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Originally published Tuesday, January 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Business Digest

Eli Lilly completes Icos takeover

Pacific Northwest Eli Lilly said Monday that it completed the takeover of Icos, gaining full control over the impotence drug Cialis. The price was $34...

Eli Lilly said Monday that it completed the takeover of Icos, gaining full control over the impotence drug Cialis.

The price was $34 a share, or about $2.3 billion, Indianapolis-based Lilly said in a statement. Shareholders of Bothell-based Icos, a biotechnology company, voted last week to approve the sale. The effect of the acquisition on Lilly's financial statements will be disclosed on Jan. 31, the company said.

The companies had been partners since 1998 to develop and market Cialis, now the world's second-ranking impotence drug by sales. Cialis, approved in the U.S. in November 2003, had $971 million in worldwide sales in 2006, according to Lilly and Icos.

Boeing, Lockheed

2 firms compete for $1.5 billion contract

Lockheed Martin and Boeing are competing for an Air Force program valued at $1.5 billion to replace cracking wings on aging A-10 anti-tank aircraft.

The contract, which calls for new wing sets on about 200 planes, would be awarded over 10 years. The Air Force plans to select a winner around March, Boeing spokeswoman Madonna Walsh said. Boeing and Lockheed submitted their bids on Jan. 17, Walsh and Lockheed spokesman Greg Caires said Monday.

Boeing would do work on the A-10, known as the Warthog, at facilities in Georgia, Missouri and Utah if it wins the contract.


Firm wins ruling on arthritis drug

Amgen, the world's biggest biotechnology company, won an appeals-court ruling that prevents an Israeli company from seeking royalties on Enbrel, the rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

Israel Bio-Engineering Project (IBEP) sued Amgen and its marketing partner Wyeth claiming they infringed a U.S. patent that covers Enbrel. The appeals court Monday upheld a finding that Yeda Research and Development, which licenses inventions of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, is at least a part owner of the patent, blocking a suit by IBEP.


Yeda intervened in the case and "has made it quite clear that it wants no part of the litigation," the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington said in a ruling. "Without a complete ownership interest or the voluntary joinder of Yeda, IBEP lacks standing to sue for infringement."

North American sales of Enbrel were $2.88 billion last year, Amgen reported Jan. 25. The drug is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, the spinal disorder ankylosing spondilitis and psoriasis, a skin condition.

Shares of Amgen, which has about 1,000 employees in the Seattle area, fell $1.53to close at $69.97 Monday. It's the second day the stock has declined after a study showed that certain cancer patients given the company's anemia drug Aranesp had a higher risk of dying.

Home Depot

Chain plans to hire 15,000 new workers

Home Depot plans to hire about 15,000 new workers during the spring season, the company said Monday.

The chain also added 15,000 jobs in 2006, spokesman Tony Wilbert said.

The Atlanta-based chain is hiring full-time, part-time and seasonal workers for positions that include sales, night operations, specialty departments, cashiers and lot attendants.

The push includes plans to hire 2,500 people in Atlanta, 2,400 in Los Angeles, 2,300 in Washington, D.C., and 2,000 in Chicago, Wilbert said.


Customers increase as profits drop back

Verizon Wireless added 2.3 million customers, most of them prized monthly subscribers, to put a shine on a fourth quarter when Verizon Communications' profit was cut by restructuring costs.

In reporting the 38 percent drop in quarterly profit Monday, Verizon emphasized that growth in its DSL and new high-capacity fiber-optic Internet businesses has outpaced the loss of traditional telephone customers.

In the final three months of 2006, Verizon earned $1.03 billion, or 35 cents per share, beating analysts estimates. But that was down from $1.66 billion, or 59 cents per share, in the fourth quarter 2005.

Verizon shares added 20 cents Monday to close at $38.03.


Company to buy large online bank

Citigroup announced Monday that it was buying the world's largest stand-alone online bank, London-based Egg Banking, to expand its financial operations in Britain and its Internet expertise worldwide.

Citigroup, headquartered in New York, said it would pay British insurer Prudential $1.13 billion in cash for the bank. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of April.

The combination of Egg and Citigroup's British consumer banking and finance operations will create a financial-services provider with more than 4 million customers and more than quadruple Citigroup's 800,000 British credit-card base.

Silicon Valley

Startups help fuel revival of economy


Silicon Valley's economy has revved up thanks to plucky Internet and alternative-energy startups, according to a new report.

Local technology companies created 33,000 jobs last year -- the first increase since 2001, a year after the dot-com downturn. The region's median household income jumped to $76,300 last year, representing a 6.5 percent increase from 2005 and the first uptick since 2001. It decreased 13 percent from 2001 to 2004.

Researchers from Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, an alliance of business and community institutions, will discuss the report Friday at the annual "State of the Valley" conference.

"We saw the first evidence the downturn was behind us," said Russell Hancock, Joint Venture chief executive. "We've reinvented ourselves."


Stock price may hit $135, analysts say


Shares of Apple may reach $135 within a year as a drop in the price of the iPhone may boost sales, according to Needham & Co.

"The decline in price should accelerate demand as the iPhone invades the sweet spot of the mobile phone market," wrote analysts including Charlie Wolf.

Wolf, who had previously estimated Apple shares would reach $115, expects the iPhone price to decline at a 20 percent annual rate because of lower component costs and higher carrier subsidies.

He forecasts sales of 135 million iPhones by 2016.

Apple shares rose 56 cents to close at $85.94 Monday.

Compiled from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News


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