BUSINESS DIGEST

The Baltimore Sun

Maryland : Nuclear power

Constellation unit acts on reactor plan

Constellation Energy Group's nuclear development arm has notified federal regulators of its plans to seek a license to build a nuclear reactor near Oswego, N.Y., the company said yesterday. UniStar Nuclear, a joint venture of Constellation and Paris-based EDF Group, said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission notification is another milestone in its plans to build up to four new plants in the United States based on a French reactor design. The company made a similar filing in July for a proposed reactor at Calvert Cliffs, where it hopes to break ground late this year. Constellation, which has been feuding with state regulators, has said it may build first in New York if the political environment does not improve in Maryland. The company has not committed to building either plant.

Paul Adams

Acquisitions

FTI buys pair of companies

Baltimore-based FTI Consulting, which advises businesses on crisis management and restructuring, announced yesterday that it has acquired two companies. FTI said that it bought Strategic Discovery Inc., a San Francisco company that helps businesses manage records in litigation matters and government investigations. FTI also said it acquired Rubino & McGeehin Consulting Group, a Bethesda consulting company that provides litigation, public accounting and financial services. Financial details of the deals were not disclosed.

Biotechnology

Diarrhea-patch study to advance

Iomai Corp., a Gaithersburg biotech, yesterday reported interim results of a midphase study of a patch to prevent travelers' diarrhea and said it planned to move ahead with a final-phase clinical trial in the summer of 2009. The trial compared patients who received two doses from medical professionals with patients who administered the second dose themselves, and reported no significant difference between the groups. An earlier midphase trial found travelers to Mexico and Guatemala were less likely to develop diarrhea than those who receive a placebo. The company said 55 million people a year visit countries where bacteria causing travelers' diarrhea are common, and that 20 million of those develop diarrhea. As a result, it said, the potential market for its patch could exceed $750 million a year.

M. William Salganik

Grants

Blues announce funds for 2 projects

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield yesterday announced $1.6 million in grants to two health information technology projects. The grants come from CareFirst Commitment, the insurers' program to fulfill its nonprofit mission with community projects. In all, CareFirst plans to spend more than $11 million on commitment projects this year, with about $2 million of that going to information technology grants. CareFirst will give $967,000 to the Community Health Integrated Partnership (CHIP), a statewide network of 36 health center sites serving mostly uninsured patients. CHIP, which also received a $1.4 million federal grant for the project, is creating a records system to track patients who are treated at different clinic sites. CareFirst is also giving $550,000 to LifeBridge Health, which includes Sinai Hospital, Northwest Hospital Center, nursing homes and 150 physicians. LifeBridge is seeking to make its existing electronic records accessible to patients, who can then share them with other care providers.

M. William Salganik

Earnings

Annapolis Bancorp reports 4Q profit drop

A handful of bad boat loans contributed to a 35.8 percent decrease in fourth-quarter profit for Annapolis Bancorp Inc., the parent company of BankAnnapolis, officials said yesterday. The bank reported net income of $531,000, or 13 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with $827,000, or 20 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. The bank said it increased its provision for bad loans by $295,000 during the quarter, compared with no such provision in the year-earlier quarter.Bank officials said most of its fourth-quarter charge-offs were linked to five consumer boat loans with aggregate balances of $225,000.

Paul Adams

Investing

Microsoft is seen raising bid for Yahoo

Legg Mason Inc., the second-largest shareholder of Yahoo Inc., said Microsoft will have to increase its $44.6 billion bid to acquire the Internet company. Yahoo formally rejected Microsoft's bid Monday, saying it "substantially undervalues" the company. Legg Mason star money manager Bill Miller told investors of his Value Trust fund that it will be hard for Yahoo to find alternatives that "deliver more value" than Microsoft will "ultimately be willing to pay," according to his letter dated Sunday and released yesterday. Miller called Yahoo a "uniquely valuable asset" and said he expects Microsoft "will do what it takes to acquire it." Legg Mason owns a 6 percent stake in Yahoo.

Hanah Cho

This column was compiled from dispatches by Sun reporters.

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