Pacific Coast Business Times Proudly serving Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties 2016-09-24T16:26:31Z Staff Report <![CDATA[SpaceX could resume rocket launches by November]]> 2016-09-24T00:26:32Z 2016-09-24T00:26:32Z Read More →]]> SpaceX on Sept. 23 updated the status of an investigation into a recent explosion at a Florida launch pad that postponed a launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base indefinitely.

The September explosion indefinitely delayed the launch of a rocket originally scheduled to launch from Vandenberg on Sept. 19, but the company said it could resume launches as early as November.

On Sept. 1, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded during a static fire test prior to the planned Sept. 3 launch of the Amos-6 communications satellite on the coast of Cape Canaveral, Fla. A $200 million Israeli communications satellite was destroyed in the fire, which Facebook planned to use to bring the Internet to under-served parts of Africa.

The explosion happened while propellant was being added to a fuel tank and was around an upper oxygen tank. SpaceX said in a statement posted on its website Sept. 23 that the cause of the explosion is still uncertain, but early data suggests a breach of the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank took place.

One thing making it difficult to determine the cause of the explosion is that the failure occurred quickly. Just 93 milliseconds passed between initial signs of a failure and the rocket’s explosion during the test, which is designed to test the rocket’s engines before they lift off.

SpaceX did say in the statement the cause of the explosion was unrelated to a June 2015 explosion of a Falcon off the coast of Cape Canaveral less than three minutes into an unmanned mission to resupply the International Space Station. That explosion was blamed on a faulty strut in the rocket’s helium pressure vessels, which help to pressurize the rocket.

The Sept. 19 launch would’ve been the first of seven to send 10 small Iridium satellites into orbit. The launch has been delayed since May because of ongoing maintenance at Vandenberg at buildings used to monitor rocket launches.

Virginia-based Iridium Communications has been hampered by SpaceX’s stalled launch schedule.

In addition to the Sept. 19 launch, another Falcon 9 Iridium launch was tentatively scheduled for late December. After that, five remaining SpaceX launches of Iridium satellites were to happen in 60-day intervals.

Iridium customers who intend to use the satellites once in orbit and operable have also been hampered by the delays.

“We will work to resume our manifest as quickly as responsible once the cause of the anomaly has been identified by the accident investigation team,” the statement said. “Getting back to flight safely and reliably is our top priority, and the data gathered from the present investigation will result in an even safer and more reliable vehicle for our customers and partners.”

It’s still unclear which launch will be next on SpaceX’s launch manifest, but the Vandenberg launch was SpaceX’s next scheduled launch after the Amos-6 satellite’s launch.

• Contact Philip Joens at

Staff Report <![CDATA[Largest industrial building in Thousand Oaks sells for $37 million]]> 2016-09-23T22:31:18Z 2016-09-23T22:31:18Z Read More →]]> The largest industrial building in Thousand Oaks was sold for $37 million, according to CBRE.

Van Nuys-based real estate company Majestic Asset Management purchased the fully leased property at 1461-1475 Lawrence Drive from Austin, Texas-based Western National Life Insurance Co., a subsidiary of AIG. Majestic secured a $26.6 million balance sheet loan for the deal, CBRE announced on Sept. 22.

The 347,119-square-foot building sits on an 18-acre parcel at the Conejo Spectrum Business Park, equating to about $107 per square foot. That comes in at less than the around $120 per square foot average for buildings larger than 100,000 square feet, CBRE said in a news release.

The industrial space hosts four tenants including Custom Sensors and Technologies, the aerospace hardware developer that was recently acquired by Sensata Technologies. Custom Sensors, which operates about a third of the building, invested about $4 million in tenant improves, according to CBRE.

Ventura County commercial real estate markets are tightening and the industrial market vacancy is below 4 percent, according to DAUM Commercial Real Estate’s second quarter report. The Conejo Valley ended the quarter with the lowest total vacancy in the county at 1.7 percent.

Industrial triple-net rental rates increased 3.1 percent year over year, increasing from 65 cents to 67 cents per square foot countywide. The Conejo Valley had the highest rate at 94 cents per square foot.

There were no new construction projects in the second quarter, which has caused an uptick in prices and investment activity, DAUM said.

• Contact Alex Kacik at

Staff Report <![CDATA[FDA approves Amgen biosimilar of AbbVie’s Humira]]> 2016-09-24T16:26:31Z 2016-09-23T22:02:35Z Read More →]]> The Food and Drug Administration approved Amgen’s Humira biosimilar Sept. 23.

Amjevita, formerly known as ABP 501 and made by Thousand Oaks-biotech giant Amgen, replicates the effects of Humira, which is approved to treat nine conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, skin disorders and colon inflammation.

Humira, made by Chicago-based competitor AbbVie, typically costs $20,000 per year for treatments. Sales of the drug were $14 billion last year.

The FDA approved the copycat version of Humira to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, arthritis that affects the spine, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and plaque psoriasis in adults. Kids at least four years old may also be treated using the drug for idiopathic arthritis.

The drug is the first Amgen biosimilar to be approved by the FDA and the fourth by any pharmaceutical since the FDA began approving biosimilars in 2015.

The most serious known side effects with Amjevita are infections and malignancies. The most common expected adverse reactions with Amjevita are infections and injection site reactions, the FDA said in a news release.

“The FDA’s approval of Amjevita is based on review of evidence that included structural and functional characterization, animal study data, human pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics data, clinical immunogenicity data and other clinical safety,” the FDA said in a news release.

Biosimilars, like Amjevita, are designed as lower cost treatments and similar to generics but are made with living organisms and aren’t identical to the complex compounds they replicate. Because the compounds are not identical, extensive testing must still take place to ensure their safety, which does not lower the cost of the drugs as much as generics.

The approval is a major blow for AbbVie, but not an unexpected one. In July, an FDA panel recommended the drug for approval — so marketing approval was seen as a formality. The FDA also found in July that the drug effectively replicated the effects of Humira.

Amjevita may not hit pharmacies immediately, though. Amgen said previously it plans to launch the drug by 2018. AbbVie contends it holds uninfringeable patents on the drug until 2022, but a key patent expires later this year.

The approval of Amjevita comes about a month after the FDA approved a copycat version of Amgen’s Enbrel and allowed a competitor to take a shot at it.

Made by Switzerland-based Novartis, Erelzi mimics the effects of Enbrel. Enbrel, which was first approved in 1998, is approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions by decreasing the amount of a protein produced by the immune system.

With sales of $5.3 billion last year, Enbrel made up about 20 percent of Amgen’s $21.6 billion in revenue.

Amgen is currently developing eight other biosimilars. Drugs treating breast cancer and lung cancer are currently in Phase 3 trials. Biosimilars treating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Crohn’s Disease and head and neck cancer are also in development.

This post was updated from its original version.

• Contact Philip Joens at

Staff Report <![CDATA[The 50 fastest-growing companies for 2016]]> 2016-09-23T22:05:12Z 2016-09-23T21:58:39Z Read More →]]> Ida Kane, chief financial officer of AppFolio, is our inaugural CFO of the Year. (Nik Blaskovich photo)

Ida Kane, chief financial officer of AppFolio, is our inaugural CFO of the Year. (Nik Blaskovich photo)

The Pacific Coast Business Times’ annual ranking of the 50 fastest-growing firms in the region published Sept. 23. The section ranks companies in the Tri-Counties by three-year revenue growth, from 2013 to 2015 and includes both public and private firms who have a gross revenue of $5 million or more. This year’s list proved that the technology sector is still the industry leading the pack. The top seven spots in this year’s 50 fastest-growing list are all within the technology realm, from software and hardware to IT services.

The 50 Fastest-Growing Companies will be honored at an evening awards event on Thursday, Oct. 13 at the Deckers Rotunda. Enjoy an Oktoberfest experience with craft beers provided by Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company. [Click here to purchase tickets].

To read the section, including the full list of fastest-growing companies and profiles of the Editor’s Picks, please call (805) 560-6950. Subscribers received the special report in the Sept. 23 issue. Subscribers can also view a digital version here.

To obtain a digital copy of the 50 Fastest-Growing Companies list, click here.

Lastly, congratulations to this year’s Editor’s Choice winners.

• CFO of the Year: Ida Kane, Chief Financial Officer, AppFolio. In the Business Times first ever CFO of the Year award, we honored Ida Kane, who help led AppFolio to its 2015 initial public offering and a growth rate of more than 182 percent.

• No. 1: TrackR. The Santa Barbara-based electronics manufacturer that helps you find your lost items, launched up this year’s ranks with an amazing 2,042.9 percent 3-year growth rate.

• No. 5: HG Data Company. The marketing software firm is making its debut on this year’s list. The Santa Barbara-based company grossed $5 million in 2015, just inching into our $5 million threshold.

• No. 7: MindBody. The publicly traded software firm for the fitness and wellness industries continues to show substantial growth, earning more than $100 million in revenue for 2015, while still maintaining a 153 percent 3-year growth rate.

• No. 9: Rincon Consultants. The Ventura-based consulting firm had been featured the last two years on the Business Times’ 50 Fastest-Growing list, but this is the first year the company has cracked the top 10, with more than 118 percent growth rate.

• No. 26: Heritage Oaks Bank. The largest community bank based in the region, Heritage Oaks saw a significant jump in its 2015 revenue, due in large part to the 2014 acquisition of Mission Community Bank.

• No. 30: IQMS.
Another software company that has been a frequent visitor on the fastest-growing list, this year ranking No. 30 with 38.4 percent growth.

• No. 47: McCarthy Companies. Over time, this family-owned and operated construction firm have carved out quite a name for themselves and are showing no signs of slowing down, generating $30 million in revenue for 2015.

Staff Report <![CDATA[Brown signs bill to streamline CEQA process]]> 2016-09-23T21:49:18Z 2016-09-23T21:49:18Z Read More →]]> Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that aims to expedite and add more transparency to environmental reviews.

Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, authored Senate Bill 122 along with Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, which strives to streamline the California Environmental Quality Act process. CEQA requires state and local agencies to identify significant environmental impacts of certain projects and avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible.

It would require that CEQAnet — an online database that currently hosts some CEQA documents — include all CEQA documents, which could make the information more accessible to the public and save time and resources, Jackson said.

If a project is challenged in court, the bill would allow the agency to compile the comprehensive “record of proceedings” while going through the CEQA process rather than after a project is challenged.

The bill improves the environmental review process without undermining the goal of informed environmental decision making, Jackson said.

“This bill is a practical measure designed to address common areas of agreement, and help bring this process into the 21st century, making it more efficient and more accessible to the public,” Jackson said in a news release.

The new law, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, could streamline a process that can deter some developers from taking on a controversial project. Many developers view environmental review processes like CEQA as a tool some wield to obstruct development.

“CEQA empowers every NIMBY to fight tooth and nail to resist any change,” Chris Thornberg of Beacon Economics previously told the Business Times. “CEQA and Prop. 13 have more or less created huge barriers to let the private sector do what they do.”

• Contact Alex Kacik at

Staff Report <![CDATA[Limoneira declares dividend of 5 cents per common share]]> 2016-09-23T19:40:53Z 2016-09-23T19:40:53Z Read More →]]> Limoneira declared a dividend of 5 cents per common share for stockholders of record as of Oct. 3.

The board of directors for the Santa Paula agribusiness and real estate development company announced Sept. 21 that it would pay the dividend Oct. 17.

As of 12:34 p.m. Sept. 23, Limoneira stock was up 0.7 percent for the day to $19.10, an 11 cent increase from the previous week’s close.

• Contact Marissa Nall at

Staff Report <![CDATA[Redeveloped Miramar resort in Montecito to open in summer 2018]]> 2016-09-23T19:19:44Z 2016-09-23T18:56:47Z Read More →]]> The long-awaited redevelopment of the Miramar resort in Montecito will likely come to fruition in summer 2018, Caruso Affiliated announced on Sept. 23.

Hong Kong-based luxury resort operator Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will run the Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito resort at 1555 S. Jameson Lane. The tentative plan is to start site grading in November, begin construction in February 2017 and celebrate the grand opening about two years from now, the company said.

It will be designed as a Montecito manor home, with 161 luxury guestrooms including one-story cottages and bungalows, and two-story lanai and oceanfront buildings. Los Angeles-based Tutor Perini Corp. is leading the construction.

“Our goal is to be the best neighbor possible and to ensure as few inconveniences as possible to the community during construction, and we will continue to keep the community updated,” Caruso Affiliated said in a news release, adding that it will hold a groundbreaking ceremony this fall.

Since 1876, the Miramar had been a historic institution that had drawn visitors from across the country. The resort closed in 2000 for planned renovations that never materialized and sat as a derelict eyesore that drew the ire of neighbors and politicians. Caruso is the third owner trying to revive the property. Hotel magnate Ty Warner grew increasingly frustrated by the development process and pulled out of the project. Prior to Warner, Studio 54 co-founder Ian Schrager ended his development plans after running into financial difficulties.

Since Rick Caruso and Caruso Affiliated took the helm, lack of construction financing and negotiations with the county had held up the demolition and redevelopment. Rosewood has no financial stake in the $185 million project, which Caruso is financing through a construction loan and the company’s own equity.

Spread over almost 16 acres of prime oceanfront real estate, the Miramar is expected to have 170 rooms, down from a proposed 186.

The bigger project would’ve brought in $1.7 million in property tax, $1.5 million in sales tax and $450,000 in bed taxes a year. The county currently collects $568,000 a year in property taxes on the site. The Montecito Board of Architectural Review approved the downsized Miramar in late January and it cleared another hurdle in February when the Montecito Water District allowed Caruso Affiliated to increase the size of the project’s water meters.

• Contact Alex Kacik at