Dermala Inc., a consumer dermatology company developing personalized microbiome-based solutions for acne and other skin conditions, has raised $6.73 million in Series A financing.
The round was co-led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation and True Wealth Ventures. Other participating investors include Seventure Partners and Cove Fund.
The funding will be used to scale operations, manufacturing, and commercial efforts for its acne products, said Lada Rasochova chief executive at Dermala.
Founded in 2014, the company utilizes the human microbiome, data analytics, and consumer engagement to develop over-the-counter dermatology treatments for the most prevalent skin diseases and conditions, such as acne, eczema, and aging.
Its technology was licensed from UC San Diego and independently developed research. Dermala’s products contain prebiotic, probiotic, and postbiotic formulations which claim to improve skin health naturally.
“The consumer dermatology category is ripe for science-based solutions to treat common skin conditions,” said Rasochova. “One size just does not fit all when it comes to acne. Most acne treatments have been on the market for decades, but they do not work for everyone. Our proprietary platform combines human microbiome science with data analytics to identify product formulations that deliver the best results and help our customers feel confident, healthy and beautiful in their skin.”
In 2019, the company launched its flagship product FOBO (Fear of Breaking Out) Kit, a microbiome-based solution for acne. The solution comprises multiple acne treatments and oral supplements paired with an Acne Tracker app, which enables customers to track their skin health.
Since launch, the company has served “tens of thousands” of customers with growing demand to expand its product line, said Rasochova.
“Our demand and overall sales have been at an all-time high, we now have to manufacture much more than what we have ever planned for,” said Rasochova. “Our Series A funding came at the right time, as we needed to scale up our manufacturing efforts to be able to meet the demand from the customers.”
Reputable investors are backing the San Diego company because of its science-based approach within the OTC consumer dermatology category.
“Dermala brings together science-based products with robust data analytics to deliver value to the customer with a unique skin health solution. The app enables Dermala’s product customization and helps customers with treatment compliance. It is truly unique within the OTC consumer dermatology category,” said Sara Brand, founding general partner at True Wealth Ventures.
Across the globe, approximately 1 billion people have acne, with roughly 60 million from the U.S. also being affected. A competitive industry, Rasochova said many competitors are using outdated chemicals and formulations, leaving opportunity to introduce an innovative solution.
“Over the last 60 years, there has been little to no progress made in acne space,” said Rasochova. “We now have a new solution that will provide better outcomes for people with acne, including those that aren’t getting the right help they need from other products on the market or their dermatologist.”
Expansion Lies Ahead
Looking forward, the company will also expand its research and development activities exploring new personalized microbiome-based products for other skin conditions including eczema and skin wellness.
To support this growth, the company will hire additional staffers in key roles including finance and operations, sales and marketing, and logistics, among others.
Headquartered in JLABS, the startup employs eight staffers, Dermala’s plan is to move into a new facility during the first half of 2021.
Before Dermala, Rasochova spent more than 15 years in the biotech and pharma industries. She served as the director of new business development and R&D at Dowpharma, a division of the Dow Chemical Company. Prior to Dow, she worked at biotech startup Mycogen, which was acquired by Dow for more than $1 billion.