Newly formed dermatology therapeutics firm Dermira raised $42 million in a Series A financing round to fund the acquisition of Canadian firm Valocor Therapeutics and support further development of the company’s pipeline of dermatology programs for treating acne, inflammatory skin diseases, and other dermatologic conditions. Investors in Dermira include Bay City Capital, New Enterprise Associates, and Canaan Partners.
Priority products for further development include lemuteporfin topical solution (LTS), a selective topical photodynamic therapy (PDT) for acne licensed from QLT. Dermira says it is currently initiating a Phase I/II clinical proof of concept study with LTS. The firm’s preclinical pipeline of dermatology products also includes DRM01 (formerly Valocor’s VAL-001), a topical sebum biosynthesis enzyme inhibitor targeting acne and sebaceous gland hyperactivity, and DRM02 (formerly VAL-002), a topical kinase inhibitor targeting inflammatory skin diseases.
DRM02 is a selective inhibitor of IL-1, TNFα-induced signaling in keratinocytes, and has demonstrated efficacy in skin inflammation models following topical delivery, Dermira states. The firm’s objective is to develop the drug as a topical treatment for inflammatory skin diseases, which demonstrates comparable efficacy to topical calcineurin inhibitors, but without demonstrating systemic toxicity.
California-based Dermira says it will in addition look for new development and commercial opportunities in the dermatology field for licensing or acquisition.