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GSK Settles First Zantac Cancer Lawsuit Due For US Trial

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GSK reached a settlement with a U.S. citizen who alleged its discontinued heartburn drug Zantac caused cancer, the British pharmaceutical giant said on Friday, preventing the first such lawsuit from going to trial. The case, brought by California resident James Goetz in Alameda County Superior Court, was to go to trial on July 24 and would have been the first test of how Zantac cancer claims fared before a jury. The parties reached a confidential settlement and the trial will be dismissed, GSK said. “The settlement reflects the company’s desire to avoid distraction related to protracted litigation in this case,” GSK said, adding it did not admit any liability.
The company also said it would “continue to vigorously defend itself based on the facts and the science in all other Zantac cases”. Originally marketed by a forerunner of GSK Plc, Zantac was later sold successively to Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), Boehringer Ingelheim, and finally Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY). Those companies also face lawsuits over the drug. They have all repeatedly denied Zantac can cause cancer. Approved in 1983, Zantac was one of the first drugs to top $1 billion in annual sales. However, in 2019, some manufacturers and pharmacies halted Zantac sales over concerns that its active ingredient ranitidine degraded over time to form a chemical called NDMA. Found in low levels in food and water, research has shown in large amounts of NDMA cause cancer. In the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2020 withdrew all remaining brands of Zantac and its generic versions from the market, triggering lawsuits. In March, a California judge denied GSK’s attempt to keep in the scheduled trial expert testimony on whether the drug is linked to cancer. Last month, a Canadian court dismissed a proposed class action against Zantac over increased cancer risk.

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Ford Signs Initial Deal To Sell Germany Plant To Investor

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Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) held a work meeting Friday where the Detroit automaker revealed that they have found what was described as a major international investor for Ford’s German plant in Saar louis and signed initial agreements together with the western state of Saarland. “This is an excellent basis for further negotiations, with the potential to create around 2,500 jobs in Saar Louis,” said Martin Sander, head of the company’s German unit Ford Werke. “This week we have taken a big step towards this goal,” he said, adding that the aim was still to transform the plant and create future employment opportunities. According to a late January report by The Wall Street Journal, China’s BYD (OTC: BYDDY) was one of fifteen investors expressing interest in acquiring the Ford site in Saar louis once the production of the Ford Focus, its current model, ceases in 2025. Shares of F are up 0.67% in premarket trading on Friday.

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Dutch Curb Chip Equipment Exports Amid US Pressure

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The Dutch government on Friday announced new rules restricting exports of certain advanced semiconductor equipment, a move that comes amid U.S. pressure on its allies to curb sales of high-tech components to China. “We have taken this step in the interest of our national security,” said Trade Minister Lieske Schreinemacher, adding such equipment may have military applications. Schreinemacher added only a “very limited” number of companies and product models would be affected. China was not named. ASML, a Dutch company that is a key equipment supplier to computer chip makers, said in the reaction it would not change its financial guidance as a result of the new rules. The rules, which will require companies that make advanced chipmaking equipment to seek a licence before they can export it, are expected to go into effect on Sept. 1. A technical document specifying which equipment will require a licence accompanied the announcement. The introduction of the list is the result of a high-level agreement between the U.S. and two allies with strong chip equipment industries – The Netherlands and Japan – to tighten restrictions as Washington seeks to hobble Beijing’s ability to make its own chips. ASML, Europe’s largest technology company, repeated a March statement indicating the top section of models of its second most advanced “DUV” product line, which are used to manufacture computer chips, would need a licence. It named its 2000 series “and subsequent” models and said it did not expect the rules to have a material impact on its financial forecasts. ASML’s most advanced EUV machines have never been shipped to China. ASML’s shares were down 3.6% after the news, while smaller rival ASM International (OTC:ASMIY) dipped 1.8%. The U.S. in October imposed export restrictions on shipments of American chipmaking tools to China from U.S. companies like Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) and Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) on national security grounds, and lobbied other countries with key suppliers to do similar. China decried the move, part of a heightening of tensions between the two countries that has spanned everything from 5G equipment and alleged spy balloons to relations over Taiwan. Reuters reported on Thursday the U.S. may introduce additional rules next month. Schreinemacher said she expected about 20 licence applications on an annual basis, representing a “limited part of the total product portfolio of the companies that fall under this rule”. ASML has been restricted from selling EUV machines without a licence under an international agreement known as the Wassenaar Arrangement, but the Dutch rules now make clear that EUV machines also fall under the Dutch rules.
European Union countries share a common trade policy and generally use the Wassenaar Arrangement to determine which exports are restricted on security grounds. The new Dutch list published may later be adopted by other European countries or added to the EU list, though few other European countries export high-end chipmaking equipment.
German manufacturers supply essential parts to ASML, including lasers made by Trumpf and lenses made by Zeiss, among others.

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SAIC’s MG Motor Brand Launches New Electric Vehicle Leasing Offer In France

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MG Motor, owned by Chinese company SAIC Motor, on Friday, announced a new leasing offer whereby drivers in France can get for 99 euros ($107.6) a month its MG4 electric car, matching a scheme the French government would like to see benefiting cars made in Europe. The offer runs from July 1 through to August 31 and is done in conjunction with MG Motor’s French banking partner Credit Agricole (OTC: CRARY) Consumer Finance. It is based on people getting a “super bonus” incentive of 7,000 euros for low-income buyers and also includes a 2,500 euros public aid paid in exchange for scrapping an old thermal engine car. MG Motor’s offer comes as major car companies from around the world compete in the electric car market, which is forecast to grow rapidly as customers ditch older models given current trends to protect the environment. The brand calls it its own “social leasing” offer, in reference to a scheme the French government is working on to make electric vehicles more affordable. It has been delayed several times because the French authorities fear it would benefit mainly Asian brands. According to a government source, it should be unveiled later this year and implemented in 2024, when the first European-made affordable electric cars will come to the market, such as the Citroen e-C3 from Stellates and the Renault (EPA: RENA) R5. The MG4, imported from China, was ranked as the 5th most sold EV in France in May, according to the French electric mobility association Avere-France.

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