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BUSINESS TODAY

BIOTECH STARTUP TO JOIN USF LAB: The technology incubator being built on the campus of the University of South Florida has recruited a biotech startup from Massachusetts. Intezyne Technologies LLC has agreed to take 1,000 square feet of office and lab space in the 66,000-square-foot Tampa Bay Technology Incubator, which will open mid 2005. Intezyne was founded by four scientists from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst who have developed a technique to target delivery of drugs to specific cells. The company, which is working in temporary quarters until the incubator's opening, expects to have 10 employees by early next year. Habib Skaff, Intezyne's chief executive and a Tampa native, said the company was attracted by the USF facility, low rent and access to local professors and industry.

TORNADO HITS SYKES CALL CENTER: A tornado spawned by Hurricane Ivan destroyed the Sykes Enterprises call center in Marianna. No one was injured at the three year-old center, which had been evacuated. Sykes had scheduled to close the call center permanently on Oct. 2. Spokesman Jeff Tucker said Sykes will pay the 121 local employees for work they otherwise would have performed through Oct. 2. Tucker said it's not known at this time whether Sykes will rebuild the center before selling it. Jackson County officials had hoped a new employer would be able to move into the center and begin hiring almost immediately.

DISNEY WILL ANNOUNCE CEO BY JUNE: The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it expects to announce a new chief executive by June after a search that will include both inside and outside candidates to replace Michael Eisner, who is retiring in 2006. The board said Disney will hire an executive search firm and consider President Robert Iger as a candidate. The board, which has been meeting for two days, said it has full confidence in Eisner and expects him to assist in the transition and remain with the company until 2006. Board Chairman George Mitchell said a new CEO could be named sooner than next June and left open the possibility of Eisner leaving sooner. "He will continue to be the CEO until such time the board determines it is appropriate for a new CEO to take office," Mitchell said.

OIL PRICES RISE FOR FOURTH DAY: Oil prices hurdled $47 a barrel Tuesday, with further declines in the nation's supply expected in the short-term as petroleum producers disrupted by Hurricane Ivan continue to regroup. Light sweet crude for October delivery settled 75 cents higher at $47.10 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's just $1.60 below the Nymex peak set roughly a month ago, though still far below historical highs when adjusted for inflation.

WHAT'S CREDIT SCORE FOR? Americans are woefully ignorant about credit scores, a consumer group found, even though these measures of credit risk affect everything from the interest people pay on mortgages to whether they qualify for insurance. The Consumer Federation of America said Tuesday that a survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that only one-third correctly understand that credit scores indicate the risk of not repaying a loan. And more than half incorrectly believe a married couple has a joint credit score. Credit scores are derived from reports kept by major credit agencies, including Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. These agencies track the amount of debt consumers have taken on and whether they pay their bills on time. The higher a consumer's score, the more likely he or she will qualify for a good interest rate on credit cards and mortgages.

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