Companies Expand, Raise Hundreds of Millions in Carlsbad in 2021

January 10, 2022

While businesses across the country continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have grown this year in Carlsbad. In fact, it was a record-breaking year for funding for Carlsbad companies in industries ranging from banking and biotechnology to software and security. 

In total, 25 funded Carlsbad companies raised more than $1 billion in funding, from seed funding to post-IPO equity.

Venture capital funding for startups broke records across the country and around the world. More than $288 billion was invested worldwide in the first half of 2021, according to Crunchbase. “That’s up by just under $110 billion compared to the previous half-year record that was just set in the second half of 2020,” according to Crunchbase.

The strong startup funding environment benefited Carlsbad and its innovation companies. Private and venture capital funding for Carlsbad companies totaled $258 million in 2021, compared to $87 million in 2020.


Three Carlsbad companies made their stock market debuts in 2021.

Lumos Diagnostics, a rapid, point-of-care diagnostics company, raised $63 million Australian dollars in an Initial Public Offering and was admitted to the Australian Securities Exchange in July. The company’s corporate headquarters is based in Melbourne, Australia, with research and development, commercial and manufacturing operations in both Carlsbad and Florida.

Lumo Diagnostics – A custominzed point of care diagnostic solutions 

“Lumos Diagnostics has established a strong foundation for growth since the company’s inception,” Lumos Diagnostics CEO Rob Sambursky said in July. “Additional funds will facilitate the continued expansion and commercialization of our suite of rapid diagnostic products that have the potential to transform point of care diagnostics for the benefit of clinicians, patients and the health system as a whole.”

Tyra Biosciences, a precision oncology company on State Street in Carlsbad Village, raised $199 million and went public in September. Since then, Tyra has raised hundreds of millions to advance its novel pipeline of therapies targeting acquired resistance in oncology.

Tyra Biosciences was co-founded by COO Daniel Bensen (right) and CEO Todd Harris in 2018.

“It was exciting,” Tyra CEO Todd Harris said about reaching the major milestone. “We took the whole company out to New York to ring the bell. We were in the fortunate position where the stars aligned, and scientific progress was lockstep with our financing strategy.”

Pardes Biosciences went public just before the new year and raised $199 million through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The company, which was founded in 2020 to fight the pandemic, has started clinical trials for an experimental pill to treat COVID-19. 

Pardes Biosciences Uri Lopatin and Lee Arnold hold experimental COVID-19 pills.

Several Carlsbad other notable companies have expanded or relocated to Carlsbad in 2021.

MiQ Partners, a custom automation and manufacturing company specializing in medical device and life sciences, moved its corporate headquarters from Ohio to Carlsbad.

                     One of the aspects that sets MiQ apart from other manufacturing firms is its onsite full-service machine shop to support custom automation/machine design and build.

Founded in 1948, MiQ started the year as one of the leaders in the fight against COVID-19 as a primary manufacturer of machines that automate the production of COVID-related diagnostic devices. The company has grown amid the pandemic as demand increased for such tests.

In fact, the company on Palomar Point Way doubled its leased space in Carlsbad and has plans to expand.  MiQ had about 20,000 square feet of space and added 17,000 square feet of space in September in an adjacent building. CEO Olaf Tessarzyk told the San Diego Business Journal the company plans to take over an additional floor in the new two-story building as well as a third building on the site to create its own industrial park. 

“MiQ has been a strong player in the life sciences spaces for years, and this expansion enables us to grow our ability to serve the growing number of companies in this critical market sector,” Tessarzyk told the newspaper. “When COVID hit, manufacturing needed innovative automation manufacturing systems to build diagnostic test kits quickly.”

Quidel Corporation, a provider of rapid diagnostic testing solutions, cellular-based virology assays and molecular diagnostic systems, took over space to build its new manufacturing facility in February. They celebrated their grand opening in November.

Quidel, founded in 1979, was the first company to market a rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen test in the U.S. 

Quidel’s new 128,000-square-foot facility produces its QuickVue line of products and is the company’s highest-volume production plant in the world. The plant aims to produce more than 600 million QuickVue SARS rapid antigen tests per year for the detection and diagnosis of COVID-19 infections.

“From the first days of the pandemic, Quidel has stepped up to meet the COVID-19 challenge head-on with innovative diagnostic technologies to detect coronavirus infections and expanded manufacturing to democratize access to affordable and high-quality testing,” Quidel president and CEO Douglas Bryant said when the facility opened. “The opening of our massive new QuickVue manufacturing plant is our boldest move yet and is expected to provide Quidel with the scale necessary to serve the needs of communities and institutions for frequent testing now and for years to come.”

Aptera Motors, a solar-powered electric vehicle maker, outgrew its headquarters in Sorrento Valley and has recently taken space for its production manufacturing operations in Carlsbad. The company, which was founded in 2005, plans to relocate its production and final assembly operations to the site by the end of the year.

Aptera Motors’ three-wheeled EV could theoretically run entirely off the energy produced by its solar panels.

Aptera officials told the San Diego Business Journal the facility “will be the first of dozens and potentially hundreds of micro-factories” the company plans to open around the world. The factories will build and service Aptera vehicles.

According to the article, the Carlsbad facility of more than 77,000 square feet will be complemented by two additional spaces of 16,000 square feet and 8,000 square feet for beta development, research and development, and solar composite manufacturing.

“I started Aptera out of my garage in North County,” co-CEO and co-founder Steve Fambro told the newspaper. “I’m proud to be back in the community that supported our launch and employ talented people who are working towards a common goal of changing the world through more efficient transportation.”

These 25 funded Carlsbad companies raised more than $1 billion in funding in 2021: