SoftBank-Backed Cancer Detector Guardant Said to Weigh U.S. IPO

(Bloomberg) -- Guardant Health Inc., a Silicon Valley cancer detection firm, is considering an initial public offering in the U.S., people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company is in talks with advisers for a share sale that could take place as soon as the fourth quarter, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Guardant hasn’t decided on the size of a potential offering, although a deal could raise as much as $500 million, the people said.

Biotech firms like Guardant have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars from the world’s richest investors as they develop non-invasive ways to identify cancer at its initial stages. Grail Inc., a cancer-detection startup backed by Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, is planning a Hong Kong IPO that could take place this year, people familiar with the matter have said.

Deliberations on a possible Guardant listing are at an early stage, and details including timing could change, said the people. A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

Guardant raised $360 million last year from investors led by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., the biotech firm said. Funds managed by T Rowe Price Group Inc. and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte also injected money in the business, along with existing investors including Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

The volume of first-time share sales from health-care firms globally this year has risen 71 percent to $13.5 billion from the same 2017 period, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Guardant360, a product launched in 2014, is a blood test that detects genomic alterations of advanced solid tumors, its website shows. Each test involves two tubes of blood and takes two weeks to deliver the results.

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