Judge tells Boston Scientific to pay up $703M; also: Xcel Energy plans Midwest’s largest biomass plant, and Northwest says it can profit at $100 oil

A rough week for Boston Scientific, the Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog notes: A judge ordered the company to pay $703 million to archrival Johnson & Johnson to settle an 11-year-old lawsuit over a product it stopped selling four years ago. The case accused Boston Scientific and Medtronic of infringing on a patent for a bare-metal stent. Medtronic, which still sells stents, was ordered to pay $521 million.

Xcel Energy announced plans Tuesday to build the Midwest’s largest biomass power plant in Ashland, Wis. The facility would burn wood, which greatly reduces pollution, instead of coal, the company said. (The environmental benefits of biomass are disputed, and the impact often depends on how and where the wood is harvested.) The project is expected to cost between $55 million and $70 million to finish.

Northwest Airlines can make a profit with oil at $100 per barrel, CEO Doug Steenland said at a news conference today in Tokyo. Reuters reports that the CEO said bookings are keeping pace with expectations, and despite the recent market turmoil, he’s confident the airline’s merger with Delta Air Lines will be a success. (The article doesn’t mention what Steenland is doing in Tokyo.)

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