Featured companies: American Oriental Bioengineering, Guangxi Boke, Inspired Technologies, Nanosphere, Patton Medical Devices

UPDATED: Expanded items on Nanosphere and Patton Medical Devices.

nanosphere-logo.jpgMolecular-diagnostics firm Nanosphere sets IPO range, now expects $129M — Northbrook, Ill.-based Nanosphere, a maker of nanotech-derived molecular diagnostics, now expects to raise up to $129 million by selling as many as eight million shares in an initial offering. The company’s latest SEC filing is here. Nanosphere intends to price its shares between $14 and $16 apiece.

The latest IPO terms represent a significant step up from Nanotech’s initial plan to raise $100 million in the offering, which we wrote about here (seventh item). Either way, it’s still a fairly princely sum, particularly given that only two U.S. pharma/biotechs — the specialty pharmas Jazz Pharmaceuticals (covered here) and Eurand — have managed to pull in more than $100 million with IPOs this year. Of course, none of these companies holds a candle to Talecris Biotherapeutics, which apparently still thinks it can raise $1 billion in an initial offering.

Nanosphere manufactures a molecular-diagnostics system, called Verigene, which runs sophisticated protein and nucleic-acid detection tests for personalized medicine and other uses. Its first two tests were approved within the past month — one tests for specific gene variants that affect how quickly a patient metabolizes a clot-prevention drug (see our discussion of this sort of test), while the other identifies gene mutations linked to a higher risk of blood clots. Nanosphere is also developing tests for cancer and heart disease applications.

This sort of genomics-related diagnostics is certainly hot right now, which may explain the company’s confidence in its IPO chances. On the other hand, if investors are merely embracing biotech diagnostics at the expense of biotech therapies — perhaps under the assumption that diagnostic tests are less risky and complex than biotech drugs — then chances are good that they’ll end up disappointed.

IPOHome notes that Nanosphere is expected to hit the market in the week of Oct. 29. Keep an eye out for it.

patton-medical-logo.gifPatton Medical raises $15M for insulin ports — Austin, Tex.-based Patton Medical Devices, a medical-device company focused on diabtes care, raised $15 million from private investors. The company is developing a surgical “port” through with diabetics can inject insulin without further piercing the skin.

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