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Pacific Northwest

Dendreon

Dendreon said yesterday that it has signed a lease for a 158,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Hanover, N.J. The Seattle-based biotech company said it plans to manufacture its prostate-cancer drug, Provenge, and other immune-system-boosting drugs at the plant in the future. The company said the facility is located near distribution channels and qualified employees.

Dendreon has not said precisely when the plant will be ready to produce commercial supplies of Provenge, but it is hoping to win approval for the U.S. market from the Food and Drug Administration in 2006.

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The company has scouted a location for another manufacturing plant in Texas, but has not yet signed an agreement, said spokeswoman Monique Greer.

Nation and World

Airbus

CIT orders 29 jets worth $2.2 billion

CIT, the fourth-biggest aircraft-leasing company, ordered 29 jets from Airbus valued at $2.2 billion to meet rising demand for commercial planes from airlines in Asia and the Middle East.

The order includes 24 A320 aircraft, to be delivered starting in 2007, and five A350s, Airbus’ newest model that has yet to be approved for production, New York-based CIT said yesterday. The A350s would be delivered starting in 2012.

CIT plans to lease the planes to airlines benefiting from deregulation and economic growth in the Middle East and Asia, where travel demand has spurred rising lease rates.

State Farm /Altria

Decision threatens class-action cases

The Illinois Supreme Court yesterday reversed a $1 billion judgment against State Farm Insurance in a class-action lawsuit that could restrict consumers’ power to band together for class-action lawsuits.

The case alleged State Farm bought substandard parts to repair damaged cars. But the court held that the lawsuit should never have been given class-action status.

The case has been watched closely as an indicator of how the court will rule on an even larger class-action case — a $10 billion verdict against cigarette-maker Philip Morris.

Legal experts and business analysts interpreted the State Farm ruling as evidence that Philip Morris may win that decision. Even the dissenting justices in yesterday’s ruling said the majority showed “a new hostility” to class-action cases.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff, Bloomberg News and The Associated Press