A heart-device startup braves the IPO waters

(UPDATED: See below.)

cardionet-logo.jpgIt’s been a rough few months for life-science IPOs, what with all the collapsed offerings and, often enough, miserable post-offering performance for those startups that have managed to inch their way across the finish line.

Yet the lure of the public markets remains strong, even with the Nasdaq down about 15 percent since the beginning of the year, and some startups simply will not be denied. That certainly seems to be the case with CardioNet, which just trimmed its expected IPO but expects to price it tonight, according to Renaissance Capital’s IPOhome site. Check out the company’s latest SEC filing for more.

CardioNet makes implantable wireless sensors designed to detect irregular heartbeats. Its complex IPO — which mirrors the complex structure of its last round of venture funding, itself tied rather tightly to the IPO — just got a little simpler. Where existing CardioNet shareholders had initially planned to sell 3.6 million shares alongside the three million shares the company itself was offering, the selling-shareholder portion has been scaled back to 400,000 shares.

CardioNet also dropped its expected offering price to a range of $18 to $20 per share, down from $22 to $24. That puts its maximum take from the offering, including possible overallotment sales, at $78.2 million — almost 20 percent lower than it figured just a month ago.

The reduction in shareholder sales should theoretically boost interest in the offering, since CardioNet and its shareholders won’t be competing for investors. That said, I can’t help wondering how much of a monkeywrench that tosses into the plans of CardioNet’s shareholders — many of whom, if I understand the deal correctly, invested in the company’s last round in exchange for shares to be issued the eve of the IPO.

In any event, I’m far more interested just to see how the company fares, given the generally awful climate for life-science IPOs and the fact that a similar startup — Transoma Medical — ended up withdrawing its IPO almost a month ago.

UPDATE: CardioNet changed up again. The IPO priced at the low end of its range, potentially raising the company as much as $63.2 million. But the selling shareholders sold a full 1.5 million shares, not the 400,000 planned. The company’s new ticker symbol is BEAT.