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Daily Business Report-July 31, 2013

Daily Business Report-July 31, 2013

Trius Therapeutics has developed an antibiotic to treat infections caused by the deadly superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, photographed here growing on a culture plate held by Warren Rose, associate professor of pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin.

Cubist to Pay Up To $1.6 Billion

For two San Diego Antibiotics Makers

Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc has agreed to pay up to $1.6 billion for Trius Therapeutics Inc. and Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc. — two biotech companies with San Diego operations. According to a Reuters report, the acquisitions will expand Cubist’s heft in antibiotics at a time when the number of drug-resistant viruses are on the rise.

Optimer Pharmaceuticals

Optimer Pharmaceuticals

The widely praised deals will give Cubist, one of the few big players in U.S. antibiotics in the United States, an additional $600 million to $1 billion in revenue on an annual basis from the companies’ lead drugs. Antibiotics has often been shunned by many big pharma firms as a field of research due to poor returns.

Cubist, known for its Cubicin antibiotic, will also gain Trius’s experimental drug, tedizolid phosphate, that showed promise in treating skin infections in two late-stage studies and which Cubist hopes to launch in late 2014.

“As a recognized leader in acute care, we believe Cubist is best-positioned to maximize tedizolid’s potential to patients in the U.S. and other world regions,” said Jeffrey Stein, president and CEO of Trius. “This transaction culminates years of intense work by the Trius team to achieve this outcome, and our shareholders are being rewarded for their involvement and support of the company.”

Cubist will pay $13.50 per share in cash for Trius and another $2 per share if Trius meets certain sales targets. A $15.50 per share offer would be about 32 percent more than Trius’s closing share price on Tuesday. For Optimer, Cubist is paying $10.75 per share in cash upfront to Optimer shareholders, and could pay an additional $5 per share contingent on Optimer meeting certain sales milestones. A $15.75 per share offer would represent a premium of about 19 percent to Optimer’s Tuesday’s closing price of $13.29, but without the contingent payment, it represents a 19 percent discount.

Council Approves Prevailing Wage Ordinance

The San Diego City Council approved a prevailing wage requirement on city public works projects Tuesday. The vote was 5-4. “The City Council’s action today will result in higher-quality work and more middle class jobs for our region,” said Council President Todd Gloria. The ordinance requires the city and its departments, boards and agencies to advertise and include specifications requiring compliance with the state prevailing wage law in contracts for public works, which generally include construction, reconstruction or repair of public buildings, streets and utilities. Prevailing wage would impact all projects above $25,000 for construction and above $15,000 for maintenance, alteration, repair, or demolition work, and the requirements will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.  It will not apply to contracts that reimburse work started before that date.

Report: County Industrial Market Improving

San Diego County’s industrial market continues to see slow and steady improvement, evidenced by its eighth consecutive quarter of positive net absorption and falling vacancy, according to a report by Cassidy Turley. “Flight to quality, lease renewals and consolidations continue to drive leasing activity,” said Bryce Aberg, senior vice president with Cassidy Turley. “Tenants recognize the current window of opportunity to upgrade or expand their facility or relocate to prime locations will not last indefinitely.  Many are acting now to secure favorable lease terms before rental rates begin to spike more dramatically.” The study shows that the San Diego County industrial market has recorded positive net absorption every quarter since Sept. 30, 2011, for a total of 4.4 million square feet of space absorbed. Of this, 351, 296 occurred in the second quarter of 2013. Correspondingly, industrial vacancy has declined steadily with the improving demand for space, currently standing at 9 percent countywide.  This compares to the peak vacancy rate of 12.7 percent recorded at year-end 2009.

City Council Files Cross-Complaint Against Filner

The San Diego City Council unanimously authorized the filing of a cross-complaint against Bob Filner Tuesday, a move designed to protect municipal coffers in connection with a sexual harassment lawsuit against the city and San Diego’s embattled mayor. The decision was made in a closed-session meeting. The mayor normally chairs such meetings, but does not have a vote. The cross-complaint involves the case of former mayoral Communications Director Irene McCormack Jackson, who hired high-profile Los Angeles lawyer Gloria Allred and sued Filner and the city last week. “The city of San Diego has sued the mayor with unanimous City Council approval,” City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. “This is part of due process. If Bob Filner engaged in unlawful conduct and the city is held liable, he will
 have to reimburse us every penny the city pays and its attorney fees.” McCormack Jackson is one of seven women who have accused the mayor of unwanted sexual advances.

Council Votes Not to Pay Filner’s Legal Fees

The City Council also voted against covering the legal fees for the mayor’s sexual harassment lawsuit filed by McCormack Jackson. “The mayor has no right to expect a blank check from San Diegans to defend his outrageous behavior,” said Council President Todd Gloria.  (City News Service and KPBS)

Supercomputer Helping to Fund AIDS Research

A new Android app is helping researchers from the Scripps Research Institute fight AIDS. TSRI is working with IBM to tap into the massive computational power of World Community Grid, a global community of Internet users who donate unused time on their personal computers. Now, with recent software developments, owners of Android-based smartphones and tablets can also contribute to the cause. With computational power placing it among the top 10 supercomputers in the world, World Community Grid has been the first “virtual supercomputer” devoted specifically to AIDS research and other projects that benefit humanity. To enable owners of Android devices to participate in World Community Grid, software developers at UC Berkeley have updated volunteer computing software called Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC). Compatible with Android 2.3 or higher, BOINC can be downloaded from the Google Play site. Android users can help with this humanitarian project by downloading the BOINC app at:

S.D. Sport Innovators Accepting Applications for Mentoring Program

San Diego Sport Innovators is now accepting applications for Springboard 2.0 – Class 3 through Aug. 26. Springboard 2.0 is a free, four-month, intensive mentoring program for innovative sport and active lifestyle companies. Accepted companies are paired with mentors to assist in fine-tuning company business plans and creating compelling investor presentations in preparation for commercialization and capital funding opportunities. Springboard is open to companies outside of the region, but travel to San Diego is required. SDSI’s mentor team is comprised of more than 50 industry veterans and experts who volunteer their time. To date, 21 companies have graduated from SDSI Springboard since it became a standalone program from Connect in 2011. To apply, email Renne Catalano at

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to Kick Off Fall Semester

San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman will be the featured guest speaker at the Aug. 17 fall semester kickoff for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program through SDSU’s College of Extended Studies. The event for individuals ages “50 and better” kicks off at 9 a.m. with a program orientation for new students. Refreshments will be served at 9:30 a.m. as new and returning students receive an opportunity to mingle. Hirshman, who will be giving a lecture during the fall semester, will be among the Osher faculty members presenting short previews of their courses from 10-11:30 a.m. Students will have a chance to register for classes starting at 11:30 a.m. Registration opens to the public on Aug. 20. For more information, call (619) 594-2863.

UC San Diego Names New Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences

Margaret Leinen

Margaret Leinen

UC San Diego announced the appointment of Margaret Leinen as vice chancellor for marine sciences, director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and dean of the School of Marine Sciences. Leinen is an award-winning oceanographer and an executive with extensive national and international experience in ocean science, global climate and environmental issues, federal research administration and nonprofit startups. Leinen will join the university in October. She spent seven years at the National Science Foundation as assistant director for geosciences and coordinator of environmental research and education. She oversaw a budget of $700 million, led government-wide planning for climate research, and co-led government planning for ocean research.

MedImpact to Acquire Apex Affinity

MedImpact Healthcare Systems Inc. of San Diego announced that it will acquire Apex Affinity, a provider of consumer prescription savings programs to large affinity groups. “By reducing the cost of prescriptions not covered by insurance, Apex’s services are good for consumers, employers, providers, and our nation’s health care system,” said MedImpact President Greg Watanabe. The purchase is the second in recent weeks. On July 15, the company announced an agreement to purchase ScriptSave, a provider of consumer-focused pharmacy loyalty programs and integrated benefit design solutions.

Live Stream for SDSU-Eastern Illinois Football Game

The San Diego State University season-opening game against Eastern Illinois, scheduled for Aug. 31, will mark the first of five Saturday contests that will be streamed live exclusively on the Mountain West Network after the conference announced its initial digital telecast schedule for the 2013 football season earlier this week.

The Aztecs-Panthers tilt is slated for a 5 p.m. kickoff at Qualcomm Stadium and will be followed by the annual KGB SkyShow. 

The Mountain West Network will also carry UNLV’s non-conference meeting with Central Michigan on Sept. 14, as well as three Mountain West matchups, beginning with UNLV at Fresno State on Oct. 19, followed by San Jose State at UNLV (Nov. 2) and Fresno State at Wyoming (Nov. 9).

In addition to these five MW-network produced games, the Mountain West Network will also retain the digital streaming rights to 10 ROOT SPORTS football telecasts, including SDSU’s home clash with New Mexico, slated for Saturday, Nov. 2.


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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: