Massachusetts business in brief
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXTENDED
BOSTON – Gov. Deval Patrick has authorized the state to accept federal funds that extend unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks under a new federal program.
The program, created by a supplemental appropriations bill that was signed into law on Monday, adds nine weeks of benefits in Massachusetts. The state currently offers 30 weeks of benefits, compared with the typical length of 26 weeks in most other states.
The new benefits extension takes effect next week and will run through March 31, 2009. The state Division of Unemployment Assistance plans to notify potentially eligible claimants by mail next week.
The last time the U.S. offered extended unemployment benefits was from March 2002 through December 2003.
JGE PROMOTIONS OPENS OFFICE IN N.J.
NORWELL – JGE Awards & Promotions has decided to look to the Garden State to open its second location. The Norwell company, which supplies branded promotional products and trophies, recently opened a sales office in Chester, N.J., where the firm employs two people. The location was picked because of its proximity to Manhattan and the major companies in the area.
FDA APPROVES ABBOTT’S XIENCE STENT
Federal regulators have approved a rival stent to Boston Scientific Corp.’s blockbuster Taxus stent product, but Boston Scientific will get a piece of the action.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved Abbott Laboratories’ Xience drug-coated stent, and Abbott plans to begin selling the device immediately. Like other drug-coated stents, the Xience is used to treat coronary artery disease by propping open a constricted artery and releasing a drug that prevents the artery from getting blocked again.
Meanwhile, Natick-based Boston Scientific said its Promus brand drug-coated stent also received federal approval. That’s because the Promus is a private-labeled version of the Xience stent that will be manufactured by Abbott and distributed by Boston Scientific. Boston Scientific plans to immediately begin marketing the Promus stent, along with its Taxus stent.
PROGRAM TO HELP VETS GET MORTGAGES
BOSTON – Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration has unveiled a new program aimed at helping Massachusetts veterans obtain relatively inexpensive mortgages.
The “Home for the Brave” program includes mortgage insurance that will pay a veteran’s monthly mortgage payment for up to six months if he or she loses a job or is deployed on active military duty.
A $300,000 grant from Fannie Mae will help with closing costs for the first 200 veterans who participate.
The MassHousing program gives veterans access to low- or no-down payment mortgages from more than 40 local banks and credit unions. The loans would have discounted interest rates for a minimum of 10 years.
MIDNIGHT PASS BUYS PET PRODUCT PATENTS
MARSHFIELD – Midnight Pass, an online retailer in Marshfield specializing in novelty pet products, has purchased the patents of four new pet-related products from Melbourne Beach, Fla.-based Toys4Petz LLC.
The sale, which closed on June 12, included the patents and marketing rights for portable pet cots, portable pet bowls and a folding pet ladder to help pets get in and out of a vehicle.
The products were all originally patented by Toys4Petz president Chris Twigg. Midnight Pass founder Brad White said his company has already begun marketing their newly acquired products.