Business Digest


October 14, 2004

In The Region

Pub, restaurant set in historic Equitable Society building

The historic former home of the Baltimore Equitable Society at Eutaw and Fayette streets will be transformed into an Irish pub and restaurant in the continuing revitalization of Baltimore's west side.

The building's new owner, 21 North Eutaw Street, plans a $2 million renovation of the circa-1857 property across from France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, home of the Hippodrome Theatre.

The owner expects to open the 200-seat Maggie Moore's Irish Pub & Restaurant next spring. It will be the fourth new restaurant to open in the area being redeveloped with apartments and retail.

Several apartment projects under construction are expected to spur further development of shops and restaurants, said Ronald M. Kreitner, executive director of Westside Renaissance Inc., the nonprofit group coordinating public and private efforts in the $1 billion redevelopment.

Maryland second to Mass. in biotech-innovation study

Maryland ranks second to Massachusetts among the 50 states for biotechnology innovation, according to a study released by the Milken Institute.

Overall rankings in the study, "State Biopharmaceutical Innovation Pipeline Index," are a composite of many factors from work force, private funding and public funding that determine each state's competitiveness in the future of the life sciences field, the institute said.

Maryland ranked first in several funding areas, and was especially competitive because of the strengths of the region's core academic and public institutions. The study specifically mentions Johns Hopkins, the University System of Maryland, and the National Institutes of Health as key factors in Maryland's emergency as a biotech leader.

Aris Melissaratos, secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, said that over the next 10 years, the state can "expect to see employment in the life sciences industry grow by 46 percent."

Host Marriott 3Q losses dip with higher room rates

Host Marriott Corp. said yesterday that its third-quarter loss narrowed after increased travel allowed the company to charge higher room rates.

The loss shrank to $47 million, or 17 cents a share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 10, from $88 million, or 35 cents, a year earlier, the Bethesda-based hotel owner said. Revenue rose 11 percent, to $810 million.

The company, which owns large urban hotels that cater to conventions, said higher demand for rooms prompted a 4.1 percent rise in the average rate. Revenue per available room will rise 6.3 percent this year for U.S. hotels, the biggest gain in 20 years, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP said.

Cambridge firm agrees to age-bias settlement

A manufacturing company in Cambridge agreed to pay a settlement of more than $52,500 in an age-discrimination lawsuit.

Hi-Tech Plastics will pay to lost wages to a former employee, the state Human Relations Commission said yesterday.

The 51-year-old man, who was not identified, was employed as a shift supervisor and had received favorable reviews. Soon after he was told his job was being eliminated, he saw it advertised in a newspaper.

Annapolis drug company gets $50 million financing

PharmAthene Inc., an Annapolis-based firm researching drugs to battle bioterrorism, said it has closed on $50 million in new financing.

Privately held PharmAthene will use some of the money to continue developing therapies for patients infected by anthrax.

The company raised $15 million in its initial round of financing, completed in September last year, and said this summer that it was expecting strong interest from venture investors this time, too. At that time, the company said it was seeking to raise at least $25 million.

PharmAthene said the the financing deal was led by MPM Capital, and co-led by Bear Stearns Health Innoventures. Also participating was Health Care Ventures, the sole investor in PharmAthene's first round of financing.


Court clears Spitzer to suspend the sale of Sept. 11 coins

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer obtained a court order yesterday to temporarily suspend the sale of commemorative Sept. 11 coins advertised as being minted from silver recovered at Ground Zero.

Spitzer said the sale of the silver dollars - emblazoned with the World Trade Center towers on one side and the planned Freedom Tower on the other - is a fraud. He's investigating whether the silver came from the ruins of the twin towers.

Spitzer said the National Collector's Mint, based in Port Chester, N.Y., falsely claims that the coins engraved with "In God We Trust" are legally authorized silver dollars. He said the coins, produced by a Wyoming company called SoftSky Inc., are advertised as nearly pure silver when they're only silver-plated.

Ex-WorldCom CEO to seek legal-fees reimbursement

Former WorldCom Inc. Chief Executive Officer Bernard J. Ebbers has indicated he will seek reimbursement from the company for his millions of dollars in legal bills.

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