Our third party manufacturers are subject to inspections by the FDA for compliance with cGMP and other U.S. regulatory requirements, including U.S. federal, state and local regulations regarding environmental protection and hazardous and controlled substance controls, among others. Environmental laws and regulations are complex, change frequently and have tended to become more stringent over time. We have incurred, and may continue to incur, significant expenditures to ensure we are in compliance with these laws and regulations. We would be subject to significant penalties for failure to comply with these laws and regulations.
Sales and Marketing
Our current focus is on the development of our existing portfolio, the initiation and completion of clinical trials and, if and where appropriate, the registration of our therapeutic candidates. We currently do not have marketing, sales and distribution capabilities. If we receive marketing and commercialization approval for any of our therapeutic candidates, we intend to market the product through strategic alliances and distribution agreements with third parties. The ultimate implementation of our strategy for realizing the financial value of our therapeutic candidates is dependent on the results of clinical trials for our therapeutic candidates, the availability of funds and the ability to negotiate acceptable commercial terms with third parties.
As of December 31, 2017, we have 23 employees, all of whom are full-time and nine of whom have Ph.D. degrees. Of these employees, 16 are engaged in research and development activities and seven are engaged in finance, legal, human resources, business development and general management. We have no collective bargaining agreement with our employees and we have not experienced any work stoppages. We consider our relations with our employees to be good.
We were originally incorporated in the State of Delaware on February 6, 2017 under the name “Max-1 Acquisition Corporation.” Prior to the Merger, Max-1 was a “shell” company registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, with no specific business plan or purpose until it began operating the business of Exicure OpCo through the Merger transaction on September 26, 2017. Exicure OpCo was originally formed as a limited liability company under the name AuraSense Therapeutics, LLC in the State of Delaware in June 2011 and was a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing gene regulatory and immuno-oncology therapeutics based on its proprietary SNA technology. AuraSense Therapeutics, LLC was subsequently converted into AuraSense Therapeutics, Inc., a Delaware corporation, on July 9, 2015, and changed its name on the same date to Exicure, Inc. Immediately after giving effect to the Merger and the initial closing of the Private Placement, the business of Exicure OpCo became our business. Our corporate headquarters are located at 8045 Lamon Avenue, Suite 410, Skokie, IL 60077, and our telephone number is (847) 673-1700.
We maintain a website at www.exicuretx.com, to which we regularly post copies of our press releases as well as additional information about us. Our filings with the SEC will be available free of charge through the website as soon as reasonably practicable after being electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. Information contained in our website is not a part of, nor incorporated by reference into this filing or our other filings with the SEC, and should not be relied upon. You can read our SEC filings, including this Annual Report on Form 10-K, over the Internet at the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. You may also read and copy any document we file with the SEC at its public reference facilities at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. You may also obtain copies of these documents at prescribed rates by writing to the Public Reference Section of the SEC at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the operation of the public reference facilities. You may also request a copy of these