March 8, 2018


Aerie changes HQ to Durham, giving the Triangle another public company

[Originally posted by Triangle Business Journal— March 8, 2018]


Because of Durham’s importance to Duke University spinout Aerie Pharmaceuticals, the company has named the city its headquarters.

Aerie’s facility in Durham is the company’s largest in the U.S., with more than 45,000 square feet, upward of 50 employees, and a unique mix of laboratory and office space – at a ratio of about 60 percent to 40 percent. But it’s not just about size, says Tad Heitmann, head of communications at Aerie.

For Aerie, “regardless of size, Durham remains an important center of gravity for the company, with our heritage in the work of Dr. David Epstein at Duke, the drug discovery and pre-clinical science that led to our breakthrough first product in glaucoma and our large kinase library, and the ongoing development work that is filling our product pipeline,” says Heitmann.

Aside from Durham, Aerie (Nasdaq: AERI) has additional U.S. locations in Irvine, California, and Bedminster, New Jersey. The company previously called Irvine its principal office. It’s also invested in a manufacturing facility in Dublin, Ireland.

Durham’s headcount is just slightly larger than Irvine and larger than Bedminster by at least 10 employees, according to Heitmann. “We continue to add personnel in all three offices – the most significant growth, of course, being field-based as we hire a 100-person U.S. sales force.”

That field-based sales force is being built out in advance of a mid-second quarter commercial launch of the company’s first U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved glaucoma product Rhopressa.

With the company expecting to submit a new drug application to the FDA for another glaucoma product Roclatan in the second quarter, the same sales force hired for Rhopressa is expected to be sufficient to handle Roclatan if approved as well.