Congress extended Medicare reimbursements for Cell Therapeutics' anti-cancer drug Zevalin for 18 months, the company said Wednesday. The move follows a...

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Cell Therapeutics

Congress extended Medicare reimbursements for Cell Therapeutics’ anti-cancer drug Zevalin for 18 months, the company said Wednesday.

The move follows a temporary measure by Congress in December, which froze reimbursement rates for Zevalin and other radio-immunotherapies for six months after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a significant reduction.

Seattle-based Cell Therapeutics acquired U.S. rights for Zevalin in late 2007 from Biogen Idec. It’s currently the company’s only commercial drug.

Cell Therapeutics stock closed Wednesday at 45 cents, down 4.26 percent.

Terex Aerial

Weak economy leads to layoffs

Redmond-based Terex Aerial Works Platform (Genie Industries) is eliminating about 120 full-time positions and a number of temporary positions in both its business and manufacturing sides because of the slumping economy, Melinda Zimmerman-Smith, Genie’s marketing communications manager, said Wednesday.

That represents about 2 percent of the company’s 5,000 employees worldwide, she said.

Terex Aerial, which makes aerial lifts, has offices and factories in Redmond and Moses Lake. It is a unit of Westport, Conn.-based Terex.

Zimmerman-Smith declined to say how many Redmond and Moses Lake workers would be affected.

Organic To Go

Sales up sharply in second quarter

Organic To Go said revenues in the second quarter rose 56 percent to about $6 million.

Retail sales totaled $2.7 million, delivery sales totaled $2.6 million and wholesale sales were about $695,000.

The company did not disclose profit for the second quarter.

The Seattle-based cafe chain and delivery service has locations in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

Central Market

New store ahead for Issaquah

Central Market plans to open a grocery store in Issaquah Highlands in 2010.

Construction on the 50,000-square-foot store will begin next year at The High Streets, a mixed-use retail and entertainment complex near the new Sunset/Highlands Drive interchange off I-90.

It will be the fourth Central Market.

Others are in Poulsbo, Shoreline and Mill Creek.

Wachovia

Treasury official is appointed CEO

Wachovia, the nation’s fourth-largest bank, named Treasury Undersecretary Robert Steel chief executive Wednesday, ending a nearly six-week search for a new leader.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank also said it has set aside $4.2 billion pretax to cover bad loans for the quarter, leading to an estimated second-quarter loss of about $2.6 billion to $2.8 billion.

The quarterly loss will equal $1.23 to $1.33 per share, excluding an expected write-down of goodwill. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected a profit.

Wachovia is expected to release second-quarter earnings July 22.

Steel succeeds Ken Thompson, who was ousted by the bank’s board in June after a series of missteps.

Steel, 56, who has been the Treasury Department’s liaison with Wall Street since the fall of 2006, announced his resignation Wednesday, effective immediately. He is an alumnus of investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Wachovia shares closed Wednesday down 8 percent at $14.29.

News Corp.

Murdoch foresees another bad year

Rupert Murdoch expects the capital markets to lurch through the next 12 months as Wall Street banks sift through mountains of bad debt related to the mortgage crisis, the News Corp. chairman said Wednesday.

“I’m a bit of a bear,” Murdoch told The Associated Press at the annual Allen & Co. media conference at the resort in Sun Valley. “I think there’s more (bad news) to come and it’ll take a year to shake out.”

The Dow Jones industrial average has fallen about 20 percent from its all-time high above 14,000 in October. The blue-chip index continued its drop closer to 11,000 Wednesday as the sluggish economy and rising energy costs continue to spook investors.

CareerBuilder

French jobs site will be acquired

CareerBuilder, the largest U.S. jobs Web site, agreed to buy Lesjeudis.com, France’s biggest independent employment site, to increase revenue from abroad.

Financial terms weren’t released, Chicago-based CareerBuilder said Wednesday. CareerBuilder is jointly owned by newspaper publishers Gannett, Tribune and McClatchy and software maker Microsoft.

The acquisition is part of CareerBuilder’s strategy to catch up to rival Monster International, which got 41 percent of its first-quarter sales from overseas. CareerBuilder first expanded outside North America in 2006, and has bought Web sites in Greece, Sweden and the Netherlands.

ExpressJet

Airline to halt flying under its own name

ExpressJet Airlines will halt its branded commercial operations Sept. 2, citing high fuel costs that “made the operation impossible to sustain.”

ExpressJet said last week it will end its flight-connection deal with Delta Air Lines on Sept. 1.

The company operates a fleet of 39 aircraft. It said it will return the planes to their owners before June of next year.

“If we had any other choice, we would not take this difficult action,” said Chief Executive Jim Ream in a statement.

ExpressJet will continue operating a fleet of 205 aircraft under an agreement with Continental Airlines. It will also maintain a charter operation of 30 aircraft through ExpressJet Corporate Aviation.

ExpressJet said it will continue selling tickets for travel through Sept 2. Customers holding tickets for travel after that date may contact the company for a refund.

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