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Originally published June 26, 2013 at 4:35 PM | Page modified June 27, 2013 at 12:01 PM

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NanoString IPO sinks in debut; shares fall 19%

NanoString Technologies went public Wednesday with a thud, its stock dropping 19.4 percent after the IPO was priced at a discounted $10 a share.

Seattle Times deputy business editor

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NanoString Technologies went public Wednesday with a thud, its stock dropping 19.4 percent after its initial public offering was priced the previous evening at a discounted $10 a share.

The first-day results were worse than any of the 151 offerings listed in Nasdaq’s database of IPOs in the last 12 months through Friday.

NanoString shares lost $1.94 to close at $8.06 on volume of more than 3 million shares.

The 5.4 million share offering, underwritten by investment-banking powerhouses JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, had been targeted to sell at $13 to $15 a share before market jitters dampened enthusiasm for IPOs.

NanoString develops life-science research tools, including analytical systems used by cancer researchers to study the activity of genes in small tissue samples. In February it gained European clearance to market its Prosigna diagnostic system, and it has applied for Food and Drug Administration clearance to offer that system in the U.S. to assess a patient’s risk for recurrence of breast cancer.

The IPO proceeds will go in part to hire an oncology sales force for that system and to expand its other research and diagnostic products.

Neither NanoString’s executives nor its venture-capital backers, which include Clarus Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Kirkland-based OVP Venture Partners, sold any shares in the IPO.

Uncertainty in the stock market didn’t affect two other IPOs that priced Tuesday. Luxsoft, a Russian software-outsourcing company that counts Boeing as a key client, priced its IPO at $17 and soared 19.9 percent Wednesday. Drug developer Esperion Therapeutics set its IPO price at $14 and edged up 3.6 percent Wednesday.

Although a poor first-day performance is a black eye for an IPO stock and its underwriters, the Nasdaq data show a company’s shares can recover.

Omthera Pharmaceuticals, which went public in April and fell 7.1 percent on its first trading day, has since climbed 64 percent from its IPO price.

Among the 10 worst performers with day-one negative IPO performance in the past year, four are now above their offering price. The other six, however, remain underwater.

Rami Grunbaum: 206-464-8541 or rgrunbaum@seattletimes.com

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