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Exagen Files for $69M IPO

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Autoimmune rheumatic disease diagnostics firm Exagen Diagnostics filed a preliminary prospectus on Friday for an initial public offering of up to $69 million.

The company has not yet priced its shares or said how many shares it plans to offer. It said that it anticipates its stock to trade on the Nasdaq Global Market under ticker symbol "EXDX."

Leerink Partners, Baird, and William Blair are listed as the underwriters on the offering. Proceeds from the proposed offering would be used for sales and marketing, including expansion of the Vista, Calif.-based company's sales force to support ongoing product commercialization. Proceeds would also support R&D work and clinical studies to demonstrate the utility of its products and to secure reimbursement, as well as for capital expenditures and for working capital and general corporate purposes.

It said in its Form S-1 filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it currently markets four products under the Avise brand and in 2013 processed about 9,300 patient specimens for its lead diagnostic product line Avise SLE. Through the first half of 2014, it processed about 11,100 patient specimens for Avise SLE, it added.

Its lead test is Avise SLE+CT for the diagnosis of patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases, such as system lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, scleroderma, and disorders that mimic autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Based on a blood draw, the test allows physicians to rule in or rule out SLE and provides information about the presence of other autoimmune rheumatic diseases.

Other tests offered by Exagen include Avise SLE Prognostic, launched in June, for determining the prognosis of patients with SLE, and Avise MTX, a therapeutic drug monitoring test for methotrexate polyglutamates, a first line therapy for RA patients. The company also offers Avise HCQ, launched earlier this month to help physicians monitor blood level hydroxychloriquine (Plaquenil) as they treat patients with SLE and other autoimmune rheumatic diseases.

In Exagen's pipeline is Avise Anti-TNF for measuring anti-TNF active drug level and drug-neutralizing antibody activity levels. The test is estimated to launch in the first half of 2015. The company is also developing Avise SLE Monitoring for measuring SLE activity. That test is slated for launch in the first half of 2016. Also in 2016 it plans to launch Avise RA for determining the potential risk for bone damage or joint erosion/diagnosis of RA.

Exagen said in its SEC document that it posted $3.1 million in revenues and a net loss of $13.5 million in 2013. Through the first half of 2014, it had revenues of $3.8 million and a net loss of $7.6 million. It had $6.1 million in cash and cash equivalents as of June 30.

The company's President and CEO is Fortunato Ron Rocca. The CFO is Wendy Swedick and the CSO is Thierry Dervieux.

In July, Exagen said in an SEC document that it had raised $3.95 million. Last October it raised $5 million, and in September 2012, it raised $5.3 million.

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