Daily Business Report-Feb. 29, 2016
Illumina, the Google of Genetic Testing,
Has Plans for World Domination
You could say that Illumina is to DNA sequencing is what Google is to Internet search, but that would be underselling the San Diego-based biotech company. Illumina’s machines, the best and cheapest on the market, generate 90 percent of all DNA sequence data today. Illumina is, as they say, crushing it.
But as lucrative as that 90 percent slice is for Illumina now, the whole pie is likely to get even bigger in the future. Less than 0.01 percent of the world’s population has been sequenced so far. So recently, Illumina has made bold moves positioning itself for the future: The company is consolidating its core hardware business—this week, it sued an upstart competitor, Oxford Nanopore Technologies, for patent infringement—while moving into the genetic testing business with new ventures like the liquid cancer biopsy spinoff, Grail.
The company is a looking toward a future in which a lot more people gets genetic tests — and a lot more often.
Air Force Unveils First Image
Of Northrop Grumman B-21 Bomber
Times of San Diego
The Air Force unveiled the first image of a new long-range stealth bomber to be built by Northrop Grumman in California and said it would be designated the B-21.
Air Force Secretary Deborah James revealed the first artist’s rendering of the secret bomber, an angular flying wing, at the Air Force Association’s annual Air Warfare Symposium on Friday. She said the name of the new warplane would be chosen in a contest among service members.
Northrop Grumman, which has extensive operations in the San Diego area, will build 100 of the new bombers at a giant aircraft plant in Palmdale north of Los Angeles. The radar-evading aircraft would replace the 30-year-old B-1 and the Eisenhower-era B-52.
The program has been shrouded in secrecy since its inception for fear of revealing military secrets to potential enemies, and to avoid giving the losing bidders any details before their formal protest was rejected last week.
Northrop won a contract worth an estimated $80 billion in October to develop and build 100 new bombers, but work on the plane was delayed for months while federal auditors reviewed a protest by Boeing and its key supplier, Lockheed Martin.
Boeing said on Friday it would skip any further protests with the U.S. Government Accountability Office or in the federal courts. The Air Force, under pressure from lawmakers and retired Air Force officers, has promised to release more information about the new plane in March.
Although the program has now survived the legal protest process, it still faces hurdles in Congress.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain said on Thursday he would block the Air Force’s use of a cost-plus type of contract for the long-range bomber since it would hold the government responsible for cost overruns.
The Air Force says that only the engineering and development phase of the program, valued at $21.4 billion, is structured as a cost-plus contract with incentive fees.
Production of the first five sets of new bombers, usually the most expensive planes in a new class of aircraft, would be structured with a firm, fixed price, the service said.
Analysts say the program will be worth around $80 billion in total, providing a boon to Northrop and its key suppliers, but the Air Force has said only that it expects to pay $511 million per plane in 2010 dollars.
John Michael Loh, a retired four-star U.S. Air Force general, has urged the Air Force to name Northrop’s suppliers to shore up support in Congress, and avoid a rerun of the B-2 bomber program, which was scaled back from 132 planes to just 21, which drove the price of each plane sharply higher.
Reuters contributed to this article.
Convention Center Corporation
Board Names New President and CEO
Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe has been named the new president and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, replacing Carol Wallace, who retired from the job after 25 years with the organization.
Rippetoe was president and CEO of the Kentucky State Fair Board, which manages the Kentucky Exposition Center, Freedom Hall, Broadbent Arena and the Kentucky International Convention Center.
The Convention Center Corporation board, who announced Rippetoe’s selection, said he has, throughout his career, worked for organizations hosting top national trade shows and conventions, the Olympic Games of 2002 and large-scale public assembly facilities such as the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Kentucky Expo Center. “He has implemented new techniques to significantly improve communication, create transparency, lobby for space expansion, address deferred maintenance, improve labor relations and increase revenues,” the board said in its announcement.
Adam Day Receives Eight-Year Term
On Cal State University Board of Trustees
Adam Day, assistant tribal manager for the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, has been reappointed to the California State University Board of Trustees by Gov. Jerry Brown. Day, 45, was appointed to an eight-year term. He was originally appointed to the board in 2014 to replace a board member who had died. The state Senate confirmed his appointment last week.
Day is the son of Thomas Day, former president of San Diego State University.
Most recently, Day was chairman of the San Diego Citizens Stadium Advisory Group commissioned by Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Day was general manager at NCG Porter Novelli from 2000 to 2002, vice president at the Flannery Group from 1999 to 2000 and chief of staff in San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s Office from 1996 to 1999, where he was senior policy adviser from 1993 to 1995. Day served as deputy chief of staff in the office of San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox from 1995 to 1996, was campaign manager for the Dianne Jacob for Supervisor campaign from 1992 to 1993, a policy adviser in the office of San Diego County Supervisor George Bailey from 1990 to 1992 and served as defense and foreign affairs legislative assistant in the office of U.S. Sen. Pete Wilson in 1990.
The compensation fot the position is $100 per diem.
Twin Astronauts to Reveal
Health Impacts of Space Travel
City News Service
Research into the health impacts of long-duration space travel will kick into high gear this week when astronaut Scott Kelly returns from an 11-month stint on the International Space Station, UC San Diego scientists said Friday.
While he’s been in space, his twin brother Mark has been earthbound, giving researchers an opportunity to compare various aspects of their health, according to UCSD. Scott’s mission provides researchers with the unprecedented opportunity to compare data from two genetically identical people who have spent a long period of time in vastly different environments.
Over the past almost one year, both Scott and Mark have had their visual acuity, cardiovascular function and other things tested. Scott Kelly has also taken blood and urine samples, and they’ll be brought back to earth separately for comparison by NASA’s Human Research Program, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and 10 investigative teams around the country, including UCSD.
“NASA’s priority is to maintain crew member health throughout long duration missions,” said Brinda Rana, a professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and principal investigator on the UCSD part of the study.
She said researchers want to understand how extended space flight affects an astronaut’s cognition; heart, eye and immune function; the bacteria that live in the gut that make up the microbiome; and the so-called “omics” profiles — their genomics, proteomics and metabolomics.
“Our studies will provide important data on how the space environment impacts the human body at the molecular level so that NASA can identify risk factors and countermeasures for possible health issues induced by prolonged space travel, such as a mission to Mars,” said Rana.
San Diego Puts Spotlight on Achievement
The women are bright, articulate, successful and their messages are empowering and inspiring to everyone. The 2016 San Diego Women’s Week lineup is one of the best yet and the anticipation of their keynotes is felt all over the region.
Women such as Amy Cuddy, Naomi Tutu, Kim Coles, Elizabeth McCormick, Mallika Chopra, Arielle Ford, Tanya Brown and others are preparing to speak to the San Diego community between March 14-18 at various venues and events around the region. They will be sharing lessons and journeys that have shaped their lives and careers.
This year’s featured keynote, Amy Cuddy, is known for her TedX Talk, the second most viewed talk in the history of Ted. Amy will talk about how your body language defines you and each attendee at the Friday, March 18, conference will receive a copy of her new book, “Presence,” just published in January.
Attendees also will receive a copy of Kim Coles’ “Gratitude Journal.”
Each of the speakers was invited to San Diego Women’s Week because of their success and the knowledge that they bring from their journeys — successes and sometimes failures.
Click here for more information.