fb-pixelAxcella Health to close - The Boston Globe Skip to main content
TALKING POINTS

Axcella Health to close

Axcella on Monday disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that shareholders had voted to liquidate and dissolve the 12-year-old company.Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

BIOTECH

Axcella Health to close

Axcella Health, a small biotech created by the venture firm Flagship Pioneering, is closing a year after the Cambridge firm laid off 85 percent of its workforce. Axcella on Monday disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that shareholders had voted to liquidate and dissolve the 12-year-old company, which was founded by Flagship, the creator of Moderna. Axcella had developed an experimental drug to combat the muscle weakness and fatigue associated with the fatty liver disease nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH. But it scrapped that program last December, laid off most of its workers, and pivoted to using the drug as a potential treatment for long COVID. There is no approved treatment for long COVID, a debilitating condition that lingers after people no longer test positive for the coronavirus. The symptoms also sometimes include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and brain fog. Axcella began trading on the Nasdaq in 2019 after an initial public offering of $71.4 million. — JONATHAN SALTZMAN

ENERGY

Advertisement



Avangrid to recoup costs of delayed power line

Energy company Avangrid just scored a big victory on Beacon Hill. The long-awaited supplemental budget signed into law by Governor Maura Healey on Monday includes language that allows Avangrid to recoup costs related to the delay of its 145-mile power line project to bring hydroelectricity from Canada to Massachusetts. The power line, known as New England Clean Energy Connect, was delayed for more than a year because of a successful Maine referendum in November 2021 that was primarily funded by rival energy company NextEra to block the project. Avangrid challenged the voter-backed law in court, and was ultimately successful. During that time, the estimated price tag for the power line rose from $1 billion to $1.5 billion. The new legislation in Massachusetts allows the state Department of Public Utilities to approve amended utility agreements so Avangrid can recover extra expenses directly linked to the delay from Massachusetts electric ratepayers. Avangrid vice president Leo Rosales praised the Healey administration, the House, and the Senate for moving this legislation forward. He said the project will bring a significant amount of clean energy into the New England grid, and attributed the delays to opposition from NextEra and another power plant owner, Calpine, that were concerned about the impact the new line could have on wholesale electric prices. As a result, a multi-year legal battle took place that ultimately halted the project until it could be resumed in August, he said. Now, he added, the Massachusetts electric utilities can adjust the price of their contracts to reflect the resulting cost overruns. — JON CHESTO

Advertisement



DATA BREACH

Hackers get access to personal information of millions of 23andMe users

Hackers, using old passwords from customers of the genetic testing company 23andMe, were able to gain access to personal information from about 6.9 million profiles, which in some cases included ancestry trees, birth years, and geographic locations, the company said Monday. In October, a hacker posted a claim online that they had 23andMe users’ profile information, the company wrote in a Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure Friday. “We have not learned of any reports of inappropriate use of the data after the leak,” a 23andMe spokesperson said Monday. — NEW YORK TIMES

A protective face mask lies at the ground in Munich, southern Germany, on Nov. 22, 2021.CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

PANDEMIC

Sign of the times: face mask makers to shut down

Two face mask providers say they are closing, as the slow and steady decline of what was once a much-sought-after item continues. Project N95, a nonprofit that helped people buy protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, said Monday it would stop selling masks on Dec. 18 and wind down its operations. It said that revenues from mask sales and donations were no longer enough to support its operations. “Over time, we’ve seen reduced demand for masks,” said Anne Miller, the executive director. “It appears that people prefer to risk getting sick rather than taking precautions.” Mask-C also said it would close at the end of the year. The company’s fashionable products were once a hot commodity, worn by celebrities like Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez. — NEW YORK TIMES

Advertisement



LAWSUIT

Second death from caffeinated lemonade prompts suit

A Florida man died after drinking three servings of a heavily caffeinated beverage from Panera Bread, according to a lawsuit filed against the company on Monday. It is the second lawsuit linking the beverage, Charged Lemonade, to a death. Dennis Brown, 46, died in October after suffering a “cardiac event” while walking home from a Panera Bread in Fleming Island, Fla., according to the wrongful-death lawsuit, which was filed by Mr. Brown’s mother, sister, and brother in Superior Court in Delaware. It is the second lawsuit filed against Panera Bread over its Charged Lemonade, which has more caffeine in its large size than a 12-ounce Red Bull and a 16-ounce Monster Energy Drink combined. — NEW YORK TIMES

WORKPLACE

Two hours of meetings a day is the limit

Spending more than two hours a day in meetings can hurt productivity, a new survey found, putting a ceiling on an element of the daily grind that many workers have come to dread. The survey of more than 10,000 desk workers globally from Slack Technologies found that two hours of meetings was the tipping point for most. Those who said they spent too much time on Zoom calls or in conference rooms were more than twice as likely to say they didn’t have enough time to focus on work that matters, instead of meetings. More than half of executives polled said they had too many meetings, while 27 percent of rank-and-file workers said the same. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

Advertisement



A Frontier Airlines jetliner waits on a runway for departure from Denver International Airport on Sept. 1 in Denver. David Zalubowski/Associated Press

AIRLINES

Frontier Airlines settles lawsuit from female pilots

Frontier Airlines has settled a lawsuit filed by female pilots who accused the airline of discriminating against pregnant or breastfeeding employees. In the agreement announced Tuesday, Frontier will let pilots pump breast milk in the cockpit during “noncritical phases” of flights. The Denver-based airline also agreed to let pilots who are breastfeeding reduce their flying time and treat pregnancy and breastfeeding the same as other medical conditions if they make pilots unable to fly. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

LAWSUIT

Families of people killed at Dollar General in Florida sue

Family members of three Black people fatally shot at a Dollar General store in north Florida by a racist gunman have sued the store’s landlord, operator, and security contractor for negligence, claiming lax security led to their loved ones’ deaths. The 21-year-old gunman had attempted to enter another store and the campus of a historically Black college, but he was stopped by the presence of security guards at both places. The lawsuit was filed Monday on behalf of the families of Angela Carr, Jerrald Gallion, and A.J. Laguerre. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Advertisement



TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Ericsson wins contract to upgrade AT&T wireless network

Ericsson won a $14 billion contract to modernize AT&T’s wireless network, agreeing to build an open network that can be supplied by a number of vendors and beating out its longtime rival Nokia. The contract, which will let AT&T choose vendors that supply its antennas and infrastructure going forward instead of locking the US carrier into a single relationship, marks a “strategic industry shift,” Ericsson said in a statement on Monday. — BLOOMBERG NEWS