The daily business briefing: July 7, 2023

FDA grants full approval to Alzheimer's drug Leqembi, Yellen slams China for 'punitive' measures aimed at foreign firms, and more

Janet Yellen speaks in China
Janet Yellen is in Beijing to smooth relations between the U.S. and China
(Image credit: MARK SCHIEFELBEIN / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)

1. FDA grants full approval to Alzheimer's drug Leqembi

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday gave full approval to Leqembi, a drug that can slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. While other drugs have been approved that target the symptoms of Alzheimer's, this is the first time the FDA has granted full regulatory approval to one meant to slow cognitive decline. Leqembi, made by the drugmakers Eisai and Biogen, targets beta-amyloid, a kind of protein in the brain believed to play a role in Alzheimer's disease. For the phase 3 clinical trial of the drug, 1,795 people with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimer's participated, and researchers found that over 18 months, progression of the disease slowed by 27%. This is not a cure, but "it's a first step for hopefully more therapeutics in the future," Dr. Ronald Peterson, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, told NBC News. Leqembi could cause serious side effects, including brain swelling and hemorrhage, and the drug will come with a boxed warning.

NBC News

2. Yellen slams China on 'punitive' measures aimed at foreign firms

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen leveled "a forceful objection" to China's measures aimed at foreign firms, The New York Times reported. Yellen is in Beijing in on a "high stakes-trip" to smooth relations between the U.S. and China, but "tension between the two nations has escalated," the Times added. Yellen accused China of taking "punitive" action against American companies. The Chinese government recently detained five Chinese nationals working for an American consulting firm, and imposed export controls on some critical minerals. "We are still evaluating the impact of these actions, but they remind us of the importance of building resilient and diversified supply chains," Yellen said. The Biden administration has been trying to restrict China's access to semiconductor components and kneecap the country's tech development.

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3. 'Scorching hot' jobs report defies expectations

An "expectation-shattering" June jobs report published Thursday showed that the U.S. labor market remained strong, CNBC reported. Companies added almost half a million jobs in June according to ADP, more than double the projected estimates "despite growing risks of a recession," Reuters said. The "scorching hot" jobs report has traders worried about what the Fed will do next, CNBC said. "The jobs data … reaffirmed that the U.S. economy isn't cowed by current interest rates, meaning that higher rates in the upcoming months are all but certain." The "main event for economic data" comes on Friday when the Labor Department releases its June payroll report, which is expected to show an increase of 240,000 roles. All three major indexes were on track for weekly losses.

CNBC Reuters

4. Twitter threatens to sue Meta over Threads

Twitter's legal team has accused Meta of "deliberately" copying the Twitter application for its new Threads app and poaching former Twitter employees to do so, Semafor reported on Thursday. "Over the past year, Meta has hired dozens of former Twitter employees" who "improperly retained Twitter documents and electronic devices" and "continue to have access to Twitter's trade secrets and other highly confidential information," lawyer Alex Spiro wrote in a cease-and-desist letter. He also accused Meta of "deliberately" assigning those employees to create Threads, adding that "Twitter intends to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights, and demands that Meta take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets or other highly confidential information." A Meta source denied the Twitter team's accusations. "No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee," the person told Semafor. "That's just not a thing."


5. Global regulator sets out emissions targets for shipping industry

A group of negotiators representing nearly every country in the world reached a tentative agreement Thursday to "effectively eliminate" the shipping industry's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, The New York Times reported. The commitment from the International Maritime Organization, the global shipping regulator, is "in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius," the Times said. The shipping industry accounts for roughly 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and is set to grow, but zero-emission fuel alternatives are emerging. The IMO agreement is nonbinding but is aimed at encouraging governments to set their own aggressive emissions targets for shipping companies.

The New York Times

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