NanoString is a genomics company with special technology for helping cancer researchers that has just filed an S-1, declaring to the SEC (and the reading world) its intention to go public.

The company’s technology uses small amounts of tissue to find and use genetic information. Not content with the research side, NanoString places a lot of emphasis on its technology’s usefulness in clinical settings for present-day patient care.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest risk factors for this IPO is the company’s consistent losses. From the filing:

We have incurred losses since we were formed and expect to incur losses in the future. We incurred net losses of $12.8 million, $10.9 million, $17.7 million, $3.6 million, and $7.3 million in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2013, respectively. As of March 31, 2013, we had an accumulated deficit of $102.8 million. We expect that our losses will continue for at least the next several years as we will be required to invest significant additional funds toward development and commercialization of our technology. We also expect that our selling, general and administrative expenses will continue to increase due to the additional costs associated with establishing a dedicated oncology diagnostics sales force and the increased administrative costs associated with being a public company.

That alone makes this initial public offering a not-so-sure bet for Day One investors. Also, NanoString is playing in a field ridden with bureaucratic potholes, from government regulations to Big Pharma politicking.

The deal, which currently has no set range for stock price, has JP Morgan and Morgan Stanlet as its underwriters. The proposed maximum aggregate offering price is around $86 million.

Formed in 2003, NanoString is a spinout from the Institute of Systems Biology.

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