Biocept Laboratories becomes latest Dx outfit to explore IPO

California's Biocept Laboratories filed IPO plans worth up to $23 million, reflecting a resurgent appetite for the public markets among life sciences companies this year.

Biocept, a maker of cancer diagnostics, is in the process of commercializing its first product--a breast cancer circulating tumor cell test performed on a blood sample--according to the San Diego company's S-1 filing. A second blood test for non-small cell lung cancer is due to hit the market in the first half of 2014. Also, Biocept noted it has inked collaboration deals with MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, with similar partnerships expected down the line.

Biocept launched in 1997. The company said it lost $13.6 million in 2011, $12.2 million in 2012, and $3.9 million in the first 6 months of 2013.

Why an IPO? Biocept explains in its filing that it "will need, among other things, additional capital resources." Beyond an IPO, the company is also betting, in part, on laboratory service revenue (Biocept is a CLIA-certified lab), according to its filing.

Biocept hasn't disclosed how many shares it will offer or the proposed price, though it will trade on Nasdaq under the symbol "BIOC." Aegis Capital is the IPO's bookrunner.

Biocept's filing comes a few days after molecular diagnostics company Veracyte filed plans for a proposed IPO that could reach close to $75 million. Earlier this month, cancer diagnostics luminary Foundation Medicine (and a 2012 member of FierceBiotech's Fierce 15) disclosed plans to raise up to $92 million in an IPO. These advances come as part of a broader IPO surge in the life sciences sector this year.

- here's the full S-1