Aerie Pharmaceuticals has filed paperwork on Tuesday to take the company public.The company formally announced its IPO plans later in a press release.

It is looking to raise $57.5 million, according to an SEC filing.

If the IPO is successful, Aerie would join a growing number of life science firms either based in the Triangle or who have major operations here to go public. The list includes Quintiles, Regado Biosciences, HEAT Biologics,  LipoScience and Chimerix.

Information provided in the SEC document is limited.

“We are an emerging growth company, as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, and will be subject to reduced public company reporting requirements,” the company said.

However, the filing shows that Aerie has aggressive plans for growth.

“We are a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapies for the treatment of patients with glaucoma and other diseases of the eye. Glaucoma is one of the largest segments in the global ophthalmic market. In 2012, branded and generic glaucoma product sales exceeded $4.5 billion in the United States, Europe and Japan in aggregate, according to IMS, and prescription volume is expected to grow, driven in large part by the aging population. Our strategy is to advance our product candidates, including dual-action AR-13324 and triple-action PG324, to regulatory approval and commercialize these products ourselves in the United States. We plan to build a commercial team of approximately 100 sales representatives to target approximately 10,000 high prescribing eye-care professionals throughout the United States. For certain key markets outside the United States, including Europe, Japan and emerging markets, we intend to explore partnership opportunities through collaboration and licensing arrangements. We plan to further maximize our commercial potential by identifying and advancing additional product candidates, both through our internal discovery efforts and through possible in-licensing or acquisitions of additional ophthalmic products or product candidates that would complement our current product portfolio. Our senior leadership team has extensive experience in the ophthalmology market and has overseen the development and commercialization at major pharmaceutical companies of several successful ophthalmic products, including Acular, Alphagan P, Bepreve, Besivance, Bromday, Istalol, Ocuflox, Retisert, Vitrase, Xibrom and Zylet. If our products are approved and we are commercially successful, we believe Aerie could become a market-leading ophthalmic company.”

The biotech firm is focused on ophthalmology and calls itself the “glaucoma company,” recently began raising another round of venture capital financing.

The privately-held New Jersey company, which operates its R&D labs in Research Triangle Park, set out last December to raise that $15 million. The company’s latest securities filings earlier this month show it has reached that amount and now aims to boost that total to $18 million.

The financing is a combination of debt, equity and options to acquire other securities. A total of five unnamed investors participated in the financing. Investors in Aerie include Clarus Ventures and Sofinova Ventures, who led a $30 million series B round in 2011. Other investors include Osage University Partners, Alta Partners and TPG Biotech.

Aerie has two clinical-stage compounds focused on glaucoma. The company’s lead candidate, a “dual-action” product, has completed phase II clinical trials and is ready to start phase III studies. A second candidate approaches glaucoma with a “triple action” mechanism. That compound is moving toward phase II studies. The company’s technology is based on research originally developed at Duke University.

Aerie is led by a new CEO. Dr. Vicente Anido, who was chairman of Aerie’s board of directors, took over as CEO in July from Dr. Thomas van Haarlem, who was the founding CEO of the company. Van Haarlem resigned his seat on Aerie’s board but remained as a consultant. He is also president of Novaer Holdings, which is the owner of ophthalmic technologies developed at Aerie.

The IPO announcement:

  • Aerie Pharmaceuticals Files Registration Statement for Proposed Initial Public Offering

BEDMINSTER, N.J & RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. & NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE) – Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc., announced today that the Company has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to Aerie’s proposed initial public offering.

The offering will consist of common stock of Aerie. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not been determined. A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the SEC, but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold, nor may offers to buy be accepted, prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective. Aerie plans to list its common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market under the ticker symbol “AERI.”

RBC Capital Markets and Stifel will serve as joint book-running managers for the offering. Lazard Capital Markets and Canaccord Genuity will serve as co-managers.

This offering will be made only by means of a prospectus. A copy of the preliminary prospectus, when available, can be obtained from RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Attention: Equity Syndicate, Three World Financial Center, 200 Vesey Street, 8th Floor, New York, New York 10281, or by telephone at (877) 822-4089, or from Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, One Montgomery Street, Suite 3700, San Francisco, California 94104, or by telephone at (415) 364-2720.

This news release shall not constitute an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.