Start-up Dermira secures $42M A round, acquires Valocor Therapeutics

Dermira, an upstart focused on drugs for skin conditions, has rallied venture investors for a $42 million Series A round, with part of the funding used to buy Valocor Therapeutics. The big first-round financing bankrolls an experienced group of dermatology drug veterans to advance a slate of experimental treatments against dermatological conditions such as acne and inflammatory skin diseases, according to the firm's release.

Tom Wiggans, whose previous skin-drug firm Connetics was sold for more than $600 million 5 years ago, is helming Redwood City, CA-based Dermira as CEO. Wiggans and his colleagues got the upstart going last year with the help of Bay City Capital. For the latest round, Bay City Capital participated along with Canaan Partners and New Enterprise Associates. The start-up plans to pump funds from the round into developing its pipeline, which includes the Valocor treatments such as a topical acne drug called lemuteporfin licensed from QLT. The upstart is also looking for other opportunities to license or acquire dermatology products.

"Although there are currently many serious and highly prevalent skin conditions that have unsatisfactory treatment options available, dermatology has attracted limited research and investment resources towards truly innovative therapeutics," Wiggans said in a statement. "We have assembled an outstanding combination of technology, management and investors to address this need and lead the development of new categories of dermatology products, with the potential to improve the way patients are treated."

Dan Wattier, Valocor's chief executive, is joining Dermira as chief commercial officer. The companies didn't disclose the financial details of Dermira's buyout of Valocor.

- here's the release