Pacific Northwest Cell Therapeutics got a boost from foreign regulators on Thursday, as the European Medicines Agency recommended the marketing...

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Pacific Northwest

Cell Therapeutics

Cell Therapeutics got a boost from foreign regulators on Thursday, as the European Medicines Agency recommended the marketing approval of Zevalin for the treatment of follicular lymphoma.

The Seattle company acquired U.S. rights to the cancer radio-immunotherapy from Biogen Idec in December. In Europe, Zevalin is marketed by pharmaceutical giant Bayer.

Cell Therapeutics shares soared 13 cents, or 27.1 percent, to 61 cents a share Thursday.

Seattle Genetics

New clinical trial for tumor drug

Seattle Genetics said Thursday that it began a new early-stage clinical trial to determine the safety and anti-tumor activity of its SGN-33 drug when combined with oral cancer drug Revlimid.

There are hints that Revlimid could enhance the effects of the Bothell company’s therapy, it said in a statement. The trial is one of three that the company is currently undertaking for SGN-33.

Seattle Genetics shares closed up 26 cents, or 3 percent, at $8.96 Thursday.

Oncothyreon

Cancer compound patent received

Oncothyreon said Thursday it received a patent for PX-867, a pre-clinical stage compound. The company plans to develop the compound to treat cancer, and intends to seek a partner to apply it to other types of disease, according to a statement.

The Bellevue biotech company’s stock rose 55 cents, or 13.5 percent, to $4.63.

Boeing

DirecTV satellite goes up in Pacific

Sea Launch said it launched a new satellite for DirecTV from an oceangoing platform in the equatorial Pacific on Wednesday.

“The satellite is healthy and the mission was completed very successfully,” spokeswoman Paula Korn said Thursday.

Sea Launch is owned by Boeing, RSC-Energia of Russia, Aker of Norway and SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash of Ukraine. Long Beach is home port for the Odyssey launch platform and the Sea Launch Commander.

The Boeing-built DirecTV 11, combined with DirecTV 10 already in orbit, will give DirecTV capacity for 150 national high-definition channels and 1,500 local high-definition channels, Sea Launch said.

Nation and World

Federal Reserve

Investment firms tap Fed for loans

Big Wall Street investment companies are taking advantage of the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented offer to secure emergency loans, the central bank reported Thursday.

The lending is part of a major effort by the Fed to help a financial system in danger of freezing.

Those large firms averaged $13.4 billion in daily borrowing over the past week from the new lending facility. The report does not identify the borrowers.

The Fed, in a bold move Sunday, agreed for the first time to let big investment houses get emergency loans directly from the central bank. This mechanism, similar to one available for commercial banks for years, got under way Monday and will continue for at least six months. It was the broadest use of the Fed’s lending authority since the 1930s.

Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley said Wednesday they had begun to test the new lending mechanism.

Aviation

United also raises fuel charge by $10

United Airlines has increased its round-trip fuel surcharge by $10, matching a similar move by Delta Air Lines on Tuesday.

Major U.S. airlines are combating rising fuel prices by increasing fares for the fifth week in a row, including a $50 boost in U.S. ticket prices last week, Rick Seaney of fare- tracking Web site FareCompare.com said in an e-mail. The higher fuel surcharge at United, the world’s second-largest carrier, applies to leisure and business travelers, he said.

Also this week, American Airlines and Northwest Airlines raised international fuel surcharges by $20 round trip.

SEC

Regulators giving valuation close look

U.S. regulators are continuing to give close scrutiny to how money managers value illiquid assets, including securities tied to risky “subprime” home mortgages, a senior Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) official said Thursday.

“Valuation is an area we’re really focused on now,” Lori Richards, head of the SEC’s office of compliance, inspections and examinations, told reporters after speaking at an Investment Advisers Association conference.

Additionally, Richards said SEC examiners are paying close attention to the disclosure that advisers provide to investors regarding portfolio holdings of structured products such as collateralized debt obligations and collateralized mortgage obligations.

Walt Disney Co.

Company considers reacquiring stores

The Walt Disney Co. said it is in discussions to acquire most of the troubled Disney Stores it sold to The Children’s Place in 2004.

Disney said its North American stores, which it sold because of anemic performance, can now play an important role in extending the Disney brand and serve as a launching pad for the company’s growing number of creative franchises.

“When you’re in control of franchises and a retail outlet like the Disney Stores, we can take bets early on ‘Disney Fairies’ or ‘High School Musical.’ We can launch a line of merchandise and let it take off from there,” said a spokesman for Disney Consumer Products.

The Children’s Place made public its plans for “immediately implementing an exit” from the Disney Store business on Thursday, when the Secaucus, N.J., retailer reported its fourth-quarter results.

The Children’s Place confirmed advanced discussions with Disney about regaining ownership and control of about two-thirds of its 335 Disney Stores in North America.

Disney sold its stores to Children’s Place in November 2004. At the time, the arrangement was viewed as a face-saving move for Disney, which had opened too many mall stores.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff, The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times