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"Speaking of Vitiligo..."

Update About Villaris Therapeutics

Monday, October 03, 2022

I’ve received many requests for updates about Villaris Therapeutics, the first company that I founded three and a half years ago to develop a new treatment for vitiligo. I am excited to share that an agreement was announced today whereby Villaris Therapeutics will be acquired by Incyte! As a reminder, our goal at Villaris was to develop an antibody to block the IL15Rb chain as a potential treatment for vitiligo. We have been working full speed on the development of this treatment since we started Villaris and believe it is poised to be an important new option for patients someday.

When starting the company, I partnered with Medicxi Ventures, an investment firm located in London and Geneva that is focused on supporting new ideas to develop innovative treatments for human diseases. I first discussed our idea to target IL-15 signaling as a potentially durable treatment for vitiligo with Michele Ollier, one of the firm’s founding partners, and she really liked it! You can read more about the details of the idea here. We got started right away, recruiting Andrea Epperly, PhD, to lead the company as our CEO. Andrea did an outstanding job “steering the ship,” and along with our expert consultants, Jonny Finlay, PhD and Kingsley Essien, PhD, we developed auremolimab, a monoclonal antibody to treat vitiligo, that we expect will enter clinical development next year.

Incyte, the company that developed Opzelura™ (ruxolitinib) Cream, also saw the potential of Villaris and auremolimab. We believe that through this acquisition, auremolimab will benefit from the expertise and resources that Incyte brings to bear and that the proven success of the Company and its development team – who have successfully delivered large-scale, global Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of new therapies in vitiligo – are necessary to accelerate the development of auremolimab as a potential future treatment for patients with vitiligo.

For all of these reasons we at Villaris Therapeutics hope you will share in our excitement at today’s announcement!

You can read more about this announcement here