More than 85,000 unionized health care workers – including 2,500 in the San Fernando Valley – are mobilizing as contract negotiations between the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions and the health care giant start again.

Negotiations last year ground to a halt after Kaiser Permanente refused to bargain unless employees agreed to stay silent on patient health care issues and not engage in political activity.

The coalition filed a complaint against Kaiser, alleging that the ban violated federal law. A hearing on the complaint is scheduled for April 22 in Oakland.

Kaiser agreed to drop the ban as of March 29, which facilitated negotiations according to a release from the coalition. Bargaining sessions are set for April 17 to 19.

“We are eager to continue our partnership with Kaiser Permanente to strengthen patient care at its facilities throughout the country, but not under the conditions they demanded that would have put patients and caregivers at risk,” Tamara Rubyn, secretary treasurer for the coalition, said in a statement. “We’re thankful to have resolved this impasse and look forward to resuming negotiations and ultimately securing a new national agreement for Kaiser workers.” 

The previous contract expired Sept. 30.

The coalition comprises labor unions in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Midas List

Forbes has named Dr. Beth Seidenberg, co-founder and managing director of venture capital firm Westlake Village Biopartners, to its annual Midas List.

The list ranks the world’s top 100 technology venture capitalists based on all exits, IPOs or acquisitions worth more than $200 million, and private companies valued at $400 million or more in the last five years. Seidenberg ranks No. 59 on the list.

Her notable deal was Tesaro, a biopharmaceutical company based in Waltham, Mass., focused on developing cancer medicines. She was a managing partner at Kleiner Perkins when she decided to become an early investor in the company; GlaxoSmithKline, a health care conglomerate headquartered in London, acquired Tesaro for $5.1 billion in January.

Seidenberg was ranked No. 62 in 2018, No. 97 in 2016 and No. 91 in 2015. This year, she is the fifth-most successful female venture capitalist.

“Beth’s deep technical expertise, combined with her outstanding company-building skills, allows Westlake Village BioPartners to identify promising advances in the life sciences field,” said Dr. Sean Harper, Westlake Bio co-founder.

Sienna’s Finance Team

Sienna Biopharmaceuticals Inc. in Westlake Village has named Alexander Azoy as its chief financial officer and Sean Andrews as vice president for the company’s investment relations team.

Azoy has served as corporate controller for Sienna since December 2017, working directly with the company’s former chief financial officer John Smither on financing projects and preparing Sienna to go public. Smither resigned for personal reasons effective April 1, the company said.

“When Alex joined Sienna, we fully expected that in a very short time he would be our succession plan for the CFO role,” Dr. Frederick Beddingfield III, chief executive at Sienna, said in a statement. “His expertise in both U.S. and international finance operations and accounting, as well as corporate governance, particularly within healthcare and life sciences, combined with his leadership within the finance team has been invaluable.”

Andrews has been working at Sienna as senior director for investor relations since May 2017, also assisting in the company’s transition from private to public.

“(Andrews’) experience heading up IR spans two biotech initial public offerings to a well-established, multi-billion dollar, fully integrated pharmaceutical company,” added Beddingfield.

Endonovo-SunMed Partnership

Endonovo Therapeutics in Woodland Hills has partnered with SunMed, a medical equipment distributor and claims company in Valencia, to distribute medical devices.

Endonovo, which makes electrical medical devices, selected SunMed to expand distribution and enable medical providers, facilities and patients to receive further medical reimbursement from health insurers, according to Chief Executive Alan Collier.

“This well-established health care company brings to our relationship over 17 years of experience and expertise serving the needs of patients with their personal in-home services,” Collier said in a statement. “They have designed a system to simplify the upfront order process by connecting directly to customer service agents to work with therapists and to guide patients through the ordering and claims process.”

SunMed holds more than 200 insurance contracts and is a Medicaid provider in more than 20 states. The company is recognized for its services focused on negative pressure wound care, light therapy, external cochlear sound processors and mastectomy.

“We believe Endonovo’s SofPulse product (for pain therapy) will fit perfectly into SunMED’s distribution channels,” Collier said in his statement.

Staff Reporter Amy Stulick can be reached at or at (818) 316-3121.