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  • Skincare specialist Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (CUV) has been growing customer receipts and cash reserves despite global COVID-19 headwinds
  • The company tabled around $12 million in cash receipts over the September quarter, which is a 22.8 per cent increase on the same time last year
  • In light of this, the company went cashflow-positive by around $7.9 million over the three months to the end of September
  • Clinuvel said strong demand for its Scenesse drug underpinned the sturdy cashflow
  • Scenesse is designed to treat a skin condition known as erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP), which causes major skin damage in suffered from exposure to sunlight or fluorescent light
  • Looking ahead, Clinuvel has a neat $72.8 million in the bank to support its growth strategies
  • Still, on a tough day on the wider market, Clinuvel shares are unable to escape the red and trading almost two per cent lower this afternoon for $21.46

Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (CUV) has been growing customer receipts and cash reserves over the past three months despite global COVID-19 headwinds.

The company reported some strong figures across the board in its latest quarterly financial report, including a 22.8 per cent bump to cash receipts compared to the same time last year.

In the September quarter of 2019, Clinuvel tabled just under $9.8 million in cash receipts. In the September quarter of 2020, this figure was just over $12 million.

In light of this, Clinuvel was cashflow-positive for the September quarter by around $7.9 million — a marginal increase on the June quarter and about $2.5 million more than the September quarter last year.

The company said the strong quarterly results reflect the first inflows from the commercial distribution of its Scenesse skin treatment product in the United States. Scenesse received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in October 2019. Just this week, the product was approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Moreover, Scenesse has seen strong demand for the drug from Europe despite some orders having to be reduced or deferred in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, Clinuvel said demand for the product has been strong enough that the U.S. distribution plans for Scenesse are progressing ahead of schedule; Clinuvel plans to have 30 Specialty Centres trained and accredited to administer Scenesse by July 2021 and has already signed on 26.

On top of this, the company said over 55 insurers across the States have already agreed to reimburse Scenesse either under Prior Authorization arrangements, acceptance as a special drug or as part of their formulary listing.

Clinuvel Chief Financial Officer Darren Keamy said the continued demand for Scenesse in Europe and the U.S. has been the catalyst for strong cash receipts in the September quarter.

“The further rise in our cash reserves after the payment in the quarter of a third annual dividend as the northern hemisphere winter months approach is welcome in the context of the adverse operating environment and the ability it provides to self-finance the growth of commercial operations and the expansion of our research and development activities,” Darren said.

What is Scenesse?

Scenesse is designed to treat a skin condition known as erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP).

People suffering from this condition have a severe sensitivity to light — particularly sunlight and fluorescent lights.

When exposed to light, a sufferer’s skin may tingle, itch, or burn. However, continued exposure to light can cause the skin to become red and swollen and result in serious pain and skin damage.

This effectively limits someone with EPP to stay indoors under soft lighting for most of their lives.

Scenesse treats the condition by increasing the levels of melanin in the skin and acting as a shield against UV radiation.

According to Clinuvel, it’s the first treatment of its kind across the globe.

In tandem with today’s quarterly report, Clinuvel outlined some clear strategic future plans. The company said its strategy is focussed on two core areas: ongoing work to translate melanocortins as prescription medicines, as it has done with Scenesse, and making the tech available for its healthcare solutions as non-prescription products.

To support this strategy, Clinuvel has a neat $72.8 million of cash and cash equivalents in the banks.

Nevertheless, Clinuvel’s quarterly update was released on a particularly brutal day for the wider market, and the company hasn’t been able to escape the red. At 2:27 pm AEDT, CUV shares are down 1.92 per cent and worth $21.46.

CUV by the numbers
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