The Obama Bounce & San Diego’s Cleantech Innovators, Zeebo Steps Onto A Global Stage, Hollis-Eden Axes Its Namesake Founder, & More SD BizTech News

3/30/09Follow @bvbigelow

It was a busy week for San Diego’s innovation economy, with reports on new products, new deals, and some insights into how startup companies can survive virtually. So read on!

Zeebo, a new San Diego-based company, launched its game console, entering a multi-billion dollar industry dominated by the Wii, Xbox, and Playstation. Backed by Qualcomm, Zeebo uses a Qualcomm chipset that allows users to connect over a cellular network (instead of broadband or Wi-Fi) to purchase and download games—much like Amazon’s Kindle.

—The U.S. cleantech industry is said to be benefiting from an “Obama bounce,” based on the billions of dollars designated for renewable energy and cleantech spending in the federal economic stimulus package. So it seemed like a good time to put together a comprehensive list of San Diego cleantech companies.

Pure Bioscience of El Cajon, CA, told Xconomy’s innovation journalism fellow, Juha-Pekka Tikka, the company expects hundreds of products based on Pure’s germ-killing agent, silver dihyrdogen citrate, to soon hit the market. Pure later announced it has found an Indian distributor to immediately begin marketing Enviroguard, a disinfectant cleaner, in India.

—A special committee of the board at San Diego’s Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: [[ticker: HEPH]]) fired founding CEO and namesake Richard Hollis for cause and named the company’s chief operating officer, James Frincke, as interim chief executive.

—During my recent stopover at San Diego’s DriveCam, CEO Brandon Nixon explained how the company, which began with a dashboard-mounted video recorder, has evolved into a data communications technology company.

—San Diego’s Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARNA) secured a $50 million equity financing commitment. The company did not disclose how it plans to use the proceeds from sales of its shares, which will take place at the company’s discretion over the next 18 months.

—Sofinnova Ventures partner and San Diego-based Trius Therapeutics CEO Jeff Stein told a Biocom audience last week that many venture capital firms are now taking a hard look at creating new companies around a virtual business model.

The Salk Institute formed a collaborative partnership with global pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis that will provide additional funding for expanded work on stem cell research.

—Private telecommunications provider Carousel Industries of Exeter, R.I., has acquired San Diego’s Daycom Systems as part of a West Coast expansion. Financial terms were not disclosed.

—Stealthy startup Calixa Therapeutics announced that an early stage trial of its new antibiotic to fight pseudomonal infections appears encouraging enough to move to the next phase of testing.

—Luke reported that Cambridge, MA-based Biogen Idec, which operates a San Diego R&D center, is developing a way to make its best-selling drug for treating multiple sclerosis last longer in the bloodstream—and that could help its drug patent last longer in the market.

—Biogen’s Cambridge-based neighbor, Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ), which also has San Diego operations, is expecting results from a clinical trial of patients in an experimental gene therapy for peripheral artery disease. Luke reports the trial could show a single shot can help patients to walk without pain.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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