Penumbra goes public in upsized $120M deal, one of med tech's largest IPOs of 2015

The ACE64 for treating ischemic stroke--Courtesy of Penumbra

Neurovascular device maker Penumbra will ring the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange today, as it kicks off life as a public company with an upsized $120 million IPO--one of the device industry's biggest of the year. The company sold 4 million shares for $30, versus an expectation of 3.8 million shares for between $25 and $28.

Penumbra has 6 distinct product families covering devices and surgical tools for ischemic stroke, neurovascular embolization and neurovascular access aimed at neurovascular surgeons, and peripheral thrombectomy and vascular embolization devices for vascular surgeons or interventional radiologists.

Its Penumbra System and ACE 64 devices for treating ischemic stroke have become the company's flagship products ever since a recent series of large and influential studies, like that of the Mr. Clean trial, demonstrated that the endovascular treatment of strokes (involving devices for the physical removal of blood clots) can significantly improve outcomes compared to medication alone.

"This is really a perfect point in our history as a company to take a little more capital, to have a little higher profile in addressing some of these critical diseases like stroke," Penumbra CEO Adam Elsesser said in an interview. "There are people who may not always be aware of the importance of what we've done."

Penumbra's low profile up until now is partially due to its refusal of venture capital money. But the company has about 1,000 employees and earned $81 million in revenue in the first half of the year. It posted a loss of $169,000 during that period, according to its SEC filing. Last year, it had net income of $2.2 million on revenue of $125 million.

"We're going to continue to focus on our existing products, not just in stroke, but in treating brain aneurysms, treating some of the peripheral diseases that we're attacking. In addition we will continue to invest in and focus on new opportunities to make impactful products in other areas as well," Elsesser said.

Stroke survivor Phyllis Danner will participate in the bell ringing ceremony. She was treated using the Penumbra System.

"We've done that to not only remind us at Penumbra of why we are doing what we do and the huge impact we have, but also to bring awareness this really watershed moment with Mr. Clean, and a changing treatment paradigm where so many more patients will have the opportunity to be helped by mechanical solutions like the Penumbra System," Elsesser said.

Stryker's ($SYK) Trevo ProVue Retriever and Medtronic's ($MDT) Solitaire Stent were used in the study, but Elsesser said the study was device-agnostic and showed the benefits of the new device-centered treatment paradigm rather than any device in particular. A number of other related studies that added to the body of evidence used the Solitaire.

"We're the only company that has an FDA indication to revascularize stroke patients so that we use aspiration as the mechanism of action, sort of like a mini vacuum that comes up and removes the clot. As the field has continued to develop, there seems to be a growing acceptance of that mechanism in treating stroke patients," Elsesser said.

In July the company touted a European study which found that acute ischemic stroke patients with large vessel occlusions achieved a high revascularization rate (96%) when treated using the Ace 64 aspiration thrombectomy device.

- read the SEC filing