October 29, 2015 18:00 ET

Eric Lefkofsky - and His Wife Liz Invest in Exicure and Its SNA™ Technology

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - October 29, 2015) - Eric Lefkofsky, CEO and Co-founder of Groupon, and his wife Liz have invested in Exicure, a Skokie, IL-based biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of immune-modulatory and gene-silencing drugs.

Since its launch in 2011, Exicure (formerly AuraSense Therapeutics) has been developing gene-regulatory and immuno-modulatory therapeutics based on its proprietary 3-D, spherical nucleic acid (SNA™) technology. Exicure believes that the 3-dimensional design of its SNAs™ gives rise to chemical and biological properties that provide advantages distinct from other nucleic acid therapeutics and enable therapeutic activity outside of the liver. Exicure has two preclinical therapeutic candidates - AST-005, for mild to moderate psoriasis, and AST-008 for immuno-oncology applications. AST-005 has exhibited modulation of tumor necrosis factor when topically administered to both healthy and psoriatic human skin and AST-008 has exhibited anti-tumor activity when combined with certain checkpoint inhibitors, when conjugated with tumor-specific antigens, and when administered as a monotherapy across a range of solid and hematological cancers in preclinical studies.

Developed by Exicure Co-founder Dr. Chad A. Mirkin, a widely cited chemist and nanomedicine researcher and Director of Northwestern University's International Institute for Nanotechnology, the company's 3-dimensional SNA™ unlocks the potential of nucleic acid therapeutics in multiple organs. Due to its unique architecture, scientists may be able to overcome the largest obstacle facing treatment: safe and effective delivery into cells and tissues.

About Exicure

Exicure, formerly AuraSense Therapeutics, is developing a new class of immune-modulatory and gene-silencing drugs against validated targets. 3-D, spherical nucleic acid (SNA™) architectures seek to unlock the potential of nucleic acid therapeutics in multiple organs. Our lead programs target diseases from inflammatory disorders to oncology.

About Eric Lefkofsky

Eric Lefkofsky is CEO and Co-founder of Groupon. He is also a Co-founder of Lightbank, InnerWorkings, Echo Global Logistics, Mediaocean, and Uptake. Eric Lefkofsky is a Trustee of Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Steppenwolf Theater, The Museum of Science and Industry and World Business Chicago. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago. Eric Lefkofsky graduated from the University of Michigan and received his Juris Doctor at University of Michigan Law School. For more information on Eric Lefkofsky, visit:

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