Other items: Law firm expands in San Francisco; Improvement in Home Depot's profit; and more.

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Targeted Genetics said yesterday an early-stage study of an HIV vaccine showed it was safe but unable to produce a significant immune response in the limited dose tested.

The Seattle biotech company designed the vaccine to be given in a single shot, as opposed to multishot regimens that would be more difficult to administer in developing countries. Targeted Genetics said it can begin to study higher doses, and with repeat dosing.

The study, which was placebo-controlled, enrolled 50 healthy volunteers in Belgium and Germany, and 30 in India. A subset of volunteers will receive a second dose, to see whether that approach is safe, and whether it can boost immune responses.

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In animal studies, the approach significantly boosted immune responses and protected animals from infection.


Preston Gates & Ellis

Law firm expands in San Francisco

Preston Gates & Ellis, Microsoft’s primary outside law firm, said it would acquire San Francisco real-estate law firm Berg & Parker, according to an e-mailed statement.

The addition of Berg & Parker’s 10 attorneys, effective next Tuesday, will boost Preston Gates’ San Francisco office to 40 lawyers, the firm said. Berg & Parker specializes in real-estate transaction and litigation issues as well as creditor rights and insolvency.

Preston Gates, a 430-attorney firm based in Seattle, has 11 offices on the West Coast, Washington and Asia. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates’ father, William H. Gates Jr., is a former Preston Gates partner.

In addition to Microsoft, the firm’s clients include Charles Schwab Corp., the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the state of California.


Nation & World


Home Depot

Improvement in chain’s profit

Home Depot, the nation’s largest home-improvement chain, reported a nearly 10 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit on solid sales, particularly at stores open at least a year.

The Atlanta-based company’s results, announced before the market opened yesterday, met Wall Street expectations.

Home Depot shares fell $1.74, or 4.1 percent, to close at $40.28 yesterday.

For the three months ended Jan. 30, Home Depot said it earned $1.04 billion, or 47 cents a share, compared with a profit of $951 million, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier.


Lands’ End

Job cuts, closure of phone center set

Clothing and home-accessories retailer Lands’ End plans to close a phone center and eliminate 375 full- and part-time jobs in a companywide restructuring, it said yesterday.

Thirty full- and 160 part-time jobs will be cut at the Cross Plains, Wis., call center, which is closing in June, said spokeswoman Cynthia Hardie. The remaining job cuts, both full- and part-time positions, will be at company headquarters.

Lands’ End is owned by Sears, which is merging with Kmart.

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