Accelerate CEO Lawrence Mehren

Tucson-based Accelerate Diagnostics Inc. said it will raise $20 million by offering existing shareholders rights to buy new shares of its publicly traded stock.

Accelerate, which moved to Tucson earlier this year from Denver, is developing a system to rapidly diagnose and identify drug-resistant pathogens and hospital-acquired infections.

The company has not yet set a price for the non-transferable rights offering, said how many rights will be offered for each existing share or set a date for the offering.

Abeja Ventures, whose owners include Accelerate CEO Lawrence Mehren, Chairman John Patience and two other company directors, has agreed to buy any shares that aren't sold, the company said in its filing. Company officials couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

The company registered the offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, stating that it would use the expected proceeds for purposes including "ongoing research and development and product commercialization initiatives."

Subscription-rights offerings enable a public company to raise money by issuing new shares, while allowing existing investors to purchase new shares to avoid dilution of their holdings.

Shares in Accelerate closed Tuesday at $8.44, down 32 cents or more than 3.5 percent, in trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The company's stock has traded in a range of $2.55 to $8.99 over the past year.

Focused mainly on research and development, Accelerate has posted net losses totaling more than $10 million in the past year.

In the most recent quarter ended March 31, Accelerate posted a net loss of $2.5 million. The company had $31 million in assets, including $29.3 million in cash and equivalents.

In March, Accelerate formally opened its headquarters at the Herbert K. Abrams Public Health Center, 3950 S. Country Club Road. At that time, the company employed more than 30 people, with plans to double that figure in the next year or so.

AXDX joins list

Accelerate Diagnostics' stock (listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol AXDX) is now part of the Star's daily listing of local and widely held stocks.

Contact Assistant Business Editor David Wichner at or 573-4181.