Talking Points


Biogen pays Pfizer $75 million for schizophrenia treatment


Biogen pays Pfizer $75 million for schizophrenia treatment

Biogen Inc. said Monday that it plans to buy an experimental drug from the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. that the Cambridge-based biotech wants to develop as a treatment for cognitive impairment for people with schizophrenia. Under the tentative deal, Biogen would pay Pfizer $75 million up front and as much as $515 million in royalties if the drug meets certain clinical and marketing goals. The deal, which is expected to be finalized in the second quarter of this year, would be Biogen’s first program in th field of neuropsychiatry. Biogen, the largest Massachusetts-based biotech, has traditionally focused on neurodegenerative diseases. “As pioneers in neuroscience, Biogen continues to explore new ways to treat serious diseases where there are few or no options, such as CIAS,” said Biogen chief executive Michel Vounatsos, referring to cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia. More than 20 million people worldwide live with schizophrenia, Biogen said, and most of them are believed to have some degree of cognitive impairment. — JONATHAN SALTZMAN


Trump blocks Broadcom takeover of Qualcomm

President Trump blocked Singapore chipmaker Broadcom from pursuing a hostile takeover of US rival Qualcomm on national-security grounds. The decision, announced late Monday, abruptly ends Broadcom’s four-month $121 billion bid to buy Qualcomm — a deal that would have been the largest ever completed in the technology industry. Neither Broadcom nor Qualcomm immediately responded to requests for comment. Broadcom faced challenges almost from the start of its quest. Qualcomm quickly spurned its unsolicited suitor and continued to resist even after Broadcom raised its original offer from $103 billion. Broadcom’s Singapore connections complicated matters, raising fears about a prominent US chipmaker being owned by a foreign company. Although its name isn’t widely known outside the technology industry, Qualcomm is one of the world’s leading makers of the processors that power many smartphones and other mobile devices. Qualcomm also owns patents on key pieces of mobile technology that Apple and other manufacturers rely upon in their products. Trump decided to squelch Broadcom’s bid on the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews foreign purchases of US entities. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Immelt made $8.11m for final months at GE


Jeffrey Immelt received $8.11 million in compensation for his final months running General Electric Co., even as the company stumbled through one of the most tumultuous stretches in its 126-year history. The former chief executive officer and chairman received $2.86 million in salary during 2017, GE said in a regulatory filing Monday. Immelt, 62, who stepped down as the top executive in August and from the board two months later, also got $1.87 million in perks, mostly relocation benefits. The remaining $3.37 million reflected a change in the value of his pension and deferred compensation. While GE had started to show signs of stress early last year, the company fell hard in the months after Immelt’s exit. New CEO John Flannery slashed the dividend, replaced many top managers, and announced deep cost cuts to help deal with cash-flow shortfalls and flagging demand for gas turbines, locomotives, and other industrial equipment. GE was the worst performing stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2017, plunging 45 percent and losing $125 billion in market value. Immelt, who led GE for 16 years, exited with benefits and deferred shares worth about $100 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That included a pension of roughly $84 million and about $10 million in deferred compensation. He was recently named chairman of Athenahealth Inc. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


N.H. panel puts off decision to rehear Northern Pass

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A state committee that rejected the Northern Pass hydropower project in New Hampshire is putting off for several weeks a decision to rehear the case. The Site Evaluation Committee ruled Monday that it wouldn’t act on Eversource’s request to reconsider the case until it has issued a written ruling on the original decision. As a result, the committee is unlikely rehear the case until at least May. Supporters have argued the $1.6 billion project would deliver hydropower from Canada to southern New England would create jobs and reduce energy prices. Opponents have argued the 192-mile transmission line through New Hampshire would destroy views and hurt tourism. All the power would go to Massachusetts, though the delays in rehearing the case could complicate the state’s plans to use the power to meet its clean energy goals. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Vermont companies can’t find enough workers

Vermont’s unemployment rate continues to remain low while employers across the state report they can’t find enough workers to fill open jobs. The state Department of Labor on Monday released the January unemployment statistics that showed 2.9 percent of the state’s workforce is unemployed. The figure is unchanged from the December figure. The state unemployment rate is tied for the fourth lowest rate in the country. The unemployment rate for Vermont’s 17 labor market ranged from a low of 2.3 percent in White River Junction to 6.4 percent in Derby. Vermont Labor Commissioner Lyndsay Kurrle says the limiting factor of economic growth in the state is the labor force. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


March Madness expected to generate $10 billion in bets

America’s gambling industry predicts $10 billion will be bet on the March Madness college basketball tournament — nearly all of it illegally or off-the-books. That’s one of the reasons the American Gaming Association favors the full legalization and regulation of sports betting in the United States. The group found 54 million people — or about a quarter of the U.S. adult population — participated in a sports betting pool last year. The US Supreme Court is weeks away from ruling on New Jersey’s challenge to a law limiting legal sports betting to just four states: Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon. AGA President Geoff Freeman says only 3 percent of the $10 billion the group predicts will be wagered on the games will be done through legal Nevada sports books. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


India grounds Airbus model because of safety concerns

India grounded all Airbus SE narrow-body planes powered by the latest Pratt & Whitney engines after a series of in-flight incidents prompted the local regulator to question the safety of the aircraft. A320neo jetliners with Pratt engines featuring a seal that’s been found to cause vibrations will no longer be able to fly, India’s DGCA said in a statement Monday. European regulators had deemed the planes safe if featuring only one affected turbine. The move immediately grounded eight aircraft at IndiGo, India’s largest carrier, and three at GoAirlines India Pvt. It comes after three in-service shutdowns of aircraft with one PW1100 engine featuring the seal, two of which occurred in the past week, according to the DGCA. The glitch with the so called knife-edge compressor seal is the latest in a series of expensive problems for Pratt in its development of the geared turbofan engine model. The manufacturer, part of United Technologies Corp. had proposed a fix that would see at least one engine featuring an older seal reinstated on planes while it worked on a more permanent solution. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Second lawsuit filed over fertility clinic malfunction


A second lawsuit has been filed by a family that says their frozen embryos were destroyed by a malfunction at a fertility center in Ohio. The Pennsylvania couple’s lawsuit against University Hospitals in Cleveland says they were beginning the process last week of transferring the frozen embryo when they later were told something went wrong. The hospital estimates about 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged or destroyed by a storage tank malfunction. The hospital has issued an apology after the unexplained malfunction caused temperatures inside the storage tank to rise. Hospital officials say the lawsuits will not affect an ongoing investigation into what happened. Attorneys for the Pennsylvania couple say they spent eight years trying to have a baby and are devastated by the loss. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


National debt rose in February following tax cuts

The federal government recorded a budget deficit of $215.2 billion in February, up significantly from a year ago as the impact of the GOP tax cuts passed in December begin to surface. The Treasury Department reports that the February deficit was 12.1 percent higher than a year ago, reflecting in part a drop of $5 billion in individual withholding taxes paid last month compared to a year ago. In February, employers started using tax tables that withheld less from paychecks based on the new law. For the first five months of this budget year, the deficit totals $391 billion, an increase of 11.5 percent from the same period a year ago. President Donald Trump’s new budget projects this year’s deficit will hit $873 billion, up sharply from last year. — ASSOCIATED PRESS