Rating VISICU's IPO chances

VISICU is either the steal of the century or highly over-rated, depending on who you ask. The Baltimore-based company, which was founded by two doctors at Johns Hopkins, prices shares for its initial public offering this week. The company plans to offer 6 million shares priced at between $11 and $13. Wall Street is watching, intrigued by a business model that provides hospitals with technology that allows remote access to intensive care services. Forbes columnist Scott Reeves, however is among the skeptics. The company has an awful lot of potential competitors, he argues, citing Cerner, Philips Medical Systems, General Electric Healthcare and Picis as potential rivals. VISICU also faces potentially disruptive patent disputes with iMedSoft--an Israeli company that started offering a similar service in the nineties and Cerner, which argues that VISICU's patents are too restrictive. If the company can survive its early legal battles, Reeves says, its long term prospects are good.

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