Sanofi Genzyme to lay off about three dozen
French drug maker Sanofi SA, pressing forward with a global realignment, Monday notified about three dozen research and development employees in Massachusetts that their jobs will be eliminated, according to employees. The jobs are in labs supporting the biosurgery, bone and joint disease, drug delivery discovery, and biomaterial engineering groups that were formerly part of Genzyme Corp., the employees said. Those labs are in Cambridge, Framingham, and Waltham. Sanofi paid $20.1 billion to acquire Cambridge-based Genzyme in 2011 and has renamed the division Sanofi Genzyme. In a global restructuring that began last summer, Sanofi shifted oversight for research and development jobs in Massachusetts and elsewhere to a corporate research organization based in Paris. A spokeswoman said Monday that she couldn’t immediately comment on the cuts. Sanofi told its labor unions earlier this month that it is paring about 600 jobs in France. The company has not confirmed cuts at other locations.
‘Uber jets’ for the well-heeled
Private air travel is getting the Uber treatment with some of the industry’s biggest customers — members of the Saudi Royal family — investing $26.1 million in a company that lets users book private jets from a smartphone. Most private aircraft aren’t used that much, JetSmarter founder Sergey Petrossov, a Russian-born Florida resident, said in an interview. Those empty seats and flights can be offered to travelers for less than the typical price of chartering a jet and for a fee that may be at least in the same ballpark as the cost of a first-class ticket. He likens JetSmarter’s offering to Uber Black, the private black car version of Uber Technologies Inc.’s ride-hailing service that might take you from A to B in a Mercedes S-Class, a Cadillac XTS, or some other high-end luxury sedan.
Summers says stop issuing high-denomination bills
Last week, former treasury secretary Lawrence Summers called on countries around the world to stop issuing high-denomination bank notes including the US $100 and the 500-euro note. He cited a Harvard paper that says the notes have become the “preferred payment mechanism of those pursuing illicit activities, given the anonymity and lack of transaction record they offer, and the relative ease with which they can be transported and moved.” In short, it’s too easy for criminals to carry large sums of money that can’t be tracked. A million dollars in $100 bills weighs a scant 22 pounds, roughly the same amount as a toddler. The same sum of money in $20 bills weighs a staggering 110 pounds, roughly the same amount as a middle-schooler.
US sees best job growth since the 1990s
The US economy has just completed the best two years of job growth since the 1990s, wages are on the rise, and consumers are more confident about the economy than they’ve been in more than a decade. But the United States faced global headwinds that will continue this year, according to the latest report from the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. The report also makes several recommendations to reduce income inequality, though many of the recommendations are heavily reliant on cooperation from a wary GOP-led Congress and state and local governments.
Starbucks makes it harder to earn freebies
Starbucks is changing the terms of its rewards program so that people who spend around $5 or less per visit won’t get as many freebies. The Seattle-based coffee chain says its loyalty program will award stars based on the dollars spent starting in April. Currently, people earn a star for each transaction, regardless of how much they spend, and get a free food or item of their choice after earning 12 stars. People will now have to earn 125 stars for a free item, with each dollar spent being worth two stars — meaning they have to spend $62.50 to get their free item. That means people who stick with options like plain coffee are losing out.
Verizon buys fiber-optic business for $1.8b
Verizon says it will pay $1.8 billion to buy the fiber-optic network business of XO Communications, in a deal that the wireless phone company said would improve service for its customers. XO Communications, based in Herndon, Va., owns and operates networks that its customers use for Internet access, cloud computing, and other uses. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is chairman and sole shareholder of the company. The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year. New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. says it will also rent XO’s wireless spectrum and has the option to buy the spectrum at the end of 2018.
Lumber Liquidators’ stock dives as cancer risk rises
Lumber Liquidators’ stock plunged Monday as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says people exposed to certain types of the company’s laminate flooring were three times more likely to get cancer than the agency previously predicted. The CDC said that in its original report it had used an incorrect value for ceiling height. It said that resulted in health risks calculated using airborne concentration elements about three times lower than they should have been. It now estimates the risk of cancer at six to 30 cases per 100,000 people. It previously estimated two to nine cases per 100,000 people. Shares of Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. slid $2.81, or 19.8 percent, to close at $11.40 on Monday. Its shares have fallen more than 83 percent over the past year.
British publisher to launch first new national newspaper in 30 years
A British publisher said Monday it is launching the country’s first new national paper in 30 years — a move that appears counter to the prevailing tide of declining newspaper sales in a more online world. Trinity Mirror said there was still an appetite for printed news, and that The New Day, as it will be known, will stand out from other British newspapers because it will be politically neutral and without an op-ed column. It will be a stand-alone paper independent of The Daily Mirror, one of the country’s top selling tabloids, the company added. The paper will hit newsstands next week. It will have a presence on social media, but will not have a website. Earlier this month, the Independent newspaper, founded in 1986, said it would publish its final print edition in March and that it is changing to a digital-only format. Like other papers it had seen its circulation drop drastically and distributed fewer than 60,000 copies a day.