Daily Business Report-Oct. 24, 2014
Researchers at the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego Health System
UC San Diego Named Stem Cell ‘Alpha Clinic’
Designation will help speed development of emerging drugs and therapies
In a push to further speed clinical development of emerging stem cell therapies, Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego Health System was named one of three new “alpha clinics” by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state’s stem cell agency.
The announcement, made at a public meeting in Los Angeles of the CIRM governing board, includes an award of $8 million for each of three sites. The other alpha grant recipients are the City of Hope hospital near Los Angeles and University of California, Los Angeles.
“A UC San Diego alpha clinic will provide vital infrastructure for establishing a comprehensive regenerative medicine clinical hub that can support the unusual complexity of first-in-human stem cell-related clinical trials,” said Catriona Jamieson, associate professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, deputy director of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center and the alpha clinic grant’s principal investigator.
The alpha clinics are intended to create the long-term, networked infrastructure needed to launch and conduct numerous, extensive clinical trials of stem cell-based drugs and therapies in humans, including some developed by independent California-based investigators and companies. These trials are requisite before any new drug or treatment can be approved for clinical use.
The clinics will also emphasize public education to raise awareness and understanding of stem cell science – in part to combat “stem cell tourism” and the marketing of unproven, unregulated and potentially dangerous therapies – and help establish sustainable business models for future, approved stem cell treatments.
Guild Mortgage Co. Acquires
Northwest Mortgage Group
San Diego-based Guild Mortgage Co. has acquired Northwest Mortgage Group based in Portland, Ore., with eight branches in Oregon and $842 million in loan volume in 2013. Northwest Mortgage Group is the largest purchase mortgage lender in the Portland area.
“Northwest provides Guild with market leadership in the Portland area. This is an important step in our plan to grow to loan volume of $10 billion and servicing volume of $20 billion by 2015,” said Mary Ann McGarry, Guild’s president and CEO.
The acquisition is the newest step in Guild’s long-range plan to grow through acquisition, adding branches in new and existing markets, the company said in a release. From 2010 to 2013, Guild grew from its Western base into the Southeast and Southwest, increasing its number of branches and satellites from 75 to more than 200. Loan volume in the same period jumped from $4.1 billion to $7 billion. Servicing volume more than doubled, from $6.4 billion to $13 billion, according to the company.
Unique Prototyping Lab For Students
Opens at San Diego State University
A lab with the latest high-tech prototyping equipment that is open to all students and faculty was publicly launched Thursday at San Diego State University. The H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab provides equipment for rapid prototyping of new ideas, with two mechanical engineering graduates on hand to help.
The equipment includes a 3-D printer, a laser cutter, a computer-controlled CNC mill, a CNC router and other shop equipment
“Most incubators don’t provide facilities where teams can actually develop their physical products. The H.G. Fenton facility does that,” said Irwin Pfister, chairman of the advisory board to the Zahn Innovation Center, of which the new idea lab is a part.
During the ceremony, a dozen student teams were showing off their ideas, including:
• Soft Chomp — an infant toothbrush that is soft for a baby’s gums, but protects parents from accidental bites. Founder Whitney Mullen used the 3-D printer to create prototypes. She is a SDSU graduate and university staff member who is now starting a company, Nurturley Inc., to market the toothbrush.
• ShredLights –a headlight for skateboards, designed because “cracks can kill” as skateboarders negotiate dark sidewalks. Founder Drew Page is a senior in the business school.
• Hype Audio — completely waterproof mp3 headphones for surfers. Drew Halsch and three other SDSU undergraduates are developing prototypes at the center. “Over the weekend, we’re going to see how it holds up,” Halsch said.
Currently 43 teams have been been approved to work on projects at the Zahn Center, and Pfister said, “we’re on a pace this year to have as many as 350 new applications for the center.”
There are other incubators in San Diego, but the Zahn Center caters to students, is free to approved teams, works with students who have an idea but lack technical skills, and encourages ideas for nonprofits that can help society.
The new prototyping lab was underwritten by the H.G. Fenton Company, a San Diego-based residential and commercial real estate company.
— Times of San Diego Photos by Chris Jennewein
Biocom Announces 2014
Elected Official of the Year
Biocom, the association for the Southern California life science community, announced Thursday that Congressman Scott Peters (D-52) will be honored as Biocom’s 2014 Elected Official of the Year at the Biocom Celebration of Life Annual Dinner on Nov. 20.
“It is my great pleasure to announce that Congressman Scott Peters will be our 2014 Elected Official of the Year,” said Joe Panetta, President and CEO of Biocom.
“During his two years in office, Congressman Peters has not only recognized the importance of the life science industry to his district, but has consistently used that platform to emphasize the importance of the industry to our nation,” said Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom.
Panetta said Peters made increased funding for the National Institutes of Health, a major source of funding for biomedical research, a top priority in 2014. This year he has introduced legislation allowing increased research tax credits to incentivize and accelerate biomedical research, to provide tax credits for biofuel production, and to establish a commission to quantify the overall health care savings that can be achieved through utilization of wireless health technologies.
The life science community is one of the economic cornerstones of the region, with a majority of the cluster located in the city of San Diego. It is one of the few local industries which continued to grow during the recession, and provides over 110,000 jobs, paying an average of $100,000 per employee per year, according to Biocom.
San Diego Zoo to Promote
Water Conservation to Guests
San Diego Zoo Global and the San Diego County Water Authority Thursday announced a plan to promote water conservation to guests at the zoo and Safari Park. The initiative will include new signs that emphasize water-smart practices; water conservation reminders during guided bus and tram tours and social media posts that highlight California’s water supply challenges while encouraging guests to conserve water.
The messages will include real-world examples of water conservation efforts such as Safari Park gardens that feature native species and low-water- use plants.
Officials with the two organizations estimate the messages will be seen by around 4.5 million guests combined who enter the theme parks.
According to San Diego Zoo Global, more than 16 million gallons of water are recycled annually and used to support its horticultural collection at the zoo and Safari Park. The zoo also uses water-saving technologies such as low- flow toilets, rainwater reclamation gutters and direct site drip-lines for irrigation.
SDX Presents 2014 Brand Diego Awards
The San Diego County Credit Union was named “Brand of the Year” and i.d.e.a. was named “Agency of the Year” at the 2014 SDX Brand Diego Awards Thursday night at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier in Downtown San Diego. SDX, formerly the San Diego Ad Club, sponsored the awards.
The Paula E. Sullivan Lifetime Achievement Award went to Bennett Peji, founder of Peji Design. Mike Hodges of U-T San Diego, and Chad Robley of Mindgruve received the AAF Silver Medal Award. The SDX/Sheila Fox Scholarship was awarded to Kimia Rahmati, a senior at San Diego State University majoring in integrated marketing communication.s
For a list of all the winners and finalists, click here.
Cabrillo Bridge Redo Nears End
The $38 million renovation of the 100-year-old Cabrillo Bridge is nearing completion, just in time for the centennial celebration of Balboa Park’s 1915 exposition, U-T San Diego reports. Caltrans has removed the scaffolding around the 769-foot-long span and is completing internal construction of ladders and catwalks to aid future maintenance, spokeswoman Cathryne Bruce-Johnson said Thursday.
Jeffrey Hurtik Joins Silvergate Bank
Jeffery Hurtik has joined Silvergate Bank as executive vice president and chief information officer. He will be responsible for oversight and updating of the bank’s information technology strategies, systems, operations and information security.
Hurtik has nearly 25 years of information technology experience. Most recently he was chief information officer for Luther Burbank Savings Bank in Manhattan Beach. He previously was also chief information officer for Bank of Internet USA in San Diego and Imperial Capital Bank in La Jolla.