NanoString grabs $55M in follow-on offering

NanoString Technologies ($NSTG) has big plans going forward, and it's now got some extra funding to make those happen. The company has priced its follow-on offering at $55 million, which should give it a boost as it looks to follow up on last quarter's explosive growth.

NanoString will offer up stock at $18.50 a share, the company said Thursday, giving underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to an additional $8.25 million of its common stock. As for what it will do with the extra change, NanoString laid out a 5-pronged plan, including further commercializing the Prosigna breast cancer assay with a specialized sales force.

NanoString in December announced that the Prosigna test, which uses the PAM50 gene signature to assess breast cancer tumor risk, would become available in the first quarter of this year. The company's first FDA-cleared in vitro assay, it charts the signature in post-meopausal woman and tests cells found in existing breast cancer tissue.

That availability should pad sizable sales gains from 2013. Revenue grew 55% to $10.1 million for the fourth quarter, increasing by 37% overall in full-year 2013. Instrument revenue in particular saw big quarterly gains, leaping 112% over the year-ago period to hit $5.3 million. "We are particularly pleased with the strong fourth quarter instrument revenue, which we believe is a leading indicator for future consumables and Prosigna kit revenue generation," CEO Brad Gray said earlier this month.

Among NanoString's other plans are expanding Prosigna's clinical utility, developing other diagnostic product opportunities and growing commercial support for its nCounter Analysis System, which the company says can simply and affordably profile hundreds of DNA or microRNA targets at once. NanoString may also use a share of the proceeds on acquisitions, though it doesn't currently have any agreements in the works, it noted.

NanoString was one of a few diagnostics companies to take the IPO plunge in 2013, eventually settling on a scaled-back share price of $10 a share. And while shares sank 20% in their debut, they've since made a comeback, trading at more than twice that price at times in the past 7 months.

- read the release

Editor's Corner: Are medical device companies invited to the biotech IPO party?

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