In the interest of common sense, millions of other Americans have been purposely absent for many deeply personal events, canceling weddings, postponing funerals, missing births.
Justin Turner wouldn’t skip a trophy celebration.
And so one of the greatest team accomplishments in the history of Los Angeles sports has been marred by a singular act of selfishness, the divine tinged with disappointment, a lovable leader now bathed in disillusionment.
In his seven years as a Dodger, the red-bearded Turner has become everybody’s favorite hometown kid. He’s like an embraceable stuffed animal with real teeth. He’s shaggy, tough, resilient, kind, charitable, the player who gives an autographed ball to the nightly honored veteran, the player who began this abbreviated season warning teammates about their pandemic responsibility.
Who would have thought he could be so irresponsible?
The friction: About an hour after the final pitch, Turner ended his brief isolation in a stadium doctor’s office to return to the field to hug his teammates and their families while wearing a mask. Then he plopped down on the grass and removed his mask for a team photo. He was soon joined on the ground by Manager Dave Roberts, a cancer survivor who was also not wearing a mask. Turner then strolled around the infield without a mask before posing for a photo with the Commissioner’s Trophy.
Turner was approached by a member of Major League Baseball’s security detail, but he refused to leave. He knew he potentially could be exposing the virus to dozens of others including wives and children and at least one pregnant woman, yet he still insisted on staying.
As someone who suffered with the COVID-19 virus a couple of months ago, this columnist can attest that transmission is a dangerous act, infection is a big deal, and anyone who would willingly risk either is just wrong.
So what should have been a triumphant Los Angeles moment has been shaded in shame. What should have been a moment of elation has been transformed into a portrait of edginess. The third-base cornerstone of the Dodgers’ first championship in 32 years has botched his last play.
If you’re keeping track at home, the Dodgers’ celebration is scored an E-5.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, bottom center, poses for a team photo following the team’s World Series championship victory Tuesday.
“We are the champions … we’re just not the most responsible champions,” said Anne Rimoin, a lifelong Dodger fan who is a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Health and an expert in emerging infectious diseases.
Rimoin said she understands Turner’s desire to join his long-suffering teammates in partying like it was 1988. And who wouldn’t? This is a player whose first baseball memory was watching Kirk Gibson’s home run with his grandfather in Lakewood. He was signed by Ned Colletti off the scrap heap in 2014. He appreciates and deserves this title as much as anybody.
But for the sake of all collateral damage he might have caused, nobody deserved to have him come back outside.
“Everybody wants to celebrate, that’s all very important, but leaving isolation to go back on the field, that shows you how much human beings struggle to do the right thing,” she said. “He really didn’t do the right thing here. At the end of the day, he let his fans down.”
Should MLB have stopped him? Sure, officials should have escorted him from the stadium premises immediately after he tested positive upon threat of forfeit. But once they let him stay, even in that isolated room, there was no holding him back, and league security tried.
“It is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others,” read a league statement Wednesday in which Turner was wholly condemned. “When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.”
Should the Dodgers have stopped him? Certainly, it would have been nice if some hearty soul with some authority could quietly convinced him that he was not only risking the Dodgers health but damaging their reputation. But because Turner became a free agent Wednesday, he essentially didn’t work for them anymore, and, besides, who was going to start a fight with such a strong leader?
“He’s part of the team,” said Mookie Betts, stunned that anyone would suggest that Turner be convinced to return to isolation. “We’re not excluding him from anything.”
Only Justin Turner could truly shut down Justin Turner.
“Who’s brave enough to go to him and say, ‘Hey I’m not OK with this?’” said Rimoin. “There’s a power dynamic at play there. Who would feel comfortable saying that to Justin Turner?”
But what if Turner had stopped himself? Now that would have been special. Can you imagine how many people he could have touched if he had touched nobody, choosing instead to show the world how someone can celebrate in isolation, modeling responsibility, setting an example, teaching a hard lesson?
“He had this opportunity to do the right thing, to show people exactly what it means to have restraint, to be a good shining example of what you should do,” said Rimoin. “Of course you’re excited, this is the big moment in his career, but he could have gotten a lot of great press for doing a video, telling people how difficult it was, but he was doing the right thing.”
But instead, it was an opportunity lost, an image possibly damaged, a legacy potentially stained.
“Instead, he put a lot of people around him at risk,” said Rimoin. “And now he’s an example to a lot of people, ‘If Justin Turner can do it, why can’t I?’ And that’s a real problem.”
Turner didn’t speak to the media Tuesday night, but tweeted a message to his fans that read, in part, “I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine.”
Here’s hoping one those emotions is eventually remorse. And here’s hoping his next message conveys that emotion from quarantine.
Some gobbledygook about pitching to the Dodgers’ lineup for a third time.
Teams have boasted of their Wall Street-inspired strategies, but this was of the same variety responsible for the subprime mortgage crisis.
While Cash didn’t crash the entire economy, he was thoroughly destructive in his realm of influence, as he eviscerated the Rays’ one-run lead and whatever remained of the team’s championship aspirations.
The Dodgers pounced on his mistake. Two batters after Snell was replaced by reliever Nick Anderson, they were ahead by a run, well on their way to a 3-1 victory that clinched the World Series by a four-games-to-two margin.
Cash defended how he reached his decision, but how the Dodgers reacted to the move was evidence of how misguided he was to take Snell out of the game.
But Snell had struck out each of them twice. So when Cash scaled the steps of the Rays’ dugout and pointed to his bullpen, Betts flashed Roberts a smile.
“Oh man, it was kind of a sigh of relief,” Betts said. “Had he stayed in the game, he may have pitched a complete game. He was rolling, pitching really well. That’s the Cy Young Snell that came tonight, so once he came out of the game, it was a breath of fresh air.”
The Rays unraveled almost instantly. Betts doubled against Anderson, moving Barnes to third. The right-hander then uncorked a wild pitch to Seager, permitting Barnes to score.
Seager bounced a grounder to the right side of the Rays’ encroached infield, but Betts’ headfirst slide to the plate beat a throw by first baseman Ji-Man Choi.
The Dodgers were in front 2-1. The World Series was theirs.
In a postgame interview on Fox, Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger said of Snell’s departure: “I was shocked. We were kind of joking around, like, ‘Way to get him out in the sixth, like we planned.’ Umm, but not like that. We rallied from there. Snell had his stuff today. He was gross. So, I would say that, yeah, it uplifted us.”
Cash confirmed after the game that he was reluctant to let Snell pitch to Betts and Seager a third time.
While defending his manager’s credentials, Snell acknowledged he was frustrated by his removal.
“That was one of my better games I’ve pitched in a long time, honestly,” Snell said. ‘The way I was controlling the zone, the way I was adjusting. I felt very comfortable out there.”
Snell said he studied the Dodgers closely, which is why he thought he was able to keep them in check on his second time through their lineup.
“I get it’s a third time through the lineup, but, I mean, I think I’m going to make the adjustments I need to make as I see them a third time,” Snell said. “I just believe in me. I believe in my stuff. I believe in what I was doing.”
The series confirmed not only the superiority of the Dodgers’ lineup and starting pitching but also showcased the advantage the team had on the bench.
Hardened by previous failures, Roberts ignored the boos of his own team’s fans and masterfully guided his bullpen to victory in the last two games. Three relievers pitched a combined 3-1/3 scoreless innings in Game 5. Six picked up 7-1/3 scoreless innings in Game 6.
His counterpart didn’t withstand the October spotlight nearly as well. Cash ignored what was obvious and went to the so-called book.
The Rays’ brand of baseball was introduced to the franchise years ago by Andrew Friedman, who, ironically, became a beneficiary of Cash’s fealty to it. The analytically based approach allowed the frugal Rays to compete with higher-spending teams, only to have the mindset fail them on the sport’s greatest stage.
Asked whether he regretted his decision, Cash laughed.
“Well, yeah,” he said. “I guess I regret it because it didn’t work out.”
He cracked open the door for the Dodgers. Until Cash wins a World Series, he can replay the decision in his head. The Dodgers know what that’s like.
Dance like Mookie. Soar like Belli. Scream like Kersh.
The 31-year drought is over, the heavens have opened, and all over Los Angeles it’s raining blue.
The Dodgers are World Series champions.
We’ll write it again, with feeling, for all the times in the last three decades you thought you’d never read it again.
The Dodgers are World Series champions!
The weight is over, the burden has been lifted, the dream deferred has become a reality embraced.
For the first time since 1988, the Dodgers hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy on Tuesday night with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays to clinch the World Series four games to two.
“This is our year! We said it! This is our year!” shouted manager Dave Roberts during the postgame celebration. “Everyone all over the world wearing Dodger blue never wavered. This is our year!”
From Gibby to J.T., from Bulldog to Buehler, from Tommy to Doc, the torch was finally passed on a chilly fall night in Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Taking advantage of an analytic blunder by Rays manager Kevin Cash — he incredibly removed Blake Snell in the middle of a two-hit shutout — the Dodgers scored two runs in the sixth and cruised to a diamond party for the ages.
Julio Urías threw a 97-mph fastball past a frozen Willy Adames to finish it, then all redemption broke out. Urías doubled over in screaming celebration before walking into the arms of catcher Austin Barnes while all around them were flying caps, tossed gloves and tearful hugs.
“It’s phenomenal … this was incredible … we never stopped,” said Corey Seager, the unstoppable World Series MVP, who batted .400 with two homers and five runs batted in. “To be able to finally … get the last out, win the last game, it’s surreal and it’s unbelievable.”
Also surreal and unbelievable — and so very 2020 — was the postgame announcement that veteran leader Justin Turner, who had been strangely removed from the game in the eighth inning, had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Highlights from the Dodgers World Series title victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6.
“To have that happen to a guy like that … it’s gut-wrenching,” said Seager.
It’s the Dodgers’ sixth title since moving to Los Angeles in 1958, but perhaps the sweetest because it took the longest, the 31-season drought spanning four owners and nine managers and endless heartbreak.
Occurring just 16 days after the Lakers won the NBA championship, the Dodgers’ title also reestablished Los Angeles as America’s sports capital.
“To the city of L.A., this is deserved by you guys, you guys needed it the most, 32 years and here we are, world champions,” said Kenley Jansen.
The pandemic prevented Tuesday’s game from being played at Dodger Stadium — and how crazy would that have been? — but there was an overwhelming majority of Dodgers fans among the restricted crowd of around 11,000, enough to fill the air with the familiar chants of “Let’s Go, Dodgers.”
And to think, how many recent Octobers have you chanted that in vain? Through seven consecutive previous division championships, you have chanted. Through two previous World Series, you have chanted.
You’ve seen them get worked by the St. Louis Cardinals, cheated by the Houston Astros, overpowered by the Boston Red Sox, embarrassed by the Washington Nationals, and still you chanted.
This time they listened. This time it stuck. This time they were tough enough. This time they were clutch enough. Sure, this time it was a 60-game season and empty stadiums and odd rules and expanded playoffs, but don’t even say it’s not legitimate. Don’t even say it’s not real. With three weeks of quarantining in Texas, it might have been their most real October yet.
It took a leaping Cody Bellinger catch to quiet the San Diego Padres. It took a comeback from a three-games-to-one deficit, a bunch of Mookie Betts little miracles and a Bellinger homer to defeat the Atlanta Braves.
Then, in the World Series, it took two Clayton Kershaw wins, one Austin Barnes bunt-and-homer night, a bunch of Corey Seager, and a rebound from a devastating late Game 4 loss to defeat the Rays.
“This year has been crazy, obviously, but no matter what, we’ll look back on this and we’re World Series champs, and to get to say that … it’s so special,” said Kershaw.
In the end, as much as anything, this was a triumph for three often criticized cornerstones of the organization — the owner, the baseball president, and the manager.
Guggenheim Baseball Management rescued the franchise in 2012 from the destructive Frank McCourt and set it on its current course, but it was never enough. Led by Chairman Mark Walter and President Stan Kasten, the ownership poured money into both Dodger Stadium and the organizational structure, but they forgot about some of their most loyal fans. They signed an $8.35-billion television deal that kept the teams off most local TVs for six years. In a bit of fortuitous timing, the blackout ended this season, and with this title they can now take a long-awaited victory lap.
“These players had their backs against the wall but they stuck together and never gave up,” said Walter on Tuesday night. “They showed what could be accomplished when we believe in each other and when we believe in that dream.”
Also heavily scrutinized has been Andrew Friedman, the analytics guru who became president of baseball operations in 2015. He hasn’t lost a division championship since, but it was also never enough. He has come under fire for constructing most of his roster with solid players who compute well but don’t have the intangibles to perform in October. It is no coincidence that the Dodgers finally won when, last winter, Friedman finally acquired a gutsy pressure player like Betts and gave him the largest contract — a $365-million extension — in Dodger history.
“We’re bringing the trophy home; it’s been too long,” said Friedman. “To our incredible fans, thank you for all the support, we’re sorry it took us this long, thank you for your patience, but it’s coming home where it belongs, we are the champions.”
Perhaps nobody has been ripped more than manager Dave Roberts, who took over from Don Mattingly in 2016 and whose October decisions have led to a steady stream of boos. He took out Rich Hill too early. He left Kershaw in too long. He should have saved Yu Darvish from himself. Roberts was also heavily criticized this October for several precarious calls, but he figured out his bullpen enough to guide it through a Game 7 victory against the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series and then again in the final two games of the World Series.
The Dodgers celebrate their World Series title after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.
All three cornerstones earned redemption for sins that occurred many years before their watch.
When Kirk Gibson hit that home run and Orel Hershiser threw those masterpieces and Tommy Lasorda screamed the gospel in the Dodgers’ 1988 World Series victory over the Oakland Athletics, folks thought that magic would last forever. It did not. They didn’t even make the playoffs the next year, and so the drought began, continuing unabated through bloopers and blunders and just plain bad luck. In the process, the Dodgers lost the town to the Lakers, lost their stature in the league, and occasionally appeared to lose their minds.
They traded Mike Piazza. They lost Adrian Beltre. Then there was Manny Ramirez, a player so magnetic they named an entire section of Dodger Stadium in his honor. “Mannywood,” it was called. Then he was busted for performance-enhancing drugs and Mannywood became a ghost town.
The failed players were guided by failed leadership. Peter O’Malley sold the team to the Fox Entertainment Group, and they promptly traded Piazza. Fox then sold the team to McCourt, who managed it so poorly that it was eventually wrested from him by Major League Baseball.
All of this led to Guggenheim, which led to Friedman, which led to Roberts, all which led to Tuesday night’s glorious six-word end to a 32-year journey.
We’ll write them once more. They will never get old.
Photos by Suzy Poling, courtesy of Lauren Reichenberg/Compass
Plus stained glass and scalloped cabinets.
LOCATION: Los Feliz — Sitting on the northeast corner of Los Feliz, 3024 Surry Street is about a block west of the Rowena Reservoir. There was some talk of turning the ten-acre fenced reservoir into a true public recreation space last year, but for now it’s a scenic spot for strolling by (you’ll probably pass it on the way to Gelson’s or Trader Joe’s, both less than half a mile away).
SPECS: 2 beds, 2 baths, 1,302 square feet, 0.21 acres — Built in 1937, this tile-roofed Spanish Colonial Revival house remains well preserved. The entrance, complete with a covered patio, opens to a small foyer. On the left, you have a large living room with a stained-glass picture window and wood-burning fireplace. On the right is the dining room, which leads to a kitchen with scalloped cabinetry, original yellow tiles (you’ll also find original tiles in the two bathrooms), and a breakfast nook. Two bedrooms and a laundry room are at the rear of the house. The property also comes with a detached two-car garage, mature trees, and drought-tolerant landscaping.
The large living room has a fireplace, stained glass window, and oak floors.
The formal dining room’s jalousie windows let in both sunlight and cool breezes.
A newly installed checkerboard linoleum floor complements the cheery kitchen’s original yellow tile and scalloped-edge cabinetry.
A sunny breakfast nook comes with built-in cabinets.
One of the two bedrooms.
Happily, the beautiful original tile in both of the home’s bathrooms still survives.
A winding ten-minute drive from Topanga’s famous storybook restaurant Inn of the Seventh Ray, which is once again open for business, 2440 Minard Road is tucked into the hills just north of the 1,255-acre Tuna Canyon Park. In case you missed it, a recent feel-good story around these parts was the discovery of a new litter of mountain-lion kittens in the Santa Monica Mountains, believed to have been fathered by P-63, who “hails from the northern side of the 101 freeway,” according to National Park Service wildlife biologist Jeff Sikich.
Built in 1963, this two-story lodge was designed by W. Earl Wear, a Canadian-born architect who worked in John Lautner’s office during the early 1950s before launching his solo practice in Topanga. Wear’s homes are known for incorporating copious amounts of redwood, stone, and glass — and this one, which was Wear’s personal residence, is no exception, with both exterior and interior redwood siding, hand-carved stone floors, clerestory windows, and a massive stone fireplace. The gated property also features a 400-square-foot guesthouse with a kitchenette, mature fruit trees (including pomegranate, fig, apple, peach, and citrus), and parking for ten cars.
Notable feature: Angles, angles, angles
Irregular angles throughout the home — like the open-plan kitchen’s trapezoidal marble-topped island and the upper-level bedroom’s slanted ceiling and windows — are visible traces of the house’s distinguished architectural pedigree. They draw a line from Wear to Lautner, a master of dramatic shapesandangles who apprenticed under Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West, itself a glorious composition of angled structures made of desert rocks, wood, and glass.
The centerpiece of the home is a stone fireplace that rises up two stories.
A bank of clerestory windows tops a tower of redwood beams.
The open-plan kitchen features angled marble countertops.
The home’s three bedrooms are studies in geometry.
Occupying the better part of an acre, the property enjoys stunning ocean and canyon views.
One of eight bungalows clustered into a small cul-de-sac off the east side of the street, 1821 1⁄2 Echo Park Avenue is of walking distance to the west side of Elysian Park, including its 2.3-mile dog-friendly trail. Dodger Stadium (currently serving as L.A. County’s largest COVID-19 testing site) and the plentiful shops and restaurants along Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park are all a three-minute drive away.
According to building permits on file with the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, 1821 1⁄2 Echo Park Avenue is one of four residences constructed concurrently in 1921. At the time of its construction, the neighborhood was well served by the Red Car railway system, which explains the bungalow court’s dearth of garages and driveways; most of the cul-de-sac’s residents park in front of their homes. Serving to buffer the bungalow from outside intrusion is a set of box hedges. Beyond the hedges is a relatively spacious front porch shaded by deeply overhanging eaves. The compact interior is economically divided up between a front lounge, a galley kitchen–dining area, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, and a loft space reached via a narrow nautical-style ladder. You’ll find vaulted wood-beam ceilings throughout, as well as hardwood floors, double-hung wood windows, skylights, butcher-block counters, pocket doors, a walk-in closet made over with the Container Store’s modular Elfa shelving system, and a claw-foot tub in the bathroom. Take a virtual tour here.
The bungalow’s deep front porch is partially hidden behind box hedges.
Hardwood floors and beam ceilings are found throughout.
A built-in seating area is slotted into a corner by the kitchen.
A set of pocket doors separates the sleeping area from an expansive walk-in closet in the bedroom.
The bathroom has been updated with subway tile and new lighting.
A nautical-style ship ladder leads to the sunny loft.
Escorts, cash, and karaoke bars.
Editor’s note: FBI agents arrested Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar on the morning of June 23 at his home in Boyle Heights in connection with their investigation into corruption at City Hall. Huizar is accused of federal racketeering, and the U.S. Attorney alleges he led a ring of aides, lobbyists, and developers who arranged bribes in exchange for his help getting real estate plans approved. In one instance, prosecutors allege that Huizar accepted $600,000 from a developer that the councilmember used to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against him in 2014.
José Huizar has presided over Downtown Los Angeles during its emergence as a neighborhood for wealthy locals and tourists, holding more sway over what gets built than anyone else, other than, perhaps, the developers themselves. Huizar, who grew up just outside Downtown in Boyle Heights, was elected to represent both areas on the Los Angeles City Council in 2005. He has staked a large part of his legacy on making the Broadway corridor the heart of Downtown, reopening old movie palaces and attracting businesses like the Ace Hotel, which opened in 2014, and Eggslut, which opened in Grand Central Market in 2013.
Huizar has not been charged in a federal corruption case that’s unfolding in Los Angeles, but he’s the only person who matches the details in courtdocuments describing an L.A. lawmaker, identified as “Councilmember A,” who took a cash bribe from Downtown developers in exchange for help getting rid of opposition to their plans.
From a videoconference broadcast to a courtroom in the federal courthouse on June 3, Justin Jangwoo Kim, a real-estate appraiser and former City Planning commissioner, pleaded guilty to fixing the bribe: $400,000 in cash, collected in a paper bag. The courthouse, fenced off because of protests over police violence, and closed to the public because of the pandemic, was almost entirely empty, as Kim remotely entered his plea.
George Esparza, whom the Los Angeles Times has described as one of Huizar’s closest aides, has also agreed to plead guilty to racketeering as part of what the U.S. attorney has described as a “pay-to-play bribery scheme.” In a plea agreement Esparza signed on May 21, he is described as a city employee and a special assistant for Councilmember A, for whom Esparza admits helping Kim arrange the bribe.
Also pleading guilty — to falsifying facts during the FBI investigation — is a second City Council member, Mitch Englander, who represented a swath of the San Fernando Valley from 2011 until 2018.
Huizar is not named in any plea agreements, but based on their conclusions regarding the details in the court records, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles City Council president Nury Martinez asked him to resign on May 28, saying details in those filings are “disgusting.”
The corruption probe has proved, in sordid detail, that at least two Los Angeles City Council members were not working for average Angelenos. As court records make clear, they were working for companies that can afford to withdraw hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and hand it off in a paper bag like a $15 takeout meal.
The development company referred to in the court documents is a limited-liability corporation named 940 S. Hill LLC that has three managers listed in state business records: Dae Lee, Jeong Kim, and Hyuk Lim, three Fashion District merchants. (This is the limit of Jeong Kim’s involvement, as described in court records; all other references in the story are to Justin Jangwoo Kim.) An appeal had been filed against their plans to build a high-rise with 232 condominiums on Hill Street, and they wanted Councilmember A to get that appeal dropped.
The councilmember was down to help make the appeal go away — at a price. In a series of meetings that took place in cars, a coffee shop, bowling alley, hotel, and karaoke bar in 2016 and 2017, Kim helped negotiate the sum — an aid for the councilmember initially wanted $1.4 million and agreed to $400,000. (The developer would later tack on an additional $100,000.) The bribe was handed over in February 2017. The condominium plans were approved two months later by the City Planning department, but construction has not started.
Toward the end of the June 3 hearing, U.S. Central District Court judge John Walter asked Kim if he had done all of these things, and Kim responded demurely: “Yes, I did.” As part of a plea agreement, he must cooperate with federal officials as they continue investigating corruption and “pay-to-play” real-estate deals with elected officials in the city of Los Angeles.
Some of the details that investigators have uncovered — escorts and Lakers-game tickets and greed, clandestine meetings, and cover-ups — belong in the plot of a great noir, a genre that has fictionalized some of L.A.’s ugliest truths. But unlike the movies, no one is watching as the Department of Justice slowly but publicly untangles how some wealthy developers get their projects approved.
It’s unknown at this point exactly how many deals like this the councilmember put together (others have been described in court records), but Kim had a long-term vision for building up a lucrative development operation in Downtown L.A., and it hinged on the councilmember, who Kim referred to as his “boss.” Together, they were plotting a succession plan, with Kim agreeing to find an unidentified “associate” who would form a political action committee supporting the councilmember’s unnamed relative in a bid to replace him when he terms out this year.
The succession plan is one of the key details in the court documents that seems to point directly to Huizar: The filings say a relative of Councilmember A announced her candidacy to succeed him in September 2018. They also say that Councilmember A was the chair of the City Council’s planning and land-use-management committee.
The timeline matches Huizar’s own: In September 2018, Huizar’s wife, Richelle, announced a campaign to replace her husband, but she dropped out of the race two months later after the FBI raided their Boyle Heights home. Huizar also chaired that committee from July 2013 to November 2018, when he was stripped of all committee assignments. Huizar’s attorney declined to comment for this story.
Kim, who resigned from the L.A. City Planning commission in 2011, has donated to the campaigns for a majority of the current City Council, including Mitch O’Farrell, Herb Wesson, Paul Krekorian, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and Huizar. He was also a business associate of George Chiang’s. (Chiang is another development consultant and real-estate broker from the San Gabriel Valley who has agreed to plead guilty in a separate case tied to the corruption investigation.)
According to the FBI, Chiang connected Councilmember A, again widely believed to be Huizar, to a Chinese developer, who the Real Deal has identified as Shenzhen Hazens Real Estate Group. Together, Chiang and the developer arranged a trip to Hong Kong and China for the councilmember and his family, agreed to contribute $100,000 to his relative’s election campaign, and gave tickets to Lakers games to his aides. In exchange, the councilmember helped get the developer’s plans for a W hotel and 435 condominiums near L.A. Live approved, including writing a motion needed to clear the plans through the Huizar-chaired planning and land-use-management committee.
Huizar has given no indication that he will give up his seat before his term ends. He seems to have enjoyed the power, even just the appearance of it. In an email to one of his aides on December 15, 2015, he wrote, “Just a reminder to commit and follow up when people ask me to be on honorary committee. For events even when I am not attending. I just saw that practically all of councilmembers were on HOPE honorary committee and I wasn’t.” The aid, Mayra Alvarez, sued him in 2018, claiming wrongful termination. Copies of emails and text messages contained in the lawsuit, which has not been resolved, show how Huizar treated her, constantly demanding cups of tea, almost always without saying please or thank you. One text thread reads only:
Huizar and Englander, the other Los Angeles councilmember implicated in the investigation, served on the planning and land-use-management committee for more than five years. Englander stepped down from the council two years ago to work for a sports and entertainment company. After he resigned, the FBI accused him of trying to cover up gifts and trips he took with real-estate developers.
As part of his plea agreement, he has admitted to taking a trip to Las Vegas in 2017 with an unnamed real-estate developer, lobbyist, and an unidentified business executive who worked with developers. They paid for his hotel room, $34,000 in bottle service, and ordered him an escort. At one point, the business executive gave Englander an envelope with $10,000 in cash in a casino bathroom.
Later, after the FBI had begun questioning Englander and the business executive, the two drove around Downtown L.A. in Englander’s car while the councilmember allegedly coached the executive on how to lie to investigators, like a scene out of a political thriller. If they asked about escorts and checked his phone records, Englander told him to say, “I was so drunk I don’t remember calling,’ or ‘I don’t remember, maybe I called the wrong number.’”
Situated in a pocket of lush, palm-tree-lined blocks in the northwest corner of Koreatown, 138 South Hobart Boulevard is walking distance from the shops and restaurants along Western Avenue. Nestled among homes with ample front lawns, the house is only a mile from some of the best Korean BBQ in L.A. along West 8th Street. Larchmont Village, with its multitude of shops and cafés, is just a five-minute drive west.
Peeking out from behind a gated wooden fence and bougainvillea-draped arbor, the 1910 residence sits at the end of a stone pathway, from which steps ascend to a roomy porch shaded by deep eaves. The front door, ornamented with stained-glass panels, opens to a living room with beamed ceilings, picture windows, built-in bookshelves, and a dramatic Batchelder-style fireplace. The formal dining room features box-beam ceilings and a built-in hutch embellished with a striking stained-glass panel depicting a peacock, while the farm-style kitchen is big on wood cabinetry and bench seating. One bedroom, one bath, and a sun porch round out the lower level; two more bedrooms and another full bath with a claw-foot tub are found upstairs. Out back is a kid- (and koi-) friendly yard with artificial grass and playground equipment. A detached recording studio–guesthouse further sweetens the deal. Take a 3-D tour here.
A Batchelder-style fireplace is the focal point of the living room.
The dining room’s peacock-themed stained glass is complemented by the blue-green ceiling and walls.
Custom cabinets and bench seating line the farmhouse-style kitchen.
French doors lead from the first-floor guest room to the cozy sunroom.
The master bedroom features open-beam ceilings and a built-in window seat.
Mature trees shade the backyard patio and detached recording studio–guesthouse.
Like the ever-evolving city we cover, Curbed LA has changed over the years, from an aggregator with attitude, to a gossipy real-estate blog, to a trusted local-news source. Now it’s time for a new chapter.
Effective today, we’re stopping production on this site. But it won’t be the end of Curbed stories about Los Angeles. Starting Monday, June 29, our stories will appear on Curbed.com, our flagship site. That’s in preparation for an exciting move over to New York Magazine this fall, where Curbed will relaunch as the newest vertical alongside brands like Vulture, the Cut, and the Strategist. At New York, we’ll have a bigger platform to tell the nation what’s happening in its best city, and even though I’ll be writing for an East Coast publication, I personally promise never to pen a story that wins New York Times bingo.
Curbed LA’s unapologetically Southern Californian point of view will live on, as will the Curbed LA newsletter, which will blast into your inbox every other Friday. Plus, you can still reach us anytime through the Curbed LA tipline. And even though we’ll no longer publish new stories, the archived version of Curbed LA will remain online — a testament to the fact that we built an influential, multifaceted voice for Los Angeles in the time it took to complete oneTarget.
After a 52-year manhunt, investigative genetic genealogy has helped the Huntington Beach Police Department and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office identify the victim in Orange County’s oldest unsolved Jane Doe murder and find her killer.
On March 14, 1968, three young boys playing in a large farm field near the corner of Newland Avenue and Yorktown Street in Huntington Beach found the body of a woman. She had been raped, severely beaten and her neck was slashed.
For more than five decades she remained a Jane Doe, her body buried in an unmarked grave in a Newport Beach cemetery waiting to be identified.
Her name is Anita Louise Piteau of Augusta, Maine, one of seven children. She was 26 years old.
Huntington Beach police officers who responded to the scene carefully preserved the crime scene evidence, including a smoked cigarette butt found near the victim’s body. Despite extensive follow-up and an exhaustive number of interviews, police were unable to identify the victim or her killer.
The case went cold. But the Huntington Beach Police Department refused to give up, continuing to follow up on leads.
In 2001 the victim’s sexual assault kit and the victim’s clothing were examined and processed for DNA. A male DNA profile was identified but the suspect remained unknown.
Blood from the victim’s blouse produced a partial DNA profile, which was entered into the CODIS missing person database in March 29, 2011. Her fingerprints were entered into the CAL- ID system and the FBI national fingerprint database. But she remained unidentified.
In 2010, a partial male DNA profile was obtained from the cigarette butt recovered from the crime scene and was consistent with the DNA profile obtained from the victim’s sexual assault kit, but the DNA could not be tied to a suspect.
Beginning in 2011, the case was repeatedly submitted to Cal-DOJ for a familial search in CODIS. No workable leads were generated.
In 2019, Huntington Beach detectives worked with members of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to use investigative genetic genealogy (IGG) to obtain a possible family tree of the suspect. As a result, investigators determined the suspect was Johnny Chrisco, who was not one of the initial suspects in the case. Chrisco, who was discharged from the Army after three years following a failed psychological exam that diagnosed him with having positive aggressive reaction which was defined as having a pattern of being quick to anger, easy to feel unjustly treated, chronically resentful, immature and impulsive. Chrisco died in 2015 of cancer and was buried in Washington State.
Earlier this year, detectives, prosecutors, and forensic scientists began working on a possible family tree of the victim. With the help of renowned genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick, Anita was finally identified through DNA matches with her family.
Anita has two living sisters, a brother, and many extended family members who have been searching for her for the last 52 years. Due to the unwavering dedication and determination by so many law enforcement officers over five decades, this cold case has never been forgotten.
Investigators from the Huntington Beach Police Department and the Orange County District Attorney’s office took Anita’s remains home to her family in Maine and attended her memorial service last weekend.
Detectives are still trying to determine how the victim and suspect knew each other. If you recognize either Anita Piteau or Johnny Chrisco, please contact the Huntington Beach Police Tip Line at 714-375-5066.
George Budwell’s ﬂagrant non-sequitur, Part 1 of 2.
George Budwell’s misguided article is predicated on a ﬂagrant non-sequitur. He says a continuation
decision will not be a “major market-moving event” b/c the ﬁrst phase of Imerge was not designed for
What is the connection between the continuation decision and Imerge’s ﬁrst phase not being designed
for ﬁling? Totally anomalous. Wherein does the value of the continuation reside? In Imerge’s ﬁrst
phase? What? Why? HUH? The continuation decision is about Imet’s ENTIRE program
To put it in high relief, let’s say the continuation decision was negative; would THAT be a “major
market-moving event,” independent of any regulatory ﬁling? Of course it would. That’s b/c the
continuation decision is not, and was never, about any regulatory ﬁling A POSITIVE
CONTINUATION DECISION MEANS THE PARTNERSIHP IS MOVING FORWARD, instead of
being returned to Geron; it means the cost structure is 20/80; it means there are milestone payments to
put on the books; it means the program is being expanded,
What does a LegulatogLﬁling have to do with the The continuation decision is
not predicated on a regulatory ﬁling; why would you associate the two in the ﬁrst place? It seems the
design of Imet’s program is over Mr. Budwell’s head‘ He also fails to understand that they must
continue in order to begin the secondphasehﬁlmerge, and also an AMLtriaKand we now know they
ARE doing something with AML, don’t we). Is that not a substantive development in the program,
separate from any regulatory ﬁling?
What a thinly drawn and tortured connection to make, Mr. Budwell, and a very ponderous article full of
George Budwell’s ﬂagrant non-sequitur. Part 2 of 2.
Also, these are some of my notes from the May conference call:
And we can be extremely conﬁdent that Imerge will be a pivotal b/c of the double—blind, placebo
protocol, but also b/c of Olivia’s response to a question about the hypothetical case that the
continuation decision was negative. Regarding the shelf offering, Olivia said, “Since the data
from [Imerge] would have to be used to support a potential regulatory approval...” Imerge is a
Again, in the hypothetical case of a negative continuation decision, Dr. S responded, “Well, ﬁrst
and foremost, assuming the data from Imerge supports moving into P3, our priority would be to
get the P3 of Imerge up and running as soon as possible. We believe that MDS presents a
straight forward path to potential regulatory approval b/c the trial’s already been designed
including the endpoints, and as part of the P2 portion of the study most of the clinical sites have
already been established and are familiar w/the clinical protocol.”
Nowhere did they ever create the expectation that there would be a ﬁling based on the ﬁrst phase of
Imerge. Mr. Budwell seems to have synthesized that idea out of thin air, all by himself. Yes, the P3
phase of Imerge could unfold on the time—scale Mr. Budwell gives; but he also ignores any discussion of
a rolling submission as N] had done for Darzalex in 2015. After all, they have unprescedented results
in both MF and MDS, and there was an expansion group in Imerge whose data will be quite mature
within the ﬁrst year, post-continuation.
Mr. Budwell’s article was so thinly drawn, I don’t understand why anyone would print something so
undeveloped. Was it to garner viewership during a time of peak interest, perhaps? Financial
I have to say, the analysts and ﬁnancial journalists covering Imet seem to be largely and woefully
ignorant of the scientiﬁc import. It’s disconcerting to see so many of them write so voluminously, and
yet say so little. It’s almost like they just want people to click on their articles.
Prithviraj Bose, MD, associate professor, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses novel agents under investigation in myelofibrosis.
Novel agents are being studied in combination with ruxolitinib (Jakafi) and as single agents after JAK inhibitor failure, says Bose. CPI-0610, which is a bromodomain inhibitor, and navitoclax, which is a BCL-2/BCXL antagonist, have shown the most potential in combination with ruxolitinib.
Imetelstat, which is being studied as a single agent post-ruxolitinib, has shown evidence of a survival advantage. Because the drug wasn’t compared with an active agent, it's difficult to determine whether the agent has a real survival advantage, says Bose. However, in comparison to historical controls, it looks like it does.
PRM-151, is an anti-fibrotic drug that’s under investigation. The field also has preliminary data with the LSD1 inhibitor bomedemstat. All of these agents are active, and more data regarding these drugs are expected to be presented during the 2020 European Hematology Association Virtual Congress, concludes Bose.
from Yahoo board... nice rundown of new hires and current situation
stiglg6 4 hours ago
similarities between Geron's imetelstat and PCYC's imbruvica?
From what I can tell, the comparison between the two is an OLD idea.
this made it all that much more amazing when i saw the JNJ job postings for a EMEA strategic pricing manager for imetelstat and imbruvica months before discontinuation.
I believe the similarity between the two is that they are taking a potential platform therapy through the regulatory approval process.
As john Scarllet said before discontinuation, this involves a "bottleneck" that we are currently at right now...a bottleneck that PCYC went through. twitter.com/...
PCYC developed their drug with Janssen 50/50 but were bought out by ABBVIE a for $262 a share...
Geron developed their drug with Janssen 50/50 in phase 2 and then Janssen terminated the collaboration commenting that it was a "strategic portfolio decision" and that "they think the drug will be approved".
Following discontinuation several leaders at Janssen have been hired.
The first significant position that was filled by a person knows the pre-clinical struggles to $262 a share all too well (a PCYC employee). Dr. Gutierrez was Senior Director, Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance at Pharmacyclics and a member of the hematology-oncology development team. Dr. Gutierrez has also been part of the oncology development teams at Exelixis, Inc., Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, and Celgene Corporation. Dr. Gutierrez's actions sure make it hard for you to believe that there are no similarities between Geron's single and only drug candidate and PCYC's single and only drug candidate, don't they?
The second significant position that was filled by the person who was leading the efforts of the competitors drug, luspatercept. Geron's Chief medical officer, Dr. Rizo, was lead of the hematology program over at Celgene. Interestingly, she was recently leading the hematology program at Janssen that decided to make the deal with Geron in the first place.
Shortly after, Dawn C. Bir, former vice president of sales at PCYC, joined Geron. Dawn C. Bir built and led their first hematology national sales organization responsible for the launch of IMBRUVICA, a hematology-oncology product, in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Hires from Janssen:
Vice President, Clinical Development – Faye Feller, M.D. who was Senior Director, Clinical Leader on the myeloid program at Janssen Research and Development, LLC
Vice President, Clinical Science and Operations – Laurie Sherman who was Senior Director, Compound Development Team Leader for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) assets at Janssen, where she was responsible for multiple aspects of drug development, including: clinical strategy and execution; chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC); toxicology; and clinical pharmacokinetics. Preceding that role, Ms. Sherman held several senior positions in the late-stage team at Janssen, including Senior Director, Myeloid Portfolio Clinical Scientist Leader, where she led development strategy and overall clinical execution of myeloid clinical trials, including the imetelstat clinical trials, IMerge and IMbark. Prior to that role she was Senior Director, Lead Project Scientist on the ibrutinib mantle cell lymphoma program.
ibrutinib is...you guessed it...IMBRUVICA
anyway...next we have
Vice President, Biometrics – Ying Wan, M.D., Ph.D. who was Director and Functional Leader, Oncology Statistics, Statistics & Decision Sciences at Janssen Research and Development, LLC (Janssen). Dr. Wan’s tenure at Janssen spanned 12 years with increasing responsibility where she led the statistical strategy for imetelstat and most recently, multiple solid tumor programs, across all stages of development, including Balversa. In addition, she provided statistical support for Imbruvica, Zytiga, Procrit, and other compounds.
Vice President, Global Regulatory Affairs – Sharon McBain who was Senior Director, Global Regulatory Leader, Oncology at Janssen Research and Development, LLC (Janssen) where she led the global regulatory development strategy for hematology-oncology drug candidates.
im sick of explaining it. my strategy is to buy and hold...
While we all wait for JNJ to $hit or get off the pot, thought I might take a stab at why it looks like even though the MDS data should be significant, MF data will be superior and MF approval will be first and could come sooner than expected. I think the results in Imbark could be very good.
As opposed to conspiracy theories - no the Russians didn’t recruit Trump as an agent 20 years ago, and No, the shorts didn’t hack into the LinkedIn website, I will do my best to just look at the facts. If there is indeed some “approval” lurking, just remember the Imbark trial has three times the patients (roughly 105 vs 35) and has had them fully enrolled for nearly four times as long (roughly 24 month vs 6 months) as compared to Imerge, and therefor much more significant data for the FDA or Eu to gain approval.
I think Median Overall Survival MOS could be 30-36 months for the Imbark 9.4 mg/kg patients, and if so, that could lead to a fairly quick approval as it would triple life expectancy for R/R patients. How do I get that number, it’s just an educated guess, but here goes…
Let’s assume that there are three cohorts in Inbark: 9.4mg/kg, 4.7mg/kg, and those that switched from 4.7 to 9.4. It is possible JNJ and the FDA considers there to be just two, but I think (thinking back to Tefferi and the Mayo multiple cohort data) it has to be considered three, so let’s try that. As we recall from two years ago at the “hold” there were 45 patients in 4.7, 45 patients in 9.4 and 15 new patients in the enrollment pipeline that were allowed to go into the 9.4 cohort. Of the 45 in 4.7, those that were still in the trial, and that wanted to, could move to the higher dose- the crossover group.
So, lets assume 60 patients in 9.4, but we have to make an educated guess in the 4.7 group. Based on the fact that the MDS trial saw many drop, and because the 4.7 patients were not responding, I’m going to guess that maybe only 25 were left, and lets say 15 of those transferred over to 9.4. You can alter the numbers, but I’m probably pretty close, I usually am. So, we have roughly 60 in 9.4, 15 in crossover, 30 in 4.7. Just go with it for now, please.
Now let’s step back and take a look at how long these patients have been treated. A year ago I estimated that the median start date for the 4.7 patients was April 2016 and the median start date for the 9.4 was July of 2016 (later median start for 9.4 because of the 15 late enrolled patients at end of Sept 2016 into 9.4). The average overall start was then June of ’16. Fast forward to Geron’s announcement 19 months later that in January of 2018, yes, NINETEEN MONTHS AFTER JuNE ’16, that Median Overall Survival in all cohorts was at 19 months! None had yet hit MOS.
The preceding info and exercise was done to somewhat prove my numbers are correct, well, because, they usually are So, good job, our numbers match, what does it mean?
Let’s now look at the 4.7 cohort. Why? Because we can work off those numbers in order to estimate what MOS we might see for the 9.4 patients. So, if in January ‘18, the 4.7 patients were in the trial roughly 21 months and the 9.4 patients were in for 18 months, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing as AE so stupidly misunderstood when he thought the 9.4 cohort wasn’t living as long as the 4.7 patients, they simply had not been enrolled as long!
I am going to be conservative and suggest that the “predetermined number of deaths” that happened in April was hitting the middle (median) death in the 4.7 cohort, meaning that the MOS of the 4.7 patients is 24 months, but it certainly could be longer. This is very important. Let’s look at this cohort that hit a MOS of 24 months (it can’t be less than 23, but could certainly be longer).
According to Geron, these 4.7 patients were NOT responding to the drug and that is why the 4.7 group was discontinued in Summer of ’16. These patients got half the drug, they probably dropped out at an alarming rate, therefore getting even less drug because many stopped infusing two years ago. It is possible only 10 or so in the 4.7 group got the drug after the hold! And think of this, those in that group that did respond, those that should possibly live longer and might make the 4.7 MOS metric longer, might well have migrated to the different crossover cohort, thus making the 4.7 MOS numbers worse. What I am trying to say is that this 4.7 cohort should NOT get very good results: They got much less drug, they got far fewer infusions, many stopped taking the drug, those that did respond, probably left that cohort, and yet, AND YET, they STILL MANAGED TO SuRVIVE 24 months!
So, if a group that really had everything going against it, did well at 24 months MOS, what do you think of a cohort that got twice as much drug, more infusions, and was KNOWN to have been responding well would get??? Those results must be better. They must be SIGNIFICANTLY better. I am guessing 30 to 36 months, and possibly, just possibly, more.
"Now, what I would argue and what I think the data would reflect is the most successful acquisitions that we made tend to be the tuck in acquisitions. It's tended to be when we were able to identify Imbruvica and pharmacyclics very early on. And we've put about a billion dollar worth of capital to work early on and we turned that into a multi billion dollar platform."
JNJ CONTINUATION: JNJ has a major decision with Geron Corporation by the end of September. ICEMAN has articles on Seeking Alpha you should read. Search Geron Blogs and find new articles from ICEMAN. Another big one is coming Monday. I like to thank Sdrawk for his hard work and continued support of Gern enthusiasts and more importantly the patients. Thank you !
Gauging GERN’S outlook post—continuation decision. Part 1 of 3.
If GERN opts-in, there will be a $65 million milestone payment. Further and immediate
milestone payments will be made as the new trials progress. It’s highly probable that a regulatory
ﬁling would be forthcoming within a year (I believe on the near-side of that year). With
approval, of course, GERN will receive royalty revenue, and that’s in addition to further sales
Also, GERN must reimburse INJ for some of the costs in Imbark/Imerge. The cost structure for
the P3 in Imerge and possibly a P3 post-Imbark will be reduced from 50/50 to 20/80. If I recall
correctly, I believe the AML trial will also be split 20/80.
The development plan will inform their course of actions. Besides the reimbursement obligation,
if JNJ intends to pursue many indications then I would expect a further fund raising. If GERN
seeks to initiate any IDPs, or in the case of an acquisition by GERN, I would also expect fund
raising. That might mean loans and/0r dilutions. I think having the S3 could incline them to the
latter. Do put these dilutions into context, though; these would be dilutions aimed at expanding
the program (and hence growing revenue) and not dilutions aimed at debt service or simply
maintaining op~ex. These dilutions would be funds which are immediately available, whereas
the nature of milestone payments is that they are conditional and paid incrementally. In other
words, a dilution in this context means they’re creating value— more on this later.
I think they would need some time to digest what the development plan is and what IDPs they
might pursue. So I would expect those dilutions, if any, would occur within the ﬁrst year, post-
Furthermore, I would not be surprised if we saw a change in the board post—continuation. It may
be a milestone achievement for Imet but also the fulﬁllment of a personal achievement. With
JNJ having exclusive rights, and GERN being ﬂush with royalty and milestone payments, I think
members of the board may feel they’ve successfully guided GERN into safe harbors; safe enough
that some may feel they’ve fulﬁlled their purpose.
Gauging GERN’s outlook post-continuation decision. Part 2 of 3.
How might the market interpret any subsequent fund raising and changes in the board? GERN
pre—continuation compared to post—continuation is a completely and categorically different
company. Post-continuation, GERN is a company transitioning from small-cap to mid-cap.
There are any number of comparisons here, and I think the glaring one, as far as near-term
prospects, is INCY. To date, the market had held GERN at arm’s length b/c of the inherent risk
in the one—candidate pipeline. Upon continuation, GERN is de—risked. By now, I think the data
and the scientiﬁc community’s enthusiasm and support make approval a near-certainty (not to
mention JN J ’5 continued support).
At that point, the market’s expectation for Imet will be very signiﬁcant; and any changes in the
board should be easily rationalized and absorbed since the company will also be transitioning,
and any dilutions should be viewed as extremely positive. While GERN may initially be
compared to INCY, the fact of the matter is that Imet has a proﬁle more similar to Imbruvica. I
mentioned previously that Imbruvica has some 20 indications approved and in clinicals; here, we
must consider the reality that Imet is a ﬁrst—in—class telomerase inhibitor. It is a new—age drug,
the full potential of which is yet unmeasured. We know it works in blood, inter alia, and we
know theory takes Imet much, much deeper. If you’ve read the literature, or even my
breakdown/conclusion series, then you know combos are the future of Imet. And it will take
funds to realize those combos, You don’t get something for nothing, And the market will see
fund raising, whichever kind, in this context: growth.
I’ll liken Imet to the effect of the intemet on commerce; the depth of Imet’s potential is very
deep. We are just now in the incipient stages of introducing an entirely new class of drug. Let
that sink in a moment. Yes, that heady feeling you’re having, that’s the feeling of witnessing a
revolutionary treatment paradigm being established, a revolutionary theory turned to practice.
“Revolutionary” really is the apt word. And that’s what the market will anticipate. Upon
continuation and approval, those that had held GERN at arm’s length will be forced to reckon the
comprehensive signiﬁcance of telomerase inhibition as an operational treatment paradigm.
Gauging GERN’s outlook post-continuation decision. Part 3 of 3.
Of course, there is the scenario of a buyout, in which case dilutions and board changes are out of
the equation, I think the buyout scenario has been played—out in everyone’s mind, and there’s
certainly no shortage of speculation. But let me color these speculations with the very stark
reality that a buyout doesn’t just mean INJ owns GERN, it means JNJ will own
telomerase inhibition categorically, the only manifest telomerase inhibition in the game for years
to come. I want to emphasize the signiﬁcance of that. Any combination with telomerase
inhibition would have to be threaded through JNJ’s needle. They will own not only a
ﬁrst-in-class drug, but effectively theﬂholenﬂhmrttmgﬁdgejonceptitselﬁ and it truly is a
revolutionary concept. And that will not be lost on the market.
Q3 is almost over! Can you believe it? Our little GERN community is so resilient, and has been
so generous with each other in sharing information and incisive perspectives. I think we’re all so
fortunate to have had this amazing community to help navigate the chaos of the market. I must
say, our community has been right on the nose and we’ve seen the horizon long before the
market, and that’s pretty uncommon!
Audio (no slides) for this morning JNJ Wells Fargo conference is VERY high level.
-No specific drugs mentioned at this point. Did mention innovation in pharma is strong.
-Gave a shout out to FDA about speeding process. Pharma questions upcoming.
-Talking about growth on current core brands.
-No oncology talk yet for new drugs just talked about "new indications, some billion plus."
-Addressing stand alone pharma call. Doing a tap dance.
-"A lot of exciting things going on in our pharmaceutical business" so it is the right thing to do since it has been 18 months since last one.
1. I believe the primary end point is 25% TI rate, with an error rate (2 sided alpha) no more than 0.05.
1a. The phase 3 is proposed to be at 90% statistical power.
1b. Janssen's trial design expects 40% TI rate
2. The overall population did not hit the TI endpoint. The "Len/HMA naive and non del 5q" modification was forced.
3. The naive subset just barely hit the TI endpoint at the lower 95% CI. A larger sample size was forced to tighten the CIs and re-evaluate. Essentially, the phase 2 began afresh.
4. For the naive population to hit TI endpoint, 16 TIs are required out of 38. Excluding the 7/13 already recorded, 9 TIs are required from the new 25 patient expansion cohort.
5. I'd bet Janssen wants to see at least 11 more TIs out of the 25 new patients before issuing a positive CD. But, time to onset of TI can be as late as 33 weeks although median is just 8 weeks. So, while this could push the timing of CD out to September, these later TIs should make it in time for ASH.
To see #1, go to the CTDC, input the following and hit Calculate:
1. Alpha = 0.05 [Typical in CTs]
2. Beta = 0.10 [Typical in CTs. Power = 1 - Beta = 1 - 0.10 = 0.90 = 90%]
3. Theta = 0.4 [Expected TI rate from the trial; my guess, but validated]
4. Theta_0 = 0.25 [The threshold TI rate which determines whether primary endpoint was hit; my guess, but validated]
You should see N = 113. That is, 113 patients are required to be recruited to for the trial to have the parameters specified above. The numerates of you will notice that 113 is 2/3rds of 170 and conveniently, Phase 3 randomization is 2:1 of 170 patients ! Coincidence? Absolutely not. I played with multiple values of Theta and Theta_0 and this was the only combination that produced N = 113. It also makes a lot of sense. So, I believe these are the (hidden from the public) protocol parameters.
To summarize, the 25% TI rate at the lower end of 95% CI is the agreed upon protocol between the FDA and Janssen. Given the Fasttrack designation, I expect this to stay unmodified.
Just for the record, Lenalidomide P3 did not hit this primary endpoint. Its 95% lower CI was 20.1.
To see #2, go to BCIC and input N = 38, x = 13 (number of 8 week TIs) and CL = 95. You will see the lower CI is 19.6 which does not meet the 25% threshold. So, Janssen was wise to abandon the overall set and stick to the naive set.
For #3, again use the BCIC and input N = 13, x = 7 and CL = 95. You will see lower CI is just above 25%. The sample size is too small and hence the CI is very wide (25.1 -80.8). So, a larger sample was necessary. Cue the expansion cohort.
For #4, again use the BCIC and input N = 38, x = 16. This is the smallest x that produces lower CI of at least 25%.
Any drug that causes thrombocytopenia will increase the risk of bleeding, including intracranial
hemorrhaging The “ﬁnancial journalist” at “Stat News” seems not to know this, In fact, what
does he know? What, again, is his qualiﬁcation? LOL. I imagine it would be difﬁcult to write
about science when you’re ignorant of science. Then, should he really be commenting on clinical
trials when he doesn’t know the most rudimentary science? Pretty embarrassing for him. Let’s
teach him a thing or two.
Among Rux’s adverse events are bleeding intracranially and gastrointestinally, and yet Rux is on
the market. Pacritinib caused intracranial hemorrhaging, was put on hold, the hold was lifted.
Momelotinib, ditto. Bevacizumab, ditto. Even Imbruvica caused intracranial hemorrhaging.
Yes, that Imbiuvica, the blockbuster drug that’s poised to earn $5 billion in revenue by 2020.
One of the aims of clinical trials is to understand dosing and scheduling. The Imet pediatric
brain tumor trial dates from 2013, when dosing and scheduling were not well—deﬁned, The
treatment schedule was for days 1 and 8 in a 21 day cycle. In Imerge and Imbark, the scheduling
is once per 3 weeks, or once per 4 weeks, at varying doses, Intracranial hemorrhaging was
reported in the pilot study, as well. Yet, that trial continued and produced never—before—recorded
CRs. And Imerge and Imbark still continue, and continue to achieve unprecedented results.
As I said, drugs that cause thrombocytopenia increase risk ofbleeding. When a drug achieves
stellar results, as Imet has, the goal, then, is to attenuate thrombocytopenia so the patient can reap
the beneﬁts of the drug. That’s exactly what scientists have done in Imerge and Imbark, Dr,
Raza said Imet’s myelosuppression was very manageable. All ABS with Imet are reversible and
manageable by simple dose and schedule modulation. Imet has come a long way from 2013.
The ‘ﬁnancia/joumalist” who can’t tell left from right should probably refrain from
commenting on what the scientists are doing. What qualiﬁcation does Stat News require of its
contributors, anyway? Can anyone write for Stat News? Just what kind of outﬁt is Stat News?
They sound as reliable as one of those scams about Nigerian princes. Can someone remind me
what that “ﬁnancial joumalist’s” scientiﬁc qualiﬁcation is? And Stat News writes about science?
How much credibility can you give Stat News when their contributors lack basic scientiﬁc
knowledge? Something is rotten at Stat News.
I found these articles to be of interest with respect to the FDA's approach to supporting accelerated approvals of single-arm studies that do not include a placebo/control arm. The articles are authored/co-authored by Gideon Blumenthan, MD, who is the Deputy Director (acting) of the Office of Hematology Oncology Products, Office of New Drugs, for the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research:
Top 10 Myths About FDA’s Office of Hematology and Oncology Products http://www.ascopost.com/issues/november ... -products/
Myth #3: FDA’s OHOP requires randomized trials with overall survival as the endpoint, requires enrollment of U.S. patients, and does not permit crossover.
Fact: Actually, there are at least three myths embedded in this one statement. In oncology, as opposed to other therapeutic areas, FDA approves most drugs based on a single trial due to the challenges involved in repeating a positive trial given the high unmet medical need in oncology. Although randomized controlled trials are the gold standard design, and overall survival is considered the ultimate clinical benefit endpoint because it captures critical efficacy and safety data, OHOP has repeatedly approved drugs on the basis of single-arm trials with high objective response rates and long durations of response.
An improvement in overall survival may be impractical or unreasonable to demonstrate in randomized controlled trials in selected disease areas. Unlike other therapeutic areas where placebo‐controlled trials can provide a comparator for the demonstration of overall survival, the use of placebo‐controlled trials is limited in life‐threatening diseases, especially for novel drugs demonstrating improved biologic activity in early drug development. For drugs demonstrating unprecedented activity in early clinical development in cancers with few effective options, the ability to randomly allocate patients to either an agent with markedly improved durable response rates or to a toxic and marginally effective comparator may not be feasible because equipoise may not exist , . If a randomized trial is conducted, many investigators and patients request a cross‐over to the investigational arm. Cross‐over may confound the demonstration of improvement in overall survival and require that the trial have an alternate endpoint. As was observed in trials randomizing patients with EGFR‐mutant or ALK rearranged advanced NSCLC to either targeted therapy or chemotherapy, high cross‐over to the experimental arm confounded the interpretation of overall survival , , , . The use of alternative endpoints, such as progression‐free survival, provides a clinically relevant endpoint and allows expeditious access of important drugs to patients.
A demonstration of improvement in overall survival may not be practical in cancers with long natural histories. In part due to improved systemic treatments, patients with advanced cancers such as CLL, MTC, multiple myeloma, and CML now have 5‐year survivals upwards of 50% . In these diseases, the time required and large patient numbers needed to power a trial to detect a survival improvement would not be practical and could deny effective treatment to patients, which would also negatively impact innovation.
It's hard to read those passages and not think of imetelstat and IMbark as a prime candidate for accelerated approval.