Arcturus Pharmaceutical Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., saidThursday that it raised $3.5 million in a first-round venturecapital financing that will support development ofdermatological drugs.

The funding will support preclinical development of its firstthree proposed drugs, said Dana Ono, Arcturus' president andchief executive officer.

The company is working on a topical anti-pruritic for treatingatopic dermatitis, a topical anesthetic for use in skin surgeryprocedures, and a treatment for immunologically mediated skindisorders that is designed to inhibit hypersensitivity reactionsand is a potential alternative to topical corticosteroids.

It has rights of first refusal to dermatological inventionsdeveloped in the laboratories of Kenneth Arndt and StephenGalli, who are both researchers at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital,Harvard University professors, and company founders andmembers of its scientific advisory board. Arcturus also has aproduct option agreement with Tufts University.

Arcturus, which was founded last July, received a $600,000seed round of venture capital from Commonwealth BioVenturesInc., which is associated with the Massachusetts BiotechnologyResearch Institute, both of Worcester, Mass. JoiningCommonwealth on the first-round funding were Dillon, Read &Co. Inc. of New York and BancBoston Ventures, the venturecapital arm of the Bank of Boston.

Arcturus also announced Thursday appointments of Larry R.Brown as director of formulation development and Mary BethCicero as director of marketing and business development.

Brown, who has experience in polymer-based and transdermaldrug delivery systems, was previously with Enzytech Inc.,Harbor Medical Devices and Moleculon.

Cicero was vice president of business development forCytoMed, executive director of marketing for SeronoLaboratories and marketing manager for Dermik Laboratories.

Arcturus expects to move its headquarters to Woburn, Mass.,this summer.

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