Posted Mar. 14, 2017 at 6:09 a.m.

Tech wrap: New breast cancer drug; Verizon-Yahoo update; NYC sues over Verizon Fios; Pandora offers on-demand

Published: 2017-03-14 06:09:33
Updated: 2017-03-14 06:09:33

Bulldog

In today's Bulldog wrapup of tech and life science news:

  • FDA OKs new Novartis drug for type of advanced breast cancer
  • Verizon sought $925 million penalty for Yahoo's lax security
  • NYC sues Verizon, claims broken promises on Fios cable
  • Pandora starts on-demand music subscription service

The details:

  • FDA OKs new Novartis drug for type of advanced breast cancer

U.S. regulators have approved a new drug as an initial treatment for postmenopausal women with a type of advanced breast cancer.

The drug, called Kisqali and developed by Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG, is a pill that works to slow the spread of cancer by blocking two proteins that can stimulate growth and division of cancer cells.

It's for women who have metastatic breast cancer known as HR+/HER2-. About 40 percent of U.S. women diagnosed with breast cancer have this type, according to the American Cancer Society.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed the approval on Monday. Kisqali (KISS'-kahl-lee) is taken along with an older cancer drug called letrozole that works differently.

"This is an important therapy for these patients" who have limited options, said Dr. Vas Narasimhan, chief medical officer and head of drug development at Novartis, which has its U.S. headquarters in East Hanover, New Jersey.

Kisqali, part of the drug class called kinase inhibitors, is taken daily for three weeks, followed by a one-week break. Meanwhile, patients also take either letrozole or another aromatase inhibitor, depending on the characteristics of their disease, for the entire four-week cycle.

  • Verizon sought $925 million penalty for Yahoo's lax security

Verizon initially thought the biggest data breaches in internet history merited a $925 million discount on its acquisition of Yahoo's online services, nearly three times more than the two companies finally agreed upon.

Yahoo disclosed new details about its negotiations with Verizon in a regulatory filing Monday. The filing doesn't say why Verizon relented on its original demand, issued on Feb. 1. Verizon ultimately accepted Yahoo's offer to trim the sale price by $350 million instead.

The companies struck a $4.83 billion deal last July, but re-opened talks after Yahoo revealed that personal information had been stolen from more than 1 billion of its users in two separate hacking attacks in 2013 and 2014. The discount reflect concerns that people might decrease their use of Yahoo email and other digital services that Verizon is buying, reducing opportunities to show ads.

Verizon Communications is now aiming to complete the revised $4.48 billion purchase by the end of June.

After that, Yahoo's email and other digital services will become part of Verizon, which is planning to meld the operations with its AOL division in an effort to become a bigger player the growing market for digital ads.

  • NYC sues Verizon, claims broken promises on Fios cable

New York City has sued Verizon, saying the phone giant broke its 2008 promise to make its Fios cable service available to all city residents.

The city said in a lawsuit Monday that Verizon missed a 2014 deadline to extend wire by every home or apartment building in the city — in technical parlance, "passing" the home. The city also argues that Verizon hasn't installed service for thousands who requested it.

Verizon disagrees with the city's definition of "passing" a home and says it has done its job. Spokesman Ray McConville said Monday that Verizon sees "passed" as meaning that it can reach every home, provided a landlord gives permission. Verizon wants to reach some buildings through other buildings.

In a letter to the city Friday, Verizon says 2.2 million households have access to Fios, a phone, cable and high-speed internet network. Verizon said Monday that it is committed to expanding Fios availability to the city's remaining 1 million households.

The lawsuit was filed in a New York state court.

  • Pandora starts on-demand music subscription service

Internet radio company Pandora is launching an on-demand music service for $10 a month.

Pandora's existing service works more like radio. People listen to music on customizable stations. The premium service launching this month will let users choose specific songs or albums and will personalize recommendations based on people's listening habits. There is also an "offline mode."

The new Pandora Premium offering will compete with Apple Music and Spotify, both of which have given the music-streaming pioneer a run for its money. Spotify has 50 million subscribers, while Pandora had about 4.4 million as of the end of 2016. That's because most people listen to Pandora without paying; the company has 81 million total "active listeners."

Until now, the Pandora subscription mostly stripped out ads — for $5 a month.

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