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Atossa Genetics Files Again for IPO

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Almost one year to the day after pulling a planned initial public offering, Seattle-based Atossa Genetics has refiled with US regulators to go public.

In a Form S-1 filed Feb. 13 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission Atossa said it seeks to sell 1 million shares of its common stock at a price of between $5 and $7 per share, raising up to a little more than $8 million.

The company plans to list on the Nasdaq Capital Market under ticker symbol "ATOS."

Dawson James Securities is acting as sole book-running manager of the offering.

Atossa currently has two screening tests available for breast cancer and plans to launch two others. It also has a research program directed at developing technologies to deliver drugs for the intraductal treatment of breast pre-cancerous changes, ductal carcinoma in situ, and breast cancers.

It filed a preliminary prospectus to go public in October 2010, but four months later withdrew its IPO saying that "it does not believe that it is [practical] to pursue the contemplated public offering at this time."

In its current preliminary prospectus Atossa said that it launched its commercial operations in late 2011 and has not yet generated significant revenues from the sale of its products or services. In 2010, it posted a net loss of $1.1 million, and through the first nine months of 2011 its net loss totaled $2.2 million.

Since its inception in 2009 through September 30, 2011 it has recorded a loss of $3.4 million, it said in its SEC filing.

As of Sept. 30, 2011 it had about $4 million in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash.

Atossa has two tests on the market including the ForeCYTE, launched in December 2011, which provides information about the 10-year and lifetime risk of breast cancer for women between 18 and 65 years of age. The test is based on its US Food and Drug Administration-cleared Mammary Aspirate Specimen Cytology Test System, or MASCT.

MASCT is a device and method for collection, shipment, and clinical analysis of nipple aspirate fluid, which contains cells and biomarkers that may be used to detect breast cancer and cellular changes that may be associated with the disease.

In December 2011, the company also launched the ArgusCYTE test to help guide treatment for breast cancer and monitor potential recurrence.

The ForeCYTE test is offered to federal and/or state health plans at the 2012 Medicare reimbursement rate of between $384 and $1,275 depending on the complexity of the analysis, while ArgusCYTE is priced at $1,500.

Additionally, the company plans to launch the FullCYTE test in late 2012 or early 2013 for the assessment of individual breast ducts for pre-cancerous changes in women who have been previously identified as being at high risk for breast cancer.

During the same time frame, Atossa plans a launch of its NextCYTE test for profiling breast cancer specimens in order to predict treatment outcomes and distant recurrence in women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

It said that its laboratory is CLIA certified. It also is licensed in Washington and California and is in the process of obtaining licenses to accept testing samples from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, where out of state laboratories are required to hold state licenses.

It owns 31 US patents and at least 90 patents issued elsewhere, it said.

Atossa was founded by Stephen Quay, who invented the MASCT System. He currently serves as president, CEO, and chairman of the firm. Christopher Benjamin is its CFO.

Atossa's bid for an IPO comes at a time when the IPO market has proven unreceptive to life science tools and diagnostic firms. Since Jan. 1, 2011 only two firms have successfully completed their IPOs: BG Medicine and Fluidigm. Meanwhile, Agendia, AutoGenomics, and SQI Diagnostics, in addition to Atossa, pulled their IPOs in 2011.

Most recently, Med BioGene withdrew its IPO last week.

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