SALT LAKE CITY — Utah health-tech leader Health Catalyst jumped into the public markets Thursday and its freshly minted stock climbed over 50 percent by the end of regular trading.
The company raised $182 million via the sale of 7 million shares at pre-market pricing of $26 per share. The successful launch comes just six months after a $100 million funding round in February that pushed the company's valuation above the vaunted $1 billion, or "unicorn" benchmark.
After a day that saw an outstanding first day price rally, and the opportunity to ring the closing bell at the NASDAQ exchange in New York City, Health Catalyst CEO Dan Burton said the new capital will help fuel continued growth while also make strides toward achieving a truly global mission statement.
"It was a big day for Health Catalyst," Burton said. "The most important reason for the milestone, and reason for celebrating going public, is it enables us to have the capital we need to continue growing and pursuing our mission.
"Ultimately, that mission would guide us to positively impact every human being on the planet."
The 11-year-old company emerged from work conducted by former Intermountain Healthcare employees aiming to collect, digitize and analyze health care-related data in a way that helps providers find efficiencies, optimize patient outcomes and reduce mistakes.
Burton told the Deseret News in a February interview that Health Catalyst has found success by helping modernize an industry that has lagged behind many others in eliminating paper-based record keeping and other, outdated, analytics methods.
"Health care as an industry is undergoing a pretty significant transformation right now, and one of the real drivers of that transformation is that, up until a few years ago, the information about you as a patient was still a paper-based operation," Burton said. "There is not a lot of analysis you can apply to paper records and that’s just started to meaningfully transform to digital.
"That digital crossover opens up this new horizon of significant opportunities to start harvesting and analyzing that data to help guide good decisions."
Before Thursday's public offering, the company had raised over $370 million in funding. Health Catalyst retained investment giants Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to lead its IPO process. The company's stock is trading under the HCAT symbol on the NASDAQ exchange.
Burton said the digitization of health care-related data, along with high-performance analytics tools, is set to fundamentally reshape and improve a system notorious for its rate of waste. He noted while the U.S. health care industry generates some $3.5 trillion every year, it collectively wastes 30 cents for every dollar generated, or about $1 trillion. And he said the platform Health Catalyst has built is one that can help providers manage costs while improving patient outcomes.
"Cost effective care enables us to avoid injury and may even save our lives," Burton said. "And that’s an amazing mission."
Fraser Bullock, Health Catalyst board chairman and managing director of Lehi-based Sorenson Capital, told the Deseret News earlier this year that his company has invested some $15 million over the last five years in Health Catalyst and, even among Utah's roster of highly successful life science and technology companies, Health Catalyst is distinguishing itself.
"We could see early on that there was import in their vision," Bullock said. "What’s been accomplished is nothing short of astonishing. They focus on saving lives and helping people who are in a moment of medical care needs that can have a very significant impact on their lives.
"It’s all about helping people."