Novo, Novartis back dermatology startup with $16M A round

Just a year after Pfizer ($PFE) swept in to scoop up his anti-fibrosis drug developer Excaliard, Gordon Foulkes is back in business with a new San Diego-based biotech and $16 million in venture cash provided by a pair of Big Pharma venture backers.

The new venture, Thesan Pharmaceuticals, has in-licensed new technology on dermatology treatments from UC Irvine and won support from Novo Ventures and Novartis Venture Funds. And Foulkes will be focused on the lab work of Professor Daniele Piomelli, the Louise Turner Arnold Chair of Neurosciences at UCI and the director of drug discovery and development at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genoa, Italy.

"We believe Professor Piomelli's work offers a unique opportunity for developing a completely new class of anti-inflammatory agents, which can be moved rapidly into clinical development," said Peter Bisgaard, a partner at Novo Ventures. "Further, we look forward to working with Professor Piomelli and Thesan management to build the pipeline of future candidates."

"For many years, drug development in the dermatology field has been dominated by old drugs just re-formulated into more cosmetically appealing foams, gels or lotions," said Foulkes. "Thesan's mission is to develop new chemical entities with novel mechanisms of action in order to substantially improve treatment outcomes for patients with a variety of dermatological diseases."

- here's the press release