10 March 2023, Israel: Evogene Ltd., a leading computational biology company targeting to revolutionize life-science based product discovery and development utilizing cutting edge computational biology technologies, across multiple market segments, today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year period ending December 31, 2022.
Mr. Ofer Haviv, Evogene’s President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are very proud of the achievements made by Evogene and its subsidiaries in the past year. Throughout 2022, we made progress and have advanced the artificial-intelligence technology underlying our tech engines which are MicroBoost AI supporting the discovery and development of microbe-based products, ChemPass AI supporting small-molecule based products and GeneRator AI supporting products based on modifying genetic elements.”
“Lavie Bio, our subsidiary focused on developing and commercializing microbiome-based ag-biological products, leveraging Evogene’s MicroBoost AI tech-engine, has not only seen progress in 2022, but also received external validation of its value, via a $10 million SAFE investment and strategic collaboration with ICL, a leading global specialty mineral and ag-tech company. In spring 2022, Lavie Bio saw initial sales and revenue from ThrivusTM, our inoculant product for spring wheat, which is a combination of bacterial strains which improve nutrient availability and uptake, improving plant health and we expect sales to be significantly expanded in the 2023 spring season. Furthermore, Lavie Bio’s product development pipeline continues to advance. Throughout 2022, we conducted a number of successful field trials for our bio-fungicide products with positive results and in October 2022, we submitted the registration to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for our novel bio-fungicide LAV311 product, targeting fruit rots and mildews, which is a final step prior to the commercialization of LAV311 in the US.”
“Another external validation to the value contained within our subsidiaries and now becoming more apparent is through an investment in Biomica, our subsidiary developing microbiome-based therapeutics for the treatment of immune-mediated and infectious diseases, leveraging Evogene’s MicroBoost AI tech-engine. It is a vote of confidence from leading Chinese private equity fund, Shanghai Healthcare Capital (“SHC”), the lead investor of a $10 million seed investment round into Biomica, at a post money valuation of $50 million. This external and independent endorsement of Biomica, validates our belief in Biomica’s long-term potential to achieve its targets. In terms of its product pipeline, Biomica continues to advance its phase-I clinical trial for its microbiome-based immuno-oncology drug candidate, with results expected later in 2023. Biomica’s IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) program, completed the pre-clinical phase successfully and aims to progress to a phase-1 US clinical trial. Biomica’s third program for IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), has completed the discovery-phase in 2022 and is progressing into a pre-clinical phase.”
“Our subsidiary AgPlenus has a goal to discover new mode-of-action crop protection products including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, leveraging our ChemPass AI tech-engine. AgPlenus continues to work closely with Corteva, already under a three-year collaboration agreement, to develop new mode-of-action herbicides to target resistant weeds and we look to broadening AgPlenus’ collaboration to other major global players. The most advanced program within the internal product pipeline, focuses on the target protein APH1, representing a novel mode-of-action for herbicides, aiming to provide broad spectrum weed control. In 2022, we achieved our milestone in this program to expand its data package as preparation for potential license agreements. We see strong market interest from the major ag-tech companies for our products in the pipeline and especially for our unique technology, which we aim to materialize into additional collaboration agreements.”
“Following our recent generation-2 product launch and commercialization, Canonic, our subsidiary that has developed attractive medical cannabis products, using Evogene’s GeneRator AI tech-engine to select genes to provide maximal levels of THC and unique terpenes profiles, is seeing increasing sales. At the same time, we understand the global cannabis market has become increasingly competitive during the past year and we don’t expect that situation to change in the near term. While we are continuing to support Canonic’s growth, we have made some recent structural changes to lower expenses and we are considering various longer-term options.”
“Finally, Casterra is a subsidiary that was established many years ago focused on developing castor seeds for biofuel and leveraging Evogene’s GeneRator AI tech-engine. We always held a long belief in the advantages of castor as a bioenergy and biopolymer source. While our activities in this arena were somewhat dormant in recent years, the biofuel industry is finally beginning to follow our vision that castor oil can serve as a source for bio-diesel and we have seen a great recent resurgence in interest. Our technology not only produces an energy-dense seed, we have also created a plant tailored specifically for efficient mechanized harvesting, previously a hurdle limiting the use of castor. Casterra recently signed an agreement with one of the world’s leading energy companies based in Europe, selling them our seeds for growing castor to be used as biofuel in Africa. We have built a strong relationship with our EU partner, and hope to expend the scope of our engagement in the coming years.”
“Not only have we seen strong success in 2022, but it has been validated by major external players by their investments. It ties their interests with ours into the long-term growth and value potential of our subsidiary companies. This is a substantial validation of all our hard work and our collective achievements to date, and demonstrates significant credibility of the value that Evogene’s AI tech-engines provide.”
Consolidated Financial Results Summary
Cash position: Evogene continues to maintain a solid financial position for its activities with approximately $35 million in consolidated cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of December 31, 2022. This amount does not include the $10 million investment to Biomica by SHC that is expected to be closed in the coming weeks. Approximately $9.7 million of Evogene’s consolidated cash is appropriated to its subsidiary, Lavie Bio.
During the fourth quarter, the consolidated cash usage was approximately $2.6 million, or approximately $0.4 million, excluding Lavie Bio. For 2022 as a whole, the consolidated cash usage was approximately $28.5 million, or approximately $20.0 million, excluding Lavie Bio. The consolidated cash usage for 2022 included financing expenses in the amount of $2.3 million due to U.S. Dollar and New Israeli Shekel exchange rate differences and a decrease in the market value of marketable securities in the amount of $0.8 million.
Revenues: Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2022 were $660 thousand, in comparison to $311 thousand in the same period the previous year. Revenues for the full year 2022 were $1.7 million, in comparison to $0.9 million in 2021. The increase in revenues was primarily due to revenues recognized per the collaboration agreement of Evogene’s subsidiary AgPlenus with Corteva, as well as revenues from sales of Canonic’s medical cannabis products in Israel.
R&D expenses for the fourth quarter of 2022, which are reported net of non-refundable grants received, were $4.8 million, in comparison to $6.0 million in the same period in the previous year. For the full year 2022, these expenses were $20.8 million, in comparison to $21.1 million in 2021. The main contributors to R&D expenses were Lavie Bio’s activities supporting the production and commercialization of its inoculant product ThrivusTM, Evogene’s ongoing development of its technology engines and Biomica’s microbiome-based therapeutics development efforts.
Sales and marketing expenses were approximately $1.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2022, in comparison to $0.7 million in the same period the previous year. For the full year 2022, these expenses were $3.9 million, in comparison to $2.7 million in 2021. The increase was mainly due to Lavie Bio’s increased business development personnel and commercial trials of its inoculant product, ThrivusTM, performed during 2022 and increased business development personnel in Canonic.
General and Administrative expenses were $1.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, in comparison to $2.0 million in the same period in the previous year. For the full year 2022, these expenses were $6.5 million, in comparison to $7.3 million in 2021. The decrease was mainly attributed to the decrease of the costs of directors’ and officers’ insurance, and to the decrease of share-based compensation expenses.
Other income was $3.5 million in the fourth quarter and full year of 2022. This was received from Bayer under their joint seed traits collaboration agreement with Evogene, as part of a restructuring and release of the patent filing, prosecution, and maintenance obligations under the collaboration.
Operating loss: Operating loss for the fourth quarter of 2022 was $3.8 million, in comparison to $8.7 million in the same period in the previous year. Operating loss for the full year 2022 was $26.9 million, in comparison to $31.0 million in 2021. The decrease in operating loss is mainly due to the other income received from Bayer, as described above.
Financing income for the fourth quarter of 2022 was $6 thousand, in comparison to financing income of $602 thousand in the same period in the previous year. Financing expenses for the full year 2022 were $2.8 million, in comparison to financing income of $0.5 million in 2021. The difference between periods was mainly due to U.S. Dollar and New Israeli Shekel exchange rate differences between periods, and a change in the value of marketable securities.
Net loss: Net loss for the fourth quarter of 2022 was $3.8 million, in comparison to a net loss of $8.1 million in the same period in the previous year. Net loss for the full year 2022 was $29.8 million, in comparison to a loss of $30.4 million for 2021.
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