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Aiming for One-Stop Diagnostic Tests, Invitae Raises $102M in IPO

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Invitae, a diagnostics company in San Francisco, has scored the first big biotech IPO of the year. The firm priced 6.35 million shares of its stock at $16 per share to raise nearly $102 million.

The firm is led by CEO Randy Scott (pictured), the former CEO of another Bay Area diagnostics firm, Genomic Health. Scott spun Invitae out of Genomic Health in 2012, with assets from another company as well, with the ambitious goal to “aggregate all the world’s genetic tests into a single assay, for less than the cost of a single assay today,” Scott told Xconomy in 2013.

Two years later, that ambition is only slightly more modest. Invitae’s most recent regulatory filing says, “Our goal is to aggregate most of the world’s genetic tests into a single service with higher quality, faster turnaround time and lower price than many single gene tests today.”

The company’s current catalog lists tests for several hereditary diseases, cardiology disorders, cancers, and more, with the offer to combine and customize them. It says it charges $1,500 per sample and turns results around in less than three weeks, in most cases.

Its first offering launched in late 2013, and 80 percent of its business has come from tests for inherited cancer, according to its regulatory filings.

The company, which had 161 employees at the end of 2014, has declined to discuss its work in the run-up to the IPO, citing “quiet period” regulations.

Before the IPO, Scott owned 14 percent of the company and Genomic Health 9 percent. Other major holders were Baker Brothers Life Sciences (21 percent), BlackRock (17 percent), and Thomas, McNerney & Partners (15 percent). According to regulatory documents filed Feb. 9, existing shareholders planned to buy as much as $25 million of the new shares at IPO, which if went as planned would be a quarter of the entire offer. It was not immediately clear at this writing if those purchases took place.

The firm begins trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker NVTA. Underwriters have the option to purchase up to 952,500 more shares, which could boost the company’s proceeds to $117 million.