ProQR Announces Second Quarter 2022 Operating and Financial Results

  • ProQR is accelerating the development of its Axiomer® RNA base-editing technology platform across multiple therapeutic areas and will provide an update on first targets in H2 2022
  • Company plans to discuss findings from sepofarsen Illuminate trial with regulators and provide an update in Q3/early Q4; Enrollment is ongoing in Sirius, a Phase 2/3 trial of ultevursen (QR-421a), for USH2A-mediated Usher syndrome and retinitis pigmentosa
  • Cash runway into 2025

LEIDEN, Netherlands & CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ProQR Therapeutics N.V. (Nasdaq: PRQR) (the “Company”), a company dedicated to changing lives through the creation of transformative RNA therapies, today reported its financial and operating results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2022, and provided a business update.

Business Operations and Program Updates

Program updates

  • In Q3, the Company plans to engage with the EMA and FDA to discuss these data from the Illuminate trial. Following this interaction, ProQR will share an update in Q3 or early Q4, depending on timing of regulatory meetings.
  • The Company plans to discuss the regulatory path for ultevursen with the EMA and FDA. Enrollment is ongoing in Sirius, a Phase 2/3 trial of ultevursen (QR-421a), for USH2A-mediated Usher syndrome and retinitis pigmentosa.
  • ProQR is accelerating the development of its Axiomer RNA editing platform and pipeline activities, including focusing on initially liver and CNS therapeutic areas, which have strong alignment with ProQR’s oligonucleotide delivery approaches. The Company will present further non-clinical data for Axiomer and announce its internal development targets in H2 2022.
  • In May, the Company presented its proprietary RNA base-editing Axiomer technology at the Oligonucleotide and Peptide Therapeutics conference (TIDES USA).

Business updates

In conjunction with the Annual General Meeting held in June, ProQR announced several leadership updates:

  • René Beukema has joined the management team as Chief Corporate Development Officer and General Counsel and was elected to the Management Board.
  • Gerard Platenburg has assumed the Chief Scientific Officer role, with leadership oversight of the Axiomer RNA-editing platform technology.
  • John Maraganore, PhD, former Founding CEO of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, extended his commitment as a strategic advisor to the Supervisory Board.
  • Smital Shah, Chief Business and Financial Officer, will leave the Company as part of a planned transition at the end of 2022. A search has been initiated for a new Chief Financial Officer.

Financial Highlights

On June 30, 2022, ProQR held cash and cash equivalents of €156.4 million, compared to €187.5 million on December 31, 2021. Net cash used in operating activities during the three-month period ended June 30, 2022 was €14.8 million, compared to €10.0 million for the same period last year.

Research and development costs were €11.4 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2022 compared to €9.7 million for the same period last year.

General and administrative costs were €5.4 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2022 compared to €4.1 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2021.

Net loss for the three-month period ended June 30, 2022 was €14.7 million, or €0.21 per diluted share, compared to €15.8 million, or €0.24 per diluted share, for the same period last year. For further financial information for the period ending June 30, 2022, please refer to the financial statements appearing at the end of this release.

About Leber Congenital Amaurosis 10 (LCA10)

Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is the most common cause of blindness due to genetic disease in children. It consists of a group of diseases of which LCA10 is the most frequent and one of the most severe forms. LCA10 is caused by mutations in the CEP290 gene, of which the c.2991+1655A>G (p.Cys998X) mutation has the highest prevalence. LCA10 leads to early loss of vision causing most people to lose their sight in the first few years of life. To date, there are no treatments approved that treat the underlying cause of the disease. Approximately 2,000 people in the Western world have LCA10 because of this mutation.

About sepofarsen

Sepofarsen (QR-110) is an investigational RNA therapy designed to restore vision in Leber congenital amaurosis 10 due to the c.2991+1655A>G mutation (p.Cys998X) in the CEP290 gene. The mutation leads to aberrant splicing of the mRNA and non-functional CEP290 protein. Sepofarsen is designed to enable normal splicing, resulting in restoration of normal (wild type) CEP290 mRNA and subsequent production of functional CEP290 protein. Sepofarsen is intended to be administered through intravitreal injections in the eye and has been granted orphan drug designation in the United States and the European Union and received fast-track designation and rare pediatric disease designation from the FDA as well as access to the PRIME scheme by the EMA.

About Usher syndrome type 2a and retinitis pigmentosa

Usher syndrome is the leading cause of combined deafness and blindness. People with Usher syndrome type 2a are usually born with hearing loss and start to have progressive vision loss during adulthood. The vision loss can also occur without hearing loss in a disease called non-syndromic retinitis pigmentosa. Usher syndrome type 2a and non-syndromic retinitis pigmentosa can be caused by mutations in the USH2A gene. To date, there are no pharmaceutical treatments approved or in clinical development that treat the vision loss associated with mutations in USH2A.

About ultevursen

Ultevursen (formerly QR-421a) is a first-in-class investigational RNA therapy designed to address the underlying cause of vision loss in Usher syndrome type 2a and non-syndromic retinitis pigmentosa due to mutations in exon 13 of the USH2A gene. QR-421a is designed to restore functional usherin protein by using an exon skipping approach with the aim to stop or reverse vision loss in patients. Ultevursen is intended to be administered through intravitreal injections in the eye and has been granted orphan drug designation in the US and the European Union and received fast-track and rare pediatric disease designations from the FDA.

About Axiomer®technology

ProQR is pioneering a next-generation RNA technology called Axiomer®, which could potentially yield a new class of medicines for genetic diseases. Axiomer “Editing Oligonucleotides”, or EONs, mediate single nucleotide changes to RNA in a highly specific and targeted way using molecular machinery that is present in human cells. The Axiomer EONs are designed to recruit an endogenously expressed RNA editing system called ADAR, which can direct the change of an Adenosine (A) to an Inosine (I) in the RNA – an Inosine is translated as a Guanosine (G).

About ProQR

ProQR Therapeutics is dedicated to changing lives through the creation of transformative RNA therapies. ProQR is pioneering a next-generation RNA technology called Axiomer®, which uses a cell’s own editing machinery called ADAR to make specific single nucleotide edits in RNA to reverse a mutation or modulate protein expression and could potentially yield a new class of medicines for genetic diseases. Based on our unique proprietary RNA repair platform technologies we are growing our pipeline with patients and loved ones in mind.

Learn more about ProQR at www.proqr.com.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, which are often indicated by terms such as "anticipate," "believe," "could," "estimate," "expect," "goal," "intend," "look forward to", "may," "plan," "potential," "predict," "project," "should," "will," "would" and similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our product candidates, including sepofarsen (QR-110) and the clinical development and the therapeutic potential thereof, statements regarding ultevursen (QR-421a) and the clinical development and therapeutic potential thereof, statements regarding our pipeline of programs targeting inherited retinal dystrophies, the potential of our technologies and platforms (including Axiomer®), our other programs and business operations, our current and planned partnerships and collaborators and the intended benefits thereof, our planned interactions with regulatory authorities relating to our programs, our updated strategic plans and the intended benefits thereof, and our financial position and cash runway. Forward-looking statements are based on management's beliefs and assumptions and on information available to management only as of the date of this press release. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements for many reasons, including, without limitation, the risks, uncertainties and other factors in our filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including certain sections of our annual report filed on Form 20-F. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, the cost, timing and results of preclinical studies and clinical trials and other development activities by us and our collaborative partners whose operations and activities may be slowed or halted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; the likelihood of our clinical programs being executed on timelines provided and reliance on our contract research organizations and predictability of timely enrollment of subjects and patients to advance our clinical trials and maintain their own operations; our reliance on contract manufacturers to supply materials for research and development and the risk of supply interruption from a contract manufacturer; the potential for later data to alter initial and preliminary results of early-stage clinical trials, including as a result of differences in the trial designs and protocols across different trials; the unpredictability of the duration and results of the regulatory review of applications or clearances that are necessary to initiate and continue to advance and progress our clinical programs; the outcomes of our planned interactions with regulatory authorities; the ability to secure, maintain and realize the intended benefits of collaborations with partners; the possible impairment of, inability to obtain, and costs to obtain intellectual property rights; possible safety or efficacy concerns that could emerge as new data are generated in research and development; our ability to maintain and service our loan facility with Pontifax and Kreos; the possibility that we will not be able to regain compliance with Nasdaq’s Minimum Bid Price Requirement, secure a second period of 180 days to regain compliance, or maintain compliance with any of the other Nasdaq continued listing requirements. general business, operational, financial and accounting risks; and risks related to litigation and disputes with third parties. Given these risks, uncertainties and other factors, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, and we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future, except as required by law.

Cautionary note on future updates

The statements contained in this press release reflect our current views with respect to future events, which may change significantly as the global consequences of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic rapidly develop. Accordingly, we do not undertake and specifically disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

ProQR Therapeutics N.V.

Investor contact:
Sarah Kiely
ProQR Therapeutics N.V.
T: +1 617 599 6228
skiely@proqr.com
or
Hans Vitzthum
LifeSci Advisors
T: +1 617 430 7578
hans@lifesciadvisors.com

Media contact:
Robert Stanislaro
FTI Consulting
T: +1 212 850 5657
robert.stanislaro@fticonsulting.com

PROQR THERAPEUTICS N.V.
Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Statement of Financial Position

         
    June 30,    December 31, 
       2022      2021
    € 1,000   € 1,000
Assets          
Current assets          
Cash and cash equivalents   156,402   187,524
Prepayments and other receivables   4,159   3,404
Other taxes   498   555
         
Total current assets   161,059   191,483
         
Property, plant and equipment   17,373   17,467
Investments in associates     8
Investments in financial assets   621   621
         
Total assets   179,053   209,579
         
Equity and liabilities          
Equity         
Equity attributable to owners of the Company   87,369   113,833
Non-controlling interests   (395)   (604)
Total equity   86,974   113,229
         
Current liabilities          
Borrowings   7,214   4,771
Lease liabilities   1,378   1,534
Derivative financial instruments   228   3,995
Trade payables   767   191
Current income tax liability    
Social securities and other taxes   1,195   1,230
Deferred income   6,824   5,115
Other current liabilities   9,533   10,760
         
Total current liabilities   27,139   27,596
         
Borrowings   37,777   39,319
Lease liabilities   14,563   14,748
Deferred income   12,600   14,687
         
Total liabilities   92,079   96,350
         
Total equity and liabilities   179,053   209,579

PROQR THERAPEUTICS N.V.
Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Statement of Profit or Loss and OCI
(€ in thousands, except share and per share data)

                 
    Three month period   Six month period
    ended June 30,    ended June 30, 
       2022   2021   2022   2021
    € 1,000   € 1,000   € 1,000   € 1,000
Revenue   1,025   243   2,259   243
                 
Other income   99   411   200   552
                 
Research and development costs   (11,449)   (9,735)   (24,816)   (18,640)
General and administrative costs   (5,412)   (4,122)   (10,320)   (7,461)
Total operating costs   (16,861)   (13,857)   (35,136)   (26,101)
                     
Operating result   (15,737)   (13,203)   (32,677)   (25,306)
Finance income and expense   (119)   (2,464)   (1,378)   (2,757)
Results related to associates       (8)  
Gain on disposal of associate         514
Gain on derecognition of financial liabilities   1,144     1,144  
Results related to financial liabilities measured at fair value through profit or loss   62   (33)   3,826   (762)
                     
Result before corporate income taxes   (14,650)   (15,700)   (29,093)   (28,311)
Income taxes   (20)   (53)   (27)   (60)
                     
Result for the period   (14,670)   (15,753)   (29,120)   (28,371)
Other comprehensive income (foreign exchange differences on foreign operation)   689   (141)   911   255
                     
Total comprehensive income   (13,981)   (15,894)   (28,209)   (28,116)
                 
Result attributable to                    
Owners of the Company   (14,887)   (15,746)   (29,329)   (28,353)
Non-controlling interests   217   (7)   209   (18)
    (14,670)   (15,753)   (29,120)   (28,371)
Total comprehensive income attributable to                
Owners of the Company   (14,198)   (15,887)   (28,418)   (28,098)
Non-controlling interests   217   (7)   209   (18)
    (13,981)   (15,894)   (28,209)   (28,116)
                     
Share information                    
Weighted average number of shares outstanding1   71,362,088   66,147,153   71,359,642   58,521,508
                 
Earnings per share attributable to owners of the Company (Euro per share)                
Basic loss per share1   (0.21)   (0.24)   (0.41)   (0.48)
Diluted loss per share1   (0.21)   (0.24)   (0.41)   (0.48)


For these periods the potential exercise of share options is not included in the diluted earnings per share as the Company was loss-making. Due to the anti-dilutive nature of the outstanding options, basic and diluted earnings per share are equal.
PROQR THERAPEUTICS N.V.
Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity

                                         
    Attributable to owners of the Company        
     Number
of shares
   Share
Capital
   Share
Premium
   Equity settled
Employee
Benefit
Reserve
   Option
premium on
convertible
loan
   Translation
Reserve
   Accumulated
Deficit
   Total    Non-
controlling
interests
   Total
Equity
         € 1,000   € 1,000   € 1,000   € 1,000   € 1,000   € 1,000   € 1,000   € 1,000   € 1,000
Balance at January 1, 2021   54,131,553   2,165   288,757   23,825   280   (189)   (257,747)   57,091   (545)   56,546
Result for the period               (28,353)   (28,353)   (18)   (28,371)
Other comprehensive income             255     255     255
Recognition of share-based payments   112,657   5   382   2,719         3,106     3,106
Issuance of ordinary shares   16,508,475   660   84,594           85,254     85,254
Treasury shares transferred   (127,303)                  
Share options lapsed         (160)       160      
Share options exercised   243,189     753   (541)       541   753     753
                                         
Balance at June 30, 2021   70,868,571   2,830   374,486   25,843   280   66   (285,399)   118,106   (563)   117,543
                                         
Balance at January 1, 2022   74,865,381   2,995   398,309   28,443   1,426   430   (317,770)   113,833   (604)   113,229
Result for the period               (29,329)   (29,329)   209   (29,120)
Other comprehensive income             911     911     911
Recognition of share-based payments         1,921         1,921     1,921
Issuance of ordinary shares                    
Treasury shares transferred   (71,283)                  
Share options lapsed         (380)       380      
Share options exercised / RSUs vested   71,283     33   (256)       256   33     33
                                                   
Balance at June 30, 2022   74,865,381   2,995   398,342   29,728   1,426   1,341   (346,463)   87,369   (395)   86,974

PROQR THERAPEUTICS N.V.
Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows

                 
    Three month period    Six month period 
    ended June 30,    ended June 30, 
                 
       2022   2021   2022   2021
    € 1,000   € 1,000   € 1,000   € 1,000
Cash flows from operating activities                    
Net result   (14,670)   (15,753)   (29,120)   (28,371)
Adjustments for:                
— Depreciation   591   602   1,161   1,233
— Share-based compensation   738   1,471   1,921   2,719
— Financial income and expenses   120   2,464   1,378   2,757
— Results related to associates       8  
— Gain on disposal of associate         (514)
— Results related to financial liabilities measured at fair value through profit or loss   (62)   33   (3,826)   762
— Gain on derecognition of financial liabilities   (1,144)     (1,144)  
— Income tax expenses   20   53   27   60
                 
Changes in working capital   820   1,774   (3,234)   822
Cash used in operations   (13,587)   (9,356)   (32,829)   (20,532)
                     
Corporate income tax paid   (20)   (53)   (27)   (60)
Interest received     5     5
Interest paid   (1,237)   (575)   (2,455)   (1,153)
                     
Net cash used in operating activities   (14,844)   (9,979)   (35,311)   (21,740)
                     
Cash flow from investing activities                
Purchases of property, plant and equipment   (231)   (52)   (475)   (84)
                     
Net cash used in investing activities   (231)   (52)   (475)   (84)
                     
Cash flow from financing activities                    
Proceeds from issuance of shares, net of transaction costs     82,601     85,254
Proceeds from exercise of share options     185   33   753
Proceeds from borrowings     569     569
Proceeds from convertible loans        
Repayment of lease liability   (357)   (14)   (933)   (250)
                     
Net cash (used in)/generated by financing activities   (357)   83,341   (900)   86,326
                     
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents   (15,432)   73,310   (36,686)   64,502
                     
Currency effect cash and cash equivalents   4,222   (1,746)   5,564   (898)
Cash and cash equivalents, at beginning of the period   167,612   67,878   187,524   75,838
                     
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period   156,402   139,442   156,402   139,442

 

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