Verrica Pharmaceuticals Set to Launch $86 Million IPO


Verrica Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in West Chester, Pennsylvania, is launching an initial public offering (IPO), hoping to raise $86 million.

Verrica was founded in 2013 and focuses on dermatology. It expects to list on the Nasdaq under the VRCA ticker symbol. Underwriters are Bofa Merril Lynch, Jefferies and Cowen & Company.

The company’s lead product is VP-102, a proprietary topical therapy for several common skin conditions, including Molluscum contagiosum (warts) and Verruca Vulgaris (plantar warts). It is launching two Phase III trials.

One study, NCT03377803, is currently recruiting patients to evaluate the safety and efficacy of VP-102 topical film-forming solution in patients with Molluscum contagiosum. The drug will be applied every 21 days for up to four applications on patients two years and older. Patients will be evaluated at Day 84. It is expected to study 250 patients who will receive the drug or placebo in a three-to-two ratio.

The second trial, NCT03377790, is also evaluating VP-102 in patients with Molluscum contagiosum with the same conditions.

Not much is known about the company. Crunchbase indicates that as of December 17, 2015, it had raised $2.4 million in venture funding.

The company is led by Ted White, president and chief executive officer. More recently he was president and general manager of Aqua Pharmaceuticals, another dermatology-focused company. Before that, he held leadership positions at Novartis for over 20 years.

Howard Welgus is Verrica’s chief medical officer. A board-certified dermatologist, he was previously the vice president of research-and-development and chief medical officer of Nycomed U.S. From 1999 to 2009, he was vice president of R&D for the Dermatology and Inflammation Therapeutic Areas of Warner Lambert, and then Pfizer.

The company’s prospectus summary says, “Our lead product candidate, VP-102, is a proprietary drug-device combination of our novel topical solution of cantharadin, a widely recognized, naturally sourced agent to treat topical dermatological conditions, administered through our single-use precision application. We are initially developing VP-102 for the treatment of Molluscum contagiosum, or Molluscum, a highly contagious and primarily pediatric viral skin disease, and common warts. There are currently no products approved by the U.S.Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, nor is there an established standard of care for either of these diseases, resulting in significant undertreated populations in two of the largest unmet needs in dermatology.”

The clinical trials are expected to report top-line results in the first half of 2019. If favorable, the company expects to submit a New Drug Application (NDA) under a special protocol assessment (SPA) with the FDA.

Verrica retains exclusive, royalty-free rights to the product candidates across all indications.

Cantharadin has been used to treat molluscum, but has numerous limitations, including that it is not FDA approved. Verrica indicated there are often problems with purity variability and “is often not produced with good manufacturing practices.”

The company’s VP-102 is believed to solve several of those issues, including non-invasive and minimal pain on application, GMP-compliant with improved stability and purity, potential to increase physician efficacy, and has the potential to be FDA approved.

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