Yield10 Bioscience announces first quarter 2018 financial results
May. 14, 2018
“In the first quarter, our team was focused on executing activities needed to enable the start of our 2018 Field Tests in Canada and the U.S.,” said Oliver P. Peoples, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Yield10 Bioscience. “In our field tests we will evaluate versions of our second generation C3003 in Camelina and canola to generate proof-points and guide further development of this promising seed yield trait. We will also test genome-edited C3008 in Camelina in the field for the first time this growing season. C3008 is a key trait in a series of traits we are investigating to re-engineer oil biosynthesis as a strategy to increase oil content in oilseed crops.”
“Our research team continues to make solid progress deploying our novel C3000 and C4000 series yield traits and trait combinations into plants for further evaluation. In addition, our team authored two recent scientific papers providing insights into how we are using metabolic engineering concepts to drive innovations in crop yield and how we successfully identified two novel global transcription factors that are enabling us to develop strategies to identify novel yield traits in a variety of commercial crops. We look forward to maintaining our momentum and achieving our corporate milestones as 2018 progresses,” said Dr. Peoples.
2018 Field Test Program
Yield10 will test versions of its novel yield trait gene C3003 in Camelina and canola as part of its 2018 Field Test program and will grow C3003 soybean lines primarily to bulk up seed for field tests planned for 2019. The Company recently obtained regulatory permits allowing these tests to be conducted at sites in Canada. In addition, Yield10 plans to conduct a study in the U.S. of Camelina lines that have been genome-edited to inactivate the C3008 gene as part of a new multi-gene trait approach to increase seed oil content and to potentially improve oil stability. Yield10 expects to begin planting during the second quarter with timing dependent upon suitable weather and soil conditions, and to report results of the field tests beginning in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Genome-edited Traits to Boost Oil Content in Oilseed Crops
In the first quarter, Yield10 researchers completed genome-editing in Camelina of a triple combination trait stack consisting of C3008a, C3008b and C3009. This multi-trait approach to improve carbon flow in oil biosynthesis pathways is intended to result in increased seed oil content and potentially improved oil stability. Yield10 intends to apply to USDA-APHIS for “non-regulated” status, and if granted, field test the plants in the U.S.
Recent Yield10 Publications
Yield10 published a paper entitled “Metabolic Engineering to Increase Crop Yield: From Concept to Execution,” in Plant Science. The research discusses how trait discovery programs can benefit from smart approaches that incorporate predictive models to identify novel gene targets to increase yields in key crops. The paper references Yield10’s own trait discovery program, and examines various external factors that impact the cost and timeline to reach commercialization.
Yield10 published a second research paper entitled “Novel Transcription Factors PvBMY1 and PvBMY3 increase biomass yield in greenhouse grown switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.).” Yield10 refers to these transcription factors as the C4001 and C4003 trait genes, respectively. The authors describe the identification of these two previously uncharacterized global transcription factor genes (GTFs). Yield10 researchers showed that using genetic engineering to increase the activity of the GTF genes in switchgrass plants resulted in large increases in photosynthesis and biomass yield. The researchers also reported the identification of genes closely related to C4001 and C4003 in major food and feed crops including corn, soybean, and rice. These genes could enable the identification of new gene targets accessible through genome-editing for boosting seed yield.
FIRST QUARTER 2018 FINANCIAL OVERVIEW
Yield10 Bioscience is managed with an emphasis on cash flow and deploys its financial resources in a disciplined manner to achieve its key strategic objectives. The Company ended the first quarter of 2018 with $11.6 million in unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments. The Company’s net cash used in operating activities during the first quarter of 2018 was $3.0 million, which was an increase of $0.6 million from the $2.4 million used for operating activities during the first quarter of 2017. The increase was primarily the result of lower first quarter grant revenue and the Company's payment of 2017 employee performance bonuses during the first quarter of 2018.
The Company anticipates net cash usage of approximately $9.0 million to $9.5 million during its fiscal year ending December 31, 2018, including final payments of $0.5 million during the first half of 2018 related to its restructuring that was undertaken during 2016.
For the first quarter ending March 31, 2018, the Company reported a net loss of $2.3 million, or $0.24 per share. The Company reported a net loss of $2.1 million or $0.74 per share, for the first quarter of 2017.
Total government grant revenue for the first quarter of 2018 was $0.1 million, compared to $0.3 million recorded during the first quarter of the previous year. The $0.2 million decrease reflects the transitional impact of the wind-down of the Company's Camelina grant with the U.S. Department of Energy while it also waited for the new sub-award with Michigan State University to become effective during April 2018. Research and development expenses and general and administrative expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017 were flat at $1.1 million and $1.3 million, respectively, and reflects the Company's achievement of a baseline level of operations that are scaled to its current available resources.
Full finanical report
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