Third Rock's West Coast branch joins $27M round for Topica

A little more than a year ago Third Rock Ventures announced that it had pieced together a new, $426 million fund for up-and-coming biotechs. As part of that, the Cambridge, MA-based operation set up a West Coast office under ex-Portola chief Charles Homcy. And today Homcy got to start put some of that money to use in Palo Alto, CA, where Third Rock joined forces with Prospect Venture Partners and Yasuda Enterprise Development Corporation on a $27 million round for Topica Pharmaceuticals, a developer focused on an innovative new antifungal agent, luliconazole.

Earlier this year Topica revealed that a Phase I/IIa study for luliconazole had produced some promising results. And that set the stage for today's B round, as Topica prepares to vault into a Phase IIb/III study involving 300 patients.

"This Series B funding will allow Topica to conduct a robust Phase IIb/III clinical trial, that if successful, will confirm luliconazole's ability to meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's endpoints for approval," says CEO Greg Vontz. "Luliconazole has the promise to be a more effective and safe topical therapy for the treatment of onychomycosis than existing products."

The endpoint of the 52-week study, which is slated to begin in the first half, will be a complete cure. Homcy is joining Topica's board to help shepherd the group's investment.

- here's the Topica release