Malvern pharmaceutical purchased

A small specialty pharmaceutical company that is developing a drug to treat a facial redness condition said Tuesday it agreed to be purchased for $75 million in an upfront cash payment.

Vicept Therapeutics said its deal with Allergan Inc. of Irvine, Calif., includes potential future payments of $200 million if the drug reaches future milestones.

Founded in 2009 and backed by Vivo Ventures, Fidelity Biosciences and Sofinnova Ventures, Vicept’s lead investigational product, V-101, is a topical cream for the treatment of redness associated with rosacea.

Rosacea is a common, chronic skin disorder that affects more than 16 million Americans and over 45 million people worldwide, Vicept said in announcing the sale on Tuesday.

Its most common form shows itself in facial redness. It may also be accompanied by burning, stinging, skin sensitivity and intolerance to topically applied products. There is no currently approved therapy, Vicept said.

Neal Walker, president

and CEO of Vicept, said the company’s seven employees will stay on during a transition period, after which Allergan will take over the development of V-101.

“Typically companies our size move the product to a certain stage and you hand it off to a larger company to finish it,” Walker said. “We believe Allergan is the best company to complete the development and make the therapy available to the clinical community and their patients, fulfilling our shared mission.”

V-101 has achieved positive results in two randomized, placebo-controlled Phase II studies.

Walker said he, Stuart Shanler and Chris Powala are founders of Vicept.

Allergan is a 60-year-old multi-specialty health care company. It has 9,000 employees in more than 100 countries.

“The acquisition of Vicept Therapeutics will further enhance our dermatology research and development pipeline, and matches our corporate strategy and long-standing commitment to patients suffering from skin disorders,” said Dr. Scott M. Whitcup, executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Allergan. “We look forward to potentially providing a new treatment option to physicians and their patients suffering from this often burdensome condition.”

Once the transition is completed, “I’ll look at other opportunities,” Walker said.

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