I.C. Axom Browses for Third Round

Online health content provider I.C. Axom is planning to raise between $15 million and $20 million in an upcoming third round of venture funding. While the time frame on the deal still is unknown, the investor pool so far includes a number of strategic investors in the health-care industry, along with three venture funds and two investment banks.

The deal will follow up on a $7 million Series B round completed last week, funded exclusively by Capital Communications CDPQ, a subsidiary of the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, Canada’s largest private pension fund manager with $70 billion in assets. Capital made an original $2 million commitment to I.C. Axom in June 1999. Since its founding in 1995, Capital Communications has completed 78 investments, now worth $2.5 billion.

“La Caisse provided a good valuation and a better package than the other firms we interviewed for the first round, along with wide contacts and funds across a global scale,” said Jean Lalonde, president and chief executive officer of I.C. Axom. “For the second round, we’d like to leverage our market niche. Among out client base are a number of blue chip names that have expressed a lot of interest in what we do.”

While Lalonde suggested that a third venture round would likely come before an initial public offering, he hinted the IPO could be completed within the next year.

“It would be premature to discuss the terms of any future deals right now, but over the next 12 to 18 months, the possibility of the company going public [is] very strong,” he said.

The recently-completed deal is the foundation of a business plan that includes the unveiling of new Web-based educational services for medical professionals and the imminent acquisition of at least one health information provider.

“I.C. Axon presented a solid business plan with definitive direction for corporate and product development and marketing communications efforts,” said Pierre Blanger, president of Capital Communications.

I.C. Axon was founded in 1995 by Lalonde and two partners to provide medical professionals with online continuing education. In five years, it has grown to a staff of 160, with revenue of $4 million expected for the fiscal year ending May 31.

Clients include a dozen pharmaceutical giants and health management organizations, including Pfizer Inc., Glaxo Wellcome Inc. and Kaiser Permanante. Last week the company unveiled a new product, mypatient.com, that offers primary care physicians -250,000 in the U.S. alone – patient care scenarios.