Business news briefs: Pa. universities land Department of Defense deal

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Universities land DOD deal

Carnegie Mellon University's CyLab and the University of Pennsylvania have received a four-year, $3.9 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to improve the security of commercial technologies used by the department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Gas down 3 cents over week

Gasoline prices are continuing their downward slide in the Pittsburgh region. They began this week at an average $3.34 per gallon, 3 cents lower than the prior week, according to The national average is falling even faster. Gas retailers around the country reported a $3.20-per-gallon average, 5.4 cents lower than a week ago. By Christmas, prices could fall to $3.05 per gallon, predicted Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst.

Tablets get regulatory OK

Cecil-based generic drug giant Mylan Inc. said it received regulatory approval to launch a generic version of Eisai Corp.'s Aciphex tablets used to treat ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems.

Smartphones tripling by 2019

The number of smartphones is forecast to triple to 5.6 billion globally by 2019, accounting for more than 60 percent of cell phones. Sweden's Ericsson AB, the world's largest maker of telecommunications networks, says in a report Monday it expects smartphone traffic to grow tenfold in the next six years, with service providers increasing high-speed networks to deal with the surge.

Amazon, USPS deliver Sundays

Amazon is teaming up with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sundays. The Seattle company says Sunday delivery will be available this week to customers in the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. Amazon and the Postal Service plan to roll out service to "a large portion of the U.S. population" next year, including the cities of Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Phoenix. Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed, but the deal is likely to give the financially ailing Postal Service a boost. The agency, which lost $16 billion last year, had tried but failed to end Saturday mail delivery as a cost-saving measure.

Shire buys ViroPharma

The drugmaker Shire PLC plans to strengthen its rare disease treatment portfolio by spending $4.2 billion in cash to buy the biopharmaceutical company ViroPharma Inc. The Dublin-based drugmaker said Monday it will pay $50 for each share of ViroPharma, which is based in Exton, Pa. ViroPharma focuses on serious diseases with few, if any, available therapies. Its products include Cinryze, which is used to prevent and treat attacks of hereditary angioedema, a rare genetic disorder that can cause dangerous swelling of the throat or larynx. The company generated $428 million in worldwide revenue last year.

Transocean fine-tuning

Transocean Ltd., the world's largest offshore rig contractor, will boost its dividend and cut costs as part of an agreement with Carl Icahn, months after winning a shareholder battle with the billionaire investor. Shareholders, who rejected Mr. Icahn's proposed $4-a-share dividend in May, will have the chance to vote on a $3 payout next year, up from the current $2.24 level, according to the company.

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