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NEWS OF THE WEEK

TECHNOLOGY

Thomas Weisel Partners LLC analyst Tore Svanberg upped his rating on Microsemi Corp. to “overweight” from “market weight” and increased his price target to $17 per share from $15 per share. Svanberg said Microsemi’s stock should get a boost as the markets for some of its chips begin to rebound. The company’s shares were trading at about $14 late last week with a market value of about $1.2 billion.

Costa Mesa’s Emulex Corp., a maker of electronics for data storage networks, revealed a customer—IBM Corp.—for a new type of networking technology. Emulex said it’s set to provide IBM with a “virtual fabric adapter” for servers. The adapters allow IBM’s customers to get data faster and to upgrade their storage networks to what are known as converged networks. The announcement is an important step for Emulex, which has spent months talking up its design wins for the new technology but had not revealed any customers.

HEALTHCARE

Aliso Viejo-based drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals said one of its drug candidates didn’t meet a goal in a mid-stage clinical trial. Valeant said its retigabine drug candidate wasn’t as effective as expected in treating post-shingles pain. Valeant called the trial results “inconclusive” and said the design and the short duration of the trial—10 weeks—could have been to blame. Valeant is working on developing retigabine with Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline PLC.

Ista Pharmaceuticals Inc., an Irvine-based drug maker, said that one of its eye drug candidates met goals in a late-stage clinical trial. Ista said Xibrom QD did significantly better than a placebo at eliminating eye swelling 15 days after cataract surgery and achieved a secondary goal of eliminating eye pain a day after surgery. The drug maker said it expects to file for Food and Drug Administration approval of Xibrom QD by the end of 2009.

Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc., an Aliso Viejo-based drug maker, raised $10.6 million through a sale of 4.5 million shares of its stock. The company said it would use the money to fund the development and commercialization of its Zenvia drug candidate for controlling uncontrollable fits of crying or laughter, as well as for general and administrative expenses.

Pennsylvania investment company Safeguard Scientifics Inc. sold 16 million shares of Aliso Viejo-based Clarient Inc. as part of its ongoing exit from the medical diagnostic company. The stake represented about 20% of Clarient’s outstanding shares. “Undisclosed institutional investors” bought the shares, according to Safeguard.

REAL ESTATE

Existing Orange County home prices jumped by nearly $12,000 in July from a month earlier, the California Association of Realtors said. The median price for an existing stand-alone OC home sold in July was $500,210, a 2.4% increase from June, but a nearly 7% decline from a year earlier. The county’s median price has increased by more than $60,000 since April. Sales in OC were up 4% in July from June, and up 7% from a year earlier.

Shares of Irvine-based homebuilder Stand-ard Pacific Corp. continued their run-up last week on signs of a revived housing market. The shares gained 10% last week and were up 100% since the start of the year after being decimated in 2007 and 2008. Standard Pacific had a recent market value of about $425 million.

Scottsdale-based developer Geoffrey H. Ed-munds & Associates Inc. acquired full ownership of the 3000 the Plaza condominium tower in Irvine. Edmunds was a partner with Phoenix-based Opus West Corp. on the 15-story tower, which opened last year and is about half sold to homeowners. Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.

APPAREL

The former president of Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. and key force behind the company’s 2005 buy of France’s Skis Rossignol SA is joining a Montreal clothing maker. Bernard Mariette was named chief executive of Coalision Inc., a maker of clothes inspired by skiing and snowboarding.

Amy Noblin of New York investment bank Pali Capital Inc. raised her rating on Anaheim-based mall retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. to “buy” from “neutral,” citing the prospect of better than expected results for the three months through October.

TECHNOLOGY

Santa Ana-based vocational school operator Corinthian Colleges Inc. forecast a profit of $22.9 million to $25.6 million for the current quarter, well ahead of the $14 million Wall Street analysts had been expecting. The company sees revenue coming in at $375 million to $385 million, versus Wall Street’s expectation of $347.2 million. Corinthian forecast growth in student starts—students who enroll and show up for class—of 15% to 17%.

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