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12:00 AM
 | 
Sep 15, 2008
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

More pep in their step

Peplin Inc. looks to be closing in on the payoff for its migration from Australia to the U.S., with fresh money and management it hopes will take its first product to market.

Since June, the company has completed a private placement, agreed to aquire Neosil Inc., and hired a new CEO. The money will allow it to complete a pair of Phase III trials, the first of which began last week, evaluating topical PEP005 gel for actinic keratosis, with an eye on building out its own commercialization infrastructure in both the U.S. and Australia.

The company recently hired Thomas Wiggans as CEO, completing the transition of key management from Australia to the U.S.

Peplin didn't have to look far in its search - Wiggans has been chairman since October 2007. He served as CEO of dermatology company Connetics Corp. from 1994 until its acquisition by Stiefel Laboratories Inc. in 2006 for about $640 million (see BioCentury, Oct. 30, 2006).

Like a number of other Australian companies, Peplin began moving to the U.S. beginning in April 2006 "to better access the capital and commercial markets," according to Wiggans. The plan paid off this year as the company raised almost $31 million in a pair of transactions.

In August, it raised $24 million in a private placement with GBS Venture; MPM Capital; New Enterprise Associates; Asia Union Investments; and Orbis Funds Management. And in June it...

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