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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Biotech firm to use SIRTI office

Compiled from staff and wire reports The Spokesman-Review

A biotech company with offices in California and Florida will move some of its operation to the SIRTI building in Spokane, the company announced Friday.

Aegis Biosciences of Granada Hills, Calif., and Palm Harbor, Fla., has moved one of its researchers to the SIRTI laboratory and office complex at the Riverpoint Higher Education Park.

Researcher Dave Vachon, one of the principals of Aegis, will work inside SIRTI on biomedical drug delivery and wound-healing processes, according to a SIRTI press release.

All other general business operations will continue out of the Palm Harbor office.

Aegis was formed in 1996. The company has not developed any products for the market but has secured two patents, the press release added.

Oracle poised for PeopleSoft takeover

San Francisco Oracle Corp. is poised to complete its acquisition of rival business software maker PeopleSoft Inc., bringing a formal end to a tumultuous takeover saga.

Redwood Shores-based Oracle announced late Thursday that 97 percent of PeopleSoft’s stockholders had accepted a $26.50-per-share takeover offer, clearing the way for the deal to close Friday. Oracle needed at least 90 percent of PeopleSoft’s stockholders to tender their shares to avoid a more cumbersome deal-closing process that might delayed the merger by more than a month.

Oracle’s shares rose 11 cents to close at $13.33 Friday on the Nasdaq Stock Market, where PeopleSoft’s shares rose a penny to $26.49.

The takeover has been a foregone conclusion since mid-December, the turning point when Pleasanton-based PeopleSoft abandoned 18 months of staunch resistance to Oracle’s unrelenting advances and accepted its bitter rival’s all-cash offer.

Oracle initially valued the bid at $10.3 billion, but now believes it will cost $10.5 billion to complete the takeover, according to a filing last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

North Idaho jobless rate falls to 6.8%

The Idaho Panhandle’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in December, a decrease of 0.5 percent over the last 12 months.

Lower unemployment rates reflect a year of strong job growth in Idaho’s five northern counties. Kootenai County added about 3,500 jobs in 2004. Every other county – from Benewah to Boundary – also experienced net job gains.

December unemployment rates, by county, were: Kootenai County, 6.1 percent; Bonner, 6.9 percent; Boundary, 9 percent; Shoshone, 10.9 percent; and Benewah, 8.2 percent.

The state unemployment rate last month was 5.1 percent. Many industries added jobs last year, including construction, health care, retail trade, education, finance and hospitality.

Spokane airport sees more passengers

Spokane’s airport saw an 11.6 percent bump in passenger travel in November and a 9 percent hike in cargo, airport officials said.

Through November this year, the airport handled 2.78 million passengers. In the same period of 2003, the number was 2.5 million passengers. During November, there were 251,979 passengers arriving or departing from Spokane International Airport. One year earlier that total was 225,627 passengers.

The single-largest carrier continues to be Southwest Airlines. It handled 33,905 Spokane passengers in November, up from 29,312 a year earlier, according to airline data.

Total freight and mail in November came to 4,471 tons, up from 4,098 tons in November 2003. For the first 11 months of 2004, cargo handled at Spokane’s airport came to 51,419 tons — a 6 percent increase compared with the first 11 months of 2003.

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