Stories for March 2010

Wednesday, March 31

Survey Ranks Tampa as Affordable, San Diego Less So

San Diego ranked as the 19th most affordable large city in which to operate a business, fourth from the bottom, according to a study by KPMG, which released the results March 30.

Isis Inks $1.5B Deal With Glaxo

Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., the Carlsbad-based developer of antisense drugs, said March 31 it has struck a $1.5 billion deal with British pharmaceutical powerhouse GlaxoSmithKline to develop drugs for rare diseases.

Orexigen Asks FDA to Approve Weight-Loss Pill

Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. has submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking approval for a new weight loss pill, it said March 31.

Tuesday, March 30

Merck Serono Ends Partnership With Lpath on Cancer Drug

Merck Serono, the Swiss maker of anti-cancer drug Erbitux, has ended a partnership with Lpath Inc. on its lead drug, the San Diego-based biotech said March 30.

Fitch Gives AA- Rating to Sewer Revenue Refunding Bonds

Fitch Ratings assigned an AA- rating to $163.7 million in sewer revenue refunding bonds that will be issued the week of April 5 by the city of San Diego’s Public Facilities Financing Authority, the Texas credit rating firm said March 30.

Monday, March 29

Airport Agency Anticipates Construction on Runway’s North Side

Environmental work that is necessary before building a new car rental facility for Lindbergh Field at Pacific Highway began recently, the agency that manages San Diego’s major airport said March 29.

Loan on Ramada Plaza Hotel Goes on the Market

Atlas Hospitality Group of Irvine has been retained to market the nonperforming commercial loan secured by the 182-room Ramada Plaza Hotel, at 2151 Hotel Circle South in San Diego.

Saturday Fair at National University Takes Green Theme

National University presents Eco Fair 2010 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 3 at its Spectrum Business Park academic center, 9388 Lightwave Ave. in Kearny Mesa.

San Diego Posts Net Gain of 400 Jobs in February

San Diego County’s unemployment rate for February dipped to 10.6 percent from January’s revised rate of 11.1 percent, with a net gain of about 400 jobs, according to a March 26 report from the state Employment Development Department.

Expressway Builders File for Bankruptcy Protection in S.D.

TRANSPORTATION: Recession, Lack of Development Hurt Project

The companies that built the South Bay Expressway, hailed as an innovative approach to building a needed road by the private sector, became another victim of the lousy economy, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week.

Construction Begins on Collaborative Stem Cell Facility

BIOTECH: Torrey Pines Research Lab Could Spur Demand for Area Real Estate

With state and local dignitaries expected to look on, ground was scheduled to be broken March 26 for construction of a long-awaited, $126 million stem cell research laboratory to be operated by a consortium of four prominent research organizations at Torrey Pines.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Health Care Reform Provisions Benefit Biotech Industry

LIFE SCIENCES: Data Exclusivity Arrangement Extends Protection Of Branded Drugs Against Generics

Last week’s passage of comprehensive health care reform brought closure to the biotechnology industry, which had lobbied for months on key protections to biotech drugs and a regulatory pathway to follow-on products.

Ready for a New Challenge

ENERGY: Debra Reed Departs As CEO of SDG&E, Joins Sempra as Executive VP

When Debra Reed went to work for Southern California Gas Co. as an energy systems engineer in 1978, she had no idea she was embarking on what would become a decades-long career in utilities management.

Tease photo

The Changing Face of the County’s Office Market

The commercial office market is moribund and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. That’s no news to anyone reading this newspaper.

Sun Life Financial Issues Grants and Scholarships to Rising Stars

Barrio Logan College Institute, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego and Home Start were recognized with Sun Life Rising Star Awards by the U.S. division of Sun Life Financial. Each organization will receive a $50,000 grant and a student from each organization will receive a $5,000 scholarship to help finance a postsecondary education.

Sales and Leases

Sales and leases in and around San Diego County

Sales and leases in and around San Diego County

Real Estate Roundup

Real estate news in and around San Diego County

Real estate news in and around San Diego County

Executive Spotlight: Scott Mendel

The Active Network Inc., a technology and media company that provides integrated technology solutions, marketing services and online media properties that enable participation in activities and events, has appointed Scott Mendel to chief financial officer.

People

New hires and promotions around San Diego County

New hires and promotions around San Diego County

Sophisticated Network Hacking Puts Companies’ Precious Data at Risk

TECHNOLOGY: Threats Can Be as Close as an Employee or As Distant as a Web Prowler

Hackers are getting more ambitious these days, and that has companies hired to fend off such cyber network attacks working hard to keep up.

Securing the Home Front: Seven Ways to Lock Out Cyber Crooks

TECHNOLOGY: Simple Steps Help Entrepreneurs Set Up a Safe Work Environment

One way to protect a home office computer from hackers is to follow some tips that cybersecurity professionals recommend.

Private Sector Ushers Military Into New Era of Cybersecurity

DEFENSE: Local Firms Help Armed Forces Win Collective Online Battles

Intertwined cyber networks, connectivity and decision-making systems have become essential elements of the U.S. military’s information technology infrastructure and everyday operations.

Constantly Changing Threats Challenge Cybersecurity Pros

TECHNOLOGY: Defense Mechanisms Aim to Catch Invisible Moving Targets

Cybersecurity, a system of protecting data, computer networks and computers from intrusion, data theft and hijacking, is a moving target that changes moment by moment, while at the same time the medium and the way it is used by individuals and businesses evolves.

California, Carlsbad Chambers Creating Sites to See for Voters

This fall, on Nov. 2, the annual apathy conference will be held across the state. It’s officially called an election. About 35 percent of registered voters will exercise their voting rights, and the other 65 percent of us who don’t bother to vote in off-year elections will complain about the results for three or four years.

Local Accident Compensation Case Heads to State Supreme Court

A case involving a San Diego woman who was struck by a meat truck while making an illegal U-turn in Encinitas has prompted the state Supreme Court to reconsider the kind of compensation due to accident victims.

Deadline Approaching for 1st Pacific to Improve Capital Ratios

The clock is ticking down for 1st Pacific Bank of California, under regulators’ orders to boost its capital ratios and make other changes to its troubled operations.

Cricket Prepaid Wireless Expands Into All 50 States

Cricket Communications Inc., the main subsidiary of San Diego’s Leap Wireless International Inc., announced March 23 the launch of its prepaid wireless service in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, eliminating the roaming charges its customers previously paid.

Monitoring Device Maker Collects Series B Funding

Avaak Inc., a San Diego firm that makes video networking technology, said March 22 it received $10 million in Series B funding led by Qualcomm Inc., along with existing investors Trinity Ventures, InterWest Partners and Leapfrog Partners.

Three’s a Charm: FDA OKs Somaxon Insomnia Drug

After three attempts to earn U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, Somaxon Pharmaceuticals Inc. received the green light last week to begin marketing a new sleeping pill.

MaxLinear Shares Climb in Initial Trading on NYSE

MaxLinear Inc., a Carlsbad-based maker of semiconductors used in broadband communications equipment, raised more than $120 million from a wildly successful initial public offering March 24 with shares closing at $18.70, or better than 33 percent above the $14 initial price.

Regional Economic Index Rises Again, But Just Barely

The University of San Diego’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County registered a measly tenth of 1 percent rise in February, the smallest gain in the last 11 months, but a rise nonetheless.

Grubb & Ellis Acquires Local Real Estate Firm

Commercial real estate services provider Grubb & Ellis announced March 25 that six principals of Commercial Realty Advisers, along with a majority of the local firm’s brokerage professionals, have joined Grubb & Ellis.

County Supervisors Reject Merriam Mountains Project

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has rejected the controversial Merriam Mountains housing development north of Escondido, which includes a proposed 2,630 new homes.

Boaters Finding Space to Slip Their Craft in at Local Marinas

SPORTS BUSINESS: Slip Waiting Lists Have Dropped From 3 Years to 3-6 Months

Those still financially able to keep their yachts, and others who are just fans of boating, have probably noticed one rare upside to continued turmoil in the economy. Gone for now are those two- or three-year waiting lists for a slip to park those boats, and in some cases marina operators are throwing in price incentives and other amenities.

Aid With Loan Delinquencies Paying Off

FINANCE: Credit Unions Emulating California Coast’s Two Outreach Programs

When California Coast Credit Union noticed a surge of loan delinquencies from members last year, it launched two outreach programs to work with borrowers.

Device Makers Weigh Costs of Health Care Reform

MANUFACTURING: Excise Tax to Generate Billions, Help Pay for Overhaul

San Diego’s medical device makers made last-minute pleas to lawmakers last week to stop a proposed excise tax on their products to help pay for health care reform.

Cricket Wireless Gives Callers, Rivals Plenty to Chirp About

Cricket Wireless is chirping about its decision to enter the one price all-you-can-eat plan competition. At a big trade show in Las Vegas on March 23, San Diego-based Cricket said it is going to offer a $30 a month prepaid calling plan that includes unlimited access and unlimited nationwide coverage. A spokeswoman says the plan is half the price of competitors, and puts it in direct competition with Verizon and AT&T Wireles

More Mixed Signals From Commercial Property Market

REAL ESTATE: Sales Dollars Up, Transaction Volume Down Locally

Experts say it’s too soon to predict exactly how national distress in the commercial real estate market will play out in San Diego County as the year progresses.

Friday, March 26

Genomatica Raises $15 Million

Genomatica, a San Diego-based “green” chemicals company, said March 25 that it has closed a $15 million investment round.

Ceremony Dedicates New Stem Cell Research Center

Ground was formally broken March 26 for a long-awaited $126 million stem cell research laboratory to be operated by a consortium of four prominent research organizations in La Jolla.

Thursday, March 25

Supervisors Reject Merriam Mountains Housing Project

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has rejected the controversial Merriam Mountains housing development north of Escondido, which includes a proposed 2,630 new homes.

Regional Economic Index Rises, But Just Barely

The University of San Diego’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County registered a measly tenth of 1 percent rise in February, the smallest gain in the last 11 months, but a rise nonetheless.

Grubb & Ellis Acquires Local Real Estate Firm

Commercial real estate services provider Grubb & Ellis announced March 25 that six principals of Commercial Realty Advisers, along with a majority of the local firm’s brokerage professionals, have joined Grubb & Ellis.

Wednesday, March 24

MaxLinear Shares Climb on Initial Trading Day

MaxLinear Inc., a Carlsbad-based maker of semiconductors used in broadband communications equipment, raised more than $120 million from a wildly successful initial public offering March 24 with shares closing at $18.70, or better than 33 percent above the $14 initial price.

Firm Preyed on Homebuyers Behind on Payments, Prosecutors Say

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego announced a criminal indictment March 23 charging Glenn Steven Rosofsky with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of money laundering in connection with a telemarketing operation in San Marcos targeting delinquent mortgage borrowers with loan modification services.

Mortgage Lender Acquires Washington Firm

Security One Lending, a Mission Valley-based mortgage bank that does business in 21 states, said it acquired Security Reverse, a reverse mortgage specialist firm based in Washington state. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tuesday, March 23

Cricket Expands Prepaid Wireless Service to All 50 States

Cricket Communications Inc., the main subsidiary of San Diego’s Leap Wireless International Inc., announced March 23 the launch of its prepaid wireless service in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, eliminating the roaming charges its customers previously paid.

Monday, March 22

Three’s a Charm: FDA Clears Somaxon Drug

After three attempts to earn U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, Somaxon Pharmaceuticals Inc. received the green light last week to begin marketing a new sleeping pill.

Orange 21 to Trade Over the Counter

Carlsbad-based Orange 21 Inc., which makes and distributes action sports-related sunglasses, goggles and related eyewear and apparel, is being delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market effective March 25.

Avaak Collects Series B Funding

Avaak Inc., a San Diego firm that makes video networking technology, said March 22 it received $10 million in Series B funding led by Qualcomm Inc., along with existing investors Trinity Ventures, InterWest Partners and Leapfrog Partners.

Sales and leases

Sales and leases around San Diego County

Sales and leases around San Diego County

Farmers Will Be Back as Golf Tournament Sponsor

Farmers Insurance, which signed a last-minute agreement to sponsor this year’s PGA Open Tournament at Torrey Pines Golf Course, has inked a deal to sponsor the tournament for the next four years, according to a March 15 announcement.

Medical Equipment Company Delivers New Service to Airport

HEALTH CARE: SpecialCare Arranges for Wheelchairs, Scooters at Lindbergh Field

Travelers arriving at San Diego International Airport once had limited choices for getting wheelchairs, portable oxygen containers or other medical equipment en route to their next destination. Cruise ship passengers, for example, might need a wheelchair from the airport to the terminal.

Medipacs’ Polymer Technology Positions Firm for Long-Term Growth

MEDICAL DEVICES: Patients Can Wear Disposable Pump Designed to Administer Drugs

The drug delivery device market is expected to increase to $16.7 billion by 2012, from $11.8 billion in 2007, according to a study released in late 2009 by Massachusetts-based global management consulting firm Scientia Advisors, and one San Diego-based company is positioned to become a major player in the industry.

Small-Biz Loan Program Starts Up Again

FINANCE: Lending Was Suspended for Six Months, According to Organization

A small-business loan guarantee program operated by the state resumed lending last month after it was suspended for about six months because the state Legislature used the funding to help close California’s deficit, according to the organization.

Homebuyers Learn Cash Is King on Property Bids

REAL ESTATE: Looming Tax Credit Deadlines Put Borrowers Under Pressure

Antonio Lucero wants to buy his first home, and take advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit, but after more than a year of looking he’s still renting.

Del Mar, Site of Region’s First High-End Modular Home

REAL ESTATE: Custom Designed House Incorporates Eco-Friendly Features

The 4,000-square-foot, custom-built home coming together in Del Mar is a rarity not only for the mostly upscale community, but also for the entire San Diego market. For one thing, it’s made of pieces manufactured on an assembly line more than 900 miles away, in Boise, Idaho.

Talk Show Host Helps Launch Exhibit

Out of this world. George Noory, host of the overnight other-dimensional Coast to Coast AM radio show, appeared locally March 13 to help promote the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s new exhibit, “The Science of ... Aliens,” which examines those scary iridescent beings supposedly from other planets.

Science Festival Expects to Draw 100,000

EDUCATION: Event Connects Students to Mentors in the Field

Last year’s inaugural San Diego Science Festival was the largest of its kind on the West Coast. This year, organizers said, promises to be even bigger.

San Diego Hispanics Prepared for Global Reality

Technology and innovation have been driving forces for globalization and increased interconnectivity. Many young, socially connected San Diego Hispanics are on the forefront of this new society. Their affinity for Internet technologies will advance Hispanics as business strategies are increasingly built within global models.

Familiar Firm Becomes New Owner of La Costa Resort

La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad has been purchased by KSL Capital Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed in a March 17 statement.

Real Estate Roundup

Real estate news in and around San Diego County

Real estate news in and around San Diego County

Graduate Schools Ease Their Way Into Online Educational Realm

TECHNOLOGY: Hybrid Courses Save Students Time and Money While Maximizing Class Space

Online learning is popular — and becoming more so — with San Diegans pursuing professional training, certificate courses and other continuing education options. Graduate degree programs at San Diego’s public universities are making the transition in a slower fashion.

College Catalogs Increase Their Menu of Online Course Offerings

TECHNOLOGY: Options Include General Ed Classes, Associate Degree Programs

Undergraduate students at San Diego State University and the region’s community colleges face a widening array of traditional and online learning choices. Meanwhile, online offerings for matriculating students at the University of San Diego and UC San Diego are few to none.

High Schools Make Digital Connections With Tech-Savvy Students

EDUCATION: Challenging Programs Prepare Students For 21st Century Workplace

High schools are changing the way they teach, knowing their “digital native” students have unprecedented access to Internet use and have acquired a host of related skills. Schools are buying or building their own curriculum programs and using the connectedness of the digital age to try to reach — and graduate — more students than ever.

Bridgepoint Progressive in Filling Demand for an Online Education

TECHNOLOGY: Enrollment Jumps 70% as Remote Learning Gains Acceptance Nationally

Affordable courses and growing public acceptance of online education have helped San Diego-based Bridgepoint Education Inc. thrive during the nation’s deep recession.

Researchers Taking Extraordinary Measures to Fight Diseases

New models for funding rare disease research are turning up every day, with specialty foundations pushing new clinical trials and increased attention driven by patient advocates.

Having Shed Construction Loans, Pacific Trust Bank Looks Ahead

Construction lending got many lenders in trouble, so it’s not that surprising that some banks just aren’t doing any more of it.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Private Equity Fund Casts Eyes on Colorado Real Estate

Pathfinder Partners LLC, a San Diego firm specializing in distressed real estate, has joined with Denver’s Pittman Development Group Inc. to launch a new private equity fund aimed at acquiring real estate in Colorado, the firms said March 18.

Two Plead Guilty to Fraud, Filing False Tax Returns

Two men who pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud and filing false tax returns in connection with a scheme to defraud investors were sentenced to federal prison terms March 15, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

State Agency’s Chief Scientist Finds Work in San Diego

The state stem cell agency’s chief scientific officer has left the agency for a job with startup San Diego biotech Organovo, the company said March 16.

Nothing Comical About Efforts to Keep Comic-Con In San Diego

TOURISM: Convention Has $40M Impact on Area

Local convention center and hospitality officials say they’ve taken actions that should help keep the popular Comic-Con International event in San Diego, along with its estimated $40 million in annual economic impact, for 2013 and beyond.

Putting Investors First

FINANCE: Veteran Investment Advisers Launch New Venture

In the wake of a global recession that has shaken the public’s faith in financial institutions, Delphi Private Advisors has adopted a business model that calls for bringing more transparency and trust to the investment process.

Tease photo

Lindbergh Field Terminal Expansion Gets Under Way

CONSTRUCTION: Bonds Help Finance $1B Project

The San Diego International Airport terminal expansion project’s hefty price tag of more than $1 billion, including last year’s estimated cost of $865 million for construction plus financing costs, will be borne mainly by airlines and their passengers, and won’t require any tax increases.

How to Deal With Workplace ‘Champions’

If you own a business or have managed employees as part of your work, perhaps the following scenario is uncomfortably familiar: An employee is walking down the hallway, coffee cup in hand, when he or she hears two co-workers telling some jokes across the room. These jokes certainly aren’t raunchy, but they are a little edgy.

‘Crazy Love’ Author Speaks at YWCA Luncheon Benefiting Becky’s House

The YWCA held its 12th Annual In the Company of Women luncheon March 11 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. Leslie Morgan Steiner, author of “Crazy Love,” was the keynote speaker.

Executive Spotlight: Eric Graves

The San Diego Bowl Game Association’s board of directors has elected Eric Graves president of the 2010 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl and San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

San Diego People

New hires and promotions in and around San Diego County

New hires and promotions in and around San Diego County

Friday, March 19

Retirement Panel Says It Will Appeal Amaranth Decision

The San Diego County Employees Retirement Association, which manages the county’s $7 billion pension fund, said it is appealing a New York federal court decision to dismiss the association’s lawsuit against Amaranth Advisors LLC, it announced March 18.

Thursday, March 18

La Costa Resort Has New Owners

La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad has been purchased by KSL Capital Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed in a March 17 statement.

New Private Equity Fund Focuses on Colorado Real Estate

Pathfinder Partners LLC, a San Diego firm specializing in distressed real estate, has joined with Denver’s Pittman Development Group to launch a new private equity fund aimed at acquiring real estate in Colorado, the firms said March 18.

Tuesday, March 16

Two Plead Guilty to Fraud, Tax Charges

Two men who pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud and filing false tax returns in connection with a scheme to defraud investors were sentenced to federal prison terms March 15, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Stem Cell Agency Officer Finds Work in San Diego

The state stem cell agency’s chief scientific officer has left the agency for a job with startup San Diego biotech Organovo, the company said March 16.

Monday, March 15

FDA Seeks Info, Amylin Sees ‘Clear Path’ to Drug Approval

Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. said March 15 it will have to address some key concerns raised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before its once-weekly diabetes drug passes the agency’s requirements for approval.

Farmers Will Be Back as Golf Tournament Sponsor

Farmers Insurance, which signed a last-minute agreement to sponsor this year’s PGA Open Tournament at Torrey Pines Golf Course, has inked a deal to sponsor the tournament for the next four years, according to a March 15 announcement.

Class Action Attorney Finishes Sentence

Bill Lerach, the San Diego class action attorney sentenced to two years in federal prison in 2008 after pleading guilty to a single felony of criminal conspiracy and obstructing justice, was officially released from custody March 8, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Local Companies See Growth Opportunities in China

LIFE SCIENCES: BIOCOM To Sign Memorandum of Understanding With Beijing Development Association

Convinced the future of drug development will rely as much on local innovation as overseas support, leaders of some San Diego County life sciences companies said they’re forging stronger ties with China than ever before.

Tease photo

Low Impact!

FITNESS: North County Company Launches Elliptical Bicycle as Alternative to Running

About four years in the making, the world’s first elliptical bicycle created by a pair of North County entrepreneurs is being marketed to runners who want to remain active but can no longer take the pounding on their leg and hip joints.

Tease photo

Some Luxury Beachfront Houses Landing on Auction Block

REAL ESTATE: S.D. Developer Plans to Sell High-End Property in Dana Point on March 27

A still-sluggish housing market has caused some of the nation’s best-situated properties, including high-end beachfront homes, to show up in a rare location lately: the auction block.

Homeland Security Seeking Innovative Business Ideas

TECHNOLOGY: High-Ranking Official Speaks to International, Local Firms at San Diego Summit

Thomas Cellucci said he routinely gets about 650 e-mails daily, nearly all of them starting the same way: “Dr. Cellucci: We are the only company in the world that does …”

Graphic War Flick About U.S. Marines Opens in Gaslamp

First came the Academy Award-winning “The Hurt Locker,” a riveting movie about the perils of war in the 21st century. Now comes “Severe Clear,” which opened March 12 at the Gaslamp 15 in downtown San Diego.

Senior Management Shuffle at San Diego Private Bank

FINANCE: Founding CEO Armstrong Departs; Chairman Takes Over

Chief Executive Officer Robert Armstrong, who helped organize and open San Diego Private Bank in 2006, left his job abruptly in February.

Donovan’s to Open New Restaurant in Gaslamp

HOSPITALITY: Moving Up In a Down Economy, Chain Plans Second New Location

In an economy that still isn’t kind to restaurants — with chains nationwide closing locations, chopping prices and paring staff — Dan Shea is preparing once again to expand his growing family of locally based restaurants.

Startup Targets Rare Genetic Disorder With New Drug

BIOTECH: VC-Funded Company Launched With MIT-Spawned Technology

Afraxis, a fledgling San Diego drug developer with technology spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has quietly been raising money the last couple of years for testing a new treatment for Fragile X syndrome.

Major Commercial Tenant Leaves Downtown for Sorrento Mesa

REAL ESTATE: American Specialty Health Relocates, Becomes Second Midsized Employer to Move North

Health services provider American Specialty Health Inc. is leaving the downtown building it’s called home for the past decade, as it moves its headquarters and 750 employees to Sorrento Mesa in October.

A Sharp Move: Health Care System Develops Online Tool

TECHNOLOGY: MySharp Lets Patients Pay Bills, Check Results of Laboratory Tests

Two years in the making and $2 million later, Sharp HealthCare has unveiled an online tool that allows patients to track their health and e-mail their doctor with any questions.

Life Tech to Help Unravel Genetic Clues in Quest for Cancer Treatment

A first-of-its-kind study that aims to decode the genetic makeup of an aggressive form of breast cancer will leverage Life Technologies Corp.’s next-generation gene sequencing machine, known as the SOLiD System.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

West Wireless Health Institute Names Chief Executiv

San Diego’s West Wireless Health Institute, formed a year ago to push wireless solutions for the health care industry, has appointed a former Johnson & Johnson executive to serve as its first chief executive officer.

EDD Report: Region Loses 50,000 Jobs Over 12 Months

San Diego’s unemployment rate increased to 11 percent in January, up from a revised 10.3 percent in December, and well above the January 2009 jobless rate of 8.4 percent, according to a March 10 report from the state Employment Development Department.

Alvarado Hospital Stroke Program Applauded, Twice

Alvarado Hospital Inc. has positioned itself as a major center for stroke care, most recently by earning certifications from the Joint Commission as a primary stroke center and as a gold seal of approval stroke rehabilitation program.

Nurse Staffing Firm Reports Loss in ‘Challenging’ Times

AMN Healthcare Services Inc., a San Diego-based staffing company, reported a loss in the fourth quarter as the weak economy took a toll on the demand for temporary nurses and support staff.

Extension of Popular SBA Loan Program Runs Out March 31

For companies seeking a federally guaranteed Small Business Administration loan that doesn’t carry origination fees, the clock is running.

Panel OKs Money for Stem Cell Clinical Trials

A governing board with the state’s $3 billion stem cell institute has approved a proposal for funding the development of new stem cell therapies.

Chamber Salutes Marines, Carlsbad’s Best Businesses of 2009

One good way to break away from a negative economy is to celebrate the successes in a city. On the evening of Feb. 26 at Four Seasons Resort Aviara, North San Diego, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce saluted 5l business finalists in nine categories for their success in 2009.

Biotech’s Changing Dynamics Widen Its Geographical Circle

REAL ESTATE: Industry Seeks Affordable Leases, Proximity to Labor Pool

In San Diego, the geography of biotechnology is no longer carved in stone.

Region’s Biomedical Sector a Growth Leader in California

BIOTECH: Despite Industry Downsizing, 162 Startups Created in State in 4th Quarter

Indications are good that San Diego’s innovative biomedical industry will create more startup companies and jobs this year, but access to venture capital funding continues to be a major challenge for early stage firms, according to local biotech insiders.

Slumping Biotechs Leave Trail of Vacant Lab Space Behind

REAL ESTATE: As Business Wanes, Industry Looks to Occupy Smaller Facilities

Four areas of San Diego have the most vacant laboratory space available for biotech companies, and those vacancies are the fallout of tough economic times.

Altman Leaving Amylin’s Board

Steven Altman, the Qualcomm Inc. president who sits on the board of Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., said he would not seek re-election to the biotech company’s board this year “due to other commitments” the company did not specify. Amylin made the announcement in a securities filing March 5.

Innovation as Abundant as Patent Diversity Across Local Landscape

LAW: Mapping Origins Of Discoveries Proves To Be an Elusive Task

A map of San Diego’s more than 15,000 patents issued since 1976 weighs heavily on the La Jolla/Golden Triangle/Sorrento Valley area, and the more than 5,600 pending patent applications follow that trend, according to a search based on patent holders’ home cities.

Real Estate Roundup

Real estate news in and around San Diego County

Real estate news in and around San Diego County

Sales and leases

Sales and leases in and around San Diego County

Sales and leases in and around San Diego County

San Diego People

New hires and promotions in and around San Diego County

New hires and promotions in and around San Diego County

Executive Spotlight: Jim Canfield

Jim Canfield has been promoted to CEO of Renaissance Executive Forums.

Sports Buff John Lynch Named a Legend at Celebrity Golf Classic

John Lynch was honored as the 2010 Legend of the Year at the 18th annual Junior Seau Celebrity Golf Classic, which was held March 8 at La Costa Resort & Spa.

Googling ‘Co-Location’ for San Diego Land Use

Recently, Google asked the northern California city of Mountain View, the international headquarters of all things Google, to alter its zoning laws so that homes and stores can be built near its headquarters.

We Are All Engaged in Selling Something

When I asked a new client this week to explain their sales process, I was told that they didn’t like the idea of “selling.” This is not an unusual statement. I regularly encounter entrepreneurs and even midsize companies that believe producing a quality product or service is enough.

Friday, March 12

FDA Releases Details of Amylin Plant Inspection

On the same day Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. anticipated FDA action on its once-weekly diabetes drug, federal regulators released the findings of a December inspection demonstrating problems at the company’s Ohio manufacturing plant.

Corporate Counsels Come Together at Black & White Ball

One of the legal community’s premier social events, the annual Black & White Ball, will take place March 13 in the Douglas Pavilion of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego.

Experts to Discuss Distressed Asset Deal-Making

Commercial Real Estate Women will host a March 18 educational luncheon program, focused on deal-making in lender-owned real estate and other distressed assets. It will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sheraton La Jolla, 3299 Holiday Court.

San Diego Firm Named Receiver for Phoenix Office Tower

Trigild Inc., a San Diego-based receivership and loan recovery specialist, has been appointed receiver for the 24-story Viad Corporate Center in downtown Phoenix.

Thursday, March 11

Panel OKs Money for Stem Cell Clinical Trials

A governing board with the state’s $3 billion stem cell institute has approved a proposal for funding the development of new stem cell therapies.

Alvarado Hospital Stroke Program Lauded — Twice

Alvarado Hospital has positioned itself as a major center for stroke care, most recently by earning certifications from the Joint Commission as a primary stroke center and as a gold seal of approval stroke rehabilitation program.

Illumina Sequences Genome of Actress Glenn Close

San Diego-based genetic analysis company Illumina revealed March 11 that it has decoded the entire genetic makeup of actress Glenn Close.

Airport’s $1B Expansion Project Gets Rolling

Construction at Lindbergh Field’s western terminal known as Terminal 2 began in earnest this week, with grading under way at the terminal’s apron area to accommodate an alternative parking area before work begins at the current parking lot.

First PacTrust Bancorp Reports Net Loss

First PacTrust Bancorp, parent of Chula Vista-based Pacific Trust Bank, reported March 10 a net loss of $601,000 for the fourth quarter of last year, compared to a net loss of $1.3 million for the like quarter of 2008.

Wednesday, March 10

Golf Fest Tees Off March 12

Golf Fest comes this weekend to the Riverwalk Golf Club, 1150 Fashion Valley Road in San Diego.

Region’s Jobless Rate at 11 Percent; 50,000 Jobs Lost in 12 Months

San Diego’s unemployment rate increased to 11 percent in January, up from a revised 10.3 percent in December, and well above the January 2009 jobless rate of 8.4 percent, according to a March 10 report from the state Employment Development Department.

Tuesday, March 9

Class Action Attorney Finishes Prison Sentence

Bill Lerach, the San Diego class action attorney sentenced to two years in federal prison in 2008 after pleading guilty to a single felony of criminal conspiracy and obstructing justice, was officially released from custody March 8, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Nine Tenants Flock to Carlsbad Retail Center

Bressi Village Shopping Center, at 2629-2687 Gateway Road in Carlsbad, gained nine new tenants that signed leases totaling $6 million during 2009, operators said in a statement.

Emerging from Stealth Mode, Afraxis Makes Hires

Afraxis, a San Diego-based biotech testing a treatment for Fragile X syndrome, said March 8 it has appointed a chief scientific officer and vice president.

Stemgent Makes Investment in Scottish Biotech

Stemgent Inc., a provider of biological materials for stem cell research with offices in Cambridge, Mass. and San Diego, said March 8 it will invest $4.5 million during the next three years in a Scottish biotech startup.

West Wireless Health Institute Names CEO

San Diego’s West Wireless Health Institute, formed a year ago to push wireless solutions for the health care industry, has appointed a former Johnson & Johnson executive to serve as its first chief executive officer.

Survey Pegs Second-Quarter Hiring as Modest

San Diego area employers said they expect to hire at a modest pace during the second quarter, according to the Manpower Employment Survey released March 9.

Monday, March 8

Isis Receives Milestone Payment

A regulatory acceptance has triggered a $6 million milestone payment to Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. from partner Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. as part of the drug makers’ collaboration on a cholesterol-lowering treatment.

Leap Wireless Reduces Staff

Leap Wireless International Inc., the San Diego parent firm of flat-rate cell phone carrier Cricket Communications, recently cut 180 full-time positions from its 4,200-person work force.

Barney & Barney Associates Rise to the Top

A specialty business publication has singled out two insurance brokers from Barney & Barney LLC as tops in their field, the insurance firm said March 4.

Form Complements Function in Stylish Solar Energy Systems

DESIGN: New Materials Blend Structures With Photovoltaic Panels

For homeowners and homebuilders attuned to aesthetics, unsightly solar panels on a rooftop used to be a serious deal breaker for installing a solar energy system. But the ugly side of solar has become a lot prettier in recent years, thanks to new materials, tidier installations, building-integrated systems and creative design solutions.

Financial Incentives Boost Burgeoning Solar Installation Business

ENERGY: Region a Hotbed for Green Power Production

As one of the nation’s top solar generating cities, San Diego is a popular place for the business of solar installation. The city has the most solar installations and generating power in the state and more solar rooftops than either Los Angeles or oh-so-green San Francisco, according to advocacy group Environment California.

Loan Program Ties Payments for Energy Systems to Property Taxes

FINANCE: Funding Options Ease Cost of Making a Solar Power Conversion

Already top-ranked for solar installations in the state, San Diego is about to get even more solar friendly once the city gets the final approval for a financing scheme that will tie loans to install power-generating systems to the property on which they’re installed through the tax assessor’s bill.

Real estate roundup

Real estate news in and around San Diego County

Real estate news in and around San Diego County

Sales and leases

Sales and leases in and around San Diego County

Sales and leases in and around San Diego County

San Diego People

New hires and promotions

New hires and promotions

100 California Bank Branches Raise $102K for United Way

California Bank & Trust associates raised $102,680 through their branch network of 100 offices for the United Way statewide fundraising campaign.

Groups Offer Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits

Ask members of the nonprofit community what they need these days, and chances are you’ll hear a common theme emerge: money. It’s not unlike the message we have all heard before, but this time there’s a new urgency for many nonprofits in town. Stories of increasing demand and decreasing funds putting the squeeze on San Diego’s nonprofit community have become increasingly common.

Clean, Green Jobs

ENERGY: Kyocera to Manufacture Solar Panels in San Diego

San Diego continued to burnish its status as one of the nation’s most solar-friendly cities last week when Kyocera Solar Inc. announced it would begin making solar panels at its Kearny Mesa plant in June, creating about 75 jobs.

Tease photo

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Future Leaders Need Art-Infused Education

As Harvey White and Pete Garcia, both former executives on the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. board of trustees, have argued, “We need STEAM, not just STEM” to ensure our leadership in the 21st century. We need to put art back into our curricula.

New Self-Help Book Arrives to Help the Just Terminated

I’m outta work! Now whatta I do? Former North County resident and freelance journalist Candice Reed teams up with comic and writer Kitty Martini to pen a new self-help tome, “Thank You for Firing Me!”

Scientists, Engineers Connect With Venture Capitalists at Summit

INNOVATION: New Ways to Lower Energy Use, Treat Cancer

When a UC San Diego computer science and engineering professor discovered that the university ranked among the county’s largest energy users, he wanted to get to the bottom of it.

Upper Deck Dealt Losing Hand in Legal Battle

LAW: Judge Finds Company Liable for Counterfeiting

In August 2008, an employee of Konami Digital Media noticed something strange while visiting a Toys ”R” Us store in the Los Angeles area.

Regulators Cite Evidence of Malfeasance at La Jolla Bank

FINANCE: Board Ignored Panel’s Findings of Misconduct By Lender’s Officers, Report States

Shoddy loan underwriting, extending additional credit to already overextended borrowers, and a portfolio chock-full of defaulting land development and construction loans were just a few of the problems cited by federal regulators when they seized $3 billion La Jolla Bank last month.

Meditech Pioneers New Tools for Monitoring, Diagnosing Diabetes

DEVELOPMENT: Devices Promise Pain-Free Treatments

A San Diego startup company has hopes of making a major impact on the health care market, with products that offer noninvasive ways to screen for diabetes and perform daily glucose monitoring.

Net Income, Revenues Soar At Bridgepoint Education

Bridgepoint Education, a San Diego-based business that offers online college degree programs, said March 2 that it more than doubled its annual revenue in 2009 over 2008. Net income also grew dramatically.

Nassco Receives Contract to Build Two Supply Ships

General Dynamics Nassco said March 1 that it was awarded an $824.6 million contract from the U.S. Navy for two dry cargo ammunition ships called T-AKE.

Media Partners Leverage An Interest in ‘Man Caves’

Classic cars, tire chains, power tools and oil stains. A garage takes in many things … including its own specialized media.

Federal Contractor SGIS Surpasses $100M in Revenue

SGIS, a San Diego-based government contractor, said its annual revenue last year passed $100 million, and was 13 percent greater than the revenue generated in 2008.

Venture Capitalists Pump $10M Into Awarepoint

Awarepoint Corp., the San Diego-based provider of patient and equipment tracking systems for hospitals, said March 1 that it has raised $10 million in venture capital.

Bolstering Loan Loss Reserves Leads to Difficult Year for Banks

Last year’s results for local banks show profits were tough to find. From the top 20 banks that are part of the San Diego Business Journal’s Local Banks list that ran in the 2010 Book of Lists, only nine had net income for 2009.

Senator Leahy Pushes Patent Reform Discussion to the Forefront

A recent speech delivered by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., seems to have reinvigorated the push for patent reform. Local attorneys said the move signals new momentum on an issue that took a backseat to the health care reform debate last year.

Nonprofit profile: Karuna International

Michelle Martin is executive director of Karuna International, a nonprofit organization promoting cross-cultural awareness through international volunteerism.

Executive profile: Kim Young

Kim Young is executive vice president and regional president of Wells Fargo’s community banking in Southern California. Young is responsible for 191 banking stores in San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial counties with more than $12 billion in deposits. Young, a 35-year veteran of the company, was appointed to her current position in 2009 and oversees a staff of more than 3,000 team members.

Future Looks Bright for Solar Industry’s Commercial Sector

ENERGY: Market Rebound, Tax and Financial Incentives Contribute to Sunny Outlook

After suffering a brutal year for business in 2009, the commercial solar industry is starting to see the sunlight again. Signs of a stronger economic forecast, combined with federal, state and local solar tax credits and incentives have local solar companies beaming, especially as commercial clients turn toward the sun for their energy production needs.

Diabetes Device Manufacturers Face New Regulations

MEDICAL DEVICES: FDA Rules Changes Would Affect San Diego Companies

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration push for more accurate blood glucose meters for managing diabetes has caught the attention of local device makers and developers testing next-generation products.

SR-905 Upgrade Receives Stimulus Funding

TRANSPORTATION: Shovel-Ready Project Wins Competition for Dollars

A key highway project in the South Bay, state Route 905, was awarded a $20.2 million grant through funds allocated from the $787 billion federal stimulus package.

Ocera Tests Drug to Treat Little-Known Condition

BIOTECH: Drug Aims to Soak Up Toxins Before They Can Impair Brain Function

Serial entrepreneur Eckard Weber has spent years picking through promising pharmaceutical compounds that originated in Asia but, for one reason or another, were shelved by drug makers or used for treating only certain illnesses.

Homeowners Turn to Solar Technology to Cut Their Utility Bills

FINANCE: Systems in Place To Give Customers Data on Energy Output and Savings

When people thought of solar panels for residential use a decade ago, many of them had a vision of an eco-friendly log cabin-like house situated in the middle of a forest several miles from civilization and the power grid. Today, photovoltaics, or PV, are being used more and more by suburban dwellers. For many of these homeowners, it’s not just about being “green.” It’s about hard economics.

Sunday, March 7

SD Test Story With Photo

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. shareholders voted Feb. 11 in favor of the company's acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Tease photo

Friday, March 5

Lindbergh Field to Receive Full Body Scanners

San Diego’s Lindbergh Field is among a group of 11 airports in the nation to receive federal stimulus funding to purchase full body scanners that provide a higher level of detection and improve airline safety, according to a March 5 announcement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Life Technologies Puts Breast Cancer in its Sights

Life Technologies Corp., the Carlsbad-based maker of next-generation gene sequencing machines, said March 5 it will join two other organizations in a project to decode the genetic makeup of an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Guilty Plea Entered in Mortgage Fraud Case

Darnell Bell, 39, an accused leader of a mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in the theft of at least $20 million in borrowed bank funds over several years, pleaded guilty March 5 to racketeering, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering before U.S. District Judge Nita Stormes.

AMN Reports Loss in ‘Unprecedented’ Economic Environment

AMN Healthcare Services Inc., a San Diego-based staffing company, reported a loss in the fourth quarter as the weak economy took a toll on the demand for temporary nurses and support staff.

Golden State’s Jobless Rate Hits 12.5 Percent in January

California’s unemployment rate for January rose to 12.5 percent, up from a revised 12.3 percent in December, the state Employment Development Department said March 5.

Amylin Board Member Will Not Pursue New Term

Steven Altman, the Qualcomm president who sits on the board of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, said he would not seek re-election to the biotech company’s board this year “due to other commitments” the company did not specify.

Novalar Goes After European Customers

San Diego-based Novalar Pharmaceuticals Inc. has signed an exclusive deal with pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis to market its dental anesthetic reversal agent in Germany.

Thursday, March 4

Beach Scene Lures Spring Breakers

San Diego is the ninth most popular spring break destination for U.S. college students this year, according to a survey by travel Web site Orbitz released March 4.

Wednesday, March 3

Kyocera to Manufacture Solar Panels in San Diego

Kyocera Corp.’s solar division announced March 3 that it plans to manufacture solar panels at its Kearny Mesa plant starting in June, initially creating about 75 new jobs.

Sempra Energy Applauded for Corporate Citizenship

Sempra Energy was named as one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine, the company announced March 2.

Tuesday, March 2

Bridgepoint Education Reports Net Income, Revenues Soaring

Bridgepoint Education, a San Diego-based business that offers online college degree programs, said March 2 that it more than doubled its annual revenue in 2009 over 2008.

Specialized Media Take on Market Together

Classic cars, tire chains, power tools and oil stains. A garage takes in many things … including its own specialized media.

Sunrise Bank Lines Up Approvals for Merger

Four regional banks that are majority owned by Lansing, Mich.-based Capital Bancorp received all regulatory and shareholder approvals needed to merge under the new bank name Sunrise Bank effective March 5.

Monday, March 1

Fallbrook Man Owes $862,000 in Restitution

A Fallbrook man who pleaded guilty to mail fraud and filing a false tax return was sentenced March 1 by Judge James Lorenz to 41 months in federal prison and three years of supervised probation.

Nassco Receives Contract to Build Two Supply Ships

General Dynamics Nassco said March 1 that it was awarded an $824.6 million contract from the U.S. Navy for two dry cargo ammunition ships called T-AKE.

UCSD Rady School Offers M.B.A. Information Sessions

Representatives of UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management will lay out details of the school’s FlexMBA program for working professionals on March 30.

Awarepoint Raises $10M

Awarepoint Corp., the San Diego-based provider of patient and equipment tracking systems for hospitals, said March 1 that it has raised $10 million in venture capital.

NIH Investment Generates Good Returns, Agency Chief Asserts

Francis Collins, the physician geneticist-turned-government director, came to San Diego much like the 8,000 others involved in the annual scientific meeting: to discuss the latest advancements in the field.

Gross Regional Product Ranks County at No. 47 in the World

The gross regional product, or GRP, of San Diego County is poised to make a nice rebound from its first slight downturn in more than 40 years. Economists project the 2010 GRP at year-end to be somewhere close to $174.5 billion — up from $168.7 billion in 2009.

Executive Profile: Bryan Enarson

Bryan Enarson is vice president of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, which provides infrastructure to meet the air transportation demand for the San Diego region.

Breaking Ground: Harbor Point, 5055 N. Harbor Dr., Point Loma

Peckham Family Trust is the developer of Harbor Point at 5055 N. Harbor Drive in Point Loma. The project consists of a two-story, 24,000-square-foot building designed for both retail and office tenants.

Upticks Since ’08 Signal Small-Business Lending Is on the Mend

FINANCE: Real Estate Challenges Thwart Efforts To Overcome Hurdles

Local banks and the director of the Small Business Administration in San Diego expect that small-business lending should increase this year, albeit incrementally, over last year.

Business Owners Find Lucrative Ways to Innovate on the Web

TECHNOLOGY: Social Media Among Online Tools That Aid In Stretching Limited Resources

Small businesses are turning to the Web to innovate, draw new customers and keep the old ones — and finding their businesses changing in the process.

Consulting to Outsourcing Gives Small Businesses Practical HR Options

WORK FORCE: Specialists Lend Their Expertise to Help Ensure Compliance

When times get tough the tough get swamped. Even in good times small-business owners shoulder multiple responsibilities. Concentrating on the revenue-producing and operational side of things is even harder when the economy turns down and there are fewer employees to share the burden.

Training Programs Have Art of Selling Down to a Science

EDUCATION: Sales Lessons Focus on Sharpening Skills To Get Bottom Line Results

In this down economy, where clients demand more for less, more of San Diego’s small-to-midsized business owners are turning to expert training programs in sales and marketing to find the solutions they need to grow their businesses and build sustainable relationships with their clients.

San Diego People

San Diego People

Executive Spotlight: Tum Vongsawad

The board of directors of SDCCU has appointed Chief Operating Officer Tum Vongsawad as interim president and CEO.

Real Estate Roundup

Real estate news in and around San Diego County

Real estate news in and around San Diego County

Sales and Leases

Sales and leases in and around San Diego County

Sales and leases in and around San Diego County

Fellowships for M.B.A. Students to Follow $2.5M Rady School Gift

Pauline Foster has pledged $2.5 million to The Rady School of Management at UC San Diego. The gift will provide fellowships to M.B.A. students and is part of Invent the Future: The UC San Diego Student Support Campaign.

Kicking the Housing Can Down the Road

There are multiple San Diegos, a fact that I am reminded of when I receive visitors to my downtown office who live and work in North County. Frequently they remark how they seldom visit downtown.

Clean-Tech Sector World-Class

Top Ranking Gives Region, Industry a Boost

San Diego’s rise as home to one of the world’s top clean-tech clusters has been swift, with industry and government leaders harnessing financial, political, business and community support for the region’s 670 companies currently in this space.

Temporary Airport Closure Raises Concerns

AVIATION: Palomar Runway Repair Schedule Will Disrupt Business

An intermittent runway closure planned in the spring at McClellan-Palomar Airport has many airport tenants dreading a loss of business.

Supervisors Reject PLAs for County Projects

LABOR: Voters May Assess Merits of Hiring Unionized Workers in City Elections

The county Board of Supervisors gave a thumbs down on including project labor agreements in future contracting projects last week.

$700M Mixed-Use Project Years Away From Groundbreaking

REAL ESTATE: Board OKs Land Swap Between Pacifica Cos., Port

Property deals involving government agencies are rarely quick and easy, but a land swap first proposed seven years ago and viewed as a win-win-win for a commercial developer, a city, and the port still has a few years to go before the project breaks ground, according to the developer and Port of San Diego.

Former Owner Seeking to Regain San Diego Magazine?

Those in the know in the local publishing world say San Diego Magazine is on the block, and as many as a half dozen potential new owners are making bids for the top-level city magazine, including former owner and publisher Jim Fitzpatrick.

Barney & Barney to Advise On Executive Compensation

San Diego-based Barney & Barney LLC has opened a compensation consulting practice,

Biotech Panelists Offer Insights on Early Stage Funding

FINANCE: Well-Crafted Elevator Pitches Often Win the Day

Drug discovery can be serendipitous, but a panel of biotech executives and industry investors said raising money in an uncertain funding environment requires careful calculation these days.

Biotech, Housing Sectors May Lift S.D. Economy

LABOR: Jobless Recovery Is Under Way, Federal Reserve Bank’s Yellen Says at USD

Janet Yellen, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, cited the San Diego region’s biotech sector and improving housing market as signs that could mean a quicker economic recovery locally than other areas of California.

ecoATM Answering the Call for Recycling Old Cell Phones

TECHNOLOGY: Automated Kiosks Help Startup Secure Venture Capital, Awards

When Mark Bowles, Michael Librizzi and Pieter Van Rooyen decided to try setting up automated kiosks where people can recycle old cell phones, they weren’t sure it would be a good business idea.

USD Economic Indicator Index Rises in January

The University of San Diego Index of Leading Economic Indicators continued its positive trend in January, rising 0.6 percent, with five of six index components showing gains.

Executive Departs Illumina For Synthetic Genomics

Joel McComb, who served as senior vice president and general manager of Illumina Inc.’s $650 million life sciences unit, has left the San Diego-based genetic sequencing company to join Synthetic Genomics Inc. of La Jolla.

Sempra Looks Back Over the Year, Buys Infrastructure

Sempra Energy reported Feb. 25 that it had fourth quarter net earnings of $288 million, down from net income of $319 million for the fourth quarter of 2008.

Drone Aircraft Builder Gets $36.7M Support Contract

The U.S. Army awarded Poway-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. a $36.7 million contract to support its drones, the Pentagon said Feb. 19. The deal covers logistics support for the Army’s Predator-series unmanned aircraft overseas, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

La Jolla Bank’s Demise Came Swiftly; Reasons for Failure Haven’t

Hard to figure out how La Jolla Bank sunk so quickly, since regulators and those who could shed some light on the bank’s demise are mum.