A new biopharma focused on treating inflammatory skin disorders by developing liver X receptor (LXR) agonists has been launched with $21.5 million in Series A venture capital.
Alexar Therapeutics was formed after biopharma management company NeXeption rounded up the financing, led by venture capital firm New Science Ventures and investment advisor Third Point Ventures with participation from another investment advisor, Palo Alto Investors.
NeXeption said the $21.5 million raised will fund initial development of Alexar’s lead compound, A-110, a topical LXR agonist for inflammatory cutaneous disorders.
“The NeXeption business model allows us to develop promising drug candidates like A-110 by creating and funding independent operating companies that are focused solely on maximizing the value of each asset,” Steve Tullman, Alexar’s chairman and managing partner with NeXeption, said in a statement. “NeXeption’s highly concentrated experience is essential to optimizing product profiles, executing development plans, and efficiently moving these assets from concept to launch.”
Tullman most recently served as chairman and CEO of Ceptaris Therapeutics, acquired by Actelion in a deal that closed September 19 for $250 million, plus possible future payments tied to net sales of Valchlor and/or achievement of other commercial milestones. Ceptaris developed and secured FDA approvals in August for the gel Valchlor (mechlorethamine) for early stage mycosis fungoides, a type of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
Before Ceptaris, Tullman was executive chairman of Vicept, acquired by Allergan in 2011—just two years after its formation—for $75 million up front, up to $200 million tied to achieving future development and regulatory milestones, plus additional payments if acquired products achieve sales milestones. Vicept’s lead investigational product, V-101, is a topical cream for redness associated with rosacea that achieved positive results in two randomized, placebo-controlled Phase II studies.
Another industry veteran, Dave Pfeiffer, will serve as CEO and director. Pfeiffer has more than 25 years’ industry experience that began at the old SmithKlineBeecham (now part of GlaxoSmithKline), where he held positions of increasing responsibility in finance, sales, marketing, and R&D. Most recently, he served as chief commercial officer and board member of Ellman International, a private equity-backed surgical device and aesthetic procedures company.