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Drug maker Pozen reports stronger profit and revenue

Pozen reported stronger profit and revenue for the third quarter, driven mostly by a $10 million payment the Chapel Hill drug maker received after seeking approval for a new treatment for arthritis.

In June, Pozen got the money from partner AstraZeneca following a filing seeking approval for the medicine from the Food and Drug Administration. Pozen also is seeing increasing revenue from Treximet, a migraine treatment sold by another partner, GlaxoSmithKline.

Pozen's products combine medications to reduce pain and inflammation with fewer gastrointestinal side effects than existing drugs. The company also is developing a safer form of aspirin to treat cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Shoeboxed gets iPhone app

Durham-based has taken its digital receipt archiving mobile.

The company, which started in 2007, offers services to help users archive and organize their receipts digitally.

Now Shoeboxed is offering a free app for iPhone users that allows them to take a picture of a receipt and send it to Shoeboxed for digital archiving. Users can then view the data from the receipts online using their phones and do things like submit expense reports on the go. The data is also categorized for expense tracking, reimbursements and deduction claims if the user wishes.

The app is free and each download comes with five "credits" for receipt archiving. After that, monthly service plans start at $9.95 per month. You can find the free app here.


Wachovia targets hunger

Tags: .biz

Wachovia is teaming up with a local nonprofit to help feed the hungry.

Wachovia is placing food collection bins in its regional branches for the benefit of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. As an added sweetener, the bank will donate one dollar for every pound of food collected -- up to $100,000.

"We're excited to foster a spirit of generosity among our team members and customers through this initiative, especially in light of the approaching holiday season," Jack Clayton, regional president, said in a prepared statement.

A kick-off ceremony featuring former Gov. Jim Hunt, Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and others is scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Wachovia building on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh.

NC utilities win big in Smart Grid stimulus

North Carolina's electric utilities came out the biggest winners in President Obama's $3.4 billion nationwide investment in Smart Grid technologies. The federal stimulus package announced today will go to 49 states as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

This state's two biggest power companies -- Progress Energy and Duke Energy -- both qualified for maximum awards to upgrade their electricity delivery and power management systems. But much of the money awarded today will be spent by the utilities in other states where they operate.

A Smart Grid is a computerized electricity network with real-time data that operates more efficiently than a standard electro-mechanical grid. The U.S. Department of Energy said that Smart Grid upgrades could reduce electricity use by more than 4 percent by 2030.

Dell repays state $1.51 million in jobs grants

Dell has repaid the state $1.51 million in grants it received for creating jobs at its soon-to-close Winston-Salem computer plant in 2006 and 2007, a Commerce Department official said today.

Dell also qualified for a jobs grant for 2008, but never received that money from the state, said Katharine Neal, an assistant secretary at Commerce.

The company announced that it plans to close the plant in January because of weak PC demand and lay off 900 workers.

The factory opened in 2004 after state and local officials promised a record incentives package worth more than $280 million. While seen by supporters as a symbol of North Carolina's evolving manufacturing base, critics attacked the incentives as a government handout to a wealthy corporation.

SAS win streak in jeopardy

It's touch-and-go as to whether software giant SAS will continue its unbroken string of annual revenue growth this year.

Revenue so far this year at the Cary-based company is roughly flat compared to 2008, CEO Jim Goodnight said today. Last year SAS generated $2.26 billion in revenue, up about 5 percent from 2007.

"The whole industry has had a tremendous slowdown this last year," Goodnight said. SAS  sells business intelligence and analytics software that companies use to analyze their business and predict trends.

Speaking in front of a projected image of a graph showing annual revenue increases ever since SAS went into business in 1976, Goodnight said: "It is going to be real close as to whether we get to add another bar."

Goodnight's comments came this morning during SAS's annual Media Day, which attracted about 20 journalists from around the world to its sprawling headquarters campus.

Durham biotech snares $6 million in venture cap

Durham biotech company Metabolon announced this morning that it secured $6 million in venture capital funding to finance operations.

The latest round of venture capital brings the company's total haul to about $31 million since 2003.

Metabolon was incorporated in 2000 and today employs 52 people, mostly in Durham. The company is run by CEO John Ryals, who previously was founder and CEO of Paradigm Genetics.

RTI wins $3.1 million biomass-fuel contract

RTI International won a $3.1 million contract from the Department of Energy to help develop a biomass fuel that could be used as a direct replacement for petroleum.

The Research Triangle Park thinktank will work on the project with Archer Daniels Midland, ConocoPhillips and Albermarle.

"This project will help address our nation’s energy challenges by developing a one-step process to convert biomass materials into usable fuels," said David Dayton, director of Biofuels Research at RTI International, in a prepared statement.

RTI's project is one of 37 that received funding to study alternative energy sources under the Department of Energy's recently-formed Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. ARPA-E is receiving a total of $400 million in federal stimulus money.

Study says nuclear industry supports 19,000 high-paying jobs in Carolinas

The nuclear energy industry directly employs nearly 19,000 people in the Carolinas who are paid $1.6 billion a year, according to an economic impact study out today.

The study, commissioned by an industry group, notes that most workers directly employed in the nuclear field earn $75,000 to $100,000 a year, The Charlotte Observer reports. Counting indirectly-related jobs, it says the industry employs 37,330 people with a $2.3 billion payroll.

The study, prepared by Clemson University's University Center for Economic Development, was paid for by AdvanceSC, created by Duke Energy to support economic development in South Carolina.

After a decades-long lull, six new reactors are planned in the Carolinas, including at Progress Energy's Shearon Harris facility in southwest Wake County.

If new nuclear plants are built, the study said, as many as 54,000 construction jobs could be created over the next 20 years. Another 17,000 jobs would be filled to operate the plants and work in related industries, the study said.

Read the full Charlotte Observer report here.

Icagen ready to abandon experimental asthma drug

Icagen, a small Durham-based drug development company, will likely stop work on an experimental asthma treatment after reporting disappointing clinical results.

The company's shares slumped as much as 35 percent.

A study of 69 patients showed that the experimental asthma drug senicapoc failed to ease symptoms of exercise-induced asthma. Icagen CEO P. Kay Wagoner said that the company will focus resources on its leading drug candidate, which is being tested as a treatment for epilepsy and pain.

Icagen also is working with its largest investor and partner, drug maker Pfizer, on new treatments for pain.

Icagen's stock fell 29 cents to 48 cents today.