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VOL. 131 | NO. 182 | Monday, September 12, 2016

Daily Digest

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Memphis Medical Society Names New Executive Vice President

The Memphis Medical Society has tapped Clint Cummins as its new executive vice president.

Cummins will fill the vacancy created by the departure of Michael Cates, who will retire at the end of September after 31 years with the organization.

The selection of Cummins was made after a regional search and selection process involving a search committee comprised of five physicians. Final approval for Cummins' hire came from the medical society's board of directors.

Cummins’ career has included more than 12 years of experience in executive planning, administration, communications and marketing in the nonprofit sector. He was employed for more than six years at the American Cancer Society, serving in the positions of corporate systems director, major gifts officer, senior director, partner relationships and as vice president, corporate and distinguished partners.

Cummins was also annual fund manager for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis and an associate director for organization development for Kappa Alpha Order at the National Administrative Office in Lexington, Virginia.

– Andy Meek

Southern College of Optometry Begins Crosstown Work

Southern College of Optometry, one of the founding tenants of Crosstown Concourse has begun its seven-figure buildout. Grinder, Taber & Grinder recently filed a $1.2 million building permit for interior build out of shell space for SCO’s new home.

SCO will operate an eye clinic at Crosstown in partnership with Church Health. Both will run an eye clinic out of the same shared space. For the first time, SCO optometric physicians, students and interns will work side-by-side with family practice residents and medical physicians to provide coordinated health care.

– Madeline Faber

EDGE Approves Trio of Inner-City Development Loans

The Finance Committee of the Memphis-Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine has approved three grants for inner-city businesses.

April House Premier, at 5650 Mt. Moriah Road, will receive an $8,255 Inner City Economic Development loan. The funds will go toward facade improvements and plumbing and electrical upgrades at the 3,400-square-foot restaurant. Through the Workforce Investment Network, April House Premier will also launch an apprenticeship program for young adults interested in the culinary arts.

Dru’s Place, a Midtown bar at 1474 Madison Ave., will receive a $8,255 ICED loan to help fund the 3,000-square-foot building’s facade restoration, deck replacement and awning installation.

Since launching the ICED Loan Program in 2014, the EDGE Economic Development Finance Committee has approved 31 ICED loan projects, representing more than 269 jobs and a total capital investment of nearly $3 million.

“We are pleased to partner with so many established, small businesses across Memphis as they take steps to further strengthen their own businesses while reviving their neighborhoods,” said John Lawrence, manager of EDGE Strategic Economic Development Planning.

– Madeline Faber

GTx Reports Advance in Enobosarm Clinical Trial

Memphis-based GTx Inc. announced Thursday the achievement of the Stage 1 milestone for the 9 mg cohort of its Phase 2 clinical trial of enobosarm to treat breast cancer. It is being tested to treat women with advanced, estrogen receptor positive, androgen receptor positive breast cancer.

A pre-defined number of patients demonstrated clinical benefit per protocol, allowing the clinical trial to advance to the second and final stage. GTx said it expects to provide an update on Stage 1 of the second, 18 mg cohort in the clinical trial once there are sufficient patients to assess clinical benefit in this cohort. The company anticipates reporting Stage 1 data from the clinical trial in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to a release.

“The demonstration of clinical benefit among a pre-defined number of evaluable patients in Stage 1 of the 9 mg cohort of our ER+/AR+ breast cancer study represents an important milestone for GTx, since we have met the protocol-specified success criteria to continue with enrollment in Stage 2 of this cohort,” said Robert J. Wills, Ph.D., executive chairman of GTx. “We believe enobosarm may provide a new hormonal approach for the treatment of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer and may delay the need for chemotherapy in these women.”

The multinational Phase 2 clinical trial will assess the efficacy and safety of orally administered enobosarm in up to 88 evaluable patients with metastatic or locally advanced ER+/AR+ breast cancer. Patients will receive orally administered enobosarm (9 mg or 18 mg) daily for up to 24 months. The two cohorts will be treated independently for the purpose of assessing efficacy. The lead investigator for the trial is Dr. Beth Overmoyer from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

Biopharmaceutical company GTx is working to discover, develop and commercialize small molecules for the treatment of cancer, including treatments for breast and prostate cancer, and other serious medical conditions.

– Daily News staff

Kroger Cuts Sales Forecast on Falling Food Prices

Kroger reported weaker-than-expected revenue Friday, Sept. 9, and said it was hurt by falling prices for eggs, meats and other products, forcing it to lower its sales forecast for the year.

The supermarket operator said it expects the price weakness to continue into next year, but CEO Rodney McMullen expressed confidence that it "won't last forever."

Shares of Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), the dominant grocer in the Memphis market, were up slightly at $31.32 in Friday trading.

Kroger chief financial officer Mike Schlotman told business news channel CNBC that the drop in prices for eggs, meats and milk have affected the price of ice cream and other products that use such ingredients. Kroger, based in Cincinnati, has nearly 2,800 grocery stores around the country, including its namesake Kroger as well as Ralphs and Dillons.

Like other grocers, Kroger has also been trying to keep prices low to fend off competition. Analysts have noted the increasingly competitive environment in the grocery industry, with chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pushing aggressively to win over customers with lower prices. Restaurant groups including Wendy's have also said cheaper groceries have crimped their business, because people are opting to eat at home more as a result.

For the second quarter ended Aug. 13, Kroger said sales rose 1.7 percent at locations open at least 15 months. The metric is considered a key indicator of financial health because it strips out the impact of newly opened and closed locations.

For the full year, the company said it expects sales to be up 1.4 percent to 1.8 percent. That's down from its previous forecast for growth of 2.5 to 3.5 percent.

Kroger's profit for the second quarter fell nearly 12 percent to $383 million, or 40 cents per share, as it made changes to its employee pensions. A year ago, it earned $433 million, or 44 cents per share.

Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were 47 cents per share, beating the 45 cents per share Wall Street expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Total revenue rose 4 percent to $26.57 billion in the period, which missed Wall Street's forecast for $26.78 billion.

Kroger said it now expects earnings for the year between $2.10 per share and $2.20 per share, compared with its previous forecast between $2.19 per share and $2.28 per share. Analysts expected earnings of $2.20 per share, according to FactSet.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173