E’ville Biz: Marriott Hotel Rebranding as Sonesta, Athletic Playground Looking for New Home, Gritstone Oncology Working on “Next Generation” Covid Vaccine

Published On February 20, 2021 | By Rob Arias | Local Business, News & Commentary

A handful of Emeryville-related business stories aggregated from around the web in this month’s E’ville Biz digest.

Last month, the Emeryville Courtyard by Marriott announced they were cutting 85 jobs amid the Covid-related decimation of the travel industry. It was later announced that this hotel will be rebranded as Sonesta Emeryville Oakland. Sonesta, owned by real estate investment company Service Properties Trust, has been aggressively adding to its portfolio and is expected to add 100 hotels by March.

“Playful training” space Athletic Playground might be looking for a new home after the space they lease at 4700 San Pablo Avenue was listed on the market. In a newsletter to customers, Athletic Playground detailed their uncertain future in Emeryville. “It is unknown how long it will take for the building to sell and what potential new owners may want to do with the building.” Athletic Playground has called Emeryville ‘home’ for over 12 years.

In addition, Gritsone Oncology is making headlines in the Life Sciences sector with a “next generation” Covid vaccine trial to address emerging variants. Gristone is also partnering with Gilead Sciences on an experimental vaccine against the AIDS virus.


Andrew Allen, CEO and co-founder of Gritstone (Photo Todd Johnson | SFBT).

HIV vaccine at center of potential $785M deal between Gilead, East Bay biotech

By Ron Leuty

An East Bay cancer drug company, which last month boosted its profile with Covid-19 vaccine work, today said it will work with HIV-fighting powerhouse Gilead Sciences Inc. on an experimental vaccine against the AIDS virus.

Gritstone Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: GRTS) of Emeryville could receive as much as $785 million in the deal, including a $30 million upfront cash payment and a $30 million equity investment by Foster City-based Gilead (NASDAQ: GILD).

Read More on SF Business Times (paywall may apply).


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Image: Google Maps.

How an East Bay biotech is applying its cancer know-how to a next-generation Covid vaccine

By Ron Leuty

As potentially dangerous variants of Covid-19 emerge globally — including one mutant that infiltrated a Kaiser Permanente emergency room in San Jose late last year — an East Bay biotech outlined plans Tuesday for an experimental, next-generation coronavirus vaccine meant to tackle novel forms of the virus.

Gritstone Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: GRTS) of Emeryville said it will work with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on a two-stage Phase I clinical trial of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that will begin later this quarter. That vaccine would not only knock down the “spike” protein that allows the virus to enter cells, but also stimulate a part of the immune system to provide a second layer of defense.

Read More on SF Business Times (paywall may apply).


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Photo: Google Maps

Eight Bay Area hotels get new Sonesta flag

By Alex Barreira

Service Properties Trust, a real estate investment trust that owns hotels, announced Friday it has rebranded eight of its Bay Area properties to the Sonesta flag and tapped Sonesta International Hotels Corp. to manage them.

The Newton, Massachusetts company (NASDAQ: SVC) is converting the eight area hotels along with 80 others in its national portfolio. All of the hotels were previously flagged and managed by Marriott International.

Read More on SF Business Times (paywall may apply).

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

One Response to E’ville Biz: Marriott Hotel Rebranding as Sonesta, Athletic Playground Looking for New Home, Gritstone Oncology Working on “Next Generation” Covid Vaccine

  1. Rose says:

    The Courtyard was my work home until 2019. Love my former team. It’s so sad how many have lost jobs nationwide due to reduced travel. When I heard the news about the rebranding a few months ago, it was another emotional hit as all of the employees will no longer be Marriott employees. Some have been with Marriott 30+ years and with few jobs available, there’s nowhere to transfer to. I’m sure they are thankful to have jobs, just sad to lose their Marriott tenure. SVC, as the owners of the hotel, have a choice though to have any brand name on their building and any company run their operation. It happens all the time with hotels. I think March 3 is the official change in branding.

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