Startups Just Want to Have Funds: A Roundup of Recent San Diego Deals

7/24/09Follow @bvbigelow

Venture deals seem to be picking up again in the San Diego region. A number of local startups have been raising capital, according to recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Many of the deals are relatively small, suggesting that VC firms are still being conservative in their investments following what seemed like a hard freeze on venture investments. Time will tell if this represents a thaw, of course, but here’s a roundup:

Biocept, which was founded in 1997, raised $3 million from undisclosed investors, according to a recent SEC filing. The company describes itself on its website as an emerging biotech leader in cell separation technology, and says it is developing a new class of diagnostic tests to be used in the early detection and monitoring of cancer. The funding follows Biocept’s appointment of a new CEO, Stephen Coutts, about nine months ago.

—Scoperta, founded in 2005, filed a notice that indicates it has raised more than $1.4 million of a $1.875 million offering. While the company did not identify its investors, Enterprise Partners Venture Capital lists Scoperta as a portfolio company, and Drew Senyei, a managing director at Enterprise Partners, is on Scoperta’s board. The company says it has created a specialty steel technology that, without fabrication, uses scrap materials to make amorphous alloys, or metals in which the molecules are organized randomly, like glass, rather than in a conventional matrix structure. The material is exceptionally strong, hard, flexible and resistant to corrosion and deformation.

—Decision Sciences, based in Poway, CA, disclosed in a recent filing it has raised about $400,000 in a $1.5 million offering that represents the startup’s first sale of preferred stock. The company, founded in 2005, says on its website it is developing a passive scanning system to detect nuclear threats in trucks and cargo shipments. Former Titan Corp. chairman and CEO Gene Ray serves as board chairman.

Ambit Biosciences says in a SEC filing that it has raised about $6.4 million out of a $19.7 million offering of debt, options, and warrants convertible to stock. Founded in 2000 as Aventa Biosciences Corp., the company had raised at least $49.3 million from inception through 2007, according to BioWorld Today. The company’s investors in previous venture rounds were Apposite Capital, MedImmune Ventures, OrbiMed Advisors, Radius Ventures, NovaQuest, Horizon Technology Finance, Perseus-Soros Biopharmaceutical Fund, Forward Ventures, Roche Venture Fund, Avalon Ventures, GIMV NV, MDS Capital, Jov-CMDF, and Genechem.

Lithera, a San Diego biotech previously known as Lipothera, raised $10 million recently, according to data collected for the second-quarter MoneyTree Report, released earlier this week by the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers, based on data from Thomson Reuters. The deal was first reported by the SoCal Tech website. Alta Partners and Domain Associates participated in the deal, according to data collected for the MoneyTree report. According to its website, Lithera is developing novel injectable treatments, using drugs approved by the FDA for other indications, to stimulate natural fat metabolism and reduce fat tissue in specific locations.

Advanced Telemetry, a San Diego cleantech startup founded in 2007, says in a recent press release it has closed on a Series B round of venture capital funding led by the Quercus Trust, which was joined by an original investor, 21Ventures. The company would not disclose the amount of its funding. The company says its EcoView product line, which consists of a wireless touch panel or web interface, helps business users understand and track their consumption of energy and other resources.

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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