Verrica Pharma bankrolls PhIII with a $75M IPO raise for lead skin drug

Just in case you’re wondering if the biotech IPO window is still open, dermatology biotech Verrica Pharmaceuticals has bagged $75 million in its Nasdaq debut. That won’t qualify as stellar in this market, but it’s OK.

Matt Davidson

The $15 per share price falls squarely within the range the West Chester, PA-based company was looking for when it set its terms. The infusion of cash will be enough to fund lead product VP-102 through clinical development in the molluscum contagiosum indication (a viral skin infection characterized by bumps), from two Phase III clinical trials, regulatory submission to a potential commercial launch.

The plan is to spend approximately $61 million on that lead program — which Verrica says addresses an unmet need — and then dedicate $12 million toward a program for common warts, currently in Phase II. The rest might cover anything from the preclinical VP-103 drug to in-licensing additional product candidates.

CSO Matt Davidson founded the company in 2013, less than a year after he got his PhD in immunology from Stanford, and has since passed the reins to Novartis vet Ted White.

Paul Manning

Paul Manning, who’s also invested in SMA gene therapy star AveXis (now acquired by Novartis) and now-commercial Dova Pharma, is the board chairman and majority stakeholder, controlling 58.4% through PBM VP Holdings. Perceptive Life Sciences Master Fund and OrbiMed also stands to gain with their respective 12.1% and 6.4% stake, trailing only Davidson, who has kept 15.6% for himself.

Verrica plans to list under the symbol $VRCA. BofA Merrill Lynch, Jefferies and Cowen are serving as joint book-running managers.

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