Berkeley Lights, the developer of a tech platform designed to enable rapid functional characterization of single cells at scale, has set terms for an initial public offering (IPO) that would raise at least $153.2 million in gross proceeds through the sale of 7.4 million shares at between $16 and $18 a share.

In an S-1/A amended registration statement filed today, Berkeley Lights estimated that the net proceeds from the offer would be $114 million. However, the net proceeds could rise to as much as $131.5 million should underwriters of the IPO exercise in full their 30-day option to purchase up to 1.1 million additional shares at the mid-point of the range, or $17 a share.

“We currently expect to use our net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash and cash equivalents, for general corporate purposes, including working capital, and funding our research and development and sales and marketing activities,” Berkeley Lights stated. “We may also use a portion of the remaining net proceeds, if any, to acquire complementary businesses, products, services, or technologies, including scientific expertise. However, we do not have agreements or commitments for any acquisitions at this time.”

Berkeley Lights has applied to have its common stock listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the trading symbol BLI.

Headquartered in Emeryville, CA, Berkeley Lights has developed a namesake platform consisting of advanced automated systems designed to analyze live cells using proprietary consumables and application and workflow software to deliver robust single-cell data.

The platform characterizes the performance of cells relevant to the desired cell-based product early in the process of single-cell characterization through “Deep Opto Profiling,” then connects the phenotypic data at single-cell resolution over time to the genetic code for each cell.

As a result, users can perform rapid functional characterization of tens of thousands of single cells in parallel, precisely control the environment around each cell, and maintain cells in a healthy state for further use. Users can also digitally aggregate, access, and analyze a rich data library for each single cell. The process is designed to let poorly performing cells fail early, while rapidly advancing the best candidates forward, before users incur significant R&D expense, according to Berkeley Lights.

“Delivering the best cells”

“Our platform repeats this process of fail and advance many times throughout the process, delivering the best cells for what we believe will deliver the best product,” the company stated. “We believe our platform rapidly provides the deepest information, with linked phenotypic and genotypic data, on tens of thousands of live single cells relevant to the customers’ end product specifications.”

The platform is a fully integrated, end-to-end solution, consisting of proprietary consumables, including OptoSelect single-use opto-fluidic chips and reagent kits, advanced automation systems, and advanced application and workflow software. Berkeley Lights offers three advanced automation systems: Beacon and Lightning, which are designed to run the company’s proprietary workflows, and Culture Station, which allows users to increase the throughput of workflows requiring high volume, multi-day cell culture.

Earlier this year, Berkeley Lights unveiled upgrades to its Beacon optofluidics platform that let it do both on-chip genomics, and on-chip phenotypic assays. The Beacon optofluidics chip features thousands of 250-pL reaction wells (called NanoPens™) where individual cells can be cultured and assayed. Light is used to deterministically move cells in and out of the pens and into microfluidic channels. Chips can be processed in parallel, or modules can be ganged together serially to assess different functional aspects of a given cell.

“We’ll be performing functional screens on-chip [while] also doing a lot of genomics on-chip,” Anupam Singhal, PhD, the company’s product manager, antibody therapeutics, told GEN. “We’ll have integration of genomics capabilities that allow you to recover large numbers of sequences once you have identified the relevant hits.”

Beacon can run workflows on four chips in parallel, using up to 56,000 NanoPens.

Berkeley Lights finished the first quarter with a net loss of $8.425 million on revenue of $13.778 million, double the $4.205 million net loss on $12.641 million in revenue reported for Q1 2019. The company ended all of 2019 with a net loss of $18.302 million on revenue of $56.693 million, compared with a $23.337 million net loss on $31.299 million in revenue in 2018.

As of March 31, Berkeley Lights had cash and cash equivalents of $70.306 million.

J.P. Morgan Securities, Morgan Stanley, and Cowen are acting as joint book-running managers of the offering and as representatives of the underwriters.

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