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CTC Dx Firm Biocept Files for IPO

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Circulating tumor cell-based diagnostics firm Biocept on Monday filed with US regulators to go public with an initial public offering intended to raise up to $24.25 million.

In its Form S-1 filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the San Diego-based company said that it plans to list on the Nasdaq Capital Market under ticker symbol "BIOC." It added that it expects to implement a 1-for-10 reverse stock split of its outstanding common stock before the effective time of its prospectus.

Aegis Capital is listed as the underwriter for the offering.

Biocept has not yet priced its shares or said how many shares it plans to offer.

Biocept was founded in 1997 and operates a CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited laboratory. It develops and commercializes cancer diagnostics based on CTCs and circulating tumor DNA tests, which use standard blood samples. The tests are designed to help physicians choose the most appropriate treatments for their patients as a result of "better, timelier, and more detailed data on the characteristic of tumors," its said in its SEC filing.

Its CTC tests are based on the company's Cell Enrichment and Extraction, or CEE technology, while the ctDNA tests use its CEE-Selector technology.

CEE is a microfluidics-based CTC capture and analysis platform that provides real-time biomarker monitoring. CEE-Selector enables mutation detection with improved sensitivity and specificity, Biocept said, "and is applicable to nucleic acid from CTCs or other sample types," including blood plasma for ctDNA.

It is currently launching its first proprietary test called OncoCEE-BR. The breast cancer test determines a patient's epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2 status, by fluorescence in situ hybridization. The company has an agreement with GE Healthcare's Clarient to sell and commercialize the test.

Biocept added that it anticipates launching its OncoCEE-LU test for non-small cell lung cancer in the first half of 2014. Life Technologies will collaborate on commercialization of the test.

Additionally, Biocept is developing CTC and ctDNA test for different solid tumor types, such as colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, gastric cancer, and melanoma, and it has an R&D program "focused on technology enhancements and novel platform development, and a translational research group evaluating clinical applications for our cancer diagnostic tests in different cancer types and clinical settings."

It plans to launch its solid tumor type tests at a rate of "at least" one to two each year for the next three years, the company said. Biocept has forged collaborations with physicians and researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and plans to expand its existing collaborations "to include other key thought leaders for the types of cancer we are targeting with our current and planned CTC and ctDNA tests."

According to its filing, the firm's 2012 revenues totaled $109,000 and it had a net loss of $12.3 million. During the first half of 2013, Biocept posted $84,000 in revenues and a net loss of $3.9 million.

Cash and cash equivalents totaled $4,000 as of June 30, it said in its form S-1 and warned that as of the end of June, its accumulated deficit was approximately $117.1 million. It also had notes payable of roughly $5.1 million due within one year.

Those factors along with its net loss for the first half of the year "raise substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern," it said.

It borrowed $10.5 million in 2011, $8.5 million in 2012, and $2.9 million in the first half of 2013 under note agreements with certain shareholders. "However additional funding will be required to sustain operations in the second half of 2013 and throughout 2014," it said in its SEC document.

Michael Nall is president and CEO of Biocept, and David Hale is the executive chairman. Lyle Arnold serves as senior vice president of R&D and as CSO. William Kachioff is SVP of finance and CFO, while Farideh Bischoff is VP of translational research and clinical development.

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