Id biomedical has gotten clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to run a 300-person clinical trial for its injectable flu vaccine, beginning this month, the company...

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ID Biomedical has gotten clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to run a 300-person clinical trial for its injectable flu vaccine, beginning this month, the company said.

The vaccine, FluViral, is approved for sale in Canada. The Vancouver, B.C., company made a modification in its manufacturing process to meet U.S. standards, and it will test the newly produced vaccine in the trial. ID Biomedical is hoping the trial will help it win FDA clearance to sell the vaccine in the U.S. in time for the 2005-2006 flu season.

United Airlines

Agreement reached with flight attendants

United Airlines reached a tentative agreement with its flight-attendants union Saturday that keeps the employee pension plan intact. The airline also said it won’t go to court at this time to cancel the union’s contract.

Details of the accord won’t be made public until the Association of Flight Attendants’ (AFA) United Master Executive Council meets tomorrow to vote on the contract, the union said on its Web site. The association said the tentative agreement doesn’t include changes to the pension plan and keeps medical and dental benefits intact.

UAL, United’s parent company, has asked for $1.36 billion in worker concessions as it tries to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, which is seeking to end the flight-attendants pension plan, said it won’t act yet on its request to have a bankruptcy court scrap contracts for the AFA and aircraft-mechanics union.

The bankruptcy judge Friday rejected an agreement with United’s pilot union that would have saved $180 million a year.

Detroit auto show

Awards: Chrysler 300, Ford’s hybrid SUV

America’s “in” sedan and the first gas-electric hybrid sport-utility vehicle were named North America’s top vehicles yesterday at the North American International Auto Show.

The Chrysler 300 collected its latest honor as 2004 North American Car of the Year. Ford Motor’s new Escape hybrid SUV garnered the award as 2004 North American Truck of the Year.

The last time entries from Detroit’s Big Three won both car and truck of the year was 1996.

Federal Reserve

Central bank may expand on openness

Federal Reserve policy-makers will consider increasing transparency because giving investors more information about the bank’s deliberations fosters economic stability, Fed Governor Donald Kohn told the American Economic Association yesterday.

Kohn’s comments at the Philadelphia meeting came five days after the central bank, for the first time, disclosed the minutes to its most recent Open Market Committee meeting before the next Fed meeting.

The policy change gives investors more timely information about the Fed’s thinking on future interest rates and the economy.

Minutes of the Dec. 14 Fed meeting convinced some investors that central bankers were more concerned about inflation than they said in December and would keep raising interest rates. Treasury note yields jumped and stocks dived on the news.

The Fed’s governors voted Dec. 14 to start making minutes of the meetings available after only a three-week delay instead of six.

American Pharmaceutical

Abraxane OK seen as jump on rivals

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Abraxane — a reformulation of the cancer-chemotherapy drug, paclitaxel — for metastatic breast cancer.

The drug, made by American Pharmaceutical Partners of Schaumburg, Ill., competes with experimental drugs in development in the Seattle area — Cell Therapeutics’ Xyotax and Sonus Pharmaceuticals’ Tocosol.

Abraxane is designed to eliminate paclitaxel’s toxic solvents and enable patients to take higher-concentrated doses.

American Pharmaceutical Partners’ stock rose 14 percent Friday, in anticipation of the announcement made after the market’s close. Cell Therapeutics stock rose 10 percent, and Sonus stock was up 7.6 percent.

Cell Therapeutics is awaiting results from a lung-cancer trial in March, and Sonus recently received FDA clearance to move ahead with its clinical trial.

Some analysts have said the approval gives American Pharmaceutical Partners a significant head start in marketing over its rivals. But others say it bodes well for the rivals because it shows the FDA’s willingness to approve paclitaxel reformulations.

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