fb-pixel Skip to main content

Eleven stories you may have missed Thursday from the world of business


Ocular shares rise on news of deal to develop treatment for macular degeneration

Shares of Ocular Therapeutix Inc. rose Thursday after the Bedford biotechnology company said it had struck a deal with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. to jointly develop a sustained-release treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration, a vision-threatening eye disease. Under the collaboration, Regeneron, based in Tarrytown, N.Y., has the option to exclusively license Ocular’s hydrogel-based drug delivery system. If it does, Ocular would receive a $10 million payment. Ocular stands to receive up to $305 million in milestone payments along with unspecified sales royalties if a drug is approved by regulators. Ocular’s stock closed up 14 percent at $7.22. — ROBERT WEISMAN


Iora Health gets $75m to expand

Investors are putting another $75 million into Iora Health, a Boston company that operates medical practices across the country. The Singapore-based investment firm Temasek led the funding round, Iora said Thursday. Iora runs 34 primary care practices and plans to use the money to add more. The company promotes a more personal approach to health care, including longer patient visits and access to health coaches in addition to doctors and nurses. The model is intended to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes by providing more coordinated care. “Temasek’s investment in Iora will accelerate our vision of fixing health care delivery which is one of the largest business and social problems, not just in the US, but globally,” said Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle, Iora’s chief executive. The new funding comes on top of $62 million Iora has raised since its founding in 2010. — PRIYANKA DAYAL MCCLUSKEY


Office Depot to remain closed on Thanksgiving

Office Depot Inc. says it will close its stores for Thanksgiving, after three years of being open on the turkey feast. The Boca Raton, Fla.-based office supplies chain said Thursday it reached the decision after weighing both business and personal factors. Office Depot’s decision comes after the Mall of America and electronics chain hhgregg Inc. announced they would close for Thanksgiving, reversing several years of opening that day. Mall operator CBL & Associates Properties Inc. said Wednesday it will be closing most of its 89 shopping centers for Thanksgiving. However, department stores, movie theaters, restaurants, and retailers with exterior mall entrances will have the option to open their stores on Thanksgiving. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Amazon to hire 120,000 for the holidays

The holidays are coming and Amazon plans to add 120,000 seasonal workers in an effort to meet an expected spike in demand as more and more people trade bricks for clicks. The seasonal positions will be created at fulfillment centers, sorting centers, and customer service sites in 27 states. The move marks a 20 percent boost from the 100,000 seasonal hires a year ago. The move comes as online shopping growth continues to eclipse shopping at traditional stores. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Rates tick up

Long-term mortgage rates rose this week as the prospect of a year-end interest-rate increase by the Federal Reserve grew more likely. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.47 percent from 3.42 percent last week. Rates still remain near historic lows. The benchmark 30-year rate is down from 3.82 percent a year ago and close to its all-time low of 3.31 percent in November 2012. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, popular with homeowners who are refinancing, ticked up to 2.76 percent from 2.72 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Delta’s profits fall on lower airfares, rising salaries

Lower airfares and rising salaries are putting a squeeze on Delta Air Lines. Luckily for the airline, the price of jet fuel remains cheap and the Atlanta-based carrier was able to report Thursday a third-quarter profit of $1.26 billion, down 4 percent from the same period last year. Summer is typically the strongest period for US airlines and Delta’s earnings could signal an end of an extraordinary run of record profits for the industry. The issue is that this era of cheap fuel isn’t going to last forever. Delta — which is the first major US airline to report earnings — paid $1.50 for each gallon of jet fuel in the quarter, down from $1.89 during the same period last year. After posting more than $56 billion in industry profits since 2010, US airlines are now struggling with too many seats in the sky, lower airfares, and increased costs for most nonfuel expenses including salaries and payments for new aircraft. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



New claims for unemployment still at 43-week low

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits stayed at a 43-year low last week in the latest sign that layoffs are scarce. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted 246,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell 3,500 to 249,250. Both figures were at their lowest levels since November 1973. The number of people receiving aid fell 16,000 to just over 2 million. That is the fewest since June 2000. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


South Africa gets its first Dunkin’

South Africans wanting hot glazed doughnuts with a gulp of coffee can now choose between two US brands — Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme. Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. opened its first outlet in Cape Town on Thursday, the first of five scheduled to start in the coastal city by the end of 2016. Dunkin’ follows other US chains such as Yum! Brands Inc.’s Pizza Hut and Starbucks Corp., in entering South Africa in the past two years, seeking to tap consumer demand for popular US fast-food brands. Krispy Kreme, which opened its first Johannesburg store in November to lengthy queues, has five South African outlets. Grand Parade plans to open the country’s first Baskin-Robbins, another Dunkin’ brand. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



HP to cut 3,000 to 4,000 jobs

HP Inc. says it will cut 3,000 to 4,000 jobs over the next three years as it faces continued challenges in the markets for personal computers and printers. The cuts are in addition to 3,000 jobs that HP previously said it was trimming this fiscal year. A spokeswoman said the company has about 50,000 employees worldwide. HP Inc. has been grappling with shrinking demand for PCs and printers as more people use smartphones and store documents and photos online. CEO Dion Weisler hopes to build the business by selling more high-end PCs, office printers, and 3-D printing systems. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Struggling Kellogg buys Brazilian firm

Kellogg Co., looking abroad for growth in the face of a moribund US cereal business, agreed to buy Brazil’s Parati Group for about $430 million, acquiring a maker of biscuits, pasta, and powdered beverages. The all-cash acquisition is expected to be completed late this year, Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg said in a statement Thursday. The overseas expansion comes as the maker of Froot Loops and Special K is mired in a cereal slump, with many Americans turning away from the one-time breakfast favorite. Kellogg, the largest US cereal maker, has expanded its snack business since acquiring the Pringles brand in 2012, with that unit accounting for roughly 50 percent of sales last year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Discovery invests in digital media

Discovery Communications Inc., home of the TLC and Animal Planet cable networks, is investing $100 million in a new digital media holding company, marking the latest partnership between TV networks and Web publishers as they adapt to the shifting media landscape. The new company, Group Nine Media, combines several millennial-focused online publishers: Thrillist, a lifestyle brand; NowThis, a leading creator of social-media videos; the Dodo, a website focused on animals; and Seeker, a Web video series focused on adventurers. Discovery announced the investment Thursday in a statement. — BLOOMBERG NEWS