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Aclaris Therapeutics Acquires Confluence Life Sciences in USD 100m Deal.

M2 EQUITYBITES-August 11, 2017-Aclaris Therapeutics Acquires Confluence Life Sciences in USD 100m Deal

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11 August 2017 - US-based drugmaker Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACRS) has acquired US-based biotechnology firm Confluence Life Sciences, Inc., the company said.

Confluence Life Sciences is a privately held firm focused on the discovery and development of kinase inhibitors to treat inflammatory and immunological disorders and cancer.

At the closing, Aclaris paid approximately USD 10m in cash and issued approximately 350,000 shares of its common stock, with a value of approximately USD 10m on the closing date, to the former equityholders of Confluence.

Confluence also stand to receive around USD 80m following the close of the deal, in royalty payments and payments for achieving certain milestones.

This strategic acquisition expands Aclaris' inflammation and immunology pipeline with the addition of Confluence's lead product candidates: CDD-450, a novel MK-2 pathway inhibitor, topical Janus kinase inhibitors, and IL2-inducible T-cell kinase inhibitor programmes.

JAK inhibitors may be useful for treating inflammatory and autoimmune disorders such as alopecia areata, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis and others.

ITK inhibitors are non-receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors of the activity of IL2-inducible T-cell kinase, thereby interfering with the development and effector function of immune system T-cells. ITK is a key signaling component of all T-cell receptors and is also key for regulating IL-17 expression.

The combination of inhibiting TCRs (inhibiting T-cell maturation and activation) as well as IL-17 means an ITK inhibitor can be thought of as a "small molecule anti-IL-17," but with broader immunomodulatory activity.

ITK inhibitors have potential therapeutic applications in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

Aclaris plans to retain all current talent and will continue to support its existing drug development plans with expected revenue from the contract research business.

Aclaris Therapeutics is a dermatologist-led biopharmaceutical company focused on identifying, developing and commercialising innovative and differentiated therapies to address significant unmet needs in medical and aesthetic dermatology.

The company is focused on large, underserved market segments with no FDA-approved medications or where treatment gaps exist. Aclaris is based in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

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