Early Briefing: A Different Kind of Bet on Gold

*CytImmune, a Rockville biotech, is betting on nanoparticles of gold to target cancer tumors like a smart bomb, delivering a drug so strong that it has been known to either cause more cancer or shut down the cardiovascular system.

Says Lawrence Tamarkin, the company's founder: "No company that I know of takes a drug that's knowingly toxic and knowingly severely toxic and says, 'I'm gonna try and get this approved.' I gotta tell you: Most people think I'm nuts."

*The Virginia General Assembly voted to borrow $1.5 billion to pay for nearly 70 construction projects at colleges, parks and mental health facilities during a one-day session designed to complete the year's unfinished legislative business.

*Three coal companies have agreed to limit operations temporarily at three mountaintop-removal mines in West Virginia opposed by environmentalists.

The deal came in a long-running battle pitting the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and other groups against the Army Corps of Engineers and mine operators.

OVEC won a court ruling in March 2007 that the corps violated federal law by issuing valley fill permits for mountaintop-removal mines without conducting extensive environmental reviews.
OVEC targeted permits issued to subsidiaries of Pittsburgh-based Consol Energy, Richmond-based Massey Energy and Hansford, W.Va.-based Tyler Morgan LLC.

The environmental group agreed to drop its request for a restraining order after discovering that extensive work, including filling streams with rock and debris, had occurred at parts of the mines covered by the permits.

In exchange, Tyler Morgan, Massey and Consol agreed to mine just parts of the areas covered by the permits and to give OVEC 30 days notice if they intend to mine other areas.

*Arne M. Sorenson, the chief financial officer of Marriott International, has been nominated to the 15-member board of directors of Wal-Mart. Shareholders are expected to vote on Sorenson's nomination to the one-year term during their annual meeting in Arkansas in June.

By Terri Rupar  |  April 24, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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