SWTX SpringWorks Therapeutics
Filed: 5 May 21, 4:48pm
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
|x||QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
FOR THE QUARTERLY PERIOD ENDED March 31, 2021
|¨||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM _ TO _
COMMISSION FILE NUMBER 001-39044
SPRINGWORKS THERAPEUTICS, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of|
incorporation or organization)
100 Washington Blvd
|(Address of principal executive offices)||(Zip Code)|
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share||SWTX||The Nasdaq Global Select Market|
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||x||Accelerated filer||¨|
|Non-accelerated filer||¨||Smaller reporting company||¨|
|Emerging growth company||¨|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ¨ No x
The number of outstanding shares of the Registrant’s Common Stock as of April 30, 2021 was 49,061,125.
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, or Quarterly Report, contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. We make such forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other federal securities laws. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Quarterly Report are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “expects”, “intends”, “plans”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “estimates”, “predicts”, “potential”, “continue” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about:
•the success, cost and timing of our product development activities and clinical trials, including statements regarding the timing of our ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial of nirogacestat, the timing of our ongoing Phase 2b clinical trial of mirdametinib and the initiation and completion of any other clinical trials and related preparatory work, the expected timing of the availability of results of our clinical trials and the potentially registrational nature of the Phase 3 clinical trial of nirogacestat and the Phase 2b clinical trial of mirdametinib;
•the fact that interim data from a clinical study, such as the interim data of the ReNeu clinical trial, including its interim primary efficacy, safety and tolerability data, may not be predictive of the final results of such study or the results of other ongoing or future studies;
•the potential attributes and benefits of our product candidates;
•our plans to commercialize any of our product candidates that achieve approval either alone or in partnership with others;
•our ability to obtain funding for our operations, including funding necessary to complete further development of our product candidates, and if approved, commercialization;
•the period over which we anticipate our existing cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, will be sufficient to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements;
•the potential for our business development efforts to maximize the potential value of our portfolio;
•our ability to identify, in-license or acquire additional product candidates;
•the ability and willingness of our third-party collaborators to continue research and development activities relating to our product candidates that we are developing as combination therapies;
•our ability to obtain and maintain regulatory approval for our product candidates, and any related restrictions, limitations or warnings in the label of an approved product candidate;
•the potential benefit of Orphan Drug Designation, Fast Track Designation and Breakthrough Therapy Designation for nirogacestat, mirdametinib and any other of our product candidates that may receive one or more of these designations;
•our ability to compete with companies currently marketing or engaged in the development of treatments for desmoid tumors, NF1-PN and other oncology and rare disease indications;
•our expectations regarding our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection or market exclusivity for our product candidates and the duration of such protection;
•our ability and the potential to successfully manufacture our product candidates for preclinical studies, clinical trials and, if approved, for commercial use, the capacity of our current contract manufacturing organizations, or CMOs, to support clinical supply and commercial-scale production for product candidates and our potential election to pursue additional CMOs for manufacturing supplies of drug substance and finished drug product in the future;
•the size and growth potential of the markets for our product candidates, and our ability to serve those markets, either alone or in partnership with others;
•the rate and degree of market acceptance of our product candidates, if approved;
•regulatory developments in the United States and foreign countries;
•our ability to contract with third-party suppliers and manufacturers and their ability to perform adequately;
•the success of competing products that are, or may become, available;
•risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, which may adversely impact our business, preclinical studies and clinical trials;
•our ability to attract and retain key scientific, medical, commercial and management personnel;
•our estimates regarding expenses, future revenue, capital requirements and needs for additional financing;
•our financial performance; and
•developments and projections relating to our competitors or our industry.
Any forward-looking statements in this Quarterly Report reflect our current views with respect to future events and future financial performance, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include, among other things, those described under Part II, Item 1A, Risk Factors and elsewhere in this Quarterly Report. Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, even if new information becomes available in the future.
We may from time to time provide estimates, projections and other information concerning our industry, the general business environment, and the markets for certain diseases, including estimates regarding the potential size of those markets and the estimated incidence and prevalence of certain medical conditions. Information that is based on estimates, forecasts, projections, market research or similar methodologies is inherently subject to uncertainties, and actual events, circumstances or numbers, including actual disease prevalence rates and market size, may differ materially from the information provided. Unless otherwise expressly stated, we obtained this industry information, business information, market data, prevalence information and other data from reports, research surveys, studies and similar data prepared by market research firms and other third parties, industry, medical and general publications, government data, and similar sources, in some cases applying our own assumptions and analysis that may, in the future, prove not to have been accurate.
SPRINGWORKS THERAPEUTICS, INC.
FOR THE QUARTER ENDED March 31, 2021
PART I - FINANCIAL INFORMATION
Item 1. Financial Statements
SpringWorks Therapeutics, Inc.
Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets
|(in thousands, except share and per-share data)||(Unaudited)|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||95,426||$||147,089|
|Prepaid expenses and other current assets||4,103||4,914|
|Total current assets||481,514||513,398|
|Long-term marketable securities||63,631||53,336|
|Property and equipment, net||1,024||1,075|
|Operating lease right-of-use assets||1,697||1,944|
|Liabilities and Stockholders’ equity|
|Operating lease liabilities, current||1,244||1,375|
|Total current liabilities||18,729||17,610|
|Operating lease liabilities, long-term||1,031||1,359|
|Other long-term liabilities||131||164|
|Commitments and contingencies||0||0|
|Preferred stock, $0.0001 par value, 10,000,000 shares authorized, 0 shares issued or outstanding at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020.||0||0|
|Common stock, $0.0001 par value, 150,000,000 shares authorized, 49,024,152 and 48,819,591 shares issued and outstanding at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively.||5||5|
|Additional paid-in capital||683,029||675,615|
|Accumulated other comprehensive income||53||41|
|Total stockholders’ equity||534,697||557,058|
|Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity||$||554,588||$||576,191|
See accompanying unaudited notes to condensed consolidated financial statements
SpringWorks Therapeutics, Inc.
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations (unaudited)
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|(in thousands, except share and per-share data)||2021||2020|
|Research and development||$||17,375||$||9,727|
|General and administrative||12,381||6,403|
|Total operating expenses||29,756||16,130|
|Loss from operations||(29,756)||(16,130)|
|Interest and other income:|
|Interest income, net||227||936|
|Total interest and other income||230||936|
|Equity investment loss||(261)||(100)|
|Net loss per share, basic and diluted||$||(0.62)||$||(0.37)|
|Weighted average common shares outstanding, basic and diluted||48,229,539||41,789,120|
See accompanying unaudited notes to condensed consolidated financial statements
SpringWorks Therapeutics, Inc.
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Loss (unaudited)
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Changes in other comprehensive income:|
|Unrealized gain on marketable securities, net||12||0|
|Total changes in other comprehensive income||$||12||$||0|
See accompanying unaudited notes to condensed consolidated financial statements
SpringWorks Therapeutics, Inc.
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity
|(in thousands, except share data)||Shares||Amount|
|Balance at December 31, 2019||43,006,077||4||395,097||0||(73,029)||322,072|
|Stock-based compensation expense||1,350||1,350|
|Forfeitures of restricted stock awards||(5,228)||0|
|Exercise of stock options||2,884||6||6|
|Balance at March 31, 2020||43,003,733||4||396,453||0||(88,323)||308,134|
|Balance at December 31, 2020||48,819,591||5||675,615||41||(118,603)||557,058|
|Stock-based compensation expense||7,055||7,055|
|Issuance of restricted stock awards||145,535||—||—|
|Exercise of stock options||59,026||359||359|
|Other comprehensive income, net of tax||12||12|
|Balance at March 31, 2021||49,024,152||5||683,029||53||(148,390)||534,697|
See accompanying unaudited notes to condensed consolidated financial statements
SpringWorks Therapeutics, Inc.
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash used in operating activities:|
|Non-cash operating lease expense||257||263|
|Stock compensation expense||7,055||1,350|
|Equity investment loss||261||100|
|Changes in operating assets and liabilities|
|Prepaid expenses and other current assets||697||1,142|
|Other long-term liabilities||(33)||0|
|Net cash used in operating activities||(21,104)||(16,398)|
|Purchases of marketable securities||(86,373)||0|
|Proceeds from sale and maturity of debt securities||55,500||0|
|Net cash used in investing activities||(30,918)||(160)|
|Proceeds from stock option exercises||359||6|
|Net cash provided by financing activities||359||6|
|Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents||(51,663)||(16,552)|
|Cash and cash equivalents including Restricted cash, beginning of period||147,654||328,192|
|Cash and cash equivalents including Restricted cash, end of period||95,991||311,640|
See accompanying unaudited notes to condensed consolidated financial statements
SpringWorks Therapeutics, Inc.
Notes to Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements (unaudited)
1. Nature of Operations
SpringWorks Therapeutics, Inc., or the Company, was formed in Delaware on August 18, 2017.
The Company is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company applying a precision medicine approach to acquiring, developing and commercializing life-changing medicines for underserved patient populations suffering from devastating rare diseases and cancer. The Company has a differentiated portfolio of small molecule targeted oncology product candidates and is advancing 2 potentially registrational clinical trials in rare tumor types, as well as several other programs addressing highly prevalent, genetically defined cancers. Two of the programs are late-stage clinical product candidates: nirogacestat and mirdametinib.
The Company has incurred losses and negative operating cash flows since inception and had an accumulated deficit of $148.4 million and $118.6 million, and working capital of $462.8 million and $495.8 million, as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively. The Company is subject to those risks associated with any biopharmaceutical company that has substantial expenditures for development. There can be no assurance that the Company’s development projects will be successful, that products developed will obtain necessary regulatory approval, or that any approved product will be commercially viable. In addition, the Company operates in an environment of rapid technological change and is largely dependent on the services of its employees, advisors, consultants and vendors.
The Company had cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $541.0 million and $561.8 million as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively. Based on the Company's cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of March 31, 2021, management estimates that its current liquidity will enable it to meet operating expenses through at least twelve months after the date that these financial statements are issued.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization designated the outbreak of the disease associated with the novel strain of coronavirus known as COVID-19 as a global pandemic. Governments and businesses around the world have taken unprecedented actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including, but not limited to, shelter-in-place orders, quarantines, significant restrictions on travel, as well as restrictions that prohibit many employees from going to work. Uncertainty with respect to the economic impacts of the pandemic has introduced significant volatility in the financial markets. The Company did not observe significant impacts on its business or results of operations for the periods presented due to the global emergence of COVID-19. While the extent to which COVID-19 impacts the Company’s future results will depend on future developments, the pandemic and associated impacts could result in a material impact to the Company’s future financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
2. Basis of Presentation
The Company’s unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, or U.S. GAAP, for interim financial information and Article 10 of Regulation S-X of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, and should be read in conjunction with the Company's consolidated financial statements and notes thereto contained in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 filed with the SEC. The condensed consolidated financial statements presented in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q are unaudited; however, in the opinion of management, such financial statements reflect all adjustments, consisting solely of normal recurring adjustments, necessary for a fair presentation of the results for the interim periods presented.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts in the financial statements and accompanying notes. Significant estimates and assumptions reflected in these condensed consolidated financial statements include, but are not limited to, research and development expenses and the valuation of stock-based compensation awards. Management bases its estimates on historical experience, known trends and other market-specific or relevant factors that it believes to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from those estimates or assumptions. On an ongoing basis, management evaluates its estimates, and adjusts those estimates and assumptions when facts or circumstances change. Changes in estimates are recorded in the period in which they become known.
Research and Development Expenses
In accordance with ASC 730, “Research and Development”, expenditures for clinical development, including upfront licensing fees and milestone payments associated with products that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are charged to research and development expense as incurred. These expenses consist of expenses incurred in performing development activities, including salaries and benefits, stock-based compensation expense, preclinical expenses, clinical trial and related clinical manufacturing expenses, contract services and other outside expenses. Expenses incurred for certain research and development activities, including expenses associated with particular activities performed by contract research organizations, investigative sites in connection with clinical trials and contract manufacturing organizations, are recognized based on an evaluation of the progress or completion of specific tasks using either time-based measures or data such as information provided to the Company by its vendors on actual costs incurred. Payments for these activities are based on the terms of the individual arrangements, which may differ from the pattern of expense recognition. Expenses for research and development activities incurred that have yet to be invoiced by the vendors that perform the related activities are reflected in the consolidated financial statements as accrued research and development expenses. Advance payments for goods or services to be received in the future for research and development activities are deferred and capitalized. The capitalized amounts are expensed as the related goods are delivered or the services are performed.
Operating segments are defined as components of an entity about which separate discrete information is available for evaluation by the chief operating decision maker, or decision-making group, in deciding how to allocate resources and in assessing performance. The Company views its operations and manages its business in 1 operating segment operating exclusively in the United States.
Recently Adopted Accounting Pronouncements
In 2019, the FASB issued ASU 2019-12, Income Taxes (Topic 740), which simplifies the accounting for income taxes. ASU 2019-12 became effective for the Company on January 1, 2021. The adoption of ASU 2019-12 did not have a significant impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.
3. Marketable Securities
The following table summarizes the Company’s available-for-sale marketable securities as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020:
|As of March 31, 2021|
|(in thousands)||Amortized Cost||Gross Unrealized Gains||Gross Unrealized Losses||Estimated Fair Value|
|U.S. Government securities||$||170,392||$||61||$||0||$||170,453|
|Corporate debt securities||79,464||4||(25)||79,443|
|U.S. Government securities||53,219||18||—||53,237|
|Corporate debt securities||10,399||0||(5)||10,394|
|As of December 31, 2020|
|(in thousands)||Amortized Cost||Gross Unrealized Gains||Gross Unrealized Losses||Estimated Fair Value|
|U.S. Government securities||$||157,079||$||24||$||(1)||$||157,102|
|Corporate debt securities||74,773||2||(10)||74,765|
|U.S. Government securities||53,310||26||—||53,336|
The Company’s marketable securities are available-for-sale securities and consist of high-quality, highly liquid debt securities including corporate debt securities, U.S. government securities and commercial paper.
The Company’s available-for-sale securities classified as short-term marketable securities in the condensed consolidated balance sheets mature within one year or less of the balance sheet date. Marketable securities that mature greater than one year from the balance sheet date are classified as long-term. As of March 31, 2021, the Company did not hold any investments with maturity dates greater than five years.
As of, and for the three months ended March 31, 2021, the Company did not have any allowance for credit losses or impairments of its marketable securities.
4. Fair Value Measurements
The fair value of the Company’s financial assets measured on a recurring basis are classified based upon a fair value hierarchy consisting of the following three levels:
Level 1 — Unadjusted quoted prices in active markets that are accessible at the measurement date for identical, unrestricted assets, or liabilities.
Level 2 — Quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets, quoted prices in markets that are not active, or inputs which are observable, either directly or indirectly, for substantially the full term of the instrument.
Level 3 — Prices or valuation techniques that require inputs that are both significant to the fair value measurement and unobservable (i.e., supported by little or no market activity).
The fair value hierarchy is based on inputs to valuation techniques used to measure fair value that are either observable or unobservable. Observable inputs reflect assumptions market participants would use in pricing an asset or liability based on market data obtained from independent sources while unobservable inputs reflect a reporting entity's pricing based upon their own market assumptions.
As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Company's financial assets and liabilities recognized at fair value on a recurring basis consisted of the following:
|As of March 31, 2021|
|Fair Value Hierarchy|
|(in thousands)||Total||Level 1||Level 2||Level 3|
|Money market funds||$||73,022||$||73,022||$||0||$||0|
|U.S. Government securities||170,453||170,453||0||0|
|Corporate debt securities||79,443||0||79,443||0|
|U.S. Government securities||53,237||53,237||0||0|
|Corporate debt securities||10,394||0||10,394||0|
|As of December 31, 2020|
|Fair Value Hierarchy|
|(in thousands)||Total||Level 1||Level 2||Level 3|
|Money market funds||$||107,723||$||107,723||$||0||$||0|
|U.S. Government securities||157,102||157,102||—||0|
|Corporate debt securities||74,765||0||74,765||0|
|U.S. Government securities||53,336||53,336||0||0|
As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Company’s financial assets measured at fair value on a recurring basis using a market approach included cash equivalents, which consist of money market funds, and marketable securities, which consist of high-quality, highly liquid available-for-sale debt securities including corporate debt securities, U.S. government securities and commercial paper.
The Company’s money market funds are readily convertible into cash and the net asset value of each fund on the last day of the quarter is used to determine fair value. The U.S. Government securities are classified as Level 1 and valued utilizing quoted market prices. The Company’s corporate debt securities and commercial paper are classified as Level 2 and valued utilizing various market and industry inputs.
The Company considers all highly liquid instruments that have maturities of three months or less when acquired to be cash equivalents. The carrying amounts reflected in the Company’s condensed consolidated balance sheets for cash equivalents, accounts payable, and accrued expenses approximate fair value due to their short-term maturities.
5. Investment and Variable Interest Entity
In June 2019, the Company announced the formation of MapKure, an entity jointly owned by the Company and BeiGene Ltd., or BeiGene. BeiGene licensed to MapKure exclusive rights to BGB-3245, an oral, small molecule selective inhibitor of specific BRAF driver mutations and genetic fusions. MapKure is advancing BGB-3245 through clinical development for solid tumor patients harboring BRAF driver mutations and genetic fusions that were observed to be sensitive to the compound in preclinical studies.
As of March 31, 2021, the Company’s ownership interest in MapKure was 38.9%. In addition to the Company’s equity ownership in MapKure, the Company has appointed a member to each of MapKure’s joint steering committee and board of
directors. The Company also contributes to clinical development and other operational activities for BGB-3245 through a service agreement with MapKure.
The Company determined that MapKure is a variable interest entity. The Company is not the primary beneficiary, as the Company does not have the power to direct the activities that most significantly impact the economic performance of MapKure. Accordingly, the Company does not consolidate the financial statements of this entity and accounts for this investment using the equity method of accounting.
In accordance with ASC 323-10-35-6, the Company records MapKure’s earnings or losses based on a one quarter lag.
The Company recognized an equity loss of $0.3 million and $0.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and March 31, 2020, respectively. The Company’s ownership interest in MapKure is included in “Equity method investments” in the condensed consolidated balance sheets. The balance of the Company’s investment was $3.6 million as of March 31, 2021, representing the maximum exposure to loss as a result of the Company’s involvement with MapKure.
6. Accrued Expenses
Accrued expenses consists of the following:
|March 31,||December 31,|
|Accrued professional fees||$||889||$||827|
|Accrued compensation and benefits||1,920||5,834|
|Accrued research and development||11,789||7,922|
|Total accrued expenses||$||15,256||$||14,885|
7. Commitments and Contingencies
The Company enters into contracts in the normal course of business for clinical trials, preclinical studies, manufacturing and other services and products for operating purposes. These contracts generally provide for termination following a certain period after notice and therefore the Company believes that non-cancelable obligations under these agreements are not material.
Additionally, the Company has excluded milestone or royalty payments or other contractual payment obligations as the timing and amount of such obligations are unknown or uncertain.
Maturities of the Company’s operating lease liabilities in accordance with ASC 842 as of March 31, 2021 are as follows:
|(in thousands)||Operating Leases|
|2024 and thereafter||0|
|Total lease payments||2,348|
|Less: imputed interest||(73)|
|Present value of lease liabilities||$||2,275|
From time to time, the Company may be involved in disputes or regulatory inquiries that arise in the ordinary course of business. When the Company determines that a loss is both probable and reasonably estimable, a liability is recorded and disclosed if the amount is material to the financial statements taken as a whole. When a material loss contingency is only
reasonably possible, the Company does not record a liability, but instead discloses the nature and the amount of the claim, and an estimate of the loss or range of loss, if such an estimate can reasonably be made.
As of March 31, 2021, there was 0 litigation or contingency with at least a reasonable possibility of a material loss.
8. Stock-Based Compensation
2019 Equity Incentive Plan
The 2019 Equity Incentive Plan provides for the grant of incentive stock options, nonqualified stock options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock units, restricted stock awards, unrestricted stock awards and dividend equivalent rights to the Company’s officers, employees, directors and other key persons (including consultants). The number of shares reserved for issuance under the 2019 Equity Incentive Plan is cumulatively increased each January 1 by 5% of the number of shares of the Company’s common stock outstanding on the immediately preceding December 31 or such lesser number of shares determined by the Company’s compensation committee. Effective January 1, 2021, the number of shares reserved for issuance under the 2019 Equity Incentive Plan was increased by 2,440,980 shares.
The terms of stock options and restricted stock awards, including vesting requirements, are determined by the Board of Directors or its delegates, subject to the provisions of the 2019 Equity Incentive Plan. Stock option awards granted by the Company generally vest over four years and restricted stock awards granted by the Company generally vest over three years.
As of March 31, 2021, there were 5,306,612 shares available for issuance in connection with future awards under the 2019 Equity Incentive Plan.
During the three months ended March 31, 2021, the Company granted 1,245,580 stock option awards and 145,535 restricted stock awards to its officers, employees and directors under the 2019 Equity Incentive Plan.
During the three months ended March 31, 2021, 146,162 restricted stock awards previously issued to employees of the Company vested, and 59,026 stock options were exercised.
As of March 31, 2021, there were 1,694,896 stock options vested and exercisable. In June 2019, the Company’s CEO received an award of 176,411 stock options, or the 2019 CEO Performance Award. During the quarter ended March 31, 2021, 84,527 options of the CEO Performance Award became exercisable upon the satisfaction of the market condition applicable to this award.
Stock-based compensation expense included in general and administrative expense, and research and development expense, for the three months ended March 31, 2021 was $4.8 million and $2.3 million, respectively, and $1.0 million and $0.4 million, respectively, for the three months ended March 31, 2020.
As of March 31, 2021, the unrecognized compensation expense related to unvested stock options and restricted stock awards was $86.2 million and $10.0 million, which is expected to be recognized over a weighted-average remaining period of approximately 2.92 and 1.19 years, respectively.
As of March 31, 2021, the Company had 5,692,100 stock options outstanding and 686,241 unvested restricted stock awards.
9. Net Loss per Share
Since the Company had a net loss in each of the periods presented, basic and diluted net loss per share are the same. The table below provides potentially dilutive securities not included in the computation of the diluted net loss per share for the periods ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, because to do so would be anti-dilutive:
|As of March 31,|
|Common stock options issued and outstanding||5,692,100||4,349,449|
|Restricted stock subject to future vesting||686,241||1,136,760|
|Total potentially dilutive securities||6,378,341||5,486,209|
Item 2. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following discussion of the financial condition and results of operations of SpringWorks Therapeutics, Inc. should be read in conjunction with the condensed consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto included elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, or Quarterly Report, and our consolidated financial statements and notes thereto contained in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, or 2020 Form 10-K, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, on February 25, 2021. In addition to historical information, this discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. We caution you that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and that our actual results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and the developments in our business and the industry in which we operate, may differ materially from the results discussed or projected in the forward-looking statements contained in this Quarterly Report. We discuss risks and other factors that we believe could cause or contribute to these potential differences elsewhere in this Quarterly Report, including under Item 1A. “Risk Factors” and under “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements”. In addition, even if our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and the developments in our business and the industry in which we operate are consistent with the forward-looking statements contained in this Quarterly Report, they may not be predictive of results or developments in future periods. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements made by us, which speak only as of the date they are made. We disclaim any obligation, except as specifically required by law and the rules of the SEC to publicly update or revise any such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements may be based, or that may affect the likelihood that actual results will differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company applying a precision medicine approach to acquiring, developing and commercializing life-changing medicines for underserved patient populations suffering from devastating rare diseases and cancer. We have a differentiated portfolio of small molecule targeted oncology product candidates and are advancing two potentially registrational clinical trials in rare tumor types, as well as several other programs addressing highly prevalent, genetically defined cancers. Our strategic approach and operational excellence in clinical development have enabled us to rapidly advance our two lead product candidates into late-stage clinical trials while simultaneously entering into multiple shared-value partnerships with industry leaders to expand our portfolio. From this foundation, we are continuing to build a differentiated global biopharmaceutical company intensely focused on understanding patients and their diseases in order to develop transformative targeted medicines.
Our most advanced product candidate, nirogacestat, is an oral, small molecule gamma secretase inhibitor currently in development for the treatment of desmoid tumors, a rare and often debilitating and disfiguring soft tissue tumor for which there are currently no therapies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. We believe nirogacestat may address the significant limitations associated with existing treatment options and has the potential to become the first therapy approved by the FDA for both newly diagnosed and previously treated desmoid tumors. Since we licensed nirogacestat from Pfizer Inc., or Pfizer, in August 2017, the FDA has granted us Orphan Drug Designation, Fast Track Designation and Breakthrough Therapy Designation for this indication, and the European Commission granted Orphan Drug Designation to nirogacestat for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma. In May 2019, we announced the initiation of the DeFi trial, a potentially registrational Phase 3 clinical trial of nirogacestat for adult patients with desmoid tumors, and in July 2020, we announced full enrollment of the DeFi trial. We expect to report topline data from this trial in the second half of 2021. The primary endpoint for the DeFi trial is progression free survival, defined as the time from randomization until the date of assessment of radiographic progression as measured by RECIST v1.1, the date of assessment of clinical progression or death by any cause. Radiographic or clinical progression are determined by blinded independent central review. In addition to the ongoing DeFi trial, a Phase 2 clinical trial was initiated in collaboration with the Children’s Oncology Group, or COG, in September 2020, to evaluate nirogacestat for the treatment of pediatric patients with desmoid tumors.
Our second product candidate is mirdametinib, an oral, small molecule MEK inhibitor currently in development for the treatment of neurofibromatosis type 1-associated plexiform neurofibromas, or NF1-PN, a rare tumor of the peripheral nerve sheath that causes significant pain and disfigurement, and that most often manifests in children. We believe that mirdametinib has the potential to offer a best-in-class profile in order to enable the long-term treatment required for this patient population, as compared to other MEK inhibitors. As with nirogacestat, we licensed mirdametinib from Pfizer in August 2017; since then, the FDA has granted mirdametinib both Orphan Drug Designation and Fast Track Designation for NF1-PN, and the European Commission has granted mirdametinib Orphan Drug Designation for NF1. In October 2019, we announced the initiation of the ReNeu trial, a potentially registrational Phase 2b clinical trial of mirdametinib for pediatric and adult patients with NF1-PN. In February 2021, we reported interim clinical data from the first 20 adult patients enrolled in the Phase 2b ReNeu trial. We expect to complete enrollment of the trial in the second half of 2021.
In addition to our late-stage programs in rare oncology indications, we have expanded our portfolio to develop targeted therapies for the treatment of highly prevalent hematologic malignancies and genetically defined metastatic solid tumors. To advance this strategy, we are taking a precision medicine approach in collaboration with industry leaders. In hematologic malignancies, we have announced collaborations with GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Biotech, Inc., Pfizer, Allogene Therapeutics, Inc., and Precision BioSciences, Inc., to develop novel combination regimens of nirogacestat alongside our collaborators’ B-cell maturation antigen, or BCMA, directed therapies for the treatment of multiple myeloma. In addition to our industry collaborations with leading BCMA-directed therapy developers, we are working with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, or Fred Hutch, to further explore nirogacestat’s ability to potentiate BCMA-directed therapies as part of a sponsored research agreement. In genetically defined metastatic solid tumors, our current efforts center on the mitogen activated protein kinase, or MAPK, pathway. In collaboration with BeiGene, Ltd., or BeiGene, we are exploring the combination of mirdametinib with BeiGene’s lifirafenib in RAS mutated and other MAPK aberrant cancers. In addition, we are exploring the use of BGB-3245 in a distinct set of genetically defined BRAF mutated tumors via MapKure, LLC, or MapKure, an entity jointly owned by us and BeiGene.
Together, we believe that our portfolio provides multiple opportunities for value creation across three distinct categories of oncology programs, each of which has the potential to provide meaningful clinical benefit to patients suffering from severe rare diseases and cancer. In our late-stage rare oncology programs, we believe that our two potentially registrational trials with nirogacestat and mirdametinib each have best-in-class potential for the patient populations in which they are being advanced. In our malignant hematology programs, we believe that nirogacestat has the potential to become a cornerstone of BCMA combination therapy in multiple myeloma and we are seeking to achieve this goal by working with partners developing BCMA-targeted agents across modalities. In our biomarker defined metastatic solid tumor programs, we believe that our precision medicine approach to cancers harboring mutations in key MAPK pathway genes, such as RAS and BRAF, provides the opportunity for meaningful clinical benefit for biomarker defined patient populations.
Furthermore, we intend to continue to expand our portfolio by licensing additional programs with strong biological rationales and validated mechanisms of action. We also plan to continue using shared-value partnerships to maximize the potential of our therapies to serve patients. Since our founding, we have invested in building leading clinical development capabilities and have focused on structuring innovative partnerships that seek to align incentives and optimize business outcomes for each party involved. We believe that this approach will continue to allow us to expand our shared-value relationships with innovators, maximize the potential of our existing and future portfolio, and ultimately support the building of a scalable and sustainable business focused on the efficient advancement and commercialization of product candidates that hold the potential to transform the lives of patients living with severe rare diseases and cancer.
In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, was identified in Wuhan, China. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization designated the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease associated with SARS-CoV-2, as a global pandemic. Governments and businesses around the world have taken unprecedented actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including, but not limited to, shelter- in-place orders, quarantines, significant restrictions on travel, as well as restrictions that prohibit many employees from going to work. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have undertaken a number of business continuity measures to mitigate potential disruption to our operations and in order to preserve the integrity of our research and development programs. To date, we have not experienced any material disruptions to the execution of the research and development activities that we currently have underway; however, as a result of the pandemic we may experience disruptions that could impact our research and development timelines and outcomes. We will continue to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the impact of emerging variants, on our business. While the extent to which COVID-19 impacts our future results will depend on future developments, it is possible that the global pandemic and its associated economic impacts could result in a material impact to our business, future financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Based on our cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities balance as of March 31, 2021, of $541.0 million, management estimates that its current liquidity position will enable it to meet operating expenses through at least 2022. For further details on our liquidity position, see the "Results of Operations."
Components of our results of operations
We have not generated, and do not expect to generate in the near future, any commercial revenue from the sale of products, if at all. If our development efforts for our current product candidates or additional product candidates that we may develop in the future are successful and can be commercialized, we may generate revenue in the future from product sales. We may enter into collaboration and license agreements from time to time that provide for certain payments due to us. Accordingly, we may generate revenue from such collaboration or license agreements in the future.
Research and development expenses
Our research and development expenses consist of expenses incurred in connection with the development of our product candidates. These expenses include:
•employee-related expenses, which include salaries, benefits and stock-based compensation for our research and development personnel;
•fees paid to consultants for services directly related to our research and development programs;
•expenses incurred under agreements with third-party contract research organizations, or CROs, investigative clinical trial sites, academic institutions and consultants that conduct research and development activities on our behalf or in collaboration with us;
•costs associated with preclinical studies and clinical trials;
•costs associated with the manufacture of drug substance and finished drug product for preclinical testing and clinical trials;
•costs associated with technology and intellectual property licenses; and
•an allocated portion of facilities and facility-related costs, which include expenses for rent and other facility-related costs and other supplies.
Expenditures for clinical development, including upfront licensing fees and milestone payments associated with our product candidates, are charged to research and development expense as incurred. These expenses consist of expenses incurred in performing development activities, including salaries and benefits, materials and supplies, preclinical expenses, clinical trial and related clinical manufacturing expenses, depreciation of equipment, contract services and other outside expenses. Costs for certain development activities, such as manufacturing and clinical trials, are recognized based on an evaluation of the progress to completion of specific tasks using either time-based measures or data such as information provided to us by our vendors on their actual costs incurred.
We expect our research and development expenses to increase substantially for the foreseeable future as we continue to invest in activities related to developing our product candidates and our preclinical programs, and as certain product candidates advance into later stages of development, including our ongoing potentially registrational Phase 3 clinical trial for nirogacestat, or the DeFi trial, and our ongoing potentially registrational Phase 2b clinical trial for mirdametinib, or the ReNeu trial. The process of conducting the necessary clinical trials to obtain regulatory approval is costly and time-consuming, and the successful development of our product candidates is highly uncertain. As a result, we are unable to determine the duration and completion costs of our research and development projects or when and to what extent we will generate revenue from the commercialization and sale of any of our product candidates.
General and administrative expenses
General and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries and related costs, including stock-based compensation, for personnel in executive, finance, corporate and business development and administrative functions. General and administrative expenses also include legal fees relating to patent and corporate matters; professional fees for accounting, auditing, tax and administrative consulting services; insurance costs; administrative travel expenses; and facility-related expenses, which include direct depreciation costs and allocated expenses for rent and maintenance of facilities and other operating costs.
We anticipate that our general and administrative expenses will increase in the future as we increase our headcount to support the continued development of our product candidates.
Interest and other income
Interest and other income consists primarily of interest income. Interest income consists of interest earned on our cash, cash equivalents and available-for-sale marketable securities.
Results of Operations
Comparison of the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020
The following table summarizes our results of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and March 31, 2020:
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|(in thousands)||2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
|Research and development||$||17,375||$||9,727||$||7,648||79||%|
|General and administrative||12,381||6,403||5,978||93||%|
|Total operating expenses||29,756||16,130||13,626||84||%|
|Loss from operations||(29,756)||(16,130)||(13,626)||84||%|
|Interest and other income:|
|Interest income, net||227||936||(709)||(76)||%|
|Total interest and other income||$||230||$||936||$||(706)||(75)||%|
|Equity investment loss||(261)||(100)||(161)||161||%|
Research and Development
Research and development expense increased by $7.6 million to $17.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 from $9.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, an increase of 79%.
The increase in research and development expense was attributable to a $4.7 million increase in external costs related to drug manufacturing and trial costs, and a $2.9 million increase in internal costs driven by the growth in employee costs associated with increases in the number of personnel and an increase in stock-based compensation expense.
A significant portion of our research and development expenses are external costs, which we track on a program-by-program basis after a clinical product candidate has been identified. Other research and development expenses include internal research and development costs, such as compensation related costs for our research and development employees, as well as depreciation and other indirect costs, which we do not track on a program-by-program basis, as we deploy our internal resources across multiple projects under development.
General and Administrative
General and administrative expense was $12.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021, an increase of $6.0 million from $6.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020.
The increase in general and administrative expense was primarily attributable to the hiring of additional personnel in our general and administrative functions, as we continued to expand our operations to support the organization, and an increase in stock-based compensation expense.
Interest and Other Income
The decrease in interest and other income was driven by a decrease in interest income, net, for the three months ended March 31, 2021 as compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020. This decrease was attributable to a significant decline in interest rates which drove a lower return on cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities for the three months ended March 31, 2021.
Equity Investment Loss
The $0.3 million and $0.1 million equity investment losses for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and March 31, 2020, respectively, were attributable to the Company’s share of the losses from the MapKure investment, which is accounted for using the equity method of accounting.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Sources of Liquidity
We have incurred operating losses and experienced negative operating cash flows since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for at least the foreseeable future. Our net loss was $29.8 million and $15.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. We had an accumulated deficit of $148.4 million and $118.6 million as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively. Based on our cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities balances as of March 31, 2021, management estimates that our liquidity position will enable it to meet operating expenses through at least twelve months after the date that this Quarterly Report is filed. Our marketable securities consist of high-quality, highly liquid available-for-sale debt securities including corporate debt securities, U.S. Government securities and commercial paper.
The following table provides information regarding our cash flows for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020:
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Net cash used in operating activities||(21,104)||(16,398)|
|Net cash used in investing activities||(30,918)||(160)|
|Net cash provided by financing activities||359||6|
|Net increase in cash and cash equivalents||(51,663)||(16,552)|
|Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period||147,654||328,192|
|Cash and cash equivalents, end of period||$||95,991||$||311,640|
Net Cash Used in Operating Activities
Net cash used in operating activities was $21.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021, which was driven by a net loss of $29.8 million offset by stock-based compensation of $7.1 million, a net increase from changes in operating assets and liabilities of $1.0 million, non-cash operating lease expense of $0.3 million and an equity investment loss of $0.3 million. Net cash used in operating activities was $16.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, driven by a net loss of $15.3 million and a net decrease from changes in operating assets and liabilities of $2.9 million, offset by stock-based compensation of $1.4 million, non-cash operating lease expense of $0.3 million and an equity investment loss of $0.1 million.
Net Cash Used in Investing Activities
Net cash used in investing activities was $30.9 million and $0.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and March 31, 2020, respectively. Net cash used in investing activities for the three months ended March 31, 2021 related to the purchase of available-for-sale debt securities of $86.4 million and capital expenditures of $0.1 million, offset by the proceeds from the sale and maturity of available-for-sale debt securities of $55.5 million. Net cash used in investing activities for the three months ended March 31, 2020 was related to capital expenditures of $0.2 million.
Net Cash Provided by Financing Activities
Net cash provided by financing activities for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and March 31, 2020 consisted of proceeds from stock option exercises.
Our primary use of cash is to fund operating expenses, including our research and development expenditures. Cash used to fund operating expenses is impacted by the timing of when we pay these expenses, as reflected in the change in our outstanding accounts payable, accrued expenses and prepaid expenses.
Our future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including the following:
•the initiation, progress, timing, costs and results of preclinical studies and clinical trials for our product candidates, including the DeFi trial and the ReNeu trial;
•the clinical development plans we establish for our product candidates;
•the number and characteristics of product candidates that we develop;
•the outcome, timing and cost of meeting regulatory requirements established by the FDA, the European Medicines Agency, and other comparable foreign regulatory authorities;
•the terms of our existing and any future license or collaboration agreements we may choose to enter into, including the amount of upfront, milestone and royalty obligations;
•the other costs associated with in-licensing new technologies, such as any increased costs of research and development and personnel;
•the cost of filing, prosecuting, defending and enforcing our patent claims and other intellectual property rights;
•the cost of defending intellectual property disputes, including patent infringement actions brought by third parties against us or our product candidates;
•the effect of competing technological and market developments;
•the cost and timing of completion of commercial-scale outsourced manufacturing activities;
•the cost of establishing sales, marketing and distribution capabilities for any product candidates for which we may receive regulatory approval in regions where we choose to commercialize our products on our own; and
•the degree of commercial success achieved following the successful completion of development and regulatory approval activities for a product candidate.
We will need additional funds to meet operational needs and capital requirements for clinical trials, other research and development expenditures, and business development activities. Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with the development and commercialization of our product candidates, we are unable to estimate the amounts of increased capital outlays and operating expenditures associated with our current and anticipated clinical studies.
Until such time, if ever, as we can generate substantial product revenue, we expect to finance our operations through a combination of equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations, strategic alliances and marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, current ownership interests will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect rights of common stockholders. Debt financing and preferred equity financing, if available, may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making acquisitions or capital expenditures or declaring dividends. If we raise additional funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, future revenue streams, research programs or drug candidates, or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. If we are unable to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings or other arrangements when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our research, product development or future commercialization efforts, or grant rights to develop and market product candidates that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves.
During the three months ended March 31, 2021, there were no material changes to our contractual obligations and commitments from those described under the heading “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Contractual Obligations” in our 2020 Form 10-K.
We enter into contracts in the normal course of business for clinical trials, preclinical studies, manufacturing and other services and products for operating purposes. These contracts generally provide for termination following a certain period after notice and therefore we believe that our non-cancelable obligations under these agreements are not material.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
We did not have during the periods presented, and we do not currently have, any off-balance sheet arrangements, as defined under applicable SEC rules.
Critical Accounting Policies and Use of Estimates
This management’s discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations is based on our condensed consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the
United States. The preparation of these condensed consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts in the financial statements and accompanying notes. Significant estimates and assumptions reflected in these condensed consolidated financial statements include, but are not limited to, research and development expense and the valuation of stock-based compensation awards. We base our estimates on historical experience, known trends and other market-specific or relevant factors that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from those estimates or assumptions. On an ongoing basis, we evaluate our estimates, and adjust those estimates and assumptions when facts or circumstances change. Changes in estimates are recorded in the period in which they become known.
Accrued Research and Development Expenses
Research and development expenditures for clinical development, including upfront licensing fees and milestone payments associated with products that have not yet been approved by the FDA, are charged to research and development expense as incurred. These expenses consist of expenses incurred in performing development activities, including salaries and benefits, stock-based compensation expense, preclinical expenses, clinical trial and related clinical manufacturing expenses, contract services and other outside expenses. Expenses incurred for certain research and development activities, including expenses associated with particular activities performed by CROs, investigative sites in connection with clinical trials and contract manufacturing organizations, are recognized based on an evaluation of the progress or completion of specific tasks using either time-based measures or data such as information provided to us by our vendors for actual costs incurred. Payments for these activities are based on the terms of the individual arrangements, which may differ from the pattern of expense recognition. Expenses for research and development activities incurred that have yet to be invoiced by the vendors that perform the related activities are reflected in the consolidated financial statements as accrued research and development expenses. Advance payments for goods or services to be received in the future for research and development activities are deferred and capitalized. The capitalized amounts are expensed as the related goods are delivered or the services are performed.
We do not expect our estimates to be materially different from amounts actually incurred. For the periods presented, we have experienced no material differences between our accrued expenses and actual expenses.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act
The CARES Act, which was enacted on March 27, 2020, and related notices include several significant provisions, including delaying certain payroll tax payments and estimated income tax payments. We do not currently expect the CARES Act to have a material impact on our financial results, including on our annual estimated effective tax rate, or on our liquidity. We will continue to monitor and assess the impact the CARES Act and similar legislation may have on our business and financial results.
American Rescue Plan
As a follow-up to the CARES Act, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 11, 2021 and includes several provisions intended to shore up the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended, or ACA, including lower premiums for insurance purchased through the exchange marketplace, premium tax credits for insurance purchased by individuals on the exchange marketplace and providing significant subsidies for states that have not yet expanded their Medicaid programs under the ACA. These changes as well as other administrative changes such as extending enrollment periods for 2021 and increasing navigator funding for 2021 may decrease the uninsured patient populations while increasing enrollment from higher reimbursed commercial insurance to lower reimbursed exchange marketplace coverage. Although it is too early to determine the likely cumulative effect of these changes, such changes could impact our revenue depending on the number of covered individuals.
Item 3. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure About Market Risk
The primary objectives of our investment activities are to ensure liquidity and to preserve capital. We are exposed to market risks in the ordinary course of our business. These risks include interest rate sensitivities. We had cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $541.0 million and $561.8 million as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively, which consisted of bank deposits, highly liquid money market funds and investments in high-quality, highly liquid available-for-sale debt securities. Historical fluctuations in interest rates have not been significant for us. We had no outstanding debt as of March 31, 2021. Due to the short-term maturities of our cash equivalents and the high-quality, highly liquid nature of our available-for-sale debt marketable securities, an immediate one percentage point change in interest rates would not have a material effect on the fair market value of our cash equivalents. To minimize the risk in the future, we intend to maintain our portfolio of cash equivalents and marketable securities in institutional market funds that are composed of U.S. Treasury and
U.S. Treasury-backed repurchase agreements, short-term U.S. Treasury securities and investments in high-quality, highly liquid available-for-sale debt securities including corporate debt securities, government-sponsored enterprise securities and commercial paper. We do not believe that inflation, interest rate changes or exchange rate fluctuations had a significant impact on our results of operations for any periods presented herein.
Item 4. Controls and Procedures
Our management, with the participation of our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, evaluated the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Rule 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, as of the end of the period covered by this report. Based on that evaluation, our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures as of the end of the period covered by this report were effective at a reasonable assurance level in ensuring that information required to be disclosed by us in reports that we file or submit under the Exchange Act is (i) recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rules and forms; and (ii) accumulated and communicated to management, including our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, as appropriate, to allow timely discussions regarding required disclosure. We believe that a control system, no matter how well designed and operated, cannot provide absolute assurance that the objectives of the control system are met, and no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control issues and instances of fraud, if any, within a company have been detected.
There was no change in our internal control over financial reporting (as defined in Rule 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) of the Exchange Act) that occurred during the period covered by this report that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.
PART II. Other Information
Item 1. Legal Proceedings
From time to time, we may be involved in various claims and legal proceedings relating to claims arising out of our operations. We are not currently a party to any material legal proceedings. The outcome of litigation cannot be predicted with certainty and some lawsuits, claims or proceedings may be disposed of unfavorably to us, which could materially affect our financial condition or results of operations.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Careful consideration should be given to the following risk factors, in addition to the other information set forth in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and in other documents that we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, in evaluating the Company and our business. Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. If any of the following risks and uncertainties actually occurs, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. The risks described below are not intended to be exhaustive and are not the only risks facing the Company. New risk factors can emerge from time to time, and it is not possible to predict the impact that any factor or combination of factors may have on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations. Those risk factors below denoted with an “*” are newly added or have been materially updated from our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, filed with the SEC on February 25, 2021.
Summary of company specific material risk factors
We have included a summary of the material risks that we believe are specific to SpringWorks. The summary does not include all material risks associated with our business and is not a conclusive ranking or prioritization of our risk factors. Further, placement of certain of these risks in the summary section as opposed to others does not constitute guidance that the risk factors included in the summary are the only material risks to consider when considering an investment in our securities. We believe that all risk factors presented in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q are important to an understanding of our company and should be given careful consideration. In addition, the summary of company specific material risks does not include the appropriate level of detail necessary to fully understand these risks, and the corresponding risk factors that follow provide essential detail and context necessary to fully understand and appreciate these principal risks associated with our business.
Risks related to our research and development
•Our business is highly dependent on the success of our lead product candidates, nirogacestat and mirdametinib, as well as other product candidates we may develop. If we are unable to successfully complete clinical development of, obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates, or if we experience delays in doing so, our business will be materially harmed.
•We were not involved in the early development of our lead product candidates or in the development of third-party agents used in combination with our product candidates; therefore, we are dependent on third parties having accurately generated, collected, interpreted and reported data from certain preclinical and clinical trials for our product candidates.
•If our clinical trials fail to replicate positive results from earlier preclinical studies or clinical trials conducted by us or third parties, we may be unable to successfully develop, obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates.
•Interim “topline” and preliminary data from our clinical trials that we announce or publish from time to time may change as more data become available, are not necessarily predictive of the final results of the completed study or the results of other ongoing or future studies and are subject to audit and verification procedures that could result in material changes to the final data.
•As an organization, we have never successfully completed any registrational clinical trials, and we may be unable to do so for any product candidates we may develop.
•We expect to develop nirogacestat and mirdametinib, and potentially future product candidates, in combination with other therapies, and safety or supply issues with combination use products may delay or prevent development and approval of such product candidates.
•If we encounter difficulties enrolling patients in any of our clinical trials, our clinical development activities could be delayed or otherwise adversely affected.
•The target patient populations of nirogacestat for the treatment of desmoid tumors and mirdametinib for the treatment of NF1-PN are small and have not been definitively determined, and if our estimates of the number of treatable patients is lower than expected, our potential revenues from sales of our product candidates, if approved, and our ability to achieve profitability would be compromised.
Risks related to our reliance on third parties
•We rely on third parties to conduct certain aspects of our preclinical studies and clinical trials. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties, meet expected deadlines or comply with regulatory requirements, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for, or commercialize, any potential product candidates.
•Because we rely on third-party manufacturing and supply partners, our supply of preclinical and clinical development materials may become limited or interrupted or may not be of satisfactory quantity or quality.
•We have not yet manufactured on a commercial scale and expect to rely on third parties to produce and process commercial quantities of our product candidates, if approved.
•We are dependent on a small number of suppliers for some of the materials used to manufacture our product candidates, and on one company for the manufacture of the active pharmaceutical ingredient for each of our product candidates.
•Our existing and future collaborations will be important to our business. If we are unable to maintain our existing collaborations or enter into new collaborations, or if these collaborations are not successful, our business could be adversely affected. In addition, our collaborators have broad discretion in many aspects of their performance of collaboration activities and they may take actions with which we do not agree.
Risks related to our intellectual property
•We depend on intellectual property licensed from third parties, including from Pfizer Inc., or Pfizer, for our lead product candidates, and termination of any of these licenses could result in the loss of significant rights, which would harm our business.
•If we fail to comply with our obligations under our patent licenses with third parties, we could lose license rights that are important to our business.
Risks related to government regulation
•We have been granted Orphan Drug Designation for nirogacestat and mirdametinib and may seek Orphan Drug Designation for other product candidates, but we may be unable to obtain or maintain such designation or the benefits associated with such designation, including the potential for market exclusivity, which may negatively impact our financial performance.
•A portion of our manufacturing of our lead product candidates takes place in China, with additional capacity sourced from India, through third-party manufacturers. A significant disruption in the operation of those manufacturers, a trade war or political unrest in China could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.*
Risks related to managing our business and operations
•We will need to grow the size of our organization, and we may experience difficulties in managing this growth.
•We have no history of commercializing marketed products. Building our commercialization capabilities will require a significant investment of time and money. There can be no assurance that we will successfully set up our commercialization capabilities.
•We do not have the internal research capabilities required to independently discover new product candidates, and we plan to execute our growth strategy by identifying and in-licensing or acquiring additional product candidates that have been discovered and initially developed by others. We may not be successful in executing our growth strategy or such growth strategy may not deliver the anticipated results.
•Our current operations are concentrated in two locations, and we or the third parties upon whom we depend may be adversely affected by earthquakes or other natural disasters and our business continuity and disaster recovery plans may not adequately protect us from a serious disaster.
Risks related to our financial position and need for additional capital
•We have incurred significant net losses since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur net losses in the future.
•We have a limited operating history, which may make it difficult to evaluate our prospects and likelihood of success.*
•We will require additional capital to fund our operations and if we fail to obtain necessary capital, we will not be able to complete the development and commercialization of our product candidates.
•Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our existing stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies or product candidates.
Risks related to our common stock
•We do not intend to pay dividends on our common stock so any returns will be limited to the value of our stock.
•Our principal stockholders and management own a significant percentage of our stock and will be able to exert significant control over matters subject to stockholder approval.
•Anti-takeover provisions under our charter documents and Delaware law could delay or prevent a change of control which could limit the market price of our common stock and may prevent or frustrate attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.
•Our bylaws designate certain specified courts as the sole and exclusive forums for certain disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.
Company specific material risk factors
Risks related to our research and development
Our business is highly dependent on the success of our lead product candidates, nirogacestat and mirdametinib, as well as other product candidates we may develop. If we are unable to successfully complete clinical development of, obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates, or if we experience delays in doing so, our business will be materially harmed.
To date, we have not yet completed any registrational clinical trials or the development of any product candidates. Our future success and ability to generate revenue from our product candidates, which we do not expect will occur for several years, if ever, is dependent on our ability to successfully develop, obtain regulatory approval for and commercialize one or more product candidates. In July 2020, we announced full enrollment in our potentially registrational Phase 3 clinical trial of nirogacestat and we announced the initiation of a potentially registrational Phase 2b clinical trial of mirdametinib in October 2019. If either of our lead product candidates encounter safety or efficacy problems, development delays or regulatory issues or other problems, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our development plans and business would be significantly harmed.
All of our other product candidates are in earlier stages of development and will require substantial additional investment for preclinical development, clinical development, regulatory review and approval in one or more jurisdictions.
We may not have the financial resources to continue development of, or to modify existing or enter into new collaborations for, a product candidate if we experience any issues that delay or prevent regulatory approval of, or our ability to commercialize, our product candidates, including:
•our inability to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, or comparable foreign regulatory authorities that our product candidates are safe and effective;
•insufficiency of our financial and other resources to complete the necessary preclinical studies and clinical trials;
•negative or inconclusive results from our preclinical studies, clinical trials or the clinical trials of others for product candidates similar to ours, leading to a decision or requirement to conduct additional preclinical studies or clinical trials or abandon a program;
•product-related adverse events experienced by subjects in our clinical trials or by individuals using drugs or therapeutic biologics similar to our product candidates;
•delays in submitting an Investigational New Drug application, or IND, or comparable foreign applications, or delays or failure in obtaining the necessary approvals from regulators to commence a clinical trial or a suspension or termination of a clinical trial once commenced;
•conditions imposed by the FDA, the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, or comparable foreign regulatory authorities regarding the scope or design of our clinical trials;
•poor effectiveness of our product candidates during clinical trials;
•better than expected performance of control arms, such as placebo groups, which could lead to negative or inconclusive results from our clinical trials;
•delays in enrolling subjects in clinical trials;
•high drop-out rates of subjects from clinical trials;
•inadequate supply or quality of product candidates or other materials necessary for the conduct of our clinical trials;
•greater than anticipated clinical trial or manufacturing costs;
•unfavorable FDA, EMA or comparable regulatory authority inspection and review of a clinical trial site;
•failure of our third-party contractors or investigators to comply with regulatory requirements or otherwise meet their contractual obligations in a timely manner, or at all;
•delays and changes in regulatory requirements, policy and guidelines, including the imposition of additional regulatory oversight around clinical testing generally or with respect to our therapies in particular; or
•varying interpretations of data by the FDA, EMA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities.
We were not involved in the early development of our lead product candidates or in the development of third-party agents used in combination with our product candidates; therefore, we are dependent on third parties having accurately generated, collected, interpreted and reported data from certain preclinical and clinical trials for our product candidates.
We had no involvement with or control over the initial preclinical and clinical development of any of our lead product candidates or third-party agents used in combination with our product candidates. We are dependent on third parties having conducted their research and development in accordance with the applicable protocols and legal, regulatory and scientific standards; having accurately reported the results of all preclinical studies and clinical trials conducted with respect to such
product candidates; and having correctly collected and interpreted the data from these trials. If these activities were not compliant, accurate or correct, the clinical development, regulatory approval or commercialization of our product candidates will be adversely affected.
If our clinical trials fail to replicate positive results from earlier preclinical studies or clinical trials conducted by us or third parties, we may be unable to successfully develop, obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates.
Our preclinical studies or early clinical trials of our product candidates, whether conducted by us or third parties, may not necessarily be predictive of the results of later clinical trials that we conduct. Similarly, even if we are able to complete our planned clinical trials of our product candidates, positive results from such clinical trials may not be replicated in our subsequent preclinical studies or clinical trials.
Many companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have suffered significant setbacks in late-stage clinical trials after achieving positive results in early-stage development, and we cannot be certain that we will not face similar setbacks. These setbacks have been caused by, among other things, preclinical findings made while clinical trials were underway or safety or efficacy observations made in preclinical studies and clinical trials, including previously unreported adverse events. For example, we are conducting non-clinical and clinical absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion, or ADME, studies for mirdametinib, and we cannot predict whether findings from these ADME studies will adversely affect our development plans for our product candidates. Moreover, preclinical and clinical data are often susceptible to varying interpretations and analyses and many companies that believed their product candidates performed satisfactorily in preclinical studies and clinical trials nonetheless failed to obtain FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authority approval. Furthermore, the approval policies or regulations of the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may significantly change in a manner rendering our clinical data insufficient for approval, which may lead to the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities delaying, limiting or denying approval of our product candidates.
Interim “topline” and preliminary data from our clinical trials that we announce or publish from time to time may change as more data become available, are not necessarily predictive of the final results of the completed study or the results of other ongoing or future studies and are subject to audit and verification procedures that could result in material changes to the final data.
From time to time, we may publicly disclose interim topline or preliminary data from our clinical trials, such as the interim data update from adult patients in the ReNeu trial, our Phase 2b clinical trial of mirdametinib, announced in February 2021. These interim updates are based on a preliminary analysis of then-available data, and the data and related findings and conclusions are subject to change following a more comprehensive review of the data related to the particular study or trial. We also make assumptions, estimations, calculations and conclusions as part of our analyses of data, and we may not have received or had the opportunity to fully and carefully evaluate all data. As a result, any topline results that we report may differ from future results of the same studies, or different conclusions or considerations may qualify such results, once additional data have been received and fully evaluated. For example, our interim data from the ReNeu trial reflected results from the first adult patients enrolled in the trial, but we have not yet reported final data from this trial across all patients, and those results may materially differ from our data in adults. Interim topline or preliminary data also remain subject to audit and verification procedures that may result in the final data being materially different from the preliminary data we previously published. As a result, interim topline or preliminary data should be viewed with caution until the final data are available. In addition, we may report interim analyses of only certain endpoints rather than all endpoints. Interim data from clinical trials that we may complete are subject to the risk that one or more of the clinical outcomes may materially change as patient enrollment continues and more patient data become available. As a result, interim data may not be predictive of the final results of the same study or the results of ongoing or future studies. Differences between preliminary or interim data and final data could significantly harm our business prospects and may cause the trading price of our common stock to fluctuate significantly.
Furthermore, others, including regulatory agencies, may not accept or agree with our assumptions, estimates, calculations, conclusions or analyses or may interpret or weigh the importance of data differently, which could impact the value of the particular program, the approvability or commercialization of the particular product candidate or product and our company in general. In addition, the information we choose to publicly disclose regarding a particular study or clinical trial is typically selected from a more extensive amount of available information. You or others may not agree with what we determine is the material or otherwise appropriate information to include in our disclosure, and any information we determine not to disclose may ultimately be deemed significant with respect to future decisions, conclusions, views, activities or otherwise regarding a particular product, product candidate or our business. If the interim topline or preliminary data that we report differ from late, final or actual results, or if others, including regulatory authorities, disagree with the conclusions reached, our ability to obtain approval for, and commercialize, the product candidate being studied or any of our other product candidates may be harmed, which could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
As an organization, we have never successfully completed any registrational clinical trials, and we may be unable to do so for any product candidates we may develop.
We will need to successfully complete registrational clinical trials in order to obtain the approval of the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities to market any product candidates. Carrying out clinical trials, including later-stage registrational clinical trials, is a complicated process. As an organization, we have not previously completed any registrational clinical trials. In order to do so, we will need to build and expand our clinical development and regulatory capabilities, and we may be unable to recruit and train qualified personnel. We also expect to continue to rely on third parties to conduct our clinical trials. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties, meet expected deadlines or comply with regulatory requirements, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval of or commercialize any potential product candidates. Consequently, we may be unable to successfully and efficiently execute and complete necessary clinical trials in a way that leads to a New Drug Application, or NDA, submission and approval of our product candidates. We may require more time and incur greater costs than our competitors and may not succeed in obtaining regulatory approval of any product candidates that we develop. Failure to commence or complete, or delays in, our planned clinical trials, could prevent us from or delay us in commercializing our product candidates.
We expect to develop nirogacestat and mirdametinib, and potentially future product candidates, in combination with other therapies, and safety or supply issues with combination use products may delay or prevent development and approval of such product candidates.
We intend to develop nirogacestat and mirdametinib, and likely other future product candidates, in combination with one or more other approved or unapproved rational therapies to treat cancer or other diseases. For example, we are currently evaluating mirdametinib in combination with lifirafenib, BeiGene’s RAF dimer inhibitor, and nirogacestat in combination with five BCMA-directed therapies across modalities through our collaborations with industry leaders developing such therapies.
Even if any product candidate we develop were to receive marketing approval or be commercialized for use in combination with other existing therapies, we would continue to be subject to the risks that the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities outside of the United States, or U.S., could revoke approval of the therapy used in combination with our product or that safety, efficacy, manufacturing or supply issues could arise with any of those existing therapies. If the therapies we use in combination with our product candidates are replaced as the standard of care for the indications we choose for any of our product candidates, the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to conduct additional clinical trials. The occurrence of any of these risks could result in our own products, if approved, being removed from the market or being less successful commercially.
We also may choose to evaluate nirogacestat, mirdametinib or any other future product candidates in combination with one or more cancer therapies that have not yet been approved for marketing by the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. We will not be able to market and sell nirogacestat, mirdametinib or any product candidate we develop in combination with an unapproved cancer therapy for a combination indication if that unapproved cancer therapy does not ultimately obtain marketing approval either alone or in combination with our product. In addition, unapproved cancer therapies face the same risks described with respect to our product candidates currently in development and clinical trials, including the potential for serious adverse effects, delay in their clinical trials and lack of FDA approval.
If the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities do not approve these other drugs or revoke their approval of, or if safety, efficacy, quality, manufacturing or supply issues arise with, the drugs we choose to evaluate in combination with our product candidate we develop, we may be unable to obtain approval of or market such combination therapy.
If we encounter difficulties enrolling patients in any of our clinical trials, our clinical development activities could be delayed or otherwise adversely affected.
The timely completion of clinical trials in accordance with their protocols depends, among other things, on our ability to enroll a sufficient number of patients who remain in the trial until its conclusion. We may experience difficulties in patient enrollment in our clinical trials for a variety of reasons, including:
•the patient eligibility and exclusion criteria defined in the protocol;
•the size of the patient population required for analysis of the clinical trial’s primary endpoints;
•delays in our research programs or clinical supply chain resulting from factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
•the proximity of patients to clinical trial sites;
•the design of the clinical trial;
•our ability to recruit clinical trial investigators with the appropriate competencies and experience, and the ability of these investigators to identify and enroll suitable patients;
•perception of the safety profile of our product candidates;
•our ability to obtain and maintain patient consents; and
•the risk that patients enrolled in clinical trials will drop out of the trials before completion.
For example, we are developing nirogacestat for the treatment of desmoid tumors and mirdametinib for the treatment of NF1-PN, both of which are rare diseases with small patient populations. As a result, although we have completed enrollment in our DeFi trial, we may encounter difficulties enrolling subjects in our clinical trials for these product candidates due, in part, to the small size of these patient populations. In addition, our clinical trials will compete with other clinical trials for product candidates that are in the same therapeutic areas as our product candidates, and this competition will reduce the number and types of patients available to us, because some patients who might have opted to enroll in our trials may instead opt to enroll in a clinical trial being conducted by one of our competitors. Since the number of qualified clinical investigators is limited, we expect to conduct some of our clinical trials at the same clinical trial sites that some of our competitors use, which will reduce the number of patients who are available for our clinical trials in such clinical trial site. In addition, in the case of mirdametinib, we may face difficulty with enrollment due to physician or patient perception of an adverse tolerability profile.
Delays in patient enrollment may result in increased costs or may affect the timing or outcome of our clinical trials, which could prevent completion of these trials and adversely affect our ability to advance the development of our product candidates.
The target patient populations of nirogacestat for the treatment of desmoid tumors and mirdametinib for the treatment of NF1-PN are small and have not been definitively determined, and if our estimates of the number of treatable patients is lower than expected, our potential revenues from sales of our product candidates, if approved, and our ability to achieve profitability would be compromised.
Our estimates of both the number of patients who have the diseases we are targeting, as well as the subset of patients with these diseases in a position to receive our product candidates, if approved, are based on our beliefs and estimates, and these estimates may prove to be incorrect. These estimates have been derived from a variety of sources, including scientific literature, input from physicians that treat patients with the diseases we are targeting, patient foundations and secondary market research databases. Further, new studies may change the estimated incidence or prevalence of these diseases, and any regulatory approvals that we may receive for a product candidate may include limitations for use or contraindications that decrease the addressable patient population. Accordingly, the target patient populations may turn out to be lower than expected, in which case the potential revenues from sales of our product candidates, if approved, would be lower than expected.
Risks related to our reliance on third parties
We rely on third parties to conduct certain aspects of our preclinical studies and clinical trials. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties, meet expected deadlines or comply with regulatory requirements, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for, or commercialize, any potential product candidates.
We depend upon third parties to conduct certain aspects of our preclinical studies and depend on third parties, including independent investigators, to conduct our clinical trials, under agreements with universities, medical institutions, contract research organizations, or CROs, strategic partners and others. We expect to negotiate budgets and contracts with such third parties, which may result in delays to our development timelines and increased costs.
We commenced operations in August 2017 and we continue to build our infrastructure and hire personnel necessary to execute our operational plans. We will rely especially heavily on third parties over the course of our clinical trials, and, as a result, may have limited control over the clinical investigators and limited visibility into their day-to-day activities, including with respect to their compliance with the approved clinical protocol. Nevertheless, we are responsible for ensuring that each of our clinical trials is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol, legal and regulatory requirements and scientific standards, and our reliance on third parties does not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities. We and these third parties are required to comply with good clinical practice, or GCP, requirements, which are regulations and guidelines enforced by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities for product candidates in clinical development. Regulatory authorities enforce these GCP requirements through periodic inspections of clinical trial sponsors, clinical investigators and clinical trial sites. If we or any of these third parties fail to comply with applicable GCP requirements, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to suspend or terminate these trials or perform additional preclinical studies or clinical trials before approving our marketing applications. We cannot be certain that, upon inspection, such regulatory authorities will determine that any of our clinical trials comply with GCP
requirements. In addition, our clinical trials must be conducted with product produced under current good manufacturing practice, or cGMP, requirements and may require a large number of patients.
Our failure or any failure by these third parties to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process. Moreover, our business may be adversely affected if any of these third parties violates federal or state fraud and abuse or false claims laws and regulations or healthcare privacy and security laws.
Any third parties conducting aspects of our preclinical studies or our clinical trials will not be our employees and, except for remedies that may be available to us under our agreements with such third parties, we cannot control whether or not they devote sufficient time and resources to our preclinical studies and clinical programs. These third parties may also have relationships with other commercial entities, including our competitors, for whom they may also be conducting clinical trials or other product development activities, which could affect their performance on our behalf. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or obligations or meet expected deadlines, if they need to be replaced or if the quality or accuracy of the preclinical or clinical data they obtain is compromised due to the failure to adhere to our protocols or regulatory requirements or for other reasons, our development timelines, including clinical development timelines, may be extended, delayed or terminated and we may not be able to complete development of, obtain regulatory approval of or successfully commercialize our product candidates. As a result, our financial results and the commercial prospects for our product candidates would be harmed, our costs could increase and our ability to generate revenue could be delayed or precluded entirely.
If any of our relationships with these third-party CROs or others terminate, we may not be able to enter into arrangements with alternative CROs or other third parties or to do so on commercially reasonable terms.
Switching or adding additional CROs involves additional cost and requires management’s time and focus. In addition, there is a natural transition period when a new CRO begins work. As a result, delays may occur, which can materially impact our ability to meet our desired development timelines. The COVID-19 global pandemic and government measures taken in response have also had a significant impact on our CROs, and we expect that they will face further disruption which may affect our ability to initiate and complete our pre-clinical studies and clinical trials. Though we carefully manage our relationships with our CROs, investigators and other third parties, there can be no assurance that we will not encounter challenges or delays in the future or that these delays or challenges will not have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and prospects.
Because we rely on third-party manufacturing and supply partners, our supply of preclinical and clinical development materials may become limited or interrupted or may not be of satisfactory quantity or quality.
We rely on third-party contract manufacturers to manufacture all of our preclinical and clinical trial product supplies. We do not own manufacturing facilities for producing any product supplies. There can be no assurance that our preclinical and clinical development product supplies will not be limited, interrupted, of satisfactory quality or continue to be available at acceptable prices. In particular, any replacement of our manufacturers could require significant effort and expertise because there may be a limited number of qualified replacements.
The manufacturing process for a product candidate is subject to FDA, EMA and comparable foreign regulatory authority review. Suppliers and manufacturers must meet applicable manufacturing requirements and undergo rigorous facility and process validation tests required by regulatory authorities in order to comply with regulatory standards, such as cGMPs. In the event that any of our manufacturers fails to comply with such requirements or to perform its obligations to us in relation to quality, timing or otherwise, or if our supply of components or other materials becomes limited or interrupted for other reasons, we may be forced to manufacture the materials ourselves, for which we currently do not have the capabilities or resources, or enter into an agreement with another third party, which we may not be able to do on reasonable terms, if at all. In either scenario, our clinical trials supply could be delayed significantly as we establish alternative supply sources. In some cases, the technical skills or technology required to manufacture our product candidates may be unique or proprietary to the original manufacturer and we may have difficulty, or there may be contractual restrictions prohibiting us from, transferring such skills or technology to another third party and a feasible alternative may not exist. These factors would increase our reliance on such manufacturer or require us to obtain a license from such manufacturer in order to have another third party manufacture our product candidates. If we are required to change manufacturers for any reason, we will be required to verify that the new manufacturer maintains facilities and procedures that comply with quality standards and with all applicable regulations and guidelines. The delays associated with the verification of a new manufacturer could negatively affect our ability to develop product candidates in a timely manner or within budget. Furthermore, a manufacturer may possess technology related to the manufacture of our product candidate that such manufacturer owns independently. This would increase our reliance on such manufacturer or require us to obtain a license from such manufacturer in order to have another manufacturer manufacture our product candidates. In addition, changes in manufacturers often involve changes in manufacturing procedures and processes, which could require that we conduct bridging studies between our prior clinical supply and that of any new manufacturer. We
may be unsuccessful in demonstrating the comparability of clinical supplies which could require the conduct of additional clinical trials.
Our or a third party’s failure to execute on our manufacturing requirements and comply with cGMP could adversely affect our business in a number of ways, including:
•an inability to initiate or continue clinical trials of product candidates under development;
•delay in submitting regulatory applications, or receiving regulatory approvals, for product candidates;
•loss of the cooperation of an existing or future collaborator;
•subjecting third-party manufacturing facilities to additional inspections by regulatory authorities;
•requirements to cease distribution or to recall batches of our product candidates; and
•in the event of approval to market and commercialize a product candidate, an inability to meet commercial demands for our products.
In addition, we contract with packaging providers with the appropriate expertise, facilities and scale to meet our needs. Failure to maintain cGMP can result in a contractor receiving FDA sanctions, which can impact our ability to operate or lead to delays in any clinical development programs. We believe that our current packaging contractors operate in accordance with cGMP, but we can give no assurance that FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities will not conclude that a lack of compliance exists. In addition, any delay in contracting for packaging services, or failure of the contract manufacturer to perform the services as needed, may delay any clinical trials, registration and launches, which could negatively affect our business. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our ability to procure our preclinical and clinical trial product supplies will depend on the severity and duration of the spread of the virus, and the actions undertaken to contain COVID-19 or treat its effects and may cause delays. If our current third-party contract manufacturers cannot perform as agreed, we may be required to replace such manufacturers and we may be unable to replace them on a timely basis or at all. Our current and anticipated future dependence upon others for the manufacture of our product candidates or products may adversely affect our future profit margins and our ability to commercialize any products that receive marketing approval on a timely and competitive basis.
Our product candidates and any drugs that we may develop may compete with other product candidates and drugs for access to manufacturing facilities. There are no assurances we would be able to enter into similar commercial arrangements with other manufacturers that operate under cGMP regulations and that might be capable of manufacturing for us. Any performance failure on the part of our existing or future manufacturers could delay clinical development or marketing approval.
We have not yet manufactured on a commercial scale and expect to rely on third parties to produce and process commercial quantities of our product candidates, if approved.
We expect to continue to rely on third-party manufacturers if we receive regulatory approval for our product candidates. We have not yet entered into any arrangement with a third party for the manufacture and supply of commercial quantities of our product candidates. To the extent that we enter into future manufacturing arrangements with third parties for commercial supply of our product candidates, if approved, we will depend on these third parties to perform their obligations in a timely manner consistent with contractual and regulatory requirements, including those related to quality control and assurance.
The facilities used by our contract manufacturers to manufacture our product candidates must be approved by the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities following inspections that will be conducted after we submit an application to the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. We do not directly control the manufacturing process of, and will be completely dependent on, our contract manufacturing partners for compliance with cGMP requirements for the manufacture of our product candidates. If our contract manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our specifications and the strict regulatory requirements of the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, they will not be able to secure and/or maintain regulatory approval for their manufacturing facilities. In addition, we have no direct control over the ability of our contract manufacturers to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel. If the FDA, EMA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority does not approve these facilities for the manufacture of our product candidates or if it withdraws any approval in the future, we may need to find alternative manufacturing facilities, which would significantly impact our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval for or market our product candidates, if approved.
We are dependent on a small number of suppliers for some of the materials used to manufacture our product candidates, and on one company for the manufacture of the active pharmaceutical ingredient for each of our product candidates.
We currently depend on a small number of suppliers for some of the materials used in, and processes required to develop, our product candidates. We cannot ensure that these suppliers or service providers will remain in business or have sufficient capacity or supply to meet our needs, or that they will not be purchased by one of our competitors or another company that is not interested in continuing to work with us. Our use of a small number of suppliers exposes us to several risks, including disruptions in supply, price increases or late deliveries. There are, in general, relatively few alternative sources of supply for substitute materials. Our current vendors may be unable or unwilling to meet our future demands for our clinical trials or commercial sale. Finding suitable replacement suppliers, materials and processes could take a substantial amount of time and it may be difficult to establish replacement suppliers who meet regulatory requirements. Any disruption or delay in supply could compromise our ability to pursue development and eventual commercialization of our product candidates.
Our existing and future collaborations will be important to our business. If we are unable to maintain our existing collaborations or enter into new collaborations, or if these collaborations are not successful, our business could be adversely affected. In addition, our collaborators have broad discretion in many aspects of their performance of collaboration activities and they may take actions with which we do not agree.
An important part of our strategy is to evaluate and, as deemed appropriate, extend our current, or enter into additional, partnerships in the future, including potentially with major biopharmaceutical companies. We have limited capabilities for product development and do not yet have any capability for commercialization. Accordingly, we have entered into collaborations with other companies to provide us with important technologies in order to more fully develop our product candidates and we may enter into collaborations with other companies to provide us with important technologies or funding for our programs.
Any current or future collaborations we may extend or enter into may pose a number of risks, including the following:
•collaborators have significant discretion in determining the efforts and resources that they will apply;
•collaborators may not perform their obligations as expected;
•collaborators may not pursue development and commercialization of any product candidates that achieve regulatory approval or may elect not to continue or renew development or commercialization programs or license arrangements based on clinical trial results, changes in the collaborators’ strategic focus or available funding, or external factors, such as a strategic transaction that may divert resources or create competing priorities;
•collaborators may delay clinical trials, provide insufficient funding for a clinical trial program, stop a clinical trial or abandon a product candidate, repeat or conduct new clinical trials or require a new formulation of a product candidate for clinical testing;
•collaborators could independently develop, or develop with third parties, products that compete directly or indirectly with our products and product candidates if the collaborators believe that the competitive products are more likely to be successfully developed or can be commercialized under terms that are more economically attractive than ours;
•for collaborations involving combination therapies that have not yet been tested together, treatment-emergent adverse events may be unforeseen and may negatively impact the monotherapy development of our product candidates;
•product candidates discovered in collaboration with us may be viewed by our collaborators as competitive with their own product candidates or products, which may cause collaborators to cease to devote resources to the commercialization of our product candidates;
•collaborators may fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements regarding the development, manufacture, distribution or marketing of a product candidate or product;
•collaborators with marketing and distribution rights to one or more of our product candidates that achieve regulatory approval may not commit sufficient resources to the marketing and distribution of such product or products;
•disagreements with collaborators, including disagreements over proprietary rights, contract interpretation or the preferred course of development, might cause delays or terminations of the research, development or commercialization of product candidates, might lead to additional responsibilities for us with respect to product candidates, or might result in litigation or arbitration, any of which would be time-consuming and expensive;
•collaborators may not properly maintain or defend our intellectual property rights or may use our proprietary information in such a way as to invite litigation that could jeopardize or invalidate our intellectual property or proprietary information or expose us to potential litigation;
•collaborators may infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties, which may expose us to litigation and potential liability; and
•collaborations may be terminated by the collaborator, and, if terminated, we could lose license rights to the applicable product candidates or could be required to raise additional capital to pursue further development or commercialization of the applicable product candidates.
Under our collaboration agreement with BeiGene, the combination of mirdametinib and lifirafenib is being evaluated in a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial. Additionally, under our five collaboration agreements with industry leading BCMA-directed therapy developers, the combination of nirogacestat and the BCMA-directed therapy of each such developer is being evaluated in relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma patients. Under these existing collaboration arrangements, upon completion of the relevant clinical trials, we and our collaboration partner will have the opportunity to negotiate in good faith to provide for the expansion of the respective clinical collaboration and the potential establishment of a commercial relationship. However, our partners have no obligation to continue development of the combination products, regardless of the applicable clinical trial results. We also jointly formed MapKure with BeiGene for the development of BGB-3245, and although we contribute to clinical development and other operational activities and have representation on MapKure’s Board Of Directors and Joint Steering Committee, we do not control the development process. MapKure may pursue a development plan that differs from our expectations, which may or may not be successful.
If our collaborations do not result in the successful discovery, development and commercialization of product candidates or if one of our collaborators elects not to enter into collaboration agreements to pursue future development, we may not receive any future funding or milestone or royalty payments under such collaborations. Risks relating to product development, regulatory approval and commercialization described in this report may also apply to the activities of our collaborators.
Additionally, if one of our collaborators terminates its agreement with us, we may find it more difficult to attract new collaborators and our perception in the business and financial communities could be adversely affected.
Furthermore, we face significant competition in seeking appropriate partners for our product candidates and the negotiation process is time-consuming and complex. In order for us to successfully partner our product candidates, potential partners must view our product candidates as economically valuable in markets they determine to be attractive in light of the terms that we are seeking and other available products for licensing by other companies. In addition, there have been a significant number of recent business combinations among large biopharmaceutical companies that have resulted in a reduced number of potential future collaborators. Our ability to reach a definitive agreement for a collaboration will depend, among other things, upon our assessment of the collaborator’s resources and expertise, the terms and conditions of the proposed collaboration and the proposed collaborator’s evaluation of a number of factors. If we are unable to reach agreements with suitable collaborators on a timely basis, on acceptable terms, or at all, we may have to curtail the development of a product candidate, reduce or delay its development program or one or more of our other development programs, delay its potential commercialization or reduce the scope of any sales or marketing activities or planning, or increase our expenditures and undertake development or commercialization activities at our own expense. If we elect to increase our expenditures to fund development or commercialization activities on our own, we may need to obtain additional expertise or capital, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. If we fail to enter into collaborations or do not have sufficient funds or expertise to undertake the necessary development and commercialization activities, we may not be able to further develop our product candidates, bring them to market and generate revenue from sales of drugs or continue to develop our technology, and our business may be materially and adversely affected. Even if we are successful in our efforts to establish new strategic partnerships, the terms that we agree upon may not be favorable to us, and we may not be able to maintain such strategic partnerships if, for example, development or approval of a product candidate is delayed or sales of an approved product are disappointing. Any delay in entering into new strategic partnership agreements related to our product candidates could delay the development and commercialization of our product candidates and reduce their competitiveness even if they reach the market.
Risks related to our intellectual property
We depend on intellectual property licensed from third parties, including from Pfizer for our lead product candidates, and termination of any of these licenses could result in the loss of significant rights, which would harm our business.
We are dependent on patents, know-how and proprietary technology, both our own and licensed from others. All patents covering nirogacestat and mirdametinib and any combination therapies using our product candidates are licensed from third parties. Any termination of a product license could result in the loss of significant rights and would cause material adverse harm to our ability to commercialize our product candidates.
Disputes may also arise between us and our licensors regarding intellectual property subject to a license agreement, including:
•the scope of rights granted under the license agreement and other interpretation-related issues;
•whether and the extent to which our technology and processes infringe on intellectual property of the licensor that is not subject to the licensing agreement;
•our right to sublicense patent and other rights to third parties under collaborative development relationships;
•our diligence obligations with respect to the use of licensed technology in relation to our development and commercialization of our product candidates and what activities satisfy those diligence obligations; and
•the ownership of inventions and know-how resulting from the joint creation or use of intellectual property by our licensors and us and our partners.
If disputes over intellectual property that we have licensed prevent or impair our ability to maintain our current licensing arrangements on acceptable terms, we may be unable to successfully develop and commercialize the affected product candidates.
We are generally also subject to all of the same risks with respect to protection of intellectual property that we own, as we are for intellectual property that we license, which are described below. If we or our licensors fail to adequately protect this intellectual property, our ability to commercialize products could materially suffer.
If we fail to comply with our obligations under our patent licenses with third parties, we could lose license rights that are important to our business.
We are a party to license agreements pursuant to which we in-license key patents for our product candidates. At the time we began our operations in August 2017, we entered into four license agreements with Pfizer, including a license agreement for each of our lead product candidates, nirogacestat and mirdametinib, both of which agreements were amended and restated in 2019. Each of our existing licenses imposes various diligence, milestone payment, royalty, insurance and other obligations on us. If we fail to comply with these obligations, our licensors may have the right to terminate the license, in which event we would not be able to develop or market the products covered by such licensed intellectual property. While we assigned the Pfizer license agreement covering our FAAH inhibitor program in connection with the sale of that program to Jazz Pharmaceuticals Ireland Limited, or Jazz, in October 2020, there can be no assurance that Jazz will comply with the terms of such license, which could result in its termination and our inability to recover that asset as a remedy for a potential material breach of Jazz’s obligations to us in connection with such sale.
We may have limited control over the maintenance and prosecution of these in-licensed rights, activities or any other intellectual property that may be related to our in-licensed intellectual property. For example, we cannot be certain that such activities by these licensors have been or will be conducted in compliance with applicable laws and regulations or will result in valid and enforceable patents and other intellectual property rights. We have limited control over the manner in which our licensors initiate an infringement proceeding against a third-party infringer of the intellectual property rights or defend certain of the intellectual property that is licensed to us. It is possible that the licensors’ infringement proceeding or defense activities may be less vigorous than they would have been had we conducted them ourselves.
Risks related to government regulation
We have been granted Orphan Drug Designation for nirogacestat and mirdametinib and may seek Orphan Drug Designation for other product candidates, but we may be unable to obtain or maintain such designation or the benefits associated with such designation, including the potential for market exclusivity, which may negatively impact our financial performance.
Regulatory authorities in some jurisdictions, including the U.S. and Europe, may designate drugs and therapeutic biologics for relatively small patient populations as orphan drugs. Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may designate a drug or therapeutic biologic as an orphan drug if it is a drug or therapeutic biologic intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is generally defined as a patient population of fewer than 200,000 individuals annually in the U.S., or a patient population greater than 200,000 in the U.S. where there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing the drug or therapeutic biologic will be recovered from sales in the U.S. In the U.S., Orphan Drug Designation entitles a party to financial incentives such as opportunities for grant funding toward clinical trial costs, tax advantages and user-fee waivers. Such a designation, however, may be revoked by the FDA in certain circumstances, such as if the agency finds that the applicant’s request for designation request omitted material information required under the Orphan Drug Act and its implementing regulations. If a product that has Orphan Drug Designation subsequently receives the first FDA approval for the disease for which it has such designation, the product is entitled to orphan drug exclusivity, which means that the FDA may not approve any other applications, including a full NDA, or Biologics License Application, or BLA, to market the same product for the same indication for seven years, except in limited circumstances, such as a showing of clinical superiority to the product with orphan drug exclusivity or where the manufacturer is unable to assure sufficient product quantity.
In June 2018, the FDA granted Orphan Drug Designation to nirogacestat for the treatment of desmoid tumors and in September 2019, the European Commission granted nirogacestat Orphan Drug Designation for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma. In
October 2018, the FDA granted Orphan Drug Designation to mirdametinib for the treatment of NF1 and in July 2019 the European Commission granted mirdametinib Orphan Drug Designation for the treatment of NF1. We may seek Orphan Drug Designations for nirogacestat and mirdametinib for other indications or for our other product candidates. There can be no assurances that we will be able to obtain such designations.
Even if we obtain Orphan Drug Designation for any of our future product candidates in specific indications, we may not be the first to obtain marketing approval of nirogacestat, mirdametinib or any other such product candidates for the orphan-designated indication due to the uncertainties associated with developing pharmaceutical products. In addition, exclusive marketing rights in the U.S. may be limited if we seek approval for an indication broader than the orphan-designated indication or may be lost if the FDA later determines that the request for designation was materially defective or if the manufacturer is unable to assure sufficient quantities of the product to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition.
Further, even if we obtain orphan drug exclusivity in the U.S. for a product, that exclusivity may not effectively protect the product from competition because different drugs or therapeutic biologics with different active moieties can be approved for the same condition. Even after an orphan product is approved, the FDA can subsequently approve the same drug or therapeutic biologic with the same active moiety for the same condition if the FDA concludes that the later drug or therapeutic biologic is safer, more effective or makes a major contribution to patient care. In Europe, we could be prevented from marketing our products if a similar medicinal product is granted Orphan Drug Designation for the same indications that we are pursuing. Once authorized, with a limited number of exceptions, neither the competent authorities of the EU member states, the EMA or the European Commission are permitted to accept applications or grant marketing authorization for other similar medicinal products with the same therapeutic indication. Marketing authorization could also be granted to a similar medicinal product with the same orphan indication if the latter product is safer, more effective or otherwise clinically superior to the original orphan medicinal product.
A U.S. composition of matter patent covering the chemical structure of nirogacestat expires in 2025 and a U.S. composition of matter patent that covers the polymorphic form of nirogacestat that is currently in clinical development expires in 2039. A U.S. composition of matter patent covering the chemical structure of mirdametinib expires in 2021. Notwithstanding expected patent life, if orphan drug exclusivity does not protect these products from competition, our business and financial condition could be materially adversely affected. Orphan Drug Designation neither shortens the development time or regulatory review time of a drug or therapeutic biologic nor gives the drug or therapeutic biologic any advantage in the regulatory review or approval process. In addition, while we may seek Orphan Drug Designation for our future product candidates, we may never receive such designations.
A portion of our manufacturing of our lead product candidates takes place in China, with additional capacity sourced from India, through third-party manufacturers. A significant disruption in the operation of those manufacturers, a trade war or political unrest in China could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.*
We currently contract manufacturing operations to third parties, and clinical quantities of our lead product candidates are manufactured by these third parties outside the U.S., including in China, with additional capacity sourced from India. We expect to continue to use such third-party manufacturers for such product candidates. Any disruption in production or inability of our manufacturers in those countries to produce adequate quantities to meet our needs, whether as a result of a natural disaster or other causes, could impair our ability to operate our business on a day-to-day basis and to continue our development of our product candidates. Furthermore, since certain of these manufacturers are located in China, we are exposed to the possibility of product supply disruption and increased costs in the event of changes in the policies of the U.S. or Chinese governments, political unrest or unstable economic conditions in China. For example, a trade war could lead to tariffs on the chemical intermediates we use that are manufactured in China. Any of these matters could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations. Any recall of the manufacturing lots or similar action regarding our product candidates used in clinical trials could delay the trials or detract from the integrity of the trial data and its potential use in future regulatory filings. In addition, manufacturing interruptions or failure to comply with regulatory requirements by any of these manufacturers could significantly delay clinical development of potential products and reduce third-party or clinical researcher interest and support of proposed trials. These interruptions or failures could also impede commercialization of our product candidates and impair our competitive position. Further, we may be exposed to fluctuations in the value of the local currencies in China and India. Future appreciation of the local currencies could increase our costs. In addition, our labor costs could continue to rise as wage rates increase due to increased demand for skilled laborers and the availability of skilled labor declines in such countries.
Risks related to managing our business and operations
We will need to grow the size of our organization, and we may experience difficulties in managing this growth.
As of March 31, 2021, we had 98 full-time employees. As our clinical development and commercialization plans and strategies develop, and as we continue to operate as a public company, we expect we will need additional managerial, clinical, manufacturing, medical, regulatory, sales, marketing, financial, legal and other personnel. Future growth would impose significant added responsibilities on members of management, including:
•recruiting, integrating, retaining and motivating additional employees;
•managing our development efforts effectively, including the clinical, manufacturing and quality review process for our product candidates, while complying with our contractual obligations to contractors, collaboration partners and other third parties; and
•improving our operational, financial and management controls, reporting systems and procedures.
Our future financial performance and our ability to commercialize our product candidates, if approved, will depend, in part, on our ability to effectively manage any future growth, and our management may also have to divert a disproportionate amount of its attention away from day-to-day activities in order to devote a substantial amount of time to managing these growth activities.
We currently rely, and for the foreseeable future will continue to rely, in substantial part on third parties, including independent organizations, advisors and consultants, to provide certain services to support and perform our operations. There can be no assurance that the services of these third parties will continue to be available to us on a timely basis when needed, or that we can find qualified replacements. In addition, if we are unable to effectively manage our outsourced activities or if the quality, accuracy or quantity of the services provided is compromised for any reason, our clinical trials may be delayed or terminated, and we may not be able to obtain, or may be substantially delayed in obtaining, regulatory approval of our product candidates or otherwise advance our business. There can be no assurance that we will be able to manage our existing consultants or find other suitable outside contractors and consultants on economically reasonable terms, or at all.
If we are not able to effectively expand our organization by hiring new employees and expanding our groups of consultants and contractors, we may not be able to successfully execute the tasks necessary to further develop and commercialize our product candidates and, accordingly, may not achieve our development and commercialization goals.
We have no history of commercializing marketed products. Building our commercialization capabilities will require a significant investment of time and money. There can be no assurance that we will successfully set up our commercialization capabilities.
We are currently in the early stages of building our commercial capabilities to allow us to market our product candidates, if approved, either alone or in combination with others. Establishing commercialization capabilities will require substantial investment of time and money and may divert significant management focus and resources. In addition, we will be competing with larger biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with established commercialization and marketing capabilities as we seek to recruit suitable personnel. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that our efforts to set up commercialization capabilities will be successful.
We do not have the internal research capabilities required to independently discover new product candidates, and we plan to execute our growth strategy by identifying and in-licensing or acquiring additional product candidates that have been discovered and initially developed by others. We may not be successful in executing our growth strategy or such growth strategy may not deliver the anticipated results.
We do not have an internal discovery and preclinical research and development department to independently discover and initially develop new product candidates. We plan to source new product candidates, including those that may be complementary to our existing product candidates, by in-licensing or acquiring them from other companies, academic institutions or other asset originators. If we are unable to identify, in-license or acquire and integrate product candidates, our ability to pursue our growth strategy would be limited.
Research programs and business development efforts to identify new product candidates require substantial technical, financial and human resources, and we currently have limited internal drug discovery and preclinical research and development capabilities. In-licensing and acquiring product candidates or development programs often requires significant payments and expenses and may consume valuable resources. We will need to devote a substantial amount of time and personnel to develop and commercialize any in-licensed or acquired technology or product candidate, in addition to doing so for our existing product candidates. Our business development efforts or acquisition or licensing attempts may fail to yield additional complementary or successful product candidates for clinical development and commercialization for a number of reasons, including the following:
•our identification or business development methodology or search criteria and process may be unsuccessful in identifying potential product candidates with a high probability of success for development progression;
•we may not be able or willing to assemble sufficient resources or expertise to identify and in-license or acquire additional product candidates;
•for product candidates we seek to in-license or acquire, we may not be able to agree to acceptable terms with the licensor or owner of those product candidates;
•any product candidates that we do in-license or acquire may not succeed in preclinical studies or clinical trials;
•we may not succeed in formulation or process development of such in-licensed or acquired product candidates;
•such in-licensed or acquired product candidates may be shown to have harmful side effects or may have other characteristics that may make the products unlikely to receive regulatory approval or be unmarketable if approved;
•competitors may develop alternatives that render such in-licensed product candidates obsolete or less attractive;
•in-licensed or acquired product candidates may be covered by third parties’ patents or other exclusive rights that we may not be able to access;
•in-licensed or acquired product candidates that we develop may not allow us to best make use of our expertise and our development and commercial infrastructure as currently expected;
•the market for a product candidate that we in-license or acquire may change during the course of our development of the product candidate so that such product candidate may become unreasonable to continue to develop;
•a product candidate that we in-license or acquire may not be capable of being produced in commercial quantities at an acceptable cost, or at all; and
•a product candidate that we in-license or acquire may not be accepted as safe and effective by patients, the medical community or third-party payors.
If any of these events occur, we may not be successful in executing our growth strategy or our growth strategy may not deliver the anticipated results.
Our current operations are concentrated in two locations, and we or the third parties upon whom we depend may be adversely affected by earthquakes or other natural disasters and our business continuity and disaster recovery plans may not adequately protect us from a serious disaster.
Our current headquarters are located in Stamford, Connecticut. Our development operations are currently located in Durham, North Carolina. We currently outsource our manufacturing operations to third parties, and clinical quantities of our product candidates are manufactured by these third parties outside the U.S., including in Canada, China, France and India. Any unplanned event, such as flood, fire, explosion, earthquake, extreme weather condition, medical epidemics, power shortage, telecommunication failure or other natural or man-made accidents or incidents that result in us being unable to fully utilize our facilities, or the manufacturing facilities of our third-party contract manufacturers, may have a material and adverse effect on our ability to operate our business, particularly on a daily basis, and have significant negative consequences on our financial and operating conditions.
Loss of access to these facilities may result in increased costs, delays in the development of our product candidates or interruption of our business operations. Earthquakes or other natural disasters could further disrupt our operations and have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. If a natural disaster, power outage or other event occurred that prevented us from using all or a significant portion of our headquarters or our development operations, that damaged critical infrastructure, such as the manufacturing facilities of our third-party contract manufacturers, or that otherwise disrupted operations, it may be difficult or, in certain cases, impossible, for us to continue our business for a substantial period of time. Disaster recovery and business continuity plans may prove inadequate in the event of a serious disaster or similar event. We may incur substantial expenses as a result of the limited nature of our disaster recovery and business continuity plans, which could have a material adverse effect on our business. As part of our risk management approach, we maintain insurance coverage at levels that we believe are appropriate for our business. However, in the event of an accident or incident at these facilities, we cannot assure you that the amounts of insurance will be sufficient to satisfy any damages and losses. If our facilities, or the manufacturing facilities of our third-party contract manufacturers, are unable to operate because of an accident or incident or for any other reason, even for a short period of time, any or all of our research and development programs may be harmed. Any business interruption may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Risks related to our financial position and need for additional capital
We have incurred significant net losses since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur net losses in the future.
We have incurred significant net losses in each reporting period since our inception. To date, we have financed our operations principally through equity financings. We have derived all of our revenue from the nonrefundable upfront payment we received under the Jazz asset purchase and license agreement and we do not have any products approved for commercial sale or sources of recurring revenue. If our product candidates are not successfully developed and approved, we may never generate any revenue from them. We continue to incur significant research and development and other expenses related to our ongoing operations. As a result, we are not profitable and have incurred losses in each annual period since our inception. Our net losses were $29.8 million and $15.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and March 31, 2020, respectively. As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $148.4 million and $118.6 million, respectively. We expect to continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future, and we expect these losses to increase as we continue our research and development of, and seek regulatory approvals for, our product candidates, including our lead product candidates, nirogacestat and mirdametinib, and any future product candidates.
We anticipate that our expenses will increase substantially if, and as, we:
•advance the development of our lead product candidates, nirogacestat and mirdametinib, through potentially registrational clinical trials and potentially for other indications;
•advance our development programs for our other product candidates through clinical development and into later-stage clinical development;
•seek marketing approvals for any product candidates that successfully complete clinical trials;
•invest in or in-license other technologies or product candidates for further preclinical and clinical development;
•hire additional personnel, including clinical, quality control, scientific, medical, business development and finance personnel, and continue to build our infrastructure;
•expand our operational, financial and management systems and increase personnel, including personnel to support our clinical development, manufacturing and commercialization efforts and our operations as a public company;
•maintain, expand and protect our intellectual property portfolio; and
•establish a sales, marketing and distribution infrastructure to commercialize any products for which we may obtain marketing approval and intend to commercialize on our own or jointly with third parties.
To become and remain profitable, we or any potential future collaborators must develop and eventually commercialize products with significant market potential. This will require us to be successful in a range of challenging activities, including completing preclinical studies and clinical trials, obtaining marketing approval for product candidates, manufacturing, obtaining reimbursement approval, marketing and selling products for which we may obtain marketing approval and satisfying any post-marketing requirements. We may never succeed in any or all of these activities and, even if we do, we may never generate revenue that is significant or large enough to achieve profitability. If we do achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain or increase profitability on a quarterly or annual basis. Our failure to become and remain profitable would decrease the value of our company and could impair our ability to raise capital, maintain our research and development efforts, expand our business or continue our operations. A decline in the value of our company also could cause stockholders to lose all or part of their investment. Market volatility resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic or other factors could also adversely impact our ability to access capital as and when needed.
Even if we succeed in commercializing one or more of our product candidates, we will continue to incur substantial research and development and other expenditures to develop, register and market additional product candidates. We may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other unknown factors that may adversely affect our business. The size of our future net losses will depend, in part, on the rate of future growth of our expenses and our
ability to generate revenue. Our prior losses and expected future losses have had and will continue to have an adverse effect on our stockholders’ equity and working capital.
We have a limited operating history, which may make it difficult to evaluate our prospects and likelihood of success.*
We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a limited operating history. We were formed in August 2017 and our operations to date have been focused on preparing and executing our clinical trials for our product candidates, building our infrastructure, raising capital and executing partnerships. Consequently, we have limited operations upon which to evaluate our business, and predictions about our future success or viability may not be as accurate as they could be if we had a longer operating history or a history of successfully developing and commercializing drug products. Investment in biopharmaceutical product development is highly speculative because it entails substantial upfront capital expenditures and significant risk that any potential product candidate will fail to demonstrate adequate activity or an acceptable safety profile, gain regulatory approval, secure market access and reimbursement and become commercially viable.
Although we announced the full enrollment of the DeFi trial, a potentially registrational Phase 3 clinical trial of nirogacestat, in July 2020, and in October 2019 commenced a potentially registrational Phase 2b clinical trial of mirdametinib, we have not yet demonstrated the ability to successfully complete clinical trials for any product candidate, we have no products approved for commercial sale and we have not generated any revenue from product sales to date. In addition, as a business with a limited operating history, we may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other known and unknown factors and risks frequently experienced by early-stage biopharmaceutical companies in rapidly evolving fields, or other known or unknown factors and risks that may be infrequent or unique.
In addition, we will need to transition at some point from a company with a development focus to a company capable of supporting commercial activities, and may not be successful in such a transition.
We will require additional capital to fund our operations and if we fail to obtain necessary capital, we will not be able to complete the development and commercialization of our product candidates.
Our operations have consumed substantial amounts of cash since inception. We expect to continue to spend substantial amounts of cash to conduct further research and development and clinical trials of our product candidates to seek regulatory approvals for our product candidates and to launch and commercialize any products for which we receive regulatory approval. As of March 31, 2021, we had $541.0 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities. Based on our current operating plan, we believe that our cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities will be sufficient to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements through at least 2022. However, our future capital requirements and the period for which our existing resources will support our operations may vary significantly from what we expect, and we will in any event require additional capital in order to complete clinical development and obtain regulatory approval of our product candidates. Our monthly spending levels will vary based on new and ongoing development and corporate activities. Because the length of time and activities associated with development of our product candidates is highly uncertain, we are unable to estimate the actual funds we will require for development and any approved marketing and commercialization activities.
Our future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including, but not limited to:
•the initiation, progress, timing, costs and results of clinical trials for our product candidates; including any unforeseen costs we may incur as a result of clinical trial delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other causes;
•the clinical and preclinical development and manufacturing plans we establish for these product candidates;
•the number and characteristics of product candidates that we develop or in-license;
•the cost of identifying and evaluating potential product candidates for acquisition or license, including the cost of preclinical activities or clinical activities;
•the terms of any collaboration or licensing agreements we may choose to enter into;
•the outcome, timing and cost of meeting regulatory requirements established by the FDA, the EMA, and other comparable foreign regulatory authorities;
•the cost of filing, prosecuting, defending and enforcing our patent claims and other intellectual property rights;
•the cost of defending intellectual property disputes, including patent infringement actions brought by third parties against us or our product candidates;
•the effect of competing technological and market developments;
•the cost and timing of completion of commercial-scale manufacturing activities; and
•the degree of commercial success achieved following the successful completion of development and regulatory approval activities for a product candidate.
While we successfully completed a follow-on public offering in October 2020 in which we raised approximately $269.5 million, net of expenses, if we are unable to raise additional capital in sufficient amounts or on terms acceptable to us, we may have to significantly delay, scale back or discontinue the development or commercialization of one or more of our product candidates or one or more of our other research and development initiatives. Any of the above events could significantly harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations and cause the price of our common stock to decline.
Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our existing stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies or product candidates.
We do not have any committed external source of funds or other support for our development efforts and we cannot be certain that additional funding will be available on acceptable terms, or at all. Until we can generate sufficient product or royalty revenue to finance our cash requirements, which we may never do, we expect to finance our future cash needs through a combination of public or private equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations, strategic alliances, licensing arrangements and other marketing or distribution arrangements. If we raise additional funds through public or private equity offerings, the
terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect our stockholders’ rights. Further, to the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of common stock or securities convertible or exchangeable into common stock, existing stockholder ownership interest may be diluted. In addition, any debt financing may subject us to fixed payment obligations and covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends. If we raise additional capital through marketing and distribution arrangements or other collaborations, strategic alliances or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may have to relinquish certain valuable rights to our product candidates, technologies, future revenue streams or research programs or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. We also could be required to seek commercial or development partners for our lead products or any future product candidate at an earlier stage than otherwise would be desirable or relinquish our rights to product candidates or technologies that we otherwise would seek to develop or commercialize ourselves.
Risks related to our common stock
We do not intend to pay dividends on our common stock so any returns will be limited to the value of our stock.
We currently anticipate that we will retain future earnings for the development, operation and expansion of our business and do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, future debt or other financing arrangements may contain terms prohibiting or limiting the amount of dividends that may be declared or paid on our common stock. Any return to stockholders will therefore be limited to the appreciation of their stock.
Our principal stockholders and management own a significant percentage of our stock and will be able to exert significant control over matters subject to stockholder approval.
Our executive officers, directors and their affiliates and holders of more than 5% of our common stock beneficially hold, in the aggregate, as of March 31, 2021, approximately 54.8% of our outstanding voting stock. Therefore, these stockholders will have the ability to influence us through this ownership position. These stockholders may be able to determine all matters requiring stockholder approval. For example, these stockholders may be able to control elections of directors, amendments of our organizational documents, or approval of any merger, sale of assets, or other major corporate transaction. This may prevent or discourage unsolicited acquisition proposals or offers for our common stock that stockholders may feel are in their best interest as one of our stockholders.
Anti-takeover provisions under our charter documents and Delaware law could delay or prevent a change of control which could limit the market price of our common stock and may prevent or frustrate attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, or the certificate of incorporation, and amended and restated bylaws, as further amended, or the bylaws, contain provisions that could delay or prevent a change of control of our company or changes in our board of directors that our stockholders might consider favorable. Some of these provisions include:
•a board of directors divided into three classes serving staggered three-year terms, such that not all members of the board will be elected at one time;
•a prohibition on stockholder action through written consent, which requires that all stockholder actions be taken at a meeting of our stockholders;
•a requirement that special meetings of stockholders be called only by the chairman of the board of directors, the chief executive officer or by a majority of the total number of authorized directors;
•advance notice requirements for stockholder proposals and nominations for election to our board of directors;
•a requirement that no member of our board of directors may be removed from office by our stockholders except for cause and, in addition to any other vote required by law, upon the approval of not less than two-thirds of all outstanding shares of our voting stock then entitled to vote in the election of directors;
•a requirement of approval of not less than two-thirds of all outstanding shares of our voting stock to amend any bylaws by stockholder action or to amend specific provisions of our certificate of incorporation; and the authority of the board of directors to issue convertible preferred stock on terms determined by the board of directors without stockholder approval and which convertible preferred stock may include rights superior to the rights of the holders of common stock.
In addition, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which may prohibit certain business combinations with stockholders owning 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock. These anti-takeover provisions and other provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws could make it more difficult for stockholders or potential acquirers to obtain control of our board of directors or initiate actions
that are opposed by the then-current board of directors and could also delay or impede a merger, tender offer or proxy contest involving our company. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for stockholders to elect directors of their choosing or cause us to take other corporate actions they desire. Any delay or prevention of a change of control transaction or changes in our board of directors could cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
Our bylaws designate certain specified courts as the sole and exclusive forums for certain disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.
Our bylaws provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, or the Chancery Court, will be the sole and exclusive forum for state law claims for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim pursuant to any provision of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws, (iv) any action to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws, or (v) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine, or the Delaware Forum Provision. The Delaware Forum Provision does not apply to any causes of action arising under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. Our bylaws further provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut will be the sole and exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act or the Federal Forum Provision. Our bylaws provide that any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock is deemed to have notice of and consented to the foregoing Delaware Forum Provision and the Federal Forum Provision; provided, however, that stockholders cannot and will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder.
The Delaware Forum Provision and the Federal Forum Provision may impose additional litigation costs on stockholders in pursuing the claims identified above, particularly if the stockholders do not reside in or near the State of Delaware or the State of Connecticut. Additionally, the Delaware Forum Provision and the Federal Forum Provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits. In addition, while the Delaware Supreme Court ruled in March 2020 that federal forum selection provisions purporting to require claims under the Securities Act be brought in federal court are “facially valid” under Delaware law, there is uncertainty as to whether other courts will enforce our Federal Forum Provision. If the Federal Forum Provision is found to be unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such an action. The Federal Forum Provision may also impose additional litigation costs on stockholders who assert that the provision is not enforceable or invalid. The Chancery Court or the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut may also reach different judgments or results than would other courts, including courts where a stockholder considering an action may be located or would otherwise choose to bring the action, and such judgments may be more, or less, favorable to us than our stockholders.
General risk factors
Risks related to research and development and the biopharmaceutical industry
Clinical development involves a lengthy and expensive process, with an uncertain outcome. We may incur additional costs or experience delays in completing, or ultimately be unable to complete, the development and commercialization of our product candidates.
To obtain the requisite regulatory approvals to commercialize any product candidate, we must demonstrate through extensive preclinical studies and clinical trials that such product candidate is safe and effective in humans. Clinical testing is expensive and can take many years to complete, and its outcome is inherently uncertain. We may be unable to establish clinical endpoints that applicable regulatory authorities would consider clinically meaningful, and a clinical trial can fail at any stage of testing.
Differences in trial design between early-stage clinical trials and later-stage clinical trials make it difficult to extrapolate the results of earlier clinical trials to later clinical trials. Moreover, clinical data are often susceptible to varying interpretations and analyses, and many companies that have believed their product candidates performed satisfactorily in clinical trials have nonetheless failed to obtain marketing approval of their products. Additionally, we are conducting and plan to conduct some open-label trials, where both the patient and investigator know whether the patient is receiving the investigational product candidate or either an existing approved drug or placebo. Most typically, open-label clinical trials test only the investigational product candidate and sometimes may do so at different dose levels. Open-label clinical trials are subject to various limitations that may exaggerate any therapeutic effect as patients in those trials are aware when they are receiving treatment. Open-label clinical trials may be subject to a “patient bias” where patients perceive their symptoms to have improved merely due to their awareness of receiving an experimental treatment. In addition, open-label clinical trials may be subject to an “investigator bias”
where those assessing and reviewing the outcomes of the clinical trials are aware of which patients have received treatment and may interpret the information of the treated group more favorably given this knowledge. Where a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial is designed to allow enrolled subjects to cross-over to the treatment arm, there may be a risk of inadvertent unblinding of subjects prior to cross-over, which may limit the clinical meaningfulness of those data and may require the conduct of additional clinical trials. As such, the results from an open-label trial may not be predictive of future clinical trial results with any of our product candidates for which we include an open-label clinical trial when studied in a controlled environment with a placebo or active control.
Successful completion of clinical trials is a prerequisite to submitting an NDA to the FDA, a Marketing Authorization Application, or MAA, to the EMA and similar marketing applications to comparable foreign regulatory authorities for each product candidate and, consequently, the ultimate approval and commercial marketing of any product candidates.
Although we have initiated potentially registrational clinical trials for nirogacestat and mirdametinib, we do not know whether these trials or any of our clinical trials, including trials for our combination therapies using nirogacestat and mirdametinib, will be completed on schedule, if at all, or in some cases whether such clinical trials will begin.
We may experience delays in initiating or completing clinical trials and preparing for regulatory submissions. We also may experience numerous unforeseen events during, or as a result of, any future clinical trials that we could conduct that could delay or prevent our ability to receive marketing approval or commercialize our current product candidates or any future product candidates, including:
•delays in our clinical trials and preclinical programs resulting from factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
•regulators or Institutional Review Boards, or IRBs, ethics committees may not authorize us or our investigators to commence a clinical trial or conduct a clinical trial at a prospective trial site;
•we may experience delays in reaching, or fail to reach, agreement on acceptable terms with prospective clinical trial sites and prospective CROs, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and clinical trial sites;
•clinical trials of any product candidates may fail to show acceptable safety or efficacy, or produce negative or inconclusive results and we may decide, or regulators may require us, to conduct additional preclinical studies or clinical trials or we may decide to abandon product development programs;
•the number of subjects required for clinical trials of any product candidates may be larger than we anticipate, enrollment in these clinical trials may be slower than we anticipate or subjects may drop out of these clinical trials or fail to return for post-treatment follow-up at a higher rate than we anticipate;
•our third-party contractors may fail to comply with regulatory requirements or meet their contractual obligations to us in a timely manner, or at all, or may deviate from the clinical trial protocol or drop out of the trial, which may require that we add new clinical trial sites or investigators;
•we may elect to, or regulators, IRBs or ethics committees may require, that we or our investigators suspend or terminate clinical research or trials for various reasons, including noncompliance with regulatory requirements or a finding that the participants are being exposed to unacceptable health risks;
•the cost of clinical trials of any product candidates may be greater than we anticipate;
•the supply or quality of our product candidates or other materials necessary to conduct clinical trials of our product candidates may be inadequate to initiate or complete a given clinical trial;
•our product candidates may have undesirable side effects or other unexpected characteristics, causing us or our investigators, regulators, IRBs or ethics committees to suspend or terminate the clinical trials;
•reports from clinical testing of other therapies may raise safety or efficacy concerns about our product candidates; and
•the FDA, EMA or comparable regulatory authorities may require us to submit additional data, such as long-term toxicology studies, or impose other requirements before permitting us to initiate a clinical trial.
We could also encounter delays if a clinical trial is suspended or terminated by us, the IRBs of the institutions in which such clinical trials are being conducted, or the FDA, EMA or comparable regulatory authorities, or recommended for suspension or termination by the Data Safety Monitoring Board, DSMB, for such clinical trial. A suspension or termination may be imposed due to a number of factors, including failure to conduct the clinical trial in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical protocols, inspection of the clinical trial operations or clinical trial site by the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities resulting in the imposition of a clinical hold, unforeseen safety issues or adverse side effects, failure to demonstrate a benefit from using a product or treatment, failure to establish or achieve clinically meaningful trial endpoints, changes in governmental regulations or administrative actions or lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial. Many of the factors that cause, or lead to, a delay in the commencement or completion of clinical trials may also ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of our product candidates. Further, the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities
may disagree with our clinical trial design and our interpretation of data from clinical trials or may change the requirements for approval even after they have reviewed and commented on the design for our clinical trials.
Our costs will increase if we experience delays in clinical testing or marketing approvals. We do not know whether any of our clinical trials will begin as planned, will need to be reassigned or will be completed on schedule, or at all. Significant clinical trial delays also could shorten any periods during which we may have the exclusive right to commercialize our product candidates and may allow our competitors to bring products to market before we do, potentially impairing our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates and harming our business and results of operations. Any delays in our clinical development programs may harm our business, financial condition and results of operations significantly. The clinical trials sponsored by our partners with our product candidates in combination with our partners’ therapies pose the same development risks.
The successful development of biopharmaceuticals is highly uncertain.
Successful development of biopharmaceuticals is highly uncertain and is dependent on numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control. Product candidates that appear promising in the early phases of development may fail to reach the market for several reasons including:
•clinical trial results may show the product candidates to be less effective than expected (for example, a clinical trial could fail to meet its primary or key secondary endpoint(s)) or to have unacceptable side effects or toxicities;
•failure to receive the necessary regulatory approvals or a delay in receiving such approvals. Among other things, such delays may be caused by patients who fail the trial screening process, slow enrollment in clinical trials, patients dropping out of trials, patients lost to follow-up;
•length of time to achieve trial endpoints, additional time requirements for data analysis or NDA preparation, discussions with the FDA, an FDA request for additional preclinical or clinical data (such as long-term toxicology studies) or unexpected safety or manufacturing issues;
•preclinical study results may show the product candidate to be less effective than desired or to have harmful side effects;
•supply issues, manufacturing costs and formulation issues, including our inability to successfully combine our product candidates with other therapies;
•post-marketing approval requirements; and
•the proprietary rights of others and their competing products and technologies that may prevent our product candidates from being commercialized.
The length of time necessary to complete clinical trials and to submit an application for marketing approval for a final decision by a regulatory authority varies significantly from one product candidate to the next and from one country to the next and may be difficult to predict.
Even if we are successful in obtaining marketing approval, commercial success of any approved products will also depend in large part on the availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement from third-party payors, including government payors such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs and managed care organizations in the U.S. or country specific governmental organizations in foreign countries, which may be affected by existing and future healthcare reform measures designed to reduce the cost of healthcare. Third-party payors could require us to conduct additional studies, including post-marketing studies related to the cost effectiveness of a product, to qualify for reimbursement, which could be costly and divert our resources. If government and other healthcare payors were not to provide coverage and adequate reimbursement for our products once approved, market acceptance and commercial success would be reduced.
In addition, if any of our product candidates receive marketing approval, we will be subject to significant regulatory obligations regarding the submission of safety and other post-marketing information and reports and registration and will need to continue to comply (or ensure that our third-party providers comply) with cGMPs and GCPs for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval. In addition, there is always the risk that we, a regulatory authority or a third party might identify previously unknown problems with a product post-approval, such as adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency. Compliance with these requirements is costly, and any failure to comply or other issues with our product candidates post-approval could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Due to our limited resources and access to additional capital, we must prioritize development of certain programs and product candidates; these decisions may prove to be wrong and may adversely affect our business.
We may fail to identify and acquire, through purchase or license, viable new product candidates for clinical development for a number of reasons. If we fail to identify and acquire additional product candidates, our business could be materially harmed.
Efforts to identify and pursue new product candidates and disease targets require substantial technical, financial and human resources, regardless of whether they are ultimately successful. We currently rely on third parties, including current and future collaborators, to perform all of our research and preclinical activities. Programs may initially show promise in preclinical studies, yet fail to yield positive results during clinical development for a number of reasons, including:
•the methodology used may not be successful in identifying potential indications and/or product candidates; or
•product candidates may, after further study, be shown to have harmful adverse effects or other characteristics that indicate they are unlikely to be effective products.
Because we have limited financial and human resources, we intend to initially focus on programs and product candidates for a limited set of indications. As a result, we may forego or delay pursuit of opportunities with other product candidates or for other indications with our existing product candidates that may later prove to have greater commercial potential or a greater likelihood of success. We may focus our efforts and resources on potential product candidates or other potential programs that ultimately prove to be unsuccessful.
Our future clinical trials or those of our future collaborators may reveal significant adverse events not seen in prior preclinical studies or clinical trials and may result in a safety profile that could inhibit regulatory approval or market acceptance of any of our product candidates.
If significant adverse events or other side effects are observed in any of our clinical trials, we may have difficulty recruiting patients to our clinical trials, patients may drop out of our trials or we may be required to abandon the trials or our development efforts of one or more product candidates altogether. For example, a prior Phase 2 clinical trial of mirdametinib was terminated and enrollment in the Phase 2 portion of a Phase 1/2 clinical trial was halted as a result of adverse events observed at doses of mirdametinib of 15 mg twice daily, or BID, or above using both intermittent and continuous dosing schedules. These adverse events included ocular disorders (visual disturbances, blurred vision and retinal vein occlusion), nervous system disorders (confusion, slowed ideation, slurred speech and hallucinations), musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders (general weakness and neck muscle weakness associated with mild and moderate elevations in creatine phosphokinase) and cardiac disorders (decreased left ventricular ejection fraction and congestive heart failure). Although these doses were significantly higher than the maximum allowable dose of 4 mg BID in our ongoing Phase 2b clinical trial of mirdametinib in NF1-PN, we plan to treat patients in this trial for a period of up to 24 months, which would be longer than any subjects have been treated with mirdametinib in prior trials. In our ongoing Phase 2b clinical trial, we may observe adverse events similar to those that were seen at higher doses of mirdametinib in prior clinical trials owing to the potentially increased duration of treatment, or other factors. In addition, the trial is enrolling pediatric NF1-PN patients. There is limited safety data of mirdametinib in children under the age of 16 and it is possible that there may be unanticipated adverse events observed in this patient population.
If we elect or are required to delay, suspend or terminate any clinical trial of any product candidates that we develop, the commercial prospects of such product candidates will be harmed and our ability to generate product revenues from any of these product candidates will be delayed or eliminated. Serious adverse events or other adverse events, as well as tolerability issues, observed in clinical trials could hinder or prevent market acceptance of the product candidate at issue.
We, the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities or an IRB may suspend clinical trials of a product candidate at any time for various reasons, including a belief that subjects in such trials are being exposed to unacceptable health risks or adverse side effects. Some potential therapeutics developed in the biotechnology industry that initially showed therapeutic promise in early-stage trials have later been found to cause side effects that prevented their further development. Even if the side effects do not preclude the product candidate from obtaining or maintaining marketing approval, restrictions could be imposed on the approval or an approved product could be subject to a “black box” warning, and undesirable side effects may inhibit market acceptance of the approved product due to its tolerability versus other therapies.
Increasing demand for compassionate use of our product candidates could negatively affect our reputation and harm our business.*
We are developing product candidates for the treatment of indications for which there are currently limited or no available therapeutic options. It is possible for individuals or groups to target companies with disruptive social media campaigns related to a request for access to unapproved drugs for patients with significant unmet medical need. If we experience a similar social
media campaign regarding our decision to provide or not provide access to any of our current or future product candidates under an expanded access policy, our reputation may be negatively affected and our business may be harmed.
Recent media attention to individual patients’ expanded access requests has resulted in the introduction and enactment of legislation at the local and national level referred to as “Right to Try” laws, such as the federal Right to Try Act of 2017 signed into law on May 30, 2018, which are intended to allow patients access to unapproved therapies earlier than traditional expanded access programs. A possible consequence of both activism and legislation in this area may be the need for us to initiate an unanticipated expanded access program or to make our product candidates more widely available sooner than anticipated.
In addition, some patients who receive access to drugs prior to their commercial approval through compassionate use, expanded access programs or right to try access have life-threatening illnesses and have exhausted all other available therapies. The risk for serious adverse events in this patient population is high, which could have a negative impact on the safety profile of our product candidates if we were to provide them to these patients, which could cause significant delays or an inability to successfully commercialize our product candidates, which could materially harm our business. If we were to provide patients with any of our product candidates under an expanded access program, we may in the future need to restructure or pause any compassionate use and/or expanded access programs for a variety of reasons, which could prompt adverse publicity or other disruptions related to current or potential participants in such programs.
We face significant competition from other biopharmaceutical companies, and our operating results will suffer if we fail to compete effectively.
The biopharmaceutical industry is characterized by intense competition and rapid innovation. Our competitors may be able to develop other compounds or drugs that are able to achieve similar or better results. Our potential competitors include major multinational pharmaceutical companies, established biotechnology companies, specialty pharmaceutical companies and universities and other research institutions. Many of our competitors have substantially greater financial, technical and other resources, such as larger research and development staff and experienced marketing and manufacturing organizations and well-established sales forces. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly as they develop novel approaches to treating disease indications that our product candidates are also focused on treating. Established pharmaceutical companies may also invest heavily to accelerate discovery and development of novel therapeutics or to in-license novel therapeutics that could make the product candidates that we develop obsolete. Mergers and acquisitions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries may result in even more resources being concentrated in our competitors. Competition may increase further as a result of advances in the commercial applicability of technologies and greater availability of capital for investment in these industries. Our competitors, either alone or with collaboration partners, may succeed in developing, acquiring or licensing on an exclusive basis drug or biologic products that are more effective, safer, more easily commercialized or less costly than our product candidates or may develop proprietary technologies or secure patent protection that we may need for the development of our technologies and products. We believe the key competitive factors that will affect the development and commercial success of our product candidates are efficacy, safety, tolerability, reliability, convenience of use, price and reimbursement.
Even if we obtain regulatory approval of our product candidates, the availability and price of our competitors’ products could limit the demand and the price we are able to charge for our product candidates. We may not be able to implement our business plan if the acceptance of our product candidates is inhibited by price competition or the reluctance of physicians to switch from existing methods of treatment to our product candidates, or if physicians switch to other new drug or biologic products or choose to reserve our product candidates for use in limited circumstances.
Even if any product candidate we develop receives marketing approval, it may fail to achieve the degree of market acceptance by physicians, patients, third-party payors and others in the medical community necessary for commercial success.
If any future product candidate we develop receives marketing approval, whether as a single agent or in combination with other therapies, it may nonetheless fail to gain sufficient market acceptance by physicians, patients, third-party payors and others in the medical community. If the product candidates we develop do not achieve an adequate level of acceptance, we may not generate significant product revenues and we may not become profitable. The degree of market acceptance of any product candidate, if approved for commercial sale, will depend on a number of factors, including:
•efficacy and potential advantages compared to other treatments;
•the ability to offer our products, if approved, for sale at competitive prices;
•convenience and ease of administration compared to other treatments;
•the willingness of the target patient population to try new therapies and of physicians to prescribe these therapies;
•the strength of marketing and distribution support;
•the ability to obtain sufficient third-party coverage, market access and adequate reimbursement; and
•the prevalence and severity of any side effects.
Changes in methods of product candidate manufacturing or formulation may result in additional costs or delay.
As product candidates proceed through preclinical studies to late-stage clinical trials towards potential approval and commercialization, it is common that various aspects of the development program, such as manufacturing methods and formulation, are altered along the way in an effort to optimize processes and results. Such changes carry the risk that they will not achieve these intended objectives. Any of these changes could cause our product candidates to perform differently and affect the results of planned clinical trials or other future clinical trials conducted with the materials manufactured using altered processes. Such changes may also require additional testing, including bridging or comparability testing to demonstrate the validity of clinical data obtained in clinical trials following manufacturing changes, FDA notification or FDA approval.
Because all prior clinical trials of nirogacestat and mirdametinib were conducted by third parties, we will need to perform analytical and other tests to demonstrate that any new drug product material is comparable in all respects, including potency, to the product used in such earlier clinical trials. There is no assurance that any such product will pass the required comparability testing, that any other future third-party manufacturer that we engage will be successful in producing our product candidates or that any materials produced by any third-party manufacturer that we engage will have the same effect in patients that we have observed to date with respect to materials used in prior clinical trials.
All of the above could delay completion of clinical trials, require the conduct of bridging clinical trials or the repetition of one or more clinical trials, increase clinical trial costs, delay approval of our product candidates and jeopardize our ability to commence sales and generate revenue.
Moreover, we have not yet manufactured or processed on a commercial scale and may not be able to do so for any of our product candidates if approved. We may make changes as we work to optimize our manufacturing processes, but we cannot be sure that even minor changes in our processes will result in therapies that are safe and effective and approved for commercial sale.
If product liability lawsuits are brought against us, we may incur substantial liabilities and may be required to limit commercialization of our product candidates.
We face an inherent risk of product liability as a result of testing our product candidates in clinical trials and will face an even greater risk if we commercialize any products. For example, we may be sued if our product candidates cause or are perceived to cause injury or are found to be otherwise unsuitable during clinical trials, manufacturing, marketing or sale. Any such product liability claims may include allegations of defects in manufacturing, defects in design, a failure to warn of dangers inherent in the product, negligence, strict liability or a breach of warranties. Claims could also be asserted under state consumer protection acts. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims, we may incur substantial liabilities or be required to limit commercialization of our product candidates. Even successful defense would require significant financial and management resources. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:
•inability to bring a product candidate to the market;
•decreased demand for our products;
•harm to our reputation;
•withdrawal of clinical trial participants and inability to continue clinical trials;
•initiation of investigations by regulators;
•costs to defend the related litigation;
•diversion of management’s time and our resources;
•substantial monetary awards to clinical trial participants or patients who receive an approved product;
•product recalls, withdrawals or labeling, marketing or promotional restrictions;
•loss of revenue;
•exhaustion of any available insurance and of our capital resources;
•the inability to commercialize any product candidate, if approved; and
•a decline in our stock price.
Our inability to obtain sufficient product liability insurance at an acceptable cost to protect against potential product liability claims could prevent or inhibit the commercialization of products we develop, alone or with collaborators. Even if our agreements with any current or future corporate collaborators entitle us to indemnification against losses, that indemnification may not be available or adequate should any claim arise. Although we currently carry $5.0 million in clinical trial insurance, that amount of insurance coverage may not be adequate, and, in the future, we may be unable to maintain this insurance
coverage, or we may not be able to obtain additional or replacement insurance at a reasonable cost, if at all. Our insurance policies also have various exclusions, and we may be subject to a product liability claim for which we have no coverage. We may have to pay any amounts awarded by a court or negotiated in a settlement that exceed our coverage limitations or that are not covered by our insurance, and we may not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient capital to pay those amounts.
Risks related to intellectual property
Our success depends in part on our ability to protect our intellectual property, and patent terms may be inadequate to protect our competitive position. It is difficult and costly to protect our proprietary rights and technology, and we may not be able to ensure their protection.
Our commercial success will depend in large part on obtaining and maintaining patent, trademark and trade secret protection of our proprietary technologies and our product candidates, their respective components, formulations, combination therapies, methods used to manufacture them and methods of treatment, as well as successfully defending these patents against third-party challenges. Our ability to stop unauthorized third parties from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing our product candidates is affected by the extent to which we have rights under valid and enforceable patents that cover these activities. If our patents expire, or we are unable to secure and maintain patent protection for any product or technology we develop, or if the scope of the patent protection secured is not sufficiently broad, our competitors could develop and commercialize products and technology similar or identical to ours, and our ability to commercialize any product candidates we may develop may be adversely affected. Patents have a limited lifespan. In the U.S., if all maintenance fees are timely paid, the natural expiration of a patent is generally 20 years from its earliest U.S. non-provisional filing date. Various extensions such as patent term adjustments and/or extensions, may be available, but the life of a patent, and the protection it affords, is limited. Our current composition of matter patents covering nirogacestat and mirdametinib, were licensed from Pfizer in connection with the formation of our company. A U.S. composition of matter patent covering the chemical structure of nirogacestat expires in 2025 and a U.S. composition of matter patent that covers the polymorphic form of nirogacestat that is currently in clinical development expires in 2039. A U.S. composition of matter patent covering the chemical structure of mirdametinib expires in 2021. Our earliest patents may expire before, or soon after, either product candidate achieves marketing approval in the U.S. or foreign jurisdictions. Upon the expiration of the current patents, we currently intend to rely on orphan drug exclusivity to market our lead products. Once the patent life has expired, we may be open to competition from competitive products, including generics. As a result, our patent portfolio may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing products similar or identical to ours. The expiration of the patents covering our lead product candidates, and our inability to secure additional patent protection, could also have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
The patenting process is expensive and time-consuming, and we may not be able to file and prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. In addition, we may not pursue or obtain patent protection in all relevant markets. It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of our research and development output before it is too late to obtain patent protection. Moreover, in some circumstances, we may not have the right to control the preparation, filing and prosecution of patent applications, or to maintain the patents, covering technology that we license from or license to third parties and are reliant on our licensors or licensees.
The strength of patents in the biopharmaceutical field involves complex legal and scientific questions and can be uncertain. The patent applications that we own or in-license now or in the future may fail to result in issued patents with claims that cover our product candidates or uses thereof in the U.S. or in other foreign countries. Even if the patents do successfully issue, third parties may challenge the validity, enforceability or scope thereof, which may result in such patents being narrowed, invalidated or held unenforceable. Furthermore, even if they are unchallenged, the patents and patent applications covering our product candidates may not adequately protect our intellectual property or prevent others from designing around our claims. If the breadth or strength of protection provided by the patents we hold with respect to our product candidates is threatened, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to develop, and threaten our ability to commercialize, our product candidates. Further, if we encounter delays in our clinical trials, the period of time during which we could market our product candidates under patent protection would be reduced.
Since patent applications in the U.S. and most other countries are confidential for a period of time after filing, there is no certainty that any patent application related to a product candidate was the first to be filed. Furthermore, for U.S. applications in which at least one claim is entitled to a priority date before March 16, 2013, an interference proceeding can be provoked by a third party or instituted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, to determine who was the first to invent any of the subject matter covered by the patent claims of an application.
We cannot be certain that we are the first to invent any inventions covered by a pending patent application and, if we are not, we could be subject to priority disputes. We may be required to disclaim part or all of the term of certain patents or all of the term of certain patent applications. There may be prior art of which we are not aware that may affect the validity or enforceability of a patent claim. There also may be prior art of which we are aware, but which we do not believe affects the validity or enforceability of a claim, which may, nonetheless, ultimately be found to affect the validity or enforceability of a claim. No assurance can be given that if challenged, our patents would be declared by a court to be valid or enforceable or that even if found valid and enforceable, a competitor’s technology or product would be found by a court to infringe our patents. We may analyze patents or patent applications of our competitors that we believe are relevant to our activities and consider that we are free to operate in relation to our product candidates, but our competitors may achieve issued claims, including in patents we consider to be unrelated, which block our efforts or may potentially result in our product candidates or our activities infringing such claims. The possibility exists that others will develop products which have the same effect as our products on an independent basis which do not infringe our patents or other intellectual property rights or will design around the claims of patents that we have had issued that cover our products. In addition, some of our patent applications and patents may cover inventions owned jointly by us and our collaborators. There can be no assurance that we and our collaborators will agree upon matters related to patent filing and prosecution strategy required to execute an effective patent strategy or that decisions made by our collaborators will be consistent with our goals for protecting our solely owned intellectual property.
Recent or future patent reform legislation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our issued patents. Under the enacted Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, or America Invents Act, enacted in 2013, the U.S. moved from a “first-to-invent” to a “first-to-file” system. Under a “first-to-file” system, assuming the other requirements for patentability are met, the first inventor to file a patent application generally will be entitled to a patent on the invention regardless of whether another inventor had made the invention earlier. The America Invents Act includes a number of other significant changes to U.S. patent law, including provisions that affect the way patent applications are prosecuted, redefine prior art and establish a new post-grant review system. The effects of these changes are currently unclear as the USPTO only recently developed new regulations and procedures in connection with the America Invents Act and many of the substantive changes to patent law, including the “first-to-file” provisions, only became effective in March 2013. In addition, the courts have yet to address many of these provisions and the applicability of the act and new regulations on specific patents discussed herein have not been determined and would need to be reviewed. However, the America Invents Act and its implementation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of any patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our issued patents, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
The degree of future protection for our proprietary rights is uncertain because legal means afford only limited protection and may not adequately protect our rights or permit us to gain or keep our competitive advantage. For example:
•others may be able to make or use compounds that are similar to the compositions of our product candidates but that are not covered by the claims of our patents;
•the active ingredients in our current product candidates will eventually become commercially available in generic drug products, and no patent protection may be available with regard to formulation or method of use;
•a company or its licensor, as the case may be, may fail to meet its obligations to the U.S. government in regard to any in-licensed patents and patent applications funded by U.S. government grants, leading to the loss of patent rights;
•such company or its licensors, as the case may be, might not have been the first to file patent applications for these inventions;
•others may independently develop similar or alternative technologies or duplicate any of our technologies;
•it is possible that a pending patent applications will not result in issued patents;
•it is possible that there are prior public disclosures that could invalidate our or our licensors’ patents, as the case may be, or parts of our or their patents;
•it is possible that others may circumvent our owned or in-licensed patents;
•it is possible that there are unpublished applications or patent applications maintained in secrecy that may later issue with claims covering our products or technology similar to ours;
•the laws of foreign countries may not protect our or our licensors’, as the case may be, proprietary rights to the same extent as the laws of the U.S.;
•the claims of our owned or in-licensed issued patents or patent applications, if and when issued, may not cover our product candidates;
•our owned or in-licensed issued patents may not provide us with any competitive advantages, may be narrowed in scope, or be held invalid or unenforceable as a result of legal challenges by third parties;
•the inventors of owned or in-licensed patents or patent applications may become involved with competitors, develop products or processes which design around our patents, or become hostile to us or the patents or patent applications on which they are named as inventors;
•it is possible that owned or in-licensed patents or patent applications omit individual(s) that should be listed as inventor(s) or include individual(s) that should not be listed as inventor(s), which may cause these patents or patents issuing from these patent applications to be held invalid or unenforceable;
•we have engaged in scientific collaborations in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. Such collaborators may develop adjacent or competing products to ours that are outside the scope of our patents;
•we may not develop additional proprietary technologies for which we can obtain patent protection;
•it is possible that product candidates we develop may be covered by third parties’ patents or other exclusive rights; or
•the patents of others may have an adverse effect on our business.
If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our trade secrets, our business and competitive position would be harmed.
In addition to patent protection, we rely heavily upon know-how and trade secret protection, as well as non-disclosure agreements and invention assignment agreements with our employees, consultants and third parties, to protect our confidential and proprietary information, especially where we do not believe patent protection is appropriate or obtainable. In addition to contractual measures, we try to protect the confidential nature of our proprietary information using physical and technological security measures. Such measures may not, for example, in the case of misappropriation of a trade secret by an employee or third party with authorized access, provide adequate protection for our proprietary information. Our security measures may not prevent an employee or consultant from misappropriating our trade secrets and providing them to a competitor, and recourse we take against such misconduct may not provide an adequate remedy to protect our interests fully. Enforcing a claim that a party illegally disclosed or misappropriated a trade secret can be difficult, expensive and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. In addition, trade secrets may be independently developed by others in a manner that could prevent legal recourse by us. If any of our confidential or proprietary information, such as our trade secrets, were to be disclosed or misappropriated, or if any such information was independently developed by a competitor, our competitive position could be harmed.
In addition, courts outside the U.S. are sometimes less willing to protect trade secrets. If we choose to go to court to stop a third party from using any of our trade secrets, we may incur substantial costs. These lawsuits may consume our time and other resources even if we are successful. Although we take steps to protect our proprietary information and trade secrets, including through contractual means with our employees and consultants, third parties may independently develop substantially equivalent proprietary information and techniques or otherwise gain access to our trade secrets or disclose our technology.
Thus, we may not be able to meaningfully protect our trade secrets. It is our policy to require our employees, consultants, outside scientific collaborators, sponsored researchers and other advisors to execute confidentiality agreements upon the commencement of employment or consulting relationships with us. These agreements provide that all confidential information concerning our business or financial affairs developed or made known to the individual or entity during the course of the party’s relationship with us is to be kept confidential and not disclosed to third parties except in specific circumstances. In the case of employees, the agreements provide that all inventions conceived by the individual, and which are related to our current or planned business or research and development or made during normal working hours, on our premises or using our equipment or proprietary information, are our exclusive property. In addition, we take other appropriate precautions, such as physical and technological security measures, to guard against misappropriation of our proprietary technology by third parties.
Third-party claims of intellectual property infringement may prevent or delay our product discovery and development efforts.
Our commercial success depends in part on our ability to develop, manufacture, market and sell our product candidates and use our proprietary technologies without infringing the proprietary rights of third parties. There is a substantial amount of litigation involving patents and other intellectual property rights in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, as well as administrative proceedings for challenging patents, including interference, derivation, inter partes review, post grant review, and reexamination proceedings before the USPTO or oppositions and other comparable proceedings in foreign jurisdictions. We may be exposed to, or threatened with, future litigation by third parties having patent or other intellectual property rights alleging that our product candidates and/or proprietary technologies infringe their intellectual property rights. Numerous U.S. and foreign issued patents and pending patent applications, which are owned by third parties, exist in the fields in which we are developing our product candidates. As the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries expand and more patents are issued, the risk increases that our product candidates may give rise to claims of infringement of the patent rights of others. Moreover, it is not always clear to industry participants, including us, which patents cover various types of drugs, products or their methods of use or manufacture. Thus, because of the large number of patents issued and patent applications filed in our fields, there may be a risk that third parties may allege they have patent rights encompassing our product candidates, technologies or methods.
If a third party claims that we infringe its intellectual property rights, we may face a number of issues, including, but not limited to:
•infringement and other intellectual property claims which, regardless of merit, may be expensive and time-consuming to litigate and may divert our management’s attention from our core business;
•substantial damages for infringement, which we may have to pay if a court decides that the product candidate or technology at issue infringes on or violates the third party’s rights, and, if the court finds that the infringement was willful, we could be ordered to pay treble damages and the patent owner’s attorneys’ fees;
•a court prohibiting us from developing, manufacturing, marketing or selling our product candidates, or from using our proprietary technologies, unless the third party licenses its product rights to us, which it is not required to do;
•if a license is available from a third party, we may have to pay substantial royalties, upfront fees and other amounts, and/or grant cross-licenses to intellectual property rights for our products; and
•redesigning our product candidates or processes so they do not infringe, which may not be possible or may require substantial monetary expenditures and time.
Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of complex patent litigation more effectively than we can because they have substantially greater resources. In addition, any uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of any litigation could have a material adverse effect on our ability to raise the funds necessary to continue our operations or could otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
Third parties may assert that we are employing their proprietary technology without authorization. Generally, conducting clinical trials and other development activities in the U.S. is protected under the Safe Harbor exemption as set forth in 35 U.S.C. §271. If any of our product candidates are approved by the FDA, that certain third-party may then seek to enforce its patent by filing a patent infringement lawsuit against us. While we do not believe that any claims of such patent that could otherwise materially adversely affect commercialization of our product candidates, if approved, are valid and enforceable, we may be incorrect in this belief, or we may not be able to prove it in a litigation. In this regard, patents issued in the U.S. by law enjoy a presumption of validity that can be rebutted only with evidence that is “clear and convincing,” a heightened standard of proof. There may be third-party patents of which we are currently unaware with claims to materials, formulations, methods of manufacture or methods for treatment related to the use or manufacture of our product candidates. Because patent applications can take many years to issue, there may be currently pending patent applications which may later result in issued patents that our product candidates may infringe. In addition, third parties may obtain patents in the future and claim that use of our technologies infringes upon these patents. If any third-party patents were held by a court of competent jurisdiction to cover the manufacturing process of our product candidates, constructs or molecules used in or formed during the manufacturing process, or any final product itself, the holders of any such patents may be able to block our ability to commercialize the product candidate unless we obtained a license under the applicable patents, or until such patents expire or they are finally determined to be held invalid or unenforceable. Similarly, if any third-party patent were held by a court of competent jurisdiction to cover aspects of our formulations, processes for manufacture or methods of use, the holders of any such patent may be able to block our ability to develop and commercialize the product candidate unless we obtained a license or until such patent expires or is finally determined to be held invalid or unenforceable. In either case, such a license may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all. If we are unable to obtain a necessary license to a third-party patent on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, our ability to commercialize our product candidates may be impaired or delayed, which could in turn significantly harm our business. Even if we obtain a license, it may be non-exclusive, thereby giving our competitors access to the same technologies licensed to us. In addition, if the breadth or strength of protection provided by our patents and any patent applications is threatened, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to license, develop or commercialize current or future product candidates.
Parties making claims against us may seek and obtain injunctive or other equitable relief, which could effectively block our ability to further develop and commercialize our product candidates. Defense of these claims, regardless of their merit, would involve substantial litigation expense and would be a substantial diversion of employee resources from our business. In the event of a successful claim of infringement against us, we or our licensors may have to pay substantial damages, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees for willful infringement, obtain one or more licenses from third parties, pay royalties or redesign our infringing products, which may be impossible or require substantial time and monetary expenditure. We cannot predict whether any such license would be available at all or whether it would be available on commercially reasonable terms. Furthermore, even in the absence of litigation, we may need to obtain licenses from third parties to advance our research or allow commercialization of our product candidates. We may fail to obtain any of these licenses at a reasonable cost or on reasonable terms, if at all. In that event, we would be unable to further develop and commercialize our product candidates, which could harm our business significantly.
Third parties may assert that our employees, consultants, collaborators or partners have wrongfully used or disclosed confidential information or misappropriated trade secrets.
As is common in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, we employ individuals who were previously employed at universities or other biopharmaceutical or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Although no claims against us are currently pending, and although we try to ensure that our employees and consultants do not use the proprietary information or know-how of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that we or our employees, consultants or independent contractors have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed intellectual property, including trade secrets or other proprietary information, of a former employer or other third parties. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation or other legal proceedings relating to intellectual property claims may cause us to incur significant expenses and could distract our technical and management personnel from their normal responsibilities. In addition, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments, and, if securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a substantial adverse effect on the price of our common stock. This type of litigation or proceeding could substantially increase our operating losses and reduce our resources available for development activities. We may not have sufficient financial or other resources to adequately conduct such litigation or proceedings. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of such litigation or proceedings more effectively than we can because of their substantially greater financial resources. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of patent litigation or other intellectual property related proceedings could adversely affect our ability to compete in the marketplace.
We may not be successful in obtaining or maintaining necessary rights to develop any future product candidates on acceptable terms.
Because our programs may involve additional product candidates that may require the use of proprietary rights held by third parties, the growth of our business may depend in part on our ability to acquire, in-license or use these proprietary rights.
Our product candidates may also require specific formulations to work effectively and these rights may be held by others. We may develop products containing our compounds and pre-existing pharmaceutical compounds. We may be unable to acquire or in-license any compositions, methods of use, processes or other third-party intellectual property rights from third parties that we identify as necessary or important to our business operations. We may fail to obtain any of these licenses at a reasonable cost or on reasonable terms, if at all, which could harm our business. We may need to cease use of the compositions or methods covered by such third-party intellectual property rights and may need to seek to develop alternative approaches that do not infringe on such intellectual property rights which may entail additional costs and development delays, even if we were able to develop such alternatives, which may not be feasible. Even if we are able to obtain a license, it may be non-exclusive, thereby giving our competitors access to the same technologies licensed to us. In that event, we may be required to expend significant time and resources to develop or license replacement technology.
Additionally, we sometimes collaborate with academic institutions to accelerate our preclinical research or development under written agreements with these institutions. In certain cases, these institutions may provide us with an option to negotiate a license to any of the institution’s rights in technology resulting from the collaboration. Regardless of such option, we may be unable to negotiate a license within the specified timeframe or under terms that are acceptable to us. If we are unable to do so, the institution may offer the intellectual property rights to others, potentially blocking our ability to pursue our program. If we are unable to successfully obtain rights to required third-party intellectual property or to maintain the existing intellectual property rights we have, we may have to abandon development of such program and our business and financial condition could suffer.
The licensing and acquisition of third-party intellectual property rights is a competitive area, and companies, which may be more established, or have greater resources than we do, may also be pursuing strategies to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights that we may consider necessary or attractive in order to commercialize our product candidates. More established companies may have a competitive advantage over us due to their size, cash resources and greater clinical development and commercialization capabilities. There can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully complete such negotiations and ultimately acquire the rights to the intellectual property surrounding the additional product candidates that we may seek to acquire.
We may be involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our patents or the patents of our licensors, which could be expensive, time-consuming and unsuccessful.
Competitors may infringe our patents or the patents of our licensors. To counter infringement or unauthorized use, we may be required to file infringement claims, which can be expensive and time-consuming. In addition, in an infringement proceeding, a court may decide that one or more of our patents is not valid or is unenforceable or may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patents do not cover the technology in question. An adverse result in any litigation or defense proceedings could put one or more of our patents at risk of being invalidated, held unenforceable or interpreted narrowly and could put any patent applications at risk of not issuing. Defense of these claims, regardless of their merit, would involve substantial litigation expense and would be a substantial diversion of employee resources from our business.
We may choose to challenge the patentability of claims in a third party’s U.S. patent by requesting that the USPTO review the patent claims in an ex-parte re-exam, inter partes review or post-grant review proceedings. These proceedings are expensive and may consume our time or other resources. We may choose to challenge a third party’s patent in patent opposition proceedings in the European Patent Office, or EPO, or other foreign patent offices. The costs of these opposition proceedings could be substantial and may consume our time or other resources. If we fail to obtain a favorable result at the USPTO, EPO or other patent offices then we may be exposed to litigation by a third party alleging that the patent may be infringed by our product candidates or proprietary technologies.
In addition, because some patent applications in the U.S. may be maintained in secrecy until the patents are issued, patent applications in the U.S. and many foreign jurisdictions are typically not published until 18 months after filing, and publications in the scientific literature often lag behind actual discoveries, we cannot be certain that others have not filed patent applications for technology covered by issued patents or any pending applications, or that we or, if applicable, a licensor were the first to invent the technology. Our competitors also may have filed, and may in the future file, patent applications covering our products or technology similar to ours. Any such patent application may have priority over our patents or any patent applications, which could require us to obtain rights to issued patents covering such technologies. If another party has filed a U.S. patent application on inventions similar to those owned by or in-licensed to us, we or, in the case of in-licensed technology, the licensor may have to participate in an interference proceeding declared by the USPTO to determine priority of invention in the U.S. If we or one of our licensors is a party to an interference proceeding involving a U.S. patent application on inventions owned by or in-licensed to us, we may incur substantial costs, divert management’s time and expend other resources, even if we are successful.
Interference proceedings provoked by third parties or brought by the USPTO may be necessary to determine the priority of inventions with respect to our patents or any patent applications or those of our licensors. An unfavorable outcome could result in a loss of our current patent rights and could require us to cease using the related technology or to attempt to license rights to it from the prevailing party. Our business could be harmed if the prevailing party does not offer us a license on commercially reasonable terms. Litigation or interference proceedings may result in a decision adverse to our interests and, even if we are successful, may result in substantial costs and distract our management and other employees. We may not be able to prevent, alone or with our licensors, misappropriation of our trade secrets or confidential information, particularly in countries where the laws may not protect those rights as fully as in the U.S.
Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during such litigation. In addition, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments. If securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a substantial adverse effect on the price of our common stock.
Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.
Periodic maintenance fees on any issued patent are due to be paid to the USPTO and foreign patent agencies in several stages over the lifetime of the patent. The USPTO and various foreign governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other provisions during the patent application process and following the issuance of a patent. While an inadvertent lapse can in many cases be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules, there are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of the patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. Noncompliance events that could result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application include, but are not limited to, failure to respond to official actions within prescribed time limits, non-payment of fees and failure to properly legalize and submit formal documents. In such an event, our competitors might be able to enter the market, which would have a material adverse effect on our business.
Issued patents covering our product candidates could be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged in court or the USPTO.
If we or one of our licensing partners initiate legal proceedings against a third party to enforce a patent covering one of our product candidates, the defendant could counterclaim that the patent covering our product candidate, as applicable, is invalid and/or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the U.S., defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity and/or unenforceability are commonplace, and there are numerous grounds upon which a third party can assert invalidity or unenforceability of a patent. Third parties may also raise similar claims before administrative bodies in the U.S. or abroad, even outside the context of litigation. Such mechanisms include re-examination, post grant review, and equivalent proceedings in foreign jurisdictions (e.g., opposition proceedings). Such proceedings could result in revocation or amendment to our patents in such a way that they no longer cover our product candidates. The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability is unpredictable. With respect to validity, for example, we cannot be certain that there is no invalidating prior art, of which we, our patent counsel and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution. If a defendant were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity and/or unenforceability, or if we are otherwise unable to adequately protect our rights, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on our product candidates. Such a loss of patent protection could have a material adverse impact on our business and our ability to commercialize or license our technology and product candidates.
Changes in patent law in the U.S. and in ex-U.S. jurisdictions could diminish the value of patents in general, thereby impairing our ability to protect our products.
As is the case with other biopharmaceutical companies, our success is heavily dependent on intellectual property, particularly patents. Obtaining and enforcing patents in the biopharmaceutical industry involve both technological and legal complexity, and is therefore costly, time-consuming and inherently uncertain. In addition, the U.S. has recently enacted, and is currently implementing, wide-ranging patent reform legislation. Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have narrowed the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances and weakened the rights of patent owners in certain situations. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, this combination of events has created uncertainty with respect to the value of patents, once obtained. Depending on decisions by the U.S. Congress, the federal courts and the USPTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that would weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce our existing patents and patents that we might obtain in the future. We cannot predict how these decisions or any future decisions by the courts, the U.S. Congress or the USPTO may impact the value of our patents. Similarly, any adverse changes in the patent laws of other jurisdictions could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.
Filing, prosecuting and defending patents on product candidates in all countries throughout the world is expensive. While certain of our licensed patents, including patents covering our lead product candidates, have been issued in major markets and other countries, our intellectual property rights in some countries outside the U.S. can be less extensive than those in the U.S. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as federal and state laws in the U.S. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the U.S., or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in and into the U.S. or other jurisdictions. Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own products and, further, may export otherwise infringing products to territories where we have patent protection but where enforcement is not as strong as that in the U.S. These products may compete with our products in jurisdictions where we do not have any issued patents and our patent claims or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing.
Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents, trade secrets and other intellectual property protection, particularly those relating to biopharmaceutical products, which could make it difficult for us or our licensors to stop the infringement of our patents or marketing of competing products against third parties in violation of our proprietary rights generally. The initiation of proceedings by third parties to challenge the scope or validity of our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial cost and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and any patent applications at risk of not issuing and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us or our licensors. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop or license.
If we do not obtain patent term extension and data exclusivity for any product candidates we may develop, our business may be materially harmed.
Depending upon the timing, duration and specifics of any FDA marketing approval of any product candidates we may develop, one or more of our U.S. patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Action of 1984, or Hatch-Waxman Amendments. The Hatch-Waxman Amendments permit a patent extension term of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during the FDA regulatory review process. A patent term extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval, only one patent may be extended and only those claims covering the approved drug, a method for using it or a method for manufacturing it may be extended. However, we may not be granted an extension because of, for example, failing to exercise due diligence during the testing phase or regulatory review process, failing to apply within applicable deadlines, failing to apply prior to expiration of relevant patents or otherwise failing to satisfy applicable requirements. Moreover, the applicable time period or the scope of patent protection afforded could be less than we request. If we are unable to obtain patent term extension or term of any such extension is less than we request, our competitors may obtain approval of competing products following our patent expiration, and our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially harmed.
If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, then we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our business may be adversely affected.
Our trademarks or trade names may be challenged, infringed, circumvented or declared generic or determined to be infringing on other marks. We may not be able to protect our rights to these trademarks and trade names or may be forced to stop using these names, which we need for name recognition by potential partners or customers in our markets of interest. If we are unable to establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, we may not be able to compete effectively and our business may be adversely affected.
Risks related to government regulation
The regulatory approval process for our product candidates in the U.S., the European Union, and other jurisdictions is currently uncertain and will be lengthy, time-consuming and inherently unpredictable and we may experience significant delays in the clinical development and regulatory approval, if any, of our product candidates.*
The research, testing, manufacturing, labeling, approval, selling, import, export, marketing and distribution of drug products are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA in the U.S., the EMA in the European Union, or EU, and comparable foreign regulatory authorities. We are not permitted to market any product in any jurisdiction until we receive marketing approval from the appropriate regulatory authority. We have not previously submitted an NDA to the FDA, an MAA to the EMA or similar marketing application to comparable foreign regulatory authorities. In the U.S., an NDA must include extensive preclinical and clinical data and supporting information to establish that the product candidate is safe, pure and potent for each desired indication. An NDA must also include significant information regarding the chemistry, manufacturing and controls for the product, and the manufacturing facilities must complete a successful pre-approval inspection.
The FDA may also require a panel of experts, referred to as an Advisory Committee, to deliberate on the adequacy of the safety and efficacy data to support approval. The opinion of the Advisory Committee, although not binding, may have a significant impact on our ability to obtain approval of any product candidates that we develop based on the completed clinical trials.
In addition, clinical trials can be delayed or terminated for a variety of reasons, including delays or failures related to:
•obtaining regulatory authorization to begin a clinical trial, if applicable;
•the availability of financial resources to begin and complete the planned trials;
•reaching agreement on acceptable terms with prospective CROs and clinical trial sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and clinical trial sites;
•obtaining approval at each clinical trial site by an independent IRB or ethics committee;
•recruiting suitable patients to participate in a clinical trial in a timely manner;
•having patients complete a clinical trial or return for post-treatment follow-up;
•clinical trial sites deviating from clinical trial protocol, not complying with GCP requirements or dropping out of a trial;
•addressing any patient safety concerns that arise during the course of a clinical trial;
•addressing any conflicts with new or existing laws or regulations;
•adding new clinical trial sites; or
•manufacturing qualified materials under cGMP regulations for use in clinical trials.
Patient enrollment is a significant factor in the timing of clinical trials and is affected by many factors. Further, a clinical trial may be suspended or terminated by us, the IRBs for the institutions in which such clinical trials are being conducted, or the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, or recommended for suspension or termination by the DSMB for such clinical trial, due to a number of factors, including failure to conduct the clinical trial in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical protocols, inspection of the clinical trial operations or clinical trial sites by the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities resulting in the imposition of a clinical hold, unforeseen safety issues or adverse side effects, failure to demonstrate a benefit from using a product candidate, changes in governmental regulations or administrative actions or lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial. If we experience termination of, or delays in the completion of, any clinical trial of our product candidates, the commercial prospects for our product candidates will be harmed, and our ability to generate product revenue will be delayed. In addition, any delays in completing any clinical trials will increase our costs, slow down our product development and approval process and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and generate revenue.
Since March 2020, when foreign and domestic inspections of facilities were largely placed on hold, the FDA has been working to resume routine surveillance, bioresearch monitoring and pre-approval inspections on a prioritized basis. The FDA has developed a rating system to assist in determining when and where it is safest to conduct prioritized domestic inspections, and it has resumed inspections in China and India in early 2021. In April 2021, the FDA issued guidance for the industry formally announcing plans to employ remote interactive evaluations, using risk management methods, to meet user fee commitments and goal dates. Should the FDA determine that an inspection is necessary for approval and an inspection cannot be completed during the review cycle due to restrictions on travel,and the FDA does not determine a remote interactive evaluation to be appropriate, the FDA has stated that it generally intends to issue a complete response letter. Further, if there is inadequate information to make a determination on the acceptability of a facility, the FDA may defer action on the application until an inspection can be completed. In 2020, several companies announced receipt of complete response letters due to the FDA's inability to complete required inspections for their applications. Regulatory authorities outside the U.S. may adopt similar restrictions or other policy measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and may experience delays in their regulatory activities.
The FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with our regulatory plan for our product candidates.
The general approach for FDA approval of a new drug is dispositive data from one or more well-controlled Phase 3 clinical trials of the product candidate in the relevant patient population. Phase 3 clinical trials typically involve a large number of patients, have significant costs and take years to complete.
Our clinical trial results may not support approval of our product candidates. In addition, our product candidates could fail to receive regulatory approval, or regulatory approval could be delayed, for many reasons, including the following:
•the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with the dosing regimen, design or implementation of our clinical trials;
•we may be unable to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities that our product candidates are safe and effective for any of their proposed indications;
•we may encounter safety or efficacy problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;
•the results of clinical trials may not meet the level of statistical significance required by the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities for approval;
•we may be unable to demonstrate that our product candidates’ clinical and other benefits outweigh their safety risks;
•the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with our interpretation of data from preclinical studies or clinical trials;
•the data collected from clinical trials of our product candidates may not be sufficient to the satisfaction of the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities to support the submission of an NDA or other comparable submission in foreign jurisdictions or to obtain regulatory approval in the U.S. or elsewhere;
•the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may fail to approve the manufacturing processes or facilities of third-party manufacturers with which we contract for clinical and commercial supplies; and
•the approval policies or regulations of the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may significantly change in a manner rendering our clinical data insufficient for approval.
We may seek regulatory approval of our product candidates, including nirogacestat, based on an interim analysis conducted of a registrational trial, particularly if the interim analysis is statistically significant for the primary endpoint and the safety data demonstrate an acceptable safety and tolerability profile. The results of any such interim analysis would be discussed with the FDA at a pre-NDA meeting to assess the adequacy of the data to support the submission of a NDA; however, if the FDA does
not agree that the interim analysis provides a sufficient basis for regulatory approval, we would not submit an NDA until the conclusion of such registrational trial.
Breakthrough Therapy Designation or Fast Track Designation from the FDA may not actually lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process.
The FDA has granted Fast Track Designation and Breakthrough Therapy Designation for nirogacestat for the treatment of adult patients with progressive, unresectable, recurrent or refractory desmoid tumors or deep fibromatosis, and has granted Fast Track Designation for mirdametinib for the treatment of patients at least two years of age with NF1-associated inoperable PN that are progressing or causing significant morbidity. We may seek Breakthrough Therapy Designation or Fast Track Designation for our other product candidates.
If a product is intended for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening condition and the product demonstrates the potential to address unmet medical needs for this condition, the product sponsor may apply for Fast Track Designation. The FDA has broad discretion whether or not to grant this designation, so even if we believe one of our product candidates is eligible for this designation, we cannot assure you that the FDA would decide to grant it. Even if we do receive Fast Track Designation, we may not experience a faster development process, review or approval compared to conventional FDA procedures. The FDA may withdraw Fast Track Designation if it believes that the designation is no longer supported by data from our clinical development program.
A breakthrough therapy is defined as a product that is intended, alone or in combination with one or more other products, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition, and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the product may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development. For products that have been designated as breakthrough therapies, interaction and communication between the FDA and the sponsor of the trial can help to identify the most efficient path for clinical development while minimizing the number of patients placed in ineffective control regimens.
Designation as a breakthrough therapy is within the discretion of the FDA. Accordingly, even if we believe one of our product candidates meets the criteria for designation as a breakthrough therapy, the FDA may disagree and instead determine not to make such designation. In any event, the receipt of a Breakthrough Therapy Designation may not result in a faster development process, review or approval compared to products considered for approval under conventional FDA procedures and does not assure ultimate approval by the FDA. In addition, even if a product candidate qualifies as a breakthrough therapy, the FDA may later decide that the product no longer meets the conditions for qualification and rescind the Breakthrough Therapy Designation.
The results of clinical trials conducted at clinical trial sites outside the U.S. might not be accepted by the FDA, and data developed outside of a foreign jurisdiction similarly might not be accepted by such foreign regulatory authority.
Some of the prior clinical trials for our product candidates were conducted outside the U.S., and we intend to conduct additional clinical trials outside the U.S. Although the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may accept data from clinical trials conducted outside the relevant jurisdiction, acceptance of these data is subject to certain conditions. For example, the FDA requires that the clinical trial must be well designed and conducted and performed by qualified investigators in accordance with ethical principles such as IRB or ethics committee approval and informed consent, the trial population must adequately represent the U.S. population, and the data must be applicable to the U.S. population and U.S. medical practice in ways that the FDA deems clinically meaningful. In addition, while these clinical trials are subject to the applicable local laws, acceptance of the data by the FDA will be dependent upon its determination that the trials were conducted consistent with all applicable U.S. laws and regulations. There can be no assurance that the FDA will accept data from trials conducted outside of the U.S. as adequate support of a marketing application. Similarly, we must also ensure that any data submitted to foreign regulatory authorities adheres to their standards and requirements for clinical trials and there can be no assurance a comparable foreign regulatory authority would accept data from trials conducted outside of its jurisdiction.
Our relationships with healthcare providers and physicians and third-party payors will be subject to applicable anti-kickback, fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations, which could expose us to criminal sanctions, civil penalties, contractual damages, reputational harm and diminished profits and future earnings.*
Healthcare providers, physicians and third-party payors in the U.S. and elsewhere play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of pharmaceutical products. Arrangements with third-party payors and customers can expose pharmaceutical manufacturers to broadly applicable fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations, including, without limitation, the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, or AKS, and the federal False Claims Act, or FCA, which may constrain the business or
financial arrangements and relationships through which such companies sell, market and distribute pharmaceutical products. In particular, the research of our product candidates, as well as the promotion, sales and marketing of healthcare items and services, as well as certain business arrangements in the healthcare industry, are subject to extensive laws designed to prevent fraud, kickbacks, self-dealing and other abusive practices. These laws and regulations may restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, structuring and commission(s), certain customer incentive programs and other business arrangements generally. Activities subject to these laws also involve the improper use of information obtained in the course of patient recruitment for clinical trials. The applicable federal, state and foreign healthcare laws and regulations that may affect our ability to operate include, but are not limited to:
•the AKS, which prohibits, among other things, knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe or rebate), directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to induce, or in return for, either the referral of an individual, or the purchase, lease, order or recommendation of any good, facility, item or service for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under a federal healthcare program, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs. A person or entity can be found guilty of violating the statute without actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it. In addition, a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the AKS constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the FCA. The AKS has been interpreted to apply to arrangements between pharmaceutical manufacturers on the one hand and prescribers, purchasers, and formulary managers on the other. There are a number of statutory exceptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting some common activities from prosecution. On November 20, 2020, the Office of Inspector General, or OIG, finalized further modifications to the AKS. Under the final rules, the OIG added safe harbor protections under the AKS for certain coordinated care and value-based arrangements among clinicians, providers, and others. These rules (with exceptions) became effective January 19, 2021. Implementation of this change and new safe harbors for point-of-sale reductions in price for prescription pharmaceutical products and pharmacy benefit manager service fees are currently under review by the Biden administration and may be amended or repealed. We continue to evaluate what effect, if any, the rule will have on our business;
•the federal civil and criminal false claims laws and civil monetary penalty laws, including the FCA, which prohibit, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, false or fraudulent claims for payment to, or approval by Medicare, Medicaid or other federal healthcare programs, knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim or an obligation to pay or transmit money to the federal government, or knowingly concealing or knowingly and improperly avoiding or decreasing or concealing an obligation to pay money to the federal government. Manufacturers can be held liable under the FCA even when they do not submit claims directly to government payors if they are deemed to “cause” the submission of false or fraudulent claims. The government may deem manufacturers to have “caused” the submission of false or fraudulent claims by, for example, providing inaccurate billing or coding information to customers or promoting a product off-label. The FCA also permits a private individual acting as a “whistleblower” to bring actions on behalf of the federal government alleging violations of the FCA and to share in any monetary recovery. When an entity is determined to have violated the FCA, the government may impose civil fines and penalties ranging, plus treble damages, and exclude the entity and its products from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs;
•the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, which created additional federal criminal statutes that prohibit knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or control of, any healthcare benefit program, regardless of the payor (e.g., public or private) and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up by any trick or device a material fact or making any materially false statements in connection with the delivery of, or payment for, healthcare benefits, items or services relating to healthcare matters. Similar to the AKS, a person or entity can be found guilty of violating HIPAA without actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it;
•HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, or HITECH, and their respective implementing regulations, which impose, among other things, requirements on certain healthcare providers, health plans and healthcare clearinghouses, known as covered entities, as well as their respective business associates, independent contractors that perform services for covered entities that involve the use, or disclosure of, individually identifiable health information, relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information. HITECH also created new tiers of civil monetary penalties, amended HIPAA to make civil and criminal penalties directly applicable to business associates, and gave state attorneys general new authority to file civil actions for damages or injunctions in federal courts to enforce the federal HIPAA laws and seek attorneys’ fees and costs associated with pursuing federal civil actions;
•the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act, created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended, or ACA, and its implementing regulations, which require some manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance
Program (with certain exceptions) to report annually to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, information related to payments or other transfers of value made to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors) and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. Effective January 1, 2022, these reporting obligations will extend to include transfers of value made to certain non-physician providers such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners; and
•analogous state and foreign laws and regulations, such as state anti-kickback and false claims laws, which may apply to sales or marketing arrangements and claims involving healthcare items or services reimbursed by non-governmental third-party payors, including private insurers, and may be broader in scope than their federal equivalents; state and foreign laws that require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government or otherwise restrict payments that may be made to healthcare providers; state and foreign laws that require drug manufacturers to report information related to payments and other transfers of value to physicians and other healthcare providers, marketing expenditures or drug pricing; state and local laws that require the registration of pharmaceutical sales representatives; and state and foreign laws governing the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and often are not preempted by HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts.
The distribution of pharmaceutical products is subject to additional requirements and regulations, including extensive record-keeping, licensing, storage and security requirements intended to prevent the unauthorized sale of pharmaceutical products. Pharmaceutical companies may also be subject to federal consumer protection and unfair competition laws, which broadly regulate marketplace activities and activities that potentially harm consumers.
The scope and enforcement of each of these laws is uncertain and subject to rapid change in the current environment of healthcare reform, especially in light of the lack of applicable precedent and regulations. Federal and state enforcement bodies continue to closely scrutinize interactions between healthcare companies and healthcare providers, which has led to a number of investigations, prosecutions, convictions and settlements in the healthcare industry. Ensuring business arrangements comply with applicable healthcare laws, as well as responding to possible investigations by government authorities, can be time and resource-consuming and can divert a company’s attention from the business.
It is possible that governmental and enforcement authorities will conclude that our business practices may not comply with current or future statutes, regulations or case law interpreting applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, imprisonment, exclusion from participation in federal and state funded healthcare programs, contractual damages and the curtailment or restricting of our operations, as well as additional reporting obligations and oversight if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or other agreement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws. Further, if any of the physicians or other healthcare providers or entities with whom we expect to do business is found to be not in compliance with applicable laws, they may be subject to significant criminal, civil or administrative sanctions, including exclusions from government funded healthcare programs. Any action for violation of these laws, even if successfully defended, could cause a biopharmaceutical manufacturer to incur significant legal expenses and divert management’s attention from the operation of the business. Prohibitions or restrictions on sales or withdrawal of future marketed products could materially affect business in an adverse way.
Obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of our product candidates in one jurisdiction does not mean that we will be successful in obtaining regulatory approval of our product candidates in other jurisdictions.
Obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of our product candidates in one jurisdiction does not guarantee that we will be able to obtain or maintain regulatory approval in any other jurisdiction, while a failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approval in one jurisdiction may have a negative effect on the regulatory approval process in others. For example, even if the FDA grants marketing approval of a product candidate, the EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities must also approve the manufacturing, marketing and promotion of the product candidate in those countries. Approval procedures vary among jurisdictions and can involve requirements and administrative review periods different from, and greater than, those in the U.S., including additional preclinical studies or clinical trials, as clinical trials conducted in one jurisdiction may not be accepted by regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions. In many jurisdictions outside the U.S., a product candidate must be approved for reimbursement before it can be approved for sale in that jurisdiction. In some cases, the price that we intend to charge for our products is also subject to approval.
We may also submit marketing applications in other countries. Regulatory authorities in jurisdictions outside of the U.S. have requirements for approval of product candidates with which we must comply prior to marketing in those jurisdictions. Obtaining foreign regulatory approvals and compliance with foreign regulatory requirements could result in significant delays, difficulties and costs for us and could delay or prevent the introduction of our products in certain countries. If we fail to comply with the regulatory requirements in international markets and/or receive applicable marketing approvals, our target market will be reduced and our ability to realize the full market potential of our product candidates will be harmed.
Even if we receive regulatory approval of any product candidates, we will be subject to ongoing regulatory obligations and continued regulatory review, which may result in significant additional expense and we may be subject to penalties if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or experience unanticipated problems with our product candidates.
If any of our product candidates are approved, they will be subject to ongoing regulatory requirements for manufacturing, labeling, packaging, storage, advertising, promotion, sampling, record-keeping, conduct of post-marketing studies and submission of safety, efficacy and other post-marketing information, including both federal and state requirements in the U.S. and requirements of comparable foreign regulatory authorities. In addition, we will be subject to continued compliance with cGMP and GCP requirements for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval.
Manufacturers and manufacturers’ facilities are required to comply with extensive FDA, EMA and comparable foreign regulatory authority requirements, including ensuring that quality control and manufacturing procedures conform to cGMP regulations. As such, we and our contract manufacturers will be subject to continual review and inspections to assess compliance with cGMP and adherence to commitments made in any NDA, BLA, or other marketing application and previous responses to inspection observations. Accordingly, we and others with whom we work must continue to expend time, money and effort in all areas of regulatory compliance, including manufacturing, production and quality control.
Any regulatory approvals that we receive for our product candidates may be subject to limitations on the approved indicated uses for which the product may be marketed or to the conditions of approval, or contain requirements for potentially costly post-marketing testing, including Phase 4 clinical trials and surveillance to monitor the safety and efficacy of the product candidate. Certain endpoint data we hope to include in any approved product labeling also may not make it into such labeling, including exploratory or secondary endpoint data such as patient-reported outcome measures. The FDA may also require a risk evaluation and mitigation strategies, or REMS, program as a condition of approval of our product candidates, which could entail requirements for long-term patient follow-up, a medication guide, physician communication plans or additional elements to ensure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools. In addition, if the FDA, EMA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority approves our product candidates, we will have to comply with requirements including submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports and registration.
The FDA may impose consent decrees or withdraw approval if compliance with regulatory requirements and standards is not maintained or if problems occur after the product reaches the market. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with our product candidates, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or with our third-party manufacturers or manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in revisions to the approved labeling to add new safety information, imposition of post-marketing studies or clinical trials to assess new safety risks or imposition of distribution restrictions or other restrictions under a REMS program. Other potential consequences include, among other things:
•restrictions on the marketing or manufacturing of our products, withdrawal of the product from the market or voluntary or mandatory product recalls;
•fines, warning letters or holds on clinical trials;
•refusal by the FDA to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications filed by us or suspension or revocation of license approvals;
•product seizure or detention or refusal to permit the import or export of our product candidates; and
•injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.
The FDA strictly regulates marketing, labeling, advertising and promotion of products that are placed on the market. Products may be promoted only for the approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved label. The policies of the FDA, EMA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities may change and additional government regulations may be enacted that could prevent, limit or delay regulatory approval of our product candidates. We cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of government regulation that may arise from future legislation or administrative action, either in the U.S. or abroad. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any marketing approval that we may have obtained and we may not achieve or sustain profitability.
Coverage and reimbursement may be limited or unavailable in certain market segments for our product candidates, if approved, which could make it difficult for us to sell any product candidates profitably.*
The success of our product candidates, if approved, depends on the availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement from third-party payors. We cannot be sure that coverage and reimbursement will be available for, or accurately estimate the potential revenue from, our product candidates or assure that coverage and reimbursement will be available for any product that we may develop.
Patients who are provided medical treatment for their conditions generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the costs associated with their treatment. Coverage and adequate reimbursement from governmental healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and commercial payors is critical to new product acceptance.
Government authorities and other third-party payors, such as private health insurers and health maintenance organizations, decide which drugs and treatments they will cover and the amount of reimbursement. Coverage and reimbursement by a third-party payor may depend upon a number of factors, including the third-party payor’s determination that use of a product is:
•a covered benefit under its health plan;
•safe, effective and medically necessary;
•appropriate for the specific patient;
•neither experimental nor investigational.
In the U.S., no uniform policy of coverage and reimbursement for products exists among third-party payors. As a result, obtaining coverage and reimbursement approval of a product from a government or other third-party payor is a time-consuming and costly process that could require us to provide to each payor supporting scientific, clinical and cost-effectiveness data for the use of our products on a payor-by-payor basis, with no assurance that coverage and adequate reimbursement will be obtained. Even if we obtain coverage for a given product, the resulting reimbursement payment rates might not be adequate for us to achieve or sustain profitability or may require co-payments that patients find unacceptably high. Additionally, third-party payors may not cover, or provide adequate reimbursement for, long-term follow-up evaluations required following the use of product candidates, once approved. Patients are unlikely to use our product candidates, once approved, unless coverage is provided and reimbursement is adequate to cover a significant portion of their cost. There is significant uncertainty related to insurance coverage and reimbursement of newly approved products. It is difficult to predict at this time what third-party payors will decide with respect to the coverage and reimbursement for our product candidates. Further, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of individuals have lost or will be losing employer-based insurance coverage, which may adversely affect our ability to commercialize our product candidates even if there is adequate coverage and reimbursement from third-party payors. It is unclear what effect, if any, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 will have on the number of covered individuals.
Payment methodologies may be subject to changes in healthcare legislation and regulatory initiatives. For example, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 required that CMS, the agency responsible for administering the Medicare program, reduce the Medicare clinical laboratory fee schedule by 2% in 2013, which served as a base for 2014 and subsequent years. In addition, effective January 1, 2014, CMS also began bundling the Medicare payments for certain laboratory tests ordered while a patient received services in a hospital outpatient setting. Additional state and federal healthcare reform measures are expected to be adopted in the future, any of which could limit the amounts that federal and state governments will pay for healthcare products and services, which could result in reduced demand for certain pharmaceutical products or additional pricing pressures.
Moreover, increasing efforts by governmental and third-party payors in the U.S. and abroad to cap or reduce healthcare costs may cause such organizations to limit both coverage and the level of reimbursement for newly approved products and, as a result, they may not cover or provide adequate payment for our product candidates. There has been increasing legislative and enforcement interest in the U.S. with respect to specialty drug pricing practices.
Specifically, there have been several recent U.S. Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, reduce the cost of prescription drugs under Medicare, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drugs. We expect to experience pricing pressures in connection with the sale of any of our product candidates due to the trend toward managed healthcare, the increasing influence of health maintenance organizations, cost containment initiatives and additional legislative changes.
Additionally, on December 2, 2020, HHS published a regulation removing safe harbor protection for price reductions from pharmaceutical manufacturers to plan sponsors under Part D, either directly or through pharmacy benefit managers, unless the price reduction is required by law. The rule also creates a new safe harbor for price reductions reflected at the point-of-sale, as well as a safe harbor for certain fixed fee arrangements between pharmacy benefit managers and manufacturers. Pursuant to an order entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the portion of the rule eliminating safe harbor protection for certain rebates related to the sale or purchase of a pharmaceutical product from a manufacturer to a plan sponsor under Medicare Part D has been delayed to January 1, 2023. Further, implementation of this change and new safe harbors for point-of-sale reductions in price for prescription pharmaceutical products and pharmacy benefit manager service fees are currently under review by the Biden administration and may be amended or repealed. Although a number of these and other proposed measures may require authorization through additional legislation to become effective, and the Biden administration may reverse or otherwise change these measures, Congress has indicated that it will continue to seek new legislative measures to control drug costs.
At the state level, legislatures are increasingly passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing.
Further, the Right to Try Act of 2017, among other things, provides a federal framework for certain patients to access certain investigational new drug products that have completed a Phase 1 clinical trial and that are undergoing investigation for FDA approval. Under certain circumstances, eligible patients can seek treatment without enrolling in clinical trials and without obtaining FDA permission under the FDA expanded access program. There is no obligation for a pharmaceutical manufacturer to make its drug products available to eligible patients as a result of the Right to Try Act.
Ongoing healthcare legislative and regulatory reform measures may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.*
Changes in regulations, statutes or the interpretation of existing regulations could impact our business in the future by requiring, for example: (i) changes to our manufacturing arrangements; (ii) additions or modifications to product labeling; (iii) the recall or discontinuation of our products; or (iv) additional record-keeping requirements. If any such changes were to be imposed, they could adversely affect the operation of our business.
In the U.S., there have been and continue to be a number of legislative initiatives to contain healthcare costs. For example, in March 2010, the ACA was passed, which substantially changed the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers, and significantly impacted the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry. The ACA, among other things, addressed a new methodology by which rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program are calculated for drugs that are inhaled, infused, instilled, implanted or injected, increased the minimum Medicaid rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program and extended the rebate program to individuals enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations, established annual fees and taxes on manufacturers of certain branded prescription drugs and created a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer 50% (increased to 70% pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, effective as of 2019) point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period, as a condition for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D.
Since its enactment, there have been numerous judicial, administrative, executive and Congressional legislative challenges to certain aspects of the ACA, and we expect there will be additional challenges and amendments to the ACA in the future. For example, various portions of the ACA are currently undergoing constitutional challenges in the U.S. Supreme Court, and the former Trump Administration issued various Executive Orders eliminating cost sharing subsidies and various provisions that would impose a fiscal burden on states or a cost, fee, tax, penalty or regulatory burden on individuals, healthcare providers, health insurers, or manufacturers of pharmaceuticals or medical devices. Additionally, Congress has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at significantly revising or repealing the ACA. In December 2018, CMS published a final rule permitting further collections and payments to and from certain ACA qualified health plans and health insurance issuers under the ACA risk adjustment program in response to the outcome of the federal district court litigation regarding the method CMS uses to determine this risk adjustment. Since then, the ACA risk adjustment program payment parameters have been updated annually. It is unclear whether the ACA will be overturned, repealed, replaced, or further amended, and we cannot predict what affect further changes to the ACA would have on our business, especially given the transition to the Biden Administration.
Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the U.S. since the ACA was enacted. The Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, created measures for spending reductions by Congress. A Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, tasked with recommending a targeted deficit reduction of at least $1.2 trillion for the years 2013 through 2021, was
unable to reach required goals, thereby triggering the legislation’s automatic reduction to several government programs, including aggregate reductions of Medicare payments to providers of 2% per fiscal year. These reductions went into effect on April 1, 2013 and, due to subsequent legislative amendments to the statute, including the BBA, will remain in effect through 2030, unless additional congressional action is taken. However, pursuant to the CARES Act, these reductions were suspended from May 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, extended the suspension period to March 31, 2021. An Act to Prevent Across-the-Board Direct Spending Cuts, and for Other Purposes, signed into law on April 14, 2021, has extended the suspension period to December 31, 2021. On January 2, 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was signed into law, which, among other things, further reduced Medicare payments to several types of providers and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years.
As discussed above, there has been increasing legislative and enforcement interest in the U.S. with respect to specialty drug pricing practices. See “—Coverage and reimbursement may be limited or unavailable in certain market segments for our product candidates, if approved, which could make it difficult for us to sell any product candidates profitably.” At the federal level, the former Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2021 included a $135 billion allowance to support legislative proposals seeking to reduce drug prices, increase competition, lower out-of-pocket drug costs for patients, and increase patient access to lower-cost generic and biosimilar drugs. On March 10, 2020, the former Trump administration sent “principles” for drug pricing to Congress, calling for legislation that would, among other things, cap Medicare Part D beneficiary out-of-pocket pharmacy expenses, provide an option to cap Medicare Part D beneficiary monthly out-of-pocket expenses, and place limits on pharmaceutical price increases. Further, the former Trump administration also previously released a “Blueprint” to lower drug prices and reduce out of pocket costs of drugs that contains additional proposals to increase manufacturer competition, increase the negotiating power of certain federal healthcare programs, incentivize manufacturers to lower the list price of their products and reduce the out of pocket costs of drug products paid by consumers. HHS has already started the process of soliciting feedback on some of these measures and, at the same time, is immediately implementing others under its existing authority. For example, in May 2019, CMS issued a final rule to allow Medicare Advantage Plans the option of using step therapy for Part B drugs beginning January 1, 2020. However, it is unclear whether the Biden administration will challenge, reverse, revoke or otherwise modify these executive and administrative actions. In addition, there have been several changes to the 340B drug pricing program, which imposes ceilings on prices that drug manufacturers can charge for medications sold to certain health care facilities. On December 27, 2018, the District Court for the District of Columbia invalidated a reimbursement formula change under the 340B drug pricing program, and CMS subsequently altered the FYs 2019 and 2018 reimbursement formula on specified covered outpatient drugs, or SCODs. The court ruled this change was not an “adjustment” which was within the Secretary’s discretion to make but was instead a fundamental change in the reimbursement calculation. However, most recently, on July 31, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned the district court’s decision and found that the changes were within the Secretary’s authority. On September 14, 2020, the plaintiffs-appellees filed a Petition for Rehearing En Banc (i.e., before the full court), which was denied on October 16, 2020. It is unclear how these developments could affect covered hospitals who might purchase our future products and affect the rates we may charge such facilities for our approved products in the future, if any. In 2020, former President Trump announced several executive orders related to prescription drug pricing that sought to implement several of the former administration's proposals. In response, the FDA released a final rule on September 24, 2020, which went into effect on November 30, 2020, providing guidance for states to build and submit importation plans for drugs from Canada. Further, on November 20, 2020, CMS issued an Interim Final Rule implementing the Most Favored Nation, or MFN, Model under which Medicare Part B reimbursement rates will be calculated for certain drugs and biologicals based on the lowest price drug manufacturers receive in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries with a similar gross domestic product per capita. The MFN Model regulations mandate participation by identified Part B providers and would have applied to all U.S. states and territories for a seven-year period beginning January 1, 2021, and ending December 31, 2027. However, in response to a lawsuit filed by several industry groups, on December 28, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining government defendants from implementing the MFN Rule pending completion of notice-and-comment procedures under the Administrative Procedure Act. On January 13, 2021, in a separate lawsuit brought by industry groups in the U.S. District of Maryland, the government defendants entered a joint motion to stay litigation on the condition that the government would not appeal the preliminary injunction granted in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and that performance for any final regulation stemming from the MFN Interim Final Rule shall not commence earlier than 60 days after publication of that regulation in the Federal Register. Further, authorities in Canada have passed rules designed to safeguard the Canadian drug supply from shortages. If implemented, importation of drugs from Canada and the MFN Model may materially and adversely affect the price we receive for any of our product candidates.
Individual states in the U.S. have also increasingly passed legislation and implemented regulations designed to control pharmaceutical product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. See “—Coverage and reimbursement may be limited or unavailable in certain market segments for our product candidates, if approved, which could make it difficult for us to sell any product candidates profitably.”
These laws, and future state and federal healthcare reform measures may be adopted in the future, any of which may result in additional reductions in Medicare and other healthcare funding and otherwise affect the prices we may obtain for any of our product candidates for which we may obtain regulatory approval or the frequency with which any such product candidate is prescribed or used.
Off-label use or misuse of our products may harm our reputation in the marketplace or result in injuries that lead to costly product liability suits.
We are developing nirogacestat for the treatment of desmoid tumors and mirdametinib for the treatment of NF1-PN. If our product candidates are approved by the FDA, we may only promote or market our product candidates for their specifically approved indications and in a manner consistent with the approved labeling. We will train our marketing and sales force against promoting our product candidates for uses outside of the approved indications for use, known as “off-label uses.” We cannot, however, prevent a physician from using our products off label, when in the physician’s independent professional medical judgment he or she deems it appropriate. Furthermore, the use of our products for indications other than those approved by the FDA may not effectively treat such conditions. Any such off-label use of our product candidates could harm our reputation in the marketplace among physicians and patients. There may also be increased risk of injury to patients if physicians attempt to use our products for these uses for which they are not approved, which could lead to product liability suits that that might require significant financial and management resources and that could harm our reputation. Additionally, the FDA imposes stringent restrictions on manufacturers’ communications regarding off-label use and if we, or our collaborators, do not promote our products, if approved, in a manner consistent with the approved labeling, we, or they, may be subject to warnings or enforcement action for off-label marketing. Violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and other statutes, including the FCA, relating to the promotion and advertising of prescription drugs may lead to investigations or allegations of violations of federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws and state consumer protection laws.
Disruptions at the FDA, the SEC and other government agencies caused by funding shortages or global health concerns could hinder their ability to hire and retain key leadership and other personnel, or otherwise prevent new or modified products from being developed, approved or commercialized in a timely manner or at all, or otherwise prevent those agencies from performing normal business functions on which the operation of our business may rely, which could negatively impact our business.*
The ability of the FDA to review and approve new products can be affected by a variety of factors, including government budget and funding levels, ability to hire and retain key personnel and accept the payment of user fees, and statutory, regulatory, and policy changes, and other events that may otherwise affect the FDA’s ability to perform routine functions. Average review times at the agency have fluctuated in recent years as a result. In addition, government funding of the SEC and other government agencies on which our operations may rely, including those that fund research and development activities is subject to the political process, which is inherently fluid and unpredictable.
Disruptions at the FDA and other agencies may also slow the time necessary for new drugs to be reviewed and/or approved by necessary government agencies, which would adversely affect our business. For example, in recent years, including in 2018 and 2019, the U.S. government shut down several times and certain regulatory agencies, such as the FDA and the SEC, had to furlough critical employees and stop critical activities. Since March 2020, when foreign and domestic inspections of facilities were largely placed on hold, the FDA has been working to resume routine surveillance, bioresearch monitoring and pre-approval inspections on a prioritized basis. Should the FDA determine that an inspection is necessary for approval of a marketing application and an inspection cannot be completed during the review cycle due to restrictions on travel, and the FDA does not determine a remote interactive evaluation to be appropriate, the FDA has stated that it generally intends to issue a complete response letter. Further, if there is inadequate information to make a determination on the acceptability of a facility, the FDA may defer action on the application until an inspection can be completed. In 2020, several companies announced receipt of complete response letters due to the FDA's inability to complete required inspections for their applications. Regulatory authorities outside the U.S. may adopt similar restrictions or other policy measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and may experience delays in their regulatory activities. Additionally, as of March 18, 2021, the FDA noted it is continuing to ensure timely reviews of applications for medical products during the COVID-19 pandemic in line with its user fee performance goals and conducting mission critical domestic and foreign inspections to ensure compliance of manufacturing facilities with FDA quality standards. However, the FDA may not be able to continue its current pace and approval timelines could be extended, including where a pre-approval inspection or an inspection of clinical sites is required, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, the FDA is unable to complete such required inspections during the review period. If a prolonged government shutdown occurs, or if global health concerns continue to prevent the FDA or other regulatory authorities from conducting their regular inspections, reviews, or other regulatory activities, it could significantly impact the ability of the FDA to timely review and process our regulatory submissions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business. Further, in our operations as a public company, future government shutdowns or delays could impact our ability to access the public markets and obtain necessary capital in order to properly capitalize and continue our operations.
EU drug marketing and reimbursement regulations may materially affect our ability to market and receive coverage for our products in the European member states.
We intend to seek approval to market our product candidates in both the U.S. and in selected foreign jurisdictions. If we obtain approval in one or more foreign jurisdictions for our product candidates, we will be subject to rules and regulations in those jurisdictions. In some foreign countries, particularly those in the EU, the pricing of drugs is subject to governmental control and other market regulations which could put pressure on the pricing and usage of our product candidates. In these countries, pricing negotiations with governmental authorities can take considerable time after obtaining marketing approval of a product candidate. In addition, market acceptance and sales of our product candidates will depend significantly on the availability of adequate coverage and reimbursement from third-party payors for our product candidates and may be affected by existing and future healthcare reform measures.
Much like the AKS prohibition in the U.S., the provision of benefits or advantages to physicians to induce or encourage the prescription, recommendation, endorsement, purchase, supply, order or use of medicinal products is also prohibited in the EU. The provision of benefits or advantages to physicians is governed by the national anti-bribery and other laws of EU Member States, and operations in the United Kingdom would be subject to relevant United Kingdom laws, including the United Kingdom Bribery Act 2010. Infringement of these laws could result in substantial fines and imprisonment.
Payments made to physicians in certain EU Member States must be publicly disclosed. Moreover, agreements with physicians often must be the subject of prior notification and approval by the physician’s employer, his or her competent professional organization and/or the regulatory authorities of the individual EU Member States. These requirements are provided in the national laws, industry codes or professional codes of conduct, applicable in the EU Member States. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in reputational risk, public reprimands, administrative penalties, fines or imprisonment.
In addition, in most foreign countries, including the European Economic Area, or EEA, the proposed pricing for a drug must be approved before it may be lawfully marketed. The requirements governing drug pricing and reimbursement vary widely from country to country. For example, the EU provides options for its member states to restrict the range of medicinal products for which their national health insurance systems provide reimbursement and to control the prices of medicinal products for human use. Reference pricing used by various EU member states and parallel distribution, or arbitrage between low-priced and high-priced member states, can further reduce prices. A member state may approve a specific price for the medicinal product or it may instead adopt a system of direct or indirect controls on the profitability of the Company placing the medicinal product on the market. In some countries, we may be required to conduct a clinical study or other studies that compare the cost-effectiveness of any of our product candidates to other available therapies in order to obtain or maintain reimbursement or pricing approval. There can be no assurance that any country that has price controls or reimbursement limitations for biopharmaceutical products will allow favorable reimbursement and pricing arrangements for any of our products. Historically, products launched in the EU do not follow price structures of the U.S. and generally prices tend to be significantly lower. Publication of discounts by third-party payors or authorities may lead to further pressure on the prices or reimbursement levels within the country of publication and other countries. If pricing is set at unsatisfactory levels or if reimbursement of our products is unavailable or limited in scope or amount, our revenues from sales and the potential profitability of any of our product candidates in those countries would be negatively affected.
We may incur substantial costs in our efforts to comply with evolving global data protection laws and regulations, and any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with such laws and regulations may harm our business and operations.
The global data protection landscape is rapidly evolving, and we may be or become subject to or affected by numerous federal, state and foreign laws and regulations, as well as regulatory guidance, governing the collection, use, disclosure, transfer, security and processing of personal data, such as information that we collect about participants and healthcare providers in connection with clinical trials. Implementation standards and enforcement practices are likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future, which may create uncertainty in our business, affect our or our service providers’ ability to operate in certain jurisdictions or to collect, store, transfer use and share personal data, result in liability or impose additional compliance or other costs on us. Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with federal, state, or foreign laws or self-regulatory standards could result in negative publicity, diversion of management time and effort and proceedings against us by governmental entities or others. For example, California recently passed the California Data Privacy Protection Act, which went into effect in January 2020 and provides broad rights to California consumers with respect to the collection and use of their information by businesses. While there is currently an exception for protected health information that is subject to HIPAA and clinical trial regulations, as currently written, the CCPA may impact our business activities. The California Attorney General has proposed draft regulations, which have not been finalized to date, that may further impact our business activities if they are adopted. Despite the delay in adopting regulations, the California State Attorney General commenced enforcement actions against violators starting July 1, 2020. The uncertainty surrounding the implementation of CCPA exemplifies the vulnerability of our
business to the evolving regulatory environment related to personal data and protected health information. The new California law further expands the privacy and process enhancements and commitment of resources in support of compliance with California’s regulatory requirements and may lead to similar laws in other U.S. states or at a national level.
In addition to our operations in the U.S., which may be subject to healthcare and other laws relating to the privacy and security of health information and other personal information, may seek to conduct clinical trials in EEA and may become subject to additional European data privacy laws, regulations and guidelines. The General Data Protection Regulation, (EU) 2016/679, or GDPR, became effective on May 25, 2018, and deals with the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. The GDPR imposes a broad range of strict requirements on companies subject to the GDPR, including requirements relating to having legal bases for processing personal information relating to identified and/or identifiable individuals and transferring such information outside the EEA, including to the U.S., providing details to those individuals regarding the processing of their personal information, keeping personal information secure, having data processing agreements with third parties who process personal information, responding to individuals’ requests to exercise their rights in respect of their personal information, reporting security breaches involving personal data to the competent national data protection authority and affected individuals, appointing data protection officers, conducting data protection impact assessments, maintaining internal records and appropriately deleting personal information in line with retention periods. The GDPR increases substantially the penalties to which we could be subject in the event of any non-compliance, including fines of up to 10,000,000 Euros or up to 2% of our total worldwide annual turnover for certain comparatively minor offenses, or up to 20,000,000 Euros or up to 4% of our total worldwide annual turnover for more serious offenses. Given the limited enforcement of the GDPR to date, we face uncertainty as to the exact interpretation of the new requirements on our trials and we may be unsuccessful in implementing all measures required by data protection authorities or courts in interpretation of the new law.
In particular, national laws of member states of the EU are in the process of being adapted to the requirements under the GDPR, thereby implementing national laws which may partially deviate from the GDPR and impose different obligations from country to country, so that we do not expect to operate in a uniform legal landscape in the EEA. Also, as it relates to processing and transfer of genetic data, the GDPR specifically allows national laws to impose additional and more specific requirements or restrictions, and European laws have historically differed quite substantially in this field, leading to additional uncertainty. Further, the impact of “Brexit”, whereby the United Kingdom formally withdrew from the EU on January 31, 2020 is uncertain and cannot be predicted at this time.
In the event we commence clinical trials in the EEA, we must also ensure that we maintain adequate safeguards to enable the transfer of personal data outside of the EEA, in particular to the U.S., in compliance with European data protection laws. We expect that we will continue to face uncertainty as to whether our efforts to comply with any obligations under European privacy laws will be sufficient. If we are investigated by a European data protection authority, we may face fines and other penalties. Any such investigation or charges by European data protection authorities could have a negative effect on our existing business and on our ability to attract and retain new clients or biopharmaceutical partners. We may also experience hesitancy, reluctance or refusal by European or multi-national clients or biopharmaceutical partners to continue to use our products and solutions due to the potential risk exposure as a result of the current (and, in particular, future) data protection obligations imposed on them by certain data protection authorities in interpretation of current law, including the GDPR. Such clients or biopharmaceutical partners may also view any alternative approaches to compliance as being too costly, too burdensome, too legally uncertain or otherwise objectionable and therefore decide not to do business with us. Any of the forgoing could materially harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
Additional laws and regulations governing international operations could negatively impact or restrict our operations.
If we further expand our operations outside of the U.S., we must dedicate additional resources to comply with numerous laws and regulations in each jurisdiction in which we plan to operate. The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, prohibits any U.S. individual or business from paying, offering, authorizing payment or offering anything of value, directly or indirectly, to any foreign official, political party or candidate for the purpose of influencing any act or decision of the foreign entity in order to assist the individual or business in obtaining or retaining business. The FCPA also obligates companies whose securities are listed in the U.S. to comply with certain accounting provisions requiring the Company to maintain books and records that accurately and fairly reflect all transactions of the corporation, including international subsidiaries, and to devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls for international operations.
Compliance with the FCPA is expensive and difficult, particularly in countries in which corruption is a recognized problem. In addition, the FCPA presents particular challenges in the pharmaceutical industry, because, in many countries, hospitals are operated by the government, and doctors and other hospital employees are considered foreign officials. Certain payments to hospitals in connection with clinical trials and other work have been deemed to be improper payments to government officials and have led to FCPA enforcement actions.
Various laws, regulations and executive orders also restrict the use and dissemination outside of the U.S., or the sharing with certain non-U.S. nationals, of information classified for national security purposes, as well as certain products and technical data relating to those products. If we expand our presence outside of the U.S., it will require us to dedicate additional resources to comply with these laws, and these laws may preclude us from developing, manufacturing or selling certain products and product candidates outside of the U.S., which could limit our growth potential and increase our development costs.
The failure to comply with laws governing international business practices may result in substantial civil and criminal penalties and suspension or debarment from government contracting. The SEC also may suspend or bar issuers from trading securities on U.S. exchanges for violations of the FCPA’s accounting provisions.
We are subject to certain U.S. and foreign anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, export control, sanctions and other trade laws and regulations. We can face serious consequences for violations.
Among other matters, U.S. and foreign anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, export control, sanctions and other trade laws and regulations, which are collectively referred to as Trade Laws, prohibit companies and their employees, agents, clinical research organizations, legal counsel, accountants, consultants, contractors and other partners from authorizing, promising, offering, providing, soliciting or receiving, directly or indirectly, corrupt or improper payments or anything else of value to or from recipients in the public or private sector. Violations of Trade Laws can result in substantial criminal fines and civil penalties, imprisonment, the loss of trade privileges, debarment, tax reassessments, breach of contract and fraud litigation, reputational harm and other consequences. We have direct or indirect interactions with officials and employees of government agencies or government-affiliated hospitals, universities and other organizations. We also expect our non-U.S. activities to increase in time. We plan to engage third parties for clinical trials and/or to obtain necessary permits, licenses, patent registrations and other regulatory approvals and we can be held liable for the corrupt or other illegal activities of our personnel, agents or partners, even if we do not explicitly authorize or have prior knowledge of such activities.
Risks related to managing business and operations
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, could adversely impact our business, including our preclinical studies and clinical trials.*
In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, was identified in Wuhan, China. This disease resulting from SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, has now become a global pandemic. The outbreak and government measures taken in response have had a significant impact, both directly and indirectly, on businesses and commerce throughout the world generally: worker shortages have occurred; supply chains have been disrupted; facilities and production have been suspended; and demand for certain goods and services, such as medical services and supplies, has spiked, while demand for other goods and services, such as travel, has fallen. In response to the spread of COVID-19, our personnel have been continuing their work outside of our offices. While, as of the date of this report, we have not experienced any material disruptions to the execution of the research and development activities that we currently have underway, as a result of the pandemic we may experience disruptions that could severely impact research and development timelines and outcomes, including, but not limited to:
•delays or difficulties in enrolling patients in our clinical trials;
•delays or difficulties in clinical site initiation, including difficulties in recruiting clinical site investigators and clinical site staff;
•diversion of healthcare resources away from the conduct of clinical trials, including the diversion of hospitals serving as our clinical trial sites and hospital staff supporting the conduct of our clinical trials;
•interruption of key clinical trial activities, such as clinical trial site data monitoring, due to limitations on travel imposed or recommended by federal, state or foreign governments, employers and others or interruption of clinical trial subject visits and study procedures (such as procedures that are deemed non-essential under law, regulation or institutional policies), which may impact the integrity of subject data and clinical study endpoints and the inability of patients to travel to trial sites or complete scheduled study visits;
•interruption or delays in the operations of the FDA or other regulatory authorities, which may impact review and approval timelines;
•interruption of, or delays in receiving, supplies of our product candidates from our contract manufacturing organizations due to staffing shortages, production slowdowns or stoppages and disruptions in delivery systems;
•interruptions in preclinical studies due to restricted or limited operations at our contracted research facilities;
•unforeseen costs we may incur as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the costs of mitigation efforts;
•deterioration of worldwide credit and financial markets that could limit our ability to obtain external financing to fund our operations and capital expenditures;
•investment-related risks, including difficulties in liquidating investments due to current market conditions and adverse investment performance;
•limitations on employee resources that would otherwise be focused on the conduct of our research and development activities, including because of sickness of employees or their families or the desire of employees to avoid contact with large groups of people; or
•interruptions or limitations of the types described affecting our service providers and collaboration partners, including contract research organizations running clinical trials and collaboration partners sponsoring clinical trials in which we are supplying our product candidates or otherwise participating.
Three vaccines for COVID-19 were granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA in late 2020 and early 2021, and more are likely to be authorized in the coming months. The resultant demand for vaccines and potential for manufacturing facilities and materials to be commandeered under the Defense Production Act of 1950, or equivalent foreign legislation, may make it more difficult to obtain materials or manufacturing slots for the products needed for our clinical trials, which could lead to delays in these trials. In addition, the trading prices for common stock of other biopharmaceutical companies have been highly volatile as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rapidly evolve. The extent to which the outbreak impacts our business, preclinical studies and clinical trials will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, such as the ultimate geographic spread of the disease, the duration of the pandemic, travel restrictions and social distancing in the U.S. and other countries, business closures or business disruptions and the effectiveness of actions taken in the U.S. and other countries to diagnose, contain and treat the disease. If we or any of the third parties with whom we engage were to experience shutdowns or other business disruptions, our ability to conduct our business and development activities in the manner and on the timelines presently planned could be materially and negatively impacted. There can be no assurance that any such disruptions or delays will not materially adversely impact our business, results of operations, access to financial resources and our financial condition.
If we lose key management personnel, or if we fail to recruit additional highly skilled personnel, our ability to pursue our business strategy will be impaired, could result in loss of markets or market share and could make us less competitive.*
Our ability to compete in the highly competitive biopharmaceutical industries depends upon our ability to attract and retain highly qualified managerial, scientific and medical personnel. We are highly dependent on our management, scientific and medical personnel, including Saqib Islam, our Chief Executive Officer, Frank Perier, our Chief Financial Officer, Bhavesh Ashar, our Chief Commercial Officer, Badreddin Edris, our Chief Operating Officer, Jens Renstrup, our Chief Medical Officer and L. Mary Smith, our Chief Development Officer. The loss of the services of any of our executive officers, other key employees, and other scientific and medical advisors, and our inability to find suitable replacements for these individuals could harm our business.
Competition for skilled personnel in our industry is intense and may limit our ability to hire and retain highly qualified personnel on acceptable terms, in a timely manner or at all. To induce valuable employees to remain at our company, in addition to salary and cash incentives, we have provided equity incentive awards that vest over time. The value to employees of restricted stock awards and stock options that vest over time may be significantly affected by movements in our stock price that are beyond our control, and may at any time be insufficient to counteract more lucrative offers from other companies. Despite our efforts to retain valuable employees, members of our management, scientific and development teams are at-will employees and may terminate their employment with us on short notice. We do not maintain “key man” insurance policies on the lives of these individuals or the lives of any of our other employees. Given the stage of our programs and our plans to expand operations, our success also depends on our ability to continue to attract, retain and motivate highly skilled junior, mid-level and senior personnel across our organization.
Our internal computer systems, or those used by our vendors, or other contractors or consultants, may fail or suffer security breaches.
Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems and those of our CROs and other third parties, including our contractors and consultants, are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses and unauthorized access. Like other companies of our size and in our industry, we have been the target of phishing attacks and attacks on our data and systems. Companies have experienced an increase in phishing and social engineering attacks from third parties in connection with the COVID-19 global pandemic. While we believe we have not experienced any material system failure or security breach to date, if such an event were to occur and cause interruptions in our operations, it could result in a material disruption of our development programs and our business operations. For example, the loss of preclinical or clinical data could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of, or damage to, our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of financial or confidential information, we could incur liability and the further development and commercialization of our product candidates could be delayed.
We could also be subject to risks caused by misappropriation, misuse, leakage, falsification or intentional or accidental release or loss of information maintained in the information systems and networks of our company and our contractors or consultants. In addition, outside parties may attempt to penetrate our systems or those of our contractors or consultants or fraudulently induce our personnel or the personnel of our contractors or consultants to disclose sensitive information in order to gain access to our data and/or systems. We may experience threats to our data and systems, including malicious codes and viruses, phishing and other cyber-attacks. The number and complexity of these threats continue to increase over time. If a material breach of our information technology systems or those of our contractors or consultants occurs, the market perception of the effectiveness of our security measures could be harmed and our reputation and credibility could be damaged. We could be required to expend significant amounts of money and other resources to repair or replace information systems or networks. In addition, we could be subject to regulatory actions and/or claims made by individuals and groups in private litigation involving privacy issues related to data collection and use practices and other data privacy laws and regulations, including claims for misuse or inappropriate disclosure of data, as well as unfair or deceptive practices. Although we develop and maintain systems and controls designed to prevent these events from occurring, and we have a process to identify and mitigate threats, the development and maintenance of these systems, controls and processes is costly and requires ongoing monitoring and updating as technologies change and efforts to overcome security measures become increasingly sophisticated. Moreover, despite our efforts, the possibility of these events occurring cannot be eliminated entirely. In addition, there can be no assurance that our internal information technology systems or those of our third-party contractors, or our consultants’ efforts to implement adequate security and control measures, will be sufficient to protect us against breakdowns, service disruption, data deterioration or loss in the event of a system malfunction, or prevent data from being stolen or corrupted in the event of a cyberattack, security breach, industrial espionage attacks or insider threat attacks which could result in financial, legal, business or reputational harm.
Our employees, independent contractors, consultants, academic collaborators, partners and vendors may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with regulatory standards and requirements.
We are exposed to the risk of employee fraud or other illegal activity by our employees, independent contractors, consultants, academic collaborators, partners and vendors. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional, reckless and/or negligent conduct that fails to comply with the laws of the FDA, EMA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities, provide true, complete and accurate information to the FDA, EMA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities, comply with manufacturing standards we have established, comply with healthcare fraud and abuse laws in the U.S. and similar foreign fraudulent misconduct laws, or report financial information or data accurately or to disclose unauthorized activities to us. If we obtain FDA approval of any of our product candidates and begin commercializing those products in the U.S., our potential exposure under such laws will increase significantly, and our costs associated with compliance with such laws are also likely to increase. These laws may impact, among other things, our current activities with principal investigators and research patients, as well as proposed and future sales, marketing and education programs. We have adopted a code of business conduct and ethics, but it is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct by our employees, independent contractors, consultants, academic collaborators, partners and vendors, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent such activities may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to comply with these laws or regulations. If any actions are instituted against us and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could result in the imposition of civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, monetary fines, imprisonment, disgorgement, possible exclusion from participation in government healthcare programs, additional reporting obligations and oversight if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or other agreement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings and the curtailment of our operations.
If we fail to comply with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, we could become subject to fines or penalties or incur costs that could harm our business.
We are subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, including those governing the handling, use, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes. Our development activities involve the use of biological and hazardous materials and can produce hazardous waste products. We cannot eliminate the risk of contamination or injury from these materials, which could cause an interruption of our commercialization efforts, research and development efforts and business operations, environmental damage resulting in costly clean-up and liabilities under applicable laws and regulations governing the use, storage, handling and disposal of these materials and specified waste products. Although we believe that the safety procedures utilized by our third-party manufacturers for handling and disposing of these materials generally comply with the standards prescribed by these laws and regulations, we cannot guarantee that this is the case or eliminate the risk of accidental contamination or injury from these materials. In such an event, we may be held liable for any resulting damages and such liability could exceed our resources and state or federal or other applicable authorities may curtail our use of certain materials and/or interrupt our business operations.
Furthermore, environmental laws and regulations are complex, change frequently and have tended to become more stringent. We cannot predict the impact of such changes and cannot be certain of our future compliance. In addition, we may incur substantial costs in order to comply with current or future environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. These current or future laws and regulations may impair our research, development or production efforts. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations also may result in substantial fines, penalties or other sanctions.
Although we maintain workers’ compensation insurance to cover us for costs and expenses we may incur due to injuries resulting from the use of hazardous materials or other work-related injuries, this insurance may not provide adequate coverage against potential liabilities. We do not carry specific biological waste or hazardous waste insurance coverage, workers compensation or property and casualty and general liability insurance policies that include coverage for damages and fines arising from biological or hazardous waste exposure or contamination.
Changes in tax law could adversely affect our business and financial condition.
The rules dealing with U.S. federal, state, and local income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury Department. Changes to tax laws (which changes may have retroactive application) could adversely affect us or holders of our common stock. In recent years, many such changes have been made and changes are likely to continue to occur in the future. Future changes in tax laws could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow, financial condition or results of operations. Shareholders should consult with their legal and tax advisers regarding the implications of potential changes in tax laws on an investment in our common stock.
Our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and certain tax credit carryforwards may be subject to limitation.
As of December 31, 2020, we had federal, state and city net operating loss carryforwards of $110.9 million, $0.6 million and $3.7 million, respectively, which are available to reduce future taxable income. Federal net operating loss carryforwards of $34.8 million, $55.9 million and $16.0 million reported in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively, will be limited to offset 80% of taxable income for an indefinite period of time, until fully utilized. Federal net operating loss carryforwards of $4.3 million reported in 2017 and the state and city net operating loss carryforwards expire at various dates through 2038. We also have federal tax credits of $7.2 million, which may be used to offset future tax liabilities. These tax credit carryforwards will expire at various dates beginning in 2038.
Under Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, changes in our ownership may limit the amount of our net operating loss carryforwards and tax credit carryforwards that could be utilized annually to offset our future taxable income, if any. This limitation would generally apply in the event of a cumulative change in ownership of our company of more than 50% within a three-year period. Any such limitation may significantly reduce our ability to utilize our net operating loss carryforwards and tax credit carryforwards before they expire. Private placements and other transactions that have occurred since our inception, as well as our initial public offering, may trigger such an ownership change pursuant to Sections 382 and 383. Any such limitation, whether as the result of the initial public offering, prior private placements, sales of our common stock by our existing stockholders or additional sales of our common stock by us, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations in future years. Under current law, federal net operating losses generated after December 31, 2017 are not subject to expiration and generally may not be carried back to prior taxable years except that net operating losses generated in 2018, 2019 and 2020 may be carried back five taxable years. Additionally, as noted above, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2020, the deductibility of such federal net operating losses is limited to 80% of our taxable income in any future taxable year.
The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU may have a negative effect on global economic conditions, financial markets and our business, which could reduce the price of our ordinary shares.*
Following the result of a referendum in 2016, the United Kingdom left the EU on January 31, 2020, commonly referred to as Brexit. Pursuant to the formal withdrawal arrangements agreed between the United Kingdom and the EU, the United Kingdom was subject to a transition period until December 31, 2020, or the Transition Period, during which EU rules continued to apply. Upon the expiration of such Transition Period, the EU and the United Kingdom entered into a post-Brexit trade and cooperation agreement on certain aspects of trade and other strategic and political issues, which became provisionally applicable on January 1, 2021 and will become formally applicable once ratified by both the United Kingdom and the EU.
Since a significant proportion of the regulatory framework in the United Kingdom applicable to our business and our product candidates is derived from EU directives and regulations, the ultimate effects of Brexit, following the Transition Period, could materially impact the regulatory regime with respect to the development, manufacture, importation, approval and commercialization of our product candidates in the United Kingdom or the EU. For example, as a result of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the EMA relocated to Amsterdam from London. The United Kingdom is no longer covered by the centralized procedures for obtaining EU-wide marketing and manufacturing authorizations from the EMA and, pursuant to the aforementioned trade and cooperation agreement, there will be separate processes for authorization of drug products in the United Kingdom and the EU. Any delay in obtaining, or an inability to obtain, any marketing approvals, as a result of Brexit or otherwise, would prevent us from commercializing our product candidates in the United Kingdom or the EU and restrict our ability to generate revenue and achieve and sustain profitability. In addition, we may be required to pay taxes or duties or be subjected to other hurdles in connection with the importation of our product candidates into the EU, or we may incur expenses in establishing a manufacturing facility in the EU in order to circumvent such hurdles. If any of these outcomes occur, we may be forced to restrict or delay efforts to seek regulatory approval in the United Kingdom or the EU for our product candidates, or incur significant additional expenses to operate our business, which could significantly and materially harm or delay our ability to generate revenues or achieve profitability of our business. Any further changes in international trade, tariff and import/export regulations as a result of Brexit or otherwise may impose unexpected duty costs or other non-tariff barriers on us. These developments, or the perception that any of them could occur, may significantly reduce global trade and, in particular, trade between the impacted nations and the United Kingdom. It is also possible that Brexit may negatively affect our ability to attract and retain employees, particularly those from the EU.
Unfavorable global economic conditions could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our results of operations could be adversely affected by general conditions in the global economy and in the global financial markets. Portions of our future clinical trials may be conducted outside of the U.S. and unfavorable economic conditions resulting in the weakening of the U.S. dollar would make those clinical trials more costly to operate. Furthermore, the most recent global financial crisis caused extreme volatility and disruptions in the capital and credit markets. A severe or prolonged economic downturn could result in a variety of risks to our business, including a reduced ability to raise additional capital when needed on acceptable terms, if at all. A weak or declining economy or international trade disputes could also strain our suppliers, some of which are located outside of the U.S., possibly resulting in supply disruption. Any of the foregoing could harm our business and we cannot anticipate all of the ways in which the current economic climate and financial market conditions could adversely impact our business.
Risks related to a company’s financial position and need for additional capital
The amount of our future losses is uncertain and our quarterly and annual operating results may fluctuate significantly or may fall below the expectations of investors or securities analysts, each of which may cause our stock price to fluctuate or decline.
Our quarterly and annual operating results may fluctuate significantly in the future due to a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control and may be difficult to predict, including the following:
•the timing and success or failure of clinical trials for our product candidates or competing product candidates, or any other change in the competitive landscape of our industry, including consolidation among our competitors or partners;
•our ability to successfully recruit and retain subjects for clinical trials, and any delays caused by difficulties in such efforts;
•our ability to obtain marketing approval for our product candidates, and the timing and scope of any such approvals we may receive;
•the timing and cost of, and level of investment in, research and development activities relating to our product candidates, which may change from time to time;
•the cost of manufacturing our product candidates, which may vary depending on the quantity of production and the terms of our agreements with manufacturers;
•our ability to attract, hire and retain qualified personnel;
•expenditures that we will or may incur to develop additional product candidates;
•the level of demand for our product candidates should they receive approval, which may vary significantly;
•the timing and level of investment in commercialization efforts to support product candidates, both before and after regulatory approval is obtained;
•the risk/benefit profile, cost and reimbursement policies with respect to our product candidates, if approved, and existing and potential future therapeutics that compete with our product candidates; and
•future accounting pronouncements or changes in our accounting policies.
The cumulative effects of these factors could result in large fluctuations and unpredictability in our quarterly and annual operating results. As a result, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful. This variability and unpredictability could also result in our failing to meet the expectations of industry or financial analysts or investors for any period. If our revenue or operating results fall below the expectations of analysts or investors or below any forecasts we may provide to the market, or if the forecasts we provide to the market are below the expectations of analysts or investors, the price of our common stock could decline substantially. Such a stock price decline could occur even when we have met any previously publicly stated guidance we may provide.
Risks related to common stock
An active trading market for our common stock may not be sustained.
Our shares of common stock began trading on The Nasdaq Global Select Market on September 13, 2019. Given the limited trading history of our common stock, there is a risk that an active trading market for our shares will not be sustained, which could put downward pressure on the market price of our common stock and thereby affect the ability of our stockholders to sell their shares. Further, an inactive market may also impair our ability to raise capital by selling shares of our common stock and may impair our ability to enter into strategic partnerships or acquire companies or products by using our shares of common stock as consideration.
The price of our stock may be volatile, and Stockholders could lose all or part of their investment.
The trading price of our common stock is likely to be highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control, including limited trading volume. In addition to the factors discussed in this “Risk factors” section and elsewhere in this report, these factors include:
•the commencement, enrollment or results of our ongoing potentially registrational clinical trials for nirogacestat and mirdametinib;
•any delay in our regulatory filings for our product candidates and any adverse development or perceived adverse development with respect to the applicable regulatory authority’s review of such filings, including without limitation the FDA’s issuance of a “refusal to file” letter or a request for additional information;
•adverse results from or delays in future clinical trials;
•our decision to initiate a clinical trial, not to initiate a clinical trial or to terminate an existing clinical trial
•adverse regulatory decisions, including failure to receive regulatory approval of our product candidates or any future product candidate;
•changes in laws or regulations applicable to our product candidates or any future product candidate, including but not limited to clinical trial requirements for approvals;
•changes in the structure of healthcare payment systems;
•adverse developments concerning our manufacturers;
•our inability to obtain adequate product supply for any approved product or inability to do so at acceptable prices;
•our inability to establish collaborations or partnerships, if needed;
•our failure to commercialize our product candidates, if approved;
•additions or departures of key medical, scientific or management personnel;
•unanticipated serious safety concerns related to the use of our product candidates;
•introduction of new products or services offered by us or our competitors;
•clinical trial results for other product candidates that could compete with our product candidates;
•announcements of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments by us or our competitors;
•our ability to effectively manage our growth;
•actual or anticipated variations in quarterly operating results;
•our cash position;
•our failure to meet the estimates and projections of the investment community or that we may otherwise provide to the public;
•publication of research reports about us or our industry, or product candidates in particular, or positive or negative recommendations or withdrawal of research coverage by securities analysts;
•changes in the market valuations of similar companies;
•overall performance of the equity markets;
•sales of our common stock by us or our stockholders in the future;
•trading volume of our common stock;
•changes in accounting practices;
•ineffectiveness of our internal controls;
•disputes or other developments relating to proprietary rights, including patents, litigation matters and our ability to obtain patent protection for our technologies;
•significant lawsuits, including patent or stockholder litigation;
•general political and economic conditions; and
•other events or factors, many of which are beyond our control.
In addition, the stock market in general, and the market for biopharmaceutical companies in particular, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic or other macroeconomic factors and have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of these companies. Broad market and industry factors may negatively affect the market price of our common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance. If the market price of our common stock does not exceed a stockholder's purchase price, such stockholder may not realize any return on their investment in us and may lose some or all of their investment. In the past, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against companies following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities. This type of litigation, if instituted, could result in substantial costs and a diversion of management’s attention and resources, which would harm our business, operating results or financial condition.
We incur significant costs as a result of operating as a public company, and our management is required to devote substantial time to new and existing compliance initiatives.
As a public company, we incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses. We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act which require, among other things, that we file, with the SEC, annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business and financial condition. In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as rules subsequently adopted by the SEC and Nasdaq to implement provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, impose significant requirements on public companies, including requiring establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls and changes in corporate governance practices. Further, in July 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or the Dodd-Frank Act, was enacted. There are significant corporate governance and executive compensation related provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act that require the SEC to adopt additional rules and regulations in these areas such as “say on pay” and proxy access.
We became a large accelerated filer on December 31, 2020, based on the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates as of the last day of the second quarter in 2020. Accordingly, at such time we ceased to be eligible for the emerging growth company, or EGC, provisions of the JOBS Act, and we became subject to the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act.
Stockholder activism, the current political environment and the current high level of government intervention and regulatory reform may lead to substantial new regulations and disclosure obligations, which may lead to additional compliance costs and impact the manner in which we operate our business in ways we cannot currently anticipate.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock by our existing stockholders in the public market could cause our stock price to fall.
If our existing stockholders sell, or indicate an intention to sell, substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market, the trading price of our common stock could decline. As of March 31, 2021, the Company had 49,024,152 shares of common stock outstanding, of which 686,241 shares are restricted share awards subject to future vesting.
As of March 31, 2021, approximately 54.8% of our shares of common stock are beneficially held by directors, executive officers and holders of more than 5% of our common stock and will be subject to certain limitations of Rule 144 under the Securities Act.
In addition, shares of common stock that are either subject to outstanding options or reserved for future issuance under our existing equity compensation plans will become eligible for sale in the public market to the extent permitted by the provisions of various vesting schedules and Rule 144 and Rule 701 under the Securities Act. If these additional shares of common stock are sold, or if it is perceived that they will be sold, in the public market, the trading price of our common stock could decline. Additionally, the number of shares of our common stock reserved for issuance under the 2019 Stock Option and Equity Incentive Plan will automatically increase on January 1 of each year, with January 1, 2020 having been the first of such increases and continuing through and including January 1, 2030, by 5% of the total number of shares of our capital stock outstanding on December 31 of the preceding calendar year, or a lesser number of shares determined by our board of directors. Unless our board of directors elects not to increase the number of shares available for future grant each year, our stockholders may experience additional dilution.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our stock price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our common stock will depend in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. If one or more of the analysts who covers us downgrades our stock or publishes inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our stock price may decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of our company or fails to publish reports on us regularly, demand for our stock could decrease, which might cause our stock price and trading volume to decline.
If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud. As a result, stockholders could lose confidence in our financial and other public reporting, which would harm our business and the trading price of our common stock.
Effective internal controls over financial reporting are necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports and, together with adequate disclosure controls and procedures, are designed to prevent fraud. Any failure to implement required new or improved controls, or difficulties encountered in their implementation could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations. In addition, any testing by us conducted in connection with Section 404, or any subsequent testing by our independent registered public accounting firm, may reveal deficiencies in our internal controls over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses or that may require prospective or retroactive changes to our financial statements or identify other areas for further attention or improvement. Inferior internal controls could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on the trading price of our stock.
We will be required to disclose changes made in our internal controls and procedures on a quarterly basis and our management will be required to assess the effectiveness of these controls annually.
As of December 31, 2020, we became a large accelerated filer based on the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates as of the last day of the second quarter in 2020 and no longer qualify as an EGC. Accordingly, our independent registered public accounting firm is required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404. An independent assessment of the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting could detect problems that our management’s assessment did not, and could lead to additional findings, potentially including material weaknesses. Material weaknesses in our internal controls over financial reporting could lead to restatements of our financial statements and require us to incur the expense of remediation.
Our disclosure controls and procedures may not prevent or detect all errors or acts of fraud.
We are subject to certain reporting requirements of the Exchange Act. Our disclosure controls and procedures are designed to reasonably assure that information required to be disclosed by us in reports we file or submit under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to management, recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the rules and forms of the SEC. We believe that any disclosure controls and procedures or internal controls and procedures, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met. These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision-making can be faulty, and that breakdowns can occur because of simple error or mistake. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons, by collusion of two or more people or by an unauthorized override of the controls. Accordingly, because of the inherent limitations in our control system, misstatements or insufficient disclosures due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.
Item 2. Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds
Item 3. Defaults Upon Senior Securities
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Other Information
Item 6. Exhibits
Amended and Restated Investors' Rights Agreement among the Registrant and certain of its stockholders, dated August 30, 2018 (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.2 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-233351) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 12, 2019).
|101.INS||XBRL Instance Document.|
|101.SCH||XBRL Taxonomy Extension Schema Document.|
|101.CAL||XBRL Taxonomy Calculation Linkbase Document.|
|101.DEF||XBRL Taxonomy Extension Definition Linkbase Document.|
|101.LAB||XBRL Taxonomy Extension Label Linkbase Document.|
|101.PRE||XBRL Taxonomy Extension Presentation Linkbase Document.|
†This certification will not be deemed “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or otherwise subject to the liability of that section. Such certification will not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, except to the extent specifically incorporated by reference into such filing.
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned thereunto duly authorized.
|SPRINGWORKS THERAPEUTICS, INC.|
|Date: May 5, 2021||By:||/s/ Saqib Islam|
|Chief Executive Officer|
|Date: May 5, 2021||By:||/s/ Francis I. Perier, Jr.|
|Francis I. Perier, Jr.|
|Chief Financial Officer|