The Buzz On Business

MERCK GETTING INTO SCHIZOPHRENIA MARKET: Drugmaker Merck & Co. said Thursday it is licensing an experimental drug for schizophrenia from drug developer Addex Pharmaceuticals in a deal that could bring the small Swiss company up to $702 million. The licensing deal is the second collaboration announced in a month between the Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based pharmaceutical company and Addex, a development-stage business that has been trying to create a new class of drugs meant to subtly adjust faulty signals in the brain. The prior deal involves experimental drugs for treating Parkinson's disease and other disorders. "In schizophrenia, there is dysfunction in the circuitry of the brain that leads to misfiring of the neurons," Addex spokesman Ian McConnell said. Drugs such as these compounds "have the potential to selectively adjust the firing of those circuits, bringing them back in line with what is seen in a normal brain." McConnell likened the effect to using a dimmer switch to adjust lighting in a room, rather than turning a light on or off.

RESTRICTIONS BY CHINA ON VIDEOS: China has moved to restrict videos online -- including those posted on video-sharing Web sites -- to state-controlled sites and to require those Internet providers to delete and report a variety of content. It wasn't clear how the new rules would affect YouTube and other providers that host Web sites based in other countries that are available in China. A spokesman for San Bruno-based YouTube said the restrictions "could be a cause for concern, depending on the interpretation.", which claims to be China's largest video sharing Web site, didn't respond to an e-mail requesting comment. China is the world's No. 2 Internet market with an audience of about 164 million, including people who surf the Web from public computers, according to research firm comScore Inc. The United States has the world's most, 182 million users.

SOMETHING FISHY IN FLORIDA: At many restaurants around Florida, the specialty of the house is a slab of grouper, blackened, grilled, stuffed or encrusted with pecans, sometimes on a roll, maybe with a slice of Bermuda onion. But not at Richard Gonzmart's place. Gonzmart, whose family has owned the Columbia restaurant in Tampa's Cuban-American Ybor City section for four generations, won't serve grouper, because he can't be sure he is getting the real thing from his suppliers. Many restaurants in Florida have been caught passing off Asian catfish, tilapia or other cheaper species as grouper. Fake grouper is by far the biggest food-misrepresentation problem Florida inspectors handle, and it has turned up in all corners of the state -- even in the Capitol building's cafeteria. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates restaurants, found 139 cases of something other than grouper being sold as the fish from January 2006 through the end of October 2007. The runners-up were 75 cases of fake crab and 34 cases of fake tuna.

APPEAL HAD NO TEETH: Two English dentists fended off attempts by Lacoste to prohibit the use of a crocodile similar to the French fashion company's logo. Britain's trademark watchdog confirmed Thursday that it rejected an appeal by Lacoste SA of an earlier ruling that found the dentists' crocodile would not confuse consumers. The logo used by the dentists features the right side of a crocodile with two feet visible and its tail sharply curled to the left. They tried to register the logo in 2004 but lawyers for Lacoste contested it. Lacoste argued the logo looked too much like the crocodile it has stitched into shirts since 1933. Two-time Wimbledon winner René Lacoste, who was nicknamed "the Crocodile," first put the logo on the breast of shirts he designed for playing tennis. His cotton collared shirts are a wardrobe staple. The reptile was ideal for the dentists, they said, because of its teeth.


Figuratively Speaking

83: Percentage of adults who say they receive unwanted gifts during the holiday season, according to a survey conducted by eBay

47: Percentage of adults receiving unwanted gifts who typically re-gift or resell them

53: Percentage of re-gifters and online resellers who say they feel satisfied after having re-gifted or resold a gift online

69: Percentage of adults who view re-gifting and reselling as a form of recycling