Business & Real Estate

Davis biotech firm seeks $86 million in public stock offering

Another biotech company in the Sacramento area is about to go public.

Arcadia Biosciences Inc. of Davis filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday for a public stock offering of up to $86.3 million. The company develops seeds that are designed to improve yields, enhance drought tolerance and carry other traits. Last summer, for instance, Arcadia announced it patented a gene that extends the shelf life of tomatoes. The gene was developed in part under a contract with the Defense Department, which is seeking to improve the quality of food shipped to service personnel overseas.

The IPO would be the first significant initial public offering by a Sacramento company since another Davis biotech company, Marrone Bio Innovations, raised $57 million in an August 2013 offering.

Arcadia, founded in 2002, employs 77 workers in Davis, Seattle, Phoenix and American Falls, Idaho. It lost $16 million in the first nine months of last year on sales of $4.2 million, according to its SEC registration statement.

The company last spring raised $33 million in private funding. It has raised a total of $101 million in private funding over the years but is now looking to the public markets. The dollars raised in the IPO will be used for “further development and commercialization of our products,” among other purposes, according to the SEC filing.

Seventy-seven percent of Arcadia’s shares are owned by Moral Compass Corp., an Arizona investment firm controlled by the family that founded the parent company of the for-profit University of Phoenix.

Credit Suisse Securities and J.P. Morgan Securities are leading the IPO, aided by Piper Jaffray & Co. The company expects to be listed on the Nasdaq market under the ticker symbol RKDA.

Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.