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BRIEFCASE AMGEN TO INVEST IN INFINITY STARTUP.

Byline: - Staff and Wire Services

In a powerful endorsement for one of the region's most promising biotech startups, Amgen Inc. of Thousand Oaks will make a $25 million investment in Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Cambridge, Mass.

The investment will give Amgen, the world's largest biotech company with 2003 revenues of more than $7.5 billion, a stake of 10 to 15 percent in Infinity's stock. It will also give Amgen access to Infinity's current library of about 100,000 small molecules, each designed to be a prospective drug, and additional compounds in the future.

Besides the one-time equity investment, Amgen will pay an undisclosed fee for access to Infinity's technology and make progress payments should any Infinity compounds reach clinical trials or other milestones on the road toward market approval, and royalties if a drug succeeds.

Satellite TV pact approved by judge

A federal judge gave a final OK to a settlement between DirecTV and a group that resells its satellite service in rural areas, but the largest member of the group still hasn't signed on, DirecTV said today.

The National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative and some of its member companies agreed in August of last year to continue their relationship with El Segundo-based DirecTV Inc. on the current terms until June 30, 2011, DirecTV said.

At that time, subscribers to DirecTV programming in the NRTC territories will become DirecTV customers.

The NRTC serves nearly 20 percent of DirecTV's subscribers, according to the group's Web site.

Outlook improves for Diodes Inc.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE - The fourth quarter should be better than originally expected for Diodes Inc., as the semiconductor manufacturer updated its sales guidance on Wednesday. The company expects revenue to increase 10 percent over the prior quarter's $34.9 million.

Earnings per share should increase 20 percent from the 18 cents per share in the third quarter. Shares of Diodes rose $1.34, 6.46 percent, to close at $22.09 after the announcement.

Gemstar enters into agreement

Los Angeles-based Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. and South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. have entered an interactive program-guide license agreement, the companies said Wednesday.

Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Under the multiyear pact, LG has the right to incorporate TV Guide On Screen - Gemstar-TV Guide's interactive program guide for consumer electronics - into digital television products.

The licensed products include LG's integrated digital sets, digital video recorders and digital videodisc recorders sold in North America.

3D Systems gets new sales official

VALENCIA - Valencia-based 3D Systems Corp. announced Wednesday that it has named Bob Kayser as vice president, global sales, effective Jan. 19.

Kayser joins 3D Systems after nearly two years at Kemet Electronics, where he most recently was based in Shanghai as vice president of Asia sales.

Founded in 1986, 3D Systems provides solid imaging products and systems solutions to reduce the time and cost of designing products and facilitate direct and indirect manufacturing.

Digital disc player is to be unveiled

TOKYO - Toshiba Corp. and NEC Corp. have developed a next-generation digital video disc player that will also be compatible with DVDs recorded in today's format, setting the stage for another possible clash among rival technology standards.

Toshiba said Wednesday it plans to start selling two players based on the new high-definition DVD format in 2005. A prototype was expected to be unveiled at the International CES exhibition that starts today in Las Vegas.

No pricing for the new machines was disclosed.

Next-generation DVDs will be able to record from 20 to 30 gigabytes of data. By contrast, today's DVDs can hold about 4.7 gigabytes, or enough to play about two hours of video programming in the conventional analog format.

IRS to cut some jobs, add others

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service announced plans Wednesday to cut around 2,400 jobs, mostly clerical, but said it would add nearly as many new positions to go after tax cheats.

IRS Commissioner Mark Everson said a dramatic increase in the number of electronic tax returns means fewer data entry workers are needed to process them.

``By tightening operations, we can devote more people to front-line positions and strengthen tax enforcement activities,'' Everson said.

The job cuts will be made early next year. Savings from them will go toward hiring 2,200 criminal investigators, revenue agents and revenue officers to pursue tax scofflaws.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 8, 2004
Words:715
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