Exicure, Inc. Reports Full Year 2017 Financial Results and Corporate Progress
“Exicure is realizing the promise of our SNA technology through ongoing clinical advancements, including the launch of a Phase 1 clinical trial of AST-008, our TLR9 agonist being developed for immuno-oncology applications,” said Dr. David Giljohann, Chief Executive Officer of Exicure. “2017 was a foundational and transformative year for Exicure. By raising approximately $31.5 million in gross proceeds through a private placement financing and completion of a reverse merger, the company has the capital resources to drive our therapeutic pipeline into 2019. In 2018, we anticipate Phase 1 results from both AST-008, and XCUR17, our therapeutic candidate for psoriasis.”
- Launched the Phase 1 clinical trial of AST-008, a TLR9 agonist for immuno-oncology applications. Received authorization from Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom to conduct a Phase 1 clinical trial of AST-008. The company began dosing healthy subjects during the fourth quarter of 2017.
- Filed a clinical trial application for XCUR17. In February of 2018, Exicure received approval from Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte (BfArM), the medical regulatory body in Germany, to conduct a Phase 1 clinical trial.
- Completed reverse merger transaction and private placement financing. Through a series of steps beginning on September 26, 2017, Exicure completed a reverse merger and raised approximately $31.5 million in gross proceeds through a private placement of its common shares.
- Advanced towards public market trading. Exicure’s Form S-1 was declared effective on February 6, 2018. The company currently awaits FINRA’s approval of Form 211. Subsequent to FINRA approval, the company will finalize steps to be represented on the OTCQB market.
- Strengthened management team. Jocelyn Trokenheim joined the company as Vice President, Head of Business Development. Ms. Trokenheim most recently served as Vice President of Corporate Development at Takeda Pharmaceuticals where she was responsible for global strategic transactions, such as large-scale M&A, divestitures and strategic partnering.
AST-008: AST-008 is an SNA consisting of toll-like receptor 9, or TLR9, agonists designed for immuno-oncology applications. The company began subject dosing of AST-008 in a Phase 1 clinical trial during the fourth quarter 2017 and expects this trial to be completed in mid-2018. This clinical trial is evaluating the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of single and multiple doses by subcutaneous administration in healthy subjects. The company ultimately plans to clinically advance AST-008 in combination with checkpoint inhibitors.
XCUR17: XCUR17 is an antisense SNA that targets the mRNA encoding IL-17RA, a protein that is considered essential in the initiation and maintenance of psoriasis. Our proposed Phase 1 trial of XCUR17 is a microplaque study in patients with mild to moderate psoriasis. BfArM, the German regulatory authority, has approved the Phase 1 clinical trial. The company expects the first patient to be dosed in early 2018 and expects the clinical trial to be completed in mid-2018.
AST-005: AST-005 is an antisense SNA that targets the mRNA encoding TNF. AST-005 is the subject of our collaboration with Purdue Pharma L.P. Purdue Pharma L.P. has completed subject dosing in the Phase 1b clinical trial for AST-005. The Phase 1b clinical trial was conducted in Germany and was intended to evaluate, among other things, the safety and tolerability of AST-005.
2017 Financial Results and Financial Guidance
Cash Position: As of December 31, 2017, Exicure had cash and cash equivalents of $25.8 million compared to $19.6 million as of December 31, 2016. In 2017, Exicure raised approximately $31.5 million in gross proceeds from the private placement of common stock.
Research and Development (R&D) Expenses: Research and development expenses were $14.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2017 compared to $13.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. The increase in research and development expense of $0.4 million was primarily due to a net increase in costs related to the company’s clinical development programs of $2.2 million and higher employee-related expenses of $0.4 million, mostly offset by lower platform and discovery-related expense of $2.2 million.
General and Administrative (G&A) Expenses: General and administrative expenses were $7.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2017, compared to $3.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. The increase in general and administrative expenses of $3.5 million was primarily due to the write-off of costs related to financing, non-capitalized costs related to the reverse merger, higher stock-based (non-cash) compensation expense, and compliance costs and other costs associated with our transition to being a public company.
Net Loss: Net loss was $12.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2017, compared to net loss of $16.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2016.
Cash Runway Guidance: Exicure believes that, based on its current operating plans and as of the date of this press release, its existing cash and cash equivalents as of December 31, 2017 is sufficient to meet its anticipated cash requirements for the next twelve months.
Dr. David Giljohann, Chief Executive Officer of Exicure, will be giving a presentation on March 20th at the American Chemical Society (ACS) national meeting in New Orleans at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Dr. Giljohann will also be presenting at the Future Leaders in Biotech conference on March 23rd at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York.