Originally created 12/17/05

Business briefs



Weyerhaeuser to close, sell mills

Federal Way, Wash. - Weyerhaeuser co., one of the nation's largest producers of lumber and paper products, has announced plans to close or sell plants in eight u.s. states and two Canadian provinces, the latest in a series of cutbacks since a steep drop in third-quarter profits.

About 800 workers will lose their jobs in the cutbacks, although some could find work elsewhere in the company, a spokesman said Friday. None of the facilities is in Georgia.

Gag order is sought in Enron fraud case

HOUSTON - Prosecutors have asked a federal judge to muzzle out-of-court statements related to the fraud and conspiracy case against Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay and former Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling in light of Mr. Lay's speech Tuesday lambasting government tactics in pursuing him.

Mr. Lay made his speech to Houston business and academic leaders. He, Mr. Skilling and former Enron accountant Richard Causey will go on trial Jan. 17.

J&J will acquire insulin pump maker

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Shares of insulin pump maker Animus Corp. soared more than 30 percent Friday after health care conglomerate Johnson & Johnson said it had agreed to acquire the company for about $518 million to capitalize on the growing demand for diabetes treatment. The acquisition will give Johnson & Johnson immediate entry in the fast-growing insulin delivery pump market.

Pfizer wins ruling on Lipitor patent

NEW YORK- Pfizer Inc. won a crucial court ruling Friday that will allow it to exclusively sell the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, the top-selling drug worldwide, until 2011. Shares of Pfizer, the world's largest drug company, soared more than 11 percent on the news.

The ruling heads off the chance that Indian pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. will be able to launch a cheaper version of Lipitor before Pfizer's patents expire in 2010 and 2011.

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Contact Business Editor Damon Cline at: (706) 823-3486 or damon.cline@augustachronicle.com.