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Plans for innovation campus in South Boston scaled back


Plans for innovation campus in South Boston downsized

An affiliate of Millennium Partners has scaled back plans for its innovation campus in the South Boston marine industrial park. Millennium filed a new letter of intent with the Boston Planning & Development Agency on Tuesday, spelling out a 381,000-square-foot development consisting of office, research, and ground-floor retail uses. The project is proposed for two adjacent parcels at the Northern Avenue entrance to the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park. One of those parcels sits over the Ted Williams Tunnel, limiting potential development there, and is currently used for parking; the other holds a vacant warehouse. The developer had filed a letter in July, saying it would build up to 900,000 square feet at the two sites. Millennium and its Cargo Ventures affiliate previously had even grander plans for the park, once calling for a massive project in the 2-million-square-foot range. Cargo Ventures chief executive Jacob Citrin said the “South Boston Innovation Campus” was scaled back to a size that his team believes can be permitted quickly, in time to start construction by the end of 2020 or early 2021, to “meet current tenant opportunities.” — JON CHESTO


Blueprint and partner target rare gene disorder

Blueprint Medicines will receive $25 million to collaborate with the French drug maker Ipsen on a potential medical treatment that the Cambridge biotech has developed for an ultra-rare genetic disease. The licensing deal marks the fourth collaboration between Blueprint, founded in 2008, and another major drug maker in less than five years. Under the agreement, Blueprint and Ipsen will work together to develop and market a drug to treat fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or FOP. The disease, which has no treatment, is a genetic malfunction that slowly turns muscles, tendons, and ligaments into bone, meaning patients essentially grow a second skeleton. Many of those afflicted with it are bedridden by age 20. Only about 800 people worldwide have been diagnosed with the disorder, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, a nonprofit patient advocacy group. Blueprint, which is working with Ipsen’s recently acquired subsidiary Clementia Pharmaceuticals, of Montreal, is eligible to receive up to $510 million more from Ipsen if the experimental drug meets goals for development, approval, and sales. David Meek, CEO of Paris-based Ipsen, said Clementia had another drug in a late-stage clinical trial to treat FOP, which prompted Ipsen’s $1.3 billion acquisition of the firm in February. Ipsen hopes the US Food and Drug Administration will approve that drug soon so that it can be launched next year. The addition of Blueprint’s experimental medicine means that Ipsen has “two strong complementary drug candidates” for the rare disease, Meek said. — JONATHAN SALTZMAN



Retail sales fell in September by biggest amount in seven months

Consumers tightened their grips on their purses last month, as retail sales tumbled, possibly signaling that rising trade tensions and turbulent markets are having an impact on consumer spending. Retail sales fell 0.3 percent last month following a 0.6 percent gain in August, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. It was the first decline since a 0.5 percent drop in February. Consumer spending was strong in the spring and economists had been counting on continued strength to protect the US economy as it is buffeted by the fallout from President Trump’s trade war with China. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Former Barclays banker negotiated a $32m bonus for himself at peak of financial crisis

Former Barclays Plc executive Roger Jenkins secured a 25 million pound ($32 million) bonus for securing billions of dollars from Qatar at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, averting a UK bailout, a prosecutor said during his fraud trial. Jenkins led discussions with then-Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Jassim al Thani, which resulted in an investment from the gulf state’s sovereign-wealth fund and Sheikh Hamad, lawyers from the UK Serious Fraud Office said. The agency is prosecuting Jenkins and two other ex-Barclays executives for having allegedly hidden 322 million pounds in fees the bank paid the Qataris as a sweetener for the deal. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Volvo to pay for first year of electric charging for owners of plug-in hybrids

Volvo Cars isn’t just electrifying its lineup to cut carbon emissions. Now the Swedish automaker says it will pay customers to make sure they plug in. Volvo is tying the launch of its first all-electric vehicle — the XC40 crossover — to a broader plan for shrinking the carbon footprint of its models by 40 percent through 2025. And it’s backing that pledge with a promise to pay the first year’s worth of charging costs for owners of its plug-in hybrids, starting with the 2021 model year. Volvo placed itself at the forefront of electric car hype in 2017 when it vowed to rid its lineup of cars running purely on fossil fuels by 2025. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


California governor urges asset sale of crippled utility that cut power to millions

Utility giant PG&E Corp. has said its assets aren’t for sale. Don’t tell California’s governor that. While attending a conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom said he had encouraged San Francisco to make its $2.5 billion bid to buy PG&E’s power operations within the city’s limits. And he wants to see more offers. Newsom has called for a major reorganization of San Francisco-based PG&E since the company orchestrated a massive blackout that plunged more than 2 million people into darkness last week — a measure it took to keep power lines from sparking the kind of catastrophic wildfires that forced it into bankruptcy protection in January. PG&E has drawn outrage from customers and politicians alike who’ve blasted it for poorly communicating the shutoffs and making them more extensive than they needed to be. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Bank of America’s revenue boosted by investment-banking fees

Bank of America Corp. posted the biggest jump in investment-banking fees on Wall Street, helping profit overcome headwinds from lower interest rates. Shares of the company climbed as much as 3.3 percent after the bank reported an unexpected surge in third-quarter debt underwriting fees. The firm’s traders also boosted revenue, helping pushing profit above analysts’ estimates. Gains in advisory fees also surpassed rivals in the best quarter for the investment-banking unit in more than two years. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Bayer expects more suits over Roundup

Bayer AG said it anticipates a “significant surge” in the number of plaintiffs suing the company over the weedkiller Roundup when it reports earnings later this month. An increase in advertising by US attorneys seeking new clients since mediation talks began will likely add to the litigation, the German drugs and chemicals giant said in an e-mailed statement. The current number of plaintiffs could exceed 45,000, compared with Bayer’s last estimate of 18,400 in July, analysts from JPMorgan Chase & Co. wrote in a note last week. An upswell would ratchet up the pressure on Bayer, which inherited the mountain of litigation last year in the $63 billion takeover of Monsanto. The Roundup crisis has already cost Bayer more than $30 billion in market value as the company lost three US trials over whether the popular herbicide causes cancer, suffered an unprecedented shareholder vote of no confidence, and faced speculation about a breakup. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Inflation in Eurozone at lowest rate in nearly three years

Inflation in the 19-country eurozone was revised down in September to its lowest rate in nearly three years as energy prices fell by more than initially thought, official figures showed Wednesday. In an update, statistics agency Eurostat found that consumer prices rose by an annual rate of 0.8 percent, down from the previous prediction of 0.9 percent. The fall in the rate from the previous month’s 1 percent is one of the major reasons why the European Central Bank announced another stimulus package last month. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


More than 30,000 AT&T workers could lose jobs, pay under activist investor’s plan, union says

If activist shareholder Elliott Management Corp. has its way, more than 30,000 AT&T Inc. workers could lose their jobs or face reductions in wages, according to an estimate from the Communications Workers of America union. Most of the impact on workers would come from divestitures of DirecTV and AT&T’s landline business and closures of the company’s retail locations, if the firm follows Elliott’s suggestions, said the CWA, which represents more than 100,000 AT&T employees. In September, billionaire Paul Singer’s New York hedge fund disclosed a new $3.2 billion position in AT&T, along with a plan to boost the telecom and media giant’s share price by more than 50 percent through asset sales and cost cutting. The fund hasn’t specifically called for job cuts. AT&T has said it has no plans to dispose of DirecTV, but Elliott could potentially engage in a proxy battle to push its agenda through. — BLOOMBERG NEWS