Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

March 06, 2007

Maryland: Biotechnology

Iomai vaccine helps with diarrhea

Iomai Corp. said yesterday that one of its needle-free vaccine patches lessened the symptoms of traveler's diarrhea. In a mid-stage clinical trial, 27 people were given Iomai's vaccine and another 20 received a placebo. Then they were exposed to "high levels" of enterotoxigenic E. Coli, a common cause of traveler's diarrhea. Those who received the vaccine experienced less severe diarrhea and were less likely to require intravenous fluids than those who did not. The Gaithersburg company plans to launch late-stage clinical trials for the patch, which adheres to the skin, next year.

Tricia Bishop

Government

Faculty, companies paired for projects

The Maryland Industrial Partnerships program has approved 28 projects pairing state university faculty with technology companies to develop products. This round of financing, the organization's 39th, will help pay for studies into the genetic engineering of strawberries, obesity prevention and delivering "surround sound" through MP3 and CD player headphones, among other things. The companies will kick in about $3.3 million for the assistance, and the MIPS program will contribute about $1.9 million. For the full project list and MIPS details, go to www.mips.umd.edu.

Tricia Bishop

Defense

Lockheed wins helicopter contract

Lockheed Martin Corp. won a contract valued at $311 million to produce additional electronic systems used for piloting Apache combat helicopters. The U.S. Army order, the fourth production award since 2003, funds the purchase of 158 kits used to upgrade the infrared sensors and associated electronics onboard AH-64 Apache helicopters, Bethesda -based Lockheed said yesterday. Lockheed will produce the equipment in Orlando and Ocala, Fla. Deliveries are to be completed by December 2009.

Nation: Retailing

Wal-Mart fires eavesdropper

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said yesterday that it has fired a Wal-Mart systems technician for recording phone conversations between the company's PR office and a New York Times reporter, and for intercepting text messages without authorization. The move is the result of an internal investigation that began Jan. 11, when someone expressed concerns to the world's biggest retailer about the matter, Wal-Mart said. It did not identify the technician.

Investing

AMD warns on revenue

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. warned yesterday that it was unlikely to meet its first-quarter revenue guidance of $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion, the latest in a series of disappointments for investors in the struggling chip-maker. AMD is hurting from price competition with much-larger rival Intel Corp. and has been punished by investors for a product lineup that some say is in need of an upgrade. Chief Executive Officer Hector Ruiz said separately that the company overestimated the demand from the PC and server makers.

Travel

Carnival marks 35th anniversary

Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise operator, is marking its 35th anniversary. Ted Arison started Carnival Cruise Lines in 1972 as part of a subsidiary of American International Travel Service of Boston. Carnival went public in 1987. Carnival Corp. eventually was created to encompass acquisitions of Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises and others. On Sunday, Carnival held a naming ceremony in Venice, Italy for the corporation's 82nd ship, the 110,000- gross-ton Carnival Freedom.

Acquisitions

BP to buy company from Chevron

BP PLC said yesterday that it has agreed to buy Chevron Corp.'s Netherlands manufacturing company, Texaco Raffinaderij Pernis BV, for about $900 million, excluding working capital and hydrocarbon inventory. BP will acquire Chevron's 31 percent minority shareholding in the Netherlands Refining Co., or Nerefco, Chevron's stake in the jointly owned wind farm located at the refinery and shareholdings in the nearby crude oil terminal and storage facility and a number of associated pipelines.

Courts

Ebbers loses high court appeal

Former WorldCom Inc. Chief Executive Officer Bernard J. Ebbers lost a U.S. Supreme Court bid to overturn his conviction for leading an $11 billion fraud, the largest in the nation's history. The justices, without comment, left standing yesterday Ebbers' conspiracy and fraud conviction.

This column was compiled from dispatches by Sun reporters, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

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