3-D cell imaging outfit VisionGate eyes $75M IPO

VisionGate CEO Alan Nelson

Arizona's VisionGate is gearing up for an IPO, making plans to go public to spur development of its 3-D cell microscope technology for early lung cancer detection.

As The Phoenix Business Journal reports, VisionGate has raised $25 million to date from angel investors, but needs about $75 million to take business to the next level, CEO Alan Nelson told the newspaper. The company already produced 5 of its fully automated 3-D microscopes, which see cells in three dimensions to pinpoint lung cancer early-on in patients. VisionGate will use proceeds from an IPO to create more of its platforms and could file its offering within the next year, Nelson said.

"We're not like a biotech," Nelson said, as quoted by the PBJ. "A biotech is going to soak up $100 million to $200 million before they think about being profitable, and they have huge risks along the way. But the fact is we've eliminated all of our major risks. The technology is built, it's been developed and it works."

In the meantime the company is setting its sights on expansion, planning to move out of its 1,500-square-foot incubator space at a Phoenix, AZ-based college to a 20,000-square-foot building in a local industrial park. "We're fully baked," Nelson told the newspaper about its current space. "It's time to let other young companies get in there and take advantage of their facilities."

VisionGate is also looking to expand its lab infrastructure and add to its employee roster to spur growth. The company employs 16 people, 9 at its Phoenix facilities and 7 at its Seattle operations where VisionGate founded in 2010. Nelson expects the company will "grow dramatically over the next couple of years," building out its labs and eventually employing about 200 individuals at its Phoenix facilities, he told the PBJ.

But VisionGate is not the only med tech outfit mulling an IPO to boost operations. Earlier this month, Lexington, MA-based Quanterix said it was kicking off conversations with investors about a potential public offering to support development of its blood biomarker testing product. The company's Simoa device screens for proteins in the blood that are linked to diseases, and includes 30 assays covering areas such as cardiac care, oncology and neurosciences.

- read the PBJ story

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