Aclaris Therapeutics, a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company focused on dermatological therapeutics, has secured $21 million in Series A financing.
Dr. Neal Walker, a board-certified dermatologist and experienced entrepreneur, will lead Aclaris as CEO, president and director. Walker has co-founded a number of life-science companies and brings more than 18 years of pharmaceutical industry experience in R&D, regulatory affairs and business development to Aclaris. Most recently, he served as founder, CEO and director of Vicept Therapeutics, which was acquired by Allergan in July 2011. Walker also co-founded Octagon Research Solutions and served as its director until its recent acquisition by Accenture in August 2012.
"We brought together our experienced management team from Vicept to create a new company that will be focused on the development of therapeutics for dermatologists and their patients," said Walker. "We appreciate that our key former investors also support our vision for Aclaris and have funded this Series A financing to help us acquire and advance new therapeutics to the market."
Stephen Tullman, the former executive chairman of Vicept, will serve as chairman of the board of Aclaris. He currently serves as president and CEO of Ceptaris Therapeutics. In addition, Tullman is managing partner of NeXeption, a biotechnology management company formed to identify and acquire novel drug candidates that address unmet medical needs. Previously, he co-founded and led several companies including Ception Therapeutics, a biologics company that was acquired by Cephalon.
Albert Cha, M.D., Ph.D. and Ketan Patel, M.D., will also join the board of directors. Cha is a managing partner at Vivo Ventures, where he invests in private and public biopharmaceutical and medical device companies. Patel is a principal with Fidelity Biosciences, where he focuses on investing in private life sciences companies globally.
"Vivo is excited about Aclaris because we believe in the management team, the product, and continued need for novel dermatologic treatments," said Cha. "The Aclaris team has a proven track record of identifying and rapidly developing novel products that address unmet patient needs."
The Aclaris management team is rounded out with experienced leaders who also served with Walker at Vicept, including Christopher Powala as COO, Stuart Shanler, M.D., as CSO, Frank Ruffo as CFO and Brian Beger as vice president of clinical operations.