Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

January 19, 2008

Maryland : Biotechnology

FDA approves Celsion study design

Celsion Corp., the Columbia biotech, announced yesterday that the Food and Drug Administration has approved its study design for a final clinical trial of ThermoDox to treat primary liver cancer. Celsion said it would begin a 600-patient trial at 40 sites, including a number in Asia, where the incidence of liver cancer is higher than it is in the United States. ThermoDox, a heat-sensitive encapsulation of an approved cancer drug, will be tested in combination with radio frequency ablation, a liver cancer treatment in which electrical signals are used to heat the tumor.

M. William Salganik

Media

Sun names LoLordo opinion editor

Ann LoLordo, The Sun's deputy editorial page editor and an award-winning reporter, has been named the newspaper's opinion editor. She will run the day-to-day operations of the editorial board and oversee the editorial and op-ed pages, reporting to Sun Editor Tim Franklin. LoLordo was a reporter on various city and county beats, a features editor, a national correspondent and The Sun's Middle East correspondent in Jerusalem before joining the editorial board five years ago.

Nation

: Economy

Leading indicators fall for third month

A gauge of future economic activity skidded 0.2 percent in December, registering its third consecutive monthly decline. The Conference Board said yesterday that its index of leading indicators fell to 136.5 last month - its lowest reading in more than two years - after declining 0.4 percent to a revised 136.8 in November and 0.7 percent to 137.3 in October.

Economy

Sprint Nextel to cut 4,000 jobs

Sprint Nextel Corp. said Friday it plans to slash 4,000 jobs and close 125 retail locations to prepare itself for an expected slowdown in subscriber growth and revenue. The job cuts and store closings aim to cut $700 million to $800 million a year in labor costs starting at the end of this year. The company said it will book a charge in the first quarter to cover severance costs, but did not disclose the amount.

Sallie Mae to cut 3% of work force

A $25 billion collapsed buyout offer and higher borrowing costs have prompted Sallie Mae, the nation's largest student lender, to lay off about 3 percent of its work force nationwide. SLM Corp. said yesterday that it would eliminate 350 jobs from an 11,000-worker staff to help cut costs 20 percent by 2010. The company reported in its latest quarterly results that it lost $344 million and said additional layoffs are likely.

Lending

Banks aided 370,000 homeowners

The nine largest mortgage servicers helped 370,000 subprime borrowers stay in their homes in the second half of last year by modifying loans or setting up repayment plans, according to an industry survey. Companies that collect loan payments modified 120,000 mortgages and set up 250,000 repayment plans, assisting 39 percent of delinquent borrowers during the period, Hope Now, a coalition of banks, mortgage servicers and credit counselors, said in a report yesterday.

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

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