Confluence Life Sciences CEO Walter Smith


BioTech Startup Acquired in Deal Valued at $100M

BioSTL contributed to this story

Aclaris Therapeutics Acquires Confluence Life Sciences

Click here for a photo gallery from the event

Click here for the full release from BioSTL

BioGenerator’s largest investment in any single company is paying off for St. Louis.  Confluence Life Sciences, Inc. has been acquired by Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. for the St. Louis company’s world-class research team, intellectual property and drug discovery assets.

Confluence will receive $20 million upfront, equally split between cash and stock and subject to customary adjustments.  Confluence shareholders also are eligible to receive up to $80 million in contingent payments upon the achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones, as well as potential royalty payments on drug product sales.

BioGenerator’s closing proceeds from its $1.4 million investment in Confluence will be reinvested into new St. Louis companies and used to improve the local innovation ecosystem.  A new, state-of-the-art lab is expected to triple the company’s space.  The plan is to keep 40 scientists in St. Louis and add up to 30 jobs.


Confluence Life Sciences was BioGenerator’s first lab tenant and continues to carry out its research there under the leadership of Joe Monahan and Walter Smith, former Pfizer executives who became entrepreneurs when Pfizer downsized its St. Louis operations.  BioGenerator worked with Monahan — the lead founder — to form the company, build out labs, purchase instrumentation, develop a business plan and raise capital to support Confluence’s cancer and autoimmune disease drug discovery research.

The equipment BioGenerator purchased for Confluence became the foundation for BioGenerator’s shared lab space, now home to more than 50 startups and available at little or no cost to new companies forming in the St. Louis region.  In addition to support from BioGenerator, Confluence also benefitted from other regional organizations, including securing significant ongoing investments by the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC), Mercury Fund and Epidarex Capital.

Additional funding to get Confluence off the ground also came from a $50,000 investment by the St. Louis County Helix Fund, the fund’s first ever investment in a company.  Additional early stage funding came from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s i6 grant and St. Louis Arch Angels.


About Confluence Life Sciences, Inc.
Confluence is a biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation, as well as serving the international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with specialty contract research capabilities.

About Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc.
Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. is a dermatologist-led biopharmaceutical company focused on identifying, developing and commercializing innovative and differentiated therapies to address significant unmet needs in medical and aesthetic dermatology.

About BioGenerator
BioGenerator produces a sustained pipeline of successful bioscience companies and entrepreneurs in St. Louis by creating, growing and investing in promising new enterprises.  BioGenerator is a nonprofit subsidiary of BioSTL.