Shares of Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRS), a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company, fell by more than 10% in early morning trading on Thursday. This southward move was sparked by a $65 million public offering intended to fund the regulatory filing of Aclaris' lead product candidate, A-101, a topical solution for the treatment of a fairly common noncancerous skin growth known as seborrheic keratosis (SK); and to potentially raise a sales force upon its approval.
Aclaris recently announced positive top-line results from A-101's twin pivotal late-stage trials, where this topical solution effectively cleared a highly significant percentage of SK lesions in comparison to patients receiving placebo. While this clinical development is certainly great news for shareholders going forward, the fact of the matter is that the biotech's last stated cash position of $84 million simply wasn't enough for it to successfully transition into the commercial phase of its life cycle. Simply put, this sizable secondary offering is a necessary evil right now -- but one that could pay bigger dividends down the road.
Aclaris is hoping to have A-101's regulatory filing in the hands of the FDA sometime in first quarter of 2017. So, if that line holds, this prescription topical solution could reach the market by perhaps the fourth quarter of next year.
On the valuation side of the ledger, A-101 has the potential to be a particularly important catalyst for the company going forward. After all, 83 million Americans are reportedly afflicted with non-cancerous skin lesions, meaning that this product candidate would only have to capture a small slice of this huge market to be a noteworthy revenue source for a company with a market cap of $446 million at preset.
All in all, A-101's fairly strong late-stage results and its compelling market opportunity arguably merit a deeper look at this speculative biotech stock -- even though investors should always bear in mind that nothing is ever a sure thing when it comes to the FDA.