Building for the Cure: New $200M USC cancer center on tap.

Building for the Cure: New $200M USC cancer center on tap.

A$200-million USC cancer research center now being built with support by Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison has named 10 core faculty and founding institute members.

The Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC has announced a founding faculty that includes biophysicists, chemists, engineers, computer scientists, health economists, pathologists and physician scientists.

They join an emerging trend of interdisciplinary collaboration taking place at USC and other universities where teams of academics with diverse specialties plan to focus on team research and science that includes academic-industry partnerships.

The new Ellison Institute staked a claim to the trend as it gets ready to make a bid to transform the nature of cancer research.

“By working together, we will change the way we treat and prevent cancer,” said David Agus, the institute’s founding director, in a statement.

The Ellison Institute will occupy a 79,000-square-foot medical building now being constructed at 12414 Exposition Blvd., near Metro’s Expo/Bundy Station in Sawtelle.

The three-story research center, developed by the Los Angeles-based Luzzatto Co. Inc., was designed by HLW International, of New York, with interiors and landscaping designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios, based in Leimert Park. It is expected to open in May.

The institute’s newly assembled founding faculty roster includes chemical engineers Andrea Armani and Stacey Finley; biophysicist Scott Fraser; health economist Dana Goldman; computer scientists Carl Kesselman and Fei Sha; chemist Charles McKenna; mathematician and physicist Paul Newton; and pathologist Michael Press.

“The Ellison Institute offers extraordinary opportunities to collaborate and reimagine research and clinical care for patients in the modern era of molecular-driven medicine,” said Jerry S.H. Lee, its chief science and innovation officer, in a statement. “I am thrilled to add these long-time collaborators.”

Home Health Highlighted

Insurers are vying for new business by calling attention to enhanced community and home-care services as the health insurance enrollment period nears this fall.

Anthem Blue Cross, an Anthem Inc. subsidiary based in Thousand Oaks, announced this month it would expand its 2019 Medicare Advantage offerings to include healthy meals delivered at home, visits to help reduce loneliness, personal home helpers, respite care, pain management and rides to doctor’s appointments and back.

Blue Shield of California and its Monrovia-based subsidiary, Care1st Health Plan, announced this month an agreement with Landmark Health, of Huntington Beach, to expand home-based care.

The added home care will serve an estimated 8,000 Medi-Cal and commercial patients with chronic or complex illnesses served by Care1st Health Plan and Blue Shield across Los Angeles and Orange counties at no extra cost, company officials say.

New York-based Oscar Health, meanwhile, has been beefing up its Culver City office to widen a concierge group of doctors and hospitals that include UCLA Health, Keck Medicine of USC, Citrus Valley Health Partners and Providence Health & Services. New this year are insurance plans geared toward small businesses.

SD Outfit Takes a Flyer

What does it take for a San Diego healthcare firm to recruit workers for new kiosks selling dietary supplements across Los Angeles?

For Scantibodies Laboratory Inc., based in the San Diego County city of Santee, it means slapping help wanted flyers on windshields across Los Angeles.

At least one of the flyers was posted last month beneath a reporter’s windshield wiper outside a Gelson’s Markets Inc. in Tarzana.

“42 year old Biotech company (19 year manufacturer of First Response Pregnancy Tests) seeks sales persons for new consumer product line in the LA, Orange County and San Diego areas,” declared the 9-inch cardboard flyer, accompanied by color photos of expansive labs and clean-room workers. “Training begins mid-September. $200,000 a year.”

Scantibodies Laboratory bills itself as the largest privately owned multinational biotech company in the United States, with 700 workers in the U.S., Mexico and Ethiopia. It manufactures antibodies used for medical diagnostic test kits.

The company ran into a tight job market as it planned to expand its product line into fish oil, Coenzyme Q10 and other supplements sold at kiosks set up at the Grove in the Fairfax district, Simi Valley and La Canada Flintridge, a company official said. It had trouble recruiting kiosk sales managers.

Hence the windshield flyers posted at upscale supermarkets.

“You know, unemployment is low,” said Anna Marie Cadenhead, director of human resources for Scantibodies. “It’s not like you or I, sitting behind a desk, may be interested in these kinds of jobs. Craigslist, with ads in coffee shops and cars, like yours, get good returns.

“We’ve gotten so many calls, mostly positive,” she added. “But I’ll be honest: I have gotten calls from the police department, from the Better Business Bureau, others. But it works.”

Staff reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at or (323) 556-8333.

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