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L’Oréal Paris names actress Naomi Watts as spokesperson

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — L’Oréal Paris has tapped actress Naomi Watts to be part of its family of spokespersons, joining Julianne Moore, Freida Pinto, Eva Longoria, Blake Lively and Jane Fonda, among others.

In the United States, Watts will appear in advertisements supporting a new skin care innovation from the brand, set to launch in January 2015.

“I am deeply honored to join this inspirational brand. L’Oréal Paris has been telling women for decades that they are ‘worth it’ — this is not a slogan, it’s an inspirational mantra. L’Oréal Paris embodies much more than legendary products, it also promotes self-affirmation, self-confidence and allows each and every woman to value herself no matter what her age, background or nationality,” Watts said.

Born in England, Watts was raised in Australia, where she studied acting and launched her career. Her breakthrough performance in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” in 2001 lit up the screen and had directors standing up and taking notice. The role earned her Best Actress awards from esteemed organizations, including the National Board of Review and National Society of Film Critics.

This success gave her the freedom to select projects that resonated on a personal level — from tragedies like Alejandro’s Gonzales Inarritu’s “21 Grams,” where she starred alongside Sean Penn, to major blockbusters, such as Peter Jackson’s remake of “King Kong” in 2005. These roles have earned her nominations from the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Award.

Her upcoming projects include director Gus Van Sant’s latest film, “Sea of Trees,” alongside Matthew McConaughey. She is now shooting “Demolition” co-starring Jake Gyllenhall.

Watts also devotes her time to raising awareness for AIDS-related issues and is a Goodwill Ambassador for the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS and an inaugural member of the AIDS Red Ribbon Awards.

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P&G announces ‘in line’ Q1 results, plans to exit battery business

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble posted first-quarter results in line with expectations, and announced plans to shed its Duracell battery business as it works to restructure its portfolio.

“We continue to accelerate and increase productivity savings, sharpen our strategies and strengthen our portfolio by focusing on our biggest opportunities. The pet care divestiture and exit of the battery business will allow us to further focus these efforts,” stated P&G CEO A.G. Lafley.

On the heels of the divesture of its pet business in July to Mars, Inc., P&G is now looking to exit the Duracell business in a two-step process. The first step was finalizing an agreement to sell its interest in a China-based battery joint venture, which it accomplished in late August. Now, P&G is planning to exit the Duracell business and is hoping to split off the business into a stand-alone company.

“We greatly appreciate the contributions of our Duracell employees. Since we acquired the business in 2005 as part of Gillette, Duracell has strengthened its position as the global market leader in the battery category,” stated Lafley. “It’s a business with attractive operating profit margins and a history of strong cash generation. I’m confident the business and its employees will continue to thrive as its own company.”

Net sales during the quarter totaled $20.8 billion, essentially unchanged compared with the year-ago period. Organic sales grew 2%.

Net income dropped 34% to $1.99 billion during the quarter. Diluted net earnings per share were 69 cents, including non-core items. Excluding items, earnings per share were $1.07.

In beauty, hair and persona care, organic sales were unchanged as pricing benefits from prior year increases across all business units were offset by lower prestige volume.

In the grooming segment, organic sales were unchanged as higher pricing and innovation on blades and razors and higher volume in appliances from innovation were offset by lower blades and razors volume in developed regions, the company stated.

 

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U.S. District Court rules in favor of patent protecting Pfizer’s Sutent

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Pfizer on Thursday announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware upheld its basic patent and the L-malate salt patent covering Sutent (sunitinib malate) capsules. This decision, which is subject to appeal, affirms Pfizer’s right to exclusively provide sunitinib malate as Sutent to patients through the term of the patent, which expires in 2021.
 
“The Court’s decision acknowledges the validity and infringement of our patents and affirms the value of Sutent, a standard of care in the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma,” said Douglas Lankler, EVP and general counsel for Pfizer. “Defending our intellectual property is crucial to our ability to discover and develop innovative new medicines, which is at the very core of what we do.”
 
Pfizer filed suit in June 2010 after Mylan Pharmaceuticals applied to the Food and Drug Administration to market a generic version of Sutent prior to the expiration of the patents covering sunitinib malate and its uses. After a four-day trial, the Court agreed that Mylan infringed the valid patents covering Sutent.
 
The patents at issue are U.S. Patent Nos.6,573,293 and 7,125,905.
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