Biogen Idec Inc., the Weston biotechnology company perhaps best known for its multiple sclerosis drugs, said Thursday that Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonas has been appointed to the post of chief scientific officer. Artavanis-Tsakonas had served as interim CSO while on sabbatical from Harvard Medical School, Biogen Idec said. He will now continue in this role in a permanent capacity and will also lead the company’s research strategy, capabilities, and discovery platforms. Artavanis-Tsakonas will also continue to serve as a professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School, where he was the founding director of the Developmental and Regenerative Biology graduate program. Artavanis-Tsakonas said, “It’s a critical time in history for the biopharmaceutical industry where the potential to make a meaningful difference for patients has never been greater.”FULL ENTRY
Starting Thursday, JetBlue Airways will serve Philadelphia International Airport with five daily nonstop flights from Boston’s Logan International Airport. The airline plans to celebrate its 78th destination through May 30 by selling one-way $39 flights between the two cities for travel between June 1 and Sept. 28. (Alert: Blackout dates apply.) In a press release, the airline said: “Adding Philadelphia to its growing route map helps solidify JetBlue’s already strong relevance for the business traveler, particularly at Logan International Airport. JetBlue operates over 100 daily flights from Boston’s Logan International Airport and Philadelphia will be the 48th destination JetBlue serves from Boston.” ‘‘Since it began service at Logan in 2004, JetBlue has shown strong commitment to Boston reflected by the steady growth of service,” Massport’s Edward Freni added.FULL ENTRY
ULTA Beauty, a beauty-store chain whose marketing mantras include, “Dare to be a more fabulous you,” is set to open its newest location Friday at Patriot Place, the entertainment-and-shopping complex next to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Opening weekend festivities include some free makeovers and free consultations from experts in cosmetics, skin, and hairstyling, the chain said. The 10,000-square-foot beauty store, which includes a full-service salon, will be ULTA Beauty’s eighth Massachusetts location. It will offer more than 20,000 products in such categories as cosmetics, fragrance, hair care, skincare, bath, and salon styling tools. ULTA Beauty operates roughly 540 stores across the US. Patriot Place features 17 casual to high-end restaurants and other nightlife venues as well as stores, boutiques, and a 14-screen Showcase Cinema De Lux.FULL ENTRY
The state’s new Health Policy Commission is moving forward with a cost and market impact review of Partners HealthCare System’s plan to acquire South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, the first test of its ability to influence the ongoing hospital consolidation trend in Massachusetts.
A statement issued by the commission staff Wednesday afternoon said executives at South Shore and Boston-based Partners, which owns Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals, were notified that the commission will examine how the proposed merger of the two highly paid health care providers is likely to affect costs and the state’s health care market.
The commission was created by last year’s state health cost containment law as a watchdog to monitor changes in the health care market.FULL ENTRY
Christina Severin will assume the posts of president and chief executive of the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization in late June. In January, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center launched the organization, known as BIDCO, with doctors and other hospitals as it looked to adapt to a national movement toward payment systems that provide a single, set fee to care for each patient’s health. BIDCO, formed with the medical center’s physician group and partner hospitals, aims to improve care by emphasizing wellness over treatment. Since 2006, Severin has served as president of Network Health, a Tufts Health Plan subsidiary. She has also taught classes in health care administration and management at Boston University, Northeastern University, and Harvard University.FULL ENTRY
Moderna Therapeutics, a Cambridge company specializing in messenger RNA therapeutics as a way to create new drugs, said Wednesday that John Reynders will join Moderna in early July as its first chief information officer. Reynders joins Moderna from AstraZeneca, where he served as vice president of R&D information, and has held senior leadership positions over the past decade at Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, and Celera Genomics. At Moderna, Reynders will lead a team that seeks to create an information infrastructure critical to all aspects of the company’s innovation model, including the use of genomic data in drug design. Messenger RNA therapeutics is a new drug modality that produces human proteins or antibodies inside patient cells. This platform addresses currently undruggable targets.FULL ENTRY
Nucleik, a student team that developed software to reduce paper work for law enforcement officials, is the grand prize winner of the Harvard University President’s Challenge for social entrepreneurship, Harvard president Drew Faust said Wednesday in a statement. Faust developed the challenge last year to encourage university students to devise entrepreneurial solutions to some of the world’s most important social problems. Nucleik will receive $70,000 to support its emerging business. The team is made up of Scott Crouch, Florian Mayr, and Matthew Polega, all Harvard College seniors. The system they developed “provides instantaneous access to accurate and organized data to help law enforcement officers tackle gang violence, murders, and violent crime,” Harvard said. In the challenge’s second year, 127 student-led teams entered the competition.FULL ENTRY
About 34.8 million Americans are projected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 0.9 percent decrease from last year, AAA Southern New England said. “AAA is forecasting Memorial Day travel to experience a slight dip as lower gas prices and economic improvements from last year are not strong enough to spur an increase in travelers,” Lloyd P. Albert, AAA Southern New England senior vice president of public and government affairs, said in a statement. “Still, the projections are in line with what we’ve seen in travel over Memorial Day since 2010.” Holiday air travel this year is projected to drop 8 percent to 2.3 million from 2012. Memorial Day travel originating from New England is in line with national projections.FULL ENTRY
Swirl, a Boston company developing marketing software for retailers, said Wednesday it is testing an iPhone app that will send customized offers to consumers while they are browsing a store equipped with special sensors. Alex and Ani, Timberland, Kenneth Cole, and the Blues Jean Bar are among the retailers trying out Swirl technology in some of their stores. For the plan to work, Swirl has to first persuade consumers to download a special app to their iPhones. Consumers would also have to opt in to a location-tracking feature that would alert the retailer when a consumer with the app walked into one of the retailer’s stores. Once on the premises, the consumer would be pinged, and a message on his or her iPhone could offer customized suggestions or special discounts.FULL ENTRY
Five brokerage firms that sold so-called non-traded REITs improperly, will make restitution to investors of about $8.6 million and pay a total of $975,000 in fines under settlements reached with Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin, Galvin’s office said Wednesday. REITs are real estate investment trusts. “Our investigation into the sales of REITs, triggered by investor complaints, showed a pattern of impropriety in the sales of these popular but risky investments on the part of independent brokerage firms where supervision has historically been difficult to maintain,” Galvin said. The firms that settled are Ameriprise Financial Services, Commonwealth Financial Network, Royal Alliance Associates, Securities America, and Lincoln Financial Advisors. Galvin also announced that LPL Financial had completed the second round of its restitution in connection with similar violations previously settled with his office.FULL ENTRY
American International College in Springfield has selected FORGE Worldwide of Boston to be its lead ad agency for a rebranding assignment, FORGE Worldwide president Harry Chapin said. The account was awarded after a brief agency review. Billings for the account are not being disclosed. The assignment calls for FORGE to develop an awareness campaign that will rebrand the college’s Curtis Blake Center and Day School, which offers day-school and tutoring services for children with language-based learning disabilities. The work will include developing a new corporate identity and logo as well as search engine marketing, video, and direct marketing. The new work is expected to break in October. Other FORGE clients include Dragon Naturally Speaking speech-recognition software, SBLI, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Rockland Trust.FULL ENTRY
he Massachusetts’ economy is expected to grow slowly before accelerating in early 2014, benefiting from boost from unexpected sector, -- manufacturing, according to an economic forecast released Wednesday by a group of regional economists. Although Massachusetts is in the midst of a slowdown in hiring, the five-year forecast by the New England Economic Partnership shows the state’s economy adding jobs at a significant pace beginning next year. The state’s unemployment rate of 6.4 percent in April is expected to decline to 5.2 percent by the end of 2017, the report said. “The outlook for the future is much better than it has been and that has a lot to do with restoring confidence and consumer demand,” said Alan Clayton-Matthews, a Northeastern University economics professorFULL ENTRY
Staples’ net income fell 9 percent in the first quarter, as revenue fell 4 percent with fewer people heading into its North American and European stores. The office products company earned $169.9 million, or 26 cents per share, for the period ended May 4. A year earlier the Framingham-based company earned $187.1 million, or 27 cents per share. The latest results were just shy of the 27 cents per share that analysts polled by FactSet expected, on average. Revenue dropped to $5.81 billion from $6.03 billion, pressured by store closings and softer sales of computers, business machines, software, and technology accessories. Staples Inc. said Wednesday that sales were strongest in tablets, facilities and breakroom supplies and copy and print services. Online sales increased 3 percent.FULL ENTRY
Thousands of Massachusetts homeowners have received more than $610 million in mortgage assistance from major US lenders as part of a national settlement with a multistate group of attorneys general, data released Tuesday show.
About 8,823 Massachusetts borrowers received on average of $69,180 in mortgage help since the settlement was reached early last year, according to preliminary data received by Joseph A. Smith Jr., the North Carolina-based monitor charged with overseeing the national accord.
“The banks have reported a significant relief for Massachusetts homeowners as required by our settlement with the five major lenders,’’ said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a key negotiator in the national pact. “Our office will continue to work aggressively to ensure Massachusetts borrowers receive all the assistance available under the settlement.”FULL ENTRY
Modest economic growth is expected in New England over the next three years with the region as a whole returning to pre-recession employment levels by 2015. That’s according to a new economic forecast being released this week by the New England Economic Partnership. Forecast manager Ross Gittell, chancellor of New Hampshire’s community college system, predicts that economic growth in the six-state region will average 3.3 percent per year through 2016, while employment climbs by 1.4 percent per year. Economists warn the recovery could be slowed by several factors including the automatic federal budget cuts and continued economic uncertainty in Europe. Conditions will also vary from state to state, with forecasters expecting the strongest growth in Massachusetts and Vermont. NEEP plans to release its full forecast and state-by-state breakdowns on Wednesday.FULL ENTRY
Kevin Hannifan, a veteran hospital administrator who has worked in New York, Hartford, and Philadelphia, has been named president of St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton.
Hannifan replaces John Polanowicz, who left St. Elizabeth’s at the end of last year to become Massachusetts secretary of health and human services. St. Elizabeth’s is a Catholic community hospital owned by Boston-based Steward Health Care System.
Before joining St. Elizabeth’s, Hannifan was senior vice president for operations at the Tisch and Rusk hospitals in New York and executive vice president and chief operating officer at Hartford Hospital. Previously, he was chief executive at Methodist Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He holds an economics degree from Catholic University and a masters in health administration from Duke University.FULL ENTRY
Commuters facing long delays after a train collision disrupted their route along Connecticut’s shoreline can look forward to easier traveling beginning Tuesday afternoon. Limited, slower train service was resuming four days after a derailment injured scores of commuter rail passengers. Metro-North has been using buses to shuttle passengers around the affected area. One of two damaged tracks has been rebuilt and returned to service for Metro-North Railroad and Amtrak. Metro-North will operate about half the regular Tuesday evening rush-hour service. The operation will require a reduced speed of 30 mph. Trains will use a single track for seven miles around Bridgeport, forcing delays. Normal commuter rail service from Connecticut to New York City, along with Amtrak service between Boston and New York, was scheduled to resume during Wednesday morning’s rush hour.FULL ENTRY
Biogen Idec Inc., which cemented its place as the dominant multiple sclerosis drug maker in March when it won US approval to sell an MS pill, said Tuesday it has applied to the Food and Drug Administration to market a third injectable MS drug.
The drug, called Plegridy, is a new version of the Weston biotechnology company’s first -- and hugely successful -- MS treatment, Avonex. While both drugs have the same active ingredient, interferon beta, Biogen Idec has attached a polymer called polyethylene glycol, or peg, to Plegridy that increases the exposure of the drug, allowing patients to take doses less frequently.
And unlike Avonex and other MS drugs received through intramuscular injections, Plegridy would be administered subcutaneously, or under the skin, which is less painful.FULL ENTRY
Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real estate firm with a big presence in Greater Boston, said its construction unit has been appointed general contractor for the Warehouse Bar & Grille, a new restaurant on the corner of Boston’s Milk and Broad streets. The restaurant, which is scheduled to open in mid-August, will feature “a modern industrial design, polished concrete floors, an exposed ceiling, stainless steel accents, and a monochromatic palate,” Jones Lang LaSalle Construction said. With seats for just over a hundred customers, the Warehouse Bar & Grille aims to “bridge the gap between sports bars and upscale eateries,” the firm said. “The Broad Street location will serve as a neighborhood gathering place for business lunches, after-work cocktails, dinner dates, weekend brunch, and large group events,” Warehouse owner Cliff Dever said.FULL ENTRY
If you’ve ever had a hankering to be lionized as a hot dog uber chef, this could be your big chance. Kayem Foods, the Chelsea company known for its Fenway Franks (as well as for its brats, sausage, and deli meats), is launching a contest that invites aspiring food buffs to lavish their culinary creativity on the hot dog. “The winning dog will be announced on National Hot Dog Day, July 23, and will be served at Red Sox games at Fenway Park that night and select games thereafter,” Kayem said in a press release. More from the release: “Kayem’s ‘Create The Next Fenway Frank’ contest will continue through June 15 and fans can visit facebook.com/kayemfranks to create and submit their signature frank.”FULL ENTRY
TJX Cos., the Framingham company that operates such retail chains as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods, said first quarter net income rose 8 percent to $453 millon. First quarter diluted earnings per share were $.62, a 13 percent increase over last year’s $.55, TJX said. Sales, meanwhile, grew 7 percent to $6.2 billion. At stores open at least a year, sales rose 2 percent. That second measure, known as same-store sales, is closely watched by Wall Street analysts who regard it as a key barometer of a retailer’s performance. TJX chief executive Carol Meyrowitz said: “We are very pleased with our first quarter results, especially as they were achieved over the highest year-over-year comparisons for quarterly comp sales and EPS growth of this yearFULL ENTRY
Boston ad agency Arnold Worldwide said it is launching the first national ad campaign for the ComforPedic mattress brand from Simmons. The mattress is billed as “the better memory foam,” and one subliminal marketing mantra is, “Sleep smarter.” Or as the ComforPedic website puts it: “Smart begins with better sleep. Better sleep begins with ComforPedic.” According to Arnold, TV spots feature a “never before seen effect of a bedroom whose walls are actually rear projection screens so that the room literally comes alive with the dreams” of celebrity snoozers who’ve been recruited to appear in the ads. These “famous sleepers” (as Arnold calls them) include oceanographer Phillippe Cousteau, graph theorist Maria Chudnovsky, and former astronaut Mae Jemison. Other Arnold clients include Fidelity Investments, Jack Daniel’s, Progressive Insurance, and Volvo.FULL ENTRY
Christopher Probyn to address NABE Boston on disconnect between the stock market and tightening economies
Christopher Probyn, chief economist for State Street Global Advisors, is expected to discuss the apparent disconnect between strong stock market gains and fiscal tightening in economies in the US and Europe at the first event of the newly formed Boston chapter of the National Association for Business Economics. The group, informally known as NABE Boston, has scheduled its first meeting for June 13 at the Federal Reserve building in downtown Boston. The group was formed to provide professionals in every industry who are interested in economics with a forum for sharing their ideas and networking with colleagues. NABE Boston is headed by Gregory Daco, an economist at IHS Global Insight. Anyone using economics in their professional activities, or simply interested in learning more about economics, is welcome to attend.FULL ENTRY
Raytheon Co. said Monday that it has been awarded an Air Force contract that could be worth up to $260 million to the Waltham-based defense contractor. The contract is for building rapidly deployable radar approach control systems that can be up and running within six hours. A so-called D-RAPCON systems is described in a company press release as mobile “air traffic control in a box.” A D-RAPCON system is made up of a transportable antenna plus three trailer-sized shelters that house radar equipment, communications systems, and an operations center with multiple controller work stations. Each station has the same look and feel of what a controller would see at a major airport. The contract is for one system plus 18 options for a total of 19 potential systems.FULL ENTRY
Merrimak ATM Group LLC has agreed to pay $50,000 to the Commonwealth to settle allegations that it failed to post fee disclosure notices on some of the ATM’s it operates in the Bay State, the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said Monday. Merrimak, which is described as a non-bank ATM provider with its principal place of business in California, has also agreed to change its disclosure practices following a joint investigation by Coakley’s office and the Massachusetts Division of Banks . The investigation was triggered by a consumer complaint. Merrimak operates hundreds of ATMs in a Massachusetts, many of them at convenience stores and parking garages. In agreeing to the settlement, Merrimak neither admitted nor denied Coakley’s allegations.FULL ENTRY
A dining hall renovation at the University of Connecticut has won several awards for its design, said the project’s designer, Prellwitz Chilinski Associates Inc., a Cambridge-based architectural firm of 40 people. Prellwitz Chilinski Associates, or PCA, was commissioned to renovate and expand a 1960’s era cafeteria on the university’s main campus in Storrs. In renovating McMahon Dining Hall, PCA oversaw a 5,000-square-foot expansion to the cafeteria’s original 14,000 square feet of space. In its new format, McMahon Hall features restaurant-style “display kitchens”, new connections to adjacent residential towers, and the “vibrant, airy, porch-like feel of a ‘pavilion in the woods,’” PCA said; UConn’s goal for the $8 million project was to increase the dining hall’s capacity by 200 seats and make the hall into a “showcase for great food and student interaction.”FULL ENTRY
The average price for gas in Massachusetts is $3.49 a gallon in the latest weekly AAA survey, up 1 cent from the previous week’s average, AAA Southern New England said Monday. Local prices are up 5 cents over the past month, AAA Southern New England added. The current national average is $3.65 a gallon. A year ago at this time, the Massachusetts average price was $3.65. The current range in prices in the latest AAA Massachusetts survey is 34 cents, from a low of $3.35 to a high of $3.69. AAA’s weekly surveys look at self-serve, regular unleaded gas.FULL ENTRY
Could this be a culinary first for the Hub? A brick-and-mortar restaurant devoted to the grilled cheese sandwich? Greater Boston has long been home to clam shacks and steak houses, not to mention hot dog stands and burger joints. And now Downtown Crossing is about to be graced with a 1,200 square foot restaurant that regards the grilled cheese as the keystone of the fast-food pyramid. The new restaurant is called Cheeseboy, and it’s location near the corner of Washington and School streets is set to open Monday afternoon. As grilled cheese connoisseurs know, Cheeseboy has been around for several years, dishing up its signature product at mall food courts as well as at kiosks at transportation hubs such as South Station.FULL ENTRY
Synageva BioPharma Corp., a Lexington biopharmaceutical company developing therapies for rare diseases, said Monday that the Food and Drug Administration has granted breakthrough therapy designation to its drug candidate for the treatment of the early onset form of LAL deficiency. Lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (or LAL deficiency) is a rare disorder caused by a marked decrease in LAL enzyme activity. Early onset LAL deficiency is the most rapidly progressive form of LAL deficiency and is usually fatal within the first six months of life. According to the FDA, breakthrough therapy designation is intended to expedite the development and review of drugs for serious or life-threatening conditions. “We are deeply aware of the devastating impact this disease has on infants,” chief medical officer Anthony Quinn said.FULL ENTRY
Earnings edged up in the second quarter despite narrowing profit margins at Partners HealthCare System, aided partly by a state government decision to drop an assessment on Partners’ newly acquired health insurance division, Neighborhood Health Plan.
Net income totaled $133.2 million in the three months ending March 31 for Boston-based Partners, which runs Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals, an increase of 0.7 percent from the $132.2 million earned in the same period last year.
Operating income jumped nearly eight-fold to $40.8 million in the most recent quarter, from $5.3 million last year, when the hospital and doctors organization took a $110 million accounting charge to write off the value of computer and software systems it was replacing.FULL ENTRY
The Shaw’s and Star Market supermarket chain said Friday that its in-store donation campaign raised $300,000 for the One Fund Boston, the fund established by Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino to help people affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. Besides the in-store donation campaign, Shaw’s and Star Market donated an additional $200,000 to The One Fund Boston from their foundation, the company said. “Our customers and associates have a well-earned reputation of generosity, and I sincerely want to thank everyone who donated to support those affected by this tragedy,” Shane Sampson, president of Shaw’s and Star Market, said in a statement. Headquartered in West Bridgewater, the Shaw’s and Star Market chains operate 169 stores in New England.FULL ENTRY
Carnegie Hall, the storied New York performance venue, said that Robert K. Kraft, chief executive of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots, will receive its Medal of Excellence at a benefit at the Waldorf Astoria in mid June. The award recognizes Kraft’s leadership in business and philanthropy, and it will be presented by Sanford I. Weill, chairman of Carnegie Hall’s board of trustees. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley is the evening’s master of ceremonies. In a statement, Weill said of Kraft. “Bob has made such a remarkable impact on the lives of so many, complementing his great success in business with a strong commitment to giving back to the community.... We’re proud to recognize Bob for his great spirit of generosity and his friendship to the hall.”FULL ENTRY
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is hoping its 72-year-old signature monkey can learn new smartphone tricks --- and help teach pre-schoolers to boot. Boston-based Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has a long history in textbooks and literature, and in 1941, it published a children’s book starring a monkey named Curious George. As times have changed, the company has looked to technology to augment and evolve its text-book business. In its latest effort, the publisher has developed a new Curious George teaching app series for iPads and iPhones. One app is called “Curious About Shapes & Colors,” and it seeks to teach pre-kindergarten-aged children about simple and complex shapes and primary and secondary colors. Games and reward are used to motivate young learners, the company also known as HMH said.FULL ENTRY
The Biogen Idec Foundation announced a $250,000 grant to East End House to develop, implement, and evaluate an interactive out-of-school-time genetics program for middle school students in Cambridge. The program, known as GenoExplorers, will initially reach about 150 students and it will offer them hands-on experiments, collaboration with local scientists, and field trips, all designed to introduce young people to the science of genetics. The program is scheduled to launch this fall. The plan is to provide four hours per week of teaching for 35 weeks during the school year, and nine hours per week for four weeks during the summer. The goal is to expand the initiative to additional centers in the coming years and to create a national program.FULL ENTRY
MassHousing, the quasi-public agency charged with providing financing for affordable housing in the Bay State, said it has awarded $104,950 to support sober housing programs in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield. The MassHousing grants will come from the Center for Community Recovery Innovations Inc., or CCRI, a nonprofit subsidiary corporation of MassHousing that supports nonprofits that create or preserve affordable sober housing in Massachusetts for recovering substance abusers. To date, CCRI has awarded more than $6 million in grants for more than 1,500 units of substance-free housing. “Substance abuse impacts not only those dealing with addiction but their families as well,’’ MassHousing executive director Thomas R. Gleason said. “Affordable sober housing is greatly needed across Massachusetts, and MassHousing’s CCRI funding is a very useful resource in helping to expand and rehabilitate that housing.’’FULL ENTRY
The top companies on the 25th anniversary edition of the Globe 100 all work in different industries, but each achieved record or near-record financial results in 2012. Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. of Springfield tops the 2013 list. Retailer TJX Cos. was second, followed by Global Partners of Waltham, American Tower Corp. of Boston and Parexcel International of Waltham. TJX topped a special 25th anniversary Hall of Fame list ranking the aggregate performance of top Globe 100 companies over the past quarter century. State Street Corp. of Boston was second on the all-time list, followed by Eaton Vance Corp. of Boston, EMC Corp. of Hopkinton and Staples Inc. of Framingham. The Globe 100 magazine, which appears Sunday, and a complete online package, also honors a dozen top Massachusetts innovators.FULL ENTRY
New electronic signs announcing bus arrival times will be installed at Logan International Airport this fall as part of the airport’s attempts to encourage passengers to use high-occupancy vehicles. The Massachusetts Port Authority on Thursday approved a partial $4 million budget for signs announcing buses that will take passengers to the Blue Line MBTA station, Logan Express satellite parking lots, and the new rental car facility opening in the fall. Signs showing arrival times for the Silver Line were installed last year. The $4 million will also cover signs directing passengers to high-occupancy ground transportation at all four terminals to better accommodate these vehicles. Massport has been promoting high-occupancy vehicle usage to help deal with the parking crunch at the airport, where lots could exceed capacity 40 days this year.FULL ENTRY
Wegmans, a New York-based supermarket chain, is delaying the opening of a store planned for the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Newton from the fall to the spring of 2014, a spokeswoman for the chain said Thursday. Construction delays and the juggling of other projects are the reasons for the delay, said the spokeswoman, Jo Natale. Family-owned Wegmans currently operates 81 stores in six states and is opening new stores at a rate of two or three a year, Natale said. Fall openings are planned for a new store in suburban Washington, D.C., and another in suburban Philadelphia. Plans for opening a Wegmans in Newton were first disclosed in late 2011, a few months after the chain opened its first (and still only) Massachusetts store in Northborough.FULL ENTRY
Walmart, the giant retail chain, held a ceremony earlier this week to mark the installation of a new solar array system at its Walpole store. Eight of the 50 Walmarts in Massachusetts now have such systems, a company spokesman said. The other local Walmarts with solar arrays are in Springfield, Ware, Lunenberg, Northbridge, Halifax, Abington, and Tewksbury, he said. Collectively, the installations at those eight Walmarts are projected to provide 2.8 million kilowatt hours of energy annually, saving about 1,484 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually – roughly the equivalent of taking 309 cars off the road, Walmart said. The eight Massachusetts array were installed by Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC of Connecticut. The inverter for the solar PV array is from Massachusetts-based Solectria Renewables.FULL ENTRY
A Boston development team filed plans Thursday to build two, 400-foot towers in front of the TD Garden with 300,000 square feet of stores and restaurants, 500 residences, office space and a 200-room hotel.
The project, by Delaware North Cos. and Boston Properties, would dramatically reshape the entrance to the Garden, creating a modern, retail-filled gateway with shops and restaurants. The complex would contain 1.7 million square feet of total space, making it one of the largest developments in the city.
The developers filed an outline of their proposal with the Boston Redevelopment Authority Thursday. They still must undergo a months-long review process, but indicated they hope to start construction early next year.FULL ENTRY
The top prize of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition was awarded to 3dim, a startup whose 3D sensing technology allows users to control the latest generation of smartphones through gestures, MIT said Thursday. In choosing 3dim for the Robert P. Goldberg $100,000 grand prize, judges looked at proposals from seven finalists winnowed from a field of 215 applicants. 3dim cofounder Andrea Colaço offered this description of the start-up’s technology: “The need for specialized hardware and high power has, to date, prevented 3D gesture capture in mobile devices, leaving users to poke at their small screens. Unlike existing 3D sensing methods which require high power illumination, sophisticated sensors, and complex processing, the 3dim solution exploits the compressibility of 3D signals to reduce power, cost, and complexity of 3D acquisition.”FULL ENTRY
Dynamics Research Corp., an Andover company that provides technology and management consulting services to government agencies, said Thursday that a subsidiary has been awarded a federal contract extension from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The company, which refers to itself as DRC, won a contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2010, and now the department has decided to extend that contract through next year, DRC said. Over a five-year period, that arrangement could have a total contract value to DRC of $125.5 million. The contract covers work DRC is doing on behalf of the department’s Veterans Relationship Management program, which is a multi-year initiative for delivering fast, accurate, and easily accessible health care information and benefits to veterans, service members, and eligible beneficiariesFULL ENTRY
The Massachusetts unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.4 percent in April, but the state’s economy shed 1,400 jobs, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported Thursday. April was the third consecutive month that the Massachusetts economy has lost jobs, and April numbers add to evidence that the state economy is slowing after a period of strong growth. The current national unemployment rate is 7.5 percent. April’s job losses in Massachusetts were spread across a variety of sectors. Leisure and hospitality, financial services, construction, and government were among the sectors of the Bay State economy that lost jobs last month.FULL ENTRY
Eric S. Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, called on Congress and President Obama to delay efforts to lower the federal deficit, arguing that budget cuts and tax increases have slowed the economy and contributed to high unemployment.
Rosengren, speaking at a conference in Milan, said cuts in local, state, and federal spending in recent years have offset efforts of the Federal Reserve to stimulate the economy through record low interest rates, keeping the economy from growing fast enough to significantly lower unemployment.
“Increased fiscal austerity in the US has weakened the outlook,’’ Rosengren said in prepared remarks. “I would urge policy makers to consider scenarios where some elements [of deficit reduction] take effect only after the economy has more fully improved.”FULL ENTRY
The Boston Conservatory, which bills itself as the oldest performing arts conservatory of its kind in the nation, has scheduled a ceremonial groundbreaking for Thursday afternoon for a new building that will house orchestra rehearsal hall and dance studios. The new building will be located at 132 Ipswich St, about a thousand feet from the school’s main building at 8 The Fenway. Plans call for conservatory president Richard Ortner to host the event, and other dignitaries are expected to be in attendance. “As a multi-disciplinary performing arts conservatory, our highly specialized curriculum requires equally specialized studios and teaching spaces,” Ortner said in a statement. “This project addresses many current needs and also makes provisions for future development.” The project will also breathe new life into the neighborhood, he added.FULL ENTRY
Harvard University endowment chief Jane Mendillo earned $5.3 million in 2011, up 52 percent from 2010, the institution disclosed on Wednesday.
The highest-paid manager on Mendillo’s staff at the nation’s largest endowment was again Andrew Wiltshire, who oversees hedge funds and other alternative assets for Harvard. Wiltshire took home $6.6 million, a 20 percent increase from the prior year.
The compensation disclosure for managers who invest the $31 billion Harvard endowment coincided with the university’s filing of its annual tax return Wednesday.
The pay of the Harvard endowment’s managers is a closely watched matter in some quarters of the university and among its alumni. Ninety percent of compensation for Harvard endowment managers is based on performance, and whether they beat their investment return goals.FULL ENTRY
The state’s biggest health insurers reported mixed first-quarter financial results Wednesday, with two notching income gains, one registering lower earnings, and one posting a loss.
While all of the health insurance companies said they were working to hold down premiums as they rolled out new products and shifted doctors and hospitals to risk-sharing payments, each cited unique factors influencing financial performance in the three months ending March 31.
First quarter operating earnings are typically weak for health insurers because that’s when many people decided to go ahead with elective surgeries and other procedures they postponed during the holidays. But that downturn was offset by investment income at most of the plans.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care turned in the strongest quarterly results -- its net income rose 150 percent.FULL ENTRY
Boston attorney Keith F. Higgins of the firm Ropes & Gray was named director of the Security and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporate Finance. Higgins, 61, has been with Ropes since 1983 and has worked on more than 50 initial public offerings for corporations. He also has advised public companies on mergers and acquisitions, compliance and corporate governance. In joining the SEC, he would be in charge of rules to help make sure investors are provided all the information they need about companies to make sound investment decisions. His group also is in charge of reviewing filings and ensuring that companies meet their disclosure obligations. He will assume the new job next month.FULL ENTRY
Algeta ASA, a Norwegian company with its US operational center in Cambridge, said Wednesday that its injectable drug for a certain kind of prostate cancer has been granted approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. The drug, called Xofigo, has been approved to treat patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, or CRPC, that has spread to the bones but not to other organs. According to Algeta’s press release, Xofigo is the first alpha particle-emitting radioactive therapeutic agent approved by the FDA. The commercial production of Xofigo is already underway, the company said, and the first doses are expected to be ready for patient treatment within a few weeks. According to Algeta, the FDA approval is a major milestone for the company.FULL ENTRY
State Street Corp. chief executive Jay Hooley sounded a more optimistic tone on the economy than he has in some time at the company’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, saying the recovery is “perhaps a little better than advertised.” Hooley said the economy is still “not where we want it to be’’ and said customers are “still pretty risk averse.” However, the Boston financial services giant is continuing to invest “for greater growth going forward,’’ he said. It was a notably short meeting with few questions – a change for State Street since the financial crisis, when its meetings have been attended by protesters and activist investors. It’s likely a surging stock price has helped: State Street shares were up nearly 33 percent for the 12-month period ended March 31.FULL ENTRY