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Medical Device Daily Senior Staff Writer

Alliqua (Langhorne, Pennsylvania), a wound management and drug delivery company, has seen a lot of changes in the past six months, starting at the top.

Dave Johnson joined the Alliqua board of directors as executive chairman back in December, and in February he took over as the company's CEO.

"I've been in medical devices my entire career," Johnson told Medical Device Daily. Prior to Alliqua, Johnson served as CEO of ConvaTec (Skillman, New Jersey), a company that plays in four areas, one being wound care.

"When I stepped down from running a big company I decided I didn't want to do that anymore, but I did want to find a small company that had both a technology that excited me, a platform to build from which excited me, and a board which shared the vision I did," he said. And, he added, he has found all of that with Alliqua.

Recently the company raised $3 million through the sale of common stock and warrants. The first $1 million investment took place between April and May while the remaining $2 million was raised at the end of June and was led by a group of Alliqua's management and board of directors, including Johnson.

Proceeds from the capital raises will provide additional working capital to support the company's ongoing expansion of its wound dressing portfolio, which includes marketed products SilverSeal and Hydress dressings, Johnson told MDD. It will also be used to further the development of Alliqua's transdermal drug delivery platform, as well as other potential business expansion opportunities.

"We are excited to have completed this important financing to help us support our continued sales growth, as well as the advancement of key wound care products," Johnson said. "Moreover, I believe that the substantial financial commitment on the part of the executives and board members who contributed to this financing round is indicative of our commitment to the success of Alliqua as well as our belief in the vast commercial potential we all believe exists in our technology. Together, we will continue to work diligently to drive sales growth, improve design and functionality of our dressings, expand our product lines and further our transdermal drug delivery platform."

Raising capital to move the company forward was Johnson's first goal as CEO. The second goal he set out to accomplish was to build a strong management team, which he says he has done by bringing in some of his colleagues who worked for him in the past.

The next goal is to take Alliqua's two products, SilverSeal and Hydress, which already are FDA cleared, and build strong sales and distribution channels for those products.

"Our vision for the wound care side of the business is to build a suite of technological solutions so that the wound care practicioner will be able to solve the challenges that are presented to them in both chronic and acute wounds," Johnson said. Part of that strategy will include licensing agreements, which he says he expects to be able to announce by the end of the year.

"We're a vibrant little company with a couple of great products," he said. "We see ourselves expanding."

He also told MDD that he would "be disappointed" if the company has not signed up one additional technology by the end of the year to expand its technology offering. "We're building the foundation appropriately, so that we have the ability to have sustainable growth for years to come, not just to have very early term success."

The company reported second quarter revenue of $499,000, a 93% increase over the second quarter of 2012, and a 28% increase over the first quarter of 2013. This revenue growth was largely the result of a renewed focus on the company's contract manufacturing business, both from existing and new customers, Johnson noted.

"Our plan to leverage our hydrogel technology as an effective drug delivery mechanism continues to be developed in parallel with our wound care initiatives," Johnson said in a recent letter to shareholders. He noted a recently launched proof of principle study designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of lidocaine in a hydrogel patch. "We are very excited about the possibility of entering into this large and growing marketplace."

Amanda Pedersen, 912-660-2282;

Published  August 2, 2013

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