Member News

Cushman and Wakefield 4Q Lab Report Shows 2011 an Active Year

Last year marked one of the most active leasing years in recent history for laboratory, primarily due to some unusually large lease transactions, according to Cushman and Wakefield Life Sciences 4Q 2011 Laboratory Report. Following the historical high for lab building acquisitions, as dominated by the “Big 3” lab REITs (Alexandria, Biomed, and HCP), a fervor of leasing activity quickly followed. In total, we recorded 1,142,949 SF of leasing activity, ending the year with an overall vacancy rate of 9.3 percent. As we enter 2012, the inventory is seemingly limited and major transaction activity is looking slim compared to 2011, the report states.

A PDF of the full report is available online.

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First Event in Clearity Foundation’s Personalized Medicine Series

First Event in Clearity Foundation’s Personalized Medicine Series: 
Personalized Medicine Is Failing Patients
How can we make it work?

The Clearity Foundation’s Personalized Medicine Symposium Series will create a venue for productive discussion of the challenges and opportunities in bringing the promise of personalized medicine to reality. Its first panel will explore some of the commercial issues in bringing personalized medicine to patients. Please join the foundation----- at the Pfizer conference center for an outstanding panel presentation, networking, discussion, drinks and appetizers.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
5:00 – 7:30pm
$50 registration
RSVP: Please email

Personalized Medicine Is Failing
How can we make it work?
Moderated by:
David Nelson, PhD, Epic Sciences
The unlikely success of Crizotinib: ALK targeting for lung cancer
Jamie Christensen, MD, Director of Translational Pharmacology, Pfizer
Personalized treatment from the patient’s perspective
Allen Fremont, MD, PhD, lung cancer survivor and Co-Director at California Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Improvement Center
Intellectual property challenges for personalized medicine
Lisa Haile, Partner, DLA Piper

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Salk Institute Pioneer and Leader Wylie Vale Dies at 70

Dr. Wylie Vale, a Salk Institute professor and well-known expert on brain hormones, died Jan. 3 while on vacation in Hana, Hawaii.  He was 70 years old.

Vale was head of the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology and the Helen McLoraine Chair in Molecular Neurobiology at the Salk. 

He and his collaborators identified the central switchboard, a group of neuropeptides and their receptors that mediate the body’s responses to stress and stress-related disorders. Their research led to new methods for the diagnosis of pituitary disease and opened new doors for the development of drugs aimed at treating anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome and even drug abuse.

“We have lost one of our distinguished leaders and brightest minds,” said William R. Brody, President of Salk Institute.  “Wylie was a pioneer in science and was loved and revered worldwide.  He was a friend; a leader and he helped make Salk what it is today. He will be deeply missed by all.”

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New Study Suggests Timing of Alcohol Exposure Linked With Pregnancy and FAS Physical Features

Researchers at the California Teratogen Information Service (CTIS) Pregnancy Health Information Line, a statewide non-profit organization based at the University of California San Diego, have discovered new links between the timing of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and certain characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). 

The results will be published in the April 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View (online version).

The findings reveal that “drinking alcohol between week seven and 12 of pregnancy are clearly associated with a risk for FAS facial features, as well as a decrease in birth weight and length,” said Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego and CTIS program director.  “But this should not be misinterpreted that drinking during weeks 1 through 7 is safe.”

For questions or concerns call the CTIS Pregnancy Health Information Line at 800-532-3749 or instant message counseling at Those outside California can call the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) at 866-626-6847.

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San Diego Tech Coast Angels Create John G. Watson Foundation to Support Entrepreneurism

The San Diego Network of Tech Coast Angels (TCA) announced that the organization has created the John G. Watson Foundation to support entrepreneurism in the San Diego Region.  The 501 Foundation is enabled by a $1 million gift to TCA San Diego from the family of John G. Watson.

“John loved investing, innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit that he discovered when he arrived in San Diego,” said Gillian Ison, John’s sister.  “We believe that a foundation supporting entrepreneurism is the best way to honor his memory and his life.”

The Foundation will use investment earnings from the Watson family gift to fund specific TCA-San Diego network activities that promote entrepreneurism, beginning with the provision of cash awards to winners of the annual San Diego Quick Pitch event.

John Watson joined the TCA San Diego network in 2008 following a long and distinguished career in pharmaceutical and life sciences.  Over the course of 35 years, he served in different marketing, managerial and executive positions at companies including Dow Chemical, Johnson & Johnson, Wyeth Laboratories and ICN Pharmaceuticals. He also served as COO of both Vestar Inc. and Galagen Inc., before becoming CEO and president of Ionian Technologies in San Diego.

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Scripps Educational Conference on Cancer Genomes, Stem Cells and Pediatric Medicine Set For March

Scripps Translational Science Institute will put host its fifth educational conference.  The conference will look at the newest achievements and challenges in the use of genomics to diagnose and treat disease and medical conditions on March 1-2, 2012, in San Diego.

The Future of Genomic Medicine V conference will offer a dynamic interactive forum where human geneticists, genomic scientists, physicians and healthcare professionals of all practices can gain valuable insights from many of the nation’s leading genomics experts.

The program will include more than 30 specialized presentations accompanied by panel discussions and question-and-answer sessions.  The March 1 schedule will focus on the emerging role of genetic testing in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.  Presentations on March 2 will cover a wide range of topics from cancer genomics, stem cells to the disruptive power of genomics in the field of medicine.

Course director Eric J. Topol, M.D., chief academic officer of Scripps Health and director of STSI leads the conference.  The program will take place at the Scripps Seaside Forum, located at 8610 Kennel Way, La Jolla, Calif., 92037.

Registration for the conference is $95 and is complimentary for all students, residents and fellows.  Pre-registration will be accepted through Feb. 16, 2012 on a space-available basis. For more information go to or by calling Scripps Conference services & CME at 858-652-5400.

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Researchers Exercise Dynamic Medicinal Chemistry to Help Restore Cardiac Cells

Scientists at the Human BioMolecular Research Institute (HBRI), Sanford-BurnhamMedical Research Institute and ChemRegen Inc. have reported on a new set ofsmall molecules helpful in human cardiomyocyte formation using inhibition of abiochemical-signaling pathway called Wnt. The Wnt signaling pathway is a key mediator of cellular development andstem cell differentiation.

A paper published online in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry reports anew class of small molecules that work as Wnt inhibitors that can be used to increase cardiogenesis from human stem cells.

In the United States, curing heart disease is a major unmet medical need.If regenerative medicine could be a way to regenerate damaged tissue, it wouldbe a important benefit to millions of people with heart disease. Another application of the technology is togenerate huge numbers of cardiomyocyte cells for transplantation purposes.

Researchers found that the potency of Wnt inhibition highly correlateswith the ability of molecules to cause cardiogenesis revealing that Wntinhibition alone is not good enough for deriving cardiomyocytes from humanembryonic stem cells (hECS) originating from mesoderm cells. Because there arefew ways to easily make big numbers of human heart cells, hECS may be the wayto go.

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Salk Researcher Wins 2012 Wolf Prize In Medicine

Ronald Evans, a Salk Institute scientist, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2012 Wolf Prize in Medicine, Israel’s highest award for achievements benefiting mankind. 

Evans will have the chance to share the stage with Placido Domingo, one of the world’s top tenors.  Thus far a total of 272 scientists and artists from 23 countries have been honored, and over one-third of all the Wolf Prize winners in medicine, physics and chemistry have went on to get the Nobel Prize.

Evans was selected for his discovery of the gene super-family encoding nuclear receptors and explaining the mechanism of action of this class of receptors.

He is only the second Salk scientist to be picked for the distinguished prize; Tony Hunter was awarded the Wolf Prize in 2005.  Five annual Wolf Prizes have been awarded since 1978 to outstanding scientists and artists for “achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples, irrespective of nationality, race, color, religion, sex or political view.

The prizes of $100,000 in each area are given each year in the scientific fields of Agriculture, Chemistry, Mathematics, Medicine and Physics as well as one prize in the Arts.

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UC San Diego Professor One of Seventeen Honored By National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) plans to honor 17 individuals with awards in recognition of their great scientific successes in various fields across the physical, biological, and social sciences.

Among them, is Larry R. Squire, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Neurosciences and Psychology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and research career scientist at VA Medical Center, San Diego is honored for his “prolific and comprehensive reviews on memory research, for his seminal books that are standards in the field and critical reviews of the books on neuroscience.”

The prize of $10,000, presented this year in the field of neuroscience, recognizes excellence in scientific reviewing. The award is supported by Annual Reviews, the Institute for Scientific Information, and The Scientist in honor of J. Murray Luck.

Squire and 16 other NAS award recipients will be honored in a ceremony on Monday, April 30 during the National Academy of Sciences’ 149th annual meeting.

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Barney & Barney Unveils Compensation Trend Report For San Diego Based Companies

The Compensation Consulting Practice at Barney & Barney LLC presented the second annual release of the CFO and Board of Director State of Pay Reports for mid-size public companies covering four major markets.

The reports include compensation data from the latest proxy statements of each company.  Additionally, the company has added sections regarding bonus and equity plan design practices.

“With our second release of these reports, we enhance an already valuable source for our clients,” said Annette Winn, Director of Operations for Barney & Barney’s Compensation Consulting Practice.  “This year, in addition to the San Diego reports, we have added similar reports for both Orange County/Los Angeles and the Bay Area.” The combined research will help give further insight and a better understanding of emerging trends.

These reports can be accessed here: 

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Nevada Cancer Institute Obtained By UC San Diego Health

UC San Diego Health System is ready to obtain the Nevada Cancer Institute (NVCI), which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early December 2011.  The price to acquire it is $18 million for the four-story, 142,000-square-foot facility residing in the Summerlin area of Vegas. 

NVCI will remain the official cancer institute of the state of Nevada with UC San Diego Health Service as affiliate health care provider.  Thus, forming a partnership between California and Nevada.

Plans for UC San Diego NVCI include the recruitment of medical and surgical oncologists, in addition to a national search for a physician-scientist to serve as director of Institute.  Insight Oncology, a management services company, will aide with the incorporation of the two organizations and give operational oversight of the Las Vegas facility.

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Scientists Use Pluripotent Stem Cells to Create Alzheimer Neurons

University California of San Diego researchers have created a stem cell-derived, in vitro models of sporadic and hereditary Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and using induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with the much-dreaded neurodegenerative disorder.

The feat, published in the January online edition of the journal Nature, represents a new and much-needed method for examining the cause for AD, a progressive dementia that affects about 5.4 million Americans. Notably, the living cells offer a unique tool for developing and testing drugs to treat the disorder.

Scientists learned that neurons taken from one of the two patients with sporadic AD showed biochemical changes possibly linked to the disease. The findings imply that there may be sub-categories of the disorder and that in the future, potential therapies may be targeted to certain group of AD patients.

Senior author Lawrence Goldstein, PhD, professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine said, “At the end of the day, we need to use cells like these to better understand Alzheimer’s and find drugs to cure it.”

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Weatherstone foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Hartwell Foundation, the Lookout Fund and the McDonnell Foundation assisted in the funding of this project.

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Researchers Highlight Neuronal Activity With New Fluorescent Dyes

The University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers have created a generation of fast-acting fluorescent dyes that optically highlight electrical activity in neuronal membranes.  The work is published online in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The ability to visualize these small, fast-changing voltage differences between the interior and exterior of neurons called transmembrane potential is regarded as a powerful tool for deciphering how brain cells work and interact.

With the new method, there is a greater view of neuronal activity, explains Evan Miller, a post-doctoral researcher in the lab of Roger Tsien, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical investigator.  Thus, making it possible for neuroscientists to do accurate, single trial experiments as opposed to having to do it multiple times with average results.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institutes of Health, including the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering help funded the research.

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Seventeen Knobbe Martens Attorneys Selected as 2012 Southern California Super Lawyers

Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP announced that seventeen partners from the Orange County, Los Angeles and Riverside offices have been picked for inclusion in the 2012 Southern California Super Lawyers List. 

The list features the top five percent of attorneys in a region.  The Super lawyers selection process includes peer nominations, a blue ribbon panel review and additional independent research of candidates.

Each of the members named to the 2012 list have either been named a Southern California Rising Star or been included as a Southern California Super Lawyer, some consecutively since 2004.

For additional information please visit the Super lawyers website at

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Salk Scientists Find Long-lasting Proteins in Adult Brain

Why cells age was regarded as one of biology’s biggest mysteries. Now scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological studies reported that they have found a weakness in a part of brain cells that could explain how the aging process in the brain happens.

The scientists revealed that extremely long-lived proteins (ELLPs), which are found on the surface of the nucleus of neurons, have a remarkably long lifespan.

While the lifespan of most proteins totals two days or less, the Salk Institute researchers identified ELLPs in the rat brain that were as old as the organism, a finding they reported in Science.

Martin Hetzer, a professor in Salk’s Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, headed the research.  The Ellison Medical Foundation and the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research funded the project, making Hetzer’s research group the only lab in the world studying the role of these transport channels, called the nuclear pore complex (NPC), in the aging process.

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UC San Diego Professor Named President-Elect of the American Physiological Society

Kim W. Barrett, PhD, professor of medicine and dean of graduate studies at the University of California San Diego, will become president-elect of the American Physiological Society (APS).

APS is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization devoted to cultivating education, scientific research and the spreading of information in physiological science – the study of how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function to make health or disease.

Barrett, former Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Physiology: Cell Physiology will assume her new duties at the APS annual meeting being held April 21-25, 2012 in San Diego.

The elections come as the APS celebrates its 125th anniversary. The Society is the first society in the biomedical sciences field, with more than 10,500 members.

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Old Theory Leads Scientists to New Targets in Fight Against Breast Cancer

Based off an old theory in the late 1800s that the development of organs in the normal embryo and the development of cancers are related, Salk Institute scientists for Biological Studies were able to study mice organ development to unveil how breast and other cancers can develop in people.  Their findings introduced new ways to foresee and personalize the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

In a paper published February in Cell Stem Cell, the scientists report similar findings between genetic signatures found within certain types of human breast cancer and those of stem cells in breast tissue in mouse embryos.  These findings suggest that cancer cells undermine key genetic programs that lead immature cells to create organs during normal growth. 

Geoffrey Wahl, a professor in Salk’s gene laboratory, led the research.  While Benjamin Spike, Dannielle Engle and Jennifer Lin, postdoctoral researchers in Wahl’s laboratory, were co-first authors on the paper.

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, the G. Harold & Leila Y. Mathers foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure sponsored the research.

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Latham & Watkins Partner Lands Spot in California’s “Top 20 Under 40”

Cheston Larson, a Latham & Watkins partner, has been chosen among the 2012 “Top 20 Under 40” in California by the Daily Journal for his work in representing life sciences companies in public offerings and private financing matters.

The legal newspaper cited Larson as a professional who “approaches his work not only as a lawyer, but from a business perspective.”

Larson, who co-chairs Latham’s Life Sciences Industry Group, was specifically recognized for his work as lead attorney in representing issuer companies and financial underwriters in notable public offerings that were successfully executed during 2011.

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Scripps Team Creates New Way to Detect Spread of Cancer

The Scripps Research Institute has discovered an experimental way to find and study cells that break off from solid tumors, possibly giving doctors a faster and better way to treat all types of cancers.

Peter Kuhn, the Scripps Research investigator who made the test with pathologists and oncologists from across the country, said the blood test could add to or in some situations even replace surgical biopsies, which can be costly, painful and hard to conduct.

The test entails taking a blood sample from a cancer patient and adding a chemical that illuminates circulating Tumor cells (CTCs), the name for cells that fall off from tumors resulting in diseases like breast, prostate, pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer.  The CTCs also can spread distant sites in the body, causing metastic cancer.

“We have a brand new way of doing a biopsy. Instead of sticking a needle in your chest wall, we can see disease-derived cells in the blood,” Kuhn said, also a co-founder of Epic Science, Inc. The FDA must approve the test, before it can surpass clinical testing.

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