UPDATE 1-Ortho Clinical Diagnostics tumbles nearly 9% in Nasdaq debut

(Adds CEO quote, company performance, background)

Jan 28 (Reuters) - Shares of private equity firm Carlyle Group Inc-backed Ortho Clinical Diagnostics fell 8.8% in their Nasdaq debut on Thursday, giving the Raritan, New Jersey-based company a market capitalization of $3.36 billion.

Ortho Clinical’s shares opened at $15.50, below the initial public offering (IPO) price of $17 per share, at which the company raised $1.29 billion.

“The proceeds will help us pay down debt, accelerate our growth, focus on core product innovation, expand our field organization globally, and boost our operational efficiency,” Ortho Clinical Diagnostics Chief Executive Chris Smith told Reuters.

Nearly half of the U.S. IPOs last year were from the healthcare sector, underscoring a strong demand for new biotechnology stocks, including Peter Thiel-backed AbCellera Biologics Inc and drug development consultancy Certara Inc.

Founded in 1939 in Linden, New Jersey, as a unit of U.S. drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, Ortho Clinical was acquired in 2014 by Carlyle Group for about $4 billion.

The company, which has about 4,500 employees, makes in-vitro diagnostics equipment and tests to monitor disease progression as well as determine patient-donor compatibility in blood transfusions.

Ortho Clinical reported a net loss of $171 million in the fiscal nine month period ended Sept. 27 compared to a net loss of $158 mln, a year earlier, according to its regulatory filing. It had debt of $3.71 billion as of Sept. 27.

J.P. Morgan, BofA Securities and Goldman Sachs & Co were the lead underwriters for its IPO.

Reporting by Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru and Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi