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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Around the Valleys

CONEJO VALLEY CALABASAS Marvin Jay Caukin, 66, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for embezzling more than $10 million from Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. in Long Beach. In addition to the prison time, the Calabasas resident was ordered to pay $10.3 million in restitution and to forfeit his interest in at least $2.4 million in properties in Calabasas and Toluca Lake. Caukin, the former director of finance and accounting at the Gulfstream facility, pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in a scheme involving fake invoices. The scam lasted 13 years, from 2000 to 2013, when Caukin was fired for failing to disclose a prior conviction for embezzlement when he was hired. Cynvenio Biosystems Inc. has secured $25.5 million in Series B financing to commercialize its LiquidBiopsy technology. The Calabasas company’s system isolates rare tumor cells floating in the blood of cancer patients, allowing doctors to analyze them without doing a conventional biopsy. The company has a deal with Thermo Fisher Scientific in San Diego to market the technology. The Series B financing was led by Livzon Pharmaceutical Group Inc. in Zhuhai, China. Other investors included Greenwoods Private Equity Funds in Shanghai and Syno Capital in New York. THOUSAND OAKS A regulatory advisory panel recommended approval for Repatha, a new cholesterol drug from Amgen Inc. The Thousand Oaks biotech presented data from clinical trials with 6,800 patients to the Food and Drug Administration committee, which voted 11-4 to approve Repatha for patients with high cholesterol that cannot be controlled with other treatments. Also, the panel voted unanimously for Repatha as a treatment for a rare genetic disorder that causes high cholesterol in young patients. Final FDA approval or rejection of Repatha is expected by Aug. 27. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY BURBANK The Burbank Bob Hope Airport is selling a 59-acre parcel of land for commercial and office development. The property is one of the largest available transit-oriented development sites in Southern California, close to Metrolink and Amtrak stations, buses operated by the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the proposed California High Speed Rail and multiple freeways. The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority is working with real estate broker CBRE Group Inc. to find a buyer for the property, which it acquired in 1999 as part of a 108-acre parcel previously owned by Lockheed Corp. Walt Disney Co. may take up to a $140 million write-down on its latest live-action release, “Tomorrowland.” The sci-fi adventure movie from the Burbank entertainment and media giant is expected to lose between $120 million and $140 million by the time it finishes its global rollout. That would make the film the first financial failure for Disney since “The Lone Ranger” prompted a $190 million write down in 2013. The previous year the studio took a $200 million loss on the flop “John Carter of Mars.” Walt Disney has leased 110,000 square feet at Burbank’s Buena Vista Plaza in an 11-year deal valued at $51.5 million. The entertainment giant has long been the dominant tenant in the 118,000-square-foot building at 2411 W. Olive Ave., which is a block from the company’s 2 million-square-foot headquarters campus at 500 Buena Vista Ave. After the company’s lease on the two top floors of the seven-story building expired last December, it decided to recast its lease for the entire building rather than renew it floor by floor. Brokerage Charles Dunn Co. Inc. is the primary leasing company for landlord Tier REIT Inc. of Dallas, a private real estate investment trust that purchased the Olive Avenue property for $33 million in 2005. CHATSWORTH H.J. Heinz Co. is shutting down its condiments and sauces plant and laying off 145 employees by late July. The Pittsburgh food company is moving the work done in the San Fernando Valley to factories in Mason, Ohio or Jacksonville, Fla. Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen said the decision to close the 9140 Lurline Ave. location was made following a supply-chain review. It acquired the Chatsworth plant as part of its 1994 purchase of Borden Foodservice Group from Borden Inc. At the time, the facility employed about 370 workers. Two industrial buildings in Chatsworth sold for a combined $29.8 million to a San Francisco real estate investment trust. TA Realty of Boston sold the buildings at 9453 Owensmouth Ave. and 21411 Prairie St. to Prologis, which specializes in industrial real estate. The sale price amounted to $132 a square foot, slightly above the average price this quarter of $110 a square foot for similar properties in the submarket. The buildings are fully leased to Natrol Inc., a manufacturer of vitamins and supplements that was bought out of bankruptcy for $133 million late last year by an Indian generic drug maker. PORTER RANCH Forestar Real Estate Group Inc., in Austin, Texas, unveiled plans for an 118-home equestrian community to be called Hidden Creeks Estates and Preserve. Home lots in the gated neighborhood will average 18,500 square feet. The 25 horse-keeping lots will range from 20,000 square feet up to more than an acre. The project is on 285 hillside acres at 12900 Browns Canyon Road, within the Porter Ranch community north of the 118 Freeway and west of Aliso Canyon. The development incorporates 114 acres of open space to be called Hidden Creeks Preserve, as well as a youth sports field and the Mountain Meadows Equestrian Center. SYLMAR Tutor Perini Corp. has won two construction contracts, one for $239 million to build a 755-room, dual-flagged W and Element hotel project in Philadelphia and the other to manage construction at a confidential research facility in California. In Philadelphia, the Sylmar construction company is working for Chestlen Development on the hotels, which will share a 770,000-square-foot, 51-story tower. Construction began in April with an estimated completion date of early 2018. In the second contract, Tutor subsidiary Rudolph and Sletten in Redwood City will build a 3 million-square-foot facility with a budget of $600 million; details were not disclosed. UNIVERSAL CITY Universal Pictures’ “Jurassic World” is closing in on $1 billion in worldwide box office receipts. That would make it the third summer film to reach that mark; domestically the film had brought in $398 million by end of its second weekend. The action thriller starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard – and executive produced by Steven Spielberg – is contributing to a tremendous year for Universal Pictures, the film division of NBCUniversal based in Universal City. The studio has had four bona fide breakout hits that combined grossed $3.3 billion worldwide. “Jurassic World” was co-financed and co-produced by Legendary Entertainment, the Burbank production company. VAN NUYS Anheuser-Busch is investing $20 million at its Van Nuys brewery to improve water efficiency in its filtering, brewing and packaging operations. The funding by the St. Louis beverage company, the U.S. arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev in Belgium, is part of a larger $1.5 billion the company plans to spend on its U.S. operations by 2018. Van Nuys brewery General Manager Luis Cayo said the $20 million reflects efforts by the local operations to become water- and energy-efficiency leaders in the state by adding new meters to better measure water use and further reduce the amount of water used during the beer packaging process. – Compiled by Karen E. Klein

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