Amylin Braces to Battle Carl Icahn, Calit2′s Network for Institutional Innovation, Sangart Ponders Its Next Move, & More San Diego BizTech News

4/13/09Follow @bvbigelow

Perhaps the week before Easter was a good time for San Diego’s technology innovators to be taking stock. Amylin is busy weighing how best to fend off dissident investors Carl Icahn and Eastbourne Capital before next month’s annual shareholder meeting. Other San Diego startups, such as Trius Therapeutics and Sangart, are considering how best to move forward in their development of new biopharmaceutical products. So read on!

—San Diego’s Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMLN)  is preparing for a proxy battle with billionaire investor Carl Icahn and Eastbourne Capital Management at next month’s shareholder meeting. The two dissident shareholder groups have each nominated a slate of five candidates for the company’s 12-member board of directors, although fielding so many candidates could simply ensure that Amylin’s candidates get elected.

—San Diego wireless chipset provider Qualcomm and Verizon, one of its biggest customers, seem to be on different pages when it comes to deploying the fourth generation mobile phone technology known as LTE, for Long-Term Evolution. Verizon has said it will have LTE in 20 to 35 markets by the end of 2010. But a Qualcomm marketing director said he expects the commercialization of LTE devices won’t happen until 2012 or later.

—The venture purse strings loosened a bit last week in San Diego. Nirvanix, a startup providing “data storage in the cloud,” added $5 million in a secondary round of venture funding. Nirvanix said it previously had raised $18 million in venture funding from Intel Capital, Valhalla Partners, Mission Ventures, Windward Ventures, and the European Founders Fund. Ethertronics, which develops embedded antennas for wireless devices, got an additional $4 million in a secondary round of venture funding. A spokeswoman told me Friday that its investors include Bank of America, Sevin Rosen Funds, and Ridgewood Capital.

—In an interview last week, Trius Therapeutics CEO Jeff Stein said the biotech firm is assessing the best way to move ahead in its development of a new anti-bacterial drug. In mid-stage clinical trials, Stein told me the San Diego company’s drug candidate torezolid cured 96 percent of the patients who had nasty-looking skin infections. But to get to the next stage in clinical trials, Stein says Trius will either have to raise more venture capital or find a strategic partner.

—San Diego-based Sangart is at a crossroads in developing an oxygen-carrying compound called MP4, which is made by purifying and chemically modifying … Next Page »

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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