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Business news in brief

In the Region

Iroko seeks to raise $145M in IPO

Iroko Pharmaceuticals Inc., a small developer of pain drugs based at the Navy Yard, will try to raise $145 million through an initial public offering, according to a registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Iroko, begun by several former GlaxoSmithKline executives in 2007, generated 2012 sales of $6.7 million from two medicines, Aldomet and Indocin. The company filed a new-drug application with the Food and Drug Administration seeking approval for Zorvolex to treat acute pain in February. Iroko employed 71 people as of March 31. - Mike Armstrong

GAO: Airline merger anticompetitive

A Government Accountability Office analyst told a U.S. Senate panel that the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, the dominant carrier at Philadelphia International Airport, would reduce competition on more than 1,600 routes traveled by more than 53 million passengers - a greater loss of competition than occurred with the 2010 merger of United Airlines and Continental Airlines. Antitrust regulators are reviewing the proposed deal, which also faces a vote by US Airways shareholders and needs approval by the federal judge overseeing American's bankruptcy. Airline executives have defended the merger by noting overlap on only 12 nonstop routes. But the GAO also considered connecting routes, those with at least one stop. GAO analyst Gerald Dillingham told a Senate aviation subcommittee that if the merger were approved, competition would decline because there would be one fewer airline flying those connecting routes. US Airways CEO Doug Parker, who will lead the combined company, told the panel the deal would be good for consumers by creating a bigger airline with service to more locations than either carrier can offer on its own. - AP

Payback of Medicare funds advised

Federal regulators recommended that Spectrum Rehabilitation L.L.C., an outpatient-rehabilitation company, return $3.1 million to the federal government because of improper Medicare billings. "There's no allegation of fraud or abuse. It's all procedural," said Pete Scordo, a physical therapist who owns Spectrum. Having to pay back the money would put the company out of business, he said. An audit by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department's Office of the Inspector General closely examined a sample of 100 bills from 2009 and 2010 and found 83 had at least one deficiency. Scordo said he is negotiating with Medicare over the money. Spectrum's main office is in Somers Point, and it has patients in Gloucester, Camden, Atlantic, and Cape May Counties. - Harold Brubaker

Retailer ousts chair/pitchman

Men's Wearhouse Inc. said Wednesday it had fired executive chairman George Zimmer, who appears in many of its TV commercials saying, "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it." Men's Wearhouse, which has about 25 stores in the region, gave no reason for firing Zimmer, who built it from a Texas shop to one of North America's largest specialty men's clothiers. - AP

New contract for copter assembler

AugustaWestland, which has a helicopter-assembly operation in Northeast Philadelphia, said a Minnesota medical-transport company has signed a contract for six helicopters, plus six options. The deal's value was not disclosed. Delivery to Life Link III, a consortium of nine health systems, is expected to start late this year. - Harold Brubaker

Ex-guardsman sues over firing

A former member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard sued Target Corp. in federal court, claiming that by enforcing its sick-call policy while he was on reserve duty and firing him, the retailer violated the law meant to protect armed-services members from losing civilian jobs. The complaint says Andrew Lanier, 21, now of Toronto, Ohio, was working at the Target store in North Fayette, Pa., in October 2011 when he was ordered to mandatory active-duty pre-deployment training at Fort Pickett, Va. He informed his supervisors orally, used the electronic time-off-request system, and provided the store with his military orders, the complaint says. Target requires employees to call in every day they are absent. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pfizer sets Zoetis share exchange

Pfizer Inc. said investors who exchange their stock for the company's stake in Zoetis Inc. will get 0.9898 shares of the animal-health company for each Pfizer share swapped. Pfizer, which has significant operations in Montgomery County, has owned 80 percent of Zoetis since its January initial public offering. Investors who offered shares for exchange will get two more days to decide if they want to turn them in, Pfizer said. - Bloomberg News

Elsewhere

Updates on mortgage servicers

Homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure must wait too long for their loan-modification applications to be reviewed by some of the nation's top mortgage servicers, a report said. Joseph A. Smith Jr., independent monitor of last year's national mortgage settlement, whose office conducted 29 performance tests on how five of the largest U.S. mortgage servicers are meeting the new rules, said there were deficiencies in collecting customer records and notifying borrowers in a timely manner about decisions on applications, including whether documents were missing. - AP

GM brands jump in study's rankings

General Motors Co. brands made a big jump in the rankings of the 2013 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, which examines problems drivers encounter during the first 90 days of owning a new vehicle. Porsche topped the list, but the GMC truck division of GM was second. GMC was followed by Lexus, Infiniti, and Chevrolet. Including Buick and Cadillac, all four GM brands scored above the industry average. Toyota's Scion brand scored the worst of the 33 car brands. - Los Angeles Times