Daily Business Report-Aug. 1, 2013
Palomar Health and Qualcomm
Launch Glassware Medical Incubator
Palomar Health and Qualcomm Life Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc., announced the launch of Glassomics, an incubator that will explore the application of wearable computing in medicine. The groups will establish an innovation lab to explore next generation mobile applications that incorporate wearable technology across the clinical and consumer sectors. “Wearable technology holds tremendous potential and we are dedicated to exploring applications that create opportunities to improve biometric data and wireless health management,” said Donald Jones, a Qualcomm Life vice president.
The collaboration between Qualcomm Life and Palomar Health will foster further industry partnerships in the research and development of potential uses of glassware in health care, the companies said. That could include genomic information mapping.
Development of the initial glassware prototypes will be led by Sparseware, a San Diego-based software engineering firm.
Tri-City Healthcare District Purchases Buildings it Once Leased
Seeking to save money on leases, Tri-City Healthcare District, operator of Tri-City Medical Center, has purchased both the 58,000-square-foot building occupied by Tri-City Wellness Center and the 25,000-square-foot Medical Office Building, located on the same parcel, for $47 million. The complex is located at 6250 and 6260 El Camino Real in Carlsbad. “This acquisition benefits the long-term financial health of Tri-City Healthcare District,” said Tri-City Medical Center CEO Larry Anderson. “By purchasing these facilities, Tri- City Medical Center will save as much as $60 million by the end of the lease period and will increase its current liquidity by $10 million in addition to owning the Wellness Center and the Medical Office Building.” The district acquired the buildings from original owner ECR Corporate Center. Prior to the sale, Tri-City Medical Center leased the property from ECR.
Tri-City Medical Center opened the Wellness Center in January 2009, making it available to the public. It has cardiovascular and strength-training equipment, various hospital based medical programs, a 25-meter lap pool, an indoor running track, a group fitness gym, yoga studio, warm-water therapy pool, spa and café, child care and community meeting areas.
State Court Affirms Wine Ordinance Ruling
A state court on Tuesday sided with a San Diego County ordinance that is bringing a bumper crop of boutique wineries to the backcountry. The California Appellate Court affirmed a lower court ruling that upheld the legality of the 2010 winery initiative spearheaded by County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. Barring an appeal to the state Supreme Court, the decision marks the conclusion of a three-year legal challenge. “This is a great victory for vintners, wine lovers and the region’s farm economy,” said Jacob. “By reducing costly and burdensome regulations, the ordinance has uncorked a new collection of boutique businesses.” In Ramona, a federally-designated viticulture area, there are 20 wine-tasting rooms today, compared to one when the ordinance was approved.
The ordinance was crafted to better regulate and encourage vintner operations through a tiered permit system tied to the amount of wine produced and the size of the operation. It has made it easier and less expensive for smaller wineries to open on-site retail outlets and tasting rooms. The three-judge appellate court panel rejected a lawsuit filed by the San Diego Citizenry Group largely centered on the argument that the county failed to properly assess the environmental impact of the ordinance.
Jacob is leading efforts to craft a similar ordinance to encourage microbreweries, cheese-making operations and other agriculture-based ventures in rural areas. The Board of Supervisors has agreed to explore the issue.
Former Mayor Jerry Sanders: Filner Has ‘Got to Go’
Former Mayor Jerry Sanders says his successor has “got to go” because the sexual harassment scandal has debilitated the administration of Mayor Bob Filner and brought national ridicule to San Diego, the U-T San Diego reports. Sanders, who now heads the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, stepped forward Wednesday on behalf of the business community to call for Filner to leave office. “I don’t care if it’s a recall,” Sanders said. “I don’t care if it’s a resignation. It’s simply paralyzed (San Diego) right now and the city can’t tolerate that. He’s got to go.”
Filner has refused to resign amid allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior toward numerous women, including eight who have spoken publicly about unwanted sexual advances such as kisses, groping and derogatory comments.
KB Home to Build Two Solar Home Communities in East County
Home builder KB Home announced that it recently acquired land for two new solar home communities in East County. Model home construction at both La Mesa Meadows in La Mesa and Canton Hills in Lakeside is expected to begin in August, with grand openings scheduled for the fall. A special preview center for both communities is now open at the Grossmont Shopping Center in La Mesa. Home shoppers can get a look at the communities’ layout, floor plan offerings and design choices. Plans for La Mesa Meadows and Canton Hills come on the heels of a successful grand opening for KB Home’s Haciendas and Vistas at Rancho Santalina communities in San Marcos, which is also home to the builder’s first net-zero energy concept model home in San Diego County. La Mesa Meadows and Canton Hills will join over 20 KB Home communities in Southern California where solar power systems are included as a standard feature of all new homes.
Report: San Diego Office Market Improving
The San Diego office market continued to improve during the second quarter of 2013, according to a report by CBRE San Diego. Positive net absorption of 692,858 square feet, lower vacancy and a decreasing unemployment rate were some of the major factors that helped strengthen the market. The second quarter was the 15th straight quarter of positive net absorption. Over the last 12 months, the San Diego office market posted 1.55 million square feet of positive net absorption, a high for any 12-month period since the beginning of 2006.
Overall asking lease rates in second quarter 2013 remained flat from the first quarter at $2.20, but the rate has increased $0.09 over the last 12 months. Tenant demand this quarter has been solid, deep and varied. Numerous growth driver sectors (telecommunications, life science, medical device, medical / health care, software and clean tech) are accelerating tenant demand that is leading to lower vacancy rates and increased rents in most submarkets and market segments.
San Diego’s Class B buildings are gaining momentum. After being relatively flat since 2010, average asking rates have increased $0.17 since the beginning of 2012 including a $0.05 increase this quarter. As suitable Class A space has filled up and become too expensive, Class B space has emerged as a suitable alternative for many tenants. There is a flight to value trend underway as Class B space has accounted for 54 percent of the year-to-date net absorption. As office buildings increase occupancy, many tenants have been exploring workplace strategies to put more workers in less space. Parking is an issue that has been seen in many Class B buildings and will influence rates that landlords can ask for in a particular building.
Interstate 805 Scheduled for Partial Closure
Interstate 805 will be closed for seven miles in both directions between State Route 54 and State Route 905 on Sunday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. through Monday, Aug. 19, at 5 a.m., Caltrans reports. During this time, crews will demolish and remove the East Palomar Street Bridge over I-805 to make way for a Direct Access Ramp (DAR). The DAR will offer a convenient location from which carpools, vanpools and buses can access the carpool lanes currently under construction on I-805. The DAR is expected to be completed in winter 2014.
Bipolar Foundation Names Executive Director and Promotes Manager
Mental health advocate Scott Suckow has been named executive director of the San Diego-based International Bipolar Foundation. Ashley Jacobs was promoted from program manager to the newly created position of director of internal operations. Suckow currently vice president of community partnerships with Mental Health Systems. He has held leadership positions throughout the country with leading voluntary health organizations and non-profits, including Muscular Dystrophy Association, American Diabetes Association, American Liver Foundation and Mental Health America. Jacobs holds a master’s degree in Social Work from University of Southern California. She will lead the day-to-day operations while continuing to oversee the program staff.
Accion San Diego Receives $75,000 Grant
Accion San Diego has received a $75,000 grant, paid over three years, from the Union Bank Foundation to support small businesses in the county. The grant will help Accion continue its work in the community and increase the scope and quality of services in low-to-moderate-income communities. The nonprofit organization offers small business resources and loans from $300 to $50,000.
Scientists Find Long-Sought Method To
Efficiently Make Complex Anticancer Compound
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have achieved the first efficient chemical synthesis of ingenol, a highly complex, plant-derived compound that has long been of interest to drug developers for its anticancer potential. The achievement will enable scientists to synthesize a wide variety of ingenol derivatives and investigate their therapeutic properties. The achievement also sets the stage for the efficient commercial production of ingenol mebutate, an existing anticancer drug that at present must be extracted inefficiently from plants.
“I think that most organic chemists had considered ingenol beyond the reach of scalable chemical synthesis,” said TSRI Professor Phil S. Baran. Baran and his laboratory report their achievement in this week’s issue of Science Express, the early online edition of the journal Science.
An Anticancer Substance from Nature
Ingenol and its derivatives are found in the widely distributed Euphorbia genus of plant, whose milky sap has long been used in traditional medicine to cure skin lesions. Ingenol mebutate, extracted from the common “petty spurge” weed (E. peplus), was recently approved by the FDA to treat actinic keratosis, a common type of precancerous lesion associated with excessive sun exposure. Formulated and marketed as Picato, the drug is also currently in advanced clinical trials for non-melanoma skin cancers, having shown powerful effects in early trials.