounting fraud at the hospital company.

Scrushy was fired from HealthSouth in March after allegations of fraud surfaced. He faces federal charges including money-laundering, conspiracy and securities fraud. Scrushy's trial is to start in August.

Funds urged to probe with independent counsel

Mutual fund directors should hire independent legal counsel to help root out trading abuses in the $7.2 trillion industry, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission official who oversees mutual funds said yesterday.

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