Epocrates goes public, raises $86.4 million

By Brian Dolan

wall-streetMedical app publisher Epocrates went public this morning. Along with its selling stockholders, Epocrates raised more than expected: $86.4 million before costs. This is Epocrates third IPO attempt: In 2008 it filed for a $75 million IPO, but withdrew it because of the economic downturn. Last summer Epocrates filed for another $75 million IPO.

Apparently, being patient paid off.

The newest publicly traded mobile health country offers one of the most popular medical applications for healthcare professionals. Epocrates says some 45 percent of physicians in the US use its app, which helps them look up drug data on Apple, BlackBerry and Android devices, phones and tablets. Epocrates makes money through deals with pharma companies that send "clinical alerts" through its platform. It also has a premium version of its app.

Epocrates offerings took a new direction at last year's HIMSS event where the company announced plans to create an electronic health record (EHR) for small physician practices. Last year's IPO filing revealed that Epocrates had acquired Caretools, the makers of the iChart EHR iPhone application, for $400,000 in 2009. Caretools founder Thomas Giannulli joined Epocrates in August 2009 as the company's Chief Medical Information Officer. MobiHealthNews interviewed Epocrates' executives at HIMSS last March to learn more about the EHR offering (read the interview here).

Epocrates EHR offering is still forthcoming.

While it has been working toward its IPO, Epocrates has stayed busy. Last July around the time of its second IPO filing, the company announced a deal with Pfizer that enabled physicians to contact the pharmaceutical company directly from the Epocrates app. In November 2010 the company bought medical apps developer Modality for $13.8 million in cash. Epocrates partnered with Walgreens in October 2010 for drug reference. In December the company also announced that it was no longer going to support the Palm webOS platform.

Given its pioneer status in mobile health, it's no surprise that the some of the original founders of Epocrates have already left to found their own startups. One launched mobile-centered Doximity. Another was recently featured in the New York Times for starting a concierge medical practice business.

Epocrates is now trading on NASDAQ as EPOC.