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Talking points

Eight things you might have missed Wednesday from the world of business


Tetraphase stock collapses after antibiotic fails test

NEW YORK — Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals Inc. fell 80 percent in late trading Tuesday and another 78.8 percent in regular trading Wednesday after a study found that its experimental antibiotic is no better than a standard generic treatment. In a study of 908 patients with complicated urinary tract infections, the drug, eravacycline, didn’t show it was equal to or better than levofloxacin, a generic drug. “We plan to further analyze the data and provide an update after we have discussed the data and our plans for a path forward with the regulatory agencies,” chief executive Guy Macdonald said in a statement. The stock had more than doubled in the past year, pushed up by positive trial data, including a study released that showed eravacycline’s success in treating intra-abdominal infections. The stock closed at $9.49 Wednesday, down $35.29. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Epirus to pay $14m for biologics maker

Epirus Biopharmaceuticals, a Boston company developing biologic treatments, will pay $14.1 million to acquire a Dutch biopharmaceutical drug developer. Epirus said the cash-and-stock deal for Bioceros Holding BV would add three products to its pipeline and may increase annual sales to $9 billion. The companies develop monocloidal antibodies, which are produced by living cells and used to treat cancer and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. Bioceros is developing two biosimilars to treat inflammatory and immune disorders currently treated with the biologic drugs Simponi and Stelara and another meant to treat rare diseases for which the biologic Soliris is prescribed. — JACK NEWSHAM


Ex-CEO must aid probes to keep his $29m in severance

NEW YORK — Jeff Smisek (left) leaves United Continental Holdings Inc. $28.6 million richer. Keeping the money will take cooperation: United tied his exit to the carrier’s probe of its dealings with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Smisek’s separation agreement requires him to comply with investigations into events that occurred during his employment. If he doesn’t, is convicted, or pleads guilty to a felony or “any crime involving moral turpitude,” the company can rescind the payments. Smisek has not been accused of wrongdoing. Federal investigators, who are also examining the airline’s dealings with the Port Authority, haven’t decided whether to charge anyone. Smisek’s exit follows an inquiry into whether former Port Authority chairman David Samson got the carrier to restart a money-losing route to his weekend home in South Carolina in exchange for concessions sought by the airline. United dropped that service days after Samson left the authority in 2014. Smisek’s severance includes perks like flight benefits, lifelong parking privileges, and the title to his company vehicle. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



$11 million awarded for apprenticeships

The US Department of Labor is granting $11 million to the City of Boston, the state, and a nonprofit to steer more people to apprenticeships — part of $175 million the department will use to fund 34,000 apprenticeships across the country. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said the grants are the largest investment the White House has made in apprenticeships, paid training opportunities in fields like cybersecurity, health care, insurance, and building trades. “Apprenticeships are the other college, without the debt,” he said. Boston will use the funds to double the number of students and low-income workers it enrolls in building trades and hospitality apprenticeships. The city is targeting women and minorities for the programs, which pay apprentices $15 to $21 an hour. Over the next five years, the city plans to enroll about 80 people a year in “pre-apprenticeship” programs that guarantee them placement in higher-wage apprenticeships — compared to the 40 or 50 the city trains in an average year. The state Executive Office of Workforce and Labor Development will get $3 million to place about 300 workers statewide. Jobs For the Future, a national nonprofit based in Boston, will get $5 million, for apprenticeships in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. — JACK NEWSHAM



China’s economic growth in ‘proper range,’ premier says

BEIJING — China’s number two leader tried Wednesday to mollify foreign concerns about its economic slowdown, saying growth is in the ‘‘proper range’’ and Beijing has no plans to allow its currency to decline further. Premier Li Keqiang (left)said Beijing will stick to plans for market-opening reforms despite recent ‘‘fluctuations’’ in economic performance. Communist leaders are in the midst of a high-level effort to calm global markets after a collapse in Chinese stock prices and abrupt downturns in manufacturing and exports. ‘‘The underlying trend of the economy is still moving in a positive direction,’’ said Li, the country’s top economic official. Li announced no new initiatives. China’s economy has cooled as leaders try to steer it to more self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption instead of exports and investment. Li said current growth, forecast at about 7 percent for the year, is acceptable if it generates enough jobs. He also tried to reassure investors that plans to open more of the state-dominated economy to private and foreign companies are on track. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Fox TV will sell airwaves to aid mobile carriers

WASHINGTON — Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. intends to sell rights to TV station airwaves at a government auction next year, part of an effort to funnel choice frequencies to mobile phone providers. The Fox stations will switch to other frequencies, chief financial officer John Nallen said. “We have some ‘beachfront property’ we should get some value for,” he said. The sale will reallocate airwaves to wireless providers such as AT&T and Verizon Communications, which need frequencies to meet soaring demand for smartphones, tablets, and other wireless devices. Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has been urging broadcasters to voluntarily give up airwaves. The auction will sell frequencies carrying signals that travel far and penetrate buildings. TV stations that give up airwaves will get a cut of auction proceeds. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Social Media

Instagram expands use of video ads

NEW YORK — Instagram users have been seeing more ads pop up in their feeds of wide-eyed kittens and vacation photos, and now they can expect longer video ads, too. The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app is adding 30-second video ads in a push to give businesses more ways to tap the 300 million people who use Instagram at least once a month. Previously, ads on Instagram were 15 seconds long. Businesses will also be able to use landscape-style photos, as well as a product called Marquee, which aims to quickly expand a company’s reach for things like movie premieres and product launches. Instagram said businesses have been testing the app’s new tools, and it’s is seeing demand in areas like e-commerce, travel, and entertainment. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Microsoft gets chilly reception in data-access fight

NEW YORK — Microsoft got a chilly reaction from the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday to its claims the United States should not be able to touch data it stores overseas for customers. Lawyer E. Joshua Rosenkranz told a three-judge panel that ‘‘global chaos’’ could result if it fails to overturn a lower-court ruling that the company must turn over a customer’s e-mail account that it stores in Dublin, for a narcotics probe. ‘‘If we can do it to them, then other countries can do it to us,’’ Rosenkranz said. Judge Gerard Lynch seemed unfazed. He said Congress can respond if foreign relations are affected. Rosenkranz said the case is about national sovereignty and the need to protect from the reach of the US government everything from love letters to trade secrets. ‘‘We would go crazy if they tried to do that to us,’’ he said of other countries. Dozens of organizations and businesses submitted written arguments to the appeals court, including 29 major US and foreign news and trade organizations. They said journalists and publishers rely on e-mail and cloud-storage services to gather, store and review documents protected by the First Amendment. — ASSOCIATED PRESS