Business briefs

Jun. 12, 2013 @ 06:06 PM

Deal lets Duke Energy raise rates $200M a year

RALEIGH  — Duke Energy Corp. says its electricity subsidiary for western North Carolina has a deal with a state regulatory division responsible for representing consumers.

The power company said Wednesday it agreed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission's Public Staff to take less than half of the rate increase it requested in February.

The settlement would allow Duke Energy Carolinas to raise rates by $205 million each of the first two years, increasing to $235 million after the third year.

The announcement comes about two weeks after regulators approved a 7.5 percent average increase over two years for about 1.3 million customers of the former Progress Energy. The electricity provider for much of eastern North Carolina is a subsidiary of Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp., the country's largest electricity company.

Quintiles given “underperform” rating in analyst report

DURHAM – Quintiles Transnational Holdings, the Durham-based contract research firm that manages clinical trials and provides other services for pharmaceutical companies, was given an “underperform” rating in a report by a Sterne Agee analyst.

The report by Greg T. Bolan, an analyst with the Birmingham, Ala.,-based private brokerage firm, said the firm believes Quintiles has hit a “glass ceiling” and is becoming a business that will have to give up market share.

The analyst expects competition among the top five to 10 contract research organizations for late-stage clinical trials to intensify, and Quintiles to be the most susceptible to “market share loss given its massive share of the PIIB-IV CRO market.”

He expects that the company will have to make greater concessions on price and terms of deals and will need to be more aggressive.

Durham ranked high for economic potential

DURHAM -- Durham was ranked as No. 2 for economic potential in a list of the top 10 small cities in the Americas in fDi Magazine’s “American Cities of the Future 13/14.”

The city was second to Sunnyvale, Calif., and was ahead of Irvine, Calif.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Stamford, Conn.; Guelph, Ontario; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Cary; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Fremont, Calif.

Raleigh ranked as No. 8 in a list of top 10 mid-sized American cities for economic potential. The top city was Saltillo, Mexico, followed by Salt Lake City, Utah; New Orleans; Joinville, Brazil; Chandler, Ariz.; and London, Ontario.

The ranking defined small cities as cities with populations of between 100,000 and 350,000. Mid-sized cities were defined as cities with populations of more than 200,000 and a metropolitan area population of more than 750,000, or a city population of more than 350,000.

RTP lab processing Down syndrome blood test

SAN DIEGO –The build-out is complete of a Research Triangle Park lab where a California-based genetic testing company, Sequenom, says a subsidiary has already started processing of a blood test to detect Down syndrome.

According to a company news release, the lab, in space on the Wake County side of the park, will be primarily for processing of the MaterniT21 PLUS tests. The lab will have an initial processing capacity of 100,000 tests per year.

“Our investment in establishing this new presence on the East coast will allow us to better meet the needs of health care providers by providing critical additional capacity and geographic back-up needed to address the rapidly growing adoption of our testing services,” said William Welch, Sequenom’s president and chief operating officer, in the release.    

Sequenom released a Down syndrome test more than a year ago for pregnant women at- risk for carrying a fetus with Down syndrome, or trisomy 21. The company’s MaterniT21 PLUS also detects trisomy 18 and 13.

In addition to the RTP lab, the company subsidiary also has labs in California and Michigan. In October 2011, then-Gov. Beverly Perdue had announced that a Sequenom subsidiary planned to invest $18.7 million in the Wake County lab, and to create 242 jobs.