Fluidigm Raises $75M in Second Chance at IPO

You know what they say about how if you don’t at first succeed, try, try again.

South San Francisco-based Fluidigm said today it has completed its initial public offering, which comes more than two years after it had the misfortune to attempt an IPO at the height of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. This time, Fluidigm pulled in about $75 million, by selling about 5.6 million shares to investors at $13.50 a share. The price was on the low end of its forecasted range of $13.50 to $15.50 a share. The company is now ready to start trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol FLDM.

Fluidigm has traveled a long and risky road to its IPO day. Founded in 1999, it has piled up a deficit of more than $196 million since it was started by Stanford University biologist Steve Quake and CEO Gajus Worthington to create a high-powered, microfluidic instrument for researchers. It has sold about 200 of its machines, which sell for $200,000 each. As I wrote in a story in December, the Fluidigm machines can be used to do things like detect rare cancer stem cells that are hard to find, and which are thought to enable cancer to rebound following chemotherapy. Stem cell researchers use the Fluidigm machines to identify signatures of induced pluripotent stem cells—ordinary adult cells that scientists reprogram into a stem-cell like state.

Fluidigm hasn’t turned profitable yet, although its revenues have been climbing enough that it expects to start running in the black by mid-2011, Worthington has said.

Deutsche Bank Securities and Piper Jaffray led the offering, which was co-managed by Cowen and Co. and Leerink Swann.

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