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July job growth up slightly; recovery still on pace

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy still has a pulse, as evidenced in the slight increase of jobs in July as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. According to the latest employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, 117,000 jobs were added in July, with the greatest job gains coming in health care (31,000), retail (26,000) and the manufacture of durable goods (more than 24,000). The unemployment was little changed, dropping to 9.1%, the BLS reported.

The question is whether that pulse is strengthening or weakening.

“Americans are breathing a sigh of relief that unemployment numbers are taking a step in the right direction," stated Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation. "As an industry that provides jobs to more than 40 million Americans, consumer confidence in our economy and our government could not be more crucial as retailers inch closer to the holiday season.”

The report certainly came in stronger than Wall Street expected. According to published reports, economists had forecast a gain of just 85,000 in non-farm payrolls with the unemployment rate holding steady at 9.2%. Combine the July report with news that May and June employment figures were underreported by some 56,000 new jobs, and the data suggests that recovery forecasts remain on track. According to some reports, the report will ease pressure on the U.S. Federal Reserve to take new action in effort to spark growth. The Federal Reserve meets on Tuesday.

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FDA accepts Teva approval application for BDP Nasal HFA

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — The Food and Drug Administration has accepted an approval application for a drug made by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for treating allergies, Teva said.

The Israeli drug maker said the FDA accepted its application for BDP Nasal HFA (beclomethasone dipropionate hydrofluoroalkane) for the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis and perennial allergic rhinitis. The drug is a nasal aerosol corticosteroid.

"BDP Nasal HFA has demonstrated promising results in the treatment of both SAR and PAR, and we remain committed to addressing unmet needs and dissatisfaction with currently available treatments among the 60 million patients in the [United States] who suffer from allergic rhinitis," Teva group VP global branded products Yitzhak Peterburg.

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Roche drug improves lung function in patients with uncontrolled asthma, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

BASEL, Switzerland — An investigational treatment made by Roche for asthma increased lung function in patients who could not adequately control their disease with inhaled corticosteroids, according to results of a mid-stage clinical trial.

Results of the phase-2 "MILLY" study of lebrikizumab were published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The drug is a humanized monoclonal antibody designed to block interleukin-13 cytokine, a key contributor to asthma that also increases levels of the protein periostin, which can be measured with a blood test.

"The findings of the MILLY study and the development of a potential biomarker have shown that we may be able to select appropriate asthma patients for lebrikizumab therapy," said Richard Scheller, EVP Genentech Research and Early Development, a division of Roche. "These results support further investigation of lebrikizumab as a personalized medicine for patients who suffer from moderate to severe uncontrolled asthma."

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