Business briefs, May 14

May. 13, 2014 @ 06:18 PM

Argos reports wider first-quarter net loss

DURHAM –Argos Therapeutics, a drug development company working on personalized treatments for a type of kidney cancer and for HIV, reported a wider first-quarter loss Tuesday.

The company reported a loss of $10.9 million as its revenues were down and its research and development and other costs were up.

The company went public in February, raising $43.4 million in the stock sale. In a release Tuesday, Argos said it plans to use its cash and other funds for clinical trials and to start, but not complete, the leasing and build-out of a new commercial facility.

Lori Harrelson, Argos’ vice president of finance, said in a conference call the company is still actively exploring potential sites and financing arrangements for the facility.

The company won approval from Durham city and county leaders for combined business incentives of $1.2 million if it locates its expansion here, although the company was considering sites in other counties and outside the state.

Argos is working to develop personalized treatments for cancer and infectious diseases. Its most advanced candidate – a treatment for kidney cancer - is in Phase 3 trials.

The company’s HIV candidate is in a Phase 2b trial funded by the National Institutes of Health. In March, the first patient was enrolled in a Phase 2 trial to see if the treatment can eradicate HIV in adult patients. The trial is being done in collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Pyramid scheme operators must repay consumers

RALEIGH – A court settlement approved Tuesday requires Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing to repay $7.75 million to consumers and bans people behind the operation from multi-level marketing.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office announced the settlement that resolves a lawsuit filed in January of last year by Cooper and the Federal Trade Commission and the attorneys general of Kentucky and Illinois.

According to Cooper’s release, Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing operated as a “classic pyramid scheme” that relied on payments from new recruits to “enrich those at the very top.” The scheme recruited more than 350,000 participants between 2009 and 2012, including about 20,000 people in North Carolina.
The company claimed participants could earn tens of thousands of dollars annually by buying into the operation to sell satellite television services, home security systems, beauty products and other consumer goods and services.
The court settlement was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Refunds are to be paid from assets surrendered by the company and the other defendants. Refunds will begin once all funds have been collected.
North Carolina consumers who may be eligible for a refund should file a complaint with Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division. To file a consumer complaint, call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM within North Carolina or fill out the form at ncdoj.gov.