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Eight companies win innovation awards

A system for mapping blood flow through the heart, a device that matches exercises to music, and new technologies to improve bus usage and hotel management were among the winners at Connect's 27th annual Most Innovative New Product Awards ceremony at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine on Thursday night.

Eight companies and two individuals won awards at the sold-out banquet, which drew 700 business leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, venture capitalists and financiers.

"This year’s winners truly represent not only the best new products coming out of San Diego in the past year, but some of the best new products in the country," said Greg McKee, chief executive of Connect, a nonprofit that offers support services to high-tech and life sciences industries.

More than 100 local products vied for the awards before being winnowed down by a panel of judges. McKee said the process was so competitive that it "just demonstrates the continual advancement in innovation happening in San Diego."

The winners were:

Best aerospace or security technology: FlowScape, for a system that monitors traffic flow through billions of applications and networks, using algorithms to identify potential cybersecurity threats.

Best communications and IT product: Cubic Transportation Systems, for NextBus Fleet Management, a modular, mobile gateway to provide real-time travel and operations information to public transit passengers and managers. Connect says NextBus could make public transportation a more viable and attractive choice for commuters.

Best diagnostic or research tool: Organovo Inc., for its exVive3D Liver Model, created by the company's proprietary 3-D bioprinting technology, which includes a broad range of cell types found in the human liver. The models are intended to improve preclinical drug discovery programs.

Best pharmaceutical drug or medical device: Topera Inc., for a 3-D mapping system to identify atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rate that causes poor blood flow to the rest of the body. By helping physicians visualize the precise sources of fibrillation, the system is meant to improve treatment of arrhythmia patients.

Best mobile app: Rock My World Inc., for RockMyRun, which takes biometric data from smartphones and wearable fitness monitors and then adjusts the music the user is listening to so that it matches the pace. The company says the device can improve exercise performance by up to 20 percent.

Best software: CloudBeds, for its operating system aimed at helping hotels improve their performance through maximizing online room reservations, adjusting room prices and handling back-office tasks.

Best sport and active lifestyle technology: Electrozyme LLC, for ProFit SE Real-Time Sweat Electrolyte Sensor, which assesses fluid and electrolyte loss in real time so exercisers can know the best time to rehydrate, what to rehydrate with and how much to rehydrate.

Best sustainability product: Solatube International, for its SkyVault Series, which uses advanced optics to bring maximum daylight with minimal heat gain to large spaces with high, open ceilings. SkyVault's modular components can enhance the light, focus it or spread it evenly.

Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, who donated $100 million last year to found UC San Diego's Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center, after many other contributions to local research facilities, won the distinguished contribution award for life sciences innovation.

Robert S. Sullivan, dean of UCSD's Rady School of Management, won the distinguished contribution award for technology innovation.

The two awards are meant to honor individuals who, through business activities and community involvement, have encouraged innovation, diversity of thought and the advancement of local entrepreneurs.

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Connect Executive(s):

Culver Parker

  • Venture Capitalist

Greg McKee

  • Chief Executive Officer

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