|PROSPECTUS||Filed pursuant to Rule 424(b)(3)|
|Registration Number 333-268934|
ZYVERSA THERAPEUTICS, INC.
5,858,714 Shares of Common Stock
723,234 Shares of Common Stock Underlying Series B Preferred Stock
4,878,875 Shares of Common Stock Underlying PIPE Warrants
5,825,358 Shares of Common Stock Underlying Public Warrants
240,204 Shares of Common Stock Underlying Private Placement Warrants
7,121,213 Shares of the Common Stock Underlying the Inducement Warrants
This prospectus relates to the offer and sale from time to time by the Selling Securityholders named in this prospectus (the “Selling Securityholders”) of up to 24,647,598 shares of our common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (“Common Stock”), consisting of up to (i) 5,858,714 shares of our Common Stock (the “Sponsor Shares”) issued to certain investors in various private placements to the Sponsor and certain other investors in connection with the formation of Larkspur, consummation of the Larkspur IPO and at subsequent times (the “Private Placements”) and which includes 35 shares of Series A Preferred Stock (the “Series A Preferred Stock”) converted into 17,500 shares of Common Stock at the new conversion price of $2.00 per share in the Best Efforts Offering (as defined below) and 25,000 shares of Common Stock underlying our Series A Preferred Stock; (ii) 4,878,875 shares of our Common Stock issuable upon the exercise of certain private warrants having an exercise price of $11.50 (the “PIPE Warrants”) issued pursuant to the PIPE Subscription Agreement to the investors signatory thereto; (iii) 723,234 shares of our Common Stock underlying our Series B Convertible Preferred Stock (the “Series B Shares”) issued to certain advisors in exchange for services at a price of $1,000 per share of such preferred stock and convertible into our Common Stock at a conversion price of $7.00 (after adjustment following the Best Efforts Offering); (iv) 5,825,358 shares of our Common Stock issuable upon the exercise of certain public warrants having an exercise price of $11.50 (the “Public Warrants”) issued with shares of Larkspur Class A common stock in the form of units to investors in connection with Larkspur Health Acquisition Corp.’s initial public offering consummated December 23, 2021 (the “Larkspur IPO”) at a purchase price of $10.00 per unit; (v) 240,204 shares of our Common Stock issuable upon the exercise of warrants, having an exercise price of $11.50 issued in connection with the consummation of the Business Combination, which replaced the warrants exercisable for Larkspur Class A common stock (the “Private Placement Warrants”) issued with Larkspur Class A common stock in the form of units to the Sponsor and certain other investors concurrently with the closing of the Larkspur IPO at a purchase price of $10.00 per unit; and (vi) 7,121,213 shares of the Company’s Common Stock in the form of Inducement Warrants (the “Inducement Warrants”), having an exercise price of $0.1357, of which were issued in exchange for previously issued warrants on the same terms of such previously exchanged warrants.
We are registering the offer and sale of these securities to satisfy certain registration rights we have granted in connection with the Larkspur IPO and the Business Combination. The Selling Securityholders may offer, sell or distribute all or a portion of the securities hereby registered publicly or through private transactions at prevailing market prices or at negotiated prices. We will not receive any of the proceeds from such sales of the shares of our Common Stock, except with respect to amounts received by us upon the exercise of the warrants for cash. We will bear all costs, expenses and fees in connection with the registration of these securities, including with regard to compliance with state securities or “blue sky” laws. The Selling Securityholders will bear all commissions and discounts, if any, attributable to their sale of shares of our Common Stock or warrants. See section entitled “Plan of Distribution” beginning on page 163 of this prospectus.
On December 12, 2022, we consummated the business combination and transactions contemplated thereby (the “Business Combination”) as set forth in that certain Business Combination Agreement, dated as of July 20, 2022, (as amended from time to time, the “Business Combination Agreement”), by and among Larkspur Health Acquisition Corp., our predecessor company (“Larkspur”), ZyVersa Therapeutics, Inc., a Florida corporation (“Old ZyVersa”), the representative of the shareholders of Old ZyVersa named therein (the “Securityholder Representative”), and Larkspur Merger Sub, Inc., a Delaware corporation and a direct, wholly-owned subsidiary of Larkspur (“Merger Sub”). As contemplated by the Business Combination Agreement Larkspur changed its name to ZyVersa Therapeutics, Inc. and Old ZyVersa became a wholly-owned subsidiary of ZyVersa Therapeutics, Inc. In connection with the consummation of the Business Combination, existing Larkspur shareholders elected to redeem 7,667,029 shares of Larkspur Class A common stock, or approximately 99% of the then-outstanding shares of Larkspur Class A common stock.
In connection with the consummation of the Business Combination, we entered into that certain Stock Purchase Agreement dated as of July 20, 2022, as amended from time to time (the “PIPE Subscription Agreement”) with certain investors (including certain affiliates of the Company) (the “PIPE Investors”) in a private placement concurrently with the closing of the Business Combination (the “PIPE Investment”), pursuant to which, among other things, we issued to the PIPE Investors (i) shares of Series A Convertible Preferred Stock, par value $0.0001 per share (the “PIPE Shares”) at a purchase price of $1,000 per share and initially convertible into our Common Stock at a conversion price of $10.00, subject to adjustments in accordance with the Series A Certificate of Designation; and (ii) common stock purchase warrants (each, a “PIPE Warrant”) to purchase up to a number of shares of Common Stock equal to 100% of the shares of Common Stock issued and issuable to the PIPE Investors upon conversion of the PIPE Shares in accordance with the terms of the Series A Certificate of Designation and the PIPE Warrant, with an exercise price equal to $11.50 per share, subject to certain adjustments. The Series A Certificate of Designation includes the right for the issuer to redeem such shares at 120% of the issue price of the PIPE Shares then outstanding.
Further, in connection with our best efforts offering pursuant to our registration statement on Form S-1 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 27, 2023, as amended (File No. 333-269442) (the “Best Efforts Offering”), we redeemed substantially all of the PIPE Shares in accordance with the Series A Certificate of Designation. The conversion price of the PIPE Shares and the Series B Shares was reset to the applicable floor price of $2.00 for the PIPE Shares and $7.00 for the Series B Shares, respectively. Additionally, the exercise price of the PIPE Warrants was reset to the floor price of $2.00. The number of shares of Common Stock issuable upon the exercise of the PIPE Warrants was adjusted to equal 100% of the shares of Common Stock issuable upon conversion of the PIPE Shares. Subsequent to the Best Efforts Offering, the remaining PIPE Shares that were not redeemed with the proceeds from the Best Efforts Offering were converted at the floor price of $2.00 per share of Common Stock as described further herein.
To the extent the market price of our Common Stock is above the exercise price for the PIPE Warrants or the conversion price for the Series B Shares, the holders of such securities could exercise or convert such securities and sell the underlying shares of Common Stock at a profit. Generally, if the market price of our Common Stock is less than the exercise price of a holder’s warrants, it is unlikely that holders will exercise their warrants and, therefore, the Company would not receive any proceeds from such exercise. The Company will not receive any proceeds from the conversion of the Series B Shares.
Our Common Stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”) under the symbol “ZVSA”. On October 23, 2023, the last quoted sale price for our Common Stock as reported on Nasdaq was $0.12. Because the exercise prices of the PIPE Warrants, the Private Placement Warrants and the Public Warrants are greater than the current market price of our Common Stock, such warrants are unlikely to be exercised and therefore the Company does not expect to receive any proceeds from such exercise of the warrants in the near term.
We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined under the federal securities laws, and, as such, may elect to comply with certain reduced public company reporting requirements for future filings.
Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. Before buying any securities, you should carefully read the discussion of the risks of investing in our securities in the section entitled “Risk Factors” beginning on page 12 of this prospectus.
You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus or any prospectus supplement or amendment hereto. We have not authorized anyone to provide you with different information.
Neither the Securities Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
The date of this prospectus is October 20, 2023.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS||1|
|CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS||4|
|USE OF PROCEEDS||64|
|MARKET PRICE OF OUR COMMON STOCK AND DIVIDEND INFORMATION||65|
|MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS||101|
|BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP OF SECURITIES||137|
|CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED PERSON TRANSACTIONS||142|
|DESCRIPTION OF OUR SECURITIES||149|
|SECURITIES ACT RESTRICTIONS ON RESALE OF OUR SECURITIES||162|
|PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION||163|
|WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION||168|
|INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS||F-1|
You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus. No one has been authorized to provide you with information that is different from that contained in this prospectus. This prospectus is dated as of the date set forth on the cover hereof. You should not assume that the information contained in this prospectus is accurate as of any date other than that date.
ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS
This prospectus is part of a registration statement on Form S-1 that we filed with the Securities Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) using the “shelf” registration process. Under the shelf registration process, the Selling Securityholders may, from time to time, sell the securities offered by them described in this prospectus. We will not receive any proceeds from the sale by such Selling Securityholders of the securities offered by them described in this prospectus. This prospectus also relates to the issuance by us of shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of warrants. We will receive proceeds from any exercise of the warrants for cash.
Neither we nor the Selling Securityholders have authorized anyone to provide you with any information or to make any representations other than those contained in this prospectus or any applicable prospectus supplement or any free writing prospectuses prepared by or on behalf of us or to which we have referred you. Neither we nor the Selling Securityholders take responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. Neither we nor the Selling Securityholders will make an offer to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where such offer or sale are not permitted. No dealer, salesperson or other person is authorized to give any information or to represent anything not contained in this prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplement or any related free writing prospectus. You should assume that the information appearing in this prospectus or any prospectus supplement is accurate as of the date on the front of those documents only, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus or any applicable prospectus supplement, or any sale of a security. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since those dates.
The Selling Securityholders and their permitted transferees may use this shelf registration statement to sell securities from time to time through any means described in the section titled “Plan of Distribution.” More specific terms of any securities that the Selling Securityholders and their permitted transferees offer and sell may be provided in a prospectus supplement that describes, among other things, the specific amounts and prices of the securities being offered and the terms of the offering.
We may also provide a prospectus supplement or post-effective amendment to the registration statement to add information to, or update or change information contained in, this prospectus. Any statement contained in this prospectus will be deemed to be modified or superseded for purposes of this prospectus to the extent that a statement contained in such prospectus supplement or post-effective amendment modifies or supersedes such statement. Any statement so modified will be deemed to constitute a part of this prospectus only as so modified, and any statement so superseded will be deemed not to constitute a part of this prospectus. You should read both this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement or post-effective amendment to the registration statement together with the additional information to which we refer you in the sections of this prospectus titled “Where You Can Find More Information.”
This prospectus contains summaries of certain provisions contained in some of the documents described herein, but reference is made to the actual documents for complete information. All of the summaries are qualified in their entirety by the actual documents. Copies of some of the documents referred to herein have been filed, will be filed or will be incorporated by reference as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, and you may obtain copies of those documents as described below under “Where You Can Find More Information.”
Unless expressly indicated or the context otherwise requires, references in this prospectus to the “Company,” the “Registrant,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to ZyVersa (and the business of Old ZyVersa which became the business of ZyVersa after giving effect to the Business Combination).
This document contains references to trademarks and service marks belonging to other entities. Solely for convenience, trademarks and trade names referred to in this prospectus may appear without the ® or ™ symbols, but such references are not intended to indicate, in any way, that the applicable licensor will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, its rights to these trademarks and trade names. We do not intend our use or display of other companies’ trade names, trademarks or service marks to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of it by, any other companies.
Unless otherwise stated in this prospectus or the context otherwise requires, references to:
“Business Combination” means the business combination, including the Merger and other transactions contemplated by the Business Combination Agreement;
“Business Combination Agreement” means that certain Business Combination Agreement, dated July 20, 2022, entered into by and among Old ZyVersa, the Securityholder Representative, Larkspur, and Merger Sub, as amended from time to time;
“Closing” means the consummation of the Business Combination;
“Closing Date” means December 12, 2022, the date of the consummation of the Business Combination;
“Common Stock” means our common stock, par value $0.0001;
“IPO” means Larkspur’s initial public offering consummated December 23, 2021.
“Larkspur” means Larkspur Health Acquisition Corp., a Delaware corporation, prior to giving effect to the Business Combination;
“Merger” means the merger of Merger Sub with and into Old ZyVersa, with Old ZyVersa surviving the Merger as a wholly-owned subsidiary of ZyVersa;
“Merger Sub” means Larkspur Health Merger Sub, Inc., a Delaware corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of Larkspur;
“Old ZyVersa” means ZyVersa Therapeutics, Inc., a Florida corporation, after giving effect to the Business Combination;
“Old ZyVersa Warrants” means warrants exercisable for 1,807,236 shares of the Company’s Common Stock that were issued to Old ZyVersa warrant holders as part of the cancellation and conversion of each outstanding warrant of Old ZyVersa, as a result of the Business Combination.
“PIPE Investors” means the investors that have signed the PIPE Subscription Agreement;
“PIPE Shares” means the shares of Larkspur Series A Convertible Preferred Stock sold to the PIPE Investors in the PIPE Investment;
“PIPE Subscription Agreement” means the Securities Purchase Agreement, dated as of July 20, 2022, as amended (and as may be further amended, modified, supplemented or waived from time to time in accordance with its terms), entered into by and between Larkspur and the PIPE Investors, pursuant to which Larkspur has agreed to issue an aggregate of up to 12,500 shares of Larkspur’s Series A Convertible Preferred Stock and warrants in an amount equal to 100% of the underlying shares of Common Stock issuable upon conversion of such Series A Preferred Stock to the PIPE Investors at a purchase price of $1,000 per share;
“PIPE Warrants” means the private warrants sold along with the PIPE Shares to the PIPE Investors in the PIPE Investment;
“PIPE” or “PIPE Investment” means the private placement pursuant to which the PIPE Investors purchased an aggregate amount of $8,635,000 in exchange for shares of Larkspur’s Series A Preferred Stock and warrants immediately prior to and conditioned upon the Closing on the terms and conditions set forth in the PIPE Subscription Agreement;
“Public Warrants” means the public warrants issued to investors in connection with the IPO;
“Securityholder Representative” means the shareholder representative of Old ZyVersa as named in the Business Combination Agreement;
“Series A Preferred Stock” means 35 shares of Series A Preferred Stock converted into 17,500 shares of Common Stock at the conversion price of $2.00 per share in the Best Efforts Offering, and 25,000 shares of Common Stock underlying our Series A Preferred Stock held by a separate holder that have yet to be converted.
“Series B Shares” means the 5,062 shares of Larkspur’s Series B Convertible Preferred Stock, convertible into shares of Larkspur’s common stock that were issued to holders to settle certain liabilities and transaction costs;
“Sponsor” means Larkspur Health LLC, a Delaware limited liability company; and
“ZyVersa” or the “Company” means ZyVersa Therapeutics, Inc., a Delaware corporation, after giving effect to the Business Combination.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This prospectus contains statements that are forward-looking and as such are not historical facts. This includes, without limitation, statements regarding the financial position, business strategy and the plans and objectives of management for our future operations. These statements constitute projections, forecasts and forward-looking statements, and are not guarantees of performance. Such statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. When used in this prospectus, words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “strive,” “would” and similar expressions may identify forward-looking statements, but the absence of these words does not mean that a statement is not forward-looking. Forward-looking statements in this prospectus and in any document incorporated by reference in this prospectus may include, for example, statements about:
|●||our ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the Business Combination;|
|●||the costs associated with our business;|
|●||our financial and business performance, including financial projections and business metrics;|
|●||our ability to achieve and maintain profitability in the future|
|●||our ability to effectively grow and expand operations;|
|●||the risk of disruption to our current plans and operations;|
|●||the potential for business or economic disruptions, including those caused by current and future pandemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic;|
|●||the ability to maintain the listing of our securities on Nasdaq, and the potential liquidity and trading of our securities;|
|●||the ability to recognize the anticipated benefits of our business, which may be affected by, among other things, the ability to grow and manage our research and development and clinical activity, and retain key employees;|
|●||the impact of changes to applicable laws or regulations;|
|●||our future capital requirements and sources and uses of cash, including the ability to access sources of capital or raise financing in the future;|
|●||the strength of our network, effectiveness of our technology, and quality of the offerings provided through our platform;|
|●||the projected financial information, growth rate, strategies, and market opportunities for our business;|
|●||our ability to maintain our existing license agreements and other collaborative arrangements;|
|●||our ability to obtain and maintain regulatory approval for our product candidates, and any related restrictions and limitations of any approved products in the future;|
|●||the success, cost and timing of our research and development strategies and activities;|
|●||our ability to successfully launch our product candidates and be accepted by the market;|
|●||the ability, assessment of and strategies to compete with our competitors;|
|●||our ability to attract and retain talent and the effectiveness of our compensation strategies and leadership;|
|●||our ability to maintain our licenses and operate in the heavily regulated pharmaceutical industries;|
|●||the ability to prevent and guard against cybersecurity attacks;|
|●||our reliance on third-party service providers for processing payments, web and mobile operating systems, software, background checks, and insurance policies;|
|●||our ability to establish and maintain an effective system of internal controls over financial reporting;|
|●||the outcome of any known and unknown litigation and regulatory proceedings, including the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances, including the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against us that could impact our business;|
|●||our ability to maintain and protect our brand and intellectual property; and|
|●||other factors detailed under the section entitled “Risk Factors.”|
These forward-looking statements are based on information available as of the date of this prospectus and current expectations, forecasts and assumptions, and involve a number of judgments, risks and uncertainties. Accordingly, forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date, and we do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date they were made, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.
An investment in our securities involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks described below before making an investment decision. Our business, prospects, financial condition or operating results could be harmed by any of these risks, as well as other risks not currently known to us or that we currently consider immaterial. The trading price of our securities could decline due to any of these risks, and, as a result, you may lose all or part of your investment. Certain statements in “Risk Factors” are forward-looking statements. See “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”
Risks Related to Our Business, Financial Position and Need for Capital
Our current and future product candidates may never be approved or achieve commercial market acceptance.
Our success depends on the market’s confidence that we can develop product candidates for patients with high unmet medical needs, optimize health outcomes and improve patients’ quality of life. Failure of our current and future product candidates, or those jointly developed with our collaborators, to develop or perform as expected could significantly impair our business. We and our collaborators may not succeed in achieving commercial market acceptance for our current or future product candidates due to a number of factors, including:
|●||the impact of our investments in product innovation and commercial growth;|
|●||our ability to demonstrate the utility of our platform and their potential advantages over existing technologies to academic institutions, biopharmaceutical companies and the medical community;|
|●||our ability, and that of our collaborators, to comply with FDA and other regulatory requirements; and|
|●||the rate of development of our product candidates and reputation among academic institutions, key opinion leaders and advocacy groups.|
Additionally, our business could be negatively impacted due to changes in our research and development plans, financial constraints, the regulatory environment, negative publicity about our product candidates or competing products both of which are circumstances outside of our control. We may not be successful in addressing these or other factors that might affect the market acceptance of our product candidates and technologies. Failure to develop, obtain approval or achieve commercial market acceptance of our product candidates could materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are a development stage company with a limited operating history and no revenues, and there are a number of factors that may affect our prospects.
We are a development stage pharmaceutical company with a limited operating history and no revenues. The likelihood of success of our business plan must be considered in light of the problems, substantial expenses, difficulties, complications and delays frequently encountered in connection with developing and expanding early-stage businesses and the regulatory and competitive environment in which we operate. Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical product development is a highly speculative undertaking, involves a substantial degree of risk and is a capital-intensive business. Accordingly, you should consider our prospects in light of the costs, uncertainties, delays and difficulties frequently encountered by development stage pharmaceutical companies such as our Company, and note that we cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully address these risks.
Our operations to date have been primarily limited to our organizational and capital-raising activities, negotiating our license agreements, and conducting development activities for VAR 200 and IC 100. We have not demonstrated our ability to successfully complete large-scale, pivotal clinical trials, obtain regulatory approvals, 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 or manage an operational public company. Because of our limited operating history, we have limited insight into trends that may emerge and affect our business, and errors may be made in developing an approach to address those trends and the other challenges faced by development stage pharmaceutical companies such as our Company. Failure to adequately respond to such trends and challenges could cause our business, results of operations and financial condition to suffer or fail. Further, our limited operating history may make it difficult for our stockholders to make any predictions about our likelihood of future success or viability.
Factors relating to our business that may affect our prospects may include other such as:
|●||our ability to obtain additional funding to develop and commercialize our product candidates;|
|●||any delays in regulatory review and approval for implementation of our development plans;|
|●||delays in the commencement, enrollment and timing of clinical trials;|
|●||the success of our preclinical and clinical trials through all phases of preclinical and clinical development;|
|●||any delays in regulatory review and approval of our product candidates;|
|●||our ability to obtain and maintain regulatory approval for our product candidates that we seek to develop in the United States and foreign jurisdictions;|
|●||potential side effects of our product candidates that could delay or prevent commercialization, limit the indications for our product candidates, if approved, require the establishment of Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (“REMS”), cause an approved drug to be taken off the market or subject us to fines and penalties and third-party claims;|
|●||market acceptance of our product candidates, if approved for marketing;|
|●||our dependence on third parties to manufacture and supply our product candidates;|
|●||our dependence on clinical research organizations (“CROs”) to conduct our clinical trials;|
|●||our dependence on contract manufacturing organizations (“CMOs”) to produce our products for clinical purposes and commercialization;|
|●||our ability to establish or maintain collaborations, licensing or other arrangements;|
|●||our ability to identify, acquire and incorporate other businesses, products and/or technologies;|
|●||our ability to establish and maintain an effective sales and marketing infrastructure, either through the creation of a commercial infrastructure or through strategic collaborations;|
|●||competition from existing products or new products that may emerge;|
|●||the ability of patients or healthcare providers to obtain coverage of or sufficient reimbursement for our product candidates;|
|●||our ability and our licensors’ abilities to successfully obtain, maintain, defend and enforce intellectual property rights important to our business;|
|●||our ability to leverage our partners’ proprietary technology platform to discover and develop additional product candidates;|
|●||our ability to attract and retain key personnel to manage our business effectively;|
|●||our ability to manage an operational public company and continue to comply with the rules and requirements of the SEC, and the regulations promulgated thereunder, and Nasdaq’s listing requirements;|
|●||our ability to build our finance infrastructure and improve our accounting systems and controls;|
|●||potential product liability claims;|
|●||potential liabilities associated with hazardous materials; and|
|●||our ability to obtain and maintain adequate insurance policies.|
We have never been profitable. To date, we do not have data to support regulatory approval of any of our drug product candidates, we have no products approved for commercial sale in any jurisdiction, and we have not generated any revenue from product sales. As a result, our ability to curtail our losses and reach profitability is unproven, and we may never achieve or sustain profitability.
We have never been profitable and do not expect to be profitable for the foreseeable future. As of June 30, 2023, our accumulated net loss was approximately $87 million, inclusive of the Predecessor period. We have devoted most of our financial resources to our organizational and capital-raising activities and negotiating our license agreements, and other strategic partnerships and collaborations. We have not completed development of any product candidate through the receipt of marketing approval, and we have therefore not generated any revenues from product sales. 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 or maintain profitability. We expect to incur increased expenses as we continue the clinical development of VAR 200 and preclinical development of IC 100 and other product candidates that we may seek to develop and for which we may seek marketing approval in the United States and elsewhere. We also expect an increase in our expenses associated with creating additional infrastructure (including hiring additional personnel) to commence clinical trials and continue the development and commercialization of VAR 200 and IC 100 and other product candidates that we may seek to develop. As a result, we expect to continue to incur net losses and negative cash flows for the foreseeable future. These net losses and negative cash flows have had, and will continue to have, an adverse effect on our stockholders’ equity and working capital.
To date, we have financed our operations through the sale of our equity securities. The amount of our future net losses will depend, in part, on the rate of future growth of our expenses and our ability to generate revenues. If we are unable to develop and commercialize VAR 200, IC 100, or any other product candidates that we may seek to develop, either alone or with collaborators, or if revenues from any product candidate that receives marketing approval are insufficient, we may not be able to raise additional capital and will not achieve profitability. Even if we do achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain or increase profitability.
We may be unable to continue as a going concern.
We are a development stage pharmaceutical company with no commercial products. Our primary product candidates are in the process of being developed, and will require significant additional preclinical and clinical development and investment before they could potentially be commercialized. As a result, we have not generated any revenue from operations since inception, and we have incurred substantial net losses to date. Moreover, our cash position is vastly inadequate to support our business plans and substantial additional funding will be needed in order to pursue those plans, which include research and development of our primary product candidates, seeking regulatory approval for those product candidates, and pursuing their commercialization in the United States and other markets. Our independent registered public accounting firm’s report contains an explanatory paragraph that expresses doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. Those circumstances raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. In particular, we believe that our current cash and cash equivalents on hand will only be sufficient to meet our anticipated cash requirements through the third quarter of 2023. If we are unable to continue as a going concern, we might have to liquidate our assets and the values we receive for our assets in liquidation or dissolution could be significantly lower than the values reflected in our financial statements. In addition, our lack of cash resources and our potential inability to continue as a going concern may materially adversely affect the value of our capital stock and our ability to raise new capital or to enter into critical contractual relations with third parties.
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 the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“Section 404”) requires that we evaluate and determine the effectiveness of 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.
During the audit for the 2022 fiscal year, we identified a material weakness in internal control over financial reporting because we did not design and implement effective controls over the accounting for significant and complex non-routine transactions.
Our management plans to establish procedures to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting on an ongoing basis and are committed to taking further action and implementing necessary enhancements or improvements. Management expects to complete its assessment of the design and operating effectiveness of its internal controls over financial reporting during 2023. However, the material weakness will not be considered remediated until the applicable controls operate for a sufficient period of time and management has concluded, through testing, that these controls are operating effectively.
If our steps are insufficient to successfully remediate the material weaknesses 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 a “smaller reporting company” under the U.S. securities laws, 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. An independent assessment of the effectiveness of 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 errors 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. The failure of our control systems to prevent error or fraud could materially adversely impact us.
We will need additional capital to develop and commercialize our product candidates. If we are unable to raise sufficient capital, we would be forced to delay, reduce or eliminate our product development programs.
Developing pharmaceutical products, including conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials, is expensive. We expect our research and development expenses to increase in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we start clinical trials for VAR 200 and conduct preclinical development of IC 100. We have no commitments or arrangements for any additional financing to fund our development and commercialization efforts for VAR 200, IC 100, or any other product candidate that we may seek to develop. We will need to raise substantial additional capital to develop and commercialize VAR 200, IC 100, and any other product candidate that we may seek to develop. Because successful development of VAR 200 or IC 100 is uncertain, we are unable to estimate the actual funds required to complete their development and commercialization.
Until we can generate a sufficient amount of revenue from VAR 200, IC 100, or any other product candidate that we may seek to develop, if ever, we expect to finance future cash needs through public or private equity offerings, debt financings or corporate collaborations and licensing arrangements. Additional funds may not be available when we need them on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all. If adequate funds are not available, we may be required to delay, reduce the scope of, or curtail, our operations. To the extent that we raise additional funds by issuing equity securities, or securities convertible into equity securities, the ownership of our then existing stockholders may be diluted, which dilution could be significant depending on the price at which we may be able to sell our securities. Also, if we raise additional capital through the incurrence of indebtedness, we may become subject to additional covenants restricting our business activities, the holders of debt instruments may have rights and privileges senior to those of our equity investors, and servicing the interest and principal repayment obligations under such debt instruments could divert funds that would otherwise be available to support research and development, clinical or commercialization activities. As such, we may not be able to enter into collaborations that we seek to establish. To the extent that we raise additional funds through collaborations and licensing arrangements, it may be necessary to relinquish some rights to our technologies or our product candidates or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. We may seek to access the public or private capital markets whenever conditions are favorable, even if we do not have an immediate need for additional capital at that time. The securities being registered on this registration statement may limit our ability to raise additional capital on favorable terms because of the dilutive effect of such securities. Further, in the event the price of our Common Stock remains lower than the exercise prices of the warrants being registered on this registration statement, holders may not exercise such warrants and, therefore, we would not receive any proceeds from such exercise.
Our future funding requirements, both near and long-term, will depend on many factors, including, but not limited to:
|●||the initiation, progress, timing, costs and results of preclinical and clinical trials for our product candidates;|
|●||whether the FDA requires that we perform additional studies for our product candidates that we seek to develop beyond those that we anticipate;|
|●||the terms and timing of any future collaboration, licensing or other arrangements that we may establish;|
|●||the outcome, timing and cost of regulatory approvals;|
|●||the effect of competing technological and market developments;|
|●||the cost and timing of establishing commercial-scale outsourced manufacturing capabilities;|
|●||market acceptance of our product candidates if we receive regulatory approval;|
|●||the cost of establishing sales, marketing and distribution capabilities for our product candidates, if we receive regulatory approval; and|
|●||the extent to which we acquire, license or invest in businesses, products or technologies.|
We are subject to various U.S. anti-corruption laws and other anti-bribery and anti-kickback laws and regulations.
We are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended (the “FCPA”), and other anticorruption, anti-bribery, and anti-money laundering laws in the jurisdictions in which we do business. These laws generally prohibit us and our employees from improperly influencing government officials or commercial parties in order to obtain or retain business, direct business to any person or gain any improper advantage. The FCPA and other applicable anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws also may hold us liable for acts of corruption and bribery committed by our third-party business partners, representatives and agents who are acting on our behalf. We and our third-party business partners, representatives and agents may have direct or indirect interactions with officials and employees of government agencies or state-owned or affiliated entities and we may be held liable for the corrupt or other illegal activities of these third-party business partners and intermediaries and employees, representatives, contractors and agents, even if we do not explicitly authorize such activities. These laws also require that we keep accurate books and records and maintain internal controls and compliance procedures designed to prevent any such actions. While we have policies and procedures to address compliance with such laws, we cannot assure that our employees and agents will not take actions in violation of our policies or applicable law, for which we may be ultimately held responsible and our exposure for violating these laws increases as our international presence expands and as we increase sales and operations in foreign jurisdictions. Any violation of the FCPA or other applicable anti-bribery, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws could result in whistleblower complaints, adverse media coverage, investigations, imposition of significant legal fees, loss of export privileges, severe criminal or civil sanctions or suspension or debarment from U.S. government contracts, substantial diversion of management’s attention, a drop in our stock price or overall adverse consequences to our business, all of which may have an adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and operating results.
Our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Occurrences of epidemics or pandemics, depending on their scale, may cause different degrees of disruption to the regional, state and local economies in which we operate our business and develop our product candidates. The current COVID-19 pandemic has had and could continue to have a material adverse effect on the value, operating results and financial condition of our business. Extraordinary actions taken by international, federal, state, and local public health and governmental authorities to contain and combat the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 in regions throughout the world, including travel bans, quarantines, “stay-at-home” orders, suspension of interest accrual and collections on certain federally-backed student loans and similar mandates for many individuals and businesses to substantially restrict daily activities have led to a decrease in consumer activity generally. While the extent and duration of the economic slowdown and high unemployment rates attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic remain uncertain at this time, particularly as new strains of the virus emerge and create potential challenges to vaccination efforts, a continued significant economic slowdown could have a substantial adverse effect on our financial condition, liquidity and results of operations.
Risks Related to Development, Regulatory Approval and Commercialization
A pandemic, epidemic, or outbreak of an infectious disease, such as COVID-19 could cause a disruption to the development of our product candidates.
Public health crises such as pandemics or similar outbreaks could adversely impact our business. In December 2019, a novel strain of a virus named SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), or coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, surfaced in Wuhan, China and has since spread worldwide. The coronavirus pandemic is evolving, and to date has led to the implementation of various responses, including government-imposed quarantines, travel restrictions and other public health safety measures. The extent to which the coronavirus impacts our operations or those of our third-party partners, including our preclinical studies or clinical trial operations, will also depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, including the duration of the outbreak, new information that will emerge concerning the severity of the coronavirus and the actions to contain the coronavirus or treat its impact, among others. The continued spread of COVID-19 globally could adversely impact our preclinical or clinical trial operations in the U.S. and abroad, including our ability to recruit and retain patients and principal investigators and site staff who, as healthcare providers, may have heightened exposure to COVID-19. For example, similar to other biopharmaceutical companies, we may experience delays in enrolling our current and/or planned clinical trials. COVID-19 may also affect employees of third-party CROs located in affected geographies that we rely upon to carry out our clinical trials. In addition, the patient populations that our lead and other core product candidates target may be particularly susceptible to COVID-19, which may make it more difficult for us to identify patients able to enroll in our future clinical trials and may impact the ability of enrolled patients to complete any such trials. Any negative impact COVID-19 has to patient enrollment or treatment or the execution of our product candidates could cause costly delays to clinical trial activities, which could adversely affect our ability to obtain regulatory approval for and to commercialize our product candidates, increase our operating expenses, and have a material adverse effect on our financial results.
Additionally, timely enrollment in planned clinical trials is dependent upon clinical trial sites which could be adversely affected by global health matters, such as pandemics. We plan to conduct clinical trials for our product candidates in geographies which are currently being affected by the coronavirus. Some factors from the coronavirus outbreak that will delay or otherwise adversely affect enrollment in the clinical trials of our product candidates, as well as our business generally, include:
|●||the potential diversion of healthcare resources away from the conduct of clinical trials to focus on pandemic concerns, including the attention of physicians serving as our clinical trial investigators, hospitals serving as our clinical trial sites and hospital staff supporting the conduct of our prospective clinical trials;|
|●||limitations on travel that could interrupt key trial and business activities, such as clinical trial site initiations and monitoring, domestic and international travel by employees, contractors or patients to clinical trial sites, including any government-imposed travel restrictions or quarantines that will impact the ability or willingness of patients, employees or contractors to travel to our clinical trial sites or secure visas or entry permissions, a loss of face-to-face meetings and other interactions with potential partners, any of which could delay or adversely impact the conduct or progress of our prospective clinical trials;|
|●||the potential negative effect on the operations of our third-party manufacturers;|
|●||interruption in global shipping, affecting the transport of raw materials for our products, clinical trial materials, such as patient samples, investigational drug product and conditioning drugs and other supplies used in our prospective clinical trials; and|
|●||business disruptions caused by potential workplace, laboratory and office closures and an increased reliance on employees working from home, disruptions to or delays in ongoing laboratory experiments and operations, staffing shortages, travel limitations or mass transit disruptions, any of which could adversely impact our business operations or delay necessary interactions with local regulators, ethics committees and other important agencies and contractors.|
We have taken temporary precautionary measures intended to help minimize the risk of the virus to our employees, including having all of our employees to work remotely, suspending all non-essential travel worldwide for our employees and discouraging employee attendance at industry events and in-person work-related meetings, which could negatively affect our business. We cannot presently predict the scope and severity of the planned and potential shutdowns or disruptions of businesses and government agencies, such as the SEC or FDA.
Our business is dependent on the successful development, regulatory approval and commercialization of our product candidates, in particular VAR 200 and IC 100.
The success of our business, including our ability to finance our company and generate any revenue in the future, will primarily depend on the successful development, regulatory approval and commercialization or partnering of our product candidates. In the future, we may also become dependent on just one of our product candidates or any future product candidates that we may in-license, acquire or develop. The preclinical and clinical and commercial success of our product candidates will depend on a number of factors, including the following:
|●||the ability to raise additional capital on acceptable terms, or at all;|
|●||timely completion of our preclinical and clinical trials, which may be significantly slower or cost more than we currently anticipate and will depend substantially upon the performance of third-party contractors;|
|●||whether we are required by the FDA, or similar foreign regulatory agencies to conduct additional preclinical or clinical trials beyond those planned to support the approval and commercialization of our product candidates or any future product candidates;|
|●||acceptance of our proposed indications and primary endpoint assessments relating to the proposed indications of our product candidates by the FDA and similar foreign regulatory authorities;|
|●||our ability to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the FDA and similar foreign regulatory authorities, the safety and efficacy of our product candidates or any future product candidates;|
|●||our ability to identify an active compound within the drug product that can be detected in a pharmacokinetics study;|
|●||the prevalence, duration and severity of potential side effects experienced in connection with our product candidates or future approved products, if any;|
|●||the timely receipt of necessary marketing approvals from the FDA and similar foreign regulatory authorities;|
|●||achieving and maintaining, and, where applicable, ensuring that our third-party contractors achieve and maintain, compliance with our contractual obligations and with all regulatory requirements applicable to our product candidates or any future product candidates or approved products, if any;|
|●||the ability of third parties with whom we contract to manufacture clinical trial and commercial supplies of our product candidates or any future product candidates, remain in good standing with regulatory agencies and develop, validate and maintain commercially viable manufacturing processes that are compliant with current good manufacturing practices, or cGMP, or good agricultural and collection practices, or GACP;|
|●||a continued acceptable safety profile during preclinical and clinical development and following approval of our product candidates or any future product candidates;|
|●||our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates or any future product candidates in the United States and internationally, if approved for marketing, sale and distribution in such countries and territories, whether alone or in collaboration with others;|
|●||acceptance by physicians, patients and payors of the benefits, safety and efficacy of our product candidates or any future product candidates, if approved, including relative to alternative and competing treatments;|
|●||our ability to comply with numerous post-approval regulatory requirements;|
|●||our and our partners’ ability to establish and enforce intellectual property rights in and to our product candidates or any future product candidates;|
|●||our and our partners’ ability to avoid third-party patent interference or intellectual property infringement claims; and|
|●||our ability to in-license or acquire additional product candidates or commercial-stage products that we believe we can successfully develop and commercialize.|
VAR 200 may not obtain an FDA designation as an Orphan Drug for FSGS. The FDA received our submission for Orphan Drug Designation on September 17, 2018. Orphan Drug Designation was unable to be granted because (1) the FSGS preclinical model used to support the request reflected prevention rather than treatment of FSGS, which was the proposed indication for VAR 200, and (2) the FDA felt that the prevalence estimate provided was underestimated based on the assumptions and calculations used. We plan to reapply for Orphan Drug Designation when clinical data are available for VAR 200, using additional information to support the prevalence rate of FSGS.
If we are unable to achieve one or more of the above factors, many of which are beyond our control, in a timely manner or at all, we could experience significant delays and increased costs or an inability to obtain regulatory approvals or commercialize our product candidates. Even if regulatory approvals are obtained, we may never be able to successfully commercialize any of our product candidates. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that we will be able to generate sufficient revenue through the sale of our product candidates or any future product candidates to continue operations.
Preclinical drug development for our product candidate IC 100 is very expensive, time-consuming and uncertain. Our preclinical trials may fail to adequately demonstrate pharmacologic activity in therapeutic areas of interest; cause unintended short- or long-term effects in other bodily systems; or produce unexpected toxicity that may alter or risk benefit assessment. The class of compounds with a mechanism of action reflective of IC 100 has not entered into clinical trials, and the effects of the pharmacologic class are unknown. These and other factors could prevent or delay further development.
The scientific discoveries that form the basis for our efforts to generate and develop our product candidates are relatively recent. The scientific evidence to support the feasibility of developing agents based on our approach is both preliminary and limited. IC 100 represents a novel therapeutic modality and the successful development may require additional studies and efforts to optimize its therapeutic potential. IC 100 may not demonstrate in patients the therapeutic properties ascribed to it in the laboratory or preclinical studies, and may interact with human biological systems in unforeseen, ineffective or even harmful ways. If we are unable to successfully develop and commercialize IC 100 we may never become profitable and the value of our capital stock may decline.
IC 100 is a relatively novel technology, which makes it difficult to predict the time and cost of development and of subsequently obtaining regulatory approval, if at all.
We have concentrated our research and development efforts on a limited number of initial targeted disease indications. There can be no assurance that we will not experience problems or delays in developing our current or future indications and that such problems or delays will not cause unanticipated costs, or that any such development problems can be solved. Preclinical data generated on IC 100 along with a proposed clinical development plan requires review and allowance by the FDA under an Investigational New Drug Application. We have not generated the data to support such an application, and the results of preclinical studies will require FDA review prior to the initiation of clinical studies which may not be granted.
We may not be successful in our efforts to use and expand our development platform to build a pipeline of product candidates.
A key element of our strategy for IC 100 is to use our experienced management and scientific team to evaluate IC 100 in a broad range of human diseases in order to build a pipeline of product candidates. Although our research and development efforts to date have resulted in potential product candidates, we may not be able to continue to identify and develop additional product candidates. Even if we are successful in continuing to build our pipeline, the potential product candidates that we identify may not be suitable for clinical development. For example, these potential product candidates may be shown to have harmful side effects or other characteristics that indicate that they are unlikely to receive marketing approval and achieve market acceptance. If we do not successfully develop and commercialize product candidates based upon our approach, we will not be able to obtain product revenue in future periods, which likely would result in significant harm to our financial position. There is no assurance that we will be successful in our preclinical and clinical development, and the process of obtaining regulatory approvals will, in any event, require the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources.
Clinical drug development for our product candidates is very expensive, time-consuming and uncertain. Our clinical trials may fail to adequately demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates, which could prevent or delay regulatory approval and commercialization.
Clinical drug development for our product candidates is very expensive, time-consuming, difficult to design and implement and its outcome is inherently uncertain. Before obtaining regulatory approval for the commercial sale of a product candidate, we must demonstrate through clinical trials that a product candidate is both safe and effective for use in the target indication, which is impossible to predict. Most product candidates that commence clinical trials are never approved by regulatory authorities for commercialization. Our product candidates are in various stages of development and a failure of one more clinical trial can occur at any stage of testing or at any time during the trial process. We expect that clinical trials for these product candidates will continue for several years but may take significantly longer than expected to complete. Not all of our product candidates have been tested in humans and the first use in humans may reveal unexpected effects. We have not completed all clinical trials for the approval of any of our product candidates.
We may experience delays in ongoing and future clinical trials for our product candidates and do not know if future clinical trials, if any, will begin on time, need to be redesigned, enroll adequate number of patients on time or be completed on schedule, if at all. In addition, we, any partner with which we currently or may in the future collaborate, the FDA, an Institutional Review Board (an “IRB”) or other regulatory authorities, including state and local agencies and counterpart agencies in foreign countries, may suspend, delay, require modifications to or terminate our clinical trials at any time, for various reasons, including:
|●||discovery of safety or tolerability concerns, such as serious or unexpected toxicities or side effects or exposure to otherwise unacceptable health risks, experienced by study participants or other safety issues;|
|●||lack of effectiveness of any product candidate during clinical trials or the failure of our product candidates to meet specified endpoints;|
|●||slower than expected rates of subject recruitment and enrollment rates or inability to enroll a sufficient number of patients in clinical trials resulting from numerous factors, including the prevalence of other companies’ clinical trials for their product candidates for the same indication, or clinical trials for indications for which patients do not as commonly seek treatment;|
|●||delays or difficulties in our clinical trials due to quarantines or other restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic;|
|●||difficulty in retaining subjects who have initiated a clinical trial but may withdraw at any time due to adverse side effects from the therapy, insufficient efficacy, fatigue with the clinical trial process or for any other reason;|
|●||difficulty in obtaining IRB approval for studies to be conducted at each clinical trial site;|
|●||delays in manufacturing or obtaining, or inability to manufacture or obtain, sufficient quantities of materials for use in clinical trials;|
|●||inadequacy of or changes in our manufacturing process or the product formulation or method of delivery;|
|●||changes in applicable laws, regulations and regulatory policies;|
|●||delays or failure in reaching agreement on acceptable terms in clinical trial contracts or protocols with prospective contract research organizations (“CRO”), clinical trial sites and other third-party contractors;|
|●||inability to add a sufficient number of clinical trial sites;|
|●||uncertainty regarding proper formulation and dosing;|
|●||failure by us, our employees, our CROs or their employees or other third-party contractors to comply with contractual and applicable regulatory requirements or to perform their services in a timely or acceptable manner;|
|●||failure by us, our employees, our CROs or their employees or any partner with which we may collaborate or their employees to comply with applicable FDA or other regulatory requirements relating to the conduct of clinical trials or the handling, storage, security and recordkeeping for drug and biologic products;|
|●||scheduling conflicts with participating clinicians and clinical institutions;|
|●||failure to design appropriate clinical trial protocols;|
|●||insufficient data to support regulatory approval;|
|●||inability or unwillingness of medical investigators to follow our clinical protocols; or|
|●||difficulty in maintaining contact with subjects during or after treatment, which may result in incomplete data.|
We or any partner with which we may collaborate may suffer significant setbacks in our clinical trials similar to the experience of a number of other companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, even after receiving promising results in earlier trials. In the event that we or our potential partners abandon or are delayed in the clinical development efforts related to our product candidates, we may not be able to execute on our business plan effectively and our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects would be harmed.
Changes in methods of product candidate manufacturing or formulation may result in additional costs or delay.
As product candidates proceed through preclinical studies to late-stage clinical trials towards potential approval and commercialization, it is common that various aspects of the development program, such as manufacturing methods and formulation, are altered along the way in an effort to optimize processes and results. Such changes carry the risk that they will not achieve these intended objectives. Any of these changes could cause our product candidates to perform differently and affect the results of planned clinical trials or other future clinical trials conducted with the altered materials. Such changes may also require additional testing, FDA notification or FDA approval. This could delay completion of clinical trials, require the conduct of bridging clinical trials or the repetition of one or more clinical trials.
We may be unable to obtain regulatory approval for VAR 200 or IC 100, our early-stage product candidates under applicable regulatory requirements. The FDA and foreign regulatory bodies have substantial discretion in the approval process, including the ability to delay, limit or deny approval of product candidates. The delay, limitation or denial of any regulatory approval would adversely impact commercialization, our potential to generate revenue, our business and our operating results.
We currently have no products approved for sale, and we may never obtain regulatory approval to commercialize any of our current or future product candidates. The research, testing, manufacturing, safety surveillance, efficacy, quality control, recordkeeping, labeling, packaging, storage, approval, sale, marketing, distribution, import, export and reporting of safety and other post-market information related to our drug products are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA and other regulatory authorities in the United States and in foreign countries, and such regulations differ from country to country. We are not permitted to market any of our current product candidates in the United States until we receive approval of a NDA, BLA or other applicable regulatory filing from the FDA. We are also not permitted to market any of our current product candidates in any foreign countries until we or our partners receive the requisite approval from the applicable regulatory authorities of such countries. To gain approval to market a new drug such as VAR 200 or IC 100, the FDA and/or foreign regulatory authorities must receive, among other things, preclinical and clinical data that adequately demonstrate the safety, purity, potency, efficacy and compliant manufacturing of the drug product for the intended indication applied for in a NDA, BLA or other applicable regulatory filing. The development and approval of new drug products involves a long, expensive and uncertain process, and delay or failure can occur at any stage. A number of companies in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry have suffered significant setbacks in nonclinical development, clinical trials, including in Phase 3 clinical development, even after promising results in earlier preclinical studies or clinical trials. These setbacks have been caused by, among other things, findings made while clinical trials were underway and safety or efficacy observations made in clinical trials, including previously unreported adverse events. Success in clinical trials does not ensure that later clinical trials will be successful, or that nonclinical studies will be successful. The results of clinical trials by other parties may not be indicative of the results in trials we or our partners may conduct.
The FDA and foreign regulatory bodies have substantial discretion in the drug development and approval process, including the ability to delay, limit drug development or limit or deny approval of product candidates for many reasons. The FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory body may:
|●||disagree with the design or implementation of one or more clinical trials;|
|●||not deem a product candidate safe and effective for its proposed indication, or may deem a product candidate’s safety or other perceived risks to outweigh its clinical or other benefits;|
|●||not find the data from preclinical studies and clinical trials sufficient to support approval, or the results of clinical trials may not meet the level of statistical or clinical significance required by the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory body for approval;|
|●||disagree with our interpretation of data from preclinical studies or clinical trials performed by us or third parties, or with the interpretation of any partner with which we may collaborate;|
|●||determine the data collected from preclinical or clinical trials may not be sufficient to support the submission of an IND or NDA, or other applicable regulatory filing;|
|●||require additional preclinical studies or clinical trials;|
|●||identify deficiencies in the formulation, quality control, labeling or specifications of our current or future product candidates;|
|●||require clinical trials in pediatric patients in order to establish pharmacokinetics or safety for this more drug-sensitive population;|
|●||grant approval contingent on the performance of costly additional post-approval clinical trials;|
|●||approve our current or any future product candidates for a more limited indication or a narrower patient population than we originally requested or with strong warnings that may affect marketability;|
|●||not approve the labeling that we believe is necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of our product candidates;|
|●||not approve of the manufacturing processes, controls or facilities of third-party manufacturers or testing labs with which we contract;|
|●||consider our products a device instead of a drug requiring a different approval process and manufacturing needs;|
|●||consider one of our products a combination product instead of a singular drug requiring additional clinical trials or increased number of patients per study; or|
|●||change our approval policies or adopt new regulations in a manner rendering our clinical data or regulatory filings insufficient for approval.|
Any delay, limitation or denial in any applicable regulatory approval for any of our product candidates would delay or adversely impact commercialization of our product candidates and would harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
Even if our current product candidates or any future product candidates obtain regulatory approval, they may fail to achieve the broad degree of physician and patient adoption and use necessary for commercial success.
The commercial success of any of our current or future product candidates, if approved, will depend significantly on the broad adoption and use of the resulting product by physicians, patients and payors for approved indications, and may not be commercially successful. The degree and rate of adoption of our current or future product candidates, if approved, will depend on a number of factors, including:
|●||the clinical indications for which the product is approved and patient demand for approved products that treat those indications;|
|●||the effectiveness of our product as compared to other available therapies;|
|●||the availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement from managed care plans and other healthcare payors for any of our product candidates that may be approved;|
|●||the cost of treatment with our product candidates in relation to alternative treatments and willingness to pay for the product, if approved, on the part of patients;|
|●||acceptance by physicians, major operators of clinics and patients of the product as a safe and effective treatment;|
|●||physician and patient willingness to adopt a new therapy over other available therapies to treat approved indications;|
|●||overcoming any biases physicians or patients may have toward particular therapies for the treatment of approved indications;|
|●||proper training and administration of our product candidates by physicians and medical staff;|
|●||patient satisfaction with the results and administration of our product candidates and overall treatment experience;|
|●||the revenue and profitability that our product candidate may offer a physician as compared to alternative therapies;|
|●||the prevalence and severity of side effects;|
|●||limitations or warnings contained in the FDA-approved labeling for our product candidates;|
|●||any FDA requirement to undertake a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS;|
|●||the effectiveness of our sales, marketing and distribution efforts;|
|●||our ability to maintain sufficient quantities of supply to meet demand;|
|●||adverse publicity about our product candidates or favorable publicity about competitive products; and|
|●||potential product liability claims.|
If any of our current or future product candidates are approved for use but fail to achieve the broad degree of physician and patient adoption necessary for commercial success, our operating results and financial condition will be adversely affected, which may delay, prevent or limit our ability to generate revenue and continue our business.
Our product candidates, if approved, will face significant competition and our failure to effectively compete may prevent us from achieving significant market penetration.
The pharmaceutical industry is characterized by rapidly advancing technologies, intense competition, and a strong emphasis on developing proprietary therapeutics. Numerous pharmaceutical companies, generic drug companies, biotechnology companies, and academic and research institutions are engaged in the development, patenting, manufacturing, and marketing of health care products competitive with those that we are developing, including Travere, Pfizer, Goldfinch Bio, Boehringer Ingelheim, Astra Zeneca, Sanofi, Novartis, Roche and others. Many of our competitors have greater financial resources, marketing capabilities, sales forces, manufacturing capabilities, research and development capabilities, clinical trial expertise, intellectual property portfolios, experience in obtaining patents and regulatory approvals for product candidates and other resources than us. Some of the companies that offer competing products also have a broad range of other product offerings, large direct sales forces and long-term customer relationships with our target physicians, which could inhibit our market penetration efforts. In addition, certain of our product candidates, if approved, may compete with a share of some patients’ discretionary budgets and for physicians’ attention within their clinical practices.
We anticipate that, if we obtain regulatory approval of our product candidates, we will face significant competition from other approved therapies. If approved, our product candidates may also compete with unregulated, unapproved, off-label, and over the counter treatments. Certain of our product candidates, if approved, will present novel therapeutic approaches for the approved indications and will have to compete with existing therapies, some of which are widely known and accepted by physicians and patients. To compete successfully in this market, we will have to demonstrate that the relative cost, safety and efficacy of our approved products, if any, provide an attractive alternative to existing and other new therapies. Such competition could lead to reduced market share for our product candidates and contribute to downward pressure on the pricing of our product candidates, which could harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
We expect to face generic or similar type of product competition for our product candidates, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
Upon the expiration or loss of any patent protection for any of our product candidates that are approved, or upon the “at-risk” launch, despite pending patent infringement litigation against the generic product or its equivalent, by a generic competitor of a generic version of any of our product candidates that are approved, which may be sold at significantly lower prices than our approved product candidates, we could lose a significant portion of sales of that product in a short period of time, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
Any product candidates that we commercialize, or that any partner with which we may collaborate commercializes, will be subject to ongoing and continued regulatory review.
Even after we or our partners achieve U.S. regulatory approval for a product candidate, if any, we or our partners will be subject to continued regulatory review and compliance obligations. For example, with respect to our product candidates, the FDA may impose significant restrictions on the approved indicated uses for which the product may be marketed or on the conditions of approval. A product candidate’s approval may contain requirements for potentially costly post-approval studies and surveillance, including Phase 4 clinical trials or a REMS, to monitor the safety and efficacy of the product. We will also be subject to ongoing FDA obligations and continued regulatory review with respect to, among other things, the manufacturing, processing, labeling, packaging, distribution, adverse event reporting, storage, advertising, promotion and recordkeeping for our product candidates. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration, as well as continued compliance with cGMP requirements, with the FDA’s good clinical practice, or GCP, or good agricultural and collections practices, or GACP, requirements and good laboratory practice, or GLP, requirements, which are regulations and guidelines enforced by the FDA for all of our product candidates in clinical and preclinical development, and for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval. To the extent that a product candidate is approved for sale in other countries, we may be subject to similar restrictions and requirements imposed by laws and government regulators in those countries.
If we, our partners, our product candidates or the manufacturing facilities for our product candidates fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, a regulatory agency may:
|●||impose restrictions on the marketing or manufacturing of the product, suspend or withdraw product approvals or revoke necessary licenses;|
|●||mandate modifications to promotional materials or require us to provide corrective information to healthcare practitioners;|
|●||require us or our partners to enter into a consent decree, which can include imposition of various fines, reimbursements for inspection costs, required due dates for specific actions and penalties for noncompliance;|
|●||issue warning letters, show cause notices or untitled letters describing alleged violations, which may be publicly available;|
|●||commence criminal investigations and prosecutions;|
|●||impose injunctions, suspensions or revocations of necessary approvals or other licenses;|
|●||impose other civil or criminal penalties;|
|●||suspend any ongoing clinical trials;|
|●||delay or refuse to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications filed by us or our potential partners;|
|●||refuse to permit drugs or precursor chemicals to be imported or exported to or from the United States;|
|●||suspend or impose restrictions on operations, including costly new manufacturing requirements; or|
|●||seize or detain products or require us or our partners to initiate a product recall.|
The regulations, policies or guidance of the FDA and other applicable government agencies may change, and new or additional statutes or government regulations may be enacted that could prevent or delay regulatory approval of our product candidates or further restrict or regulate post-approval activities. We cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of adverse government regulation that may arise from future legislation or administrative action, either in the United States or abroad. If we are not able to achieve and maintain regulatory compliance, we may not be permitted to market our product candidates, which would adversely affect our ability to generate revenue and achieve or maintain profitability.
We may in the future conduct clinical trials for our product candidates outside the United States and the FDA and applicable foreign regulatory authorities may not accept data from such trials.
We may in the future choose to conduct one or more of our clinical trials outside the United States, including in Canada, Europe and South America. Although the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory authority may accept data from clinical trials conducted outside the United States or the applicable jurisdiction, acceptance of such study data by the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory authority may be subject to certain conditions. Where data from foreign clinical trials are intended to serve as the basis for marketing approval in the United States, the FDA will not approve the application on the basis of foreign data alone unless those data are applicable to the U.S. population and U.S. medical practice; the studies were performed by clinical investigators of recognized competence; and the data are considered valid without the need for an on-site inspection by the FDA or, if the FDA considers such an inspection to be necessary, the FDA is able to validate the data through an on-site inspection or other appropriate means. Many foreign regulatory bodies have similar requirements. In addition, such foreign studies would be subject to the applicable local laws of the foreign jurisdictions where the studies are conducted. There can be no assurance the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory authority will accept data from trials conducted outside of the United States or the applicable jurisdiction. If the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory authority does not accept such data, it would likely result in the need for additional trials, which would be costly and time-consuming and delay aspects of our business plan.
Our product candidates may cause undesirable side effects or have other unexpected properties that could delay or prevent their regulatory approval, limit the commercial profile of an approved label or result in post-approval regulatory action.
Unforeseen side effects from any of our product candidates could arise either during clinical development or, if approved, after the approved product has been marketed. Undesirable side effects caused by product candidates could cause us, any partners with which we may collaborate or regulatory authorities to interrupt, modify, delay or halt clinical trials and could result in a more restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or comparable foreign authorities. Results of clinical trials could reveal a high and unacceptable severity and prevalence of side effects. In such an event, trials could be suspended or terminated, and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities could order us, or our potential partners, to cease further development of or deny approval of product candidates for any or all targeted indications. The drug-related side effects could affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the trial or result in product liability claims. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
Additionally, if we or others identify undesirable side effects, or other previously unknown problems, caused by our product candidates after obtaining U.S. or foreign regulatory approval or other products with the same or related active ingredients, a number of potentially negative consequences could result, including:
|●||regulatory authorities may withdraw their approval of the product;|
|●||regulatory authorities may require a recall of the product or we or our potential partners may voluntarily recall a product;|
|●||regulatory authorities may require the addition of warnings or contraindications in the product labeling, narrowing of the indication in the product label or field alerts to physicians and pharmacies;|
|●||we may be required to create a medication guide outlining the risks of such side effects for distribution to patients or institute a REMS;|
|●||we may have limitations on how we promote the product;|
|●||we may be required to change the way the product is administered or modify the product in some other way; the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory authority may require additional clinical trials or costly post-marketing testing and surveillance to monitor the safety or efficacy of the product;|
|●||the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory authority may require additional clinical trials or costly post-marketing testing and surveillance to monitor the safety or efficacy of the product|
|●||sales of the product may decrease significantly;|
|●||we could be sued and held liable for harm caused to patients; and|
|●||our brand and reputation may suffer.|
Any of the above events resulting from undesirable side effects or other previously unknown problems could prevent us or our potential partners from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of the affected product candidate and could substantially increase the costs of commercializing our product candidates.
We may face product liability exposure, and if successful claims are brought against us, we may incur substantial liability if our insurance coverage for those claims is inadequate.
We face an inherent risk of product liability as a result of the clinical testing of our product candidates and will face an even greater risk if we commercialize any products. This risk exists even if a product is approved for commercial sale by the FDA and manufactured in facilities licensed and regulated by the FDA or an applicable foreign regulatory authority. Our products and product candidates are designed to affect important bodily functions and processes. Any side effects, manufacturing defects, misuse or abuse associated with our product candidates could result in injury to a patient or even death. We cannot offer any assurance that we will not face product liability suits in the future, nor can we assure you that our insurance coverage will be sufficient to cover our liability under any such cases.
In addition, a liability claim may be brought against us even if our product candidates merely appear to have caused an injury. Product liability claims may be brought against us by consumers, health care providers, pharmaceutical companies or others selling or otherwise coming into contact with our product candidates, among others. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims we will incur substantial liabilities and reputational harm. In addition, regardless of merit or eventual outcome, product liability claims may result in:
|●||withdrawal of clinical trial participants;|
|●||termination of clinical trial sites or entire trial programs;|
|●||inability to gain regulatory approval of our product candidates;|
|●||the inability to commercialize our product candidates;|
|●||decreased demand for our product candidates;|
|●||impairment of our business reputation;|
|●||product recall or withdrawal from the market or labeling, marketing or promotional restrictions;|
|●||substantial costs of any related litigation or similar disputes;|
|●||distraction of management’s attention and other resources from our primary business;|
|●||substantial monetary awards to patients or other claimants against us that may not be covered by insurance; or|
|●||loss of revenue.|
We currently maintain product liability insurance coverage, which may not be sufficient to cover all of our product liability related expenses or losses and may not cover us for any expenses or losses we may suffer. Moreover, insurance coverage is becoming increasingly expensive, and, in the future, we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost, in sufficient amounts or upon adequate terms to protect us against losses due to product liability. We will need to increase our product liability coverage if any of our product candidates receive regulatory approval, which will be costly, and we may be unable to obtain this increased product liability insurance on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. A successful product liability claim or series of claims brought against us could cause our stock price to decline and, if judgments exceed our insurance coverage, could decrease our cash and could harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
If any of our product candidates are approved for marketing and we are found to have improperly promoted off-label uses, or if physicians misuse our products or use our products off-label, we may become subject to prohibitions on the sale or marketing of our products, product liability claims and significant fines, penalties and sanctions, and our brand and reputation could be harmed.
The FDA and other regulatory agencies strictly regulate the marketing and promotional claims that are made about drug and biologic products. In particular, a product may not be promoted for uses or indications that are not approved by the FDA or such other regulatory agencies as reflected in the product’s approved labeling and comparative safety or efficacy claims cannot be made without direct comparative clinical data. If we are found to have promoted off-label uses of any of our product candidates, we may receive warning or untitled letters and become subject to significant liability, which would materially harm our business. Both federal and state governments have levied large civil and criminal fines against companies for alleged improper promotion and have enjoined several companies from engaging in off-label promotion. If we become the target of such an investigation or prosecution based on our marketing and promotional practices, we could face similar sanctions, which would materially harm our business. In addition, management’s attention could be diverted from our business operations, significant legal expenses could be incurred and our brand and reputation could be damaged. The FDA has also requested that companies enter into consent decrees or permanent injunctions under which specified promotional conduct is changed or curtailed. If we are deemed by the FDA to have engaged in the promotion of our products for off-label use, we could be subject to FDA regulatory or enforcement actions, including the issuance of an untitled letter, a warning letter, injunction, seizure, civil fine or criminal penalties. It is also possible that other federal, state or foreign enforcement authorities might take action if they consider our business activities constitute promotion of an off-label use, which could result in significant penalties, including criminal, civil or administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, exclusion from participation in government healthcare programs and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations.
We cannot, however, prevent a physician from using our product candidates outside of those indications for use when in the physician’s independent professional medical judgment he or she deems appropriate. Physicians may also misuse our product candidates or use improper techniques, potentially leading to adverse results, side effects or injury, which may lead to product liability claims. If our product candidates are misused or used with improper technique, we may become subject to costly litigation by physicians or their patients. Furthermore, the use of our product candidates for indications other than those cleared by the FDA may not effectively treat such conditions, which could harm our reputation among physicians and patients.
We may choose not to continue developing or commercializing any of our product candidates at any time during development or after approval, which would reduce or eliminate our potential return on investment for those product candidates.
At any time, we may decide to discontinue the development of any of our product candidates or not to continue commercializing one or more of our approved product candidates for a variety of reasons, including the appearance of new technologies that make our product obsolete, competition from a competing product or changes in or failure to comply with applicable regulatory requirements. If we terminate a program in which we have invested significant resources, we will not receive any return on our investment and we will have missed the opportunity to have allocated those resources to potentially more productive uses.
We or our current and prospective partners may be subject to product recalls in the future that could harm our brand and reputation and could negatively affect our business.
We or our current and prospective partners may be subject to product recalls, withdrawals or seizures if any of our product candidates, if approved for marketing, fail to meet specifications or are believed to cause injury or illness or if we are alleged to have violated governmental regulations including those related to the manufacture, labeling, promotion, sale or distribution. Any recall, withdrawal or seizure in the future could materially and adversely affect consumer confidence in our brands and lead to decreased demand for our approved products. In addition, a recall, withdrawal or seizure of any of our approved products would require significant management attention, would likely result in substantial and unexpected expenditures and would harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
If we or any partners with which we may collaborate are unable to achieve and maintain coverage and adequate levels of reimbursement for any of our product candidates for which we receive regulatory approval, or any future products we may seek to commercialize, their commercial success may be severely hindered.
For any of our product candidates that become available only by prescription, successful sales by us or by any partners with which we may collaborate depend on the availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement from third-party payors. Patients who are prescribed medicine for the treatment of their conditions generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the costs associated with their prescription drugs. The availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement from governmental healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and private third-party payors is critical to new product acceptance. Coverage decisions may depend upon clinical and economic standards that disfavor new drug products when more established or lower cost therapeutic alternatives are already available or subsequently become available. If any of our product candidates do not demonstrate attractive efficacy profiles, they may not qualify for coverage and reimbursement. Even if we obtain coverage for a given product, the resulting reimbursement payment rates might not be adequate or may require co-payments that patients find unacceptably high. Patients are unlikely to use our products unless coverage is provided and reimbursement is adequate to cover a significant portion of the cost of our products.
In addition, the market for our product candidates will depend significantly on access to third-party payors’ drug formularies or lists of medications for which third-party payors provide coverage and reimbursement. The industry competition to be included in such formularies often leads to downward pricing pressures on pharmaceutical companies. Also, third-party payors may refuse to include a particular branded drug in their formularies or otherwise restrict patient access to a branded drug when a less costly generic equivalent or another alternative is available.
Further, third-party payors, whether foreign or domestic, or governmental or commercial, are developing increasingly sophisticated methods of controlling healthcare costs. In addition, in the United States, although private third-party payors tend to follow Medicare, no uniform policy of coverage and reimbursement for drug products exists among third-party payors. Therefore, coverage and reimbursement for drug products can differ significantly from payor to payor. As a result, the coverage determination process is often a time-consuming and costly process that will require us to provide scientific and clinical support for the use of our product candidates to each payor separately, with no assurance that coverage and adequate reimbursement will be obtained.
Further, we believe that future coverage and reimbursement will likely be subject to increased restrictions both in the United States and in international markets. Third-party coverage and reimbursement for any of our product candidates for which we may receive regulatory approval may not be available or adequate in either the United States or international markets, which could harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
Recently enacted and future healthcare legislative or regulatory reform measures, including government restrictions on pricing and reimbursement, may increase the difficulty and cost for us to obtain marketing approval, and could have a negative impact on our business and results of operations.
In the United States and some foreign jurisdictions, there have been, and continue to be, several legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding the healthcare system that could prevent or delay marketing approval of product candidates, restrict or regulate post approval activities, and affect our ability to profitably sell any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval.
Legislative and regulatory proposals have been made to expand post-approval requirements and restrict sales and promotional activities for pharmaceutical products. We do not know whether additional legislative changes will be enacted, or whether the FDA regulations, guidance or interpretations will be changed, or what the impact of such changes on the marketing approvals of our product candidates, if any, may be. In addition, increased scrutiny by the U.S. Congress of the FDA’s approval process may significantly delay or prevent marketing approval, as well as subject us to more stringent product labeling and post-marketing testing and other requirements.
In the United States, under the Medicare Modernization Act, or MMA, Medicare Part D provides coverage to the elderly and disabled for outpatient prescription drugs by approving and subsidizing prescription drug plans offered by private insurers. The MMA also authorizes Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to use formularies where they can limit the number of drugs that will be covered in any therapeutic class. The Part D plans use their formulary leverage to negotiate rebates and other price concessions from drug manufacturers. Also under the MMA, Medicare Part B provides coverage to the elderly and disabled for physician-administered drugs on the basis of the drug’s average sales price, a price that is calculated according to regulatory requirements and that the manufacturer reports to Medicare quarterly. Both Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), the agency that administers the Medicare program, from time to time consider legislation, regulations, or other initiatives to reduce drug costs under Medicare Parts B and D. For example, under the ACA, drug manufacturers are required to provide a 50% discount on prescriptions for branded drugs filled while the beneficiary is in the Medicare Part D coverage gap, also known as the “donut hole.” There have been legislative proposals to repeal the “non-interference” provision of the MMA to allow CMS to leverage the Medicare market share to negotiate larger Part D rebates. Further cost reduction efforts could decrease the coverage and price that we receive for our drug candidates and could seriously harm our business. Private payors often follow Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement rates, and any reduction in reimbursement under the Medicare program may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the “ACA”) is intended to broaden access to health insurance and reduce or constrain the growth of healthcare spending. Further, the Affordable Care Act imposes a significant annual fee on companies that manufacture or import branded prescription drug products. It also increased the amount of the rebates drug manufacturers must pay to state Medicaid programs, required that Medicaid rebates be paid on managed Medicaid utilization, and increased the additional rebate on “line extensions” (such as extended-release formulations) of solid oral dosage forms of branded products. The law also contains substantial provisions affecting fraud and abuse compliance and transparency, which may require us to modify our business practices with healthcare practitioners and incur substantial costs to ensure compliance.
Among policy makers and payors in the United States and elsewhere, there is significant interest in promoting changes in healthcare systems with the stated goals of containing healthcare costs, improving quality and/or expanding access. In the United States, the pharmaceutical industry has been a particular focus of these efforts and has been significantly affected by major legislative initiatives.
For example, in the United States, the ACA, substantially changed the way health care is financed by both governmental and private insurers and significantly affects the pharmaceutical industry. Many provisions of the 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 (the “PHS”). Since its enactment, there have been judicial and Congressional challenges and amendments to certain aspects of the ACA. There is continued uncertainty about the implementation of the ACA, including the potential for further amendments to the ACA and legal challenges to or efforts to repeal the ACA.
In addition, other legislative changes that affect the pharmaceutical industry have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the ACA was enacted. For example, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 included, among other things, a provision that authorizes CMS to negotiate a “maximum fair price” for a limited number of high-cost, single-source drugs every year, and another provision that requires drug companies to pay rebates to Medicare if prices rise faster than inflation. In addition, various states have adopted or are considering adopting laws that require pharmaceutical companies to provide notice prior to raising prices and to justify price increases. We expect that additional healthcare reform measures will be adopted in the future, any of which could limit the amounts that federal and state governments will pay for healthcare products and services, and in turn could significantly reduce the projected value of certain development projects and reduce our profitability.
There has also been heightened governmental scrutiny in the United States of pharmaceutical pricing practices in light of the rising cost of prescription drugs and biologics. Such scrutiny has resulted in several recent congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to product pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for products. At the federal level, the now-departed Trump administration proposed numerous prescription drug cost control measures. Similarly, the new Biden administration has made lowering prescription drug prices one of its priorities. The Biden administration has not yet proposed any specific plans, but we expect that these will be forthcoming in the near term. At the state level, legislatures are increasingly passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing.
Other examples of proposed changes include, but are not limited to, expanding post-approval requirements, changing the Orphan Drug Act, and restricting sales and promotional activities for pharmaceutical products. 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. We expect that these and other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, may result in more rigorous coverage criteria and in additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any approved drug. Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors. The implementation of cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may prevent us from being able to generate revenue, attain profitability, or commercialize our drugs.
In addition, FDA regulations and guidance may be revised or reinterpreted by the FDA in ways that may significantly affect our business and our products. Any new regulations or guidance, or revisions or reinterpretations of existing regulations or guidance, may impose additional costs or lengthen FDA review times for any of our current or future product candidates. We cannot determine how changes in regulations, statutes, policies, or interpretations when and if issued, enacted or adopted, may affect our business in the future. Such changes could, among other things, require:
|●||additional clinical trials to be conducted prior to obtaining approval;|
|●||changes to manufacturing methods;|
|●||recalls, replacements, or discontinuance of one or more of our products; and|
Such changes would likely require substantial time and impose significant costs, or could reduce the potential commercial value of our product candidates. In addition, delays in receipt of or failure to receive regulatory clearances or approvals for any other products would harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We may also be subject to healthcare laws, regulation and enforcement and our failure to comply with those laws could adversely affect our business, operations and financial condition.
Certain federal and state healthcare laws and regulations pertaining to fraud and abuse and patients’ rights are and will be applicable to our business. We are subject to regulation by both the federal government and the states in which we or our partners conduct our business. The laws and regulations that may affect our ability to operate include:
|●||the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, any person or entity from knowingly and willfully offering, soliciting, receiving or providing any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe or rebate), directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to induce either the referral of an individual or in return for the purchase, lease, or order of any good, facility item or service, for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under federal healthcare programs such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs;|
|●||federal civil and criminal false claims laws and civil monetary penalty laws, including, for example, the federal civil False Claims Act, which impose criminal and civil penalties, including civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, against individuals or entities for, among other things, knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, to the federal government, including the Medicare and Medicaid programs, claims for payment that are false or fraudulent or making a false statement to avoid, decrease or conceal an obligation to pay money to the federal government;|
|●||the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), which created new federal criminal statutes that prohibit knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or control of, any healthcare benefit program, regardless of the payor (e.g., public or private), knowingly and willfully embezzling or stealing from a health care benefit program, willfully obstructing a criminal investigation of a health care offense and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up by any trick or device a material fact or making any materially false statements in connection with the delivery of, or payment for, healthcare benefits, items or services relating to healthcare matters;|
|●||HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, and their implementing regulations, which impose obligations on covered entities, including healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses, as well as their respective business associates that create, receive, maintain or transmit individually identifiable health information for or on behalf of a covered entity, with respect to safeguarding the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information;|
|●||the federal physician sunshine requirements under the Affordable Care Act, which require manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies to report annually to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services information related to payments and other transfers of value provided to physicians and teaching hospitals, and ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members; and|
|●||state law equivalents of each of the above federal laws, such as anti-kickback and false claims laws, which may apply to items or services reimbursed by any third-party payor, including commercial insurers; state laws that require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the applicable compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government, or otherwise restrict payments that may be provided to healthcare providers and other potential referral sources; state laws that require drug manufacturers to report information related to payments and other transfers of value to healthcare providers or marketing expenditures; and state laws governing the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and may not have the same effect, thus complicating compliance efforts.|
Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of the statutory exceptions and safe harbors available, it is possible that some of our business activities could be subject to challenge under one or more of such laws. In addition, recent health care reform legislation has strengthened these laws. For example, the Affordable Care Act, among other things, amended the intent requirement of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and certain criminal healthcare fraud statutes. A person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it. In addition, the Affordable Care Act provided that the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the federal civil False Claims Act.
Achieving and sustaining compliance with these laws may prove costly. In addition, any action against us for violation of these laws, even if we successfully defend against it, could cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of the laws described above or any other governmental laws or regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including administrative, civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, the exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs, individual imprisonment or the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our financial results.
Our business involves the use of hazardous materials and we and our third-party suppliers and manufacturers must comply with environmental laws and regulations, which can be expensive and restrict how we do business.
The manufacturing activities of our third-party suppliers and manufacturers involve the controlled storage, use and disposal of hazardous materials owned by us, including the components of our product candidates and other hazardous compounds. We and our manufacturers and suppliers are subject to laws and regulations governing the use, manufacture, storage, handling, and disposal of these hazardous materials. In some cases, these hazardous materials and various wastes resulting from their use are stored at our suppliers’ or manufacturers’ facilities pending use and disposal. We and our suppliers and manufacturers cannot completely eliminate the risk of contamination, which could cause an interruption of our commercialization efforts, research and development efforts and business operations, injury to our service providers and others and environmental damage resulting in costly clean-up and liabilities under applicable laws and regulations governing the use, storage, handling and disposal of these materials and specified waste products. Although we believe that the safety procedures utilized by our third-party suppliers and manufacturers for handling and disposing of these materials generally comply with the standards prescribed by these laws and regulations, we cannot guarantee that this is the case or eliminate the risk of accidental contamination or injury from these materials. In such an event, we may be held liable for any resulting damages and such liability could exceed our resources. We do not currently carry biological or hazardous waste insurance coverage.
Our employees, independent contractors, principal investigators, consultants, vendors, CROs and any partners with which we may collaborate may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with regulatory standards and requirements.
We are exposed to the risk that our employees, independent contractors, principal investigators, consultants, vendors, CROs and any partners with which we may collaborate may engage in fraudulent or other illegal activity. Misconduct by these persons could include intentional, reckless or negligent conduct or unauthorized activity that violates: laws or regulations, including those laws requiring the reporting of true, complete and accurate information to the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities; manufacturing standards; federal, state and foreign healthcare fraud and abuse laws and data privacy; or laws that require the true, complete and accurate reporting of financial information or data. In particular, sales, marketing and other business arrangements in the healthcare industry are subject to extensive laws intended to prevent fraud, kickbacks, self-dealing and other abusive practices. These laws may restrict or prohibit a wide range of business activities, including research, manufacturing, distribution, pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, sales commission, customer incentive programs and other business arrangements. Activities subject to these laws also involve the improper use of information obtained in the course of clinical trials, or illegal misappropriation of drug product, which could result in regulatory sanctions or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to be in compliance with such laws or regulations, and serious harm to our reputation. In addition, federal procurement laws impose substantial penalties for misconduct in connection with government contracts and require certain contractors to maintain a code of business ethics and conduct. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, monetary fines, possible exclusion from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, and curtailment of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our operating results.
Actual or alleged non-compliance with applicable employment laws and regulation may require operational changes and undermine our competitive positioning or have other material adverse effects on our business.
Our business is subject to a variety of employment laws and regulations and may become subject to additional such requirements in the future. Although we believe we are in in material compliance with applicable employment laws and regulations, in the event of a change in requirements, we may be required to modify our operations or to utilize resources to maintain compliance with such laws and regulations. Moreover, we may be subject to various employment-related claims including individual actions, class actions, and government enforcement actions relating to alleged employment discrimination, employee classification and related withholding, wage-hour disputes, labor standards or healthcare and benefit issues in the future. Such claims, regardless of validity, may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows or other results of operations.
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 VAR 200 or IC 100 or our other product candidates in foreign markets, we would be subject to additional risks and uncertainties, including:
|●||our customers’ ability to obtain market access and appropriate 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.
As a result of the Business Combination with a special purpose acquisition company, regulatory obligations may impact us differently than other publicly traded companies.
We became a publicly traded company by completing the Business Combination with Larkspur, a special purpose acquisition company (a “SPAC”). As a result of the Business Combination, and the transactions contemplated thereby, our regulatory obligations have, and may continue, to impact us differently than other publicly traded companies. For instance, the SEC and other regulatory agencies may issue additional guidance or apply further regulatory scrutiny to companies like us that have completed a business combination with a SPAC. Managing this regulatory environment, which has and may continue to evolve, could divert management’s attention from the operation of our business, negatively impact our ability to raise additional capital when needed or have an adverse effect on the price of our Common Stock.
We are exposed to the risks of natural and man-made catastrophes, pandemics and malicious and terrorist acts that could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Natural and man-made catastrophes, pandemics, and malicious and terrorist acts present risks that could materially adversely affect our results of operations. While we have taken steps to identify and mitigate these risks, such risks cannot be predicted, nor fully protected against even if anticipated. In addition, such events could result in overall macroeconomic volatility or specifically a decrease or halt in economic activity in large geographic areas, adversely affecting the marketing or operation of our business within such geographic areas or the general economic climate, which in turn could have an adverse effect on our business, operations and financial condition.
In particular, the COVID-19 outbreak, which has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, has significantly and negatively impacted financial markets and economic conditions in the United States and globally. As a result, our operations have been, and may be further, negatively impacted. Consequently, our business, financial condition and results of operations has been, and could be further, significantly and adversely affected.
Disruptions in the global economy and supply chains may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The disruptions to the global economy in 2020 and into 2021 have impeded global supply chains, resulting in longer lead times and also increased critical component costs and freight expenses. We have taken or may have to take steps to minimize the impact of these disruptions in lead times and increased costs by working closely with third parties on whom we rely for the conduct of our business. Despite the actions we have undertaken or may have to undertake to minimize the impacts from disruptions to the global economy, there can be no assurances that unforeseen future events in the global supply chain will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Furthermore, inflation can adversely affect us by increasing the costs of clinical trials, the research and development of our product candidates, as well as administration and other costs of doing business. We may experience increases in the prices of labor and other costs of doing business. In an inflationary environment, cost increases may outpace our expectations, causing us to use our cash and other liquid assets faster than forecasted. If this happens, we may need to raise additional capital to fund our operations, which may not be available in sufficient amounts or on reasonable terms, if at all, sooner than expected.
Adverse global conditions, including economic uncertainty, may negatively impact our financial results.
Global conditions, dislocations in the financial markets, any negative financial impacts affecting United States as a result of tax reform or changes to existing trade agreements or tax conventions, may adversely impact our business.
In addition, the global macroeconomic environment could be negatively affected by, among other things, COVID-19 or other pandemics or epidemics, instability in global economic markets, increased U.S. trade tariffs and trade disputes with other countries, instability in the global credit markets, supply chain weaknesses, instability in the geopolitical environment as a result of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and other political tensions, and foreign governmental debt concerns. Such challenges have caused, and may continue to cause, uncertainty and instability in local economies and in global financial markets.
Risks Related to Our Dependence on Third Parties
We have in the past relied and expect to continue to rely on third-party CROs and other third parties to conduct and oversee our clinical trials and other aspects of product development. If these third parties do not meet our requirements or otherwise conduct the trials as required, we may not be able to satisfy our contractual obligations or obtain regulatory approval for, or commercialize, our product candidates when expected or at all.
We have in the past relied and expect to continue to rely on third-party CROs to conduct and oversee our clinical trials and other aspects of product development. We also rely upon various medical institutions, clinical investigators and contract laboratories to conduct our trials in accordance with our clinical protocols and all applicable regulatory requirements, including the FDA’s regulations and GCPs, which are an international standard meant to protect the rights and health of patients and to define the roles of clinical trial sponsors, administrators and monitors, and state regulations governing the handling, storage, security and recordkeeping for drug and biologic products. These CROs and other third parties play a significant role in the conduct of these trials and the subsequent collection and analysis of data from the clinical trials. We rely heavily on these parties for the execution of our clinical trials and preclinical studies, and control only certain aspects of their activities. We and our CROs and other third-party contractors are required to comply with GCP, GLP, and GACP requirements, which are regulations and guidelines enforced by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities for products in clinical development. Regulatory authorities enforce these GCP, GLP and GACP requirements through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators and trial sites. If we or any of these third parties fail to comply with applicable GCP, GLP and GACP requirements, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA or other regulatory authority may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our or our partners’ marketing applications. We cannot assure you that upon inspection by a given regulatory authority, such regulatory authority will determine that any of our clinical or preclinical trials complies with applicable GCP and GLP requirements. In addition, our clinical trials must generally be conducted with product produced under cGMP regulations. Our failure to comply with these regulations and policies may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process.
Our CROs are not our employees, and we do not control whether or not they devote sufficient time and resources to our clinical trials. Our CROs may also have relationships with other commercial entities, including our competitors, for whom they may also be conducting clinical trials, or other drug development activities, which could harm our competitive position. We face the risk of potential unauthorized disclosure or misappropriation of our intellectual property by CROs, which may reduce our trade secret protection and allow our potential competitors to access and exploit our proprietary technology. If our CROs do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or obligations, fail to meet expected deadlines, or if the quality or accuracy of the clinical data they obtain is compromised due to the failure to adhere to our clinical protocols or regulatory requirements or for any other reason, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated, and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for, or successfully commercialize any product candidate that we develop. As a result, our financial results and the commercial prospects for any product candidate that we develop would be harmed, our costs could increase, and our ability to generate revenue could be delayed.
If any of our CROs or clinical trial sites terminate their involvement in one of our clinical trials for any reason, we may not be able to enter into arrangements with alternative CROs or clinical trial sites, or do so on commercially reasonable terms. In addition, if our relationship with clinical trial sites is terminated, we may experience the loss of follow-up information on patients enrolled in our ongoing clinical trials unless we are able to transfer the care of those patients to another qualified clinical trial site. In addition, principal investigators for our clinical trials may serve as scientific advisors or consultants to us from time to time and could receive cash or equity compensation in connection with such services. If these relationships and any related compensation result in perceived or actual conflicts of interest, the integrity of the data generated at the applicable clinical trial site may be questioned by the FDA.
We rely completely on third-party contractors to supply, manufacture and distribute clinical drug supplies for our product candidates, including certain sole-source suppliers and manufacturers, we intend to rely on third parties for commercial supply, manufacturing and distribution if any of our product candidates receive regulatory approval and we expect to rely on third parties for supply, manufacturing and distribution of preclinical, clinical and commercial supplies of any future product candidates.
We do not currently have, nor do we plan to acquire, the infrastructure or capability to supply, manufacture or distribute preclinical, clinical or commercial quantities of drug substances or products. Our ability to develop our product candidates depends and our ability to commercially supply our products will depend, in part, on our ability to successfully obtain the raw materials and APIs and other substances and materials used in our product candidates from third parties and to have finished products manufactured by third parties in accordance with regulatory requirements and in sufficient quantities for preclinical and clinical testing and commercialization. If we fail to develop and maintain supply relationships with these third parties, we may be unable to continue to develop or commercialize our product candidates.
We rely and will continue to rely on certain third parties as the sole source of the materials they supply or the finished products they manufacture. Any of our existing suppliers or manufacturers may:
|●||fail to supply us with product on a timely basis or in the requested amount due to unexpected damage to or destruction of facilities or equipment or otherwise;|
|●||fail to increase manufacturing capacity and produce drug product and components in larger quantities and at higher yields in a timely or cost-effective manner, or at all, to sufficiently meet our commercial needs;|
|●||be unable to meet our production demands due to issues related to their reliance on sole-source suppliers and manufacturers;|
|●||supply us with product that fails to meet regulatory requirements;|
|●||become unavailable through business interruption or financial insolvency;|
|●||lose regulatory status as an approved source;|
|●||be unable or unwilling to renew current supply agreements when such agreements expire on a timely basis, on acceptable terms or at all; or|
|●||discontinue production or manufacturing of necessary drug substances or products.|
In the event of any of the foregoing, if we do not have an alternative supplier or manufacturer in place, we would be required to expend substantial management time and expense to identify, qualify and transfer processes to alternative suppliers or manufacturers. Transferring technology to other sites may require additional processes, technologies and validation studies, which are costly, may take considerable amounts of time, may not be successful and, in most cases, require review and approval by the FDA. Any need to find and qualify new suppliers or manufacturers could significantly delay production of our product candidates, adversely impact our ability to market our product candidates and adversely affect our business. Replacements may not be available to us on a timely basis, on acceptable terms or at all. Additionally, we and our manufacturers do not currently maintain significant inventory of drug substances and other materials. Any interruption in the supply of a drug substance or other material or in the manufacture of our product candidates could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
We do not have direct control over the ability of our contract suppliers and manufacturers to maintain adequate capacity and capabilities to serve our needs, including quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel. Although we are ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements such as cGMPs and GACP, we are dependent on our contract suppliers and manufacturers for day-to-day compliance with cGMPs or GACP for production of raw materials, APIs and finished products. Facilities used by our contract suppliers and manufacturers to produce the APIs and other substances and materials or finished products for commercial sale must pass inspection and be approved by the FDA and other relevant regulatory authorities. Our contract suppliers and manufacturers must comply with cGMP and GACP requirements enforced by the FDA through its facilities inspection program and review of submitted technical information. If the safety of any product or product candidate or component is compromised due to a failure to adhere to applicable laws or for other reasons, we may not be able to successfully commercialize or obtain regulatory approval for the affected product or product candidate, and we may be held liable for injuries sustained as a result. Any of these factors could cause a delay or termination of preclinical studies, clinical trials or regulatory submissions or approvals of our product candidates, and could entail higher costs or result in our being unable to effectively commercialize our approved products on a timely basis, or at all.
In addition, these contract manufacturers are engaged with other companies to supply and manufacture materials or products for such companies, which also exposes our suppliers and manufacturers to regulatory risks for the production of such materials and products. As a result, failure to meet the regulatory requirements for the production of those materials and products may also affect the regulatory clearance of a contract supplier’s or manufacturer’s facility. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory agency does not approve these facilities for the supply or manufacture of our product candidates, or if it withdraws its approval in the future, we may need to find alternative supply or manufacturing facilities, which would negatively impact our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval of or market our product candidates, if approved.
Our reliance on contract manufacturers and suppliers further exposes us to the possibility that they, or third parties with access to their facilities, will have access to and may misappropriate our trade secrets or other proprietary information.
If we are not able to establish and maintain collaborations, we may have to alter our development and commercialization plans.
The development and potential commercialization of our product candidates will require substantial additional cash to fund expenses. In order to fund further development of our product candidates, we may collaborate with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for the development and potential commercialization of those product candidates. We face significant competition in seeking appropriate partners. Whether we reach a definitive agreement for a collaboration will depend, among other things, upon our assessment of the partner’s resources and experience, the terms and conditions of the proposed collaboration and the proposed partner’s evaluation of a number of factors. Those factors may include the design or results of clinical trials; the likelihood of approval by the FDA or other regulatory authorities; the potential market for the subject product candidate; the costs and complexities of manufacturing and delivering such product candidate to patients; the potential of competing products; any uncertainty with respect to our ownership of our intellectual property; and industry and market conditions generally. The partner may also consider alternative product candidates or technologies for similar indications that may be available for collaboration and whether such a collaboration could be more attractive than the one with us for our product candidate. We may also be restricted under future license agreements from entering into agreements on certain terms with potential partners. Collaborations are complex and time-consuming to negotiate and document. In addition, there have been a significant number of recent business combinations among large pharmaceutical companies that have resulted in a reduced number of potential future partners.
Future collaborations we may enter into may involve the following risks:
|●||collaborators may have significant discretion in determining the efforts and resources that they will apply to these collaborations;|
|●||collaborators may not perform their obligations as expected;|
|●||changes in the collaborators’ strategic focus or available funding, or external factors, such as an acquisition, may divert resources or create competing priorities;|
|●||collaborators may delay discovery and preclinical development, provide insufficient funding for product development of targets selected by us, stop or abandon discovery and preclinical development for a product candidate, repeat or conduct new discovery and preclinical development for a product candidate;|
|●||collaborators could independently develop, or develop with third parties, products that compete directly or indirectly with our products or product candidates if the collaborators believe that competitive products are more likely to be successfully developed than ours;|
|●||product candidates discovered in collaboration with us may be viewed by our collaborators as competitive with their own product candidates or products, which may cause collaborators to cease to devote resources to the development of our product candidates;|
|●||disagreements with collaborators, including disagreements over proprietary rights, contract interpretation or the preferred course of development, might cause delays or termination of the discovery, preclinical development or commercialization of product candidates, might lead to additional responsibilities for us with respect to product candidates, or might result in litigation or arbitration, any of which would be time-consuming and expensive;|
|●||collaborators may not properly maintain or defend our intellectual property rights or intellectual property rights licensed to us or may use our proprietary information in such a way as to invite litigation that could jeopardize or invalidate our intellectual property or proprietary information or expose us to potential litigation;|
|●||collaborators may infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties, which may expose us to litigation and potential liability; and|
|●||collaborations may be terminated for the convenience of the collaborator and, if terminated, we could be required to raise additional capital to pursue further development or commercialization of the applicable product candidates.|
Collaborations typically impose detailed obligations on each party. If we were to breach our obligations, we may face substantial consequences, including potential termination of the collaboration, and our rights to our partners’ product candidates, in which we have invested substantial time and money, would be lost.
We may not be able to negotiate collaborations on a timely basis, on acceptable terms or at all. If we are unable to do so, we may have to curtail the development of a product candidate, reduce or delay our development program or one or more of our other development programs, delay our potential commercialization or increase our expenditures and undertake development or commercialization activities at our own expense. If we elect to increase our expenditures to fund development or commercialization activities on our own, we may need to obtain additional capital, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. If we do not have sufficient funds, we may not be able to further develop our product candidates or bring them to market and generate product revenue.
Risks Related to Managing Our Growth, Our Employees and Our Operations
We will need to further increase the size and complexity of our organization in the future, and we may experience difficulties in executing our growth strategy and managing any growth.
Our management, personnel, systems and facilities currently in place are not adequate to support our business plan and near-term future growth. We will need to further expand our chemistry and manufacturing team, clinical team, managerial, operational, financial, and other resources to support our planned research, development and commercialization activities.
To manage our operations, growth and various projects effectively requires that we:
|●||continue to improve our operational, financial, management and regulatory compliance controls and reporting systems and procedures;|
|●||attract and retain sufficient numbers of talented employees;|
|●||develop a marketing, sales and distribution capability;|
|●||manage our commercialization activities for our product candidates effectively and in a cost-effective manner;|
|●||establish and maintain relationships with development and commercialization partners;|
|●||manage our preclinical and clinical trials effectively;|
|●||manage our third-party supply and manufacturing operations effectively and in a cost-effective manner, while increasing production capabilities for our current product candidates to commercial levels; and|
|●||manage our development efforts effectively while carrying out our contractual obligations to partners and other third parties.|
In addition, historically, we have utilized and continue to utilize the services of part-time outside consultants to perform a number of tasks for us, including tasks related to preclinical and clinical testing. Our growth strategy may also entail expanding our use of consultants to implement these and other tasks going forward. We rely on consultants for certain functions of our business and will need to effectively manage these consultants to ensure that they successfully carry out their contractual obligations and meet expected deadlines. There can be no assurance that we will be able to manage our existing consultants or find other competent outside consultants, as needed, on economically reasonable terms, or at all. If we are not able to effectively manage our growth and expand our organization by hiring new employees and expanding our use of consultants, we might be unable to successfully implement the tasks necessary to execute effectively on our planned research, development and commercialization activities and, accordingly, might not achieve our research, development and commercialization goals.
If we fail to attract and retain management and other key personnel, we may be unable to continue to successfully develop or commercialize our product candidates or otherwise implement our business plan.
Our ability to compete in the highly competitive pharmaceuticals industry depends upon our ability to attract and retain highly qualified managerial, scientific, medical, sales and marketing and other personnel. We are highly dependent on our management, including Stephen C. Glover, Peter Wolfe, Pablo A. Guzman, M.D. and Karen A. Cashmere. The loss of the services of any of these individuals could impede, delay or prevent the successful development of our product pipeline, completion of our planned clinical trials, commercialization of our product candidates or in-licensing or acquisition of new assets and could negatively impact our ability to successfully implement our business plan. If we lose the services of any of these individuals, we might not be able to find suitable replacements on a timely basis or at all, and our business could be harmed as a result. We do not maintain “key man” insurance policies on the lives of these individuals or the lives of any of our other employees. In order to retain valuable employees at our company, in addition to salary and cash incentives, we provide 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 are beyond our control, and may at any time be insufficient to counteract offers from other companies.
We might not be able to attract or retain qualified management and other key personnel in the future due to the intense competition for qualified personnel among biotechnology, pharmaceutical and other businesses, particularly in the Weston, FL area where we are headquartered. We could have difficulty attracting experienced personnel to our company and may be required to expend significant financial resources in our employee recruitment and retention efforts. Many of the other pharmaceutical companies with whom we compete for qualified personnel have greater financial and other resources, different risk profiles and longer histories in the industry than we do. They also may provide more diverse opportunities and better chances for career advancement. If we are not able to attract and retain the necessary personnel to accomplish our business objectives, we may experience constraints that will harm our ability to implement our business strategy and achieve our business objectives.
In addition, we have scientific and clinical advisors who assist us in formulating our development and clinical strategies. These advisors are not our employees and may have commitments to, or consulting or advisory contracts with, other entities that may limit their availability to us. In addition, our advisors may have arrangements with other companies to assist those companies in developing products or technologies that may compete with ours.
The competitive job market creates a challenge and potential risk as we grow and strive to attract and retain a highly skilled workforce.
Competition for our employees, including highly skilled technology and product professionals, is extremely intense reflecting a tight labor market. This can present a risk as we compete for experienced candidates, especially if the competition is able to offer more attractive financial terms of employment. This risk extends to our current employee population. In addition, we have been impacted and could be further impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which could cause talented employees to change locations, and may make it more challenging to attract and retain skilled professionals. We may also invest significant time and expense in engaging and developing our employees as we grow our business, which also increases their value to other companies that may seek to recruit them. Turnover can result in significant replacement costs and lost productivity. Additionally, U.S. immigration policy may make it more difficult for qualified foreign nationals to obtain or maintain work visas under the H-1B classification. These H-1B visa limitations may make it more difficult and/or more expensive for us to hire the skilled professionals we need to execute our growth strategy and may adversely impact our business.
We currently have limited marketing capabilities and no sales organization. If we are unable to establish sales and marketing capabilities on our own or through third parties, we will be unable to successfully commercialize our product candidates, if approved, or generate product revenue.
We currently have limited marketing capabilities and no sales organization. To commercialize our product candidates, if approved, in the United States, Canada, the European Union and other jurisdictions we seek to enter, we must build our marketing, sales, distribution, managerial and other non-technical capabilities or make arrangements with third parties to perform these services, and we may not be successful in doing so. Although our management team has experience in the marketing, sale and distribution of pharmaceutical products from prior employment at other companies, we as a company have no prior experience in the marketing, sale and distribution of pharmaceutical products and there are significant risks involved in building and managing a sales organization, including our ability to hire, retain and incentivize qualified individuals, generate sufficient sales leads, provide adequate training to sales and marketing personnel and effectively manage a geographically dispersed sales and marketing team. Any failure or delay in the development of our internal sales, marketing and distribution capabilities would adversely impact the commercialization of these products. We may choose to collaborate with additional third parties that have direct sales forces and established distribution systems, either to augment our own sales force and distribution systems or in lieu of our own sales force and distribution systems. If we are unable to enter into such arrangements on acceptable terms or at all, we may not be able to successfully commercialize our product candidates. If we are unable to successfully commercialize our product candidates, either on our own or through collaborations with one or more third parties, our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects would suffer.
Our failure to successfully in-license, acquire, develop and market additional product candidates or approved products would impair our ability to grow our business.
We intend to in-license, acquire, develop and market additional products and product candidates and we may in-license or acquire commercial-stage products or engage in other strategic transactions. Because our internal research and development capabilities are limited, we may be dependent upon pharmaceutical companies, academic scientists and other researchers to sell or license products or technology to us. The success of this strategy depends partly upon our ability to identify and select promising pharmaceutical product candidates and products, negotiate licensing or acquisition agreements with their current owners and finance these arrangements.
The process of proposing, negotiating and implementing a license or acquisition of a product candidate or approved product is lengthy and complex. Other companies, including some with substantially greater financial, marketing, sales and other resources, may compete with us for the license or acquisition of product candidates and approved products. We have limited resources to identify and execute the acquisition or in-licensing of third-party products, businesses and technologies and integrate them into our current infrastructure. Moreover, we may devote resources to potential acquisitions or licensing opportunities that are never completed, or we may fail to realize the anticipated benefits of such efforts. We may not be able to acquire the rights to additional product candidates on terms that we find acceptable, or at all.
Further, any product candidate that we acquire may require additional development efforts prior to commercial sale, including preclinical or clinical testing and approval by the FDA and applicable foreign regulatory authorities. All product candidates are prone to risks of failure typical of pharmaceutical product development, including the possibility that a product candidate will not be shown to be sufficiently safe and effective for approval by regulatory authorities. In addition, we cannot provide assurance that any approved products that we acquire will be manufactured or sold profitably or achieve market acceptance.
Additional potential transactions that we may consider include a variety of different business arrangements, including spin-offs, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, restructurings, divestitures, business combinations and investments. Any such transaction may require us to incur non-recurring or other charges, may increase our near- and long-term expenditures and may pose significant integration challenges or disrupt our management or business, which could adversely affect our operations and financial results. For example, these transactions entail numerous potential operational and financial risks, including:
|●||exposure to unknown liabilities;|
|●||disruption of our business and diversion of our management’s time and attention in order to develop acquired products, product candidates or technologies;|
|●||incurrence of substantial debt or dilutive issuances of equity securities to pay for acquisitions;|
|●||substantial acquisition and integration costs;|
|●||write-downs of assets or impairment charges;|
|●||increased amortization expenses;|
|●||difficulty and cost in combining the operations and personnel of any acquired businesses with our operations and personnel;|
|●||impairment of relationships with key suppliers, partners or customers of any acquired businesses due to changes in management and ownership; and|
|●||inability to retain our key employees or those of any acquired businesses.|
Accordingly, there can be no assurance that we will undertake or successfully complete any transactions of the nature described above, and any transaction that we do complete could harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
Manufacturing and supply of the APIs and other substances and materials used in our product candidates is a complex and technically challenging undertaking, and there is potential for failure at many points in the manufacturing, testing, quality assurance and distribution supply chain, as well as the potential for latent defects after products have been manufactured and distributed.
Manufacturing and supply of APIs, other substances and materials and finished drug products is technically challenging. Changes beyond our direct control can impact the quality, volume, price and successful delivery of our product candidates and can impede, delay, limit or prevent the successful development and commercialization of our product candidates. Mistakes and mishandling are not uncommon and can affect successful production and supply. Some of these risks include:
|●||failure of our manufacturers to follow cGMP or GACP requirements or mishandling of product while in production or in preparation for transit;|
|●||inability of our contract suppliers and manufacturers to efficiently and cost-effectively increase and maintain high yields and batch quality, consistency and stability;|
|●||our inability to develop an FDA approved bioassay for release of any future product;|
|●||difficulty in establishing optimal drug delivery substances and techniques, production and storage methods and packaging and shipment processes;|
|●||transportation and import/export risk, particularly given the global nature of our supply chain;|
|●||delays in analytical results or failure of analytical techniques that we depend on for quality control and release of any future product;|
|●||natural disasters, pandemics, labor disputes, financial distress, lack of raw material supply, issues with facilities and equipment or other forms of disruption to business operations of our contract manufacturers and suppliers; and|
|●||latent defects that may become apparent after the product has been released and which may result in recall and destruction of product.|
Any of these factors could result in delays or higher costs in connection with our clinical trials, regulatory submissions, required approvals or commercialization of our product candidates, which could harm our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
Our operating results may fluctuate significantly, which makes our future operating results difficult to predict and could cause our operating results to fall below expectations.
Our operations to date have been primarily limited to researching and developing our product candidates and undertaking preclinical studies and clinical trials of our product candidates. We have not yet obtained regulatory approvals for any of our product candidates. 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 or approved products on the market. Furthermore, our operating results may fluctuate due to a variety of other factors, many of which are outside of our control and may be difficult to predict, including the following:
|●||delays in the commencement, enrollment and the timing of clinical testing for our product candidates;|
|●||the timing and success or failure of clinical trials for our product candidates or competing product candidates, or any other change in the competitive landscape of our industry, including consolidation among our competitors or partners;|
|●||any delays in regulatory review and approval of product candidates in clinical development;|
|●||the timing and cost of, and level of investment in, research and development activities relating to our product candidates, which may change from time to time;|
|●||the cost of manufacturing our product candidates, which may vary depending on FDA guidelines and requirements, and the quantity of production;|
|●||our ability to obtain additional funding to develop our product candidates;|
|●||expenditures that we will or may incur to acquire or develop additional product candidates and technologies;|
|●||the level of demand for our product candidates, should they receive approval, which may vary significantly;|
|●||potential side effects of our product candidates that could delay or prevent commercialization or cause an approved drug to be taken off the market;|
|●||the ability of patients or healthcare providers to obtain coverage of or sufficient reimbursement for our product candidates, if approved;|
|●||our dependency on third-party manufacturers to supply or manufacture our product candidates;|
|●||our ability to establish an effective sales, marketing and distribution infrastructure in a timely manner;|
|●||market acceptance of our product candidates, if approved, and our ability to forecast demand for those product candidates;|
|●||our ability to receive approval and commercialize our product candidates outside of the United States;|
|●||our ability to establish and maintain collaborations, licensing or other arrangements;|
|●||our ability and third parties’ abilities to protect intellectual property rights;|
|●||costs related to and outcomes of potential litigation or other disputes;|
|●||our ability to adequately support future growth;|
|●||our ability to attract and retain key personnel to manage our business effectively;|
|●||potential liabilities associated with hazardous materials;|
|●||our ability to maintain adequate insurance policies; and|
|●||future accounting pronouncements or changes in our accounting policies.|
Our operating results and liquidity needs could be negatively affected by market fluctuations and economic downturn.
Our operating results and liquidity could be negatively affected by economic conditions generally, both in the United States and elsewhere around the world. The market for discretionary medical products and procedures may be particularly vulnerable to unfavorable economic conditions. Some patients may consider certain of our product candidates to be discretionary, and if full reimbursement for such products is not available, demand for these products may be tied to the discretionary spending levels of our targeted patient populations. Domestic and international equity and debt markets have experienced and may continue to experience heightened volatility and turmoil based on domestic and international economic conditions and concerns. In the event these economic conditions and concerns continue or worsen and the markets continue to remain volatile, our operating results and liquidity could be adversely affected by those factors in many ways, including weakening demand for certain of our products and making it more difficult for us to raise funds if necessary, and our stock price may decline. Additionally, although we plan to market our products primarily in the United States, we could in the future have partners with extensive global operations, indirectly exposing us to risk.
Our business and operations would suffer in the event of failures in our internal computer systems.
Despite the implementation of security measures, our computer systems and those of our current and any future partners, contractors and consultants are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, unauthorized access, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures. While we have not experienced any such material 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 manufacturing activities, development programs and our business operations. For example, the loss of manufacturing records or clinical trial data from completed or future clinical trials could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of, or damage to, our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability and the further commercialization and development of our products and product candidates could be delayed.
We are increasingly dependent on information technology, and our systems and infrastructure face certain risks, including cybersecurity and data leakage risks.
Significant disruptions to our information technology systems or breaches of information security could adversely affect our business. In the ordinary course of business, we collect, store and transmit large amounts of confidential information, and it is critical that we do so in a secure manner to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of such confidential information. The size and complexity of our information technology systems, and those of our third-party vendors with whom we contract, make such systems potentially vulnerable to service interruptions and security breaches from inadvertent or intentional actions by our employees, partners or vendors, from attacks by malicious third parties, or from intentional or accidental physical damage to our systems infrastructure maintained by us or by third parties. Maintaining the secrecy of this confidential, proprietary, or trade secret information is important to our competitive business position. While we have taken steps to protect such information and invested in information technology, there can be no assurance that our efforts will prevent service interruptions or security breaches in our systems or the unauthorized or inadvertent wrongful use or disclosure of confidential information that could adversely affect our business operations or result in the loss, dissemination, or misuse of critical or sensitive information. A breach of our security measures or the accidental loss, inadvertent disclosure, unapproved dissemination, misappropriation or misuse of trade secrets, proprietary information, or other confidential information, whether as a result of theft, hacking, fraud, trickery or other forms of deception, or for any other reason, could enable others to produce competing products, use our proprietary technology or information, or adversely affect our business or financial condition. Further, any such interruption, security breach, loss or disclosure of confidential information, could result in financial, legal, business, and reputational harm to us and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flow.
Due to our primarily remote workforce, we may face increased business continuity and cyber risks that could significantly harm our business and operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to modify our business practices by migrating to a primarily remote workforce where our employees are accessing our servers remotely through home or other networks to perform their job responsibilities. While most of our operations can be performed remotely and are operating effectively at present, there is no guarantee that this will continue or that we will continue to be as effective while working remotely because our team is dispersed, many employees may have additional personal needs to attend to (such as looking after children as a result of school closures or a family member who becomes sick), and employees may become sick themselves and be unable to work. As conditions improve and restrictions are lifted, similar uncertainties exist with the return-to-work process. Additionally, while we put in place additional safeguards to protect data security and privacy, a remote workforce places additional pressure on our user infrastructure and third parties that are not easily mitigated. These risks include home internet availability affecting work continuity and efficiency, and additional dependencies on third-party communication tools, such as instant messaging and online meeting platforms.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
Failure to adequately protect our intellectual property could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.
Our business depends on our intellectual property and proprietary technology, the protection of which is crucial to the success of our business. We rely on a combination of trademark, copyright, and trade secret laws, license agreements, intellectual property assignment agreements, and confidentiality procedures to protect our intellectual property. Additionally, we rely on proprietary information (such as trade secrets, know-how and confidential information) to protect intellectual property that may not be patentable, or that we believe is best protected by means that do not require public disclosure. We generally attempt to protect our intellectual property, technology, and confidential information by requiring our employees and consultants who develop intellectual property on our behalf to enter into confidentiality and invention assignment agreements and third parties we share information with to enter into nondisclosure agreements. These agreements may not effectively prevent unauthorized use or disclosure of our confidential information, intellectual property, or technology and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure of our confidential information or technology, or infringement of our intellectual property. For example, we may fail to enter into the necessary agreements, and even if entered into, these agreements may be willfully breached or may otherwise fail to prevent disclosure, third-party infringement or misappropriation of our proprietary information, may be limited as to their term and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure or use of proprietary information. In addition, our proprietary information may otherwise become known or be independently developed by our competitors or other third parties. To the extent that our employees, consultants, contractors, and other third parties use intellectual property owned by others in their work for us, disputes may arise as to the rights in related or resulting know-how and inventions. Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of our intellectual property rights and other proprietary rights, and failure to obtain or maintain protection for our proprietary information could adversely affect our competitive business position.
Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, other parties may unintentionally or willfully disclose, obtain or use our technologies or systems, which may allow unauthorized parties to copy aspects of our platform or other software, technology, and functionality or obtain and use information that we consider proprietary. In addition, unauthorized parties may also attempt, or successfully endeavor, to obtain our intellectual property, confidential information and trade secrets through various methods, including through scraping of public data or other content from our website or mobile applications, cybersecurity attacks, and legal or other methods of protecting this data may be inadequate. Monitoring unauthorized use and disclosures of our intellectual property, proprietary technology, or confidential information can be difficult and expensive and we cannot be sure that the steps we have taken will prevent misappropriation or infringement of our intellectual property or proprietary rights.
We have registered domain names for websites that we use in our business, such as www.zyversa.com and other variations. The inclusion of the website address in this prospectus does not include or incorporate by reference the information on our website into this prospectus.
Competitors have and may continue to adopt service names similar to ours, thereby harming our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to user confusion. In addition, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other trademarks that are similar to our trademarks. Further, litigation or proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or other governmental authorities and administrative bodies in the United States and abroad may be necessary in the future to enforce our intellectual property rights and to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others. Any litigation we initiate concerning the violation by third parties of our intellectual property rights is likely to be expensive and time-consuming and could lead to the invalidation of, or render unenforceable, our intellectual property, or could otherwise have negative consequences for us. Even if we sue other parties for such infringement, such suits may have adverse consequences for our business. In addition, we may not timely or successfully apply for a patent or register our trademarks or otherwise secure our intellectual property, which could result in negative effects to our market share, financial condition and results of operations. Our efforts to protect, maintain, or enforce our proprietary rights may not be respected in the future or may be invalidated, circumvented or challenged, and could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.
We may be unable to continue to use the domain names that we use in our business or prevent third parties from acquiring and using domain names that infringe on, are similar to, or otherwise decrease the value of our brand, trademarks, or service marks.
We have registered domain names that we use in, or are related to, our business. If we lose the ability to use a domain name, whether due to trademark claims, failure to renew the applicable registration, or any other cause, we may be forced to market our offerings under a new domain name, which could cause us substantial harm, or to incur significant expense in order to purchase rights to the domain name in question. We may not be able to obtain preferred domain names outside the United States due to a variety of reasons, including because they are already held by others. In addition, our competitors and others could attempt to capitalize on our brand recognition by using domain names similar to our domain names. We may be unable to prevent third parties from acquiring and using domain names that infringe on, are similar to, or otherwise decrease the value of our brand or our trademarks or service marks. Protecting, maintaining, and enforcing our rights in our domain names may require litigation, which could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources, which could in turn adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.
Recent patent reform legislation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our future patents.
Our ability to obtain patents is highly uncertain because, to date, some legal principles remain unresolved, there has not been a consistent policy regarding the breadth or interpretation of claims allowed in patents in the United States and the specific content of patents and patent applications that are necessary to support and interpret patent claims is highly uncertain due to the complex nature of the relevant legal, scientific, and factual issues. Changes in either patent laws or interpretations of patent laws in the United States and other countries may diminish the value of our intellectual property or narrow the scope of our patent protection.
For example, on September 16, 2011, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, or the Leahy-Smith Act, was signed into law. The Leahy-Smith Act includes a number of significant changes to United States patent law. These include provisions that affect the way patent applications will be prosecuted and may also affect patent litigation. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO”) has developed new and untested regulations and procedures to govern the full implementation of the Leahy-Smith Act, and many of the substantive changes to patent law associated with the Leahy-Smith Act, and in particular, the first to file provisions, became effective in March 2013. The Leahy-Smith Act has also introduced procedures making it easier for third parties to challenge issued patents, as well as to intervene in the prosecution of patent applications. Finally, the Leahy-Smith Act contains new statutory provisions that require the USPTO to issue new regulations for their implementation, and it may take the courts years to interpret the provisions of the new statute. It is too early to tell what, if any, impact the Leahy-Smith Act will have on the operation of our business and the protection and enforcement of our intellectual property. However, the Leahy-Smith Act and its implementation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our future patents. Further, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on several patent cases in recent years, either narrowing the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances or weakening the rights of patent owners in certain situations. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, this combination of events has created uncertainty with respect to the value of patents, once obtained. Depending on actions by the U.S. Congress, the federal courts and the USPTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that would weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce patents that we have owned or licensed or that we might obtain in the future. An inability to obtain, enforce, and defend patents covering our proprietary technologies would materially and adversely affect our business prospects and financial condition.
Similarly, changes in patent laws and regulations in other countries or jurisdictions or changes in the governmental bodies that enforce them or changes in how the relevant governmental authority enforces patent laws or regulations may weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce patents that we may obtain in the future. Further, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect proprietary rights to the same extent or in the same manner as the laws of the United States. As a result, we may encounter significant problems in protecting and defending our intellectual property both in the United States and abroad. For example, if the issuance to us, in a given country, of a patent covering an invention is not followed by the issuance, in other countries, of patents covering the same invention, or if any judicial interpretation of the validity, enforceability, or scope of the claims, or the written description or enablement, in a patent issued in one country is not similar to the interpretation given to the corresponding patent issued in another country, our ability to protect our intellectual property in those countries may be limited. Changes in either patent laws or in interpretations of patent laws in the United States and other countries may materially diminish the value of our intellectual property or narrow the scope of our patent protection.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.
Filing, prosecuting and defending patents on our product candidates in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive. The requirements for patentability may differ in certain countries, particularly developing countries. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as laws in the United States. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the United States. Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own products and, further, may export otherwise infringing products to territories where we have patent protection, but enforcement on infringing activities is inadequate. These products may compete with our products, and our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing.
Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property protection, particularly those relating to pharmaceuticals, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents or marketing of competing products in violation of our proprietary rights generally. Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and our patent applications at risk of not issuing, and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. In addition, certain countries in Europe and certain developing countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner may be compelled to grant licenses to third parties. In those countries, we may have limited remedies if our patents are infringed or if we are compelled to grant a license to our patents to a third party, which could materially diminish the value of those patents. This could limit our potential revenue opportunities. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we own or license. Finally, our ability to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights may be adversely affected by unforeseen changes in foreign intellectual property laws.
Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.
Periodic maintenance and annuity fees on any issued patent are due to be paid to the USPTO and foreign patent agencies in several stages over the lifetime of the patent. The USPTO and various foreign governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other similar provisions during the patent application process. While an inadvertent lapse can in many cases be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules, there are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of the patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. Non-compliance events that could result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application include failure to respond to official actions within prescribed time limits, non-payment of fees and failure to properly legalize and submit formal documents. If we or our licensors fail to maintain the patents and patent applications covering our product candidates, our competitors might be able to enter the market, which would have an adverse effect on our business.
If we fail to comply with our obligations under our intellectual property license agreements, we could lose license rights that are important to our business.
We are a party to certain license agreements that impose various diligence, milestone, royalty, insurance and other obligations on us. If we fail to comply with these obligations, the respective licensors may have the right to terminate the license, in which event we may not be able to develop or market the affected product candidate. The loss of such rights could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects. For more information about these license arrangements, see “Business – Strategic Alliances and Arrangements.”
If we are sued for infringing intellectual property rights of third parties, it will be costly and time-consuming, and an unfavorable outcome in that litigation could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our commercial success depends upon our ability to develop, manufacture, market and sell our product candidates and use our proprietary technologies without infringing the proprietary rights of third parties. We cannot guarantee that marketing and selling such candidates and using such technologies will not infringe existing or future patents. Numerous U.S. and foreign issued patents and pending patent applications owned by third parties exist in the fields relating to our product candidates. As the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries expand and more patents are issued, the risk increases that others may assert that our product candidates, technologies or methods of delivery or use infringe their patent rights. Moreover, it is not always clear to industry participants, including us, which patents cover various drugs, biologics, drug delivery systems or their methods of use, and which of these patents may be valid and enforceable. Thus, because of the large number of patents issued and patent applications filed in our fields, there may be a risk that third parties may allege they have patent rights encompassing our product candidates, technologies or methods.
In addition, there may be issued patents of third parties that are infringed or are alleged to be infringed by our product candidates or proprietary technologies. Because some patent applications in the United States may be maintained in secrecy until the patents are issued, because patent applications in the United States and many foreign jurisdictions are typically not published until eighteen months after filing and because publications in the scientific literature often lag behind actual discoveries, we cannot be certain that others have not filed patent applications for technology covered by our own and in-licensed issued patents or our pending applications. Our competitors may have filed, and may in the future file, patent applications covering our product candidates or technology similar to ours. Any such patent application may have priority over our own and in-licensed patent applications or patents, which could further require us to obtain rights to issued patents covering such technologies. If another party has filed a U.S. patent application on inventions similar to those owned or in-licensed to us, we or, in the case of in-licensed technology, the licensor may have to participate, in the United States, in an interference proceeding to determine priority of invention.
We may be exposed to, or threatened with, future litigation by third parties having patent or other intellectual property rights alleging that our product candidates or proprietary technologies infringe such third parties’ intellectual property rights, including litigation resulting from filing under Paragraph IV of the Hatch-Waxman Act. These lawsuits could claim that there are existing patent rights for such drug and this type of litigation can be costly and could adversely affect our operating results and divert the attention of managerial and technical personnel, even if we do not infringe such patents or the patents asserted against us are ultimately established as invalid. There is a risk that a court would decide that we are infringing the third party’s patents and would order us to stop the activities covered by the patents. In addition, there is a risk that a court will order us to pay the other party damages for having violated the other party’s patents.
As a result of patent infringement claims, or to avoid potential claims, we may choose or be required to seek licenses from third parties. These licenses may not be available on commercially acceptable terms, or at all. Even if we are able to obtain a license, the license would likely obligate us to pay license fees or royalties or both, and the rights granted to us might be nonexclusive, which could result in our competitors gaining access to the same intellectual property, or such rights might be restrictive and limit our present and future activities. Ultimately, we or a licensee could be prevented from commercializing a product, or forced to cease some aspect of our business operations, if, as a result of actual or threatened patent infringement claims, we are unable to enter into licenses on acceptable terms.
In addition to possible infringement claims against us, we may become a party to other patent litigation and other proceedings, including interference, derivation, re-examination or other post-grant proceedings declared or granted by the USPTO, and similar proceedings in foreign countries, regarding intellectual property rights with respect to our current or of our other products.
There is a substantial amount of litigation involving patent and other intellectual property rights in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries generally. To date, no litigation asserting infringement claims has ever been brought against us. If a third-party claims that we infringe its intellectual property rights, we may face a number of issues, including:
|●||infringement and other intellectual property claims which, regardless of merit, may be expensive and time-consuming to litigate and may divert our management’s attention from our core business;|
|●||substantial damages for infringement, which we may have to pay if a court decides that the product or technology at issue infringes or violates the third party’s rights, and if the court finds that the infringement was willful, we could be ordered to pay treble damages and the patent owner’s attorneys’ fees;|
|●||a court prohibiting us from selling or licensing the product or using the technology unless the third party licenses its intellectual property rights to us, which it is not required to do;|
|●||if a license is available from a third party, we may have to pay substantial royalties or upfront fees or grant cross-licenses to intellectual property rights for our products or technologies; and|
|●||redesigning our products or processes so they do not infringe, which may not be possible or may require substantial monetary expenditures and time.|
Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of complex patent litigation more effectively than we can because they have substantially greater resources. In addition, any uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of any litigation could harm our ability to raise additional funds or otherwise adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
Because we rely on certain third-party licensors and partners, and will continue to do so in the future, if one of our licensors or partners is sued for infringing a third party’s intellectual property rights, our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects could suffer in the same manner as if we were sued directly. In addition to facing litigation risks, we have agreed to indemnify certain third-party licensors and partners against claims of infringement caused by our proprietary technologies, and we have entered or may enter into cost-sharing agreements with some our licensors and partners that could require us to pay some of the costs of patent litigation brought against those third parties whether or not the alleged infringement is caused by our proprietary technologies. In certain instances, these cost-sharing agreements could also require us to assume greater responsibility for infringement damages than would be assumed just on the basis of our technology.
The occurrence of any of the foregoing could adversely affect our business, financial condition or operating results.
We may become involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our patents or other intellectual property or the patents of our licensors, which could be expensive and time-consuming.
Competitors may infringe our intellectual property, including our patents or the patents of our licensors. As a result, we may be required to file infringement claims to stop third-party infringement or unauthorized use. This can be expensive and time-consuming, particularly for a company of our size. In addition, in an infringement proceeding, a court may decide that a patent of ours is not valid or is unenforceable, or may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patent claims do not cover our technology or that the factors necessary to grant an injunction against an infringer are not satisfied. An adverse determination of any litigation or other proceedings could put one or more of our patents at risk of being invalidated, interpreted narrowly or amended such that they do not cover our product candidates. Moreover, such adverse determinations could put our patent applications at risk of not issuing, or issuing with limited and potentially inadequate scope to cover our product candidates or to prevent others from marketing similar products.
Interference, derivation or other proceedings brought at the USPTO may be necessary to determine the priority or patentability of inventions with respect to our patent applications or those of our licensors or potential partners. Litigation or USPTO proceedings brought by us may fail or may be invoked against us by third parties. Even if we are successful, domestic or foreign litigation or USPTO or foreign patent office proceedings may result in substantial costs and distraction to our management. We may not be able, alone or with our licensors or potential partners, to prevent misappropriation of our proprietary rights, particularly in countries where the laws may not protect such rights as fully as in the United States.
Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation or other proceedings, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation or other proceedings. In addition, during the course of this kind of litigation or proceedings, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments or public access to related documents. If investors perceive these results to be negative, the market price for our Common Stock or warrants could be significantly harmed.
Our reliance on third parties requires us to share our trade secrets, which increases the possibility that our trade secrets will be misappropriated or disclosed, and confidentiality agreements with employees and third parties may not adequately prevent disclosure of trade secrets and protect other proprietary information.
We consider proprietary trade secrets or confidential know-how and unpatented know-how to be important to our business. We may rely on trade secrets or confidential know-how to protect our technology, especially where patent protection is believed by us to be of limited value.
To protect this type of information against disclosure or appropriation by competitors, our policy is to require our employees, consultants, collaborators, contractors and advisors to enter into confidentiality agreements and, if applicable, material transfer agreements, consulting agreements or other similar agreements with us prior to beginning research or disclosing proprietary information. These agreements typically limit the rights of the third parties to use or disclose our confidential information, including our trade secrets. However, current or former employees, consultants, collaborators, contractors and advisors may unintentionally or willfully disclose our confidential information to competitors, and confidentiality agreements may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. The need to share trade secrets and other confidential information increases the risk that such trade secrets become known by our competitors, are inadvertently incorporated into the technology of others, or are disclosed or used in violation of these agreements. Given that our proprietary position is based, in part, on our know-how and trade secrets, a competitor’s discovery of our trade secrets or other unauthorized use or disclosure would impair our competitive position and may have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations. Enforcing a claim that a third party obtained illegally and is using trade secrets or confidential know-how is expensive, time consuming and unpredictable. The enforceability of confidentiality agreements may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
In addition, these agreements typically restrict the ability of our employees, consultants, collaborators, contractors and advisors to publish data potentially relating to our trade secrets, although our agreements may contain certain limited publication rights. Despite our efforts to protect our trade secrets, our competitors may discover our trade secrets, either through breach of our agreements with third parties, independent development or publication of information by any of our third-party collaborators. A competitor’s discovery of our trade secrets would impair our competitive position and have an adverse impact on our business.
We may be subject to claims that our employees, consultants or independent contractors have wrongfully used or disclosed to us alleged trade secrets of their former employers or their former or current customers.
As is common in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, certain of our employees were formerly employed by other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Moreover, we engage the services of consultants to assist us in the development of our products and product candidates, many of whom were previously employed at or may have previously been or are currently providing consulting services to, other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. We may be subject to claims that these employees and consultants or we have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed trade secrets or other proprietary information of their former employers or their former or current customers. Although we have no knowledge of any such claims being alleged to date, if such claims were to arise, litigation may be necessary to defend against any such claims. Even if we are successful in defending against any such claims, any such litigation could be protracted, expensive, a distraction to our management team, not viewed favorably by investors and other third parties and may potentially result in an unfavorable outcome.
If our patent term expires before or soon after our products are approved, or if manufacturers of generic or biosimilar drugs successfully challenge our patents, our business may be materially harmed.
Patents have a limited duration. In the United States, if all maintenance fees are timely paid, the natural expiration of a patent is generally twenty (20) years from its earliest U.S. non-provisional filing date. Various extensions may be available, but the life of a patent, and the protection it affords, is limited. Even if patents covering our product candidates, their manufacture, or use are obtained, once the patent life has expired, we may be open to competition from competitive medications, including generic or biosimilar medications.
Depending upon the timing, duration and conditions of FDA marketing approval of our product candidates, one or more of our United States patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Act, and similar legislation in the European Union. The Hatch-Waxman Act permits a patent term extension of up to five years for a patent covering an approved product as compensation for effective patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. The patent term extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval, and only one patent applicable to an approved drug may be extended. However, we may not receive an extension if we fail to apply within applicable deadlines, fail to apply prior to expiration of relevant patents or otherwise fail to satisfy applicable requirements. Moreover, the length of the extension could be less than we request. If we are unable to obtain patent term extension or the term of any such extension is less than we request, the period during which we can enforce our patent rights for that product will be shortened and our competitors may obtain approval to market competing products sooner than we expect. Also, the scope of our right to exclude during any patent term extension period may be limited or may not cover a competitor’s product or product use. As a result, our revenue from applicable products could be reduced, possibly materially.
Given the amount of time required for the development, testing and regulatory review of new drug candidates, patents protecting such drug candidates might expire before or shortly after such drug candidates are commercialized. As a result, our patents and patent applications may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing products similar or identical to ours. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position, business, financial conditions, results of operations and prospects.
Manufacturers of generic or biosimilar drugs may challenge the scope, validity, or enforceability of our patents in court or before a patent office, and we may not be successful in enforcing or defending those intellectual property rights and, as a result, may not be able to develop or market the relevant product exclusively, which would have a material adverse effect on any potential sales of that product. Upon the expiration of our issued patents or patents that may issue from our pending patent applications, we will not be able to assert such patent rights against potential competitors and our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.
If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, then we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our business may be adversely affected.
Our unregistered trademarks or trade names may be challenged, infringed, circumvented or declared generic or determined to be infringing on other marks. We may not be able to protect our rights to these trademarks and trade names, which we need to build name recognition among potential collaborators or customers in our markets of interest. At times, competitors may adopt trade names or trademarks similar to ours, thereby impeding our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to market confusion. In addition, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other registered trademarks or trademarks that incorporate variations of our unregistered trademarks or trade names. Over the long term, if we are unable to successfully register our trademarks and trade names and establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, then we may not be able to compete effectively, and our business may be adversely affected. Our efforts to enforce or protect our proprietary rights related to trademarks, trade secrets, domain names, copyrights or other intellectual property may be ineffective and could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and could adversely impact our financial condition or results of operations.
Our proprietary information may be lost, or we may suffer security breaches.
In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store sensitive data, including intellectual property, clinical trial data, proprietary business information, personal data and personally identifiable information of our clinical trial subjects and employees, in our data centers and on our networks. The secure processing, maintenance and transmission of this information is critical to our operations. Despite our security measures, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or breached due to employee error, malfeasance or other disruptions. Although, to our knowledge, we have not experienced any such material security breach to date, any such breach could compromise our networks and the information stored there could be accessed, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Any such access, disclosure or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability under laws that protect the privacy of personal information, significant regulatory penalties, disrupt our operations, damage our reputation and cause a loss of confidence in us and our ability to conduct clinical trials, which could adversely affect our reputation and delay our clinical development of our product candidates.
Risks Related to Being a Public Company
Our management team has limited experience managing a public company and may not successfully manage our transition to public company status.
Most members of our management team have limited experience managing a publicly traded company, interacting with public company investors and complying with the increasingly complex laws pertaining to public companies. Our management team may not successfully or efficiently manage the transition to being a public company that is subject to significant regulatory oversight and reporting obligations under the federal securities laws and the continuous scrutiny of securities analysts and investors. These new obligations and constituents will require significant attention from our senior management and could divert their attention away from the day-to-day management of our business, which could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We incur significant increased expenses and administrative burdens as a public company, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.
As a public company, we face increased legal, accounting, administrative and other costs and expenses that we did not incur as a private company, and these expenses may increase even more after we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, including the requirements of Section 404, as well as rules and regulations subsequently implemented by the SEC, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 and the rules and regulations promulgated and to be promulgated thereunder, the PCAOB and the securities exchanges and the listing standards of the Nasdaq, impose additional reporting and other obligations on public companies.
Compliance with public company requirements will increase costs and make certain activities more time-consuming. A number of those requirements will require us to carry out activities that we had not done previously. For example, we have created new board committees, entered into new insurance policies, and adopted new internal controls and disclosure controls and procedures. In addition, expenses associated with SEC reporting requirements will be incurred. Furthermore, if any issues in complying with those requirements are identified (for example, if management or our independent registered public accounting firm identifies material weaknesses in the internal control over financial reporting), we could incur additional costs rectifying those issues, the existence of those issues could adversely affect our reputation or investor perceptions of us and it may be more expensive to obtain director and officer liability insurance. Risks associated with our status as a public company may make it more difficult to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our Board or as executive officers. In addition, as a public company, we may be subject to stockholder activism, which can lead to substantial costs, distract management, and impact the manner in which we operate our business in ways we do not currently anticipate. As a result of disclosure of information in this prospectus and in filings required of a public company, our business and financial condition will become more visible, which may result in threatened or actual litigation, including by competitors and other third parties. If such claims are successful, our business and results of operations could be materially adversely affected and even if the claims do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor, these claims and the time and resources necessary to resolve them, could divert the resources of our management and adversely affect our business and results of operations. The additional reporting and other obligations imposed by these rules and regulations will increase legal and financial compliance costs and the costs of related legal, accounting, and administrative activities. These increased costs will require us to divert a significant amount of money that could otherwise be used to expand the business and achieve strategic objectives. Advocacy efforts by stockholders and third parties may also prompt additional changes in governance and reporting requirements, which could further increase costs.
The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources, divert management’s attention and affect our ability to attract and retain qualified board members.
We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and any rules promulgated thereunder, as well as the rules of Nasdaq. The requirements of these rules and regulations increase our legal and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming or costly, and increase demand on our systems and resources. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls for financial reporting. In order to maintain and, if required, improve our disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting to meet this standard, significant resources and management oversight will be required and, as a result, management’s attention may be diverted from other business concerns. These rules and regulations can also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified independent members of our board of directors. Additionally, these rules and regulations make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance. We may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. The increased costs of compliance with public company reporting requirements and our potential failure to satisfy these requirements can have a material adverse effect on our operations, business, financial condition or results of operations.
In order to satisfy our obligations as a public company, we will need to hire qualified accounting and financial personnel with appropriate public company experience.
As a newly established public company, we will need to improve and maintain effective disclosure and financial controls and make changes in our corporate governance practices. We may need to hire additional accounting and financial personnel with appropriate public company experience and technical accounting knowledge, and it may be difficult to recruit and retain such personnel. Even if we are able to hire appropriate personnel, our existing operating expenses and operations will be impacted by the direct costs of their employment and the indirect consequences related to the diversion of management resources from research and development efforts.
We are an emerging growth company and any decision to comply only with certain reduced reporting and disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies could make our Common Stock less attractive to investors.
We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act. For as long as we continue to be an emerging growth company, we may choose to take advantage of exemptions from various reporting requirements applicable to other public companies but not to “emerging growth companies,” including:
|●||not being required to have independent registered public accounting firm audit our internal control over financial reporting under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act;|
|●||reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and annual report on Form 10-K; and|
|●||exemptions from the requirements of holding non-binding advisory votes on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved.|
As a result, the stockholders may not have access to certain information that they may deem important. Our status as an emerging growth company will end as soon as any of the following takes place:
|●||the last day of the fiscal year in which we have at least $1.07 billion in annual revenue;|
|●||the date we qualify as a “large accelerated filer,” with at least $700.0 million of equity securities held by non-affiliates;|
|●||the date on which we haves issued, in any three-year period, more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt securities; or|
|●||the last day of the fiscal year ending after the fifth anniversary of the Larkspur IPO.|
Under the JOBS Act, emerging growth companies can also delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We may elect to take advantage of this extended transition period and as a result, our financial statements may not be comparable with similarly situated public companies.
We cannot predict if investors will find our Common Stock less attractive if we choose to rely on any of the exemptions afforded emerging growth companies. If some investors find our Common Stock less attractive because we rely on any of these exemptions, there may be a less active trading market for our Common Stock and the market price of our Common Stock may be more volatile and may decline.
If we fail to maintain an effective system of disclosure controls and internal control over financial reporting, our ability to produce timely and accurate financial statements or comply with applicable regulations could be impaired, which may adversely affect investor confidence in us and, as a result, the market price of our Common Stock.
As a public company, we will be required to comply with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act including, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. We continue to develop and refine our disclosure controls and other procedures that are designed to ensure that information we are required to disclose in the reports that we will file with the SEC is recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified in SEC rules and forms and that information required to be disclosed in reports under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our management, including our principal executive and financial officers.
We must continue to improve our internal control over financial reporting. We will be required to make a formal assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting and once we cease to be an emerging growth company, we will be required to include an attestation report on internal control over financial reporting issued by our independent registered public accounting firm. To achieve compliance with these requirements within the prescribed time period, we will be engaging in a process to document and evaluate our internal control over financial reporting, which is both costly and challenging. In this regard, we will need to continue to dedicate internal resources, potentially engage outside consultants and adopt a detailed work plan to assess and document the adequacy of our internal control over financial reporting, validate through testing that controls are functioning as documented and implement a continuous reporting and improvement process for internal control over financial reporting. There is a risk that we will not be able to conclude, within the prescribed time period or at all, that our internal control over financial reporting is effective as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Moreover, our testing, or the subsequent testing by our independent registered public accounting firm, may reveal additional deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses.
Any failure to implement and maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting, including the identification of one or more material weaknesses, could cause investors to lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial statements and reports, which would likely adversely affect the market price of our Common Stock. In addition, we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the stock exchange on which our Common Stock is listed, the SEC and other regulatory authorities.
In this regard, during the audit for the 2022 fiscal year, we identified a material weakness in internal control over financial reporting because we did not design and implement effective controls over the accounting for significant and complex non-routine transactions. See “Risk Factors – 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.”
We may be subject to securities litigation, which is expensive and could divert management attention.
The per share price of our Common Stock may be volatile and, in the past, companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their stock have been subject to securities litigation, including class action litigation. Litigation of this type could result in substantial costs and diversion of management’s attention and resources, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Any adverse determination in litigation could also subject us to significant liabilities.
Because we became a publicly traded company by means other than a traditional underwritten initial public offering, our stockholders may face additional risks and uncertainties.
Because we became a publicly traded company by means of consummating the Business Combination rather than by means of a traditional underwritten initial public offering, there is no independent third-party underwriter selling the shares of our Common Stock, and, accordingly, our stockholders will not have the benefit of an independent review and investigation of the type normally performed by an unaffiliated, independent underwriter in a public securities offering. Due diligence reviews typically include an independent investigation of the background of the company, any advisors and their respective affiliates, review of the offering documents and independent analysis of the plan of business and any underlying financial assumptions.
Although we performed a due diligence review and investigation of Old ZyVersa in connection with the Business Combination, the lack of an independent due diligence review and investigation increases the risk of investment in our securities because our due diligence review and investigation may not have uncovered facts that would be important to a potential investor.
In addition, because we did not become a publicly traded company by means of a traditional underwritten initial public offering, security or industry analysts may not provide, or be less likely to provide, coverage of us. Investment banks may also be less likely to agree to underwrite secondary offerings on behalf of us than they might otherwise be if we became a publicly traded company by means of a traditional underwritten initial public offering because they may be less familiar with us as a result of more limited coverage by analysts and the media. The failure to receive research coverage or support in the market for our Common Stock could have an adverse effect on our ability to develop a liquid market for our Common Stock.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Securities
An active trading market for our Common Stock may never develop or be sustained.
Although our Common Stock is listed on Nasdaq, the market for our shares has demonstrated varying levels of trading activity. If an active trading market does not develop, or develops but is not maintained, you may have difficulty selling any of our Common Stock due to the limited public float. We cannot predict the prices at which our Common Stock will trade. It is possible that in one or more future periods our results of operations and progression of our product pipeline may not meet the expectations of public market analysts and investors, and, as a result of these and other factors, the price of our Common Stock may fall. Accordingly, we cannot assure you of your ability to sell your shares of our Common Stock when desired or at prices at or above the price you paid for your shares or at all.
The market price of our Common Stock may be volatile, which could result in substantial losses for investors.
The trading price of our Common Stock has been and may continue to be highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control.
The market price of our Common Stock may fluctuate due to a variety of factors, including:
|●||the development and approval of our product candidates;|
|●||the timing of the launch and commercialization of our product candidates, if they are approved, and the degree to which such launch and commercialization meets the expectations of securities analysts and investors;|
|●||actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results, including fluctuations in our quarterly and annual results;|
|●||operating expenses being more than anticipated;|
|●||the failure or discontinuation of any of our product development and research programs;|
|●||changes in the structure or funding of research at academic and research laboratories and institutions, including changes that would affect their ability to purchase our instruments or consumables;|
|●||the success of existing or new competitive businesses or technologies;|
|●||announcements about new research programs or products of our competitors;|
|●||developments or disputes concerning patent applications, issued patents or other proprietary rights;|
|●||the recruitment or departure of key personnel;|
|●||litigation and governmental investigations involving us, our industry or both;|
|●||regulatory or legal developments in the United States and other countries;|
|●||volatility and variations in market conditions in the life sciences technology sector generally, or the proteomics or genomics sectors specifically;|
|●||investor perceptions of us or our industry;|
|●||the level of expenses related to any of our research and development programs or products;|
|●||actual or anticipated changes in our estimates as to our financial results or development timelines, variations in our financial results or those of companies that are perceived to be similar to us or changes in estimates or recommendations by securities analysts, if any, that cover our Common Stock or companies that are perceived to be similar to us;|
|●||whether our financial results meet the expectations of securities analysts or investors;|
|●||the announcement or expectation of additional financing efforts;|
|●||sales of our Common Stock by us or by our insiders or other stockholders;|
|●||the expiration of market standoff or lock-up agreements;|
|●||general economic, industry and market conditions; and|
|●||the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters or major catastrophic events.|
These market and industry factors may materially reduce the market price of our Common Stock regardless of our operating performance.
Recently, stock markets in general, and the market for life sciences technology companies in particular, have experienced significant price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to changes in the operating performance of the companies whose stock is experiencing those price and volume fluctuations, particularly in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Broad market and industry factors may seriously affect the market price of our Common Stock, regardless of our actual operating performance. These fluctuations may be even more pronounced in the trading market for our Common Stock and warrants. Following periods of such volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company.
Because of the potential volatility of the price of our Common Stock, we may become the target of securities litigation in the future. Securities litigation could result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources from our business.
Our issuance of additional capital stock in connection with financings, acquisitions, investments, our stock incentive plans or otherwise will dilute all other stockholders.
Our issuance of additional capital stock in connection with financings, acquisitions, investments, our stock incentive plans or otherwise will dilute our stockholders. We expect to issue additional capital stock in the future that will result in dilution to all other stockholders. We expect to grant equity awards to employees, directors, and consultants under our stock incentive plans. We may also raise capital through equity financings in the future. As part of our business strategy, we may acquire or make investments in complementary companies, products, or technologies and issue equity securities to pay for any such acquisition or investment. Any such issuances of additional capital stock may cause stockholders to experience significant dilution of their ownership interests and the per share value of our Common Stock to decline.
Further, as a result of the recently completed Best Efforts Offering, we have incurred additional dilution due to the price of such offering and the conversion price of the Series B Shares and the exercise price of the PIPE Warrants being reset to the applicable floor prices. In addition, as a result of the recently completed July 2023 Offering (as defined below), we have incurred additional dilution due to the price of such offering and the exercise price of some of the Best Effort Warrants being reset to reduced prices. The number of shares of Common Stock issuable upon the exercise of the PIPE Warrants was also adjusted to equal 100% of the shares of Common Stock issuable upon conversion of the PIPE Shares. The issuance of the securities in the Best Efforts Offering and the possible issuance of additional shares of Common Stock upon exercise or conversion, as applicable, of the Series B Shares and PIPE Warrants may cause stockholders to experience significant dilution.
Additionally, to the extent the market price of our Common Stock is above the floor price following the reset of the exercise price for the PIPE Warrants and the Best Effort Warrants, the holders of such securities could exercise such securities and sell the underlying shares of Common Stock at a profit. If the market price of our Common Stock is less than the exercise price of a holder’s warrants, it is unlikely that holders will exercise their warrants. Therefore, following such adjustments, it may be more likely that holders of such securities exercise the securities into shares of our Common Stock and sell such shares of our Common Stock, resulting in additional negative pressure on the market price of our Common Stock and other dilutive effects.
Further, the number of shares registered in this offering may have a negative impact on our ability to issue additional shares at a price acceptable to us and in an amount sufficient to allow us to execute our business strategy. We expect to raise additional capital by issuing equity or equity-linked securities in subsequent offerings. The consummation of the Best Efforts Offering, July 2023 Offering, and any future offering, or the possible issuance of additional shares of Common Stock upon exercise or conversion, as applicable, of the Series B Shares, PIPE Warrants, Best Efforts Warrants, and Inducement Warrants may have an adverse effect on our ability to raise additional capital on terms favorable to us or that are not substantially dilutive to existing shareholders. If we are unable to raise additional capital by issuing equity or equity-linked securities on terms favorable to us, we may not have sufficient liquidity to execute on our business strategy. In addition, consummation of the Best Efforts Offering, the July 2023 Offering, or any future offering, or the possible issuance of additional shares of Common Stock upon exercise or conversion, as applicable, of the Series B Shares, PIPE Warrants, Best Effort Warrants and Inducement Warrants, could have an adverse effect on the market price of our Common Stock because the additional shares that were sold in the Best Efforts Offering, the July 2023 Offering or any future offering, or issued upon exercise or conversion, as applicable, of the Series B Shares, PIPE Warrants, and the Best Efforts Warrants, represent a significant portion of the issued and outstanding shares of our Common Stock, and the price of the shares of Common Stock sold in any future offering may be below the current market price of our Common Stock, or the Common Stock issued upon exercise or conversion, as applicable, of the Series B Shares, the PIPE Warrants, and the Best Efforts Warrants could be significantly dilutive to existing holders of our Common Stock.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to comply with the continued listing standards of Nasdaq.
If Nasdaq delists our shares of Common Stock from trading on its exchange for failure to meet Nasdaq’s listing standards, we and our stockholders could face significant material adverse consequences including:
|●||a limited availability of market quotations for our securities;|
|●||reduced liquidity for our securities;|
|●||a determination that our Common Stock is a “penny stock” which will require brokers trading in our Common Stock to adhere to more stringent rules and possibly result in a reduced level of trading activity in the secondary trading market for our securities;|
|●||a limited amount of new and analyst coverage; and|
|●||a decreased ability to issue additional securities or obtain additional financing in the future.|
Our failure to maintain compliance with Nasdaq’s continued listing requirements could result in the delisting of our Common Stock.
Our common stock is currently listed for trading on The Nasdaq Global Market. We must satisfy the continued listing requirements of Nasdaq, to maintain the listing of our common stock on The Nasdaq Global Market.
On June 9, 2023, the Company received a letter from Nasdaq indicating that, based upon the closing bid price of the Company’s Common Stock for the last 30 consecutive business days, the Company is not currently in compliance with the requirement to maintain a minimum bid price of $1.00 per share for continued listing on the Nasdaq Global Market, as set forth in Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) (the “Notice”).
The Notice has no immediate effect on the continued listing status of our common stock on the Nasdaq Global Market, and, therefore, our listing remains fully effective.
We are provided a compliance period of 180 calendar days from the date of the Notice, or until December 6, 2023, to regain compliance with the minimum closing bid requirement, pursuant to Nasdaq Listing Rule 5810(c)(3)(A). If at any time before December 6, 2023, the closing bid price of our common stock closes at or above $1.00 per share for 10 consecutive business days, Nasdaq will provide written notification that we have achieved compliance with the minimum bid price requirement, and the matter would be resolved. If we do not regain compliance during the compliance period ending December 6, 2023, then Nasdaq may grant us a second 180 calendar day period to regain compliance, provided we (i) meet the continued listing requirement for market value of publicly-held shares and all other initial listing standards for the Nasdaq Global Market, other than the minimum closing bid price requirement and (ii) notifies Nasdaq of its intent to cure the deficiency.
We will continue to monitor the closing bid price of our Common Stock and seek to regain compliance with all applicable Nasdaq requirements within the allotted compliance periods. If we do not regain compliance within the allotted compliance periods, including any extensions that may be granted by Nasdaq, Nasdaq will provide notice that our common stock will be subject to delisting. We would then be entitled to appeal that determination to a Nasdaq hearings panel. Although we intend to engage in efforts to regain compliance, and thus maintain our listing, there can be no assurance that we will regain compliance with the minimum bid price requirement during the 180-day compliance period, secure a second period of 180 days to regain compliance or maintain compliance with the other Nasdaq listing requirements.
Moreover, on September 1, 2023, the Company received a letter from Nasdaq stating that for the last 30 consecutive business days, the Company is not in compliance with the requirement of a minimum Market Value of Publicly Held Shares (“MVPHS”) of $5,000,000 for continued listing on the Nasdaq Global Market, as set forth in Nasdaq Listing Rule 5450(b)(1)(C).
In accordance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5810(c)(3)(D), the Company has a period of 180 calendar days, or until February 28, 2024, to regain compliance with the minimum MVPHS requirement. To regain compliance, the minimum MVPHS of the Company’s common stock must meet or exceed $5,000,000 for a minimum of ten consecutive business days during this 180-calendar day compliance period.
If the Company does not regain compliance with the minimum MVPHS requirement by February 28, 2024, Nasdaq will provide written notification to the Company that its securities are subject to delisting. Alternatively, the Company may consider applying to transfer the Company’s securities to the Nasdaq Capital Market.
The company intends to monitor the MVPHS of its common stock between now and February 28, 2024 and will consider the various options available to the Company if its common stock does not trade at a level that is likely to regain compliance.
If we fail to continue to meet all applicable Nasdaq Global Market requirements in the future and Nasdaq determines to delist our common stock, the delisting could substantially decrease trading in our Common Stock; adversely affect the market liquidity of our Common Stock as a result of the loss of market efficiencies associated with Nasdaq and the loss of federal preemption of state securities laws; adversely affect our ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms, if at all; and may result in the potential loss of confidence by investors, suppliers, customers, and employees and fewer business development opportunities. Additionally, the market price of our Common Stock may decline further and shareholders may lose some or all of their investment.
Unless our Common Stock continues to be listed on a national securities exchange it will become subject to the so-called “penny stock” rules that impose restrictive sales practice requirements.
If we are unable to maintain the listing of our common stock on Nasdaq or another national securities exchange, our Common Stock could become subject to the so-called “penny stock” rules if the shares have a market value of less than $5.00 per share. The SEC has adopted regulations that define a penny stock to include any stock that has a market price of less than $5.00 per share, subject to certain exceptions, including an exception for stock traded on a national securities exchange. The SEC regulations impose restrictive sales practice requirements on broker-dealers who sell penny stocks to persons other than established customers and “accredited investors” as defined by relevant SEC rules. These additional requirements may discourage broker-dealers from effecting transactions in securities that are classified as penny stocks, which could severely limit the market price and liquidity of such securities and the ability of purchasers to sell such securities in the secondary market. This means that if we are unable to maintain the listing of our common stock on a national securities exchange, the ability of stockholders to sell their Common Stock in the secondary market could be adversely affected.
If a transaction involving a penny stock is not exempt from the SEC’s rule, a broker-dealer must deliver a disclosure schedule relating to the penny stock market to each investor prior to a transaction. The broker-dealer also must disclose the commissions payable to both the broker-dealer and its registered representative, current quotations for the penny stock, and, if the broker-dealer is the sole market-maker, the broker-dealer must disclose this fact and the broker-dealer’s presumed control over the market. Finally, monthly statements must be sent disclosing recent price information for the penny stock held in the customer’s account and information on the limited market in penny stocks.
We may be required to take write-downs or write-offs, restructuring and impairment or other charges that could have a significant negative effect on our financial condition and the share price of our Common Stock, which could cause you to lose some or all of your investment.
We may be forced to later write-down or write-off assets, restructure operations, or incur impairment or other charges that could result in reporting losses. Unexpected risks may arise and known risks may materialize in a manner not previously anticipated. Even though these charges may be non-cash items that would not have an immediate impact on our liquidity, the fact that we report charges of this nature could contribute to negative market perceptions about us or our securities. In addition, charges of this nature may cause us to violate leverage or other covenants to which we may be subject. Accordingly, our stockholders could suffer a reduction in the value of their shares from any such write-down or write-downs.
The assumptions used in preparing the pro forma financial information may not prove to be accurate and other factors may affect our financial condition or results of operations in the future. Any potential decline in our financial condition or results of operations may cause significant variations in our stock price.
On January 27, 2023, we filed an amendment (the “Amendment”) to our current report on Form 8-K/A filed on December 16, 2023 (the “Original 8-K/A”); the Amendment was filed solely to replace entirely the unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial information included on the Original 8-K/A and which was included in our registration statement on Form S-4 relating to the Business combination. The unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial information previously reflected management’s estimates based on information available at the consummation of the Business Combination and was subject to change as additional information became available and analysis was performed. We updated the unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial information upon completion of our analysis to now reflect the Business Combination as a forward merger of ZyVersa Therapeutics, Inc. (“Old ZyVersa”) as it was determined that Old ZyVersa is a variable interest entity. The unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial information and related notes thereto reflects fair value adjustments to the net assets of Old ZyVersa acquired by the Company, which primarily consist of in-process research and development intangible assets which are indefinite-lived. The revised unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial information is included in this prospectus. As a result of the changes to the unaudited pro forma condensed combined financial information, we may face potential litigation or other disputes which may include, among other things, litigation involving our shareholders, claims invoking the federal and state securities laws, contractual claims or other claims arising from such changes. As of the date of this prospectus, we have no knowledge of any such claims, litigation or disputes. However, we can provide no assurance that such, claims, litigation or disputes will not arise in the future. Any such claims, litigation or disputes, whether successful or not, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We are subject to business uncertainties that could affect the market price of our Common Stock.
Uncertainty about our business or operations may affect the relationship between us and our respective suppliers, users, distributors, licensors, and licensees. Any such impact may have an adverse effect on us and the market price of our Common Stock. These uncertainties may cause parties that deal with us to seek to change existing business relationships with them and to delay or defer decisions concerning us. Changes to existing business relationships, including termination or modification, could negatively affect each of our revenue, earnings and cash flow, as well as the market price of our Common Stock.
Additionally, matters may require commitments of time and resources that could otherwise have been devoted to other opportunities that might have been beneficial to us. Further, the Business Combination may give rise to potential liabilities, including as a result of pending and future stockholder lawsuits relating to the Business Combination. Any of these matters could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Third parties may terminate or alter existing contracts or relationships with us.
Contracts with distributors, affiliates, landlords, licensors, and other business partners and third parties with which we currently have relationships may have the ability to terminate, reduce the scope of, or otherwise materially adversely alter their relationships with us. The pursuit of such rights may result in us suffering a loss of potential future revenue or incurring liabilities in connection with a breach of such agreements and losing rights that are material to our business. Any such disruptions could limit our ability to achieve the anticipated benefits of our business. The adverse effect of such disruptions could also impact our business and operations or the market price of our Common Stock.
We incurred substantial transaction fees and costs in connection with completing the Business Combination and integrating the businesses of Larkspur and Old ZyVersa.
We incurred material non-recurring expenses in connection with the Business Combination and the completion of the transactions contemplated by the Business Combination Agreement and related transaction agreements. While we have assumed that a certain level of expenses would be incurred in connection with the Business Combination, there are many factors beyond our control that have affected and could continue to affect the total amount of, or the timing of, such expenses with respect to our combined business. Additional unanticipated costs may continue to be incurred in the course of conducting our business following the Business Combination.
Our business and operations could be negatively affected if we become subject to any securities litigation or stockholder activism, which could cause us to incur significant expense, hinder execution of our business and growth strategy and impact our stock price.
In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company. Stockholder activism, which could take many forms or arise in a variety of situations, has been increasing recently. Volatility in the stock price of our Common Stock or other reasons may in the future cause us to become the target of securities litigation or stockholder activism. Securities litigation and stockholder activism, including potential proxy contests, could result in substantial costs and divert management’s and the board of directors’ attention and resources from our business. Additionally, such securities litigation and stockholder activism could give rise to perceived uncertainties as to our future, adversely affect our relationships with service providers and make it more difficult to attract and retain qualified personnel. We may also be required to incur significant legal fees and other expenses related to any securities litigation and activist stockholder matters. Further, our stock price could be subject to significant fluctuation or otherwise be adversely affected by the events, risks and uncertainties of any securities litigation and stockholder activism.
The grant of registration rights to certain holders, including pursuant to the PIPE Subscription Agreement, and the future exercise of such rights may adversely affect the market price of our Common Stock.
Following completion of the Business Combination, the Amended and Restated Registration Rights Agreement was entered into by and among us and certain other parties thereto, replacing Larkspur’s prior registration rights agreement. Pursuant to the Amended and Restated Registration Rights Agreement, the holders of registrable securities subject thereto, and their permitted transferees and assigns will have customary registration rights (including demand, shelf and piggy-back rights, subject to cooperation and cut-back provisions) with respect to their shares of Common Stock. Pursuant to the registration rights agreement entered into in connection with the consummation of the PIPE Investment, we filed a registration statement with the SEC following the Business Combination for, in the case of the PIPE Investment, a secondary offering of the shares of Common Stock underlying the PIPE Securities. Further, pursuant to such registration rights agreement, we agreed that we will use commercially reasonable best efforts (i) to cause such registration statement to be declared effective promptly thereafter and (ii) to maintain the effectiveness of such registration statement until such time as there are no longer any registrable securities outstanding. In addition, the PIPE Subscription Agreement provides that these holders will have certain “piggy-back” registration rights to include their securities in other registration statements filed by us. We have also agreed to grant registration rights to holders of Series B Shares whereby such holders will receive customary registration rights (including demand, shelf and piggy-back rights, subject to cooperation and cut-back provisions) with respect to the shares of Common Stock underlying the Series B Shares.
If securities or industry analysts either do not publish research about us or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about us, our business or our market, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding our Common Stock, the trading price or trading volume of our Common Stock could decline.
The trading market for our Common Stock will be influenced in part by the research and reports that securities or industry analysts may publish about us, our business, our market, or our competitors. If one or more securities analysts initiate research with an unfavorable rating or downgrade our Common Stock, provide a more favorable recommendation about our competitors or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our Common Stock price would likely decline. If few securities analysts commence coverage of us, or if one or more of these analysts cease coverage of us, or fail to publish reports on us on a regular basis, we could lose visibility in the financial markets and demand for our securities could decrease, which in turn could cause the price and trading volume of our Common Stock to decline.
A significant portion of our total outstanding shares is restricted from immediate resale but may be sold into the market in the near future, which could cause the market price of our Common Stock to decline significantly, even if our business is doing well.
The market price of our Common Stock could decline as a result of sales of a large number of shares of our Common Stock in the market, or the perception that these sales could occur. We have a total of 43,515,401 shares of Common Stock outstanding as of October 23, 2023. At any time after the expiration of a lock-up to which such shares are subject, certain stockholders will be entitled, under our Amended and Restated Registration Rights Agreement, to certain rights with respect to the registration of the offer and sale of those shares under the Securities Act, including requesting that we file a registration statement to register the offer and sale of their shares.
Pursuant to our obligations under the Amended and Restated Registration Rights Agreement and the registration rights agreements with the former holders of the PIPE Shares and the holders of the Series B Shares, this registration statement seeks to register up to 24,647,598 shares of Common Stock. Such securities represent approximately 57% of the shares of Common Stock outstanding as of the date hereof. If the shares registered on this registration statement were to all be sold by the selling stockholders, such sales could result in significant negative pressure on the market price of our Common Stock. Further, the conversion prices for the Series B Shares were subject to adjustment to a floor price of $7.00 per share of Common Stock, the exercise price of the PIPE Warrants was subject to adjustment to the floor price of $2.00 per share of Common Stock, and 1,377,996 of the Best Effort Warrants were repriced to have an exercise price of $0.165 reduced from an exercise price of $1.00 as part of the July 2023 Offering. To the extent the market price of our Common Stock is above the floor price following a reset of the exercise price for the PIPE Warrants, the holders of such securities could exercise such securities and sell the underlying shares of Common Stock at a profit. If the market price of our Common Stock is less than the exercise price of a holder’s warrants, it is unlikely that holders will exercise their warrants. Therefore, following such adjustments, it may be more likely that holders of such securities exercise or convert the securities into our Common Shares and sell such Common Shares, resulting in additional negative pressure on the market price of our Common Shares and other dilutive effects.
The registration of the Sponsor Shares pursuant to this registration statement will result in more than five million shares of our Common Stock being available to be sold into the market in the near term. The Sponsor Shares have a lower cost basis than the shares of our Common Stock issued in connection with the Larkspur IPO and the Business Combination and as a result the holders of the Sponsor Shares may be willing to sell such securities at a price lower than other holders of our Common Stock. The availability of the Sponsor Shares and the other securities being registered pursuant to this offering may have a negative impact on the market price of our Common Stock.
In addition, we recently filed a registration statement to register shares reserved for future issuance under our equity compensation plans. Upon effectiveness of that registration statement, subject to the satisfaction of applicable vesting restrictions and the expiration or waiver of the market standoff agreements and lock-up agreements referred to above, the shares issued upon exercise of outstanding stock options, restricted stock unit awards, and warrants or the vesting of other equity awards granted under such plans will be available for immediate resale in the public market.
Sales of our Common Stock as restrictions end or pursuant to registration rights may make it more difficult for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate. These sales also could cause the trading price of our Common Stock to fall and make it more difficult for you to sell shares of our Common Stock at a time and price that you deem appropriate.
We do not intend to pay cash dividends for the foreseeable future.
We currently intend to retain our future earnings, if any, to finance the further development and expansion of our business and do not intend to pay cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, restrictions contained in future agreements and financing instruments, business prospects and such other factors as our board of directors deems relevant.
Our stockholders may experience dilution in the future.
The percentage of shares of our Common Stock owned by current stockholders may be diluted in the future because of equity issuances for acquisitions, capital market transactions, or otherwise, including, without limitation, equity awards that we may grant to our directors, officers, and employees, exercise of our warrants.
Additionally, the number of shares registered in this offering may have a negative impact on our ability to issue additional shares at a price acceptable to us and in an amount sufficient to allow us to execute our business strategy. Sales of a substantial number of shares of our Common Stock in the public market, including the resale of the Sponsor Shares, the shares of Common Stock underlying the PIPE Warrants pursuant to the registration statement, could occur at any time or Rule 144 when available. These sales, or the perception in the market that the holders of a large number of shares of Common Stock intend to sell shares, could reduce the market price of our Common Stock. Pursuant to our obligations under the Amended and Restated Registration Rights Agreement and the registration rights agreements with the holders of the Series B Shares, we have agreed to register on this registration statement up to 24,647,598 shares of Common Stock, which represents approximately 57% of the shares of Common Stock outstanding as of the date hereof. After it is effective and until such time that it is no longer effective, this registration statement registering such securities will permit the resale of these shares. The resale, or expected or potential resale, of a substantial number of shares of our Common Stock in the public market could adversely affect the market price for the Common Stock and make it more difficult for our shareholders to sell their holdings at times and prices that they determine are appropriate. Due to the lower cost basis of the Sponsor Shares as compared to the shares issued in connection with the Larkspur IPO and the Business Combination, the holders of the Sponsor Shares may determine to sell such shares at a lower price than other investors. Furthermore, we expect that, because there is a large number of shares being registered pursuant to the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part, the selling securityholders will continue to offer the securities covered thereby pursuant thereto or to Rule 144 for a significant period of time, the precise duration of which cannot be predicted. Accordingly, the adverse market and price pressures resulting from an offering pursuant to this registration statement regarding the registration rights agreements described in this paragraph may continue for an extended period of time.
We may amend the terms of the warrants in a manner that may be adverse to holders of public warrants with the approval by the holders of at least 50% of the then outstanding public warrants. As a result, the exercise price of the warrants could be increased, the exercise period could be shortened and the number of shares of Common Stock purchasable upon exercise of a warrant could be decreased, all without approval of each warrant affected.
Our warrants were issued in registered form under a warrant agreement between Continental Stock Transfer & Trust Company, as Warrant Agent, and us. The warrant agreement provides that the terms of the warrants may be amended without the consent of any holder to cure any ambiguity or correct any defective provision, but requires the approval by the holders of at least 50% of the then outstanding public warrants to make any change that adversely affects the interests of the registered holders of public warrants. Accordingly, we may amend the terms of the public warrants in a manner adverse to a holder if holders of at least 50% of the then outstanding public warrants approve of such amendment. Although our ability to amend the terms of the public warrants with the consent of at least 50% of the then outstanding public warrants is unlimited, examples of such amendments could be amendments to, among other things, increase the exercise price of the warrants, convert the warrants into cash, shorten the exercise period or decrease the number of shares of Common Stock, as applicable, purchasable upon exercise of a warrant.
We may redeem unexpired warrants prior to their exercise at a time that is disadvantageous to holders of warrants, thereby making such warrants worthless.
We have the ability to redeem outstanding warrants at any time after they become exercisable and prior to their expiration, at a price of $0.01 per warrant, provided that the last sale price of our shares of Common Stock or Common Stock, as applicable, equals or exceeds $18.00 per share (as adjusted for share splits, share capitalizations, reorganizations, recapitalizations and the like) for any 20 trading days within a 30 trading-day period ending on the third trading day prior to the date on which we send the notice of redemption to the warrant holders. We will not redeem the warrants unless an effective registration statement under the Securities Act covering the issuance of the shares of Common Stock issuable upon exercise of the warrants is effective and a current prospectus relating to those shares of Common Stock is available throughout the 30-day redemption period, except if the warrants may be exercised on a cashless basis and such cashless exercise is exempt from registration under the Securities Act. If and when the warrants become redeemable by us, we may not exercise our redemption right if the issuance of shares upon the exercise of the warrants is not exempt from registration or qualification under applicable state blue sky laws or we are unable to register or qualify the underlying securities for sale under all applicable state securities laws. Redemption of the outstanding warrants could force holders thereof to (i) exercise warrants and pay the exercise price therefor at a time when it may be disadvantageous for such holder to do so, (ii) sell warrants at the then-current market price when such holder might otherwise wish to hold warrants or (iii) accept the nominal redemption price which, at the time the outstanding warrants are called for redemption, is likely to be substantially less than the market value of such warrants.
Our warrants may have an adverse effect on the market price of our Common Stock.
Warrants to purchase 5,825,358 shares of Common Stock as part of the units offered in the Larkspur IPO and, simultaneously with the closing of the Larkspur IPO, an aggregate of 320,272 units were issued in a private placement (each consisting of one share of Common Stock, and three-fourths of one redeemable warrant exercisable to purchase one share of Common Stock at $11.50 per share). The warrants entitled the holders to purchase shares of Larkspur Common Stock, which converted to our Common Stock upon the consummation of the Business Combination. We also issued warrants to purchase up to 4,965,125 shares of Common Stock in the PIPE Investment exercisable at an adjusted exercise price following the Best Efforts Offering of $2.00 per share, which consist of 4,878,875 shares of Common Stock. Additionally, we issued the Best Efforts Warrants to purchase 11,015,500 shares of Common Stock in the Best Efforts Offering at an exercise price of $1.00 per share, of which 1,377,996 of the Best Effort Warrants were repriced to have an exercise price of $0.165 reduced from an exercise price of $1.00 as part of the July 2023 Offering. Such warrants, when exercised, will increase the number of issued and outstanding Common Stock and reduce the value of the Common Stock.
There can be no assurance that the PIPE Warrants, the Private Placement Warrants, the Public Warrants, the Inducement Warrants, or the Best Efforts Warrants will be in the money at the time they become exercisable; they may expire worthless and therefore we may not receive cash proceeds from the exercise of warrants.
As of the date hereof, we have Public Warrants to purchase 5,825,358 shares of our Common Stock, exercisable at an exercise price of $11.50 per share, which expire on the earlier to occur of December 12, 2027 or redemption, (ii) Private Placement Warrants to purchase 240,204 shares of our Common Stock, exercisable at an exercise price of $11.50 per share, (iii) PIPE Warrants to purchase up to 4,878,875 shares of our Common Stock, exercisable at an exercise price of $2.00 per share, which expire on December 12, 2027; and (iv) Best Efforts Warrants to purchase 11,015,500 shares of our Common Stock, exercisable at an exercise price of $1.00 per share, of which 1,377,996 of the Best Effort Warrants were repriced to have an exercise price of $0.165 reduced from an exercise price of $1.00 as part of the July best efforts offering (the “July 2023 Offering”) by the Company for the sale by the Company of an aggregate of 3,256,060 shares of common stock, and pre-funded warrants to purchase 9,471,213 shares of common stock in lieu thereof and common warrants to purchase up to 12,727,273 shares of common stock, at a combined public offering price of $0.165 per share and accompanying common warrant, or $0.1649 per pre-funded warrant and accompanying common warrant. Since the July 2023 Offering, all pre-funded warrants to purchase 9,471,213 shares of common stock were exercised, and warrants to purchase up to 12,121,213 shares of common stock were repriced to an exercise of $0.1357. The exercise of the PIPE Warrants, Private Placement Warrants, Public Warrants, Best Efforts Warrants and Inducement Warrants, and any proceeds we may receive from their exercise, are highly dependent on the price of our Common Stock and the spread between the exercise price of such warrant and the price of our Common Stock at the time of exercise. For example, to the extent that the price of our Common Stock exceeds $11.50 per share, it is more likely that holders of our Private Placement Warrants and Public Warrants will exercise their warrants. If the price of our Common Stock is less than $11.50 per share, it is unlikely that such holders will exercise their warrants. As of October 23, 2023, the closing price of our Common Stock was $0.12 per share. There can be no assurance that all of our warrants will be in the money prior to their expiration. Our Public Warrants and Private Placement Warrants under certain conditions, as described in the warrant agreement, are redeemable by us at a price of $0.01 per warrant. Our PIPE Warrants are not redeemable and are exercisable on a cashless basis. As such, it is possible that we may never generate any cash proceeds from the exercise of our warrants.
The issuance of our Common Stock upon exercise of the PIPE Warrants, the Best Efforts Warrants and Inducement Warrants will be significantly dilutive to existing holders of our Common Stock.
As a result of the Best Efforts Offering, the exercise price of the PIPE Warrants was reset to $2.00 and the amount of Common Stock issuable upon exercise of the PIPE Warrants was increased to 4,965,125. We also issued warrants in the Best Efforts Offering to purchase up to 11,015,500 shares of our Common Stock at an exercise price of $1.00, of which 1,377,996 of the Best Effort Warrants were repriced to have an exercise price of $0.165 reduced from an exercise price of $1.00 as part of the July 2023 Offering. As of October 23, 2023, the closing price of our Common Stock was $0.12. If our Common Stock goes above the exercise prices of the PIPE Warrants and the Best Efforts Warrants and holders of such warrants exercise and are issued Common Stock, our existing holders of Common Stock will be significantly diluted.
Warrants exercisable for shares of our Common Stock, if exercised, will increase the number of shares eligible for future resale in the public market and result in dilution to our stockholders.
There are private placement warrants exercisable for an aggregate of approximately 240,204 shares of our Common Stock that were issued in connection with Larkspur’s IPO, with a weighted-average exercise price of $11.50 per share. There are Public Warrants exercisable for an aggregate of approximately 5,825,358 shares of our Common Stock, with a weighted-average exercise price of $11.50 per share. There are PIPE Warrants exercisable for an aggregate of 4,926,125 shares of our Common Stock (subject to possible adjustment for anti-dilution events), with a weighted-average exercise price of $2.00 per share. There are also Best Efforts Warrants exercisable for an aggregate of 11,015,500 shares of Common Stock at an exercise price of $1.00, of which 1,377,996 of the Best Efforts Warrants were repriced to have an exercise price of $0.165 reduced from an exercise price of $1.00 as part of the July 2023 Offering. The exercise price of the PIPE Warrants was reset to the price of our Common Stock upon the reset of the conversion price of our PIPE Shares, but not below a price of $2.00. The number of shares of Common Stock issuable upon the exercise of the PIPE Warrants was adjusted to equal 100% of the shares of Common Stock issuable upon conversion of the PIPE Shares.
To the extent any such warrants are exercised, additional shares of our Common Stock will be issued, which will result in dilution to the holders of shares of our Common Stock and increase the number of shares of Common Stock eligible for resale in the public market. Sales of substantial numbers of such shares of Common Stock in the public market or the fact that such warrants may be exercised could adversely affect the market price of our Common Stock.
We used a substantial portion of the net proceeds from our Best Efforts Offering to redeem substantially all of the PIPE Shares, which may have an adverse effect on our business and stockholders.
A substantial portion of the net proceeds from the consummation of our Best Efforts Offering were used to redeem substantially all of the PIPE Shares. Pursuant to the Series A Certificate of Designation, we redeemed the PIPE Shares at 120% of the issue price. Therefore, the net proceeds from the consummation of our Best Efforts Offering were used to redeem the PIPE Shares at 120% of the issue price, which resulted in a profit of approximately 20% over the amount the holders paid for such PIPE Shares. Only the net proceeds (after expenses for such offering payable by us) received by us in such offering in excess of the amount required to redeem substantially all of the PIPE Shares will be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes. Gross proceeds received by us from the sale of the PIPE Shares consummated on December 12, 2022 in connection with our Business Combination were approximately $8.635 million and the redemption price we paid investors to redeem such securities was approximately $10.4 million. Although we intend to use the remaining proceeds from such offering for working capital and other general corporate purposes, the redemption of the PIPE Shares will impact the cash we have available for other purposes and to execute on our business strategy. We expect to raise additional capital by issuing equity or equity-linked securities in subsequent offerings. If we are unable to raise additional capital by issuing equity or equity-linked securities on terms favorable to us, we may not have sufficient liquidity to execute on our business strategy, which could have an adverse effect on our business, the value of our Common Stock, and our stockholders. For additional information, see sections titled, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources - Post-Business Combination Capital Needs,” and other risk factors under “Risk Factors.”
Our Charter provides, subject to limited exceptions, that the Court of Chancery will be the sole and exclusive forum for certain stockholder litigation matters, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a chosen judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees or stockholders.
Our Second Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation (“Charter”) requires, to the fullest extent permitted by law, that derivative actions brought in our name, actions against directors, officers and employees for breach of fiduciary duty and other similar actions may be brought in the Court of Chancery or, if that court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, another federal or state court situated in the State of Delaware. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to the forum provisions in our Charter. In addition, our Charter and amended and restated bylaws will provide that the federal district courts of the United States shall be the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action under the Securities Act and the Exchange Act. While the exclusive forum provision does not restrict the ability of shareholders to bring claims under the Securities Act, it may limit shareholders’ ability to bring a claim in the judicial forum that they find favorable and may increase certain litigation costs on the shareholders, which may discourage the filing of claims under the Securities Act against us, our directors and officers.
In March 2020, the Delaware Supreme Court issued a decision in Salzburg et al. v. Sciabacucchi, which found that an exclusive forum provision providing for claims under the Securities Act to be brought in federal court is facially valid under Delaware law. It is unclear whether this decision will be appealed, or what the final outcome of this case will be. We intend to enforce this provision, but we do not know whether courts in other jurisdictions will agree with this decision or enforce it.
This choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or any of our directors, officers, other employees or stockholders, which may discourage lawsuits with respect to such claims. Alternatively, if a court were to find the choice of forum provision contained in the Charter to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could harm our business, operating results and financial condition.
Additionally, it is uncertain whether this choice of forum provision is enforceable. Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. In light of this uncertainty, investors bringing a claim may face certain additional risks, including increased costs and uncertainty of litigation outcomes.
Anti-takeover provisions in our organizational documents could delay or prevent a change of control.
Certain provisions of our Charter and Bylaws may have an anti-takeover effect and may delay, defer or prevent a merger, acquisition, tender offer, takeover attempt or other change of control transaction that a stockholder might consider in its best interest, including those attempts that might result in a premium over the market price for the shares held by our stockholders.
These provisions provide for, among other things:
|●||the ability of our board of directors to issue one or more series of preferred stock;|
|●||a classified board;|
|●||advance notice for nominations of directors by stockholders and for stockholders to include matters to be considered at our annual meetings;|
|●||certain limitations on convening special stockholder meetings;|
|●||limiting the persons who may call special meetings of stockholders;|
|●||limiting the ability of stockholders to act by written consent; and|
|●||our board of directors have the express authority to make, alter or repeal our Bylaws.|
These anti-takeover provisions could make it more difficult or frustrate or prevent a third party from acquiring us, even if the third party’s offer may be considered beneficial by many of our stockholders. Additionally, the provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors, which is responsible for appointing the members of our management. As a result, our stockholders may be limited in their ability to obtain a premium for their shares. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for you and other stockholders to elect directors of your choosing and to cause us to take other corporate actions you desire. See “Description of Our Securities.”
Claims for indemnification by our directors and officers may reduce our available funds to satisfy successful third-party claims against us and may reduce the amount of money available to us.
Our organizational documents provide that we will indemnify our directors and officers, in each case to the fullest extent permitted by Delaware law.
In addition, as permitted by Section 145 of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware (the “DGCL”), our Bylaws and indemnifications agreements entered into with our directors and officers provide that:
|●||we will indemnify our directors and officers for serving us in those capacities or for serving other business enterprises at our request, to the fullest extent permitted by Delaware law. Delaware law provides that a corporation may indemnify such person if such person acted in good faith and in a manner such person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the registrant and, with respect to any criminal proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe such person’s conduct was unlawful;|
|●||we may, in our discretion, indemnify employees and agents in those circumstances where indemnification is permitted by applicable law;|
|●||we will be required to advance expenses, as incurred, to our directors and officers in connection with defending a proceeding, except that such directors or officers shall undertake to repay such advances if it is ultimately determined that such person is not entitled to indemnification;|
|●||we will not be obligated pursuant to our Bylaws to indemnify a person with respect to proceedings initiated by that person against us or our other indemnitees, except with respect to proceedings authorized by our board of directors or brought to enforce a right to indemnification;|
|●||the rights conferred in the Bylaws are not exclusive, and we are authorized to enter into indemnification agreements with our directors, officers, employees and agents and to obtain insurance to indemnify such persons; and|
|●||we may not retroactively amend our Bylaws provisions to reduce our indemnification obligations to directors, officers, employees and agents.|
USE OF PROCEEDS
All of the securities offered by the Selling Securityholders pursuant to this prospectus will be sold by the Selling Securityholders for their respective accounts. We will not receive any of the proceeds from the sale of the securities registered hereunder.
If and when any of the warrants are exercised, we would receive proceeds to the extent the warrants are not exercised via cashless exercise. There can be no assurance the warrants will ever be exercised or we will receive any proceeds upon any such exercise. The exercise of the PIPE Warrants, Private Placement Warrants, the Public Warrants, and the Inducement Warrants, and any proceeds we may receive from their exercise, are highly dependent on the price of our shares of our Common Stock and the spread between the exercise price of such warrants and the market price of our Common Stock at the time of exercise. The current exercise price of the Private Placement Warrants and the Public Warrants is $11.50 per share of Common Stock, and the current exercise price of the PIPE Warrants is $2.00 per share of our Common Stock. The current market price of our Common Stock as of October 23, 2023 was $0.12. To the extent the market price of our Common Stock is above the floor price following a reset of the exercise price for the PIPE Warrants, Private Placement Warrants, Public Warrants, or the Inducement Warrants, the holders of such securities might exercise such warrants and sell the underlying shares of Common Stock at a profit. If the market price of our Common Stock is less than the exercise price of a holder’s warrants, it is unlikely that holders will exercise their warrants. There can be no assurance that all of the PIPE Warrants, Private Placement Warrants, Public Warrants, or the Inducement Warrants will be in the money prior to their expiration. Our Public Warrants and Private Placement Warrants under certain conditions, as described in the warrant agreements, are redeemable by us at a price of $0.01 per Public Warrant. Our PIPE Warrants are not redeemable and are exercisable on a cash or cashless basis. As such, it is possible that we may never generate any cash proceeds from the exercise of such warrants.
We expect to use the net proceeds from the exercise of any warrants subject to this registration statement, if any, for general corporate purposes. We will have broad discretion over the use of any proceeds from the exercise of the warrants. There is no assurance that the holders of the warrants will elect to exercise for cash any or all of such warrants. To the extent that any warrants are exercised on a “cashless basis,” the amount of cash we would receive from the exercise of the warrants will decrease.
The Selling Securityholders will pay any underwriting discounts and commissions and expenses incurred by the Selling Securityholders for brokerage, accounting, tax or legal services or any other expenses incurred by the Selling Securityholders in disposing of the securities. We will bear the costs, fees and expenses incurred in effecting the registration of the securities covered by this prospectus, including all registration and filing fees, Nasdaq listing fees and fees and expenses of our counsel and our independent registered public accounting firm.
MARKET PRICE OF OUR COMMON STOCK AND DIVIDEND INFORMATION
Market Price of Our Common Stock
Our Common Stock is currently listed on the Nasdaq Global Market of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”) under the symbol “ZVSA.” Prior to the consummation of the Business Combination, Larkspur’s Units, Common Stock and Public Warrants were listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbols “LSPRU,” “LSPR” and “LSPRW,” respectively. Larkspur’s Units and the Public Warrants are no longer listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market.
On October 23, 2023, the closing sale price of our Common Stock was $0.12 per share.
As of October 23, 2023, there were approximately 500 holders of record of our Common Stock. Such numbers do not include beneficial owners holding our securities through nominee names.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock, and we do not currently intend to pay any cash dividends for the foreseeable future. We expect to retain future earnings, if any, to fund the development and growth of our business. Any future determination to pay dividends on our Common Stock will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon, among other factors, our financial condition, operating results, current and anticipated cash needs, plans for expansion and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant.
Unless expressly indicated or the context otherwise requires, references in this prospectus to the “Company,” the “Registrant,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to ZyVersa (and the business of Old ZyVersa which became the business of ZyVersa after giving effect to the Business Combination).
We are a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company leveraging proprietary technologies to develop drugs for patients with chronic renal or inflammatory diseases with high unmet medical needs. Our mission is to develop drugs that optimize health outcomes and improve patients’ quality of life.
We have two proprietary globally licensed drug development platforms, each of which was discovered by research scientists at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine (the “University of Miami” or “University”). These development platforms are:
|●||Cholesterol Efflux MediatorTM, VAR 200 (2-hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin or “2HPβCD”) is an injectable drug in clinical development for treatment of renal diseases. VAR 200 was licensed from L&F Research LLC on December 15, 2015. L&F Research was founded by the University of Miami research scientists who discovered the use of VAR 200 for renal diseases.|
|●||IC 100 is a monoclonal antibody inflammasome ASC inhibitor in preclinical development for treatment of inflammatory conditions. IC 100 was licensed from InflamaCore, LLC on April 18, 2019. InflamaCore, LLC was founded by the University of Miami research scientists who invented IC 100.|
We believe that each of our product candidates has the potential to treat numerous indications in their respective therapeutic areas. Our strategy is to focus on indication expansion to maximize commercial potential.
Our renal pipeline is initially focused on rare, chronic glomerular diseases. Our lead indication for VAR 200 is focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (“FSGS”). On January 21, 2020, we filed an Investigational New Drug application (“IND”) for VAR 200, and the United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has allowed our development plans to proceed to a Phase 2a trial in patients with FSGS based on the risk/benefit profile of the active ingredient (2HPβCD). Prior to initiating a Phase 2a trial in patients with FSGS, we are planning to support an open-label proof-of-concept trial in quarter one of 2024, where we expect to obtain data in 8 patients with diabetic kidney disease. This will enable assessment of drug effects as patients proceed through treatment and will provide insights for developing our Phase 2a protocol. VAR 200 has pharmacologic proof-of-concept data in animal models representative of FSGS, Alport Syndrome and diabetic kidney disease, each of which may be developed based on our indication expansion strategy.
Our inflammasome ASC inhibitor program, IC 100, is in preclinical development. Our focus is on advancing 1C 100 toward a currently planned IND submission in Q2-2024, followed by initiation of a Phase 1 trial. IC 100 has pharmacologic proof-of-concept data in animal models representative of acute respiratory distress syndrome (“ARDS”) and multiple sclerosis (“MS”). We plan to conduct additional animal studies in up to six indications, such as immunoglobulin A (“IgA”) nephropathy, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, congestive heart failure, and early Alzheimer’s disease, in our next waves of preclinical development. We anticipate that one or more lead indications for IC 100 will be selected based on data from our preclinical program.
About Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
Chronic kidney disease (“CKD”) is an increasing public health problem which affects over 75 million people worldwide, and approximately 37 million in the United States. The National Kidney Foundation estimates that approximately 80 million adults are at risk for kidney disease in the United States. With no disease modifying drug therapies commercially available, a sizeable percentage of kidney patients progress to end-stage renal disease (“ESRD”), requiring dialysis or transplant to survive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2018, approximately 131,600 people in the United States started treatment for ESRD, and nearly 786,000 people are currently living with ESRD in the United States (of those 786,000 people, approximately 71% are on dialysis, and 29% are living with a kidney transplant). Further, the economic burden associated with chronic kidney disease can be substantial, as Medicare Fee-for-Service spending was $130 billion in 2018 according to the National Kidney Foundation. We believe the high incidence level and the steep monetary burden caused by CKD create a need for effective, disease modifying drug therapies.
CKD is associated with poor prognosis and in 2017, according to the National Vital Statistics Report, CKD was the ninth-leading cause of death in the United States. To address this significant health problem, on July 10, 2019, the White House and Department of Health and Human Services launched the Advancing American Kidney Health (“AAKH”) initiative to advance kidney disease prevention and care in the United States, which has three goals: (1) to reduce the number of patients developing renal failure through better diagnosis, treatment, and preventative care; (2) to maximize provision of home dialysis care; and (3) to expand the pool of kidneys available for transplant. We believe that by mediating removal of excess renal intracellular cholesterol that contributes to kidney damage and dysfunction, VAR 200 has the potential to help address the AAKH initiative’s first goal to reduce the number of patients developing renal failure.
Our lead renal indication is FSGS, which is a progressive form of kidney disease with no approved drug therapies. Approximately 40-60% of FSGS patients develop end stage kidney disease within 10-20 years, requiring dialysis and ultimately kidney transplant to survive. FSGS is an orphan disease affecting approximately 40,000 people in the United States. It is characterized by injury to the kidneys’ filtration system or “glomerular podocytes” leading to scarring that is focal (i.e., affecting only some glomerulus) and segmental (i.e., affecting only part of glomerulus). Accumulation of cholesterol and lipids in renal glomeruli, which has been associated with structural damage and impaired kidney function, has been seen in FSGS patient biopsies and in representative FSGS animal models. Damage to the glomeruli causes protein to leak into urine, a condition known as proteinuria. As the level of protein increases in the urine, patients develop a specific set of symptoms known as nephrotic syndrome. Proteinuria is strongly associated with kidney disease progression, and nephrotic syndrome is generally predictive of a poor prognosis. Approximately 70% of FSGS patients present with nephrotic syndrome at diagnosis. By mediating removal of excess cholesterol from renal glomeruli, we believe that VAR 200 has the potential to preserve renal structure and function and thereby reduce proteinuria that leads to FSGS progression.
About Inflammatory Diseases
Chronic inflammatory diseases have been recognized as one of the most significant causes of death in the world today, with more than 50% of all deaths worldwide attributable to inflammation-related diseases such as ischemic heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (“NAFLD”) and autoimmune and neurodegenerative conditions. Excessive and persistent activation of inflammasomes have been linked to the pathophysiology of these types of chronic diseases.
Inflammasomes are comprised of 3 proteins: (i) one of several types of sensor molecules, (ii) an apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain (“ASC”), and (iii) the proinflammatory caspase-1 (“pro-caspase-1”). There are multiple types of inflammasomes that trigger inflammation. They are named based on their associated sensor molecule, such as NLRP1, NLRP2, NLRP3, NLRC4, AIM2, and Pyrin. Numerous inflammatory diseases are often associated with activation of multiple types of inflammasomes. For example, multiple sclerosis is associated with activation of AIM2, NLRP1, NLRP3, and NLRC4. The ASC component of inflammasomes is a promising drug target since it is a component of the six most common types of inflammasomes referenced above. We believe this is more advantageous than targeting a specific sensor protein, a component of one type of inflammasome, which is the focus of several potential competitors. In addition to its pivotal role in inflammasome formation and activation required for initiation of an inflammatory response, ASC also plays a role in the perpetuation of inflammation associated with extracellular release of ASC specks. By targeting ASC, we believe IC 100 has potential to effectively control inflammation in a multitude of inflammatory diseases.
The goal of our pipeline is to target renal and inflammatory indications with high unmet medical needs, which we believe can be addressed by our mechanisms of action. We intend to further enhance and expand our product portfolio through the development of multiple indications for each of VAR 200 and IC 100, and through potential in-licensing of promising renal and anti-inflammatory product candidates.
Our current pipeline consists of the following:
|1.||Development Phase: Phase in which a drug formulation is developed that ensures the proper drug delivery parameters are met.|
|2.||Pre-clinical Phase: Phase in which in vitro (laboratory) and in vivo (animal) studies are conducted to gather evidence to justify clinical trials in humans.|
|3.||FDA concurred that a Phase 1 trial was not required for VAR 200 based on VAR 200’s established historical safety profile.|
For VAR 200, our lead renal indication is FSGS (VAR 200-01). For IC 100, we will select one or more lead indications prior to our IND filing planned for Q2-2024. This will be based on data from existing and future preclinical studies.
With the myriad of diverse diseases and conditions mediated by chronic inflammation, we believe IC 100 has potential to treat a multitude of inflammatory diseases. The following is a summary of the market for IC 100’s current pipeline.
|1.||Quintanilla E, et al. Front Genet. 2021 December|