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Daily Business Report-Aug. 20, 2013

Daily Business Report-Aug. 20, 2013

 Former federal judge J. Lawrence Irving is overseeing settlement talks between Mayor Filner and his legal opponents. (SD METRO file photo)

 Filner Settlement Talks Under Way

Mayor Bob Filner and his legal opponents held a mediation session Monday to resolve the sexual harassment litigation against him as a recall effort remained in full swing and a group of supporters rallied outside City Hall to urge Filner to stay in office, the U-T San Diego reports. The settlement talks being overseen by J. Lawrence Irving, a former federal judge and highly sought after mediator, center on the lawsuit filed by attorney Gloria Allred on behalf of former mayoral aide Irene McCormack Jackson.

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Johnson & Johnson Acquires Aragon Pharmaceuticals

Potential Value of Purchase: Up to $1 Billion

Aragon Pharmaceuticals Inc. of San Diego, a company developing drugs for hormone-driven cancers, has been acquired by Johnson & Johnson for a potential total value of up to $1 billion. The transaction included an upfront payment of $650 million in cash with an additional $350 million in potential development milestone payments. The acquisition includes Aragon’s androgen receptor antagonist program, including its most advanced compound, ARN-509, a second generation androgen receptor signaling inhibitor that is currently being evaluated in a Phase II trial in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer.

In conjunction with this acquisition a newly formed corporation called Seragon Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is focused on Aragon’s Selective Estrogen Receptor Degrader (SERD) platform, has been spun out of Aragon. Johnson & Johnson does not have an ownership stake in Seragon and does not retain any rights to Seragon’s technology or product development pipeline, the company said.

Sequenom Discloses 75 Layoffs

San Diego-based Sequenom, which specializes in molecular diagnostics and genetic analysis, plans to lay off 75 employees, or nearly 13 percent of its workforce, as part of a cost-cutting plan, according to a regulatory filing. Most of the employees being terminated were notified Monday, although voluntary and involuntary layoffs began July 1.

San Diego Leaders tell Scott Peters and House Democratic

Whip What Innovation Economy Needs from Congress

Congressman Scott Peters lead a forum at UC San Diego Monday on what Congress can do to support local innovation, KPBS reports. San Diego business leaders, researchers and special guest House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer focused mostly on what Washington isn’t doing. Hoyer opened the afternoon panel airing his concerns about cuts to federal grants for the kind of long-term projects known as basic research. “Stockholders are not necessarily interested in basic research,” he said. “They may be very interested in applied research but they look at that quarterly report, and what government has always done is be able to do the long-term visionary research.”Local leaders on the panel told Hoyer what San Diego businesses need is stability. Mark Cafferty, CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., said many employers had to consider layoffs because of sequestration.

Holly Smithson, president of Clean TECH San Diego, said she is looking to Congress to make tax credits for companies that invest millions in research and development permanent.

“Former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, who now leads the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Magda Marquet, chair of the BIOCOM board of directors, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and John Dunn, board member for CONNECT also sat on the afternoon’s panel.

Realtors Group Holds Classes on Fusion Software

The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors, a trade group for San Diego-area Realtors, will host two classes on Fusion, Sandicor’s Multiple Listing Service software, from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday at the PSAR East County Service Center, 1150 Broadway, El Cajon. Cost is free. The first class will cover how to navigate the Fusion system, including its interactive search and map search options. The second class will cover how to use Fusion to create a comparative marketing analysis, a tool used to help sellers determine the value of their home. Sandicor operates the MLS online database of active residential listings in San Diego County. For more information, call (619) 579-0333, or visit

Luxury Home Values in San Diego Increase

Luxury home values increased in San Diego in the second quarter of 2013 compared to a year ago, according to the First Republic Prestige Home Index. San Diego area values gained 8 percent year-over-year and 4.9 percent from the first quarter of 2013. The average luxury home in San Diego is $1.7 milliom.

Special Leave for Gay Marriage Travel

Defense Secretary Hagel announced that gay and lesbian members of the military who wish to marry now qualify for up to 10 days of uncharged leave to travel to a state where such marriages are legal, reports In addition, the DoD will begin granting full benefits to same-sex couples, including TRICARE, housing allowances, subsistence allowances and family separation allowances by Sept. 3.

Mission Hills Resident Receives Multiple Sclerosis Society Position

Eric Foeckler of Mission Hills has been named donor relations officer for the Pacific South Coast chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which is based in San Diego. The chapter serves San Diego, Imperial and Orange counties.  Foeckler has more than 25 years of philanthropic fundraising management experience in both the nonprofit and private sectors. His responsibilities include major gifts to the chapter’s Golden Circle, which recognizes annual gifts exceeding $1,000, as well as the Lawry Circle, a deferred planned giving program for gifts from estates, annuities, trusts, retirement assets and savings bonds. Foeckler previosly worked in fundraising for Home Start Inc., St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, Being Alive San Diego and Episcopal Community Services.

Van Dyke & Associates Adds an Associate

Lindsey Munyer

Lindsey Munyer

San Diego attorney Lindsey F. Munyer has joined the trust and probate litigation firm Van Dyke & Associates as an associate. Her practice will involve trust and probate administration and related litigation. Munyer received her law degree California Western School of Law. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of San Diego.

Scripps Center Director Named

Cardiologist Christopher Suhar has been named director of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. Suhar has practiced at Scripps since 2005. He is responsible for overseeing all of the center’s treatment and educational programs and operations. Suhar earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo.


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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: