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Frates cousin hired at ALS treatment company

James Frates, the new chief financial officer at Amylyx.
James Frates, the new chief financial officer at Amylyx.Business Wire


Cousin of Pete Frates joins firm developing treatments for ALS

Cambridge biotech Amylyx Pharmaceuticals has landed the former chief financial officer from Alkermes to be its new CFO. For Jim Frates, this new job will be personal: Frates is a cousin of the late Pete Frates, who became famous for his “Ice Bucket Challenge” fund-raisers to raise money to combat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Amylyx, meanwhile, is developing treatments for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. Frates starts at the new job on Jan. 25, after a 22-year tenure as CFO at Alkermes, a drug company with more than $1 billion in annual revenue whose leadership is based in Waltham. Alkermes announced his departure earlier this month, but did not say where he was going. Frates said: “The opportunity to help fight ALS means a great deal to me and my family.” — JON CHESTO



Toyota to pay $180 million to settle allegations over fixing pollution control defects

Toyota will pay $180 million to settle US government allegations that it failed to report and fix pollution control defects in its vehicles for a decade. The company also agreed in court to investigate future emissions-related defects quickly and report them to the US Environmental Protection Agency in a timely manner. The Japanese automaker’s actions from 2005 to 2015 brought financial benefits and excessive vehicle pollution, the statement said. The company was accused in a government lawsuit of delays in filing 78 emissions defect reports as required by the Clean Air Act. The reports covered millions of vehicles, and some of them were as many as eight years late, the statement said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Poshmark jumps in trading debut

Shares of Poshmark Inc. soared in their debut trading in the public markets Thursday, a testament to the strength of the online marketplace for second-hand goods even during a pandemic. The company, founded in 2011 by Manish Chandra, debuted on the Nasdaq exchange and is listed under the ticker “POSH.” Late Wednesday, the initial public offering of 6.6 million shares was priced at $42 a share, above an expected range of $35 to $39 a share. The stock surged to $95.53, a 127 percent increase, in midday trading Thursday. Poshmark joins a growing number of e-commerce sites like Doordash and Airbnb that have gone public during the pandemic. Online pet supplies retailer Petco returned to the public market Thursday. Poshmark has benefited from shoppers’ accelerated shift to online purchasing and customers’ steadfast focus on second-hand goods as they become more conscious about the environment. Poshmark is also a social marketplace where users buy and sell directly with each other and interact, something that has resonated with many people in isolation. Another bright spot: Customers are using sites like Poshmark to earn extra income as they clean out their closets. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Vacant hotels offer to become vaccine distribution sites

The hotel industry has a new idea to get Americans to return: offer their locations as vaccine distribution sites. The American Hotel and Lodging Association, a trade group that represents hotels such as Marriott International Inc. and Red Roof Inn as well as vendors and suppliers, sent a letter Thursday to the Biden-Harris transition team asking that their buildings be considered as an option as states decide where to administer shots. Chip Rogers, chief executive of the group, points out that there are more than 50,000 hotels in the United States, sporting private rooms, refrigeration capabilities, and 24-hour operations. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Google completes takeover of Fitbit despite DOJ probe

Google closed a $2.1 billion takeover of Fitbit without antitrust approval from the US Justice Department. In a blog post Thursday, Google said it completed the acquisition and highlighted the company’s binding commitments to protect user privacy. Shortly after the blog post was published, the Justice Department’s antitrust division released a statement saying it hasn’t signed off on the deal. The Justice Department investigation raises the possibility that the government could sue to unwind the deal later. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Groups say it is too hard to cancel Prime memberships

A coalition of public interest advocates is asking US regulators to investigate whether Amazon violates consumer protection laws with its process for canceling Prime subscriptions. In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday, a group led by Public Citizen said the steps required to cancel Prime “are designed to unfairly and deceptively undermine the will of the consumer,” and may violate both FTC rules as well as other consumer protection laws. The letter draws on a complaint by Norway’s consumer protection agency, which on Thursday asked Norwegian regulators to determine whether Amazon violated local law. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Delta closes out a terrible year

Delta Air Lines closed the books on a disastrous 2020 with a comparatively small fourth-quarter loss, and executives expect a few more rocky months before — they hope — widespread coronavirus vaccinations and testing might salvage something of the upcoming summer travel season. Delta on Thursday reported a $755 million quarterly loss and a $12.4 billion loss for the entire year. The results likely would have been worse but for a December increase in air travel that likely contributed to another surge in virus infections as people spent more time with family and friends. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Norwegian to drop long-haul flights, concentrate on European destinations

Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle said Thursday it will focus on European destinations and close its long-haul operations as it struggles with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and debt restructuring. The airline said it will “focus on its core Nordics business, operating a European short-haul network with narrow body aircraft. Under these circumstances a long-haul operation is not viable for Norwegian and these operations will therefore not continue.” The plan affects its flights to the United States and means it will cut its fleet from 140 aircraft to about 50. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


French government against takeover of Carrefour

France’s government says it opposes the proposed 16.2 billion euro ($19.6 billion) takeover of French supermarket chain Carrefour by Canadian convenience store group Couche-Tard. Carrefour is Europe’s biggest retailer and the biggest private employer in France, with more than 105,000 employees in the country. Under French rules on controlling foreign investment, the government’s approval is required in some strategic sectors, which includes food retail, Le Maire said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



German economy shrank by 5 percent last year

The German economy, Europe’s largest, shrank by 5 percent in the pandemic year 2020, ending a decade of growth as lockdowns wiped out much business and consumer activity. As dreary as the numbers were, the drop was smaller than many had expected, and a high savings rate suggested consumers could be ready to unleash a strong economic recovery when the lid finally comes off. The state statistics office Destatis said Thursday that only the construction sector showed an upturn as industry and services saw deep declines. Agriculture, financial services, real estate, and information and communication suffered smaller drops in output. — ASSOCIATED PRESS