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Exicure, Inc.

XCUR / NasdaqGS / $2.31

March 2, 2021


Business Overview



Exicure, Inc. (the Company) is developing nucleic acid therapeutics based on its proprietary Spherical Nucleic Acid (SNA) technology platform. SNAs are dense, radial arrangements of synthetic nucleic acids on a nanoparticle. They enter cells via ubiquitous scavenger receptors, allowing high cell uptake, extra-hepatic delivery (shown in both humans and mice), and enhanced stability inside cells. SNAs can be delivered locally or topically to target tissues, thereby expanding the potential application of nucleic acid therapeutics.


The Company has an extensive development pipeline. It includes immuno-oncology (Cavrotolimod, in combination with checkpoint inhibitors, for Merkel cell carcinoma and for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma); neurology (XCUR-FXN for Friedreichs ataxia and XCUR-Neuro-02 for an undisclosed ailment), and dermatology (XCUR17 for inflammatory disorders, netherton syndrome, and hair loss disorders).


The SNA technology platform has already demonstrated significant success with its partnership initiatives:



Exicure and Dublin-based Allergan Pharmaceuticals International Limited initiated a partnership in late 2019 to discover and develop two SNA-based treatments for hair loss disorders. Exicure will incur all costs for discovery prior to an Allergan option exercise, following which Allergan will be responsible for all follow-on costs. In addition to up to $725 million in upfront and milestone payments, tiered royalties were set at percentages in the range of mid-single digits to mid-teens.



In early 2019, the Company and Dermelix Biotherapeutics initiated a partnership targeting Netherton syndrome and up to five other rare skin indications. In addition to up to $166 million in milestone payments per indication, royalties on annual net sales were set at percentages in the low double digits.


Encouraging preclinical studies provide a basis for exploration of therapies for many ophthalmological genetic disorders. There are approximately 250 rare disorders of the eye with known genetic targets, and SNAs may have advantages over gene therapies.


The intellectual property portfolio is extensive, including an exclusive worldwide license to make, use, and sell SNAs for therapeutic applications. The Company holds more than 85 issued or allowed patents and 125+ pending applications across multiple nucleic acid modalities.



2021 Focus



On January 21, 2021, the Company announced that the FDA has granted Fast Track designations for cavrotolimod (AST-008) for two development programs.


Launch IND enabling studies late in the year for XCUR-FXN in Friedreichs ataxia.


Advance the Allergan collaboration in hair loss disorders and the Dermelix collaboration in Netherton syndrome.


Expand preclinical activities in neurology and ophthalmology.



Management and Directors



The backgrounds of the management and directors are outlined on the Exicure website and SEC filings. The BoD consists of seven non-employee members and David A. Gilhohann, CEO. The Company also maintains a prestigious Advisory Board, whose backgrounds are detailed on the Exicure website.


David A. Giljohann, CEO and a director, was the Exicure founding scientist in 2011 and the founding scientist of AuraSense, LLC in 2009. AuraSense is the largest Exicure shareholder.






Income Statement (9 months through 09/30/20 vs. 09/30/19)


Collaboration revenue: 16,473,000 vs. 986,000

R&D expense: 22,222,000 vs. 11,073,000

G&A expense: 7,227,000 vs. 6,421,000

Operating income (loss): (12,976,000) vs (16,508,000)

Other income (expense): 993,000 vs. (186,000)

Net income (loss): (11,983,000) vs. (16,322,000)

Earnings (loss) per basic and diluted common share: (0.14) vs. (0.32)

Weighted average number of common shares: 87,160,520 vs. 51,200,072



Balance Sheet (09/30/20)


Cash & equivalents: 31,459,000

Short-term investments: 62,621,000

Current assets: 96,829,000

Total assets: 111,280,000

Current liabilities: 12,609,000

Total liabilities: 37,852,000

Stockholders equity: 73,428,000

Number of common shares outstanding (11/20/20): 87,228,586

Options outstanding (09/30/20): 7,739,781 at a weighted average exercise price of $2.20.



On December 23, 2019, the company closed an underwritten public offering of 10,000,000 of its common shares at a price per share of $2.75. Net proceeds were $25.3 million. The shares were offered pursuant to an effective shelf registration. On January 6, 2020, the Company sold an additional 1,081,184 shares at $2.75 per share pursuant to exercise of the option by the underwriters to purchase additional shares ($2.8 million net proceeds).



Valuation Considerations



The Company maintains a robust R&D effort that has a proven record of advancing the development pipeline.


The working capital position is strong, and partnerships and licensing could cushion future R&D spending.


The impact of COVID-19 remains an uncertainty. In addition, the Company website and regulatory filings detail a number of risk factors, and these are hereby incorporated by reference.






Executive offices: 8045 Lamon Avenue, Suite 410, Skokie, IL 60077. Phone: 847.673.1700.


Investor contact: David Snyder, Chief Financial Officer.



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