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Biocartis Unleashes $109M IPO to Fuel Product Development

Belgian molecular diagnostics outfit Biocartis launched a €100 million ($109 million) public offering at the high end of its expected range, propelling the company forward as it diversifies its portfolio and develops tests for infectious diseases and cancer.

The Mechelen, Belgium-based company issued 8,695,652 shares of its common stock at €11.50 per share and will trade on Euronext Brussels under the ticker "BCART." Biocartis planned to raise between between €70 million and €100 million euros and said it had demand from some investors for €650 million, Reuters reports.

The public offering comes at a critical moment for the company, as it ropes in new funding and strikes deals with key players to strengthen its industry footprint. In September, Biocartis raised €64.5 million in a private financing round to support the commercial rollout of its Idylla-Enrich system in Europe. The company's in vitro diagnostic can pinpoint RNA and DNA in the bloodstream to identify cancer and infectious diseases, and offers shorter testing times than traditional diagnostics. Biocartis snagged a CE mark for its Idylla system and BRAF mutation test last year.

Since then, Biocartis has teamed up with industry heavyweights to expand its diagnostics reach. In February, the company announced that it would work with business partner Janssen Diagnostics and the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Antwerp to develop a rapid Ebola triage test. Earlier this month, Biocartis joined forces with Dutch diagnostic outfit Microbiome to develop a rapid sepsis test, looking to gain ground in an increasingly competitive market. The company will combine its Idylla diagnostic with Microbiome's multiplex PCR system to screen for problem-causing bacteria, potentially reducing testing times to two hours--an advantage over standard testing which can take anywhere from one to 5 days.

Looking ahead, Biocartis will continue to flesh out its cancer testing portfolio and develop new technologies, CEO Rudi Pauwels said earlier this year at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. The company hopes to launch new tests for KRAS and NRAS mutations in 2015, and focus on cancer biomarkers and liquid biopsy technology during the following year.

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