Statewide: Triangle region, June 2014

 In 2014-06

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STATEWIDE Triangle Region

Another payday for Eshelman?
The founder of Furiex Pharmaceuticals could make more than $372 million when New York-based Forest Laboratories acquires the Morrisville company in a deal that may total $1.5 billion. Forest is offering about $1.1 billion for Furiex, plus more if the Food and Drug Administration approves its treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. On March 31, Fred Eshelman controlled 27% of 24-employee Furiex, which was spun out of Wilmington-based contract-research organization Pharmaceutical Product Development in 2010. Eshelman founded PPD in 1985 as a one-man startup. The deal would be the third-largest acquisition involving a North Carolina pharmaceutical company this year. It would mark a second big payout for Eshelman, who made more than $275 million when Washington, D.C.-based The Carlyle Group and San Francisco-based Hellman & Friedman acquired PPD for $3.9 billion in 2011. The Furiex transaction is expected to close in the third quarter pending regulatory and shareholder approval.

RALEIGHN.C. State University received $25 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to lead a consortium of universities and labs that will develop methods to detect foreign nuclear materials and activities. It beat 22 competing proposals for the grant, its third since N.C. State was selected in August 2013 to create a $60 million lab to study solutions for big-data problems and in January to lead a $140 million manufacturing-innovation institute (Statewide, February).

CARYNovozymes will invest more than $36 million and create 100 jobs over three years in a research and development center. The Danish biotech company, which employs 545 at its North American headquarters in Franklinton, will develop methods to improve yield, fertility and pest control for crops. Average annual salary will be $70,000, 41% higher than Wake County’s average of $49,410.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Novartis International AG will purchase London-based GlaxoSmithKline’s cancer-drug business for up to $16 billion. GSK employs about 4,000 here and at other Triangle locations. GSK will buy the Basel, Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company’s vaccine business, excluding its influenza franchise, for $7.1 billion.

RALEIGHConcord Hospitality Enterprises sold 13 hotels — 11 Marriotts and two Hiltons — for $240 million to an unnamed global investment fund. The hospitality company, which is based here, owns or manages more than 90 hotels in 19 states, the District of Columbia and Canada and has 10 under construction. None of its six North Carolina properties were included in the sale. Concord will continue to manage the hotels.

FOUR OAKSFour Oaks Bank & Trust and its holding company, Four Oaks Fincorp, will pay $1.2 million to settle a federal case regarding its involvement in the pyramid scheme. The lawsuit alleges the bank profited from contracts with third-party payment processors including Rex Venture Group, the Lexington-based company that ran the ZeekRewards program, which processed $60 million in payments through the bank. The bank did not admit to any wrongdoing.

SOUTHERN PINESTrident Marketing laid off half of its 400 employees at its call center after losing a major client, DirecTV. The local direct-marketing company’s clients include ADT, Hughes Net and Travel Resorts of America.



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