Daily Business Report — Aug. 21, 2014
Yan Wei Lim, SDSU graduate student and author on the paper, exploring corals in the southern Line Islands.
SDSU Scientists Sequence DNA
In the Middle of the Pacific
Despite many setbacks, San Diego State University scientists brought a DNA sequencer to the Line Islands and accomplished remote sequencing in real time.
The researchers collected samples, sequenced their DNA, and developed new research questions on the fly. In all, 26 bacterial genomes were sequenced, along with two metagenomes, which take into account the entire DNA present in a given region.
The three-week, five-island expedition took place last year with a research crew including San Diego State University computer scientist Rob Edwards, biologist Forest Rohwer, postdoctoral scholar Andreas Haas and graduate student Yan Wei Lim. They were accompanied by several other researchers from the San Diego region and around the world. The researchers published an account of their trip and methods in the journal PeerJ.
Biologists and computer scientists at SDSU have been traveling to the Line Islands for the last decade, collecting and analyzing the coral habitat to better understand what organisms live there, how they compete for resources, and what effects their presence has on the reef’s ecosystem. It always bothered Edwards that they had to wait until they were back home, on the other side of the world, before they could look at their data and develop new hypotheses.
“If only we had had that data out in the field, we could have asked those questions there and then,” Edwards said.
That inkling grew into an ambitious plan to somehow, some way bring out to sea a cumbersome and expensive piece of equipment designed to analyze a sample’s DNA makeup and spit out detailed information about its genome.
Undeterred, he and his colleagues devised a protocol for how to run a DNA sequencer on a ship. Finally, the team headed to Tahiti with a sequencer provided by San Diego–based biotech company Life Technologies. As the Explorer headed south en route to an eventual rendezvous with Antarctica, it picked up the researchers and their sequencer and set course for the Line Islands.
— City News Service
ViaCyte Receives FDA Approval to Start Clinical Trials
ViaCyte has received approval by the FDA to begin its diabetes stem cell Phase 1/2 combination trial to look for both safety and early signs of efficacy. The company grows replacement insulin-producing cells from human embryonic stem cells, which are placed in a semipermeable pouch. The pouch is implanted into patients, allowing insulin and other hormones to enter the patient’s bloodstream.
Trials done on animals have proven successful. ViaCyte says the product has the potential to provide a “virtual cure” for Type 1 diabetes.
“The ViaCyte team is very pleased to have received FDA acceptance for our clinical trial protocol and look forward to initiating this study shortly,” ViaCyte President and CEO Paul Laikind said in the statement. “The commencement of this trial marks a significant milestone that could not have been achieved without the support we have received and continue to receive from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.”
UC San Diego Oncologists Improve
Prostate Cancer Diagnosis With New Tool
UC San Diego oncologists at the Moores Cancer Center are the first to use MRI technology with a traditional prostate ultrasound exam to create a three-dimensional view of the prostate allowing physicians to find growths previously unseen. The ultrasound machine provides an imperfect view of the prostate which can result in a missed diagnosis of cancer. The MRI scan allows doctors to precisely target the biopsy needles where doctors think the cancer is located. The MRI-guided prostate biopsy will result in earlier patient diagnosis when cancer is present.
Curtana Gets $7.6 Million to Move to Texas
Curtana Pharmaceuticals of San Diego has received a $7.6 million product development grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas for its lead cancer therapy program, and will move its corporate headquarters to Austin in conjunction with the grant. The company develops therapeutics for glioblastoma and other brain cancers.
“The grant will enable us to move our research through the preclinical phase of development and one step closer to patients who currently have very limited treatment options,” said Gregory Stein, CEO.
Encinitas City Council Votes Plastic Bag Ban
ENCINITAS — A ban on plastic bags in Encinitas passed Wednesday by a narrow City Council margin. With a 3-2 vote, Encinitas became the second city in San Diego County to pass an ordinance barring retail establishments from providing single-use plastic bags to customers. The ban will be effective six months from Wednesday for the city’s 80 grocery, drug, convenience and liquor stores, and at city facilities and city-sponsored events. Within 12 months, all other retailers and farmers markets are required to follow suit.
— Seaside Courier
CleanTECH San Diego Partners With CyberTECH
Nonprofit trade organizations CleanTECH San Diego and CyberTECH today announced a partnership to advance San Diego’s technology startup industry.
Both organizations share a mission of stimulating and accelerating the San Diego region’s innovation economy. This new partnership combines CleanTECH San Diego’s focus on clean technology with CyberTECH’s expertise in cybersecurity and the Internet of Things (IoT) to nurture startups that bridge the sectors.
In January, CyberTECH launched an incubator program and shared workspaces to provide startups with resources such as opportunities for mentorship and places to work. CleanTECH San Diego’s partnership with CyberTECH includes dedicated workspace for early-stage cleantech companies in iHive, CyberTECH’s IoT incubator located in Downtown San Diego. iHive members receive benefits such as business support services, robust data connectivity, shared reception area, and conference rooms.
Darin Andersen is chairman and founder of CyberTECH. Jason Anderson is president of CleanTECH. Jason will serve on the advisory board of CyberTECH and Darin will join CleanTECH San Diego’s board of directors.
Northrop Grumman Wins Navy Shipboard
Network Full Deployment Contract
The U.S. Navy has selected Northrop Grumman Corp. as one of five contractors for the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) full deployment production contract to upgrade cybersecurity, command and control, communications and intelligence systems across the fleet. The multiple award contract has a potential value of $2.5 billion over eight years.
“Northrop Grumman is deeply committed to helping the Navy transform its afloat C4I computers and networks into a single integrated, cyber-protected computing network,” said Sam Abbate, a Northrop Grumman vice president. “We look forward to continued collaboration with the Navy to deploy this crucial system to the fleet.”
According to the Navy, the CANES program eliminates many legacy, standalone networks and provides a common computing environment for dozens of C4I applications. This strengthens the network infrastructure, improves security, reduces existing hardware footprint and decreases total ownership costs. The CANES effort enhances operational effectiveness and quality of life for deployed sailors.
R.A. Rauch & Associates
Teams With Gotham Management
San Diego-based hospitality management and consulting firm R.A. Rauch & Associates has entered a partnership with Gotham Management that includes oversight of Gotham’s The Keating Hotel, a historic Gaslamp Quarter mainstay.
“With the industry expertise and high-end portfolios both parties bring to the table, we look forward to revolutionizing the way San Diego does hospitality,” says Bob Moore, senior vice president of operations at R.A. Rauch. “The Keating is a unique and exciting property and has done an excellent job cultivating happy guests and creating a standout guest experience. We will take that excellence on an upward trajectory.”
At The Keating, focus will be directed toward developing fresh promotions and placing emphasis on the power of strong customer service standards. The team is creating packages in cooperation with San Diego eateries and attractions, adding value and building upon The Keating’s sophisticated sensibilities. R.A. Rauch is also executing a revamp of The Keating’s service standards and procedures.
SeaWorld Won’t Appeal Citations Keeping
Trainers Out of Water During ‘Shamu’ Shows
The company that runs SeaWorld locations in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio says it won’t appeal a federal job safety agency’s findings of violations in the 2010 death of an animal handler, so trainers will remain out of the water during “Shamu” shows.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment revealed in a quarterly filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it would no longer pursue an appeal of citations issued by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration in connection with the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau — who was killed by an orca at the Florida park. The filing was made last week but didn’t come to light until Wednesday.
In April, the company’s initial appeal of the OSHA findings was rejected by appellate justices, who wrote that there was “evidence of continued incidents of aggressive behavior of killer whales toward trainers” despite SeaWorld’s training and practices.
SeaWorld said at the time it would review the ruling before deciding whether to file another appeal.
A spokesman with the San Diego location declined to comment Wednesday.
— City News Service
San Diego Ranked 5th for Cities
With Fast-Growing Companies
What Inc. magazine said about San Diego after listing it No. 5 on the “Top 10 Cities for Fast-Growth Companies”:
“This Southern California city is not only known for its beautiful coastline, but it’s also quickly becoming a sought-after tech hub. Thanks to the dominance of the University of California’s San Diego-based medical center, the area turning into the next go-to place for biotech companies. San Diego is also home to giant chipmaker Qualcomm, among others. And with year-round beautiful weather, the city handily made our list as the hotspot for 81 fast-growing Inc. 5000 companies including Multifamily Utility , a utility billing firm, and photo-scanning service PhotoBin.”
Pathway Genomics Makes Inc.’s List
Of the 500 Fastest-Growing Companies
San Diego-based Pathway Genomics was No. 173 in Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. “We are honored to be included among the top-tier of innovative companies in the nation,” said Jim Plante, Pathway Genomics’ founder and CEO. “Since the day Pathway was founded, it has been our goal to provide the most accurate and pioneering services possible to physicians and their patients. These last few years have been an incredible ride in developing a suite of powerful tests that can benefit patients worldwide to truly make an impact on global health — and we’re just getting started.”
Pathway Genomics has numerous genetic tests that can identify a person’s genetic risk for cancer, cardiac conditions, inherited diseases, nutrition and exercise response, and drug response for medications, specifically those used in pain management and mental health.
New USD Nursing Students
Commit to Compassionate Care
Nursing students in an accelerated University of San Diego program will commit to providing compassionate care for all patients as they enter the health care profession during a ceremony on Friday. The event takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre.
More than 100 schools of nursing are taking part in similar ceremonies sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation in collaboration with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Forty-six students who have completed the first phase of USD’s master’s entry program in nursing will take a professional nursing pledge and then be cloaked in a white coat symbolizing their entrance into the profession. They will also receive a special pin serving as a visual reminder of their oath and commitment to provide high-quality care.
“These ceremonies are part of a national effort to raise the quality of care for all patients,” said Sally Brosz Hardin, dean of USD’s Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science. “Students are excited and inspired by the opportunity to make a formal pledge to elevate standards in health care.”
USD’s master’s entry program is designed to help ease the nursing shortage by offering professionals with degrees in non-nursing fields the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in nursing in 21 months. For more information, go to www.sandiego.edu/nursing.
Union Bank Names a Managing Director
Ryan Baderian has been named a managing director for the Business Banking group of Union Bank. In his expanded role, Baderian is responsible for managing all aspects of business development and relationship management activities for Orange County and the Inland Empire, along with the added responsibility of the San Diego region. He is based in Irvine.
With more than 12 years of experience in the banking industry, Baderian joined Union Bank’s Business Banking group in 2011 as a regional sales manager for the Orange County and Inland Empire division. He started his banking career in Orange County with Citibank, where he spent four years working in the Commercial Banking division.