Vermillion raises $18.8M to fund escalation of bioinformatics ambitions

Vermillion ($VRML) has tapped investors for money to fund the enhancement of its bioinformatics platform. The diagnostics and bioanalytics player pulled in a total of $18.8 million through a stock offering, a slice of which will be ploughed into biotech IT.

Austin, Texas-based Vermillion is best known as the company behind OVA1, a blood test that can help physicians to predict whether an ovarian mass is malignant before starting a planned surgery. The FDA-approved test is the focal point of the business and activities related to it will gobble up some of the cash, with Vermillion planning to bolster domestic and international commercialization using its newly-inflated bank balance.

Vermillion expects to have cash left over after it has finished spending on its commercialization operations. Some of the money is earmarked for enhancements to the bioinformatics platform used by Vermillion, with the rest going into the expansion of its portfolio and general corporate activities. The stepping up of activities in bioinformatics is central to Vermillion's strategy to pivot from being a pureplay diagnostic company and into a broader bioanalytics player.

The pivot is well underway. Fred Ferrara joined the company as chief information officer in April. Ferrara, the first CIO at Vermillion, has a remit to build out a diagnostic informatics platform. Vermillion is still working on the platform but CEO Valerie Palmieri has given a broad overview of what it hopes to achieve. The plan is to create an informatics platform that will serve each of its three groups of customers, namely physicians, payers and patients.

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- and the SEC filing