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Business news in brief

In the Region

Pfizer loses bid to throw out verdict

Philadelphia Judge

Mark Bernstein

denied requests by

Pfizer Inc.'s


unit to throw out a $9.4 million February jury award to an Alabama woman who developed breast cancer after taking Wyeth's Prempro menopause drug. Lawyers representing the woman, Audrey Singleton, alleged that the company hid the drugs' health risks. Pfizer said it would appeal. Pfizer, which bought Wyeth last year, faces more than 8,000 lawsuits over menopause medicines that are still on the market. In another case, Canada's highest court declined to hear Wyeth's appeal of a judge's decision to allow a class-action case over a related medication, Premarin, to proceed in that country's courts.

- Bloomberg News

PGW customers to get rate cut

Prices for

Philadelphia Gas Works

customers will decrease next week, thanks to falling natural gas prices. The municipal utility said residential heating customers would pay $1.49 per one hundred cubic feet of natural gas, down from $1.59. The cut will save residential customers an average of $2.37 a month. Commercial and industrial customers will also get a decrease.

- Andrew Maykuth

Biotech firm receives $150K grant

PolyMedix Inc.,

Radnor, said it had received a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to help develop sutures that resist infections. The biotech company said the grant would support six months of research in one of its compounds that seems suited for use in sutures. Surgical-site infections are the third-most-common hospital-acquired infection, the company said.

- Roslyn Rudolph

Sunoco now Indy Racing's official fuel

Sunoco Inc.

has signed a three-year agreement to become the Official Fuel of the

Indy Racing League

- whose signature event is the annual Indianapolis 500 - solidifying its position as the world's leading manufacturer of racing fuel. The Philadelphia refiner, which is the official fuel provider in


stock car events, will supply the fuel used in all the Indy league's events. Indy-style cars run almost exclusively on ethanol, which Sunoco will produce this summer at a new biofuels plant in Fulton, N.Y.

- Andrew Maykuth

Verizon offers reward in copper thefts

Verizon Communications Inc.

is offering a $50,000 reward to help catch thieves who are stealing copper wire from its telephone poles in southwestern Pennsylvania. Verizon says these thieves are not stealing scrap - they're stealing wire that is actively in use, cutting off service to customers. Verizon says the thefts have already caused about $20,000 in damages and could prevent someone from calling 911 in an emergency.

- AP

Teleflex selling two subsidiaries

Teleflex Inc.

, a Limerick-based medical-products firm, said it was selling two Gulf Coast subsidiaries that make wire rope and other rigging products. The services were sold to the

Houston Wire & Cable Co.

for $50 million. Jake Elguicze, vice president for investor relations, said the sale was part of an ongoing effort by Teleflex to focus on its core business.

- Christopher K. Hepp

Teva expands Canadian plant

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

, a maker of generic drugs, said it would spend $56 million to expand a Canadian production plant. The Israeli company, which has its U.S. headquarters in North Wales, Montgomery County, said the province of Ontario would provide a $6.5 million grant to Teva Canada to keep 182 high-skilled workers and hire an additional 20 employees. The plant is in Stouffville, Ontario. Teva employs 35,000 people worldwide.

- AP


Mortgage rates drop to 2010 low

Mortgage rates have fallen to the lowest level of the year as investors poured money into the safety of U.S. government securities. The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped to 4.78 percent this week from 4.84 percent a week earlier, mortgage company

Freddie Mac

said. Concerns over the European debt crisis have sent yields for 10-year and 30-year Treasury bonds to their lowest of 2010. Rates on 30-year home loans often rise and fall in line with the 10-year note.

- AP

Spain narrowly OKs budget cuts



approved emergency measures to cut the country's soaring deficit, saving the Socialist government from an embarrassing defeat but revealing the depth of resistance to austerity plans aimed at resolving Europe's debt crisis. The package, including a cut in civil servants' salaries, aims to cut government spending $18.4 billion through 2011.

- AP

Newspaper ad revenue down 10%

Advertising revenue at U.S. newspapers fell 10 percent in the first quarter from the year earlier, the smallest such drop since the recession began in late 2007. Newspaper ads brought in $6 billion in the January-to-March period, down from $6.6 billion a year earlier, according to numbers released by the

Newspaper Association of America

. The newspaper industry is now subsisting on 46 percent less ad revenue than in 2006.

- AP

FAA OKs GPS for air-traffic control


Federal Aviation Administration

gave airlines and other aircraft owners the go-ahead to install equipment to switch to a GPS-based air-traffic-control system. The equipment will enable aircraft to use GPS-technology to continually broadcast their location to air-traffic controllers and other aircraft. It is expected to make the skies safer by giving controllers a better picture of the location of planes and helicopters than the current radar-based system.

- AP

GM wins time to end bankruptcy

General Motors Corp.'s

bankruptcy estate won four more months to wind down under court protection, an extension a judge said was warranted because the company must resolve asbestos and environmental-liability claims. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber gave the bankrupt part of the automaker - called

Motors Liquidation Co.

- the exclusive right to control its liquidation until Sept. 27.

- Bloomberg News

FCC to advance 'Net regulation


Federal Communications Commission

said it would take the first step next month to expand oversight of Internet service providers using the rules imposed on telephone companies, a move toward crafting net-neutrality regulations. Chairman Julius Genachowski wants the FCC to assert jurisdiction over Internet service providers such as

Comcast Corp.


AT&T Inc.

At its June 17 meeting, the FCC will vote on taking public comment about his proposal, which would give the agency authority for rules to bar providers from interfering with Web traffic.

- Bloomberg News