Arcturus Pharmaceutical Corp. announced that it has completeda $5 million second round of venture financing.

The financing was led by Highland Capital Partners. Three first-round investors -- Dillon Read & Co. Inc., CommonwealthBioVentures Inc. and BancBoston Ventures -- also participatedin this latest financing.

Arcturus was formed in 1991 to develop and commercializeproducts for dermatological disorders. In August of that yearthe Cambridge, Mass., company received $600,000 seed capitalfrom Commonwealth BioVentures, which is associated with theMassachusetts Biotechnology Research Institute, both ofWorcester.

Arcturus' first-round venture capital financing garnered $3.5million in March 1992, according to Rex Bright, the company'spresident and chief executive officer.

Arcturus intends to use the new financing to "support thepreclinical development and initial clinical trials of its two leadproducts, a topical anti-pruritic and a topical anesthetic, as wellas continued preclinical studies of its topicalimmunosuppressive compounds and a number of other noveltherapies for dermatological diseases," commented Bright.

The company is exploring new chemical entities that areimmunosuppressants for skin diseases such as eczema,psoriasis and contact dermatitis, Bright told BioWorld.

Arcturus has developed and submitted patent applications fora drug-delivery method to allow its products to penetrate theskin in topical applications, explained Bright. The only anti-pruretic (anti-itch) drug on the market is a systemic drug(Atarax), and the most common injectable anesthetic for in-office procedures is lidocaine, said Bright.

Arcturus is developing dexchlorpheniramine as a topical anti-pruretic, and intends to formulate lidocaine in a topicalapplication as well. "We intend to file investigational new drugapplications (INDs) on these two products this year," Bright toldBioWorld.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.

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