Stories for May 2009

Friday, May 29

$18M Clinic Opens in San Ysidro

San Ysidro Health Center, a safety net clinic that provides medical services to the uninsured, plans to unveil its newly built maternal and child health center in a private ceremony May 31.

Nassco Starts Work on Fifth Tanker

General Dynamics Nassco, one of San Diego's biggest employers with 4,700 workers, said it began construction May 29 of a fifth product carrier ship for U.S. Shipping Partners.

Small Biz Stands Tall at Chamber Lunch

During an awards luncheon May 27, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce honored small-businesses owners who excel in various areas.

Thursday, May 28

Innkeepers Fill Rooms, But Customers Pay Less

Local tourism officials regard Memorial Day weekend as an indication of how the high summertime tourism season will fare, much like retailers look at back-to-school sales as a way to gauge Christmas shopping.

Snapdragon Device Makes Debut June 2

Luis Pineda, senior vice president of marketing and product development at Qualcomm, announced a new mobile computing device powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset.

Plan Envisions an Urban Hub on Qualcomm Stadium Site

Despite a blatant rejection of their plan by the Chargers, a group of local businessmen says a massive redevelopment project for the Qualcomm Stadium site could become a new civic center for San Diego, and could work with or without a new stadium.

USD Economic Index Rises in April

An index measuring the overall health of the region's economy rose by two tenths of a percent in April, breaking a string of 24 consecutive months of decline.

Peptide Throws Cells Into Reverse

Just two months after a team of scientists led by The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla demonstrated a new way to reprogram cells without introducing new genes, a new report is out claiming a similar, yet safer technique worked using human skin cells

Wednesday, May 27

Retail District's Cow Caper Ends Happily

Cowabunga, the stolen cow's been returned.

Familiar Face Joins Port Commission, Temporarily

William Hall, a former port commissioner from Chula Vista, was appointed by the City Council May 26 to take the job on a temporary basis while the council searches for a permanent replacement.

Ophthonix Secures $25.9M in Venture Funding

The Vista ophthalmology company Ophthonix said May 26 that it raised $25.9 million in venture capital money to continue the launch of its iZon high-resolution lenses for eyeglasses.

Developer to Take Wraps Off 'River Park' Stadium Plan

A team of San Diego developers, architects, attorneys, engineers and builders is holding a news conference May 28 in Balboa Park to unveil a project for the Qualcomm Stadium site that "will showcase what urban development can and should be in the 21st cen

Pair Pleads Not Guilty to Software Counterfeiting

An Oceanside man and his partner pleaded not guilty to a 22-count indictment in federal court May 26 related to the sale of counterfeit Microsoft software, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Metabasis Lays Off Most of Its Staff

Diabetes drug maker Metabasis said May 27 it is reducing its work force by another 45 employees, or approximately 85 percent, as it evaluates "strategic alternatives." Only seven employees will be left, most of them officers.

BakBone Software Seals Deal With ColdSpark

BakBone Software, which makes data backup and recovery products, completed its merger of ColdSpark May 27 with the issuance of $7.8 million of common shares to the Colorado company, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commiss

Tuesday, May 26

Roth Capital Wraps Up $17.6M Maxwell Offering

Roth Capital Partners said May 26 it had completed the $17.6 million common stock offering for the San Diego energy storage company, Maxwell Technologies, which is traded on the Nasdaq as MXWL.

Vical Sells $20M of Stock and Options

San Diego-based vaccine technology company Vical, which recently teamed up with U.S. Navy biomedical researchers in San Diego to test an H1N1 swine flu vaccine, said May 26 that three leading institutional investors have committed $20 million in the form

Port Plans Bay Business Boost

The Port of San Diego launched a $200,000 media campaign that it hopes will generate more traffic to businesses serving the public along San Diego Bay such as hotels, restaurants and museums.

NTN Buzztime Sells $2.25M in Stock

The network game company NTN Buzztime has raised $2.25 million in a private stock sale, according to a May 26 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Monday, May 25

Pillsbury Winthrop Plays Role in Victory Pharma Purchase

The San Diego office of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman helped secure a deal last week between San Diego-based Victory Pharma and Sciele Pharma, the Atlanta-based subsidiary of Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi & Co.

Gaslamp Hosts 16th Annual Gastronomical Adventure

From all appearances, attendance and business participation at the 16th annual Taste of Gaslamp will be on par with last year's event , 26 restaurants have signed up for the first day, Saturday, June 13, and 25 for the next day.

News In Brief

Top business news from around the county.

Border Inspections Impeding Traffic

Backups at the San Ysidro border crossing are a given, but a recent increase in spot inspections of southbound cars crossing into Mexico could have a devastating impact on business, two San Diego business organizations fear.

More Economic Pain Before Gain, UCLA Forecast Predicts

There's no way around it: More pain, job loss and housing devaluation are coming before we're out of this recession. But there are signs that the worst may be behind us.

Military Readies Building Offensive

Just as a weaver twists multiple strands of nylon together to make a rope, the U.S. government has twisted several military construction initiatives together to form something with a good deal of economic pull.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Sean Southard

Amylin Board Headed for Showdown

Amylin Pharmaceuticals, a San Diego-based biotech often cited as one of the area's biggest success stories, could close a chapter this week on an ongoing saga that has pitted some of its biggest investors against it.

Upbeat Work Environment Draws Offbeat Talent

Architect Graham Downes has built a family of companies around the concept of innovation.

Deep Discount Stores Movin?on Up to Replace Failed Retailers

While several national retailers have gone belly up, such as Mervyns and Linens 'n Things, dollar stores are surviving what's casually being called the great recession and occupying vacant storefronts at favorable lease rates.

SAIC's COO to Address North Chamber Breakfast

He knows of what he speaks. Lawrence Prior, COO at defense contractor SAIC since 2004, addresses a breakfast meeting of the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce on May 28.

Visionaries See Technology Dovetailing With Design

HiveHaus manager Jason Harper is not turning away prospective tenants by any means, but he has an idea about the kinds of folks he hopes walk through the door to join the collaborative atmosphere of HiveHaus at 11th Avenue and Ash Street.

Answer to Energy Woes? Provocative Thinking

The scum of the earth just might save us from our energy woes. Nukes might not be the pariahs they once were. And rooftops might have a higher purpose than keeping our heads dry. The search is on for better ways of meeting our daily needs for energy in a

Poseidon Plant Gets Closer to Tapping Into Seawater

The end of a decade-long war of words finally came to a conclusion May 13 when Poseidon Resources received a unanimous vote from the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board to allow the developer to start construction of the Carlsbad desalination p

Hardy Hotel Exec Has Softer Side

Many know Bill Evans, an executive with Evans Hotels, as a driving force behind a leaner, meaner San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau. But he didn't have a lot of allies to start with.

Few Lenders Offering New Five-Year, Interest-Free SBA Loans

When the U.S. Small Business Administration trotted out its part of the $787 billion stimulus bill in February, there was lots of interest in a loan program of up to $35,000 to help small businesses pay off existing loans.

Scripps Plans to Start $350M Encinitas Expansion Work Soon

Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas officials said they will begin work shortly on a $350 million project that will more than double the size of its emergency department to keep up with rising population demands.

State Remains Powerful Magnet for Businesses

There has been yet another upsurge in states and cities around the country targeting California businesses for relocation.

Commodities Slump Short-Circuits E-Waste Recyclers

Starting last October, collectors and recyclers of discarded computers, flat-screen TVs and electronic gadgets, or e-waste, were hit with a bombshell.

State Agency Collects 630 Million Pounds of E-Waste

The state's Integrated Waste Management Board recently crowed about its accomplishments in 2008, issuing an annual report on its various recycling and education programs.

ID Analytics Offers Free Personal Identity Risk Assessment

San Diego analytics company, ID Analytics, rolled out a free product May 18 that allows anyone to check the health of their digital identity.

Scripps Mercy Ball Raises Healthy Amount for Hospital

Scripps Health's 39th annual Mercy Ball raised $1.7 million, including a $1.5 million gift facilitated by Kaye and Dick Woltman.

Real Estate Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of real estate news from around San Diego County: Toyota of El Cajon is seeking a coveted LEED environmental rating for remodeling of an existing building that will serve as its new car sales center when completed in Oc

Friday, May 22

Regulators Impose Deadlines on Temecula Valley Bancorp

Temecula Valley Bancorp, already under a cease and desist order from regulators, was put on a time clock by the California Department of Financial Institutions.

Taylor Guitars Stages Its Own British Invasion

Taylor Guitars is offering a selection of its acoustic and electric models in the world-famous department store Harrods of London.

Jobless Rate Shows Springtime Decline; Retail, Construction Jobs Lost

San Diego County's unemployment rate dropped for the first time in a year during April to 9.1 percent from March when it was at 9.5 percent, according to the May 22 monthly report from the state.

Thursday, May 21

Study Forecasts a Wave of Wealth Transfer, Buoying Charities

San Diego charities stand to receive about $500 million as a result of an estimated $200 billion in wealth that's being transferred between generations over the next 25 years, according to a study commissioned by the San Diego Foundation and released May

Red Door Ranks High on Inner City List

Red Door Interactive is one of the fastest growing inner city companies in America, according to a survey released May 21 by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, the nonprofit that publishes the annual Inner City 100 list.

Qualcomm Stadium Project Pegged at $3B or More

A proposal to build a new stadium at the Qualcomm Stadium site along with more than 1 million square feet of office space and 5,500 residential units, student dormitories and other structures has been reviewed by several elected officials.

'Cali Baja' Brand Unveiled

Business development leaders from both sides of the border rolled out a new branding campaign May 21 as a better way to market the combined San Diego-Tijuana region.

Wednesday, May 20

Making It , Manufacturing Sector Still Employs 74,000

San Diego has been shedding its manufacturing jobs in recent years, but it's still home to 790 factories where nearly 74,000 employees toil, according to an annual report by Manufacturers' News released May 19.

Google Tool to Put SDG & E; Meters on Computer Screens

Customers of San Diego Gas & Electric will soon be able to get personalized information on their energy usage through a familiar Internet service: Google.

State Fines Two Hospitals

State health regulators levied maximum fines of $25,000 apiece against two San Diego hospitals for putting patients at risk of death or serious injury, the California Department of Public Health said May 20.

Mexico Cruises Return

With the Centers for Disease Control lifting a warning against nonessential visits to Mexico, San Diego's year-round, homeported ship, the Carnival Elation, will resume regularly scheduled cruises to that country June 18.

Tuesday, May 19

Tech Coast Angels Pass $100M Investment Mark

The Tech Coast Angels, a Southern California investment group that says it's the largest such angel network in the nation, said May 19 it did 15 first-time financings and 16 follow-on rounds of financing in 2008.

SAIC Unit Nets $20M Hangar-Building Deal

SAIC said May 19 that its Benham subsidiary received a $20 million contract from the Army Corps of Engineers to design, engineer and build a cargo aircraft hangar at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.

Tax Collector Counts More Than 70,000 Delinquent Accounts

County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister sent out 71,478 notices to county property owners who failed to pay either their first or second tax bills of the current tax year, he said May 19.

Price Chopper Picks ParAccel for Data Crunching

ParAccel of San Diego reported May 18 that grocer Price Chopper had selected its new Scalable Analytic Appliance to warehouse data. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ConVis Hires Outside Firm for CEO Hunt

The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau said May 19 it retained the local office of Manpower to launch a national search to replace former president and CEO David Peckinpaugh, who left the bureau in April.

Qualcomm Rolls Out Platform-Agnostic App Store

Qualcomm said May 18 that it was offering a service that enables mobile devices on any network to access an online application store.

Genoptix Lands Spot on S & P; SmallCap Index

Carlsbad-based Genoptix, which provides diagnostic services to community hematologists and oncologists, was selected to join the S & P; SmallCap 600 Index, Standard & Poor's said May 19.

Superior Court Judge Rules Against Sunroad

A developer who had to lop the top two stories off an office building near Montgomery Field in Kearny Mesa, lost a legal battle against the city.

Monday, May 18

Industrialist Looks to Expand Into Diverse Enterprises

Technical challenges abound at Weldmac Manufacturing.

Amylin Needs New Leaders on Board, Co-Founder Says

Adding yet another twist to the ongoing proxy fight at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, co-founder Howard Greene last week sided with dissident investors Carl Icahn and Eastbourne Capital Management in encouraging shareholders to vote for new leadership on the boa

Sales and Leases

Stronghold Canyon Development purchased a 24,319-square-foot industrial/flex building in Scripps Ranch for $3.8 million.

Lower Standards for CPAs Could Hurt State

Although our state legislators' attention has rightly focused on California's budget crisis these past few months, there is another matter before them that affects our economy.

Management Dispute Plays Out at Carlsbad Hotel, in Court

A battle for control of a posh Carlsbad resort , the property's owner or the management company it originally hired , is taking on an air of the Hatfield-McCoy feud.

Mega-Marriage

The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and startup incubator Connect have apparently agreed to merge, a pact that could presage a more important marriage with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Topping Off: San Diego City College Career Technology Center

San Diego City College Career Technology Center

Politicking Under Way to Fill Board Seats at Airport, Port

Two jobs on two governing boards have opened up, and while neither pays much, both are coveted because they involve the Unified Port of San Diego and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, two of the most important public agencies in the region.

Database for Combating Diseases Now Accessible to Researchers Online

A seven-year project that began as a tool for combating bioterrorism has resulted in a database that vaccine developers say could help speed the development of new, more effective products.

Japanese Firm to Buy Victory Pharma

Sciele Pharma, the Atlanta-based subsidiary of Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi & Co., said May 18 it will acquire San Diego-based Victory Pharma for $150 million to give it an entrance into the U.S. pain market.

Amylin Shareholders Get More Advice on Casting Proxy Votes

Two more proxy advisors are urging Amylin Pharmaceuticals shareholders to vote in favor of dissident directors nominated by Eastbourne Capital Management and billionaire Carl Icahn.

News In Brief

Top business news from around the county. (Formerly Week In Review.)

Biotechs in Favor of Streamlining Generic Drug Approvals

San Diego's biotech community is standing behind one of two competing measures that would establish government approval of generic biotech drugs, despite the possible loss of profits by opening up the marketplace to generic competition.

Kaiser Donates $50K to Swim Program for Fourth-Graders

Kaiser Permanente is donating $50,000 to a Chula Vista city swim program for elementary school kids.

Executive Profile - Bruce Gresham

Bruce Gresham is president of Solana Beach-based Events Online.

Water Shortage Is an Economics Issue

Are we "short" of water? No.

Real Estate Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of real estate news from around San Diego County: The San Diego Association of Realtors said in a report issued May 11 that sold listings in April increased compared with those in March, with both attached and detached

Qualcomm Helps 211 Give Callers the 411 on Flu, Fires

The 211 San Diego assistance line has been up and running for five years, but local residents came face to face with it en masse during the 2007 wildfires that displaced 500,000 people and inundated the nonprofit's call centers, which logged 120,000 calls

Reinders Returns to Hospitality Industry

Reint Reinders, who left the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau as CEO back in the spring of 2006, has a new gig, three years later.

After Heavy Loan Losses, Credit Unions Prepare for Worst

While commercial banks get most of the press when it comes to souring loans and dwindling capital levels, many credit unions are dealing with the same issues and reported heavy losses, with some taking heavier hits than others.

Holiday, Poinsettia Bowl Games Generate Combined $52.3M

Qualcomm Stadium may be awash in red ink as revealed in a recent city audit, but at least two annual bowl games are doing their parts to generate revenue.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Brian Cooper

Stock Market Woes Lead to Billions in Pension Fund Losses

Both of the region's employee pension funds suffered enormous losses from the worldwide stock market crash, with each having its value shrink at least 30 percent due to the upheaval.

Sources Say First Business Bank Seeking to Buy Troubled 1st Pacific

First Business Bank, with about $100 million in assets, is seeking to buy troubled 1st Pacific Bank of California, a University City-based bank more than four times its size, according to banking sources.

Friday, May 15

Port Commissioner Bows Out

Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox apparently got her wish when Port Commissioner Mike Najera resigned from his position May 15.

Manchester Bank Fails to Take Root in Tough Economy

Developer Doug Manchester's goal of opening his own commercial bank here apparently fizzled along with the tepid economy.

John Hine, North County Jeep to Lose Dodge Franchises

General Motors and Chrysler are both closing underperforming dealerships nationwide in an attempt to once again become competitive.

Forecast Predicts Turnaround in 2009, All-Time High Job Loss

San Diego's economy may see some signs of a recovery as the year progresses, noticeably in its decimated housing market, said economists with UCLA's Anderson Forecast May 15.

Fate Therapeutics Gains Rights to Stem Cell Technology

Fate Therapeutics, which is testing drugs that help spur the body's own adult stem cells to action to stimulate healing and block cancer growth, said it has acquired exclusive rights to a stem cell technology from two Massachusetts hospitals.

Chrysler Plans to Close 25 Percent of Dealerships

General Motors and Chrysler are both closing underperforming dealerships nationwide in an attempt to once again become competitive.

Chula Vista Bank Posts Net Loss

First PacTrust Bancorp, parent of Pacific Trust Bank, reported a net loss of $2.6 million for the first quarter, compared to a net income of $1.2 million for the first quarter of 2008.

Thursday, May 14

Qualcomm TV Service Strikes Deal With NBC Sports

Qualcomm said May 14 its mobile TV subsidiary, FLO TV, has inked a deal with NBC Universal to carry NBC broadcast sporting events Preakness Stakes, French Open, Stanley Cup Final, U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

Nanogen Seeks Chapter 11 Protection

San Diego-based diagnostics company Nanogen said May 14 it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

ViaSat's Earnings and Revenue Sail Higher

ViaSat, the Carlsbad maker of satellite equipment, reported fiscal fourth quarter net income of $12.1 million, up 15 percent from net profits of $10.5 million in the like quarter of 2008.

Cancer Center to Auction Assets

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late April, will auction off its assets in court June 15.

Cadence Seeks FDA's OK for Pain Drug

San Diego-based biotech Cadence Pharmaceuticals said May 14 it has filed an application seeking FDA approval of a new pain medication.

BakBone Buys Colorado Firm in $15.9M Transaction

BakBone Software, a local firm that makes data protection software, said May 14 it completed the acquisition of ColdSpark, a Colorado software firm, for $15.9 million in cash and stock.

Wednesday, May 13

State Shouldn't Tax Golf Games, Association Warns

Time to yell fore! May 13 was National Golf Day, according to a release from an organization called the California Alliance for Golf.

Market Shows Interest in Temecula Valley Bancorp Stock

Trading of shares of Temecula Valley Bancorp was about 10 times the normal volume May 12 as the stock gained 52 percent to close at $1.07 on the Nasdaq exchange, often a sign of a major announcement.

Sixty Charged With 347 Felonies in Bank Fraud Sweep

A bank fraud scheme allegedly orchestrated by a local criminal street gang used sailors and a faulty check confirmation system to net thieves more than $500,000, according to the county District Attorney's Office in a May 13 statement.

Tuesday, May 12

Jack Leaves Logistics Business, Lays Off 200

Jack in the Box has contracted with J.B. Hunt, one of the country's largest trucking firms, to handle transportation from its distribution centers nationwide, and as a result is paring its work force by 200, mostly truck drivers, in a cost-cutting move.

Amylin Co-founder Backs 'Dissident' Slate of Directors

Howard Greene, co-founder of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, joined the company's ongoing proxy fight in a letter urging shareholders to vote for a slate of directors being pushed by dissident investor groups led by billionaire Carl Icahn and Eastbourne Capital M

Union-Tribune Fills Publisher's Seat

The San Diego Union-Tribune has named Ed Moss as the newspaper's president and publisher.

Revenue Grows, But Kratos Defense Takes a Loss

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc., a local defense contractor specializing in information technology, reported a first quarter net loss of $42.1 million on revenue of $83.9 million.

Dispute Plays Out at Carlsbad Resort, and in Court

The owner of the Four Seasons Resort Aviara, a 329-room luxury hotel with an 18-hole golf course and a 15,000-square-foot spa in Carlsbad, has fired the management company, Four Seasons.

Monday, May 11

Real Estate Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of real estate news from around San Diego County: San Francisco-based commercial construction services provider URS has been awarded a contract to speed up the environmental impact documentation required for the new $59

County Organizations Work Together to Rebuild San Diego

The San Diego County Employees' Charitable Organization donated $10,000 to Rebuilding Together San Diego toward the purchase of a 14-foot box truck.

Executive Profile - Peter Ronchetti

Peter Ronchetti is general manager of Legoland California in Carlsbad.

CEO Shocked By Bank's Understanding Shareholders

Shareholders of Temecula Valley Bancorp, the holding company for Temecula Valley Bank, will get their chance to sound off against management and its board this month, but new CEO Frank Basirico says he isn't too worried.

Conventioneers Coming Back to Area Hotels

Statistics show that fewer business and leisure travelers are checking in at local hotels, yet there are indications ?flutters more than rumblings ?that the meetings business is rebounding.

Work Force Focus

The time-honored attitude toward business, where a worker lives and dies at his or her desk, still has fans aplenty. David Camarata isn't among them.

County Auctions Time-Share Units

The county treasurer-tax collector's office announced May 11 it will hold a an online property tax sale auction on May 16 for 67 time-share properties the county now owns.

Our Business Should Include Supporting Jury Duty

As a business owner, I know firsthand the inconvenience that can come with employees ?or me personally ?being called for jury service.

Subprime Lending Crisis Leads to Bankruptcy Filing

In a way, the story of San Diego's Accredited Home Lenders is typical: A solid business started by two hardworking partners grows to a certain size, goes public, keeps growing and making more profits, then blows up in spectacular fashion.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: James Malone

Big Government Is Needed to Restore Order

"The era of big government is over," President Clinton told the radio listening audience Jan. 27, 1996.

Lindbergh Preparing for Demolition Of Old Teledyne Ryan Buildings

Sometime later this year, the demolition of a group of pre-World War II buildings in downtown San Diego is expected to begin.

Lessons in Business Principles Have Social Merit, Too

While the free market may be on the skids, its principles can be co-opted for social good.

Top-Ranked Formula PR Adds Social Networking to Bag of Tricks

Michael Olguin, who heads Formula PR, ranked No. 1 on the Business Journal's 2008 Public Relations Agencies list, says social media is as important as any of the other services the firm offers.

State's Gas Stations Getting Hosed?

Is this any way to treat our struggling gas stations? The state Air Resources Board and its siblings fined 149 stations , many small and independent , $944,000 statewide for not complying with nozzle regulations that went into effect April 1.

Paul Hastings Advises Biofuels Company in Series D Round

Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, an international law firm with a San Diego office, helped Denver-based biofuels company Gevo close a Series D financing round April 24.

RSF Resident Faces Felony Charges in $20M ATM Scheme

A 72-year-old Rancho Santa Fe resident was charged with 15 felony counts in connection with an elaborate scheme that defrauded 100 investors of $20 million, according to federal prosecutors.

New Legoland Attractions Another Feather in Merlin's Cap

The parent company of Legoland California, Britain-based Merlin Entertainments Group, reported 2008 attendance at its 57 attractions worldwide rose 28 percent from the year before to reach 35.1 million.

When Businesses Say Tweet, Tweet, Customers Listen

Norman Jester is relying heavily on an online social media campaign ?tapping Web sites users access to share opinions and personal information ?to add listeners for his JellyRadio Internet station.

Enterprise Zone Program Under Attack, Some Say

April's tax deadline has passed, but a proposed tax bill making its way through the State Assembly still looms large, particularly among its critics.

Week In Review

Top Business News: May 1 - 7, 2009

Forget the Economy, Remember the Customer

When the economy hits the fan, we immediately think of profits, sales, budgets, cutbacks, layoffs, survival, etc. But the most important asset gets forgotten: our customers.

Novocell Names New CEO

San Diego-based biotech Novocell, developer of embryonic stem cell therapies for diabetes, said it has named John West as president and CEO.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce is offering a workshop on business opportunities at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Swine Flu Has Firms Working Overtime

Local flu test developers and makers of equipment used in identifying flu strains noticed demand for their products peak in the past couple of weeks as the number of confirmed cases of swine flu went past 1,500 worldwide.

Investors Scooping Up City's Sewer Repair Bonds

The city of San Diego's second trip out of the debt penalty box in six years turned out to be a good one.

Friday, May 8

'Unprecedented Times' Force Ardea to Lay Off Nearly Half of Employees

Just a week after announcing a licensing pact with Bayer HealthCare worth up to $407 million, Ardea Biosciences said May 8 it would lay off 47 percent of its workforce to conserve cash.

Cubic Records Net Income of $14.2M

Cubic reported May 7 that it received net income of $14.2 million on sales of $243 million during the quarter ended March 31.

U-T Workers Get Layoff Notices

Three days after it completed the acquisition of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Platinum Equity notified 192 staff members that they would be laid off on July 6.

Site Tracks City Stimulus Funds

Mayor Jerry Sanders on May 6 unveiled a new Web site that permits residents to review allocations and make suggestions on how the city of San Diego should make best use of its share of $787 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Amylin Seeks to Avoid Possible 'Poison Put'

Anticipating an upcoming shareholder vote over company control, Amylin Pharmaceuticals has entered into a new agreement with one of its creditors that could avoid a so-called "poison put" if a major leadership change occurs.

This Bull Has Wings: Air Race Offers Weekend Spectacle

The Red Bull Air Race is coming to San Diego this weekend, May 9 and 10.

Thursday, May 7

Philanthropist Ellen Revelle Dies

Philanthropist Ellen Revelle, wife of Roger Revelle, founder of the UC San Diego campus, and owner of the San Diego Daily Transcript business newspaper, died May 6.

Turner Construction Gets Airport Work

Turner Construction Co. was selected as the design builder for Lindbergh Field's terminal expansion project that entails adding 10 gates to Terminal 2, or the farthest western gate.

Wednesday, May 6

Navy Turns Vical Loose on H1N1 Vaccine

San Diego-based vaccine developer Vical is partnering with the U.S. Naval Medical Research Center to expedite a potential defense against the H1N1 flu virus, it said May 6.

Neurocrine Plans to Lay Off Half Its Staff

Neurocrine Biosciences, maker of experimental drugs for treating neurological and endocrine disorders, said May 6 it would cut its 120-person staff in half to conserve cash as it focuses on moving its midstage clinical programs into final Phase 3 trials.

Regulators: BofA, Wells, Citi Need More Capital

Reports from several major news organizations May 6 including Reuters say the government's stress test results are in and show some of the biggest banks need a lot more capital to satisfy any protracted recession.

Tuesday, May 5

Peregrine Figure Receives 27-Month Sentence

Jeremy Crook, the former vice president for Peregrine Systems sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa, was sentenced to 27 months in prison May 4 by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Whelan for his role in the widespread accounting scandal at the San Diego

Former CCDC President Strikes Plea Agreement

Nancy Graham, the former president of the Centre City Development Corp., pleaded no contest last month to a single misdemeanor related to her not disclosing her economic interests last year, according to the San Diego City Attorney's office in a statement

Amylin Files FDA Application as Ownership Battle Continues

San Diego diabetes drugmaker Amylin Pharmaceuticals has submitted an application to the FDA for its once-weekly Byetta for type 2 diabetes.

Sempra Generates $316M in Quarterly Earnings

Sempra Energy, parent of San Diego Gas & Electric, reported earnings May 5 of $316 million on revenue of $2.1 billion for the quarter ended March 31.

Acadia Gets Help Moving Parkinson's Drug to Market

Acadia Pharmaceuticals has signed a deal worth up to $395 million to bring its experimental Parkinson's disease psychosis drug to market, the company said May 4.

Podcast: This Week's Front Page, at a Glance

Listen to highlights from the current issue of the San Diego Business Journal. Or listen to an archived podcast.

Illumina and Affymetrix Go to Court Again

San Diego-based genetic analysis company Illumina said May 5 it has filed an infringement lawsuit against rival chipmaker Affymetrix of Santa Clara.

Monday, May 4

SAIC Works on Preparedness With $96M Deal

SAIC said May 4 that it received a prime contract from the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command, worth $96 million if all options are exercised.

Topping Off: Claire's on Cedros, Bakery and Cafe

Claire's on Cedros, Bakery and Cafe

Businesses Donate Time, Materials for Homeless Shelter

Smith Bros. Construction recently par & #173;ti & #173;ci & #173;pated in the ribbon cutting and opening of remodeled restroom facilities in Rachel's Women's Center, a downtown homeless shelter.

Resort Hosts Military Moms

The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa will thank local military families assigned to Camp Pendleton on Mother's Day.

Flu Forces Cruise Lines to Reroute Ships to San Diego

Some of the world's largest cruise lines are diverting ships to San Diego after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning against nonessential travel to Mexico because of the swine flu outbreak.

Silvergate Creates Warehouse Mortgage Lending Division

Silvergate Bank, which got its cease and desist order lifted late last year, is expanding through a new warehouse mortgage lending division.

Loan Modifications Hard to Get

As homeowners sink further underwater ?meaning they owe more than the falling value of their homes ?inquiries about loan modification services are skyrocketing.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Chris Neppes

Opponents Still Laboring Against Proposed Pact

Nonunion building contractors are continuing their efforts to stop the San Diego Unified School District board from enacting a project labor agreement, or PLA, with a local trades union. The school board is expecting to adopt the pact in late May.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: NTN Buzztime says it's purchasing iSports, an Internet operation that publishes sports and entertainment news including game scores on mobile devices such as the BlackBerry, for an

Nonprofit Profile - San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation

A conversation with Connie Reeves Campbell, founder and president of San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation.

Executive Profile - Brad Perozzi

Brad Perozzi is managing director of Trammell Crow Residential, a real estate firm that designs, develops and builds multifamily housing in major markets across the country, including Southern California.

Here's How to Navigate Life's Transitions

We all experience life transitions. People dealing with transitions feel anxiety, lack confidence, and fear the unknown.

Week In Review

Top Business News: April 24-30, 2009

Navy Scientists First to ID Flu Bug

Here's the local angle on the news of the day. Navy scientists played an important role in the identification of the first swine flu cases detected in San Diego County the week of April 20.

Entrepreneur Profile - Michael Mercurio

Michael Mercurio is CEO of the San Diego Association of Realtors, which provides Realtors tools and resources to protect private property rights and promote homeownership while informing the public and improving neighborhoods throughout the county.

Magma Feels Recession's Effects, But Still Sees Revenues Rise

Magma has just passed the second anniversary of its buyout by CEO Randy Jones, who was brought in as a consultant in 2003 and ended up with the keys to the company.

Car Sales Slow

The recession is putting the brakes on new vehicle sales in San Diego and throughout California, reaching ferocious double digits reminiscent of a low point not seen since 1975

U-T Sale Closes

Platinum Equity of Beverly Hills said May 4 that it has completed the purchase of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the county's only major metropolitan daily newspaper.

Network Provides Legal Referrals

When San Diego-based law firm Higgs, Fletcher & Mack defended Metabolife International against claims that its ephedra-based weight-loss pill created health problems for those taking it, it didn't do so alone.

Catapulting Forward

The U.S. Navy has given General Atomics' novel aircraft catapult a vote of confidence, reiterating in mid-April that it will be part of an aircraft carrier set for commissioning in 2015.

Job-Seekers, Employers Come Together May 5

Cuyamaca College has set May 5 as the date for its campus job fair. The event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the new student center.

Flower Fields Helping Tourism Numbers Grow This Spring

This is my favorite time of year ?early spring, when just about everything is in bloom.

Parade of Cruise Ships Continues as Flu Changes Itineraries

Five more cruise ships carrying thousands of passengers are making their way to San Diego after changes to itineraries caused by the swine flu outbreak in Mexico, according to a May 4 statement from the Port of San Diego.

College Breaking Ground on Award-Winning Projects

Miramar College was scheduled to break ground on two classroom buildings April 29.

Sales and Leases

The 12,084-square-foot building at 1515-1525 Fourth Ave. in downtown San Diego has been sold for $4.25 million.

Surf Museum Preparing for May 14 Fundraiser in Oceanside

The California Surf Museum is holding its second annual fundraiser May 14 at its new location in Oceanside.

Good to Go

Local vaccine developers testing potential defenses against deadly flu viruses said they are prepared to act quickly if the recent swine flu outbreak that started in Mexico escalates into a pandemic.

Lacking Ability to Manufacture Drugs? Go See Althea

Althea Technologies, a Sorrento Valley-based biotech and pharmaceutical contract manufacturer, debuted its 30,000-square-foot biologic manufacturing facility last week.

Now's the Time for a Commercial Face-Lift

Some weeks ago I was asked by an owner of a small shopping center to offer advice on what his strategic options are, with the announcement that his major anchor tenant would be closing.

Friday, May 1

FDA Clears Life Technologies Instruments for Flu Duty

Instruments made by Applied Biosystems, a division of Carlsbad-based Life Technologies, received emergency clearance by the FDA for helping identify swine flu, the company said April 30.

Callaway Cuts Staff

Publicly traded Callaway Golf has announced lowered first-quarter financial results and the layoff of 185 workers worldwide, including 170 at its Carlsbad headquarters.

PhotoThera Raises $50M

PhotoThera, a Carlsbad-based developer of laser therapy for treating ischemic stroke, has hired a new CEO and raised $50 million in its latest round of financing.

Tax Scammers Helped Themselves to Refunds, U.S. Attorney Says

A scam that defrauded federal taxpayers of their refunds dating back three years was revealed April 30 when the U.S. Attorney's Office announced the arrest of a Russian national and former San Diego resident allegedly involved in the fraud.