TriVascular IPO debuts strong on Wall Street

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TriVascular Technologies' shares rose nearly 15 percent in their Wall Street debut Wednesday following the Santa Rosa med-tech developer's initial public offering.

TriVascular stock closed Wednesday at $13.79 on the Nasdaq exchange, up $1.79 from its IPO price. More than 2.1 million shares traded hands.

The IPO was the fourth in Sonoma County in the past 11 months, pumping $200 million into a quartet of local technology, wine and medical companies. It follows stock offerings by Petaluma networking tech developer Cyan in May, Healdsburg winemaker Truett-Hurst in June and Santa Rosa drugmaker Ruthigen in March.

TriVascular, which makes products that treat abdominal aortic aneurysms, planned no special observances Wednesday for its 250-plus employees, a spokesman said.

Still, Christopher Chavez, the company's president and chief executive, noted the significance of the first day as a publicly-traded company.

"This is an exciting day and going public is a meaningful milestone for TriVascular," Chavez said in a statement. "I'm grateful for the hard work of all TriVascular employees, which allowed us to get to this point. We now continue our mission to ensure that patients and physicians around the world can gain access to our technology."

The company's key product, the Ovation Prime Abdominal Stent Graft System, treats bulges in the aorta that otherwise can rupture and cause internal bleeding and death. In terms of minimally invasive treatment for abdominal aortic aneurysms, the company said its system offers "the lowest profile" of any approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

TriVascular reported a net loss last year of $50.3 million on revenues of $19.5 million, according to a prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

TriVascular priced its offering of 6.5 million shares at $12 a share, below its target of $13 to $15 a share It is the most recent company to reduce the price of its shares below its initial targets, part of a trend that has raised questions about investors' appetite for new issues.

During the IPO, TriVascular sold $78 million worth of stock. But underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to 975,000 additional shares at the initial price, which would amount to another $11.7 million.

Most of the money will be used to expand sales and marketing efforts, fund additional research and pay for general corporate purposes. The company plans to use about $4.6 million from the IPO to pay off a note to Boston Scientific, which purchased the company in 2005 and then closed it the following year in a cost-cutting move. The company reopened in 2008 after investors raised $65 million to buy out Boston Scientific.

J.P. Morgan Securities and Credit Suisse Securities are jointly managing the offering, while Stifel Nicolaus & Co. and Canaccord Genuity are co-managers.

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