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Verrica Pharma: Hit Or Miss?

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Shares of Verrica Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRCA) are up 12 percent year-to-date while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB), a bellwether of investor sentiment, has gained only 8 percent for the same period.

Verrica Pharma is a late-stage medical dermatology company.

The Company's lead product candidate is VP-102, a proprietary topical drug-device combination therapy containing a novel topical solution of 0.7% cantharidin, for the treatment of Molluscum contagiosum and Verruca vulgaris (common warts).

In January of this year, the Company announced positive topline results from two pivotal phase III trials of VP-102 for the treatment of molluscum contagiosum, dubbed CAMP-1 and CAMP-2.

Molluscum contagiosum is a highly contagious, primarily pediatric, common skin disease affecting an estimated 6 million people in the United States. There are no FDA-approved treatments for this disease.

In the two trials, VP-102 exhibited a clinically and statistically significant proportion of subjects demonstrating complete clearance of all treatable molluscum lesions compared to placebo.

The Company is planning to submit a New Drug Application for VP-102 for molluscum contagiosum under the 505(b)(1) regulatory pathway in the second half of 2019.

A phase II trial of VP-102 in common warts, dubbed COVE-1, is ongoing, with data expected this quarter (Q2, 2019).

Verruca vulgaris, also known as common wart, is a common benign outgrowth of the skin caused by certain subtypes of human papillomavirus.

The Company is also planning to initiate a phase II trial of VP-102 in external genital warts this quarter.

Also in the pipeline is VP-103, which is in pre-clinical development for plantar warts.

Being a clinical-stage company, Verrica Pharma has not generated any product revenues to date.

In the first quarter ended March 31, 2019, Verrica reported a net loss of $7.5 million or $0.30 per share compared to a net loss of $1.8 million or $0.65 per share for the same period in 2018.

The Company ended March 31, 2019, with cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $83.3 million.

Verrica Pharma made its debut on the Nasdaq Global Market on June 15, 2018, offering its shares at a price of $15 each. The stock has thus far hit a low of $6.44 and a high of $23.29.

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