An investment in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks described under “Risk Factors” in the accompanying prospectus and our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017 and any subsequent updates described in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, all of which are incorporated herein by reference, and as updated by any other document that we subsequently file with the Securities and Exchange Commission and that is incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, as well as the risks described below and all of the other information contained in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, and incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, including our financial statements and related notes, before investing in our securities. These risks and uncertainties are not the only ones facing us and there may be additional matters that we are unaware of or that we currently consider immaterial. All of these could adversely affect our business, business prospects, cash flow, results of operations and financial condition. In such case, the trading price of our common stock could decline, and you could lose all or part of your investment in our common stock.
Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Need for Additional Capital
We have incurred significant losses since our inception. We expect to incur losses over the next several years and may never achieve or maintain profitability.
We have incurred significant operating losses in every year since inception and expect to incur net operating losses for the foreseeable future. Our net loss was $15.5 million, $7.6 million and $ 9.1 million for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively. As of September 30, 2018, we had an accumulated deficit of $62.3 million. We do not know whether or when we will become profitable. To date, we have not generated any revenues from product sales and have financed our operations primarily through private placements of our equity securities and, to a lesser extent, through funding from the National Institutes of Health, or the NIH. We have devoted substantially all of our financial resources and efforts to the research and development of potential product candidates. We are still in the early stages of development of our product candidates, and we have not completed development of any product candidate. We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and operating losses over the next several years. Our net losses may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year. Net losses and negative cash flows have had, and will continue to have, an adverse effect on our stockholders’ deficit and working capital. We anticipate that our expenses will increase substantially if and as we:
|●||conduct further preclinical and clinical studies of MAT9001, our lead product candidate;|
|●||support the conduct of further clinical studies of MAT2203, even if such studies are primarily financed with non-dilutive funding from the NIH;|
|●||seek to discover and develop additional product candidates;|
|●||seek regulatory approvals for any product candidates that successfully complete clinical trials;|
|●||require the manufacture of larger quantities of product candidates for clinical development and potentially commercialization;|
|●||maintain, expand and protect our intellectual property portfolio;|
|●||hire additional clinical, quality control and scientific personnel; and|
|●||add operational, financial and management information systems and personnel, including personnel to support our product development and planned future commercialization efforts and personnel and infrastructure necessary to help us comply with our obligations as a public company.|
Our ability to become and remain profitable depends on our ability to generate revenue. We do not expect to generate significant revenue unless and until we are able to obtain marketing approval for, and successfully commercialize, one or more of our product candidates. This will require us to be successful in a range of challenging activities, including completing preclinical testing and clinical trials of our product candidates, discovering additional product candidates, obtaining regulatory approval for these product candidates, manufacturing, marketing and selling any products for which we may obtain regulatory approval, satisfying any post-marketing requirements and obtaining reimbursement for our products from private insurance or government payors. We are only in the preliminary stages of most of these activities and have not yet commenced other of these activities. We may never succeed in these activities and, even if we do, may never generate revenues that are significant enough to achieve profitability.
Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with pharmaceutical product development, we are unable to accurately predict the timing or amount of increased expenses or when, or if, we will be able to achieve profitability. If we are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, or comparable non-U.S. regulatory authorities to perform studies in addition to those currently expected, or if there are any delays in completing our clinical trials or the development of any of our product candidates, our expenses could increase.
Even 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, expand our business, maintain our research and development efforts, diversify our pipeline of product candidates or even continue our operations. A decline in the value of our company could also cause you to lose all or part of your investment.
Our recurring losses from operations have raised substantial doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern.
Our recurring losses from operations raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern, and as a result, our independent registered public accounting firm included an explanatory paragraph in its report on our financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2017 with respect to this uncertainty. This going concern opinion, and any future going concern opinion, could materially limit our ability to raise additional capital. We have incurred significant losses since our inception and have never been profitable, and it is possible we will never achieve profitability. To date, we have devoted our resources to developing MAT9001 and our lead anti-infective product candidates, MAT2203 and MAT2501 and other product candidates developed from our cochleate drug delivery platform technology, but none of these product candidates can be marketed until regulatory approval has been obtained. Meaningful revenues will likely not be available until, and unless, MAT9001, MAT2203 or any of our other product candidates are approved by the FDA or comparable regulatory agencies in other countries and successfully marketed, either by us, or a partner. The perception that we may not be able to continue as a going concern may cause potential partners or investors to choose not to deal with us due to concerns about our ability to meet our contractual and financial obligations.
We will need substantial additional funding. If we are unable to raise capital when needed, we could be forced to delay, reduce or eliminate our product development programs or commercialization efforts.
We expect our expenses to increase in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we conduct additional preclinical and clinical studies of MAT9001, our lead product candidate, as well as the anticipated Phase 2 clinical trial of MAT2203 in cryptococcal meningitis, conduct additional preclinical and clinical trials to further validate and expand our LNC platform delivery technology, continue research and development, initiate clinical trials and, if development succeeds, seek regulatory approval of our product candidates. Our expenses could further increase if we initiate new research and preclinical development efforts for other product candidates. In addition, if we obtain regulatory approval for any of our product candidates, we expect to incur significant commercialization expenses related to product manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution. Furthermore, we expect to incur significant additional costs associated with operating as a public company, particularly as we cease to qualify as an “emerging growth company.” Accordingly, we will need to obtain substantial additional funding in connection with our continuing operations. If we are unable to raise capital when needed or on attractive terms, we could be forced to delay, reduce or eliminate our research and development programs or any future commercialization efforts.
We believe that our existing cash and cash equivalents, including restricted cash, of approximately $13.0 million as of December 31, 2018, will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements into January of 2020. We have based this estimate on assumptions that may prove to be wrong in the future, and we could use our capital resources sooner than we currently expect. Changing circumstances could cause us to consume capital significantly faster than we currently anticipate, and we may need to spend more money than currently expected because of circumstances beyond our control. Our future capital requirements, both short-term and long-term, will depend on many factors, including:
|●||the progress, timing, costs and results of our ongoing and planned clinical trials of MAT9001;|
|●||the scope, progress, timing, costs and results of clinical trials of, and research and preclinical development efforts for, other product candidates, including MAT2203, any future product candidates based upon our cochleate delivery technology platform, and any preclinical or clinical work done to further validate our cochleate platform delivery technology, generally;|
|●||our ability to enter into and the terms and timing of any collaborations, licensing or other arrangements that we may establish;|
|●||the number and development requirements of other product candidates that we pursue;|
|●||the costs, timing and outcome of regulatory review of our product candidates by the FDA and comparable non-U.S. regulatory authorities;|
|●||the costs and timing of future commercialization activities, including product manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution, for any of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval;|
|●||the revenue, if any, received from commercial sales of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval;|
|●||our headcount growth and associated costs as we expand our research and development and establish a commercial infrastructure;|
|●||the costs and timing of preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications, maintaining and enforcing our intellectual property rights and defending any intellectual property-related claims;|
|●||the extent to which we acquire or in-license other products and technologies;|
|●||the costs of operating as a public company; and|
|●||the effect of competing technological and market developments.|
Identifying potential product candidates and conducting preclinical testing and clinical trials is a time-consuming, expensive and uncertain process that takes years to complete, and we may never generate the necessary data or results required to obtain regulatory approval and achieve product sales. In addition, our product candidates, if approved, may not achieve commercial success. Our commercial revenues, if any, will be derived from sales of products that we do not expect to be commercially available for many years, if at all. Accordingly, we will need to continue to rely on additional financing to achieve our business objectives. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. In addition, we may seek additional capital due to favorable market conditions or strategic considerations, even if we believe we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans.
Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies or product candidates.
Until such time, if ever, as we can generate product revenues sufficient to achieve profitability, we expect to finance our cash needs through a combination of public or private equity offerings, debt financings, government or other third party funding, collaborations and licensing arrangements. We do not have any committed external source of funds other than limited grant funding from the NIH. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of common stock, convertible securities or other equity securities, your ownership interest may be materially diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences and anti-dilution protections that could adversely affect your rights as a common stockholder. Debt financing and preferred equity financing, if available, would result in increased fixed payment obligations and may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends, that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. Securing additional financing could require a substantial amount of time and attention from our management and may divert a disproportionate amount of their attention away from day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our management’s ability to oversee the development of our product candidates.
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 product 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 when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our 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.
Our stockholders may be subject to substantial dilution by exercises of outstanding options and warrants, conversion of preferred shares and by the future issuance of common stock to the former stockholders of Aquarius pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement.
As of September 30, 2018, we had outstanding options to purchase an aggregate of 11,455,029 shares of our common stock at a weighted average exercise price of $1.21 per share and warrants to purchase an aggregate of 5,802,256 shares of our common stock at a weighted average exercise price of $0.61 per share. In addition, as of September 30, 2018, we had 1,467,858 million shares of Series A Preferred Stock outstanding and 7,003 shares of Series B Preferred Stock outstanding. Each share of Series A Preferred Stock may be converted into 10 shares of common stock upon the request of the holder and each share of Series B Preferred Stock may be converted into 2,000 shares of common stock upon the request of the holder. The conversion of preferred shares and the exercise of such outstanding options and the warrants, will result in dilution of the value of our shares. In addition, pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement with Matinas BioPharma Nanotechnologies, Inc. (f/k/a Aquarius Biotechnologies, Inc.), we will be required to issue up to an additional 3,000,000 shares of our common stock upon the achievement of certain milestones. The milestone consideration consists of (i) 1,500,000 shares issuable upon the dosing of the first patient in a phase III trial sponsored by us for a product utilizing the cochleate delivery technology and (ii) 1,500,000 shares issuable upon FDA approval of the first NDA submitted by us for a product utilizing the cochleate delivery technology.
Our limited operating history may make it difficult for you to evaluate the success of our business to date and to assess our future viability.
We commenced active operations in 2013 and have a limited operating history. Our product candidates are in early stages of clinical development. We have not yet demonstrated our ability to successfully obtain regulatory approvals for any of our product candidates, manufacture a commercial scale product, or arrange for a third party to do so on our behalf, or conduct sales and marketing activities necessary for successful product commercialization. Consequently, any predictions you make about our future success or viability may not be as accurate as they could be if we had a longer operating history.
In addition, as a young business, we may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other known and unknown factors. Even if we obtain regulatory approval, we will need to transition from a company with a research and development focus to a company capable of supporting commercial activities. We may not be successful in such a transition.
We expect our financial condition and operating results to continue to fluctuate significantly from quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year due to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. Accordingly, you should not rely upon the results of any quarterly or annual periods as indications of future operating performance.
U.S. federal income tax reform could materially affect our tax obligations and effective tax rate.
On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or the Tax Act, was signed into law, significantly reforming the tax code. The Tax Act, among other things, includes changes to U.S. federal tax rates, imposes significant additional limitations on the deductibility of interest, limits net operating loss (NOL) deductions, allows for the expensing of capital expenditures, puts into effect the migration from a “worldwide” system of taxation to a territorial system and modifies or repeals many business deductions and credits. The estimated impact of the Tax Act is based on our management’s current knowledge and assumptions, and recognized impacts could be materially different from current estimates based on our actual results and our further analysis of the new law. We have revalued our net deferred tax assets and liabilities at the newly enacted U.S. federal rate, and we recognized a tax benefit of $.4 million during the year ended December 31, 2017 related to the TCJA.
We continue to examine the impact this tax reform legislation may have on our business. The Tax Act requires complex computations not previously provided in U.S. tax law. As such, the application of accounting guidance for such items is currently uncertain. Further, compliance with the Tax Act and the accounting for such provisions require accumulation of information not previously required or regularly produced. As additional regulatory guidance is issued by the applicable taxing authorities, as accounting treatment is clarified, as we perform additional analysis on the application of the law, and as we refine estimates in calculating the effect, our final analysis, which will be recorded in the period completed, may be different from our current provisional amounts, which could materially affect our tax obligations and effective tax rate.
Risks Related to Product Development, Regulatory Approval, Manufacturing and Commercialization
We are early in our development efforts, which may not be successful.
We completed a PK/PD study of MAT9001 head to head vs. Vascepa in 2015. We recently completed two separate Phase 2 clinical trials of MAT2203. Because of the early stage of our development efforts, we are still in the process of determining the overall clinical development path for our current and future product candidates. As a result, the timing and costs of the regulatory paths we will follow and marketing approvals remain uncertain. Our ability to generate product revenue, which we do not expect will occur for many years, if ever, will depend heavily on the successful development and eventual commercialization of our early-stage product candidates. The success of MAT9001, MAT2203, and any other product candidates we may develop will depend on many factors, including the following:
|●||successful completion of preclinical studies;|
|●||successful enrollment in, and completion of, clinical trials;|
|●||demonstrating safety and efficacy;|
|●||receipt of marketing approvals from applicable regulatory authorities;|
|●||establishing clinical and commercial manufacturing capabilities or making arrangements with third-party manufacturers;|
|●||obtaining and maintaining patent and trade secret protection and non-patent exclusivity for our product candidates and technologies;|
|●||launching commercial sales of the product candidates, if and when approved, whether alone or selectively in collaboration with others;|
|●||acceptance of the product candidates, if and when approved, by patients, the medical community and third-party payers;|
|●||effectively competing with other therapies;|
|●||a continued acceptable safety profile of the products following approval; and|
|●||enforcing and defending intellectual property rights and claims.|
If we do not accomplish one or more of these goals in a timely manner, or at all, we could experience significant delays or an inability to successfully commercialize our product candidates, which would harm our business.
We cannot be certain that MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates that we may develop will receive regulatory approval, and without regulatory approval we will not be able to market any of our product candidates. Any delay in the regulatory review or approval of any of our product candidates will materially or adversely harm our business.
We expect to invest most of our capital in the development of MAT9001. Our ability to generate revenue related to product sales, which we do not expect will occur for at least the next several years, if ever, will depend on the successful development and regulatory approval of one or more of our product candidates. All of our product candidates require regulatory review and approval prior to commercialization. Any delays in the regulatory review or approval of our product candidates would delay market launch, increase our cash requirements and result in additional operating losses. This failure to obtain regulatory approvals would prevent our product candidate from being marketed and would have a material and adverse effect on our business.
The process of obtaining FDA and other required regulatory approvals, including foreign approvals, often takes many years and can vary substantially based upon the type, complexity and novelty of the products involved. Furthermore, this approval process is extremely complex, expensive and uncertain. We may be unable to submit any new drug application, or an NDA, in the United States or any marketing approval application in foreign jurisdictions for any of our products. If we submit an NDA including any amended NDA or supplemental NDA, to the FDA seeking marketing approval for any of our product candidates, the FDA must decide whether to accept or reject the submission for filing. We cannot be certain that any of these submissions will be accepted for filing and reviewed by the FDA, or that the marketing approval application submissions to any other regulatory authorities will be accepted for filing and review by those authorities. We cannot be certain that we will be able to respond to any regulatory requests during the review period in a timely manner, or at all, without delaying potential regulatory action. We also cannot be certain that any of our product candidates will receive favorable recommendations from any FDA advisory committee or foreign regulatory bodies or be approved for marketing by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities. In addition, delays in approvals or rejections of marketing applications may be based upon many factors, including regulatory requests for additional analyses, reports, data and studies, regulatory questions regarding data and results, changes in regulatory policy during the period of product development and the emergence of new information regarding such product candidates.
Data obtained from preclinical studies and clinical trials are subject to different interpretations, which could delay, limit or prevent regulatory review or approval of any of our product candidates. Furthermore, regulatory attitudes towards the data and results required to demonstrate safety and efficacy can change over time and can be affected by many factors, such as the emergence of new information, including on other products, policy changes and agency funding, staffing and leadership. We do not know whether future changes to the regulatory environment will be favorable or unfavorable to our business prospects.
In addition, the environment in which our regulatory submissions may be reviewed changes over time. For example, average review times at the FDA for NDAs have fluctuated over the last ten years, and we cannot predict the review time for any of our submissions with any regulatory authorities. Review times can be affected by a variety of factors, including budget and funding levels and statutory, regulatory and policy changes. Moreover, in light of widely publicized events concerning the safety risk of certain drug products, regulatory authorities, members of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, medical professionals and the general public have raised concerns about potential drug safety issues. These events have resulted in the withdrawal of drug products, revisions to drug labeling that further limit use of the drug products and establishment of REMS measures that may, for instance, restrict distribution of drug products. The increased attention to drug safety issues may result in a more cautious approach by the FDA to clinical trials. Data from clinical trials may receive greater scrutiny with respect to safety, which may make the FDA or other regulatory authorities more likely to terminate clinical trials before completion, or require longer or additional clinical trials that may result in substantial additional expense and a delay or failure in obtaining approval or may result in approval for a more limited indication than originally sought.
We depend in part on technology owned or licensed to us by third parties, and the loss of access to this technology would terminate or delay the further development of our product candidates, injure our reputation or force us to pay higher royalties.
We rely partially on the LNC platform delivery technology that we have licensed from Rutgers. The loss of access to this technology could materially impair our business and future viability, and could result in delays in developing, introducing or maintaining our product candidates and formulations until equivalent technology, if available, is identified, licensed and integrated. In addition, any defects in the technology we license could prevent the implementation or impair the functionality of our product candidates or formulation, delay new product or formulation introductions or injure our reputation. If we are required to enter into license agreements with third parties for replacement technology, we could be subject to higher royalty payments.
Clinical drug development involves a lengthy and expensive process with uncertain outcomes that may lead to delayed timelines and increased cost, and may prevent us from being able to complete clinical trials.
Clinical testing is expensive, can take many years to complete, and its outcome is inherently uncertain. The results of preclinical and clinical studies of our product candidates may not be predictive of the results of later-stage clinical trials. For example, the positive results generated to date in Phase 2 clinical studies for MAT9001 do not ensure that our Phase 3 clinical trials will demonstrate similar results. Product candidates in later stages of clinical trials may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy despite having progressed through preclinical studies and initial clinical trials. A number of companies in the pharmaceutical industry have suffered significant setbacks in advanced clinical trials due to lack of efficacy or adverse safety profiles, notwithstanding promising results in earlier studies, and we cannot be certain that we will not face similar setbacks.
We cannot be certain that future clinical trials for MAT9001, MAT2203 or any of our other product candidates, will begin on time, not need to be redesigned, enroll an adequate number of patients on time or be completed on schedule, if at all, or that any interim analyses with respect to such trials will be completed on schedule or support continued clinical development of the associated product candidate.
We could also encounter delays if a clinical trial is suspended or terminated by us upon recommendation of the data monitoring committee for such trial, by the IRBs of the institutions in which such trials are being conducted, or by the FDA or other regulatory authorities. Such authorities may suspend or terminate a 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 trial site by the FDA or other 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 drug, changes in governmental regulations or administrative actions, or lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial.
If we experience delays in the completion of, or termination of, any clinical trial of our product candidates, the commercial prospects of our product candidates may be harmed, and our ability to generate revenue from the sale of any of these product candidates will be delayed. In addition, any delays in completing our clinical trials will increase our costs, slow down our product candidate development and approval processes, and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and generate revenue. Any of these occurrences may significantly harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly.
Delays in the commencement, enrollment and completion of our clinical trials could result in increased costs to us and delay or limit our ability to obtain regulatory approval for MAT9001 and our other product candidates.
Delays in the commencement, enrollment and completion of clinical trials could increase our product development costs or limit the regulatory approval of our product candidates. The commencement, enrollment and completion of clinical trials can be delayed for a variety of reasons, including:
|●||inability to reach agreements on acceptable terms with prospective contract research organizations (CROs) and trial sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and trial sites;|
|●||inability to maintain necessary supplies of study drug and comparator to maintain predicted enrollment rates at clinical trial sites;|
|●||regulatory objections to commencing a clinical trial;|
|●||inability to identify and maintain a sufficient number of trial sites, many of which may already be engaged in other clinical trial programs, including some that may be for the same indication as our product candidates;|
|●||withdrawal of clinical trial sites from our clinical trials as a result of changing standards of care or the ineligibility of a site to participate in our clinical trials;|
|●||inability to obtain institutional review board approval, including that within the NIH, to conduct a clinical trial;|
|●||difficulty recruiting and enrolling subjects to participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons, including meeting the enrollment criteria for our study and competition from other clinical trial programs for the same indication as our product candidates;|
|●||inability to retain subjects in clinical trials due to the treatment protocol, personal issues, side effects from the therapy or lack of efficacy; and|
|●||difficulty in importing and exporting clinical trial materials and study samples.|
We may not have or be able to obtain sufficient quantities of our products to meet our supply and clinical studies obligations and our business, financial condition and results of operation may be adversely affected.
To date, we have only developed limited in-house manufacturing capabilities for the LNC technology needed for the clinical development our MAT2203 product candidate and rely exclusively on third party manufacturers for the manufacture of MAT9001. If we do not develop a long term in-house manufacturing capability for the cochleates needed for our product candidates sufficient to produce product for continued development and, if regulatory approval is obtained, then commercialization of these products, we will be dependent on a small number of third-party manufacturers for the manufacture of our product candidates. We may not have long-term agreements with any of these third parties, and if they are unable or unwilling to perform for any reason, we may not be able to locate alternative acceptable manufacturers or formulators or enter into favorable agreements with them. Any inability to acquire sufficient quantities of our products in a timely manner from these third parties could delay clinical trials and prevent us from developing our products in a cost-effective manner or on a timely basis. In addition, manufacturers of our product candidates are subject to cGMP and similar foreign standards and we would not have control over compliance with these regulations by our manufacturers. If one of our contract manufacturers fails to maintain compliance, the production of our products could be interrupted, resulting in delays and additional costs. In addition, if the facilities of such manufacturers do not pass a pre-approval or post-approval plant inspection, the FDA will not grant approval and may institute restrictions on the marketing or sale of our products.
We may be reliant on third party manufactures and suppliers to meet the demands of our clinical supplies. Delays in receipt of materials, scheduling, release, custom’s control, and regulatory compliance issues may adversely impact our ability to initiate, maintain, or complete clinical trials that we are sponsoring. Commercial manufacturing and supply agreements have not been established. Issues arising from scale-up, environmental controls, equipment requirements, or other factors, may have an adverse impact on our ability to manufacture our product candidates.
Even if we obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates, if we are unable to successfully commercialize our products, it will limit our ability to generate revenue and will materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Even if we obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates, our long-term viability and growth depend on the successful commercialization of products which lead to revenue and profits. Pharmaceutical product development is an expensive, high risk, lengthy, complicated, resource intensive process. In order to succeed, among other things, we must be able to:
|●||identify potential drug product candidates;|
|●||design and conduct appropriate laboratory, preclinical and other research;|
|●||submit for and receive regulatory approval to perform clinical studies;|
|●||design and conduct appropriate preclinical and clinical studies according to good laboratory and good clinical practices;|
|●||select and recruit clinical investigators;|
|●||select and recruit subjects for our studies;|
|●||collect, analyze and correctly interpret the data from our studies;|
|●||submit for and receive regulatory approvals for marketing; and|
|●||manufacture the drug product candidates according to cGMP.|
The development program with respect to any given product will take many years and thus delay our ability to generate profits. In addition, potential products that appear promising at early stages of development may fail for a number of reasons, including the possibility that the products may require significant additional testing or turn out to be unsafe, ineffective, too difficult or expensive to develop or manufacture, too difficult to administer, or unstable. Failure to successfully commercialize our products will adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If our preclinical and clinical studies do not produce positive results, if our clinical trials are delayed or if serious side effects are identified during such studies or trials, we may experience delays, incur additional costs and ultimately be unable to commercialize our product candidates.
Before obtaining regulatory approval for the sale of our product candidates, we must conduct, generally at our own expense, extensive preclinical tests to demonstrate the safety of our product candidates in animals, and clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates in humans. Preclinical and clinical testing is expensive, difficult to design and implement and can take many years to complete. A failure of one or more of our preclinical studies or clinical trials can occur at any stage of testing. We may experience numerous unforeseen events during, or as a result of, preclinical testing and the clinical trial process that could delay or prevent our ability to obtain regulatory approval or commercialize our product candidates, including:
|●||our preclinical tests or clinical trials may produce negative or inconclusive results, and we may decide, or regulators may require us, to conduct additional preclinical testing or clinical trials or we may abandon projects that we expect to be promising;|
|●||regulators or institutional review boards may not authorize us to commence a clinical trial or conduct a clinical trial at a prospective trial site;|
|●||conditions imposed on us by the FDA or any non-U.S. regulatory authority regarding the scope or design of our clinical trials may require us to resubmit our clinical trial protocols to institutional review boards for re-inspection due to changes in the regulatory environment;|
|●||the number of patients required for our clinical trials may be larger than we anticipate or participants may drop out of our clinical trials at a higher rate than we anticipate;|
|●||our third-party contractors or clinical investigators may fail to comply with regulatory requirements or fail to meet their contractual obligations to us in a timely manner;|
|●||we might have to suspend or terminate one or more of our clinical trials if we, the regulators or the institutional review boards determine that the participants are being exposed to unacceptable health risks;|
|●||regulators or institutional review boards may require that we hold, suspend or terminate clinical research for various reasons, including noncompliance with regulatory requirements;|
|●||the cost of our clinical trials may be greater than we anticipate;|
|●||the supply or quality of our product candidates or other materials necessary to conduct our clinical trials may be insufficient or inadequate or we may not be able to reach agreements on acceptable terms with prospective clinical research organizations; and|
|●||the effects of our product candidates may not be the desired effects or may include undesirable side effects or the product candidates may have other unexpected characteristics.|
|●||In addition, if we are required to conduct additional clinical trials or other testing of our product candidates beyond those that we currently contemplate, if we are unable to successfully complete our clinical trials or other testing, if the results of these trials or tests are not positive or are only modestly positive or if there are safety concerns, we may:|
|●||be delayed in obtaining, or may not be able to obtain, marketing approval for one or more of our product candidates;|
|●||obtain approval for indications that are not as broad as intended or entirely different than those indications for which we sought approval; or|
|●||have the product removed from the market after obtaining marketing approval.|
Our product development costs will also increase if we experience delays in testing or approvals. We do not know whether any preclinical tests or clinical trials will be initiated as planned, will need to be restructured or will be completed on schedule, if at all. Significant preclinical or clinical trial delays also could shorten the patent protection period during which we may have the exclusive right to commercialize our product candidates. Such delays could allow our competitors to bring products to market before we do and impair our ability to commercialize our products or product candidates.
If we cannot enroll enough patients to complete our clinical trials, such failure may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The completion rate of clinical studies of our products is dependent on, among other factors, the patient enrollment rate. Patient enrollment is a function of many factors, including:
|●||investigator identification and recruitment;|
|●||regulatory approvals to initiate study sites;|
|●||patient population size;|
|●||the nature of the protocol to be used in the trial;|
|●||patient proximity to clinical sites;|
|●||eligibility criteria for the study;|
|●||competition from other companies’ clinical studies for the same patient population; and|
|●||ability to obtain comparator drug/device.|
We believe our procedures for enrolling patients have been appropriate; however, delays in patient enrollment would increase costs and delay ultimate commercialization and sales, if any, of our products. Such delays could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we are unsuccessful in identifying and developing additional product candidates, our potential for growth may be impaired.
Even if we receive regulatory approval for MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates we may develop, we still may not be able to successfully commercialize such products and the revenue that we generate from its sales, if any, may be limited.
If approved for marketing, the commercial success of MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates we may develop will depend upon its acceptance by the medical community, including physicians, patients and health care payors. The degree of market acceptance of MAT9001, MAT2203 or such other product candidate will depend on a number of factors, including:
|●||demonstration of clinical safety and efficacy of such product candidate;|
|●||relative convenience and ease of administration;|
|●||the prevalence and severity of any adverse effects;|
|●||the willingness of physicians to prescribe such product candidates and of the target patient population to try new therapies;|
|●||pricing and cost-effectiveness;|
|●||the inclusion or omission of such product candidate in applicable treatment guidelines;|
|●||the effectiveness of our or any future collaborators’ sales and marketing strategies;|
|●||limitations or warnings contained in FDA-approved labeling;|
|●||our ability to obtain and maintain sufficient third-party coverage or reimbursement from government health care programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, private health insurers and other third-party payors; and|
|●||the willingness of patients to pay out-of-pocket in the absence of third-party coverage or reimbursement.|
If MAT9001, MAT2203, or any other product candidates we may develop is approved, but does not achieve an adequate level of acceptance by physicians, health care payors and patients, we may not generate sufficient revenue and we may not be able to achieve or sustain profitability. Our efforts to educate the medical community and third-party payors on the benefits of such product candidate may require significant resources and may never be successful.
In addition, even if we obtain regulatory approvals, the timing or scope of any approvals may prohibit or reduce our ability to commercialize such product candidate successfully. For example, if the approval process takes too long, we may miss market opportunities and give other companies the ability to develop competing products or establish market dominance. Any regulatory approval we ultimately obtain may be limited or subject to restrictions or post-approval commitments that render such product candidate not commercially viable. For example, regulatory authorities may approve such product candidate for fewer or more limited indications than we request, may not approve the price we intend to charge for such product candidate, may grant approval contingent on the performance of costly post-marketing clinical trials, or may approve such product candidate with a label that does not include the labeling claims necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of that indication. Further, the FDA may place conditions on approvals including potential requirements or risk management plans and the requirement for a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (“REMS”) to assure the safe use of the drug. If the FDA concludes a REMS is needed, the sponsor of the NDA must submit a proposed REMS; the FDA will not approve the NDA without an approved REMS, if required. A REMS could include medication guides, physician communication plans, or elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools. Any of these limitations on approval or marketing could restrict the commercial promotion, distribution, prescription or dispensing of such product candidate. Moreover, product approvals may be withdrawn for non-compliance with regulatory standards or if problems occur following the initial marketing of the product. Any of the foregoing scenarios could materially harm the commercial success of such product candidate.
We currently have no sales and marketing organization. If we are unable to establish satisfactory sales and marketing capabilities, we may not successfully commercialize any of our product candidates, if regulatory approval is obtained.
At present, we have no sales or marketing personnel. In order to commercialize products that are approved for commercial sales, we must either develop a sales and marketing infrastructure or collaborate with third parties that have such commercial infrastructure. If we elect to develop our own sales and marketing organization, we do not intend to begin to hire sales and marketing personnel until the time of NDA submission to the FDA at the earliest, and we do not intend to establish our own sales organization in the United States until shortly prior to FDA approval of MAT9001, MAT2203 or any of our other product candidates.
We may not be able to establish a direct sales force in a cost-effective manner or realize a positive return on this investment. In addition, we will have to compete with established and well-funded pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to recruit, hire, train and retain sales and marketing personnel. Factors that may inhibit our efforts to commercialize MAT9001, MAT2203 or any of our other product candidates in the United States without strategic partners or licensees include:
|●||our inability to recruit and retain adequate numbers of effective sales and marketing personnel;|
|●||the inability of sales personnel to obtain access to or persuade adequate numbers of physicians to prescribe our future products;|
|●||the lack of complementary products to be offered by sales personnel, which may put us at a competitive disadvantage relative to companies with more extensive product lines; and|
|●||unforeseen costs and expenses associated with creating an independent sales and marketing organization.|
If we are not successful in recruiting sales and marketing personnel or in building a sales and marketing infrastructure, or if we do not successfully enter into appropriate collaboration arrangements, we will have difficulty successfully commercializing MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates we may develop, which would adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition. Outside the United States, we may commercialize our product candidates by entering into collaboration agreements with pharmaceutical partners. We may not be able to enter into such agreements on terms acceptable to us or at all. In addition, even if we enter into such relationships, we may have limited or no control over the sales, marketing and distribution activities of these third parties. Our future revenues may depend heavily on the success of the efforts of these third parties
If we are unable to file for approval of MAT9001 or MAT2203 under Section 505(b)(2) of the FDCA or if we are required to generate additional data related to safety and efficacy in order to obtain approval under Section 505(b)(2), we may be unable to meet our anticipated development and commercialization timelines.
Our current plans for filing the NDAs for MAT9001 and MAT2203 include efforts to minimize the data we will be required to generate in order to obtain marketing approval for this product candidate and therefore reduce the development time. Based upon written feedback received from the FDA in 2014, we believe this approach will create the opportunity for us to leverage existing data developed with certain existing omega-3 fatty acids to create a streamlined approach to potential approval for MAT9001 for the treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia. Although our interactions with the FDA have encouraged our efforts to continue to develop MAT9001 for severe hypertriglyceridemia, there is no assurance that we will satisfy the FDA’s requirements for approval in this indication. Likewise, we intend to rely on the history of efficacy of amphotericin B, and anticipate meeting with the FDA in the first half of 2019 to discuss our development plans for MAT2203.The timelines for filing and review of our NDAs for MAT9001 and MAT2203 are based on our plan to submit these NDAs under Section 505(b)(2) of the FDCA, which would enable us to rely in part on data in the public domain or elsewhere. We have not yet filed an NDA under Section 505(b)(2) for any product candidate. Depending on the data that may be required by the FDA for approval, some of the data may be related to products already approved by the FDA. If the data relied upon is related to products already approved by the FDA and covered by third-party patents we would be required to certify that we do not infringe the listed patents or that such patents are invalid or unenforceable. As a result of the certification, the third-party would have 45 days from notification of our certification to initiate an action against us.
In the event that an action is brought in response to such a certification, the approval of our NDA could be subject to a stay of up to 30 months or more while we defend against such a suit. Approval of our product candidates under Section 505(b)(2) may therefore be delayed until patent exclusivity expires or until we successfully challenge the applicability of those patents to our product candidates. Alternatively, we may elect to generate sufficient additional clinical data so that we no longer rely on data which triggers a potential stay of the approval of our product candidates. Even if no exclusivity periods apply to our applications under Section 505(b)(2), the FDA has broad discretion to require us to generate additional data on the safety and efficacy of our product candidates to supplement third-party data on which we may be permitted to rely. In either event, we could be required, before obtaining marketing approval for any of our product candidates, to conduct substantial new research and development activities beyond those we currently plan to engage in order to obtain approval of our product candidates. Such additional new research and development activities would be costly and time consuming.
We may not be able to realize a shortened development timeline for MAT9001 for severe hypertriglyceridemia, and the FDA may not approve our NDA based on their review of the submitted data. If omega-3 fatty acids-containing products are withdrawn from the market by the FDA for any safety reason, we may not be able to reference such products to support a 505(b)(2) NDA for Tonmya, and we may need to fulfill the more extensive requirements of Section 505(b)(1). If we are required to generate additional data to support approval, we may be unable to meet our anticipated development and commercialization timelines, may be unable to generate the additional data at a reasonable cost, or at all, and may be unable to obtain marketing approval of our lead product candidate.
We face competition from other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and our operating results will suffer if we fail to compete effectively.
The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are intensely competitive and subject to rapid and significant technological change. We have competitors in a number of jurisdictions, many of which have substantially greater name recognition, commercial infrastructures and financial, technical and personnel resources than we have. We face competition from many different sources, including commercial pharmaceutical and biotechnology enterprises, academic institutions, government agencies and private and public research institutions. Established competitors may invest heavily to quickly discover and develop novel compounds that could make MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates we may develop obsolete or uneconomical. Any new product that competes with an approved product may need to demonstrate compelling advantages in efficacy, cost, convenience, tolerability and safety to be commercially successful. Other competitive factors, including generic competition, which could force us to lower prices or result in reduced sales, particularly those products that have been marketed by third parties for many years and are well accepted by physicians, patients and payers. In addition, new products developed by others could emerge as competitors to MAT9001, MAT2203 or any of our other product candidates. If we are not able to compete effectively against our current and future competitors, our business will not grow and our financial condition and operations will suffer.
Further, although we believe that our proprietary LNC platform delivery technology, experience and knowledge in our areas of focus provide us with competitive advantages, potential competitors for MAT2203 could reduce our commercial opportunities.
Even if we obtain marketing approval for MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates that we may develop, we will be subject to ongoing obligations and continued regulatory review, which may result in significant additional expense. Additionally, our product candidates could be subject to labeling and other restrictions and withdrawal from the market and we may be subject to penalties if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or if we experience unanticipated problems with our future products.
Even if we obtain United States regulatory approval of MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates that we may develop, FDA may still impose significant restrictions on its indicated uses or marketing or the conditions of approval, or impose ongoing requirements for potentially costly and time-consuming post-approval studies, and post-market surveillance to monitor safety and efficacy. Our future products will also be subject to ongoing regulatory requirements governing the manufacturing, labeling, packaging, storage, distribution, safety surveillance, advertising, promotion, recordkeeping and reporting of adverse events and other post-market information. These requirements include registration with FDA, as well as continued compliance with current Good Clinical Practices regulations, or cGCPs, for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval. In addition, manufacturers of drug products and their facilities are subject to continuous review and periodic inspections by the FDA and other regulatory authorities for compliance with current good manufacturing practices, cGMP, requirements relating to quality control, quality assurance and corresponding maintenance of records and documents.
FDA has the authority to require a REMS, as part of an NDA or after approval, which may impose further requirements or restrictions on the distribution or use of an approved drug, such as limiting prescribing to certain physicians or medical centers that have undergone specialized training, limiting treatment to patients who meet certain safe-use criteria or requiring patient testing, monitoring and/or enrollment in a registry.
With respect to sales and marketing activities by us or any future partner, advertising and promotional materials must comply with FDA rules in addition to other applicable federal, state and local laws in the United States and similar legal requirements in other countries. In the United States, the distribution of product samples to physicians must comply with the requirements of the U.S. Prescription Drug Marketing Act. Application holders must obtain FDA approval for product and manufacturing changes, depending on the nature of the change. We may also be subject, directly or indirectly through our customers and partners, to various fraud and abuse laws, including, without limitation, the U.S. Anti-Kickback Statute, U.S. False Claims Act, and similar state laws, which impact, among other things, our proposed sales, marketing, and scientific/educational grant programs. If we participate in the U.S. Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, the Federal Supply Schedule of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or other government drug programs, we will be subject to complex laws and regulations regarding reporting and payment obligations. All of these activities are also potentially subject to U.S. federal and state consumer protection and unfair competition laws. Similar requirements exist in many of these areas in other countries.
In addition, our product labeling, advertising and promotion would be subject to regulatory requirements and continuing regulatory review. FDA strictly regulates the promotional claims that may be made about prescription products. In particular, a product may not be promoted for uses that are not approved by FDA as reflected in the product’s approved labeling. If we receive marketing approval for our product candidates, physicians may nevertheless legally prescribe our products to their patients in a manner that is inconsistent with the approved label. If we are found to have promoted such off-label uses, we may become subject to significant liability and government fines. FDA and other agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses, and a company that is found to have improperly promoted off-label uses may be subject to significant sanctions, including revocation of its marketing approval. The federal government has levied large civil and criminal fines against companies for alleged improper promotion and has enjoined several companies from engaging in off-label promotion. FDA has also requested that companies enter into consent decrees of permanent injunctions under which specified promotional conduct is changed or curtailed.
If we or a regulatory agency discovers previously unknown problems with a product, such as adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, problems with the facility where the product is manufactured, or we or our manufacturers fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, we may be subject to the following administrative or judicial sanctions:
|●||restrictions on the marketing or manufacturing of the product, withdrawal of the product from the market, or voluntary or mandatory product recalls;|
|●||issuance of warning letters or untitled letters;|
|●||injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties or monetary fines;|
|●||suspension or withdrawal of regulatory approval;|
|●||suspension of any ongoing clinical trials;|
|●||refusal to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications filed by us, or suspension or revocation of product license approvals;|
|●||suspension or imposition of restrictions on operations, including costly new manufacturing requirements; or|
|●||product seizure or detention or refusal to permit the import or export of product.|
The occurrence of any event or penalty described above may inhibit our ability to commercialize MAT9001, MAT2203 or any of our other product candidates and generate revenue. Adverse regulatory action, whether pre- or post-approval, can also potentially lead to product liability claims and increase our product liability exposure.
Future legislation, and/or regulations and policies adopted by the FDA may increase the time and cost required for us to conduct and complete clinical trials of MAT9001, MAT2203 and any other product candidates that we may develop.
FDA has established regulations to govern the drug development and approval process, as have foreign regulatory authorities. The policies of FDA and other regulatory authorities may change and additional laws or government regulations may be promulgated that could prevent, limit, delay but also accelerate regulatory review of our product candidates. For example, in December 2016, the Cures Act was signed into law. The Cures Act, among other things, is intended to modernize the regulation of drugs and spur innovation, but all of its provisions have yet to be implemented. Among other things, the Cures Act provides a new “limited population” pathway for certain antibacterial and antifungal drugs, or LPAD, but FDA has not issued final guidance regarding the LPAD yet. Additionally, in August 2017, FDA issued final guidance setting forth its current thinking with respect to development programs and clinical trial designs for antibacterial drugs to treat serous bacterial diseases in patients with an unmet medical need. We cannot predict what if any effect the Cures Act or any existing or future guidance from FDA will have on development of our product candidates.
Changes in health care law and implementing regulations, including government restrictions on pricing and reimbursement, as well as health care policy and other health care payor cost-containment initiatives, may have a material adverse effect on us.
In the United States and some foreign jurisdictions, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding the healthcare system and efforts to control health care costs, including drug prices, that could have a significant negative impact on our business, including preventing, limiting or delay regulatory approval of our drug candidates and reducing the sales and profits derived from our products once they are approved.
For example, in the United States, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“ACA”) substantially changed the way health care is financed by both governmental and private insurers and significantly affects the pharmaceutical industry. Many provisions of ACA impact the biopharmaceutical industry, including that in order for a biopharmaceutical product to receive federal reimbursement under the Medicare Part B and Medicaid programs or to be sold directly to U.S. government agencies, the manufacturer must extend discounts to entities eligible to participate in the drug pricing program under the Public Health Services Act, or PHS. Since its enactment, there have been judicial and Congressional challenges and amendments to certain aspects of ACA. There is continued uncertainty about the implementation of ACA, including the potential for further amendments to the ACA and legal challenges to or efforts to repeal the ACA.
We cannot be sure whether additional legislative changes will be enacted, or whether government regulations, guidance or interpretations will be changed, or what the impact of such changes would be on the marketing approvals, sales, pricing, or reimbursement of our drug candidates or products, if any, may be.
Our future growth depends, in part, on our ability to penetrate foreign markets, where we would be subject to additional regulatory burdens and other risks and uncertainties.
Our future profitability will depend, in part, on our ability to commercialize our product candidates in foreign markets for which we intend to rely on collaborations with third parties. If we commercialize MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates that we may develop in foreign markets, we would be subject to additional risks and uncertainties, including:
|●||our customers’ ability to obtain reimbursement for our product candidates in foreign markets;|
|●||our inability to directly control commercial activities because we are relying on third parties;|
|●||the burden of complying with complex and changing foreign regulatory, tax, accounting and legal requirements;|
|●||different medical practices and customs in foreign countries affecting acceptance in the marketplace;|
|●||import or export licensing requirements;|
|●||longer accounts receivable collection times;|
|●||longer lead times for shipping;|
|●||language barriers for technical training;|
|●||reduced protection of intellectual property rights in some foreign countries;|
|●||foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations; and|
|●||the interpretation of contractual provisions governed by foreign laws in the event of a contract dispute.|
Foreign sales of our product candidates could also be adversely affected by the imposition of governmental controls, political and economic instability, trade restrictions and changes in tariffs, any of which may adversely affect our results of operations.
If we market our product candidates in a manner that violates healthcare fraud and abuse laws, or if we violate government price reporting laws, we may be subject to civil or criminal penalties.
FDA enforces laws and regulations which require that the promotion of pharmaceutical products be consistent with the approved prescribing information. While physicians may prescribe an approved product for a so-called “off label” use, it is unlawful for a pharmaceutical company to promote its products in a manner that is inconsistent with its approved label and any company which engages in such conduct can subject that company to significant liability. Similarly, industry codes in the EU and other foreign jurisdictions prohibit companies from engaging in off-label promotion and regulatory agencies in various countries enforce violations of the code with civil penalties. While we intend to ensure that our promotional materials are consistent with our label, regulatory agencies may disagree with our assessment and may issue untitled letters, warning letters or may institute other civil or criminal enforcement proceedings. In addition to FDA restrictions on marketing of pharmaceutical products, several other types of state and federal healthcare fraud and abuse laws have been applied in recent years to restrict certain marketing practices in the pharmaceutical industry. These laws include the U.S. Anti-Kickback Statute, U.S. False Claims Act and similar state laws. Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of the safe harbors, it is possible that some of our business activities could be
The U.S. Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits, among other things, knowingly and willfully offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration to induce, or in return for, purchasing, leasing, ordering or arranging for the purchase, lease or order of any healthcare item or service reimbursable under Medicare, Medicaid or other federally financed healthcare programs. This statute has been interpreted broadly to apply to arrangements between pharmaceutical manufacturers on the one hand and prescribers, purchasers and formulary managers on the other. Although there are several statutory exemptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting certain common activities from prosecution, the exemptions and safe harbors are drawn narrowly, and practices that involve remuneration intended to induce prescribing, purchasing or recommending may be subject to scrutiny if they do not qualify for an exemption or safe harbor. Our practices may not, in all cases, meet all of the criteria for safe harbor protection from anti-kickback liability. Moreover, recent health care reform legislation has strengthened these laws. For example, the ACA, among other things, amends the intent requirement of the U.S. Anti-Kickback Statute and criminal health care fraud statutes; a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of this statute or specific intent to violate it. In addition, the ACA provides that the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the U.S. Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the U.S. False Claims Act. Federal false claims laws prohibit any person from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false claim for payment to the federal government or knowingly making, or causing to be made, a false statement to get a false claim paid.
Over the past few years, several pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies have been prosecuted under these laws for a variety of alleged promotional and marketing activities, such as: allegedly providing free trips, free goods, sham consulting fees and grants and other monetary benefits to prescribers; reporting to pricing services inflated average wholesale prices that were then used by federal programs to set reimbursement rates; engaging in off-label promotion that caused claims to be submitted to Medicare or Medicaid for non-covered, off-label uses; and submitting inflated best price information to the Medicaid Rebate Program to reduce liability for Medicaid rebates. Most states also have statutes or regulations similar to the U.S. Anti-Kickback Statute and the U.S. False Claims Act, which apply to items and services reimbursed under Medicaid and other state programs, or, in several states, apply regardless of the payor. Sanctions under these federal and state laws may include substantial civil monetary penalties, exclusion of a manufacturer’s products from reimbursement under government programs, substantial criminal fines and imprisonment.
We have been and expect to be significantly dependent on our collaborative agreements for the development of MAT2203, which exposes us to the risk of reliance on the performance of third parties.
In conducting our research and development activities for MAT2203, we currently rely, and expect to continue to rely, on collaborative agreements with universities, governmental agencies and not-for-profit organizations for both strategic and financial resources. Key among these agreements is our collaboration agreements with the NIH for the development of MAT2203. The loss of, or failure to perform by us or our partners under any applicable agreements or arrangements, or our failure to secure additional agreements for our product candidates, would substantially disrupt or delay our research and development activities, including our in-process and anticipated clinical trials. Any such loss would likely increase our expenses and materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operation.
We expect that we will rely on third parties to conduct clinical trials for our product candidates. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates that we may develop and our business could be substantially harmed.
We expect to enter into agreements with third-party CROs, or governmental entities like the NIH, to conduct and manage our clinical programs. We rely heavily on these parties for execution of clinical studies for MAT9001, and MAT2203 and our other product candidates and can control only certain and very limited aspects of their activities. Nevertheless, we would be responsible for ensuring that each of our studies is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol, legal, regulatory and scientific standards, and our reliance on the NIH or CROs would not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities. We, the NIH and our CROs would be required to comply with cGCPs, which are regulations and guidelines enforced by the FDA, the Competent Authorities of the Member States of the European Economic Area and comparable foreign regulatory authorities for any products in clinical development. The FDA enforces these cGCP regulations through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators and trial sites. If we or the NIH or our CROs fail to comply with applicable cGCPs, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our marketing applications. We cannot assure you that, upon inspection, the FDA will determine that any of our clinical trials comply with cGCPs. In addition, our clinical trials must be conducted with products produced under cGMP regulations and will require a large number of test subjects. Our failure or the failure of the NIH or our CROs to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process and could also subject us to enforcement action up to and including civil and criminal penalties.
As a result, many important aspects of our drug development programs would be outside of our direct control. In addition, the NIH or the CROs may not perform all of their obligations under their arrangements with us or in compliance with regulatory requirements. If NIH or the CROs do not perform clinical trials in a satisfactory manner, breach their obligations to us or fail to comply with regulatory requirements, the development and commercialization of MAT2203, MAT9001 or any other product candidates that we may develop may be delayed or our development program may be materially and irreversibly harmed. We cannot control the amount and timing of resources these CROs would devote to our program or our product candidates. If we are unable to rely on the clinical data collected by our CROs, we could be required to repeat, extend the duration of, or increase the size of our clinical trials, which could significantly delay commercialization and require significantly greater expenditures. If any of our relationships with these third-party CROs terminate, we may not be able to enter into arrangements with alternative CROs. As a result of the foregoing, our financial results and the commercial prospects for MAT9001, MAT2203 and our other product candidates would be harmed, our costs could increase and our ability to generate revenue could be delayed.
Reimbursement decisions by third-party payors may have an adverse effect on pricing and market acceptance of MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates that we may develop. If there is not sufficient reimbursement for our future products, it is less likely that such products will be widely used.
Market acceptance and sales of MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates for which we obtain regulatory approval will depend on reimbursement policies and may be affected by future healthcare reform measures in both the United States and foreign jurisdictions. Government authorities and third-party payors, such as private health insurers and health maintenance organizations, decide which products they will cover and establish payment levels. In addition, government authorities and these third-party payors are increasingly attempting to contain health care costs by demanding price discounts or rebates and limiting both the types and variety of products that they will cover and the amounts that they will pay for these products. In addition, we might need to conduct post-marketing studies in order to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of any future products to such payors’ satisfaction. Such studies might require us to commit a significant amount of management time and financial and other resources.
Reimbursement rates may vary according to the use of the product and the clinical setting in which it is used, may be based on payments allowed for lower-cost products that are already reimbursed, may be incorporated into existing payments for other products or services, and may reflect budgetary constraints and/or imperfections in Medicare or Medicaid data used to calculate these rates. Net prices for products may be reduced by mandatory discounts or rebates required by government health care programs. Such legislation, or similar regulatory changes or relaxation of laws that restrict imports of products from other countries, could reduce the net price we receive for any future marketed products. As a result, our future products might not ultimately be considered cost-effective. We cannot be certain that reimbursement will be available for MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates that we develop. Also, we cannot be certain that reimbursement policies will not reduce the demand for, or the price paid for, any future products. If reimbursement is not available or is available on a limited basis, we may not be able to successfully commercialize MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other product candidates that we develop.
MAT9001 is designed to be a prescription-only omega-3 fatty acid based medication. Omega-3 fatty acid based products are also marketed by other companies as dietary supplements, which, unlike drugs, are not subject to FDA approval and therefore do not require a prescription and are not subject to pharmaceutical manufacturing standards. As a result, MAT9001, if approved, would be subject to competition from products for which no prescription is required.
If approved by the regulatory authorities, MAT9001 will be a prescription-only omega-3 fatty acid-based medication. Mixtures of omega-3 fatty acids are naturally occurring substances in various foods, including fatty fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are also marketed as dietary supplements, which may generally be marketed without a lengthy FDA premarket review and approval process and are not subject to prescription. However, unlike prescription drug products, manufacturers of dietary supplements may not make therapeutic claims for their products; dietary supplements may be marketed with claims describing how the product affects the structure or function of the body without premarket approval, but may not expressly or implicitly represent that the dietary supplement will diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease. We believe the exact omega-3 fatty acid composition and pharmaceutical-grade purity of MAT9001 has a superior therapeutic profile to the omega-3 compositions in commercially available dietary supplements. However, we cannot be sure that physicians or consumers will view MAT9001 as superior. To the extent the price of MAT9001 is significantly higher than the prices of commercially available omega-3 fatty acids marketed by other companies as dietary supplements, physicians may recommend these commercial alternatives instead of MAT9001 or patients may elect on their own to take commercially available non-prescription omega-3 fatty acids. Either of these outcomes may adversely impact our results of operations by limiting product sales and how we price our product, thereby limiting the revenue we receive from sales of MAT9001
Unfavorable pricing regulations, third-party reimbursement practices or healthcare reform initiatives could harm our business.
There is increasing pressure on biotechnology companies to reduce healthcare costs. In the U.S., these pressures come from a variety of sources, such as managed care groups, institutional, government purchasers and government leaders. For example, President Trump has indicated support for possible new measures related to drug pricing. Increased purchasing power of entities that negotiate on behalf of federal healthcare programs and private sector beneficiaries could increase pricing pressures in the future. Such pressures may also increase the risk of litigation or investigation by the government regarding pricing calculations. The biotechnology industry will likely face greater regulation and political and legal action in the future.
The regulations that govern marketing approvals, pricing and reimbursement for new therapeutic products vary widely from country to country. Some countries require approval of the sale price of a product before it can be marketed. In many countries, the pricing review period begins after marketing or product licensing approval is granted. In some foreign markets, prescription pharmaceutical pricing remains subject to continuing governmental control even after initial approval is granted. As a result, we might obtain regulatory approval for a product in a particular country, but then be subject to price regulations that delay our commercial launch of the product and negatively impact the revenue we are able to generate from the sale of the product in that country.
Adverse pricing limitations may hinder our ability to recoup our investment in one or more product candidates, even if our product candidates obtain regulatory approval. Adverse pricing limitations prior to approval will also adversely affect us by reducing our commercial potential. Our ability to commercialize any products successfully also will depend in part on the extent to which reimbursement for these products and related treatments becomes available from government health administration authorities, private health insurers and other organizations.
Government authorities and third-party payors, such as private health insurers and health maintenance organizations, decide which medications they will pay for and establish reimbursement levels.
A primary trend in the U.S. healthcare industry and elsewhere is cost containment. Government authorities and these third-party payors have attempted to control costs by limiting coverage and the amount of reimbursement for particular medications. Increasingly, third-party payors are requiring that companies provide them with predetermined discounts from list prices and are challenging the prices charged for medical products. We cannot be sure that coverage and reimbursement will be available for any product that we commercialize and, if reimbursement is available, what the level of reimbursement will be. Reimbursement may impact the demand for, or the price of, any product for which we obtain marketing approval. Obtaining reimbursement for our products may be particularly difficult because of the higher prices often associated with products administered under the supervision of a physician. If reimbursement is not available or is available only to limited levels, we may not be able to successfully commercialize any product candidate that we successfully develop.
There may be significant delays in obtaining reimbursement for approved products, and coverage may be more limited than the purposes for which the product is approved by the FDA or regulatory authorities in other countries. Moreover, eligibility for reimbursement does not imply that any product will be paid for in all cases or at a rate that covers our costs, including research, development, manufacture, sale and distribution. Interim payments for new products, if applicable, may also not be sufficient to cover our costs and may not be made permanent. Payment rates may vary according to the use of the product and the clinical setting in which it is used, may be based on payments allowed for lower cost products that are already reimbursed and may be incorporated into existing payments for other services. Net prices for products may be reduced by mandatory discounts or rebates required by government healthcare programs or private payors and by any future relaxation of laws that presently restrict imports of products from countries where they may be sold at lower prices than in the United States. Third-party payors often rely upon Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement policies. Our inability to promptly obtain coverage and profitable payment rates from both government funded and private payors for new products that we develop could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, our ability to raise capital needed to commercialize products and our overall financial condition.
We are, and will be, completely dependent on third parties to manufacture MAT9001, and our commercialization of MAT9001 could be halted, delayed or made less profitable if those third parties fail to obtain manufacturing approval from the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, fail to provide us with sufficient quantities of MAT9001 or fail to do so at acceptable quality levels or prices.
We do not currently have, nor do we plan to acquire, the capability or infrastructure to manufacture the active pharmaceutical ingredient, or API, in MAT9001 for use in our clinical trials or for commercial product, if any. In addition, we do not have the capability to encapsulate MAT9001 as a finished drug product for commercial distribution. As a result, we will rely on contract manufacturers throughout the development process and then if and when MAT9001 is approved for commercialization. We have not entered into any agreement with any contract manufacturers for commercial supply and may not be able to engage a contract manufacturer for commercial supply of MAT9001 on favorable terms to us, or at all.
The facilities used by our contract manufacturers to manufacture MAT9001 must be approved by the FDA pursuant to inspections that will be conducted after we submit our NDA to the FDA. We do not control the manufacturing process of, and are completely dependent on, our contract manufacturing partners for compliance with cGMPs for manufacture of both active drug substances and finished drug products. These cGMP regulations cover all aspects of the manufacturing, testing, quality control and record keeping relating to MAT9001. If our contract manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our specifications and the strict regulatory requirements of the FDA or others, they will not be able to secure and/or maintain regulatory approval for their manufacturing facilities. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority does not approve these facilities for the manufacture of MAT9001 or if it withdraws any such 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 MAT9001, if approved.
Our contract manufacturers will be subject to ongoing periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA and corresponding state and foreign agencies for compliance with cGMPs and similar regulatory requirements. We do not have control over our contract manufacturers’ compliance with these regulations and standards. Failure by any of our contract manufacturers to comply with applicable regulations could result in sanctions being imposed on us, including fines, injunctions, civil penalties, failure to grant approval to market MAT9001, delays, suspensions or withdrawals of approvals, operating restrictions and criminal prosecutions, any of which could significantly and adversely affect our business. In addition, we have no control over the ability of our contract manufacturers to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel. Failure by our contract manufacturers to comply with or maintain any of these standards could adversely affect our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval for or market MAT9001.
If, for any reason, these third parties are unable or unwilling to perform, we may not be able to terminate our agreements with them, and we may not be able to locate alternative manufacturers or formulators or enter into favorable agreements with them and we cannot be certain that any such third parties will have the manufacturing capacity to meet future requirements. If these manufacturers or any alternate manufacturer of finished drug product experiences any significant difficulties in its respective manufacturing processes for our API or finished MAT9001 product or should cease doing business with us, we could experience significant interruptions in the supply of MAT9001 or may not be able to create a supply of MAT9001 at all. Were we to encounter manufacturing issues, our ability to produce a sufficient supply of MAT9001 might be negatively affected. Our inability to coordinate the efforts of our third party manufacturing partners, or the lack of capacity available at our third party manufacturing partners, could impair our ability to supply MAT9001 at required levels. Because of the significant regulatory requirements that we would need to satisfy in order to qualify a new bulk or finished product manufacturer, if we face these or other difficulties with our current manufacturing partners, we could experience significant interruptions in the supply of MAT9001 if we decided to transfer the manufacture of MAT9001 to one or more alternative manufacturers in an effort to deal with the difficulties.
Any manufacturing problem or the loss of a contract manufacturer could be disruptive to our operations and result in lost sales. Additionally, we rely on third parties to supply the raw materials needed to manufacture our potential products. Any reliance on suppliers may involve several risks, including a potential inability to obtain critical materials and reduced control over production costs, delivery schedules, reliability and quality. Any unanticipated disruption to a future contract manufacturer caused by problems at suppliers could delay shipment of MAT9001, increase our cost of goods sold and result in lost sales.
We cannot guarantee that our manufacturing and supply partners will be able to reduce the costs of commercial scale manufacturing of MAT9001 over time. If the commercial-scale manufacturing costs of MAT9001 are higher than expected, these costs may significantly impact our operating results. In order to reduce costs, we may need to develop and implement process improvements. However, in order to do so, we will need, from time to time, to notify or make submissions with regulatory authorities, and the improvements may be subject to approval by such regulatory authorities. We cannot be sure that we will receive these necessary approvals or that these approvals will be granted in a timely fashion. We also cannot guarantee that we will be able to enhance and optimize output in our commercial manufacturing process. If we cannot enhance and optimize output, we may not be able to reduce our costs over time.
Risks Relating to Our Intellectual Property Rights and Regulatory Exclusivity
We depend on certain technologies that are licensed to us. We do not control these technologies and any loss of our rights to them could prevent us from discovering, developing and commercializing our product candidates.
We rely partially upon our LNC platform delivery technology which is licensed to us by Rutgers. We do not own the patents that underlie this technology. Our rights to use the technology we license are subject to the negotiation of, continuation of and compliance with the terms of our license agreement with Rutgers. Pursuant to the terms of our license agreement with Rutgers, we control the prosecution, maintenance, or filing of the patents to which we hold licenses, as well as the enforcement of these patents against third parties. However, some of our patents and patent applications were either acquired from another company who acquired those patents and patent applications from yet another company, or are licensed from a third party. Thus, these patents and patent applications were not written by us or our attorneys, and we did not have control over the drafting and prosecution of certain of these patents. The former patent owners and our licensors might not have given the same attention to the drafting and prosecution of these patents and applications as we would have if we had been the owners of the patents and applications and had control over the drafting and prosecution. We cannot be certain that drafting and/or prosecution of the licensed patents and patent applications by the 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.
Our rights to use the technology we license are subject to the validity of the owner’s intellectual property rights. Enforcement of our licensed patents or defense or any claims asserting the invalidity of these patents is often subject to the control or cooperation of our licensors. Legal action could be initiated against the owners of the intellectual property that we license and an adverse outcome in such legal action could harm our business because it might prevent such companies or institutions from continuing to license intellectual property that we may need to operate our business. In addition, such licensors may resolve such litigation in a way that benefits them but adversely affects our ability to use the licensed technology for our products.
Certain of our licenses contained in our agreement with Rutgers contain provisions that allow the licensor to terminate the license if (i) we breach any payment obligation or other material provision under the agreement and fail to cure the breach within a fixed time following written notice of termination, (ii) we or any of our affiliates, licensees or sub licensees directly or indirectly challenge the validity, enforceability, or extension of any of the licensed patents or (iii) we declare bankruptcy or dissolve. Our rights under the licenses are subject to our continued compliance with the terms of the license, including the payment of royalties due under the license. Termination of these licenses would prevent us from discovering, developing and commercializing product candidates based on the cochleate delivery technology, including our lead anti-infective product candidate, MAT2203. Determining the scope of the license and related royalty obligations can be difficult and can lead to disputes between us and the licensor. An unfavorable resolution of such a dispute could lead to an increase in the royalties’ payable pursuant to the license. If a licensor believed we were not paying the royalties due under the license or were otherwise not in compliance with the terms of the license, the licensor might attempt to revoke the license. If such an attempt were successful, we might be barred from discovering, developing and commercializing product candidates based on the cochleate delivery technology, including our lead anti-infective product candidate.
If we discontinue development of the cochleate delivery technology, we would be required to return such technology to the former stockholders of Aquarius and we would lose the rights to our lead product candidates.
Under certain circumstances, we will be required to transfer Aquarius’ cochleate delivery technology back to the former shareholders of Aquarius. This transfer would be required under the Merger Agreement in the event the following conditions are met: (i) no milestone events have occurred on or before the two-year anniversary of the effective time of the Aquarius Merger (the “Transfer Date”), (ii) during such period we shall have discontinued efforts to develop or commercialize the cochleate delivery technology (as conclusively demonstrated by our omission of the cochleate delivery technology in at least two consecutive royalty, progress and payment reports delivered to Rutgers pursuant to the license agreement entered into between Aquarius and Rutgers) and (iii) as of the Transfer Date, no unresolved indemnification claims for us and our indemnified parties are pending. If the foregoing conditions are met, we would transfer the cochleate delivery technology to the stockholder representative or to a newly formed entity as directed by the stockholder representative (in either case for the benefit of the former Aquarius stockholders) following receipt of any necessary third party consents required for the transfer, which we shall use its commercially reasonable efforts to obtain. If we are required to transfer the cochleate delivery technology back to the former shareholders of Aquarius, we would lose our rights to our lead product candidates, which would have a material and adverse effect on our business.
It is difficult and costly to protect our intellectual property rights, and we cannot ensure the protection of these rights.
Our commercial success will depend, in part, on obtaining and maintaining patent protection for our technologies, products and processes, successfully defending these patents against third-party challenges and successfully enforcing these patents against third party competitors. The patent positions of pharmaceutical companies can be highly uncertain and involve complex legal, scientific and factual questions for which important legal principles remain unresolved. Changes in either the patent laws or in interpretations of patent laws may diminish the value of our intellectual property. Accordingly, we cannot predict the breadth of claims that may be allowable or enforceable in our patents (including patents owned and licensed by us). We currently own or have rights to 22 issued patents relating to our cochleate delivery technology, as well as pending patent applications for our cochleate delivery technology that may never be approved by the United States or foreign patent offices. Furthermore, any patents which may eventually be issued from existing patent applications for any of our technologies, may be challenged, invalidated or circumvented by third parties and might not protect us against competitors with similar products or technologies.
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, permit us to gain or keep our competitive advantage, or provide us with any competitive advantage at all. We cannot be certain that any patent application owned by a third party will not have priority over patent applications filed by us, or that we will not be involved in interference, opposition or invalidity proceedings before the United States or foreign patent offices.
We also rely on trade secrets to protect technology, especially in cases where we believe patent protection is not appropriate or obtainable. However, trade secrets are difficult to protect. While we require employees, academic collaborators, consultants and other contractors to enter into confidentiality agreements, we may not be able to adequately protect our trade secrets or other proprietary or licensed information. Typically, research collaborators and scientific advisors have rights to publish data and information in which we may have rights. If we cannot maintain the confidentiality of our proprietary technology and other confidential information, our ability to receive patent protection and our ability to protect valuable information owned by us may be imperiled. Enforcing a claim that a third-party entity illegally obtained and is using any of our trade secrets is expensive and time consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. In addition, courts are sometimes less willing to protect trade secrets than patents. Moreover, our competitors may independently develop equivalent knowledge, methods and know-how.
If we fail to obtain or maintain patent protection or trade secret protection for our technologies, third parties could use our proprietary information, which could impair our ability to compete in the market and adversely affect our ability to generate revenues and attain profitability.
We may also develop trademarks to distinguish our products from the products of our competitors. We cannot guarantee that any trademark applications filed by us or our business partners will be approved. Third parties may also oppose such trademark applications, or otherwise challenge our use of the trademarks. In the event that the trademarks we use are successfully challenged, we could be forced to rebrand our products, which could result in loss of brand recognition, and could require us to devote resources to advertising and marketing new brands. Further, we cannot provide assurance that competitors will not infringe the trademarks we use, or that we will have adequate resources to enforce these trademarks.
Our product candidates may infringe the intellectual property rights of others, which could increase our costs and delay or prevent our development and commercialization efforts.
Our success depends in part on avoiding infringement of the proprietary technologies of others. The pharmaceutical industry has been characterized by frequent litigation regarding patent and other intellectual property rights. Identification of third party patent rights that may be relevant to our proprietary technology is difficult because patent searching is imperfect due to differences in terminology among patents, incomplete databases and the difficulty in assessing the meaning of patent claims. Additionally, because patent applications are maintained in secrecy until the application is published, we may be unaware of third-party patents that may be infringed by commercialization of MAT9001, MAT2203 or any future product candidate. There may be certain issued patents and patent applications claiming subject matter that we may be required to license in order to research, develop or commercialize MAT9001 or MAT2203 and we do not know if such patents and patent applications would be available to license on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Any claims of patent infringement asserted by third parties against us would be time-consuming and may:
|●||result in costly litigation;|
|●||divert the time and attention of our technical personnel and management;|
|●||prevent us from commercializing a product until the asserted patent expires or is held finally invalid or not infringed in a court of law;|
|●||require us to cease or modify our use of the technology and/or develop non-infringing technology; or|
|●||require us to enter into royalty or licensing agreements.|
Although no third party has asserted a claim of infringement against us, others may hold proprietary rights that could prevent MAT9001 or MAT2203 from being marketed. Any patent-related legal action against us claiming damages and seeking to enjoin commercial activities relating to MAT9001 or MAT2203 or our processes could subject us to potential liability for damages and require us to obtain a license to continue to manufacture or market our current product candidates or any future product candidates. We cannot predict whether we would prevail in any such actions or that any license required under any of these patents would be made available on commercially acceptable terms, if at all. In addition, we cannot be sure that we could redesign, MAT9001, MAT2203, or any future product candidates or processes to avoid infringement, if necessary. Accordingly, an adverse determination in a judicial or administrative proceeding, or the failure to obtain necessary licenses, could prevent us from developing and commercializing MAT9001, MAT2203 or a future product candidate, which could harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
We anticipate that competitors may from time to time oppose our efforts to obtain patent protection for new technologies or to submit patented technologies for regulatory approval. Competitors may seek to oppose our patent applications to delay the approval process or to challenge our granted patents, for example, by requesting a reexamination of our patent at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or the USPTO, or by filing an opposition in a foreign patent office, even if the opposition or challenge has little or no merit. Such proceedings are generally highly technical, expensive and time consuming, and there can be no assurance that such a challenge would not result in the narrowing or complete revocation of any patent of ours that was so challenged.
We may be subject to claims that we have wrongfully hired an employee from a competitor or that we or our employees have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged confidential information or trade secrets of their former employers.
As is commonplace in our industry, we employ individuals who were previously employed at or retained by other pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Although no claims against us are currently pending, we may be subject in the future to claims that our employees or prospective employees are subject to a continuing obligation to their former employers (such as non-competition or non-solicitation obligations) or claims that our employees or we have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed trade secrets or other proprietary information of their former employers. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. Even if we are successful in defending against these claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management.
We may not be able to obtain or maintain orphan drug designation or exclusivity for our anti-infective product candidates.
We may seek orphan drug designation for MAT2203 in the United States and may seek additional orphan drug designation for other product candidates. Regulatory authorities in some jurisdictions, including the United States and Europe, may designate drugs for relatively small patient populations as orphan drugs. Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may designate a product as an orphan drug if it is a drug intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is generally defined as a patient population of fewer than 200,000 individuals in the United States. Generally, if a product with an orphan drug designation subsequently receives the first marketing approval for the indication for which it has such designation, the product is entitled to a period of marketing exclusivity, which precludes the FDA or the EMA from approving another marketing application for the same indication for that drug during that time period. For a product that obtains orphan drug designation on the basis of a plausible hypothesis that it is clinically superior to the same drug that is already approved for the same indication, in order to obtain orphan drug exclusivity upon approval, clinical superiority of such product to this same drug that is already approved for the same orphan indication must be demonstrated. The exclusivity period is seven years in the United States and ten years in Europe. The European exclusivity period can be reduced to six years if a drug no longer meets the criteria for orphan drug designation or if the drug is sufficiently profitable so that market exclusivity is no longer justified. Orphan drug exclusivity may be lost if the FDA or the EMA determines that the request for designation was materially defective or if the manufacturer is unable to assure sufficient quantity of the drug to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition.
We cannot assure you that the application for orphan drug designation of MAT2203, or any future application with respect to any other product candidate, will be granted. If we are unable to obtain orphan drug designation in the United States, we will not be eligible to obtain the period of market exclusivity that could result from orphan drug designation or be afforded the financial incentives associated with orphan drug designation. Even if we obtain orphan drug exclusivity for a product, that exclusivity may not effectively protect the product from competition because different drugs can be approved for the same condition. Even after an orphan drug is approved, the FDA can subsequently approve the same drug for the same condition if the FDA concludes that the later drug is clinically superior in that it is shown to be safer, more effective or makes a major contribution to patient care.
Any fast track designation or grant of priority review status by the FDA may not actually lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process, nor will it assure FDA approval of our product candidates. Additionally, our product candidates may treat indications that do not qualify for priority review vouchers.
We have received fast track designation for MAT2203 for the treatment of invasive candidiasis, the treatment of aspergillosis and the prevention of invasive fungal infections due to immunosuppressive therapy and may seek fast track designation for some of our other product candidates or priority review of applications for approval of our product candidates for certain indications. If a drug is intended for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening condition and the drug demonstrates the potential to address unmet medical needs for this condition, the drug sponsor may apply for FDA fast track designation. If a product candidate offers major advances in treatment, the FDA may designate it eligible for priority review. The FDA has broad discretion whether or not to grant these designations, so even if we believe a particular product candidate is eligible for these designations, we cannot assure you that the FDA would decide to grant them. Even if we do receive fast track designation or priority review, 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.
Any breakthrough therapy designation granted by the FDA for our product candidates may not lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process, and it does not increase the likelihood that our product candidates will receive marketing approval.
We may seek a breakthrough therapy designation for some of our product candidates. A breakthrough therapy is defined as a drug that is intended, alone or in combination with one or more other drugs, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition, and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug 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 drugs and biologics 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. Drugs designated as breakthrough therapies by the FDA may also be eligible for accelerated approval if the relevant criteria are met.
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 for a product candidate may not result in a faster development process, review or approval compared to drugs considered for approval under conventional FDA procedures and does not assure ultimate approval by the FDA. In addition, even if one or more of our product candidates qualify as breakthrough therapies, the FDA may later decide that the products no longer meet the conditions for qualification or decide that the time period for FDA review or approval will not be shortened.
Designation of our product candidates as qualified infectious disease products is not assured and, in any event, even if granted, may not actually lead to a faster development or regulatory review, and would not assure FDA approval of our product candidates.
We have received a qualified infectious disease product, or QIDP, designation for MAT2203 for certain indications and we may be eligible for designation of certain of our product candidates as QIDPs. A QIDP is “an antibacterial or antifungal drug intended to treat serious or life-threatening infections, including those caused by an antibacterial or antifungal resistant pathogen, including novel or emerging infectious pathogens or certain “qualifying pathogens.” A product designated as a QIDP will be granted priority review by the FDA and may qualify for “fast track” status. Upon the approval of an NDA for a drug product designated by the FDA as a QIDP, the product is granted a period of five years of regulatory exclusivity in addition to any other period of regulatory exclusivity for which the product is eligible. The FDA has broad discretion whether or not to grant these designations, so even if we believe a particular product candidate is eligible for such designation or status, the FDA could decide not to grant it. Moreover, even if we do receive such a designation, we may not experience a faster development process, review or approval compared to conventional FDA procedures and there is no assurance that our product candidate, even if determined to be a QIDP, will be approved by the FDA.
General Company-Related Risks
We will need to increase the size of our organization to grow our business, and we may experience difficulties in managing this growth.
We currently have only fifteen employees. As our development and commercialization plans and strategies develop, we will need to expand the size of our employee base for managerial, development, operational, sales, marketing, financial and other resources. Future growth would impose significant added responsibilities on members of management, including the need to identify, recruit, maintain, motivate and integrate additional employees. In addition, our management may have to divert a disproportionate amount of its attention away from our day-to-day activities and devote a substantial amount of time to managing these growth activities. Our future financial performance and our ability to commercialize our product candidates and our ability to compete effectively will depend, in part, on our ability to effectively manage any future growth.
If we are not successful in attracting and retaining highly qualified personnel, we may not be able to successfully implement our business strategy. In addition, the loss of the services of certain key employees would adversely impact our business prospects.
If we are not successful in attracting and retaining highly qualified personnel, we may not be able to successfully implement our business strategy. In addition, the loss of the services of certain key employees, including Jerome D. Jabbour, our Chief Executive Officer and President, would adversely impact our business prospects.
Our ability to compete in the highly competitive pharmaceutical industry depends in large part upon our ability to attract highly qualified managerial, scientific and medical personnel. In order to induce valuable employees to remain with us, we intend to provide employees with stock options that vest over time. The value to employees of stock options that vest over time will be significantly affected by movements in our stock price that we will not be able to control and may at any time be insufficient to counteract more lucrative offers from other companies.
Other pharmaceutical companies with which we compete for qualified personnel have greater financial and other resources, different risk profiles, and a longer history in the industry than we do. They also may provide more diverse opportunities and better chances for career advancement. Some of these characteristics may be more appealing to high-quality candidates than what we have to offer. If we are unable to continue to attract and retain high-quality personnel, the rate and success at which we can develop and commercialize product candidates would be limited.
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 a potential risk of product liability as a result of the clinical testing of MAT9001, MAT2203 or any future product candidates and will face an even greater risk if we commercialize MAT9001, MAT2203 or any other future product. For example, we may be sued if any product we develop or any material that we use in our products allegedly causes injury or is found to be otherwise unsuitable during product testing, 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 and 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 MAT9001 or MAT2203. Even successful defense would require significant financial and management resources. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:
|●||decreased demand for MAT9001, MAT2203 or any future products that we may develop;|
|●||injury to our reputation;|
|●||withdrawal of clinical trial participants;|
|●||costs to defend the related litigation;|
|●||a diversion of management’s time and our resources;|
|●||substantial monetary awards to trial participants or patients;|
|●||product recalls, withdrawals or labeling, marketing or promotional restrictions;|
|●||loss of revenue;|
|●||the inability to commercialize our product candidates; and|
|●||a decline in our stock price.|
Our inability to obtain and retain 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. We have obtained product liability insurance covering our clinical trials in the amount of greater than or equal to $5 million in the aggregate. Although we will maintain such insurance, any claim that may be brought against us could result in a court judgment or settlement in an amount that is not covered, in whole or in part, by our insurance or that is in excess of the limits of our insurance coverage. 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 such amounts.
Our internal computer systems, or those of our CROs or other contractors or consultants, may fail or suffer security breaches, which could result in a material disruption of our product development programs.
Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems and those of our CROs and other contractors and consultants are vulnerable to damage or disruption from computer viruses, software bugs, unauthorized access, natural disasters, terrorism, war, and telecommunication, equipment and electrical failures. While we have not, to our knowledge, experienced any significant system failure, accident 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 programs. For example, the loss of clinical trial data from completed or ongoing clinical trials for any of our product candidates 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 results in a loss of or damage to our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure or theft of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability, the further development of our product candidates could be delayed, our competitive position could be compromised, or our business reputation could be harmed.
We may acquire businesses or products, or form strategic alliances, in the future, and we may not realize the benefits of such acquisitions.
We may acquire additional businesses or products, form strategic alliances or create joint ventures with third parties that we believe will complement or augment our existing business. If we acquire businesses with promising markets or technologies, we may not be able to realize the benefit of acquiring such businesses if we are unable to successfully integrate them with our existing operations and company culture. We may encounter numerous difficulties in developing, manufacturing and marketing any new products resulting from a strategic alliance or acquisition that delay or prevent us from realizing their expected benefits or enhancing our business. We cannot assure you that, following any such acquisition, we will achieve the expected synergies to justify the transaction.
Risks related to our Securities
Pursuant to the terms of our outstanding Series A Preferred Stock, we may be obligated to pay significant royalties.
Pursuant to the terms of the Certificate of Designations of Preferences, Rights and Limitations (the “Certificate of Designations”) for our outstanding Series A Preferred Stock, we may be required to pay royalties of up to $35 million per year. If and when we obtain FDA or EMA approval of MAT2203 and/or MAT2501, which we do not expect to occur before 2020, if ever, and/or if we generate sales of such products, or we receive any proceeds from the licensing or other disposition of MAT2203 or MAT2501, we are required to pay to the holders of our Series A Preferred Stock, subject to certain vesting requirements, in aggregate, a royalty equal to (i) 4.5% of Net Sales (as defined in the Certificate of Designations), subject in all cases to a cap of $25 million per calendar year, and (ii) 7.5% of Licensing Proceeds (as defined in the Certificate of Designations), subject in all cases to a cap of $10 million per calendar year. The Royalty Payment Rights will expire when the patents covering the applicable product expire, which is currently expected to be in 2033.
We are obligated to pay dividends on outstanding shares of our preferred stock.
Holders of Series A Preferred Stock are entitled to receive cumulative dividends at the rate per share of 8% per annum, payable in shares of our common stock, which annual dividend will accumulate until such time as the shares of Series A Preferred Stock are converted, at which time the accumulated dividend will be satisfied by delivery of shares of common stock at a price per share of common stock equal to the conversion price of the Series A Preferred Stock then in effect (currently $0.50 per share). The Series A Preferred Stock will automatically convert at the conversion price in effect on July 29, 2019, unless such shares are converted earlier in accordance with the terms of the Certificate of Designations for the Series A Preferred Stock.
Holders of our Series B Preferred Stock will be entitled to receive dividends payable as follows: (i) a number of shares of common stock equal to 10% of the shares of common stock underlying the Series B Preferred Stock then held by the holder on June 19, 2019, (ii) a number of shares of common stock equal to 15% of the shares of common stock underlying the Series B Preferred then held by such holder on June 19, 2020 and (iii) a number of shares of common stock equal to 20% of the shares of common stock underlying the Series B Preferred then held by such holder on June 19, 2021.
The payment of such dividends will result in additional dilution to our holders of our common stock.
Our outstanding shares of preferred stock have certain preference rights upon any liquidation, dissolution or winding up.
Upon any dissolution, liquidation or winding up, whether voluntary or involuntary, holders of Series A Preferred Stock will be entitled to (i) first receive distributions out of our assets in an amount per share equal to $5.00, or the stated value, plus all accrued and unpaid dividends, whether capital or surplus before any distributions shall be made on any shares of common stock and (ii) second, receive distributions out of our assets on an as-converted basis alongside the common stock.
The rights of the holders of common stock may be impaired by the potential issuance of preferred stock.
Our articles of incorporation give our board of directors the ability to designate and issue preferred stock in one or more series. As a result, the board of directors may, without stockholder approval, issue new series of preferred stock with voting, dividend, conversion, liquidation or other rights which could adversely affect the relative voting power and equity interest of the holders of common stock. Additional issuances of preferred stock, which could be issued with the right to more than one vote per share, could have the effect of discouraging, delaying or preventing a change of control of us. The possible impact on takeover attempts could adversely affect the price of our common stock. Although we have no present intention to designate any new series, or issue any shares, of preferred stock, we may do so in the future.
We do not intend to pay dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future.
The Board of Directors will determine, in its sole discretion, our dividend policy after considering our financial condition, results of operations and capital requirements, as well as other factors. No dividends may be declared or paid on our common stock, unless a dividend, payable in the same consideration or manner, is simultaneously declared or paid, as the case may be, on the shares of Series A Preferred Stock. We do not anticipate paying cash dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future and you should not invest in us with the anticipation of receiving dividend income.
An active public trading market for our common stock may not be sustained.
Our common stock was listed on the NYSE American under the symbol “MTNB” on March 2, 2017. Prior to March 2, 2017, our common stock was available for quotation on the OTCQB under the symbol “MTNB.” We cannot assure you that an active trading market will be sustained. A lack of an active market may impair your ability to sell shares of our common stock at the time you wish to sell them or at a price that you consider reasonable. The lack of an active market may also reduce the price of shares of our common stock. An inactive market may also impair our ability to raise capital by selling shares of capital stock and may impair our ability to acquire other companies or technologies by using our common stock as consideration.
Our share price has been and could remain volatile.
The market price of our common stock has historically experienced and may continue to experience significant volatility. From January 1, 2016 through March 11, 2018, the market price of our common stock has fluctuated from a high of $3.99 per share in the first quarter of 2017 to a low of $0.32 per share in the second quarter of 2018. Our progress in developing our product candidates, the impact of government regulations on our products and industry, the potential sale of a large volume of our common stock by stockholders, our quarterly operating results, changes in general conditions in the economy or the financial markets and other developments affecting us or our competitors could cause the market price of our common stock to fluctuate substantially with significant market losses. If our stockholders sell a substantial number of shares of common stock, especially if those sales are made during a short period of time, those sales could adversely affect the market price of our common stock and could impair our ability to raise capital. In addition, in recent years, the stock market has experienced significant price and volume fluctuations. This volatility has affected the market prices of securities issued by many companies for reasons unrelated to their operating performance and may adversely affect the price of our common stock. In addition, we could be subject to a securities class action litigation as a result of volatility in the price of our stock, which could result in substantial costs and diversion of management’s attention and resources and could harm our stock price, business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
An active trading market for our common stock may not be sustained.
Although our common stock is listed on the NYSE, the market for our shares has demonstrated varying levels of trading activity. Furthermore, the current level of trading may not be sustained in the future. The lack of an active market for our common stock may impair investors’ ability to sell their shares at the time they wish to sell them or at a price that they consider reasonable, may reduce the fair market value of their shares and may impair our ability to raise capital to continue to fund operations by selling shares and may impair our ability to acquire additional intellectual property assets by using our shares as consideration.
We do not anticipate paying dividends on our common stock and, accordingly, stockholders must rely on stock appreciation for any return on their investment.
We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our common stock and do not expect to do so in the foreseeable future. The declaration of dividends is subject to the discretion of our board of directors and limitations under applicable law, and will depend on various factors, including our operating results, financial condition, future prospects and any other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. You should not rely on an investment in our company if you require dividend income from your investment in our company. The success of your investment will likely depend entirely upon any future appreciation of the market price of our common stock, which is uncertain and unpredictable. There is no guarantee that our common stock will appreciate in value.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they change their recommendations regarding our stock adversely, our stock price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our common stock will be influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us or our business. Our research coverage by industry and financial analysts is currently limited. Even if our analyst coverage increases, if one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our stock, our stock price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.
We are an “emerging growth company,” and we intend to take advantage of reduced disclosure requirements applicable to “emerging growth companies,” which could make our common stock less attractive to investors.
We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or JOBS Act, and, for as long as we continue to be an “emerging growth company,” we intend to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements applicable to other public companies but not to “emerging growth companies,” including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We could be an “emerging growth company” until December 31, 2019, or until the earliest of (i) the last day of the first fiscal year in which our annual gross revenues exceed $1 billion, (ii) the date that we become a “large accelerated filer” as defined in Rule 12b-2 under the Exchange Act, which would occur if the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the last business day of our most recently completed second fiscal quarter, or (iii) the date on which we have issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt during the preceding three year period. We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive if we choose to continue to rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result of any choices to reduce future disclosure, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile.
We are incurring significantly increased costs and devote substantial management time as a result of operating as a public company, which costs may increase after we are no longer an “emerging growth company.”
As a public company, we are incurring significant legal, accounting and other expenses. For example, we are required to comply with certain of the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as rules and regulations subsequently implemented by the SEC, including the establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls and changes in corporate governance practices. Compliance with these requirements have resulted in increased legal and financial compliance costs. In addition, our management and other personnel must divert attention from operational and other business matters to devote substantial time to these public company requirements. In particular, we are incurring significant expenses and devote substantial management effort toward ensuring compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
However, for as long as we remain an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act, we intend to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies” including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We intend to take advantage of these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an “emerging growth company.”
Under the JOBS Act, “emerging growth companies” can delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have irrevocably elected not to avail ourselves of this exemption from new or revised accounting standards and, therefore, we will be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies.”
After we are no longer an “emerging growth company” we expect to incur additional management time and cost to comply with the more stringent reporting requirements applicable to companies that are deemed accelerated filers or large accelerated filers, including complying with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
We cannot predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur as a result of becoming a public company or the timing of such costs.
We identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. If we are not able to remediate the material weakness and otherwise maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, the reliability of our financial reporting, investor confidence in us and the value of our common stock could be adversely affected.
As a public company, we are required to maintain internal control over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in such internal controls. Section 404 of SOX, or Section 404, requires that we evaluate and determine the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting and provide a management report on internal control over financial reporting. A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected and corrected on a timely basis.
In connection with the audits of fiscal year 2017 financial statement, we identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting related to our controls over accounting for stock-based compensation, which allowed for the misinterpretation and historical misapplication of Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 718, Compensation – Stock compensation, regarding the modification of stock option awards issued to employees. To remediate the material weakness described above, we have initiated compensating controls in the near term and are enhancing and revising the design of existing controls and procedures to properly apply ASC 718 to the cancellation and replacement of stock-based compensation awards.
If our steps are insufficient to successfully remediate the material weakness and otherwise establish and maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, the reliability of our financial reporting, investor confidence in us and the value of our common stock could be materially and adversely affected. Effective internal control over financial reporting is necessary for us to provide reliable and timely financial reports and, together with adequate disclosure controls and procedures, are designed to reasonably detect and 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. For as long as we are an “emerging growth company” under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act, our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404. We could be an “emerging growth company” until December 31, 2019, or until the earliest of (i) the last day of the first fiscal year in which our annual gross revenues exceed $1 billion, (ii) the date that we become a “large accelerated filer” as defined in Rule 12b-2 under the Exchange Act, which would occur if the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the last business day of our most recently completed second fiscal quarter, or (iii) the date on which we have issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt during the preceding three year period. An independent assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting could detect problems that our management’s assessment might not. Undetected material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting could lead to financial statement restatements and require us to incur the expense of remediation.
Moreover, we do not expect that disclosure controls or internal control over financial reporting will prevent all error and all fraud. A control system, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the control system’s objectives will be met. Further, the design of a control system must reflect the fact that there are resource constraints and the benefits of controls must be considered relative to their costs. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control issues and instances of fraud, if any, have been detected. Failure of our control systems to prevent error or fraud could materially adversely impact us.
Failure to build our finance infrastructure and improve our accounting systems and controls could impair our ability to comply with the financial reporting and internal control requirements for publicly traded companies.
As a public company, we operate in an increasingly demanding regulatory environment, which requires us to comply with applicable provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the related rules and regulations of the SEC, expanded disclosure requirements, accelerated reporting requirements and more complex accounting rules. Company responsibilities required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act include establishing corporate oversight and adequate internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. Effective internal controls are necessary for us to produce reliable financial reports and are important to help prevent financial fraud.
We rely on consultants to perform certain of our accounting and financial reporting functions. We will need to hire additional finance personnel and build our financial infrastructure as we comply with public company reporting requirements, including complying with the applicable requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We may be unable to do so on a timely basis.
Upon dissolution of our company, you may not recoup all or any portion of your investment.
In the event of a liquidation, dissolution or winding-up of our company, whether voluntary or involuntary, the proceeds and/or assets of our company remaining after giving effect to such transaction, and the payment of all of our debts and liabilities will be distributed first to the holders of our Series A Preferred Stock and thereafter to the stockholders of common stock (including the holders of our Series A Preferred Stock on an “as converted” basis) on a pro rata basis. There can be no assurance that we will have available assets to pay to the holders of common stock, or any amounts, upon such a liquidation, dissolution or winding-up of our Company. In this event, you could lose some or all of your investment.
Our certificate of incorporation allows for our board to create new series of preferred stock without further approval by our stockholders, which could adversely affect the rights of the holders of our common stock.
Our board of directors has the authority to fix and determine the relative rights and preferences of preferred stock. We anticipate that our board of directors will have the authority to issue up to 8,392,000 additional shares of our preferred stock without further stockholder approval. As a result, our board of directors could authorize the issuance of a series of preferred stock that would grant to holders the preferred right to our assets upon liquidation, the right to receive dividend payments before dividends are distributed to the holders of common stock and the right to the redemption of the shares, together with a premium, prior to the redemption of our common stock. In addition, our board of directors could authorize the issuance of a series of preferred stock that has greater voting power than our common stock or that is convertible into our common stock, which could decrease the relative voting power of our common stock or result in dilution to our existing stockholders.
Anti-takeover provisions of our certificate of incorporation, our bylaws and Delaware law could make an acquisition of us, which may be beneficial to our stockholders, more difficult and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove the current members of our board and management.
Certain provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws could discourage, delay or prevent a merger, acquisition or other change of control that stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which you might otherwise receive a premium for your Shares. Furthermore, these provisions could prevent or frustrate attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove members of our board of directors. These provisions also could limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for our common stock, thereby depressing the market price of our common stock. Stockholders who wish to participate in these transactions may not have the opportunity to do so. These provisions, among other things:
|●||they provide that special meetings of stockholders may be called only by the board of directors, President or our Chairman of the Board of Directors, or at the request in writing by stockholders of record owning at least fifty (50%) percent of the issued and outstanding voting shares of common stock;|
|●||they do not include a provision for cumulative voting in the election of directors. Under cumulative voting, a minority stockholder holding a sufficient number of shares may be able to ensure the election of one or more directors. The absence of cumulative voting may have the effect of limiting the ability of minority stockholders to effect changes in our board of directors; and|
|●||they allow us to issue, without stockholder approval, up to 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock (of which up to 8,392,000 shares remain available for issuance) that could adversely affect the rights and powers of the holders of our common stock.|
In addition, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, or DGCL, which may, unless certain criteria are met, prohibit large stockholders, in particular those owning 15% or more of the voting rights on our common stock, from merging or combining with us for a prescribed period of time.
Our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be limited.
As a result of our merger with Aquarius Biotechnologies, Inc., our ability to utilize our U.S. federal net operating loss, carryforwards and U.S. federal tax credits may be limited under Sections 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The limitations apply if an “ownership change,” as defined by Section 382 and Section 383, occurs. Generally, an ownership change occurs if the percentage of the value of the stock that is owned by one or more direct or indirect “five percent shareholders” increases by more than 50 percentage points over their lowest ownership percentage at any time during the applicable testing period (typically three years). In addition, future changes in our stock ownership, which may be outside of our control, may trigger an “ownership change” and, consequently, Section 382 and Section 383 limitations. As a result, if we earn net taxable income, our ability to use our pre-change net operating loss carryforwards and other tax attributes to offset U.S. federal taxable income may be subject to limitations, which could potentially result in increased future tax liability to us. The Tax Act, among other things, imposes significant additional limitations on the deductibility of interest and limits net operating loss (NOL) deductions.
Risks Related to this Offering
Management will have broad discretion as to the use of the proceeds from this offering, and we may not use the proceeds effectively.
Because we have not designated the amount of net proceeds received by us from this offering to be used for any particular purpose, our management will have broad discretion as to the application of the net proceeds from this offering and could use them for purposes other than those contemplated at the time of the offering. Our management may use the net proceeds for corporate purposes that may not improve our financial condition or market value.
You will experience immediate and substantial dilution as a result of this offering and may experience additional dilution in the future.
You will incur immediate and substantial dilution as a result of this offering. After giving effect to the sale by us of shares offered in this offering at an assumed public offering price of $ per share of common stock, and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and expenses and other estimated offering expenses payable by us, investors in this offering can expect an immediate dilution of approximately $ per share. See “Dilution” below for a more detailed discussion of the dilution you will incur if you purchase our common stock in the offering.
You may experience future dilution as a result of future equity offerings.
To raise additional capital, we may in the future offer additional shares of our common stock or other securities convertible into or exchangeable for our common stock at prices that may not be the same as the price per share in this offering. We may sell shares or other securities in any other offering at a price per share that is less than the price per share paid by investors in this offering, and investors purchasing shares or other securities in the future could have rights superior to existing stockholders. The price per share at which we sell additional shares of our common stock, or securities convertible or exchangeable into common stock, in future transactions may be higher or lower than the price per share paid by investors in this offering (on a fully-converted basis). Furthermore, sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public markets, or the perception that such sales could occur, could depress the market price of our common stock.
You may be subject to substantial dilution by exercises of outstanding options and warrants, conversion of preferred shares and by the future issuance of common stock to the former stockholders of Aquarius pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement.
As of March 4, 2019, we had outstanding options to purchase an aggregate of 16,251,796 shares of our common stock at a weighted average exercise price of $1.12 per share and warrants to purchase an aggregate of 5,802,256 shares of our common stock at a weighted average exercise price of $0.61 per share. In addition, as of March 4, 2019, we had 1,467,858 shares of Series A Preferred Stock outstanding and 4,819 shares of Series B Preferred Stock outstanding. Each share of Series A Preferred Stock may be converted into 10 shares of common stock upon the request of the holder and each share of Series B Preferred Stock may be converted into 2,000 shares of common stock upon the request of the holder. In addition, pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement with Aquarius Biotechnologies, Inc., we will be required to issue up to an additional 3,000,000 shares of our common stock upon the achievement of certain milestones. The milestone consideration consists of (i) 1,500,000 shares issuable upon the dosing of the first patient in a Phase 3 trial sponsored by us for a product utilizing the lipid nano-crystal (LNC) delivery technology platform and (ii) 1,500,000 shares issuable upon FDA approval of the first NDA submitted by us for a product utilizing the lipid nano-crystal (LNC) delivery technology platform. The issuance of additional shares of common stock upon the conversion of outstanding Series A Preferred Stock, Series B Preferred Stock or exercise of outstanding options and warrants or pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement will result in further dilution of the value of our shares.
|●||our lack of a sales and marketing organization and our ability to commercialize products, if we obtain regulatory approval, whether alone or through potential future collaborators;|
|●||our ability to successfully commercialize, and our expectations regarding future therapeutic and commercial potential with respect to, our product candidates;|
|●||the accuracy of our estimates regarding expenses, ongoing losses, future revenue, capital requirements and our needs for or ability to obtain additional financing;|
|●||developments and projections relating to our competitors or our industry; and|
|●||our ability to adequately support growth.|
You should also consider carefully the statements set forth in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in this prospectus supplement and in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, respectively, as updated by any other document that we subsequently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and that is incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement, which address various factors that could cause results or events to differ from those described in the forward-looking statements. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us or to persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the applicable cautionary statements. We have no plans to update these forward-looking statements.