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Updated: 6 hours 12 min ago

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Gets FDA Nod on Orphan Drug Designation

Fri, 2019-07-19 06:17

Pasadena-based Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation to its ARO-ANG3.

ARO-ANG3 is investigational medicine being developed for the treatment of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH), a rare inherited disorder of lipoprotein metabolism.

The designation was granted by the FDA’s Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD), which has a mission to advance the development of products that demonstrate promise for in combating diseases or conditions that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States.

Orphan drug designation provides incentives for sponsors to develop products for rare diseases. These incentives may include a partial tax credit for certain clinical trial expenditures, the waiver of certain FDA user fees, and potential eligibility for seven years of orphan drug marketing exclusivity.

HoFH is a life-threatening disease, characterized by elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) which can cause premature cardiovascular disease. Without adequate treatment, cholesterol buildup in the arterial wall could lead to early atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, even in childhood.

The disease is usually diagnosed in infancy or childhood but occasionally the diagnosis may be delayed until later in life. Diagnosis of HoFH requires a careful clinical, laboratory, and family evaluation followed by molecular genetic testing. Treatment is complex and patients should be referred to a specialized lipid unit that is experienced in the treatment of such patients.

Arrowhead’s ARO-ANG3 is a subcutaneously administered RNA interference (RNAi)-based medicine that targets Angiopoietin-like 3 or ANGPTL3 being developed for the treatment of dyslipidemias, of which HoFH is one example, and metabolic diseases. Dyslipidemia describes an abnormal amount of lipids – triglycerides, cholesterol and fat phospholipids – in the blood, often due to diet and lifestyle.

The company began dosing ARO-ANG3 in a first-in-human study in January intended to evaluate the medicine’s safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamic effects in adult healthy volunteers and patients with dyslipidemia. The study is designed to enroll up to 70 subjects.

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals develops medicines that treat intractable diseases by silencing the genes that cause them.

For more information, visit

Pasadena Police Order 210 New Tasers

Thu, 2019-07-18 08:29

Image courtesy Axon Website

The Pasadena Police Department has ordered a new batch of TASER Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs) from Scottsdale, Arizona-based Axon, formerly TASER International, an Axon statement Wednesday revealed.

The statement said the Pasadena Police Department order for 210 TASER 7 nonlethal devices was one of several “significant domestic orders” they received from law enforcement agencies across the United States.

The orders were placed in the first and second quarters of 2019 and will be shipped in multiple phases, the company said.

The Axon statement described the TASER 7 as their “most effective TASER weapon ever.”

“The advanced performance of TASER 7 makes for greater confidence in the field with enhanced connection to the Axon network and streamlined workflows, and it’s all backed by groundbreaking training to help agencies show commitment to serving their communities,” the company’s website said.

The description added the TASER 7 “dramatically improves performance with misses, clothing disconnects, and close probe spreads – giving officers even more confidence to de-escalate or pause dangerous situations.”

Three other California police departments were included in the Axon list of domestic organizations with “significant” orders for the TASER weapons systems.

After 41 Years Without a Single Sick Day, Frank Hammad, Owner of Pasadena’s Village Market, Sells His Store to Land Developers

Thu, 2019-07-18 06:09

Frank Hammad ran a business that carried him and his family for decades but now, he says, it’s time to let go. Hammad has owned and operated Village Market at 662 Lincoln Avenue for 41 years.

The market is closing because developers approached Hammad and, as he said, “They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

The store will be demolished to make way for a new development consisting of a four-story mixed-use building with 35 affordable housing units, 5,561 square feet of commercial space, and 83 subterranean parking spaces.

The project by Heritage Housing has been submitted for the Preliminary Consultation phase of the City’s project approval process and will go through the Design Commission Tuesday, Aug. 28, at its regular meeting.

Hammad has a long history of hard work. He came to the United States from Israel when he was young and worked two grueling jobs to make ends meet before buying the store.

“I came to this country 55 years ago. I came from Israel with $50, no place to go, no place to live and no car, no nothing,” he said. “I started working in two factories in Chicago. I got drafted during the Vietnam War. But because it was at the end I didn’t go to Vietnam. I started working in a factory in Chicago for $85 a week and going to another factory and working another eight hours. And I stuck with it. ”

He made his way to Pasadena and bought the store. He said he kept investing.

“Then I kept buying properties around me and I bought the whole corner.”

The well-known proprietor of Village Market has been through the ups and downs, but he is grateful for it all and especially the trademark secret recipes that have kept him in business.

“The store helped me raise my family and it provided for us,” he said. “The meats were really always the specialty. We have a good recipe for home-made sausage.”

He said the bottom line was the new developers needed the property and he was not desperate to sell so he got a “nice price.” Still, it was not an easy decision for Hammad, a beloved local friend to many as well as community member, to sell because of the sentimental and emotional value Village Market has brought.

“I’ve been there for about 41 years,” he said. “I’m 70 years old and I cried my eyes out a few days ago when I closed the deal. The money is one thing, but I’ve been going into the store at 7:30 in the morning every day until eight o’clock at night, seven days a week.”

“I bought this store — it was the first grocery store in Pasadena in 1927,” he said. “But I’m going to retire next year — you know, how long can I work? I’m over 70 and I would never get this price again. ”

Hammad has some other projects in the works already.

“I’ve got projects going and that’s it,” he said. “What else can I tell you?”

“Before, in the area, there was no place to buy meat,” he said. “However, over the past few years, the economy changed and people cannot afford to say, get my Porter Houses. So the business changed. We were well-known for the home-made sausage. We were making the sausage. It’s a home-made sausage recipe from a hundred years ago, from the original owner. ”

“I have five children, including a daughter, and about 20 grandkids,” he said. “My plans are to go and spend some time with them and travel.”

What is the secret to success for the business owner today?

“You have to be a responsible person,” he said. “You have to care about your kids and your family. I never took a day sick. Everybody gets sick. I had the flu, I even got shot in there one time.

“It’s not just making the money, take care of your money and invest your money and stay away from alcohol,” he said. “I’m not a doctor. I’m not a lawyer. I am a regular person so I have to substitute with hard work.

“At one point. I had four kids at one time in private school and that cost about $40,000,” he said. “You have to be persistent and you have to be responsible. There are so many times I could have said, ‘I’m sick. I don’t want to go to work.’ I can’t do this.”

He said it has been a good run that did not last long in his mind.

“Believe me, those 40 years went by so fast,” he said. “I think I’m still 30 years old!”

Wescom Resources Group Announces New President

Thu, 2019-07-18 05:54

David Cerwinski

Pasadena-based Wescom Resources Group (WRG), a division of  Wescom Credit Union, now has a new President in the person of David Cerwinski.

Keith Pipes, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Wescom Credit Union and Chairman of WRG, announced Cerwinski’s appointment in a company statement this week.

“Dave brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position,” Pipes said. “His in-depth understanding of the industry as well as WRG’s products, services, and clients will be invaluable to our ongoing success. I have worked with Dave since he joined WRG, and he has always demonstrated our core values including integrity and teamwork. I am delighted to see Dave step up to his new, well-deserved role leading our outstanding WRG Team.”

Cerwinski began his career at Wescom Resources Group in 2006 as Director of Sales and Marketing. Over the years that followed, he assumed responsibility of Client Services, Consulting, and Product Management, and was promoted to Vice President of Sales and Client Services in 2012.

Since joining WRG, Cerwinski has overseen 300 percent revenue growth by working with over 100 clients nationwide on the design, delivery, and support of technology solutions. He has been instrumental during the introduction and launch of numerous new products and services and has helped grow the WRG Service Bureau to support nearly 40 credit unions.

“I’m honored to begin serving as WRG’s president in the days ahead,” said Cerwinski. “We have a team of very talented, dedicated employees, and my goal is to help them grow with opportunities and projects that they’re passionate about. For our valued clients, I’m eager to align WRG to deliver excellence to them across all the products and services we support.”

Cerwinski holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Cal Poly Pomona. He is also a graduate of Western CUNA Management School in Claremont.

WRG provides credit unions with advanced technology solutions that increase their competitive edge.

For more information, visit

Tetra Tech Lands $46 Million Federal Gig

Wed, 2019-07-17 05:58

Pasadena-based engineering and consulting services firm Tetra Tech has signed a $46 million, single-award contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM) to provide engineering design services in support of U.S. Central Command and TAM missions worldwide.

Under the five-year contract, Tetra Tech will provide technical design services for existing and new facilities and infrastructure improvement projects, the company said in a statement.

Tetra Tech said its architects and engineers will support all phases of the project life cycle – from initial planning and program development through final design and engineering services during construction.

“Tetra Tech has provided architect-engineer services to the Middle East District under this contract vehicle for the past 10 years,” Dan Batrack, Tetra Tech Chairman and CEO, said. “We are pleased to continue delivering innovative infrastructure solutions to support the U.S. Military.”

Headquartered in Pasadena, Tetra Tech has 20,000 associates worldwide providing consulting and engineering services for projects related to water, environment, infrastructure, resource management, energy, and international development.

For more information about the company, visit