Syntimmune gets $50m in funding for drug development


Syntimmune gets $50m in funding for drug development

Syntimmune Inc., a four-year-old Waltham biotech, said Wednesday that it has closed a $50 million funding round that will enable it to press forward with its drug-development programs, including clinical trials of its experimental drug to treat autoimmune diseases. The round was led by Apple Tree Partners, a New York venture capital firm that contributed $48 million to the financing, and included additional investors. Syntimmune, which uses technology stemming from research conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will use the money to advance its lead drug candidate, called SYNT001, a protein-based drug that will be tested on patients with pemphigus, a group of blistering diseases that affect the skin and mucous membranes, as well those with a type of anemia. — ROBERT WEISMAN



Mnuchin gets out of moviemaking

Steven Mnuchin has officially declared he’s out of the motion-picture business. The Treasury secretary, who had promised to sell his stake in a Hollywood financing company RatPac-Dune by last week, said in a filing released Tuesday that he has completed all divestitures under his ethics agreement. He didn’t name a buyer or disclose a sale price. That would mean the former Goldman Sachs Group executive and onetime hedge fund manager will no longer back major motion pictures such as “Wonder Woman” while helping run the economy for President Trump. Mnuchin has co-financed blockbusters including “Avatar,” one of the biggest box-office successes ever, and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” RatPac-Dune struck a deal with Warner Bros. in 2013 to provide $450 million in funding for as many as 75 movies. “Wonder Woman” has already taken in more than $570 million, according to Box Office Mojo, after scoring the largest opening for a film directed by a woman. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Kia tops quality survey for second year

Kia has claimed the top spot in a survey of new vehicle quality for the second straight year. Genesis — a luxury brand owned by Hyundai Motor Co. — was second in J.D. Power’s annual initial quality survey. This marks the first time in the survey’s 30-year history that two Korean brands have topped the list, a spokesman for J.D. Power said. Porsche, Ford, and Ram rounded out the top five. The lowest-ranking brands were Fiat, Jaguar, Volvo, Mitsubishi, and Land Rover. The survey questioned 80,000 owners of 2017 model year vehicles about the problems they had in the first 90 days of ownership. Owners were most likely to complain about technology, including poor voice-recognition systems, clunky navigation, and problems pairing smartphones to their cars. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



NAFTA negotiations to start on Aug. 16

President Trump’s top trade negotiator said there’s no deadline to reach a deal on revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement, and if talks end in a deadlock the United States will be compelled to rethink its strategy. The United States plans to start re-negotiating NAFTA with partners Canada and Mexico on Aug. 16 and the government wants the discussions to move quickly, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. The United States is currently engaging in a 90-day consultation period with domestic industry, lawmakers and the public to get ready for the start of official talks. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Home prices jump as inventory declines

Americans shopping for a house are facing an intensifying set of pressures: Fewer and fewer homes are being listed for sale, while prices are climbing at a pace that most incomes can’t possibly match. The May sales report released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors shows a housing market unable to meet the demand from would-be buyers. Sales edged up 1.1 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million, a decent gain amid a relatively stable job market with a robust 4.3 percent unemployment rate. But many possible buyers are finding their ambitions thwarted because there aren’t enough homes for sale. Sales listings have plummeted 8.4 percent over the past 12 months to 1.96 million. On an annual basis, the number of homes for sale has declined for the past 24 months. Homes are staying on the market for a median of just 27 days, the briefest period since the realtors began tracking the measure in 2011. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Sears Canada may be seeking protection from creditors

Sears Canada Inc., the struggling offshoot of Sears Holdings Corp., tumbled as much as 30 percent after people familiar with the matter said it was preparing to seek court protection from creditors. The court filing will likely lead to a liquidation, with the business sold off in pieces, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The company’s most valuable assets are real estate, but many of its locations are in lower-end shopping centers. That makes it difficult to sell them to a single buyer, the person said. The move would herald the end of a once-prized piece of the Sears retail empire.


JPMorgan Chase expanding in Dublin after Brexit

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is scouting for additional office space in Dublin and considering property in Amsterdam after the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union, people with knowledge of the matter said. The United States’ largest bank may lease or acquire about 100,000 square feet of extra office space in the Irish capital, two people said, asking not to be identified because the plans are private. That’s enough for about 770 workers based on typical modern office use. The bank last month agreed to pay about $139 million for an office building under construction in Dublin, according to a person with knowledge of the plan. That property could accommodate more than 1,000 workers and is due to be finished in the third quarter of 2018. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Fidget Spinners are potentially dangerous, consumer group says

The wildly popular fidget spinners that seem to be in the hands of half the children in the United States are potentially dangerous, a consumer watchdog group warned Wednesday. The small plastic and metal spinners, already banned in many schools because they distract students, can fall apart, and the small pieces can create a choking hazard, Boston-based World Against Toys Causing Harm said in its summer safety report, released on the first day of summer. Children in Texas and Oregon have been taken to hospitals recently after choking on fidget spinner pieces, WATCH said. One required surgery. German customs officials last week destroyed 39 tons of the hand-held whirling gizmos over safety concerns. But WATCH doesn’t tell the whole story and ‘‘tends to needlessly frighten parents,’’ said Joan Lawrence, vice president of safety standards at the Toy Association, an industry group of toy manufacturers and retailers that helps develop safety standards. Toy safety is highly regulated under federal law, she said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Boeing tops Airbus at Paris air show

Boeing Co. secured twice as much in order value at the Paris Air Show as rival Airbus SE, marking the US plane maker’s first victory in five years at the aviation industry’s annual showcase. Boeing won orders and expressions of interest for about 370 planes worth as much as $52 billion in the three days through Wednesday, getting a boost from demand for the Max 10, the biggest version of its 737 workhorse. Airbus, which posted a tally of 229 airliners valued at about $25 billion, dismissed the setback and said it was focusing on meeting delivery targets to make up for production snags rather than seeking new purchasers. — BLOOMBERG NEWS