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Prenatal Tester Natera Now Shooting for $175M IPO

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Natera of San Carlos, CA, has bumped the fundraising goal for its upcoming IPO to $175 million, according to a document filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The maker of noninvasive prenatal diagnostics wants to sell 10 million shares between $17 and $18 each.

The offering, which could come as early as tonight, would mark another publicly traded entrant in the fast-evolving field of consumer diagnostics. Natera raised $55 million earlier this year to expand the marketing reach for its commercial test Panorama, which uses a pregnant woman’s blood to screen for fetal abnormalities. The company is also working on a “liquid biopsy” for cancer screening. Its version would use a patient’s blood to find circulating tumor DNA.

Natera booked $159 million in revenue in 2014, with a $5 million net loss.

Expanding its business beyond prenatal testing is crucial for Natera, which is facing broad competition from larger companies. For example, Ariosa Diagnostics, a rival of Natera in the prenatal field, was planning an IPO last year that would have given it a $323 million market value, but it was first acquired by Roche. Sequencing giant Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN), via its acquisition of Verinata Health in 2013, and Sequenom (NASDAQ: SQNM) both offer prenatal testing products.

Sequoia Capital is Natera’s largest shareholder, with 20.2 percent ownership, followed by Claremont Creek (19.3 percent), CEO Matthew Rabinowitz (14.3 percent), Lightspeed Venture Partners (10.4 percent), and Sofinnova Ventures (6.1 percent).

Natera would trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol NTRA. The company has allotted 1.5 million extra shares for its underwriters to sell in the 30 days after the IPO.