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Exicure's Collaboration with Allergan on Treating Hair Loss Disorders Sends Shares Higher

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Shares of Exicure Inc. opened 30% higher today after the firm reported that it entered into a collaboration agreement with Allergan to discover and develop SNA-based treatments for hair loss disorders. The terms of the deal provide for a $25 million upfront payment to Exicure with the potential to grow to $750 million.

This morning clinical-stage biotechnology company Exicure Inc. (XCUR:NASDAQ), which is developing therapeutics for immuno-oncology, inflammatory diseases and genetic disorders based on its proprietary Spherical Nucleic Acid (SNA) technology, announced that it entered into a global collaboration agreement with Allergan Pharmaceuticals International Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Allergan Plc. (AGN:NYSE),to discover and develop novel treatments for hair loss disorders based on Exicure's proprietary SNA technology.

The firm indicated "under the terms of the agreement, Allergan will receive exclusive access and options to license SNA-based therapeutics arising from two collaboration programs related to the treatment of hair loss disorders. Exicure will receive an upfront payment of $25 million and will conduct discovery and development in two collaboration programs for hair loss disorders. In the event that Allergan exercises an option, Allergan will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization of the licensed products. Exicure will be eligible to receive development and regulatory milestones of up to $97.5 million per program and commercial milestones of up to $265 million per program. Exicure will also be eligible to receive tiered royalties on worldwide net product sales of mid-single digit to mid-teens percentages on worldwide net product sales."

Dr. David Giljohann, CEO of Exicure, commented, "We are excited to combine our knowledge of nucleic acid therapeutics with Allergan's deep expertise in medical aesthetics to develop and commercialize innovative treatments for hair loss disorders...This collaboration is an exciting opportunity to advance Exicure's SNA technology in an important new therapeutic area."

Regarding the collaboration and hair loss program, the company explains in the report that "one of the most common hair loss disorders and a subject of the collaboration is androgenetic alopecia also known as pattern baldness, which affects approximately 50 million men and 30 million women in the U.S. It is estimated that over $3.5 billion a year is spent on treatments, the majority of which are ineffective."

The announcement of Exicure's partnering agreement with Allergan comes just one day after the company proudly announced that its CEO, Dr. David Giljohann, was named to Crain's Chicago Business magazine's 2019 Class of "40 Under 40." The release outlined that "Crain's "40 Under 40" recognizes individuals who are reinventing what it means to do business in Chicago through financial impact and community leadership. Dr. Giljohann, along with the other honorees, will be profiled in the November 18 issues of Crain's Chicago Business."

Dr. Giljohann responded to the selection by stating, "It is truly an honor to be recognized for my work at Exicure, which has always been driven by my personal goal of positively impacting patients by creating revolutionary new medicines...I am thankful for the support and dedication of the entire Exicure team that is working tirelessly on our programs to address unmet medical needs in genetic disorders, inflammatory disease and oncology."

The firm noted that Dr. Giljohann has served as CEO of Exicure since November 2013, after first starting out as the company's founding scientist in 2011 and that he completed his Ph.D. in 2009 in the laboratory of Dr. Chad A. Mirkin at Northwestern University where he developed oligonucleotide-modified nanoparticles, including Exicure's Spherical Nucleic Acid (SNA) constructs.

Exicure, Inc. is based outside of Chicago, Ill., and in Cambridge, Mass. Exicure is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing therapeutics for immuno-oncology, inflammatory diseases and genetic disorders based on our proprietary Spherical Nucleic Acid, or SNA technology. SNAs are nanoscale constructs consisting of densely packed synthetic nucleic acid sequences that are radially arranged in three dimensions. Exicure believes that "its proprietary SNA architecture has distinct chemical and biological properties that may provide advantages over other nucleic acid therapeutics and may have therapeutic potential to target diseases not typically addressed with other nucleic acid therapeutics. Exicure's lead program is in a Phase 1b/2 trial in patients with advanced solid tumors."

Allergan is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, and has staff and operations in around 100 countries. The firm describes its business as "a global pharmaceutical leader focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing branded pharmaceutical, device, biologic, surgical and regenerative medicine products for patients around the world." The company's portfolio of products and brands are primarily focused on four key therapeutic areas including medical aesthetics, eye care, central nervous system and gastroenterology.

Exicure started the day with a market capitalization of approximately $186.9 million with about 76 million shares outstanding. XCUR shares opened more than 30% higher today at $3.16 (+$0.76, +31.67%) over yesterday's $2.40 closing price. The stock has traded today between $2.74 to $3.20 per share and closed at $2.74 (+$0.28, +11.38%).

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