Business Briefs – January 3, 2018

Allergan Cutting 1,000 Jobs

NEW YORK (AP) – Allergan will eliminate about 5.5 percent of its workforce as part of a cost-cutting move while it prepares for generic competition on several lucrative drugs.

The company will cut 1,000 jobs and leave another 400 open positions unfilled. The Dublin-based company has about 18,000 employees.

Allergan expects restructuring costs of about $125 million and savings of $300 million to $400 million.

The company will likely face generic competition for its dry-eye drug Restasis, which helped boost revenue for eye care products by 4.4 percent to $635.5 million during the third quarter. A federal judge ruled against Allergan in a patent dispute in 2017, and the company reported a $3.2 billion charge following the loss.

Allergan is also expected to face generic competition for its Alzheimer’s drug Namenda.

Intel Says It’s Fixing Security Vulnerability in Its Chips

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Intel says it’s working to patch a security vulnerability in its products but says the average computer user won’t experience significant slowdowns as the problem is fixed.

The chipmaker released a statement Wednesday after a report by British technology site The Register caused Intel’s stock to fall.

Intel says the problem isn’t limited to its products, despite The Register pinning it on Intel’s chips. Intel says it’s working with other tech companies to address it.

Its stock lost $1.59, or 3.4 percent, to $45.26 in the highest trading volume in more than four years. Other chipmakers traded higher, but analysts weren’t sure the problem could threaten Intel’s sales

Fed Officials Expect Economic Boost From Tax Cuts

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve policymakers generally agreed last month that the U.S. tax overhaul would likely benefit the economy, but they were split on whether the resulting growth would warrant a faster pace of rate hikes this year. Minutes of the Fed’s Dec. 12-13 meeting released Wednesday show that officials believed the tax cuts would drive consumer spending and increased business investment, though they expressed uncertainty over the magnitude of the boost.

U.S. Factories Closed Out 2017 With a Boom

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. manufacturers expanded at a faster pace in December. A sharp increase in new orders provided much of the boost. The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index rose to 59.7 last month from 58.2 in November. Any reading above 50 points to greater factory activity. Manufacturing has been expanding for the past 16 months.

Price Tag on Gene Therapy for Rare Form of Blindness: $850k

WASHINGTON (AP) — A first-of-its kind genetic treatment for blindness will cost $850,000 per patient, making it one of the most expensive medicines in the world. The drug, from Spark Therapeutics, was expected to be priced at $1 million or more, but the company announced its lower price Wednesday after hearing concerns from health insurers. The therapy, Luxturna, can improve the vision of patients with a rare form of inherited blindness.

Revised Suit Faults Google for Asking Hires About Prior Pay

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A revised gender-pay lawsuit seeking class-action status against Google faults the search giant for asking new hires about their prior salary, a practice now banned in California. The suit also adds fourth complainant, a preschool teacher with a master’s degree. The four women allege they were underpaid by Google compared to their male counterparts. Google disputes the charges.

U.S. Bars $1.2B Chinese Acquisition of MoneyGram

BEIJING (AP) – Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has dropped his bid to buy U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram after Washington rejected the $1.2 billion deal in a fresh example of heightened American scrutiny of Chinese investment.

MoneyGram International Inc. and Ma’s Ant Financial Services Group failed to gain approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States despite efforts to respond to its concerns, MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes said in a statement Tuesday.

The failure is a setback to Ma’s ambitions to expand into global markets.

MoneyGram shares fell 6.8 percent in after-hours trading to $12.40 a share.