SoftBank-backed Guardant Health raises $238m in US IPO

Pedestrians walk past a SoftBank Group Corp. store in Tokyo, Japan. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi

Guardant Health Inc., a cancer-detection firm backed by SoftBank Group Corp., raised $237.5 million in its U.S. initial public offering.

The Redwood City, California-based company sold 12.5 million shares on Wednesday for $19 each, after marketing them at a range of $15 to $17, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Guardant plans to use proceeds for working capital, sales, marketing, administrative and other corporate purposes, it said in its IPO filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It may also use some proceeds to acquire or invest in products and businesses, it said.

The company said its cancer tests provide a less-invasive — and often less costly — alternative to tissue biopsies to collect samples. Its blood tests help oncologists determine the molecular profile of the cancer they are dealing with so that they can develop individual treatments.

“We believe our tests can expand the scope of precision oncology to earlier stages of the disease, improve patient outcomes and lower health-care costs,” Guardant said in its filing. “We estimate the market opportunity for our current commercial and pipeline products is over $35 billion in the U.S.”

While the average cost of a lung biopsy is $14,670, the list price for Guardant360 — its marquee blood test — is $7,800 for U.S. patients, according to its filing. More than 5,000 oncologists have used Guardant360 since the product launched in 2014.

“We believe it is the world’s market leading comprehensive liquid biopsy test based on the number of tests sold in 2017,” Guardant said in the filing.

It released another testing product last year for biopharmaceutical companies to use in research.

Guardant lost $36 million in the first half of 2018, after losing close to $40 million during the same period last year, according to the filing. Its revenue for the first six months of 2018 was $36 million, an increase of about a 93 percent year-over-year.

The company raised $360 million last year from investors led by Japan’s SoftBank, which is expected to remain its biggest holder with a 33 percent stake after the offering, according to the filing. Sequoia Capital, its second-largest backer, will hold 9 percent after the IPO.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. led the offering. The shares are expected to list on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol GH.

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.