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MIP Awards: Technologies honored by Connect

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Nine inventions born out of San Diego companies, ranging from a personalized workout program to elderly care technology to a rifle-mounted laser system, were honored on Friday.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of Connect's Most Innovative New Product (MIP) awards, which recognizes some of the latest and greatest technologies coming out of San Diego.

Connect is a regional technology and life sciences program, and has helped more than 3,000 companies secure over $10 billion in funding since 1985.

Amylin Pharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq: AMLN) once-weekly diabetes drug, which won the award in the medical products category, exemplifies the difficulty of turning an innovative discovery into a reality.

“We work in most the most regulated industry in the world. The amounts of capital required to develop these life-changing products is huge,” said Harry Leonhardt, senior vice president, deputy general counsel at the company, who accepted the award.

The arduous 12-year journey that ended with approval for the injectable drug earlier this year required “unrelenting, not-to-be denied persistence” from its employees, some of which were in the room, he said.

In August Amylin was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) in a multibillion-dollar deal, and as a result, some of the executives that brought the drug to market will soon be exiting the company.

“The timing of this award for us is bittersweet,” he said. “While others remain, many of us here today will be winding down our time at Amylin in the coming days and weeks.”

Amylin employees in attendance represented its manufacturing, commercial and regulatory divisions.

The MIP awards are to San Diego's technology industry what the Academy Awards are to the movie industry, and Connect attempted to create an Oscars-worthy setting for its lunch hour program.

A ballroom at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Hotel was transformed into a black-tie gala atmosphere, accented by candlelit tables, colorful spotlights and a high-profile emcee: Kai Ryssdal, host and senior editor of "Marketplace," public radio's program on business and the economy.

More than 800 of the region's top business leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers and capital providers attended.

Winners in nine categories were selected through a rigorous four-month judging process from a pool of more than 100 applicants in various industries, including health care, communications, defense, transportation and design. The software category was the most competitive.

The 2012 winners in each category are:

Action and Sport Technologies:

PEAR Sports for PEAR Square One

PEAR’s intelligence-based customizable workouts give users the ability to train with a world-class coach, letting users view results, track progress, and share performance with friends post-workout.

Aerospace and Security Technologies:

Cubic Defense Application for DCID-TALON

The rifle-mounted laser system prevents fratricide on the battlefield by allowing users to instantly identify their friends in the fog of war.

Clean Technology:

Atlantis Technologies for RDI desalination system

The patented system, which evolved from more than $5.4 million of government funding, can desalinate industrial waste water from oil, gas, and mining operations for a cost of 40 to 70 percent less than state-of-the-art technologies.

Communications & IT:

TrellisWare Technologies for Cheetah CUB

The all-in-one transmitter/receiver/relay offers multi-channel push-to-talk voice, IP data and streaming video services and position location services.

Hardware and General Technology:

Logic PD for DM3730 Torpedo + Wireless System on Module (SOM)

The dime-sized technology allows OEMs to develop user-centered products with the fastest boot-time for life-critical applications.

Life Sciences – Diagnostics and Research Tools:

Life Technologies for Ion Proton Sequencer

The high-throughput benchtop sequencing system will enable the $1,000 genome, a milestone goal for scientists and technology companies since the completion of the human genome project.

Life Sciences – Medical Products:

Amylin Pharmaceuticals for BYDUREON

The first once-weekly medicine for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes, approved by the FDA in January 2012.

Software:

Independa Inc. for Independa Integrated CloudCare

The platform enables elderly care recipients to continue living at the residence of their choice longer, safer and more comfortably.

Mobile Apps:

LIA: Liberated Intelligence for LIA

The enterprise mobile sales enablement platform uses a combination of cloud computing power, mobile device capability, and proprietary sales enablement software to replace outdated legacy tools.

In addition, Malin Burnham was honored Friday with a Distinguished Contribution Award.

While neither a scientist, engineer nor cell phone owner, the 85-year-old philanthropist and real estate mogul has made advances in fighting Alzheimer's disease, heart disease and cancer through his institute in La Jolla.

He thanked the room full of "immigrants," referring to those who have flocked to San Diego and shaped its innovative community.

In attempt to attract more of that talent, Qualcomm, West Health, Provide Commerce and Connect created a promotional video that spotlights entrepreneurs that got started in San Diego.

A clip of the video, called "They Came Here,” aired Friday and will be used nationally to help draw businesses to the county.

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Culver Parker

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Greg McKee

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