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Allergan, Exicure Strike Collaboration Agreement For Hair Loss Disorder Drugs

Shares of the thinly traded micro-cap Exicure Inc (NASDAQ: XCUR) were advancing strongly Thursday in the wake of a collaboration agreement announced by the company with Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN).

Exicure Receives $25M Upfront

Exicure — a biotech company developing therapies for immuno-oncology, inflammatory diseases and genetic disorders — said the collaboration agreement pertains to discovery and development of novel treatments for hair loss disorders based on its proprietary SNA technology.

The agreement provides for Allergan receiving exclusive access and options to license SNA-based therapeutics arising from two collaboration programs by making an upfront payment of $25 million to Exicure. The latter will conduct discovery and development in the two programs for hair loss disorders.

If Allergan exercises an option, it will then be responsible for clinical development and commercialization of the licensed products.

Exicure will also be eligible to receive development and regulatory milestone payments up to $97.5 million per program and commercial milestones of up to $265 million per program.

Additionally, the company will also be eligible to receive tiered royalties on worldwide net product sales in the mid-single digit to mid-teens percentage range.

Pattern Baldness Affects 80 Million Americans

One of the most common hair loss disorders is androgenetic alopecia, commonly called pattern baldness, which affects about 50 million men and 30 million women in the U.S., Exicure said.

Over $3.5 billion is spent on treatments each year, although most treatment options are ineffective, the company said.

"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." Exicure CEO Dr. David Giljohann said in a statement.

Exicure shares were up 20.93% at $2.98 at the time of publication Thursday, while Allergan shares were down 0.25% at $181.16.

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