San Diego’s Top 10 Venture Deals of 2009

1/26/10Follow @bvbigelow

The good folks at Dow Jones VentureSource provided us with a list of the 10 biggest private-equity deals in Southern California in 2009, but it might have been just as easy if Dow Jones had focused solely on San Diego. Seven of the region’s 10 biggest deals of 2009 were in the San Diego area, with six deals representing substantial venture investments in life sciences companies. Bear in mind, of course, that the vast majority of California’s venture deals occur in the Bay Area.

Irvine-CA based Fisker Automotive broke the tape in Southern California with total funding of $85 million in 2009, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. Fisker piled on with additional funding earlier this month, announcing it had raised $115.3 million in new private equity funding as well as a partnership with battery supplier A123Systems of Watertown, MA. (And as Xconomy Boston’s Ryan McBride reports, A123 not only raised almost $100 million in 2009, but went public last year in a $380 million IPO.)The other two big deals that were beyond San Diego’s hallowed borders were Pasadena, CA-based eSolar, which got $40 million last March, and Irvine-based Visiogen, which also got $40 million last April.

San Diego-based Zogenix, a specialty pharmaceutical company, raised $71 million in a later-stage round to support the January 13 introduction of its medical device, which enables patients to self-administer a 6-milligram dose of sumatriptan, a fast-acting pain-killer for migraine headaches.

In putting together a list of San Diego’s “Top 10 Deals of 2009″ with just seven deals, I decided to add my best guess of three more contenders, drawn from reports right here at Xconomy San Diego, to round out our top 10 list. One curiosity about the data from Dow Jones VentureSource is that it did not count the sizable $50 million funding round that Helicon Therapeutics disclosed in a Form D filing in June. The company’s website says it moved to San Diego in 2008 from Farmingdale, NY.

You’ll notice that three companies raised $50 million rounds, meaning they’re tied for the No. 4 spot. You can learn more about all the companies by following the links.

The list:

1. Zogenix, San Diego, CA—$71 million (Series C)

2. V-Vehicle, San Diego, CA—$62.26 million (Series A)

3. Tandem Diabetes Care, San Diego, CA—$52.3 million (Series B)

4. Sangart, San Diego, CA—$50 million (Series F)

4. PhotoThera, Carlsbad, CA—$50 million (Series E)

4. Helicon Therapeutics, San Diego, CA—$50 million (Series F)

5. Victory Pharma, San Diego, CA—$45 million (Series A)

6. Fate Therapeutics, San Diego, CA—$30.49 million (Series B)

7. Fallbrook Technologies, San Diego, CA—$29.4 million (Series A, two tranches)

8. MPex Pharma, San Diego, CA—$27.5 million (Series D)

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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