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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

=Diagnostic equipment maker Bioptix (NASDAQ: BIOP) changes name to Riot Blockchain (RIOT)

In regulatory filings, the address Bioptix provides for its headquarters is identical to the address of a shipping and mailbox rental company called PostalAnnex, which sits next door to a Blimpie sandwich store in a Castle Rock shopping center. Karen Chase, a spokeswoman for Bioptix, said that the company uses the address for mail, and also operates a small office in the area.

Formerly known as Venaxis Inc., Bioptix bought out BiOptix Diagnostics Inc. in 2016, which wasn’t the best move, according to Chief Executive Officer Michael Beeghley, who said Tuesday that the company wasn’t in a big enough market and noted its significant cash burn.

“When I got on the board, they had made an acquisition that we decided as a board did not make sense, so we closed that down and then decided to change our focus,” he said Tuesday in a phone interview. “We looked at the sector and said, ‘How can we participate in this, and how can our shareholders participate in this very exciting industry that’s like the beginning of the internet?”

Its first move under the new moniker is an investment in Coinsquare Ltd., a Canadian exchange for trading digital tokens like bitcoin. Riot is paying a few million dollars for about a 12 percent interest in Coinsquare, and has warrants to increase its stake to 20 percent, Beeghley said. Next, the CEO is looking to buy companies focused on bitcoin mining, blockchain and security software. He said he plans to fund the deals with a combination of cash on hand and stock. Bioptix had minimal revenue in 2016.

“We’ve had a lot of success taking companies where we have closed down operations and identifying new sectors to invest,” said Beeghley, who became CEO of Bioptix in April. “The most recent is Polarity -- ticker symbol COOL -- which we took public in March.”

Bioptix has already shuttered operations, and is selling its remaining patents and intellectual property to a private company in the diagnostics industry. It will receive an upfront payment as well as a royalty stream that will likely be as much as about $2.5 million, Beeghley said.

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