Genetic-Sequencing Firm CEO With Jack Welch Aura Mulls New IPO

(Bloomberg) -- David Halbert says he never missed or lowered his forecasts as the former head of a publicly traded company and grew earnings per share for investors quarter after quarter. Immediately, one of the Street’s most celebrated leaders comes to mind -- former General Electric Inc. chief Jack Welch, known in finance for consistently meeting and exceeding analysts estimates with pin-point precision.

But now Halbert is the chairman and chief executive officer of a closely-held molecular testing company, Caris Life Sciences, that competes with the likes of Foundation Medicine Inc. As the market for genetic sequencing matures, Halbert has considered going public again. But before he would do that, he wants to be able to tell the Street: “You can count on me the way you’ve always counted on me.”

Genetic-Sequencing Firm CEO With Jack Welch Aura Mulls New IPO

Investors may remember Halbert from his days at the helm of AdvancePCS, before he sold the pharmacy benefit manager to Caremark RX for $5.6 billion in 2003.

Halbert, a Texan with ties to former President George W. Bush, says timing as well as the reimbursement landscape would be critical when considering a listing. That may be soon as Halbert says next-generation sequencing in cancer has seen rapid demand -- and reimbursement hurdles cleared -- in the past six months. That change was driven in part by the first U.S. regulatory approval of a cancer medicine that targets patients by genomic status rather than the location of cancer in the body and the excitement ahead of a potential approval of a second targeted medicine.

“I have a reputation for being a deliverer,” Halbert told Bloomberg in an interview at the American Society of Clinical Society in Chicago. The Street will have to wait though to see if he can deliver once more as the jury is still out on when or if a public offering will come.

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