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Daily Business Report-Dec. 28, 2015

Daily Business Report-Dec. 28, 2015

California snowpack. (Courtesy California Department of Water Resources)

California Snowpack Above

Normal for First Time Since 2012


California’s snowpack, crucial to the state’s water supply because it melts in the spring to fill streams and reservoirs, is above normal for the first time since 2012, according to the Department of Water Resources.

Winter storms brought enough snow to the Sierra Nevada mountains to push the snowpack to 112 percent of normal for this time of year as of Wednesday, compared to 54 percent of normal in 2014 and 24 percent in 2013.

California is in its fourth year of crushing drought that has killed millions of trees and in 2015 alone cost the state’s agricultural economy $1.84 billion and 10,100 jobs, according to the University of California, Davis.

The El Niño weather and oceanic phenomenon, characterized by a warming of the Pacific Ocean that often brings precipitation to California, is expected to help ease the drought over the next few months, but experts caution that the state’s woes are far from over.

A warm winter, for example, could cause snow in the mountains to melt, leading to a shortage of water to melt in the spring in advance of the state’s dry, hot summer season.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared the drought to be an emergency, and last April he stood in a dry mountain meadow that normally would have been covered with five feet of snow to announce the first-ever statewide mandatory conservation measures for urban water users.

It would take months of above-average precipitation to make a significant dent in the drought, and water regulators have said the cutbacks may continue into next year.

The last time the snowpack topped its normal depth for Dec. 23 was in 2012, when it was 119 percent of normal. But by April of that year, the month when it is crucial for snow to be deep enough to carry the state through summer, it had fallen to just 54 percent of normal.


La Jolla Institute Shares $18 Million

Dengue Virus Tuberculosis Grant

The La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology is one of four recipients of an $18 million Human Immune Profiling Consortium grant to study the immune response to dengue virus and tuberculosis.

“Advances in technology and data analysis have given us sophisticated tools to study the activity of the human immune system across diverse populations in unprecedented depth,” said Mitchell Kronenberg, president and chief scientific officer. “The HIPC grant award is a testament to the caliber of our scientists and validates our sustained efforts to facilitate vaccine development. But most importantly, it provides us with the opportunity to unleash the full force of our collective scientific expertise and technological capabilities to trace what are the elements that make up an effective immune response.”

The HIPC award presented to LJI will support both research and the collection, shipping, and processing of thousands of samples from a network of clinical sites around the world (Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, Peru, and Sweden). Employing samples from such a geographically and ethnically diverse populations will ensure that conclusions drawn from this research are broadly applicable.


Illumina to Webcast Live Presentation

Illumina Inc. of San Diego announced that it will webcast the company’s presentation at the J.P. Morgan 34th annual Healthcare Conference in San Francisco on Jan. 11. The live webcast is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and will feature an overview of the company by Jay Flatley, chief executive officer, followed by a question and answer session.

The webcast can be accessed in the Investor Relations section of Illumina’s web site under the “Company” tab at


Alliant University President to Step Down

The Alliant International University Board of Trustees and University president Geoffrey Cox, have agreed to begin a transition to new leadership for the university.

A national search for Alliant’s next president will begin immediately after the New Year with the goal of appointing someone to the permanent position during the course of the year.

Cox will take a sabbatical during the 2016 spring semester and will leave the university at the end of the academic year.

The board has appointed Andy Vaughn as interim president. Vaughn currently serves as senior vice president for marketing and student experience.  Before coming to Alliant he was president and CEO of Trident University.

The Board of Trustees expressed appreciation for Cox’s dedication and leadership over the past 11 years.


Novoron Bioscience Receives Grant

To Study New Treatment for MS

Novoron Bioscience Inc., a San Diego private biotech company developing new therapeutics for disorders of the central nervous system, has been awarded a $680,000 National Institutes of Health grant under the Small Business Innovation Research Program.

The NIH grant will fund preclinical studies to evaluate a novel therapeutic approach for promoting remyelination in multiple sclerosis for two years. Novoron has received six NIH grants, totaling more than $1.2 million, to test new therapeutic approaches in neurological disorders, including MS, stroke, and spinal cord injury.

“These NIH grants are invaluable in helping us advance our novel therapeutic approaches, addressing fundamental limitations in the treatment of disorders of the central nervous system such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and optic neuropathies,” said Travis Stiles, president and CEO of Novoron Bioscience. “We look forward to the opportunity to continue to extend our unique technological approach to CNS disease and assess our capacity to promote remyelination and preserve neuronal viability in multiple sclerosis.”

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