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Daily Business Report-May 27, 2014

Daily Business Report-May 27, 2014

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an agency of the Defense Department, is developing an electromagnetic system for airborne imaging of subsurface structures such as underground facilities. (DARPA)

Unmanned Aerial Systems in the Spotlight

The road ahead for development of the unmanned aerial vehicles industry is the focus of the California Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) Summit to be held June 10 at the Liberty Station Conference Center in Point Loma. Industry leaders and others will discuss the future of unmanned aerial vehicles’ applications for the defense and commercial sectors, technology, manufacturing, integration and testing.

From industry leaders General Atomics and Northrop Grumman headquartered in San Diego, to the emerging AeroVironment in Ventura and the numerous small and emerging UAS in between, California is the world leader in building UASs and in developing innovating systems and advancing capabilities for the systems, according to conference sponsor Connect.

“The California UAS summit will address the challenges and opportunities and will help to ensure California is on the right track to be best positioned for this rapid growth area, supporting the California businesses in this Industry and helping facilitate the FAA’s initiative to integrate UAS’s into national air space in a safe and responsible way, while allowing for innovation and the development of new and exciting uses.,” said Connect in an announcement.

Invited Speakers 
are Michael Huerta, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, and  
Gretchen West, executive vice president of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

The summit will be staged at 2:30 p.m. General admission is $60. At the door, $75.

San Diego the Most Well-Read Major U.S. City

San Diego is the most well-read major city in the United States, online retailer announced. San Diego’s ranking among cities with a population of 1 million or more came in Amazon’s fourth annual Most Well-Read Cities in America list, released as a kickoff to the summer reading season.  The ranking was determined by compiling data of all book, magazine and newspaper sales in print and Kindle formats from April 2013 to April 2014, on a per capita basis.

The full rankings, with cities of populations of 100,000 and up, was led by Alexandria, Va., which bought the most books per capita overall. The only California city in the top 20 of 100,000 and up was Berkeley, which was seventh.

HouseCall Nets $1.5 Million in Funding

HouseCall, a San Diego start-up founded by five former Qualcomm software engineers, has developed a smartphone app that helps residents find plumbers, handymen and other home service providers.The year-old company raised $1.5 million in venture capital this week to fuel expansion. The money came from Canter Capital, a subsidiary of San Diego real estate investment firm Canter Cos.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Licenses

Five Programs to Viking Therapeutics

San Diego-based Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. has licensed five of its programs to Viking Therapeutics, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel first-in-class therapies for metabolic and endocrine disorders. In addition, Ligand will provide the startup company with a $2.5 million convertible loan, which Viking can use to pay for operating and financing expenses. Viking is responsible for all deevelopment activities under the license.

Credit Union to Celebrate Encinitas Branch Opening

ENCINITAS — California Coast Credit Union will celebrate the grand opening of its new Encinitas branch on Saturday, May 31, from 10 a.m. to 2 pm with donations to local nonprofits and live music, free food and family-friendly activities for the community. The new full-service branch, located in the newly renovated Santa Fe Plaza shopping center at 429 Santa Fe Drive, offers Saturday hours and free 24/7 ATM service for members. The grand opening celebration will feature a live 94.9 radio remote and “Cash Cube,” food from Encinitas eateries as well as a rock climbing wall and mechanical surfing simulator. Visitors can also enter to win an ocean front weekend getaway in La Jolla, Sara Bareilles concert tickets, a new surfboard and other prizes.

“We’re excited to expand our service in the North County coastal corridor to better meet the needs of our members and local residents,” said Marla Shepard, California Coast’s president and CEO.

District Elections Could Shake Up San Diego City Council

Only San Diegans in four of the city’s nine City Council districts will vote for a council member in the June 3 election, but the results could affect all of the city’s residents, KPBS reports.

That’s because of the City Council’s current veto-proof majority.

Carl Luna, a San Diego Mesa College political science professor, points to a recent proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage to $13 as an example.

“If the mayor wants to veto what the City Council wants to do on minimum wage, a 6-3 majority could overturn that veto,” Luna said.

But with a mix of Republicans and Democrats running for the City Council seats in Districts 2, 4, 6 and 8, the veto-proof majority could change. Democratic incumbents in Districts 4 (Myrtle Cole) and 8 (David Alvarez) are expected to win re-election, but the other two districts are competitive.

Lorie Zapf

Lorie Zapf

Sara Boot

Sara Boot

District 2, which was Republican Kevin Faulconer’s seat before he was elected mayor in a special election this year, has four people vying for it, including District 6 Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, a Republican.

Because of redistricting, Zapf no longer lives in her old district. She faces a strong challenge from Democrat Sarah Boot. Also running are Democrat Jim Morrison and Libertarian Mark Schwartz. This is a seat that could go Democratic.

In District 6, Chris Cate is who the Republicans hope will keep Zapf’s seat in the GOP’s hands, while the Democrats are hoping Carol Kim can win it. Also running are Mitz Lee, De Le and Jane Glasson.

Chris Cate

Chris Cate

Carol Kim

Carol Kim

City Council President Todd Gloria, who is not up for re-election, said that on most council issues, like fixing streetlights and potholes, it really doesn’t matter which party has a majority.

“Obviously, that is valuable in certain circumstances, but the reality is the vast majority of the council’s actions are unanimous in nature and usually bipartisan,” Gloria said.

But with potentially divisive issues such as minimum wage, a climate action plan and infrastructure bonds coming up, that veto-proof majority — or lack of one — could make a difference.


‘Final’ Pfizer Bid to Acquire AstraZeneca Rejected

In an attempt to reach a deal that would have restored its status as the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, biotechnology giant Pfizer Inc. — whose five-facility La Jolla site specializes in the manufacture of cancer drugs — has been turned down in what it terms its final offer to acquire AstraZeneca. On May 18 the British pharmaceutical giant rejected Pfizer’s $119 billion offer, potentially saving research posts at the La Jolla facility.

“Pfizer has a history of shutting down facilities,” said Raghuran Selvaraju, an analyst with Aegis Capital. “They don’t thin down head count; they shut down an entire facility and pick up their stakes and move away.”

AstraZeneca recently rejected Pfizer’s previous cash and stock offer of $106 billion.

Pfizer’s 25-acre La Jolla campus, on Science Center Drive near the I-5 and Sorrento Valley Highway intersection, includes five buildings totaling more than 500,000 square feet. The company spent $5.7 billion on research and development in 2013, down from $7.48 billion in 2012.

Pfizer would not disclose how many people work at the La Jolla facilities or other U.S. research centers.

— San Diego Community News Group

Northrop Grumman Demonstrates

Unique Communications Capability

Northrop Grumman Corp. has built and demonstrated a communications capability for the U.S. Department of Defense that enables fifth-generation aircraft to share information through existing data links with fourth-generation fighters to improve situational awareness and combat effectiveness.

The F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II are the world’s only operational fifth-generation stealth aircraft; fourth-generation fighters include the F-15, F-16 and F-18. The F-35 has three variants that will serve the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, its partners and allies. Networking these aircraft will improve connectivity and communications, creating a force multiplier to dramatically increase the effectiveness of the total force, the defense contractor said.

Northrop Grumman demonstrated this “fifth-to-fourth” generation networking capability during a series of operational flight tests under the Joint Capability Technology Demonstration program, referred to as Jetpack 5th to 4th JCTD. The flight tests, conducted in late March at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and in early April at Edwards Air Force Base, California, conclude the final phase of the JCTD program.



Business Meetings

Fracking Forum: May 28

Learn more about the effects of fracking on San Diego County’s water supply. Panel discussion hosted by county Supervisor Dave Roberts, 9 a.m. to noon, May 28, County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway, Room 358, San Diego. Panelists: Dr. Eric Frost, professor of geological sciences, San Diego State University; Damon Nagami, senior attorney and director of the Southern California Ecosystems Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council; Ken Weinberg, director of water resources, San Diego County Water Authority; and David Nylander of Noble Americas Energy Solutions. Logan Jenkins, columnist, is moderator.

How to Prepare for the Next Downturn: June 10

ULI San Diego/Tijuana sponsors panel on how to prepare for the inevitable next economic downturn. Tuesday, June 10, 7:30 to 9 a.m., The University Club, 750 B St., Suite 3400, Downtown San Diego. Panelists are Doug Wilson of Douglas Wilson Companies and Lorne Polger of Pathfinder Partners LLC. $45 for ULI members, $60 nonmembers. Register (858) 344-1034 or

Future of Office Development: June 12

NAIOP San Diego will hold a breakfast event June 12 to discuss San Diego’s office development. Topics will include major office development plans; location and amenity trends; winning tenants with superior amenities; and the next generation of office development. 7:30 a.m. check in. Marriott San Diego Del Mar, 11966 El Camino Real, San Diego. $45 for members, $80 nonmembers. Register: For more, (858) 509-4110.

Employment Law Update: June 18

San Diego Employers Association’s Summer 2014 Employment Law Update takes place on Wednesday, June 18, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at AMN Healthcare, 12400 High Bluff Drive, San Diego. Participants will learn about the newest rulings and legislative developments in California and how they will impact their company. Led by Christopher Olmsted of Barker Olmsted & Barnier. The cost to attend is $75 for SDEA members and $95 for nonmembers.

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Voice Your Opinion

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: