2015 IPO co. Avinger falls even further on plans for up to $50M follow-on

Pantheris excising a plaque--Courtesy of Avinger

More than a year ago, image-guided catheter-based systems company Avinger ($AVGR) priced an upsized IPO at $13. Then it gained more than 80% in 2015. But this year has been far less kind to the Redwood City, CA-based company; its share price has fallen by more than half to less than $11, dipping well below the IPO price.

The latest pressure on the stock comes as it disclosed in a March 9 SEC filing that it expects to do a follow-on for up to $50 million. In addition to the $65 million IPO, last year Avinger also did a debt and equity deal with healthcare royalty investor CRG for up to $55 million in September. Investors have sunk shares by about 12% since the follow-on filing was released.

This should be a high point for the company, which in early March just had the latest version of its Pantheris lumivascular atherectomy system cleared by the FDA. It's the first image-guided atherectomy device for the treatment of peripheral artery disease (PAD), the company noted. The new iteration includes improved ergonomics, physician controls and manufacturability, Avinger said at the time of the recent FDA nod. The original version was cleared by the agency last October.

The primary distinguishing feature of the Pantheris system is that it not only images the inside of the vessel, but also through the vessel wall. That can allow the physician to determine the distribution of plaque on the vessel wall very accurately and target the treatment specifically to the diseased portion of the vessel.

On March 1, Avinger guided to $25 million to $30 million in 2016 revenue, which would be a year-over-year increase of 134% to 180%. It only reported $10.7 million in 2015 revenue, which was a 4% decrease from the prior year.

Dr. John Simpson, Avinger executive chairman

This year's revenue projection assumes an installed base of 150 lumivascular accounts by year end. It had 95 at the end of 2015, an increase of more than half from the end of 2014. In fourth quarter 2015, Avinger added 13 new accounts.

Summed up founder and executive chairman John Simpson on the most recent earnings call about the latest version, "So, now that Pantheris joins the lumivascular family as the first commercially viable OCT guided directional atherectomy catheter in the U.S., actually in the world, we're getting closer to reaching our goal of changing forever the way vascular disease is treated and help make the vascular interventionist ever more efficient and more effective."

Avinger's market cap is dwindling rapidly into micro-cap territory; it was less than $140 million early on March 14.

- here is the follow-on SEC filing
- and the March 1 earnings call transcript

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