State officials will not order a general rate increase for workers' compensation insurance, the Department of Labor and Industries said Thursday.

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Pacific Northwest

Labor & Industries

State officials will not order a general rate increase for workers’ compensation insurance, the Department of Labor and Industries said Thursday.


Officials had proposed an average rate increase of 3.8 percent in late August. But the strong economy and investment earnings, along with favorable medical costs and low injury rates, make that unnecessary, agency Director Gary Weeks said.


“We heard from business owners this fall that they wanted rates as low as possible,” Weeks said.


The state-run system includes an accident fund that pays partial wage-replacement and disability checks for injured workers who can’t return to the job. Employers who pay into that fund will see its premiums rise, but officials said the increase will be offset by lower rates in funds for medical aid and supplemental pension.

Judy’s Book

$8 million raised in funding round


Seattle-based Judy’s Book said Thursday it has raised $8 million in its second round of funding. The round was led by Mobius Venture Capital and included Ignition Partners and Ackerley Partners. The company, which is developing an online knowledge base for metropolitan regions, said it will use the money for product development and expanding marketing and sales programs.


Nastech

Positive results for arthritis drug


Nastech Pharmaceutical presented data showing its experimental therapy reduced levels of a specific protein associated with rheumatoid arthritis at a meeting Wednesday.


Rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating inflammation of the joints, is the same disease targeted by Enbrel, the blockbuster drug developed by Seattle biotech company Immunex, now part of Amgen.


Bothell-based Nastech is developing an experimental RNA interference therapy that could knock down production of proteins, such as TNF-alpha, which Enbrel captures before they trigger inflammation.


The company’s stock climbed 27 cents, or about 2 percent, to close at $13.98 Thursday.


Seattle Genetics

Cancer patients to test new drug


Seattle Genetics is enrolling cancer patients in an early-stage trial to test the safety and tumor-fighting ability of SGN-33, it said Thursday.


The trial will test different doses of the genetically engineered antibody in up to 60 patients with the most common form of adult leukemia or bone-marrow disorders described as “pre-leukemia.”


The Bothell company licensed the drug candidate in April from Protein Design Labs, which tested it in humans but did not explore its full potential, Seattle Genetics executives have said.


SGN-33 is the company’s third candidate in clinical trials.


Its stock was up 15 cents, or 2.8 percent, to close at $5.42 Thursday.


Compiled from The Associated Press and Seattle Times staff