MARIA PANARITIS:  Coming up: A big payday is on the horizon for a Malvern company that launched on little more than a shoestring just a few years ago. We’ll tell you who it is. A waste disposal company wants to take the stench out of West Philadelphia, but union officials say, No way. And, the bikers are coming! And we don’t mean the ones who ride Harley’s. We have the story. I’m Maria Panaritis, filling in for Mike Armstrong. Philadelphia Business Today starts now.

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MARIA PANARITIS:  Call it the little company that got a big payday in no time flat. Malvern’s Protez Pharmaceuticals is being scooped up by Novartis AG in a deal that could be worth as much as $400 million. Word of today’s deal comes just five years after Protez took its first stab at developing antibiotics. Initial investment? A mere $800,000 in venture capital. Novartis says it has high hopes for an anti-infection drug in the Protez pipeline. Novartis will pay $100 million upfront for Protez, but if all goes well and the new drug is approved, Novartis will kick in another $300 million.

Chances are, you already know something about this story, because of its stench. The waste treatment plant that makes a summer drive over the Platt Bridge, shall we say, refreshing, is ground zero for a privatization battle in City Hall. City Council wants to turn over its sludge operation to a Houston company. Supporters say Synagro Technologies could save the City over $100 million. Plus, Synagro would eliminate what’s left of the pungent odors that rise up from the biosolids recycling center. The company uses a stench-free method of recycling human waste. Union officials are opposed to the deal, even though none of its Water Department employees would lose their jobs.

It may not feel that way on a rainy day, but the city’s most important bike race is just around the corner. It started 23 year ago as the Core States Pro Cycling Championship. These days, it’s called the Philadelphia International Championship, and it’s part of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of cycling. Riders hit the Manayunk Wall this Sunday. The event may look simple—cyclists looping around the city—but it doesn’t come cheap. It costs around $2 million, including $200,000 for flying in five eight-member teams and their crews from Europe, with airfare, lodging and food. It all began in 1985, when the son of a bicycle shop owner, and a former Olympic Cyclist, decided that their home town needed a bike race. You can read more about their story later this week in the Inquirer.

That’s it for today. At the Inquirer, I’m Maria Panaritis for Philadelphia Business Today.

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