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Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
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Corixa says allergy spray undergoing human tests


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SEATTLE — Corixa, a Seattle biotech company, said yesterday it has started human tests of a compound designed to stimulate the immune system to fight off seasonal allergies.

The news pushed Corixa's stock up 69 cents, or 10.8 percent, to $7.10 yesterday.

The initial trial will enroll 64 adult volunteers at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and will split them into one group taking the drug and another group taking a placebo. Corixa's anti-allergy compound, CRX-675, will be given as a single-dose nasal spray. The trial is designed to measure the drug's safety in four different dose levels.

Corixa said in a statement that animal studies have shown the compound can "markedly reduce allergic reactions" and protect against infections. The company received a five-year, $11.6 million contract from the federal government to develop, for biodefense, a family of compounds that interact with the same class of biological structures as the anti-allergy compound does.

NW Biotherapeutics keeps going with $500,000 loan

SEATTLE — Northwest Biotherapeutics, a Bothell biotech company that said it was about to run out of cash last Friday, said yesterday it has gotten a $500,000 loan to keep its business operating for 30 days.

The company said Toucan has an option to provide the company up to $40 million through a group of investors, who could potentially end up owning 90 percent of the company's stock.

Toucan has already loaned the company $600,000 since February. The loans carry 10 percent annual interest and are convertible into the company's stock.

Microsoft buys Utah firm with data-mining software

PRINCETON, N.J. — Microsoft said it acquired closely held ActiveViews, whose products work with Microsoft's to find and display information stored on corporate computer systems. Terms weren't disclosed.

Provo, Utah-based ActiveViews, which has five employees, makes products that work with Microsoft's .Net corporate and Internet tools and SQL Server Reporting Services program for mining databases to create reports.
 
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Microsoft, which released the reporting-services program in January, is adding the products to try to sell more copies of its SQL database server and compete with companies such as Cognos and Business Objects. Oracle, Microsoft's main database-software rival, also sells such programs, often called business-intelligence software.

Builders groups calculate home construction's impact

BELLEVUE — The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties released a report yesterday outlining the local economic impacts of residential construction in the two counties.

The report, on research done by the National Association of Home Builders, showed that over a one-year period, building 100 single-family homes creates $18.1 million in local income, $2.8 million in taxes or other revenue for local governments, and 311 jobs. Building 100 multifamily dwellings generates $11.3 million in local income, $1.4 million in tax or other revenue for local governments, and 188 local jobs.

Annual recurring impacts from construction of 100 single-family homes in the region include $3.7 million in local income, $808,000 in tax or other revenue for local governments, and 68 local jobs. Recurring impacts from 100 multifamily units include $3 million in local income, $650,000 in tax or other revenue for local government, and 53 local jobs.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 11,230 single-family homes and 4,920 multifamily units were built in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metropolitan area during 2003.

First Mutual continues 7-cent rate for dividend

SEATTLE — First Mutual Bancshares, the Bellevue-based parent of First Mutual Bank, yesterday declared a dividend of 7 cents a share, payable on July 7 to shareholders of record as of June 16.

First Mutual has paid quarterly dividends of 7 cents a share since November 2001, when the dividend was boosted from 5 cents a share. Since then, however, First Mutual also has issued three 10 percent stock dividends; that means the effective dividend rate has grown by 33 percent over the past 2½ years.

Last week, the bank reported a first-quarter profit of $2.3 million, or 42 cents per diluted share.

Biotech partnership seeks to speed research projects

SEATTLE — The Seattle-based Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland said yesterday they have formed a partnership to solve biological problems faster.

The two organizations said the partnership's goals involve refining the technological and computational abilities to measure and predict complex cell behavior and strengthening existing collaborative research and development projects. It could also make them more competitive for federal research grants.

The two organizations have worked together before — PNNL has used one of the world's fastest computers to run a software program developed at the ISB to study how proteins fold after they have been created by genes. Earlier this year, PNNL said it had identified a record 4,000 different proteins in human blood, some of which may be useful in diagnosing diseases.

Nation / World

Kmart drops suit, extends deal with Martha Stewart

DETROIT — Kmart strengthened its partnership with Martha Stewart's company, announcing yesterday that it was dropping a lawsuit about royalty payments and that the two damaged companies were extending their licensing agreement by two years.

In a complaint filed in February in bankruptcy court, Kmart had accused Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia of overcharging it for the exclusive rights to sell housewares and other products under the Martha Stewart Everyday label. The amended contract keeps a minimum guaranteed payment for overall sales but eliminates minimum payments in each product category, which was the source of the conflict.

FedEx adds name to Kinkos to reflect stores' acquisition

FedEx is pasting its name onto the Kinkos computing and copy business it recently acquired to reflect its new ownership.

FedEx said yesterday the stores will be renamed FedEx Kinko's Office and Print Center.

Executives unveiled the brand at an employee event in Dallas, where Kinko's is based, saying the new identity better reflects the full-range of document and shipping services that will be available by the end of the year at 1,100 domestic locations.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and Bloomberg News

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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