Aveo Pharmaceuticals suffers new setback as Japanese partner backs away from plan to seek European approval of Aveo’s kidney cancer drug
Aveo Pharmaceuticals Inc., already reeling from an advisory panel recommendation early this month that US regulators reject its kidney cancer drug, has suffered a new setback.
In a regulatory filing, the Cambridge biotechnology company told investors its Japanese partner, Astellas Pharma Inc., has pulled out of an agreement to seek approval of the Aveo drug candidate in Europe. The drug treats renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer that kills tens of thousands of people worldwide every year.
While the Food and Drug Administration is expected to rule by July 28 whether to approve Aveo’s capsule for sale in the US, the Astellas retreat -- following a vote against tivozanib by an FDA board -- dimmed prospects for a treatment once regarded as promising for kidney cancer patients.FULL ENTRY
Two ad agencies and a brand with local ties were among those honored at this week’s ceremony for the annual Effie Awards, which salute effective marketing campaigns. Gold, silver, and bronze awards are given out in multiple categories. In the good works/nonprofit category, Boston ad agency Arnold Worldwide won a Gold Effie for its “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign on behalf of client US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the travel/tourism/destination category, Boston ad agency Mullen won a Silver Effie for its work for client JetBlue Airways. Gillette, the Boston-based grooming brand that’s now part of Procter & Gamble, won a Bronze Effie for its “How Gillette Embraced Facial Hair to Build its Business” efforts. The lead ad agency on this campaign is BBDO New York.FULL ENTRY
The Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center, a hotel with a castle-like silhouette that is located near the Massachusetts Turnpike, is getting an $8 million renovation just in time for its 40th birthday. “A soothing color palate of blue and grey” will grace the new lobby, guest corridors, and general public space, according to Hager and Associates Inc., the interior design firm working on the project. The grand ballroom is receiving updated touches of soft greys and neutrals; with 18-foot-high ceilings, it offers the most expansive dance floor in the region. The renovations should be finished within the next few weeks. “The improved design will embrace the favorite, traditional elements of the castle-inspired hotel while incorporating modern features that create a functional and contemporary environment,” Doris Hager of Hager and Associates said.FULL ENTRY
Destination XL Group Inc.’s fiscal first-quarter net income dropped 57 percent as the men’s clothing and accessories company contended with a chilly spring and higher expenses. President and chief executive David Levin said in a statement on Friday that while sales were weak in February and March, that was somewhat offset by better results in April when the weather started to warm up. The Canton company earned $1 million, or 2 cents per share, for the three months ended May 4. A year earlier it earned $2.3 million, or 5 cents per share. Revenue fell 2 percent to $93.6 million from $95.5 million. Revenue at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, dipped 0.5 percent.FULL ENTRY
AMSC, a Devens technology company in the wind energy and power grid industry, said Friday that China’s Supreme People’s Court has scheduled a hearing for May 29 to review the jurisdiction of AMSC’s software copyright infringement cases against Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd. Sinoval, a large Chinese company that makes wind turbines, was once AMSC’s biggest customer. Then Sinoval stopped accepting shipments from AMSC. In 2011, AMSC filed several lawsuits against Sinoval in China, alleging contractual breaches and intellectual property theft and seeking more than $1.2 billion in damages and payments. “President Xi Jinping recently said that China will protect legitimate rights of foreign enterprises,” AMSC general counsel John Powell said. “AMSC’s cases against Sinovel are the perfect litmus test for whether statements like these are rhetoric or reality.”FULL ENTRY
Office Depot Inc. and OfficeMax Inc., two rivals of Framingham-based Staples Inc. in the office supply business, said that the Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm, has been selected to provide integration support for the companies’ proposed merger. Earlier this year, Office Depot unveiled a $1.2 billion bid for OfficeMax — in an attempt by the smaller rivals to better compete against Staples, which is the largest office supplies chain with about 2,300 stores worldwide and 39 percent of the US market, according to IBISWorld, a market research firm. In their May 23 press release, Office Depot and OfficeMax said, “The Boston Consulting Group will be responsible for working with the management teams from both companies to help define the priorities, vision, and guiding principles of the integration process.”FULL ENTRY
Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., a company that advises large investors on corporate governance and how to vote their stock proxies, settled charges with federal securities regulators over failing to safeguard its clients confidential stock votes.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said ISS, of Rockville, Md., agreed to pay $300,000 and retain an independent compliance consultant after an employee provided information to an outside person about how more than 100 ISS clients were voting their proxy ballots.
In exchange for the information, the proxy solicitor reimbursed the ISS employee for $20,000 in meals, $11,500 in tickets to concerts and sporting events, and an airline ticket.
ISS neither admitted nor denied the charges, according to the SEC.The employee no longer works at the company, the SEC said.FULL ENTRY
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered Neil M.M. Morrison, a former investment banker at Goldman, Sachs and ex-top state treasury aide to Timothy P. Cahill, to pay a $100,000 civil penalty, citing what the agency said was his role in a pay-to-play campaign fundraising scheme for Cahill. The agency’s order also bars Morrison from working in the securities industry for five years as part of the negotiated settlement that brings to an end a two-and-a-half year investigation into his activities in raising campaign funds and participating as a chief advisor in Cahill’s campaign for governor in the 2010 election. SEC regulations sharply restrict public-finance bankers from contributing to political figures and elected officials who issue public bonds.FULL ENTRY
Avocados from Mexico Inc., a marketing group that has set aside $36 million to promote the Avocados from Mexico brand, is hiring Arnold Worldwide of Boston, to be its ad agency of record. According to the group, which is also known as AFM, many Americans regard the avocado as an exotic tropical fruit; it’s part of Arnold’s job to convince US consumers that they should think of avocados as an everyday staple. AFM also appointed Ketchum as its public relations agency of record. AFM’s press release also included a statement from Pam Hamlin, president of Arnold Boston. “Engaging the hearts and minds of people and inspiring them to use avocados everyday is an incredible creative challenge,” Hamlin said.FULL ENTRY
Fidelity Investments is selling BostonCoach, the limousine and black car service that the firm’s iconic chairman Edward “Ned” C. Johnson III launched in 1985, after waiting too long for a taxi at the airport, and then grew into a large business.
The Boston mutual fund giant is selling BostonCoach to Harrison Global of Waltham, according to people briefed on the matter, a corporate limousine and taxi company. One of Harrison Global’s top executives is Russ Cooke, a former president of Everett-based BostonCoach.
The sale price could not immediately be learned. In 2008, BostonCoach reported having 1,200 employees and about $147 million in annual revenue. Larry Moulter, the former chief of the Boston Garden sports arena, has been running BostonCoach since 2008.FULL ENTRY
Retirement savers with 401(k) accounts have seen a big bounce since the recession, according to Fidelity Investments, as rising markets pushed the average balance to a record $80,900 at the end of the first quarter of the year. That marks an 8.4 percent increase from a year ago and 75 percent growth since the market’s low during the first quarter of 2009. Back then, the average balance plunged to $46,200. The recent gains are a result of employees continuing to contribute their own money to their accounts, as well as improved investment returns. An analysis of retirement savers age 55 and older, who’ve been with the same employer for a decade, found an average balance of $255,000 – nearly double their average balances in 2009, Fidelity said.FULL ENTRY
As lunch buffs know, there’s nothing like a disappointing sandwich experience to put noontime gourmets off their feed. But thanks to “sophisticated oven technology” and “heat-insulating packaging,” Au Bon Pain claims it has taken “sandwich crafting” to the next level. According to Au Bon Pain, a Boston-based chain that bills itself as a “lunchtime oasis,” the culprit in a “disappointing sandwich experience” is often a sandwich so indifferently heated that it is cold in the middle. Looking to stamp out such culinary atrocities, Au Bon Pain said its restaurants are deploying a “technologically advanced cooking system that delivers an ‘oven-hot-all-the-way-through’ eating experience.” This new system has inspired the chain to officially launch a new line of “made-to-order” hot sandwiches that includes the Chicken Pomodor and the Newport Turkey.FULL ENTRY
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts announced the appointment of local real estate developer Richard (Dick) Friedman to the company’s board of directors. Friedman, president and chief operating officer of the local real estate development firm Carpenter & Company, has been developing hotels and mixed-use projects since the early 1970s. His projects include the Liberty Hotel in Boston, Charles Square and Charles Hotel, the Brookline Marriott Courtyard, and the Hyatt hotel in Cambridge. In a statement, Friedman said: ‘‘Four Seasons is an iconic brand - a global leader and innovator in luxury hospitality. I look forward to working with the board and executive leadership team to extend this leadership position and realize new opportunities.’’FULL ENTRY
Biogen Idec Inc., the Weston biotechnology company perhaps best known for its multiple sclerosis drugs, said Thursday that Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonas has been appointed to the post of chief scientific officer. Artavanis-Tsakonas had served as interim CSO while on sabbatical from Harvard Medical School, Biogen Idec said. He will now continue in this role in a permanent capacity and will also lead the company’s research strategy, capabilities, and discovery platforms. Artavanis-Tsakonas will also continue to serve as a professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School, where he was the founding director of the Developmental and Regenerative Biology graduate program. Artavanis-Tsakonas said, “It’s a critical time in history for the biopharmaceutical industry where the potential to make a meaningful difference for patients has never been greater.”FULL ENTRY
Starting Thursday, JetBlue Airways will serve Philadelphia International Airport with five daily nonstop flights from Boston’s Logan International Airport. The airline plans to celebrate its 78th destination through May 30 by selling one-way $39 flights between the two cities for travel between June 1 and Sept. 28. (Alert: Blackout dates apply.) In a press release, the airline said: “Adding Philadelphia to its growing route map helps solidify JetBlue’s already strong relevance for the business traveler, particularly at Logan International Airport. JetBlue operates over 100 daily flights from Boston’s Logan International Airport and Philadelphia will be the 48th destination JetBlue serves from Boston.” ‘‘Since it began service at Logan in 2004, JetBlue has shown strong commitment to Boston reflected by the steady growth of service,” Massport’s Edward Freni added.FULL ENTRY
ULTA Beauty, a beauty-store chain whose marketing mantras include, “Dare to be a more fabulous you,” is set to open its newest location Friday at Patriot Place, the entertainment-and-shopping complex next to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Opening weekend festivities include some free makeovers and free consultations from experts in cosmetics, skin, and hairstyling, the chain said. The 10,000-square-foot beauty store, which includes a full-service salon, will be ULTA Beauty’s eighth Massachusetts location. It will offer more than 20,000 products in such categories as cosmetics, fragrance, hair care, skincare, bath, and salon styling tools. ULTA Beauty operates roughly 540 stores across the US. Patriot Place features 17 casual to high-end restaurants and other nightlife venues as well as stores, boutiques, and a 14-screen Showcase Cinema De Lux.FULL ENTRY
The state’s new Health Policy Commission is moving forward with a cost and market impact review of Partners HealthCare System’s plan to acquire South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, the first test of its ability to influence the ongoing hospital consolidation trend in Massachusetts.
A statement issued by the commission staff Wednesday afternoon said executives at South Shore and Boston-based Partners, which owns Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals, were notified that the commission will examine how the proposed merger of the two highly paid health care providers is likely to affect costs and the state’s health care market.
The commission was created by last year’s state health cost containment law as a watchdog to monitor changes in the health care market.FULL ENTRY
Christina Severin will assume the posts of president and chief executive of the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization in late June. In January, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center launched the organization, known as BIDCO, with doctors and other hospitals as it looked to adapt to a national movement toward payment systems that provide a single, set fee to care for each patient’s health. BIDCO, formed with the medical center’s physician group and partner hospitals, aims to improve care by emphasizing wellness over treatment. Since 2006, Severin has served as president of Network Health, a Tufts Health Plan subsidiary. She has also taught classes in health care administration and management at Boston University, Northeastern University, and Harvard University.FULL ENTRY
Moderna Therapeutics, a Cambridge company specializing in messenger RNA therapeutics as a way to create new drugs, said Wednesday that John Reynders will join Moderna in early July as its first chief information officer. Reynders joins Moderna from AstraZeneca, where he served as vice president of R&D information, and has held senior leadership positions over the past decade at Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, and Celera Genomics. At Moderna, Reynders will lead a team that seeks to create an information infrastructure critical to all aspects of the company’s innovation model, including the use of genomic data in drug design. Messenger RNA therapeutics is a new drug modality that produces human proteins or antibodies inside patient cells. This platform addresses currently undruggable targets.FULL ENTRY
Nucleik, a student team that developed software to reduce paper work for law enforcement officials, is the grand prize winner of the Harvard University President’s Challenge for social entrepreneurship, Harvard president Drew Faust said Wednesday in a statement. Faust developed the challenge last year to encourage university students to devise entrepreneurial solutions to some of the world’s most important social problems. Nucleik will receive $70,000 to support its emerging business. The team is made up of Scott Crouch, Florian Mayr, and Matthew Polega, all Harvard College seniors. The system they developed “provides instantaneous access to accurate and organized data to help law enforcement officers tackle gang violence, murders, and violent crime,” Harvard said. In the challenge’s second year, 127 student-led teams entered the competition.FULL ENTRY
About 34.8 million Americans are projected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 0.9 percent decrease from last year, AAA Southern New England said. “AAA is forecasting Memorial Day travel to experience a slight dip as lower gas prices and economic improvements from last year are not strong enough to spur an increase in travelers,” Lloyd P. Albert, AAA Southern New England senior vice president of public and government affairs, said in a statement. “Still, the projections are in line with what we’ve seen in travel over Memorial Day since 2010.” Holiday air travel this year is projected to drop 8 percent to 2.3 million from 2012. Memorial Day travel originating from New England is in line with national projections.FULL ENTRY
Swirl, a Boston company developing marketing software for retailers, said Wednesday it is testing an iPhone app that will send customized offers to consumers while they are browsing a store equipped with special sensors. Alex and Ani, Timberland, Kenneth Cole, and the Blues Jean Bar are among the retailers trying out Swirl technology in some of their stores. For the plan to work, Swirl has to first persuade consumers to download a special app to their iPhones. Consumers would also have to opt in to a location-tracking feature that would alert the retailer when a consumer with the app walked into one of the retailer’s stores. Once on the premises, the consumer would be pinged, and a message on his or her iPhone could offer customized suggestions or special discounts.FULL ENTRY
Five brokerage firms that sold so-called non-traded REITs improperly, will make restitution to investors of about $8.6 million and pay a total of $975,000 in fines under settlements reached with Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin, Galvin’s office said Wednesday. REITs are real estate investment trusts. “Our investigation into the sales of REITs, triggered by investor complaints, showed a pattern of impropriety in the sales of these popular but risky investments on the part of independent brokerage firms where supervision has historically been difficult to maintain,” Galvin said. The firms that settled are Ameriprise Financial Services, Commonwealth Financial Network, Royal Alliance Associates, Securities America, and Lincoln Financial Advisors. Galvin also announced that LPL Financial had completed the second round of its restitution in connection with similar violations previously settled with his office.FULL ENTRY
American International College in Springfield has selected FORGE Worldwide of Boston to be its lead ad agency for a rebranding assignment, FORGE Worldwide president Harry Chapin said. The account was awarded after a brief agency review. Billings for the account are not being disclosed. The assignment calls for FORGE to develop an awareness campaign that will rebrand the college’s Curtis Blake Center and Day School, which offers day-school and tutoring services for children with language-based learning disabilities. The work will include developing a new corporate identity and logo as well as search engine marketing, video, and direct marketing. The new work is expected to break in October. Other FORGE clients include Dragon Naturally Speaking speech-recognition software, SBLI, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Rockland Trust.FULL ENTRY
he Massachusetts’ economy is expected to grow slowly before accelerating in early 2014, benefiting from boost from unexpected sector, -- manufacturing, according to an economic forecast released Wednesday by a group of regional economists. Although Massachusetts is in the midst of a slowdown in hiring, the five-year forecast by the New England Economic Partnership shows the state’s economy adding jobs at a significant pace beginning next year. The state’s unemployment rate of 6.4 percent in April is expected to decline to 5.2 percent by the end of 2017, the report said. “The outlook for the future is much better than it has been and that has a lot to do with restoring confidence and consumer demand,” said Alan Clayton-Matthews, a Northeastern University economics professorFULL ENTRY
Staples’ net income fell 9 percent in the first quarter, as revenue fell 4 percent with fewer people heading into its North American and European stores. The office products company earned $169.9 million, or 26 cents per share, for the period ended May 4. A year earlier the Framingham-based company earned $187.1 million, or 27 cents per share. The latest results were just shy of the 27 cents per share that analysts polled by FactSet expected, on average. Revenue dropped to $5.81 billion from $6.03 billion, pressured by store closings and softer sales of computers, business machines, software, and technology accessories. Staples Inc. said Wednesday that sales were strongest in tablets, facilities and breakroom supplies and copy and print services. Online sales increased 3 percent.FULL ENTRY
Thousands of Massachusetts homeowners have received more than $610 million in mortgage assistance from major US lenders as part of a national settlement with a multistate group of attorneys general, data released Tuesday show.
About 8,823 Massachusetts borrowers received on average of $69,180 in mortgage help since the settlement was reached early last year, according to preliminary data received by Joseph A. Smith Jr., the North Carolina-based monitor charged with overseeing the national accord.
“The banks have reported a significant relief for Massachusetts homeowners as required by our settlement with the five major lenders,’’ said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a key negotiator in the national pact. “Our office will continue to work aggressively to ensure Massachusetts borrowers receive all the assistance available under the settlement.”FULL ENTRY
Modest economic growth is expected in New England over the next three years with the region as a whole returning to pre-recession employment levels by 2015. That’s according to a new economic forecast being released this week by the New England Economic Partnership. Forecast manager Ross Gittell, chancellor of New Hampshire’s community college system, predicts that economic growth in the six-state region will average 3.3 percent per year through 2016, while employment climbs by 1.4 percent per year. Economists warn the recovery could be slowed by several factors including the automatic federal budget cuts and continued economic uncertainty in Europe. Conditions will also vary from state to state, with forecasters expecting the strongest growth in Massachusetts and Vermont. NEEP plans to release its full forecast and state-by-state breakdowns on Wednesday.FULL ENTRY
Kevin Hannifan, a veteran hospital administrator who has worked in New York, Hartford, and Philadelphia, has been named president of St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton.
Hannifan replaces John Polanowicz, who left St. Elizabeth’s at the end of last year to become Massachusetts secretary of health and human services. St. Elizabeth’s is a Catholic community hospital owned by Boston-based Steward Health Care System.
Before joining St. Elizabeth’s, Hannifan was senior vice president for operations at the Tisch and Rusk hospitals in New York and executive vice president and chief operating officer at Hartford Hospital. Previously, he was chief executive at Methodist Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He holds an economics degree from Catholic University and a masters in health administration from Duke University.FULL ENTRY
Commuters facing long delays after a train collision disrupted their route along Connecticut’s shoreline can look forward to easier traveling beginning Tuesday afternoon. Limited, slower train service was resuming four days after a derailment injured scores of commuter rail passengers. Metro-North has been using buses to shuttle passengers around the affected area. One of two damaged tracks has been rebuilt and returned to service for Metro-North Railroad and Amtrak. Metro-North will operate about half the regular Tuesday evening rush-hour service. The operation will require a reduced speed of 30 mph. Trains will use a single track for seven miles around Bridgeport, forcing delays. Normal commuter rail service from Connecticut to New York City, along with Amtrak service between Boston and New York, was scheduled to resume during Wednesday morning’s rush hour.FULL ENTRY
Biogen Idec Inc., which cemented its place as the dominant multiple sclerosis drug maker in March when it won US approval to sell an MS pill, said Tuesday it has applied to the Food and Drug Administration to market a third injectable MS drug.
The drug, called Plegridy, is a new version of the Weston biotechnology company’s first -- and hugely successful -- MS treatment, Avonex. While both drugs have the same active ingredient, interferon beta, Biogen Idec has attached a polymer called polyethylene glycol, or peg, to Plegridy that increases the exposure of the drug, allowing patients to take doses less frequently.
And unlike Avonex and other MS drugs received through intramuscular injections, Plegridy would be administered subcutaneously, or under the skin, which is less painful.FULL ENTRY
Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real estate firm with a big presence in Greater Boston, said its construction unit has been appointed general contractor for the Warehouse Bar & Grille, a new restaurant on the corner of Boston’s Milk and Broad streets. The restaurant, which is scheduled to open in mid-August, will feature “a modern industrial design, polished concrete floors, an exposed ceiling, stainless steel accents, and a monochromatic palate,” Jones Lang LaSalle Construction said. With seats for just over a hundred customers, the Warehouse Bar & Grille aims to “bridge the gap between sports bars and upscale eateries,” the firm said. “The Broad Street location will serve as a neighborhood gathering place for business lunches, after-work cocktails, dinner dates, weekend brunch, and large group events,” Warehouse owner Cliff Dever said.FULL ENTRY
If you’ve ever had a hankering to be lionized as a hot dog uber chef, this could be your big chance. Kayem Foods, the Chelsea company known for its Fenway Franks (as well as for its brats, sausage, and deli meats), is launching a contest that invites aspiring food buffs to lavish their culinary creativity on the hot dog. “The winning dog will be announced on National Hot Dog Day, July 23, and will be served at Red Sox games at Fenway Park that night and select games thereafter,” Kayem said in a press release. More from the release: “Kayem’s ‘Create The Next Fenway Frank’ contest will continue through June 15 and fans can visit facebook.com/kayemfranks to create and submit their signature frank.”FULL ENTRY
TJX Cos., the Framingham company that operates such retail chains as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods, said first quarter net income rose 8 percent to $453 millon. First quarter diluted earnings per share were $.62, a 13 percent increase over last year’s $.55, TJX said. Sales, meanwhile, grew 7 percent to $6.2 billion. At stores open at least a year, sales rose 2 percent. That second measure, known as same-store sales, is closely watched by Wall Street analysts who regard it as a key barometer of a retailer’s performance. TJX chief executive Carol Meyrowitz said: “We are very pleased with our first quarter results, especially as they were achieved over the highest year-over-year comparisons for quarterly comp sales and EPS growth of this yearFULL ENTRY
Boston ad agency Arnold Worldwide said it is launching the first national ad campaign for the ComforPedic mattress brand from Simmons. The mattress is billed as “the better memory foam,” and one subliminal marketing mantra is, “Sleep smarter.” Or as the ComforPedic website puts it: “Smart begins with better sleep. Better sleep begins with ComforPedic.” According to Arnold, TV spots feature a “never before seen effect of a bedroom whose walls are actually rear projection screens so that the room literally comes alive with the dreams” of celebrity snoozers who’ve been recruited to appear in the ads. These “famous sleepers” (as Arnold calls them) include oceanographer Phillippe Cousteau, graph theorist Maria Chudnovsky, and former astronaut Mae Jemison. Other Arnold clients include Fidelity Investments, Jack Daniel’s, Progressive Insurance, and Volvo.FULL ENTRY
Christopher Probyn to address NABE Boston on disconnect between the stock market and tightening economies
Christopher Probyn, chief economist for State Street Global Advisors, is expected to discuss the apparent disconnect between strong stock market gains and fiscal tightening in economies in the US and Europe at the first event of the newly formed Boston chapter of the National Association for Business Economics. The group, informally known as NABE Boston, has scheduled its first meeting for June 13 at the Federal Reserve building in downtown Boston. The group was formed to provide professionals in every industry who are interested in economics with a forum for sharing their ideas and networking with colleagues. NABE Boston is headed by Gregory Daco, an economist at IHS Global Insight. Anyone using economics in their professional activities, or simply interested in learning more about economics, is welcome to attend.FULL ENTRY
Raytheon Co. said Monday that it has been awarded an Air Force contract that could be worth up to $260 million to the Waltham-based defense contractor. The contract is for building rapidly deployable radar approach control systems that can be up and running within six hours. A so-called D-RAPCON systems is described in a company press release as mobile “air traffic control in a box.” A D-RAPCON system is made up of a transportable antenna plus three trailer-sized shelters that house radar equipment, communications systems, and an operations center with multiple controller work stations. Each station has the same look and feel of what a controller would see at a major airport. The contract is for one system plus 18 options for a total of 19 potential systems.FULL ENTRY
Merrimak ATM Group LLC has agreed to pay $50,000 to the Commonwealth to settle allegations that it failed to post fee disclosure notices on some of the ATM’s it operates in the Bay State, the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said Monday. Merrimak, which is described as a non-bank ATM provider with its principal place of business in California, has also agreed to change its disclosure practices following a joint investigation by Coakley’s office and the Massachusetts Division of Banks . The investigation was triggered by a consumer complaint. Merrimak operates hundreds of ATMs in a Massachusetts, many of them at convenience stores and parking garages. In agreeing to the settlement, Merrimak neither admitted nor denied Coakley’s allegations.FULL ENTRY
A dining hall renovation at the University of Connecticut has won several awards for its design, said the project’s designer, Prellwitz Chilinski Associates Inc., a Cambridge-based architectural firm of 40 people. Prellwitz Chilinski Associates, or PCA, was commissioned to renovate and expand a 1960’s era cafeteria on the university’s main campus in Storrs. In renovating McMahon Dining Hall, PCA oversaw a 5,000-square-foot expansion to the cafeteria’s original 14,000 square feet of space. In its new format, McMahon Hall features restaurant-style “display kitchens”, new connections to adjacent residential towers, and the “vibrant, airy, porch-like feel of a ‘pavilion in the woods,’” PCA said; UConn’s goal for the $8 million project was to increase the dining hall’s capacity by 200 seats and make the hall into a “showcase for great food and student interaction.”FULL ENTRY
The average price for gas in Massachusetts is $3.49 a gallon in the latest weekly AAA survey, up 1 cent from the previous week’s average, AAA Southern New England said Monday. Local prices are up 5 cents over the past month, AAA Southern New England added. The current national average is $3.65 a gallon. A year ago at this time, the Massachusetts average price was $3.65. The current range in prices in the latest AAA Massachusetts survey is 34 cents, from a low of $3.35 to a high of $3.69. AAA’s weekly surveys look at self-serve, regular unleaded gas.FULL ENTRY
Could this be a culinary first for the Hub? A brick-and-mortar restaurant devoted to the grilled cheese sandwich? Greater Boston has long been home to clam shacks and steak houses, not to mention hot dog stands and burger joints. And now Downtown Crossing is about to be graced with a 1,200 square foot restaurant that regards the grilled cheese as the keystone of the fast-food pyramid. The new restaurant is called Cheeseboy, and it’s location near the corner of Washington and School streets is set to open Monday afternoon. As grilled cheese connoisseurs know, Cheeseboy has been around for several years, dishing up its signature product at mall food courts as well as at kiosks at transportation hubs such as South Station.FULL ENTRY
Synageva BioPharma Corp., a Lexington biopharmaceutical company developing therapies for rare diseases, said Monday that the Food and Drug Administration has granted breakthrough therapy designation to its drug candidate for the treatment of the early onset form of LAL deficiency. Lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (or LAL deficiency) is a rare disorder caused by a marked decrease in LAL enzyme activity. Early onset LAL deficiency is the most rapidly progressive form of LAL deficiency and is usually fatal within the first six months of life. According to the FDA, breakthrough therapy designation is intended to expedite the development and review of drugs for serious or life-threatening conditions. “We are deeply aware of the devastating impact this disease has on infants,” chief medical officer Anthony Quinn said.FULL ENTRY
Earnings edged up in the second quarter despite narrowing profit margins at Partners HealthCare System, aided partly by a state government decision to drop an assessment on Partners’ newly acquired health insurance division, Neighborhood Health Plan.
Net income totaled $133.2 million in the three months ending March 31 for Boston-based Partners, which runs Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals, an increase of 0.7 percent from the $132.2 million earned in the same period last year.
Operating income jumped nearly eight-fold to $40.8 million in the most recent quarter, from $5.3 million last year, when the hospital and doctors organization took a $110 million accounting charge to write off the value of computer and software systems it was replacing.FULL ENTRY
The Shaw’s and Star Market supermarket chain said Friday that its in-store donation campaign raised $300,000 for the One Fund Boston, the fund established by Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino to help people affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. Besides the in-store donation campaign, Shaw’s and Star Market donated an additional $200,000 to The One Fund Boston from their foundation, the company said. “Our customers and associates have a well-earned reputation of generosity, and I sincerely want to thank everyone who donated to support those affected by this tragedy,” Shane Sampson, president of Shaw’s and Star Market, said in a statement. Headquartered in West Bridgewater, the Shaw’s and Star Market chains operate 169 stores in New England.FULL ENTRY
Carnegie Hall, the storied New York performance venue, said that Robert K. Kraft, chief executive of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots, will receive its Medal of Excellence at a benefit at the Waldorf Astoria in mid June. The award recognizes Kraft’s leadership in business and philanthropy, and it will be presented by Sanford I. Weill, chairman of Carnegie Hall’s board of trustees. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley is the evening’s master of ceremonies. In a statement, Weill said of Kraft. “Bob has made such a remarkable impact on the lives of so many, complementing his great success in business with a strong commitment to giving back to the community.... We’re proud to recognize Bob for his great spirit of generosity and his friendship to the hall.”FULL ENTRY
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is hoping its 72-year-old signature monkey can learn new smartphone tricks --- and help teach pre-schoolers to boot. Boston-based Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has a long history in textbooks and literature, and in 1941, it published a children’s book starring a monkey named Curious George. As times have changed, the company has looked to technology to augment and evolve its text-book business. In its latest effort, the publisher has developed a new Curious George teaching app series for iPads and iPhones. One app is called “Curious About Shapes & Colors,” and it seeks to teach pre-kindergarten-aged children about simple and complex shapes and primary and secondary colors. Games and reward are used to motivate young learners, the company also known as HMH said.FULL ENTRY
The Biogen Idec Foundation announced a $250,000 grant to East End House to develop, implement, and evaluate an interactive out-of-school-time genetics program for middle school students in Cambridge. The program, known as GenoExplorers, will initially reach about 150 students and it will offer them hands-on experiments, collaboration with local scientists, and field trips, all designed to introduce young people to the science of genetics. The program is scheduled to launch this fall. The plan is to provide four hours per week of teaching for 35 weeks during the school year, and nine hours per week for four weeks during the summer. The goal is to expand the initiative to additional centers in the coming years and to create a national program.FULL ENTRY
MassHousing, the quasi-public agency charged with providing financing for affordable housing in the Bay State, said it has awarded $104,950 to support sober housing programs in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield. The MassHousing grants will come from the Center for Community Recovery Innovations Inc., or CCRI, a nonprofit subsidiary corporation of MassHousing that supports nonprofits that create or preserve affordable sober housing in Massachusetts for recovering substance abusers. To date, CCRI has awarded more than $6 million in grants for more than 1,500 units of substance-free housing. “Substance abuse impacts not only those dealing with addiction but their families as well,’’ MassHousing executive director Thomas R. Gleason said. “Affordable sober housing is greatly needed across Massachusetts, and MassHousing’s CCRI funding is a very useful resource in helping to expand and rehabilitate that housing.’’FULL ENTRY
The top companies on the 25th anniversary edition of the Globe 100 all work in different industries, but each achieved record or near-record financial results in 2012. Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. of Springfield tops the 2013 list. Retailer TJX Cos. was second, followed by Global Partners of Waltham, American Tower Corp. of Boston and Parexcel International of Waltham. TJX topped a special 25th anniversary Hall of Fame list ranking the aggregate performance of top Globe 100 companies over the past quarter century. State Street Corp. of Boston was second on the all-time list, followed by Eaton Vance Corp. of Boston, EMC Corp. of Hopkinton and Staples Inc. of Framingham. The Globe 100 magazine, which appears Sunday, and a complete online package, also honors a dozen top Massachusetts innovators.FULL ENTRY