After Allergan deal, biotech vets raise $21M for skin drug startup

Venture investors have recommitted to a familiar team of dermatology drug developers. The team, which sold Vicept Therapeutics to Botox maker Allergan ($AGN) last year, has formed Aclaris Therapeutics and raised $21 million in a Series A round to fund development of new dermatology therapies.

Dr. Neal Walker, the co-founder and CEO of Malvern, PA-based Aclaris, has been on a roll with companies he's helped launch in recent years. He previously led Vicept and sold that dermatology specialist to Allergan in July 2011 in deal valued at $275 million. In August, the consulting giant Accenture bought the pharma software and services company Octagon Research Solutions, which is another company Walker co-founded. And his team includes Stephen Tullman, executive chairman of the new company, who had the same position at Vicept.

Venture firms like to play their winning hands. For Aclaris, Walker and Tullman have won support from previous Vicept investors Vivo Ventures, Fidelity Biosciences and Sofinnova Ventures for the startup's first-round financing. The funding is expected to fuel development of a new topical dermatology treatment for for unspecified skin conditions.  

"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," Walker said in a press release. "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."

The Philadelphia Business Journal previously reported news about Aclaris' financing based on an SEC filing last month.

- here's the release
- get the PBJ's report