Atossa files for IPO in effort to raise $6M

Seattle's Atossa Genetics, which offers diagnostic tests to detect precursors to breast cancer, is planning an initial public offering of 1 million shares of its common stock.

In a filing with the SEC, the company says it expects its IPO price will be between $5 and $7 per share. It hopes to trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol "ATOS."

With the roughly $6 million it hopes to raise with the IPO, Atossa will expand its cytology and molecular diagnostics laboratory, fund the manufacture of MASCT System units, and hire and train sales and marketing personnel for the ForeCYTE and ArgusCYTE breast health tests, among other activities.

Atossa recently launched two breast health tests: the ForeCYTE, which offers personalized information about the 10-year and lifetime risk of breast cancer for women between the ages of 18 and 65, and the ArgusCYTE, which gives information to help inform breast cancer treatment options and to help monitor potential recurrence. In December, the company began limited marketing of the ForeCYTE test to doctors for use in conjunction with other health screening examinations. Atossa also is establishing relationships with breast cancer centers to provide the ArgusCYTE test to their patients, the company says in its filing.

The company hopes to launch two other tests, known as FullCYTE and NextCYTE, in late 2012 or early 2013.

The young startup opened its doors in 2009 and is helmed by Steven Quay, former CEO of Nastech Pharmaceuticals (later MDRNA and now Marina Biotech). He invented technology for collecting breast fluid and analyzing it for abnormal cells, The Seattle Times notes. Quay nabbed the rights to the tech, which is now the basis for Atossa's tests, after leaving MDRNA in 2008.

Quay hopes the company's tests could prove as vital--and as common--as the Pap smear to women's health. "The Pap smear took 20 years to be adopted," Quay said last year, as quoted by the Puget Sound Business Journal. "This is a decadelong adoption time. We have no competitor specifically in our space."

- check out the Atossa release
- see the SEC filing
- read more from The Seattle Times