Evogene Ltd. (Nasdaq: EVGN) (TASE: EVGN), a leading computational biology company aiming to revolutionize life-science-based product discovery and development utilizing cutting-edge computational biology technologies across multiple market segments, announced its financial results for the second quarter period ended June 30, 2023.
Ofer Haviv, Evogene's President and Chief Executive Officer, stated: "The second quarter of 2023 marked a period of remarkable achievements for the Evogene group. It was a pivotal point in the transformation that Evogene has been undergoing since the creation of our three AI tech- engines in 2019. Listing some of the main achievements in this period: announcing the receiving of purchase orders in the aggregate amount of $11.3 million for Casterra's elite castor seeds; execution of a licensing agreement between Lavie Bio and Corteva, which includes an upfront payment of $5 million, in addition to milestone and royalty payments; closing of a financial round for Biomica in the amount of $20 million; significant infrastructure and computational architecture improvements, including new applications, in our tech-engines resulting in new capabilities, and better automation, scalability, and speed; and last but not least, receiving the trust of high quality investors demonstrated by an investment in Evogene's equity in the gross amount of $8.5 million in our recent financing round, all happening in a relatively short timeframe. These are clear signals that the Evogene Group is on the right path to success."
Mr. Haviv further stated: "In parallel, Evogene is increasing its efforts to establish direct collaborations with leading companies in new domains of activity, areas not currently covered by our subsidiaries, for product development leveraging our tech-engines. Although these discussions have only recently begun, the responses we have received to our unique offering have been positive, and we hope that some of these discussions will materialize into collaborative agreements in the near future."
Evogene and Subsidiaries - Highlights
In July, Evogene successfully concluded a fundraising round, securing total gross proceeds of $8.5 million. The securities issued in this round were ordinary shares only and it did not include any warrant coverage.
In July, Evogene unveiled the latest enhancement to its ChemPass AI tech-engine: TargetSelector, a groundbreaking application designed to streamline target-protein discovery. TargetSelector uses predictive machine learning algorithms and genomic data to help researchers identify novel target proteins for innovative products. This addition to the ChemPass AI tech-engine, strongly position us to forge strategic partnerships with industry leaders, expediting product development and delivering novel solutions to pressing global needs, such as developing sustainable new pesticides and therapeutics.
Lavie Bio Ltd. - develops and commercializes microbiome-based ag-biological products, utilizing Evogene's MicroBoost AI tech-engine.
Lavie Bio entered a licensing agreement with Corteva, conferring exclusive rights to Corteva for advancing and commercializing Lavie Bio's lead bio-fungicides, LAV311 and LAV312 - targeting fruit rots. This agreement follows two years of independent field validation trials conducted by both companies. Lavie Bio will receive an initial payment of $5 million, in two installments, and will also be eligible for additional future milestone payments and royalties from Corteva's sales of the products.
Thrivus™, Lavie Bio's bio-inoculant for spring wheat, has received regulatory approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). This approval triples the product's sales territory, expanding its global reach. Thrivus™ is already being used in the United States, where it has demonstrated its efficacy in increasing Hard Red Spring Wheat production by an average of 3-4 bushels per acre. This translates to a 4X return on investment for farmers.
AgPlenus Ltd. - aims to develop and commercialize next-generation crop protection products, utilizing Evogene's ChemPass AI tech-engine.
Dr. Adrian Percy, an accomplished agricultural scientist with over 20 years of experience, joined AgPlenus' board of directors.
The integration of Evogene's TargetSelector application into AgPlenus's technology platform, powered by the ChemPass AI tech-engine, enhances the ability to identify new mode-of-action mechanisms, urgently needed to address the growing resistance of pests to existing commercial products. This advancement strengthens AgPlenus's potential for forging strategic partnerships with industry leaders.
Casterra Ltd. - provides an integrated end-to-end solution for large-scale castor bean cultivation, utilizing Evogene's GeneRator AI tech-engine.
In June, Casterra signed a framework agreement with a prominent oil and gas company. The agreement secured initial purchase orders worth $9.1 million for the supply of castor seeds to be cultivated in specific African territories.
Later in June, Casterra received another purchase order, valued at $2.2 million, for additional territories in Africa.
Consolidated Financial Results Summary
As of June 30, 2023, Evogene had consolidated cash, cash equivalents and short-term bank deposits of approximately $33.9 million. Of this sum, Biomica accounted for $16.8 million, and Lavie Bio holds $7.1 million. Evogene, together with Casterra, Canonic, and AgPlenus, possessed an aggregate of $10.0 million in cash.
The injection of funds from the last round in July, total gross proceeds of $8.5 million, strengthens Evogene's financial position and provides the Company with the resources needed to execute its plans effectively and in a timely fashion. An example of such financial need is the significant increase in the required working capital of our wholly owned subsidiary, Casterra, to produce the castor seeds needed to fulfill the purchase orders received in the last months, totaling $11.3 million.
It is important to note that the $10 million reflected in the June 30th cash balance of Evogene together with Casterra, Canonic and AgPlenus, do not include funds raised by Evogene in July and any amount due under the purchase orders received by Casterra in the last few months, which are expected to be supplied during the second half of the year and at the beginning of next year. Further, note that the $7.1 million reflected in the cash balance of Lavie Bio, does not include the $5 million expected to be received as an upfront payment from the licensing agreement with Corteva that was announced in July.
During the second quarter, the consolidated cash usage was approximately $5.6 million, which included $2.8 million used by Lavie Bio and Biomica.
Revenues for the second quarter of 2023 were approximately $654 thousand compared to approximately $312 thousand in the same period the previous year. The revenue increase was primarily due to revenues recognized per the collaboration agreement of Evogene's subsidiary AgPlenus with Corteva and from sales of Lavie Bio's Thrivus™ product.
R&D expenses for the second quarter of 2023, which are reported net of non-refundable grants received, were approximately $5.4 million and remained stable as compared to approximately $5.4 million in the same period in the previous year.
Sales and marketing expenses were approximately $928 thousand for the second quarter of 2023 and slightly decreased as compared to approximately $962 thousand in the same period in the previous year. The main contributor to this decrease in expense was a reduction in personnel expenses at Canonic.
General and administrative expenses were approximately $1.8 million in the second quarter of 2023, compared to approximately $1.7 million in the same period in the previous year. The increase is mainly due to expenses related to share-based compensation.
Operating loss for the second quarter of 2023 was approximately $7.9 million, compared to an operating loss of approximately $8.0 million in the same period in the previous year.
Financing income, net of financing expenses, for the second quarter of 2023 was $0.1 million in comparison to financing expenses, net of financing income, of $1.7 million in the same period in the previous year. This difference was mainly due to the U.S. Dollar and Shekel exchange rate differences between periods, a decrease in marketable securities value in the second quarter of 2022 and an increase in interest income during the second quarter of 2023.
Net loss for the second quarter of 2023 was approximately $7.8 million, compared to a net loss of approximately $9.8 million in the same period in the previous year, mainly due to the financing expenses (income) differences as mentioned above.
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