VCs Invest $243M in San Diego Startups in Q1, Tech Drought Continues

Xconomy San Diego — 

[Corrected 4/18/14, 7:40 am See below.] Venture capital firms invested $243 million in 23 deals in the San Diego area during the first quarter that ended in March, according to data from the MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the National Venture Capital Association, and Thomson Reuters.

It was a strong upturn in the amount of capital invested, representing a 67 percent increase over the $145.5 million that VCs invested in San Diego startups during the previous quarter, and a 20 percent rise over the $203 million invested during the first quarter of 2013, according to MoneyTree Data.

The deal count remained more or less comparable. There were 24 deals in the previous quarter, and 27 in the same quarter of 2013.

[Corrected total for life sciences] About $178 million—or 73 percent of the total invested in the region during the quarter—went into 13 life sciences companies.

In the single biggest deal of the quarter, San Diego’s Lumena Pharmaceuticals raised $45.5 million from Alta Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Pappas Ventures, RA Capital Management, RiverVest Venture Partners, and Adage Capital Management. The three-year-old company, founded to develop new oral drugs for treating a rare group of metabolic disorders and liver diseases, recently filed for an IPO.

A new San Diego startup called Human Longevity Inc. (HLI) made the list, but without much information. HLI is a genetic services startup founded by the genetic entrepreneur J. Craig Venter, former Celgene executive Robert Hariri, and Peter Diamandis of the X Prize Foundation. Venter told reporters in early March that HLI had raised $70 million in a funding round led by K.T. Lim, the Malaysian billionaire who runs the gambling conglomerate Genting Berhad.

Venter said a “not insignificant” part of the funding also came from Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN), which is providing two of its new HiSeq X Ten genome sequencing systems. Each system costs $10 million. The Menlo Park, CA, venture firm DFJ also invested in HLI, but no amount was listed in the MoneyTree data. The MoneyTree Report only counts venture capital investments, however, and some aspects of the HLI deal might not have met their criteria for inclusion.

Here is the MoneyTree list of all companies in the San Diego area that received venture funding during the first quarter that ended March 31:

Lumena Pharmaceuticals; San Diego; $45.5 million.

Luxtera; Carlsbad, CA; $37.4 million.

Abide Therapeutics; San Diego; $25 million.

Suneva Medical; San Diego; $20 million.

Thesan Pharmaceuticals; Carlsbad, CA; $17.4 million.

Ruiyi; San Diego; $15 million.

Elcelyx Therapeutics; San Diego; $12.7 million.

Vital Therapies; San Diego; $12 million.

Lithera; San Diego; $8 million.

TakeLessons; San Diego; $7 million.

Avelas Biosciences; San Diego; $6.85 million

Emotient; San Diego; $6 million.

Axikin Pharmaceuticals; San Diego; $6 million.

Cebix; San Diego; $6 million.

Mogl; San Diego; $5.9 million.

PatientSafe Solutions; San Diego; $3 million.

Assay Depot; Solana Beach, CA; $3 million.

GroundMetrics; San Diego; $2.3 million.

SGB; San Diego; $1.7 million.

Kyriba; San Diego; $1.4 million.

Ambrx; San Diego; $110,000.

Human Longevity; San Diego, no amount given.

Precision Repair Network; San Diego, no amount given.