kmph20161231_10k.htm
 


 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 


 

FORM 10-K

 


 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Commission File No. 001-36913

 


 

KemPharm, Inc.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 


 

Delaware

20-5894398

(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

 

 

1180 Celebration Boulevard, Suite 103, Celebration, FL 34747

(321) 939-3416

(Address of Principal Executive Offices and Zip Code)

(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

Trading Symbol

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Common Stock, $0.0001 par value

KMPH

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

(Nasdaq Capital Market)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 


 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act     Yes      No 

 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act     Yes      No 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.     Yes     No 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).     Yes      No 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.:

 

Large accelerated filer ☐     Accelerated filer ☐     Non-accelerated filer ☒     Smaller reporting company ☒     Emerging growth company

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☒

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).     Yes      No 

 

 

 

 

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 28, 2019, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was approximately $38,659,464, based upon the closing sales price for the registrant’s common stock, as reported on the Nasdaq Stock Market, on June 28, 2019. The calculation of the aggregate market value of voting and non-voting common equity excludes 6,767,421 shares of common stock the registrant held by executive officers, directors and stockholders that the registrant concluded were affiliates of the registrant on that date. Exclusion of such shares should not be construed to indicate that any such person possesses the power, direct or indirect, to direct or cause the direction of management or policies of the registrant or that such person is controlled by or under common control with the registrant.

 

As of February 27, 2020, the registrant had 50,684,743 shares of common stock outstanding.

 


 

Documents Incorporated by Reference

 

Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for its 2020 annual meeting of stockholders are incorporated herein by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the extent stated herein. Such proxy statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2019. Except with respect to information specifically incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the definitive proxy statement is not deemed to be filed as part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

KEMPHARM, INC.

FORM 10-K

 

 

 

Page

     

 

PART I

 

     

Item 1.

Business

5

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

26

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

83

Item 2.

Properties

83

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

83

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

83

     

 

PART II

 

     

Item 5.

Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters, and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

84

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

84

Item 7.

Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

85

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

106

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

106

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosures

106

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

106

Item 9B.

Other Information

107

     

 

PART III

 

     

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

108

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

108

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

108

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

108

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

108

     

 

PART IV

 

     

Item 15.

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

109

 

Signatures

152

 

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” contains forward-looking statements regarding future events and our future results that are subject to the safe harbors created under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or our future financial performance. We generally identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “would,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “could,” “intends,” “target,” “projects,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “assume,” “intend,” “potential,” “continue” or other similar words or the negative of these terms. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. The outcome of the events described in these forward-looking statements is subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors described in “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance upon these forward-looking statements. We cannot assure you that the events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or occur, the timing of events and circumstances and actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements contained in this report include, but are not limited to, statements about:

 

  our development plan for our ADHD product candidates, including expectations about the timing of our regulatory filings;
     
 

the progress of, timing of and expected amount of expenses associated with our research, development and commercialization activities;

     
  our ability to raise additional funds on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, in order to support our continued operations;
     
  the sufficiency of our cash resources to fund our operating expenses and capital investment requirements for any period;
     
 

the expected timing of our clinical trials for our product candidates and the availability of data and results of those trials;

     
 

our expectations regarding federal, state and foreign regulatory requirements;

     
 

the potential therapeutic benefits and effectiveness of our product candidates and partnered assets;

     
 

the size and characteristics of the markets that may be addressed by our product candidates and partnered assets;

     
 

the potential outcome of any strategic collaborations or partnerships for the development or sale of our product candidates and partnered assets;

     
 

our expectations as to future financial performance, expense levels and liquidity sources;

     
  the timing of commercializing our product candidates; and
     
 

other factors discussed elsewhere in this report.

 

The forward-looking statements made in this report relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. We have included important factors in the cautionary statements included in this report, particularly in the section entitled “Risk Factors” that we believe could cause actual results or events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements that we make. Our forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers, dispositions, joint ventures or investments we may make. Except as required by law, we do not assume any intent to update any forward-looking statements after the date on which the statement is made, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise.

 

NOTE REGARDING COMPANY REFERENCE

 

Unless the context otherwise requires, we use the terms “KemPharm,” “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to refer to KemPharm, Inc. We have proprietary rights to a number of trademarks used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K that are important to our business, including KemPharm, APADAZ, LAT and the KemPharm logo. All other trademarks, trade names and service marks appearing in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, the trademarks and trade names in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are referred to without the ® and ™ symbols, but such references should not be construed as any indicator that their respective owners will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, their rights thereto.

 

NOTE REGARDING MARKET AND INDUSTRY DATA

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K includes statistical and other industry and market data that we obtained from industry publications and research, surveys and studies conducted by third parties.

 

 

 

 

PART I

 

ITEM 1.

BUSINESS.

 

Overview

 

We are a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of proprietary prodrugs to treat serious medical conditions through our proprietary Ligand Activated Therapy, or LAT™, technology. We utilize our proprietary LAT technology to generate improved prodrug versions of drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, as well as to generate prodrug versions of existing compounds that may have applications for new disease indications. Our product candidate pipeline is focused on the high need areas of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and stimulant use disorder, or SUD. Our co-lead clinical development candidates, KP415 and KP484, are both based on a prodrug of d-methylphenidate, or d-MPH, but with differing extended-release, or ER, effect profiles, and are intended for the treatment of ADHD. Our preclinical product candidate for the treatment of SUD is KP879, based on a prodrug of d-MPH. In addition, we have announced our commercial partnership with KVK Tech, Inc., or KVK, of APADAZ®, an FDA approved immediate-release, or IR, combination product of benzhydrocodone, our prodrug of hydrocodone, and acetaminophen, or APAP, for the short-term (no more than 14 days) management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate. We have entered into a collaboration and license agreement with Commave Therapeutics SA (formerly known as Boston Pharmaceuticals S.A.), an affiliate of Gurnet Point Capital, or Commave, for the development, manufacture and commercialization of our product candidates containing serdexmethylphenidate, or SDX, and d-MPH.

 

We have two commercial partnerships relating to our ADHD program, and APADAZ, our FDA approved IR combination product of benzhydrocodone, our prodrug of hydrocodone, and APAP for the short-term (no more than 14 days) management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate.

 

In October 2018, we entered into our collaboration and license agreement, or the APADAZ License Agreement, with KVK. Under the APADAZ License Agreement, we granted an exclusive license to KVK to conduct regulatory activities for, manufacture and commercialize APADAZ in the United States. In collaboration with KVK, APADAZ was available for sale nationally beginning in November 2019.

 

In September 2019, we entered into our collaboration and license agreement, or the KP415 License Agreement,  with Commave, for the development, manufacture and commercialization of our product candidates containing SDX and d-MPH, including KP415, KP484, and, at the option of Commave, KP879, KP922 or any other product candidate developed by us containing SDX and developed to treat ADHD or any other central nervous system disorder.

 

Key members of our senior management, while at New River Pharmaceuticals Inc., were instrumental in the development of VYVANSE, a prodrug of amphetamine indicated for ADHD, through FDA marketing approval. New River Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was acquired by Shire plc, or Shire, in 2007. Shire was subsequently acquired by Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company Limited, or Takeda, in January 2019.

 

We employ our proprietary LAT technology to discover and develop prodrugs that are new molecules that can improve one or more of the attributes of approved drugs, such as enhanced bioavailability, extended duration of action, increased safety and reduced susceptibility to abuse. A prodrug is a precursor chemical compound of a drug that is inactive or less than fully active, which is then converted in the body to the active form of the drug through a normal metabolic process. Where possible, we seek, to develop prodrugs that will be eligible for approval under Section 505(b)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, or the FFDCA, otherwise known as a 505(b)(2) NDA, which allows us to rely on the FDA’s previous findings of safety and effectiveness for one or more approved products, if we demonstrate such reliance is scientifically appropriate.

 

We intend to advance our pipeline of product candidates for the treatment of ADHD and SUD, and we anticipate submitting a new drug application, or NDA, to the FDA for KP415 in the first quarter of 2020, although the timing of the filing is at the discretion of Commave. We also anticipate initiating a pivotal efficacy trial for KP484 in 2021, subject to Commave's approval. We plan to employ our LAT technology and development expertise to develop additional product candidates that address unmet medical needs in large, established markets. We believe our product candidates may be eligible for composition-of-matter patent protection and we intend to use the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway when available, which we believe may reduce drug development time, risk and expense.

 

Our Strategy

 

Our goal is to be a leading specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel prodrugs. Key components of our strategy include, for example:

 
 

Leverage our proprietary LAT technology to improve the attributes of widely-prescribed, FDA-approved drugs. We plan to employ our proprietary LAT technology to discover and develop prodrugs that can improve one or more of the attributes of FDA-approved drugs that are widely-prescribed. We intend to discover and develop prodrugs of FDA-approved drugs in multiple therapeutic areas.

     
 

Advance the development of our pipeline product candidates. We plan, together with Commave, to advance the development of our co-lead product candidates, KP415 and KP484, for the treatment of ADHD. We plan to initiate a pivotal efficacy trial for KP484 in 2021. We also plan to submit an NDA for KP415 in the first quarter of 2020, although the timing of the filing is at the discretion of Commave. In addition, we are developing KP879, our prodrug of d-methylphenidate, for the treatment of SUD.

     
 

Continue to build a global intellectual property portfolio. We intend to vigorously pursue composition-of-matter patent protection for our prodrugs in markets covering a majority of the global commercial opportunity.

     
 

Commercialize APADAZ. We announced that in November 2019, APADAZ and its authorized generic (AG-APADAZ) became available nationally. To date KVK’s commercialization strategy has targeted outreach to pharmacy benefit managers, managed care organizations and integrated delivery networks for the exclusive utilization of APADAZ as an alternative to currently available hydrocodone/acetaminophen products. We may also license the international commercial rights to APADAZ to one or more collaborators.

 

5

 

 

Our Proprietary LAT Technology

 

We employ our proprietary LAT technology to create prodrugs that are new molecules by chemically attaching one or more molecules, referred to as ligands, to an FDA-approved parent drug. We typically use ligands that have been demonstrated to be safe in toxicological studies or have been granted Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS, status by the FDA. When the prodrug is administered, human metabolic processes, such as those in the gastrointestinal, or GI, tract, separate the ligand from the prodrug and release the parent drug, which can then exert its therapeutic effect. We select ligands that, when combined with the parent drug, create prodrugs believed to have improved drug attributes while maintaining efficacy potentially equivalent to the parent drug.

 

We believe that our proprietary LAT technology offers the following potential benefits:

 

 

Improved drug properties. We seek to discover and develop prodrugs that are new molecules with potentially improved attributes over FDA-approved drugs, such as enhanced bioavailability, extended duration of action, increased safety and reduced susceptibility to abuse.

 

 

Composition-of-matter patent protection. Our prodrugs are new molecules and thus may be eligible for patent protection as novel compositions of matter, provided that all other applicable requirements are met. We seek patent protection not only for our product candidates, but also for related compounds with the intention of creating potential heightened barriers to market entry.

 

 

Eligibility for 505(b)(2) NDA pathway. Our proprietary LAT technology allows us to discover and develop prodrugs that may be eligible to use the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway. Under that regulatory pathway, if we are able to provide an adequate bridge between our product candidates and appropriate FDA-approved drugs, we will then be able to reference the FDA’s previous findings of safety and effectiveness of the approved drugs in our 505(b)(2) NDA submissions. This may allow us to avoid the significant time and expense of conducting large clinical trials and potentially eliminate the need for some preclinical activities.

 

The Unmet Need for Addressing Early Morning Behavioral Deficits and Maintaining Consistent, Sustained Efficacy in Daily ADHD Treatment

 

The ADHD market is relatively well served by a number of methylphenidate and amphetamine stimulant products. However, we believe there is a significant need for longer duration products. While many of the currently marketed methylphenidate products provide good symptom control for up to 12 hours post-dose, there is increasing attention to addressing late afternoon/early evening behavioral deficits, while maintaining early symptom control.

 

A study published in a peer-reviewed journal characterized the frequency and severity of ADHD symptoms throughout the day in children and adolescents treated with stable doses of stimulant medications. Results of that particular study indicated that the time from awakening to arriving at school can comprise up to 20% of waking hours per day (2-3 hours), and therefore such symptoms can cause significant distress for both children and caregivers. As a result, we believe there is a need to develop a methylphenidate product that provides early-morning control of symptoms.

 

In addition to early onset, patients require sustained, consistent efficacy throughout the day and into the early evening hours. While currently marketed methylphenidate products offer efficacy for up to 12 hours, this duration may not be sufficient for all patients. Particularly adolescents and adults may often require longer effects as they have longer waking hours compared to younger patients. It has been reported in a peer-reviewed journal that these patients are typically using dose-augmentation strategies by taking additional doses of stimulant later in the day. We believe a single dose therapy that provides effective symptom control without requiring additional doses may have several benefits including, potentially, improved dosage compliance by regularly and consistently taking medication as indicated, reduced social embarrassment by avoiding the need to take medication during working hours, and overall improvement in quality of life through more consistent therapy. Based on this evidence, we believe there is a need to develop a methylphenidate product that can deliver long duration of efficacy. There may also be a need to develop a long-duration stimulant with and without very early onset depending on individual patient preference and requirements.

 

6

 

 

Our Product Candidates and Approved Products

 

We have employed our proprietary LAT technology to create a portfolio of product candidates and approved products that we believe will offer significant improvements over FDA-approved and widely-prescribed drugs.

 

A selection of our product candidates and approved products are summarized in the table below:

 

Selected KemPharm Partnered and Optioned Assets

 

Parent Drug (Effect Profile)   Product Candidate / Product   Development   Key
(Indication)   (Status)   Status   Milestone

Methylphenidate (ER)

(ADHD)

 

KP415

(Partnered)

  Clinical  

NDA Submission - Q1 2020

Methylphenidate (ER)

(ADHD)

 

KP484

(Partnered)

  Clinical  

Initiation of Pivotal Efficacy Trial - 2021

Methylphenidate (ER)

(SUD)

 

KP879

(Optioned)

  Preclinical   IND Submission - 2021

Hydrocodone / APAP (IR)

(Pain)

 

APADAZ

(Partnered)

  FDA Approved   Tracking Payor Contracts and TRx's - 2020

 

Subject to Commave's approval, we intend to seek approval of both KP415 and KP484 under the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway, which will allow us to rely on the FDA's previous findings of safety and effectiveness for one or more approved products. We anticipate submitting a 505(b)(2) NDA for KP415 in the first quarter of 2020, although the timing of the filing is at the discretion of Commave. We anticipate initiating additional pharmacokinetic, or PK, and pivotal efficacy trials for KP484 in 2021, subject to Commave's approval.

 

7

 

 

KP415 and KP484

 

Overview

 

The prodrug in both KP415 and KP484 is SDX, which we are developing for the treatment of ADHD. The ADHD market is largely served by the stimulant products methylphenidate and amphetamine. Both KP415 and KP484 are designed to be extended-duration methylphenidate products.

 

Subject to Commave's approval, we intend to seek approval of both KP415 and KP484 under the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway, which will allow us to rely on the FDA's previous findings of safety and effectiveness for one or more approved products. We anticipate submitting a 505(b)(2) NDA for KP415 in the first quarter of 2020, although the timing of the filing is at the discretion of Commave, and initiating additional PK and pivotal efficacy trials for KP484 in 2021, subject to Commave's approval.

 

In September 2019, we entered into the KP415 License Agreement with Commave. Under the KP415 License Agreement, we granted to Commave an exclusive, worldwide license to develop, manufacture and commercialize our product candidates containing SDX and d-MPH, including KP415, KP484, and, at the option of Commave, KP879, KP922 or any other product candidate developed by us containing SDX and developed to treat ADHD or any other central nervous system disorder, or the Additional Product Candidates and, collectively with KP415 and KP484, the Licensed Product Candidates.

 

Under the terms of the KP415 License Agreement, we granted Commave an exclusive, worldwide license to commercialize and develop the Licensed Product Candidates; provided that such license shall apply to an Additional Product Candidates only if Commave exercises its option under the KP415 License Agreement related thereto. If Commave exercises its option related to any Additional Product Candidate under the KP415 License Agreement, the parties are obligated to negotiate in good faith regarding the economic terms of such Additional Product Candidate. We also granted to Commave a right of first refusal to acquire, license or commercialize any Additional Product Candidate, with such right of first refusal expiring upon the acceptance of a new drug application for such Additional Product Candidate. In addition, we granted Commave a right of first negotiation and a right of first refusal, subject to specified exceptions, for any assignment of our rights under the KP415 License Agreement.

 

Pursuant to the KP415 License Agreement, Commave paid the Company an upfront payment of $10.0 million and agreed to pay up to $63.0 in milestone payments upon the occurrence of specified regulatory milestones related to the KP415 and KP484. In addition, Commave agreed to make additional payments upon the achievement of specified U.S. sales milestones of up to $420.0 million in the aggregate, depending, among other things, on timing of approval for an NDA for KP415 and its final approved label, if any. Further, Commave will pay us quarterly, tiered royalty payments ranging from a percentage in the high single digits to the mid-twenties of Net Sales (as defined in the KP415 License Agreement) in the United States and a percentage in the low to mid-single digits of Net Sales in each country outside the United States, in each case subject to specified reductions under certain conditions as described in the KP415 License Agreement. Commave is obligated to make such royalty payments on a product-by-product basis until expiration of the Royalty Term (as defined in the KP415 License Agreement) for the applicable product.

 

Commave agreed to be responsible for and reimburse us for all of development, commercialization and regulatory expenses for the Licensed Product Candidates, subject to certain limitations as set forth in the KP415 License Agreement, including consultation fees to be paid to the Company for services provided to Commave in performing such activities.

 

The KP415 License Agreement will continue on a product-by-product basis (i) until expiration of the Royalty Term for the applicable Licensed Product Candidate in the United States and (ii) perpetually for all other countries. Commave may terminate the KP415 License Agreement at its convenience upon prior written notice prior to regulatory approval of any Licensed Product Candidate or upon prior written notice after regulatory approval of any Licensed Product Candidate. We may terminate the KP415 License Agreement in full if Commave, any of its sublicensees or any of its or their affiliates challenge the validity of any Licensed Patent (as defined in the KP415 License Agreement) and such challenge is not required under a court order or subpoena and is not a defense against a claim, action or proceeding asserted by us. Either party may terminate the KP415 License Agreement (i) upon a material breach of the KP415 License Agreement by the other party, subject to a cure period, or (ii) if the other party encounters bankruptcy or insolvency. Upon a Serious Material Breach (as defined in the KP415 License Agreement) by us, subject to a cure period, Commave may choose not to terminate the KP415 License Agreement and instead reduce the milestone and royalty payments owed to us. Upon termination, all licenses and other rights granted by us to Commave pursuant to the KP415 License Agreement would revert to us. During the term of the KP415 License Agreement, we may not develop or commercialize any Competing Product (as defined in the KP415 License Agreement).

 

The KP415 License Agreement established a joint steering committee, which monitors progress in the development of both KP415 and KP484. Subject to the oversight of the joint steering committee, we otherwise retain all responsibility for the conduct of all regulatory activities required to obtain NDA approval of both KP415 and KP484; provided that Commave shall be the sponsor of any clinical trials conducted by us on behalf of Commave.

 

Under our March 2012 asset purchase agreement with Shire, Shire had a right of first refusal to acquire, license or commercialize KP415 and KP484. In January 2019, Shire was acquired by Takeda to whom this right of first refusal was transferred at that time. Takeda did not exercise this right of first refusal as part of the KP415 License Agreement.

 

Under our March 2012 termination agreement with Aquestive Therapeutics, or Aquestive, Aquestive has the right to receive a royalty amount equal to 10% of any value generated by KP415, KP484 or KP879, and any product candidates which contain SDX, including royalty payments on any license of KP415, KP484 or KP879, the sale of KP415, KP484 or KP879 to a third party, the commercialization of KP415, KP484 or KP879 and the portion of any consideration that is attributable to the value of KP415, KP484 or KP879 and paid to us or our stockholders in a change of control transaction. In connection with the KP415 License Agreement, we paid Aquestive a royalty equal to 10% of the upfront license payment we received in the third quarter of 2019.

 

Market Opportunity

 

We believe the ADHD market would be receptive to new branded drugs that have improved properties when compared to current treatments. We believe a new product in the form of a prodrug that has differentiated features may provide a new treatment option in this large market segment. While methylphenidate is available as a generic product, the branded formulations, including, among others, CONCERTA, FOCALIN XR, QUILLICHEW XR and COTEMPLA XR-ODT.

 

8

 

 

Key Features of KP415

 

Based on our preclinical and clinical data, we believe KP415, if approved by the FDA, may have valuable product features and may provide significant benefits to patients, physicians, and society when compared to other FDA-approved and widely-prescribed methylphenidate products:

 

 

Faster early-morning symptom control and sustained effectiveness. In July 2018, we announced top line results from our pivotal efficacy and safety clinical trial of KP415. KP415.E01 was a laboratory classroom clinical trial in children aged 6-12 years old with a diagnosis of ADHD to assess the efficacy and safety of KP415. Subjects who received KP415 met the trial’s primary and secondary efficacy endpoint, showing statistically significant improvement on both the SKAMP and PERMP scales.

 

 

Reduced abuse potential. In order to evaluate the potential for reduced abuse of SDX, our prodrug of d-methylphenidate and major component of KP415, we conducted preclinical and clinical studies to compare the exposure to d-methylphenidate following oral, intranasal and intravenous, or IV, administration of the prodrug as compared to oral, intranasal and IV administration of d-methylphenidate hydrochloride. We observed significantly lower concentrations of d-methylphenidate following oral, intranasal and IV administration of the prodrug compared to oral, intranasal and IV administered d-methylphenidate hydrochloride. Consistent with this lower exposure, in human abuse potential studies, we also observed significantly lower abuse-related pharmacodynamic effects compared to d-methylphenidate comparators. Our prodrug of d-methylphenidate incorporates our proprietary LAT technology and, based on our preclinical and clinical studies, we believe it may have lower abuse potential compared to d-methylphenidate.

 

 

Once-daily dosing. PK data from our preclinical studies suggest that the time to maximum plasma concentration of d-methylphenidate after oral administration of KP415 is approximately three times longer than that after oral administration of currently marketed IR d-methylphenidate. We believe our PK studies in human subjects also demonstrate that KP415 affords d-methylphenidate concentrations that are consistent with a once-daily, extended-duration product.

 

 

Amenable to patient-friendly formulations. Our preclinical and clinical data show that KP415 could ultimately be used in a variety of patient-friendly dosage forms such as oral thin film and orally dissolving tablets as a means of increasing patient convenience and dosage compliance by regularly and consistently taking the medication as indicated.

 

 

Composition-of-matter patent protection. We have a U.S. composition-of-matter patent that will expire, after utilizing all appropriate patent term adjustments but excluding possible term extensions, in 2032 that generally covers at least one component of KP415. Our patent strategy is focused primarily on key geographic markets, and we have composition-of-matter patents in multiple countries, including in Canada, China, Europe, Malaysia, Mexico, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea and Vietnam, and additional patent filings pending in the United States and  foreign jurisdictions. In addition, subject to further discussions with the FDA, we believe additional patent protection may be eligible for new chemical entity, or NCE, exclusivity status, which could allow for five years of U.S. market exclusivity following the FDA's approval of an NDA for KP415.

 

 

No generic equivalent product. KP415 contains a prodrug that was given a new chemical name, serdexmethylphenidate, by the U.S. Adopted Names Council, or USAN, which means that there may be no generic equivalent product for KP415 in most states, making drug-equivalent substitution potentially difficult at the pharmacy.

 

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Key Features of KP484

 

Based on our preclinical and clinical data, we believe KP484, if approved by the FDA, may have valuable product features and may provide significant benefits to patients, physicians, and society when compared to other FDA-approved and widely-prescribed methylphenidate products:

 

 

Super-extended release. We believe that this KP484 may provide sustained, consistent effectiveness through the day and into the evening hours. 

 

 

Reduced abuse potential. The preclinical and clinical studies of SDX, the prodrug of d-methylphenidate, discussed above in the KP415 “Reduced Abuse Potential” subsection are being used by us for the abuse potential evaluation of the KP484 product candidate. Accordingly, we believe serdexmethylphenidate may have attributes that disincentivize certain forms of abuse, as observed in these preclinical and clinical studies.

 

 

Once-daily dosing. PK data from our clinical studies suggest that under fasted conditions, the time to maximum plasma concentration of d-methylphenidate after oral administration of KP484 is potentially five to seven times longer compared to oral administration of currently marketed IR d-methylphenidate. We believe this extended-duration attribute of KP484 may allow for convenient, once-daily dosing.

 

 

Amenable to patient-friendly formulations. Our preclinical and clinical data shows that KP484 could ultimately be used in a variety of patient-friendly dosage forms such as oral thin film and orally dissolving tablets as a means of increasing patient convenience and dosage compliance by regularly and consistently taking the medications as indicated.

 

 

Composition-of-matter patent protection. KP484 is generally protected by a U.S. composition-of-matter patent that will expire, after utilizing all appropriate patent term adjustments but excluding possible term extensions, in 2032. Our patent strategy is focused primarily on key geographic markets, and we have composition-of-matter patents generally protecting the major component of KP484 in New Zealand, South Africa and select other countries.

 

 

No generic equivalent product. KP484 contains a prodrug that was given a new chemical name, serdexmethylphenidate, by the USAN, which means that there may be no generic equivalent product for KP484 in most states, making drug-equivalent substitution potentially difficult at the pharmacy.

 

KP879

 

KP879, a prodrug of d-methylphenidate using our proprietary LAT technology, is our product candidate for the treatment of SUD including, for example, abuse or misuse of cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription stimulants. Currently there are no approved drugs in the United States for SUD.

 

10

 

 

APADAZ

 

Overview

 

In February 2018, we announced that the FDA approved APADAZ for the short-term (no more than 14 days) management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate. APADAZ is an IR combination of our prodrug, benzhydrocodone, and APAP. Benzhydrocodone was developed with our proprietary LAT technology.

 

In October 2018, we entered into the APADAZ License Agreement with KVK pursuant to which we have granted an exclusive license to KVK to conduct regulatory activities for, manufacture and commercialize APADAZ in the United States.

 

Pursuant to the APADAZ License Agreement, KVK agreed to pay us certain payments and cost reimbursements of an estimated $3.4 million, which includes a payment of $2.0 million within 10 days of the achievement of a specified milestone related to the initial formulary adoption of APADAZ, or the Initial Adoption Milestone. In addition, KVK has agreed to make additional payments to us upon the achievement of specified sales milestones of up to $53.0 million in the aggregate. Further, we and KVK will share the quarterly net profits of APADAZ by KVK in the United States at specified tiered percentages, ranging from us receiving 30% to 50% of net profits, based on the amount of net sales on a rolling four quarter basis. We are responsible for a portion of commercialization and regulatory expenses for APADAZ until the Initial Adoption Milestone is achieved, after which KVK will be responsible for all expenses incurred in connection with commercialization and maintaining regulatory approval in the United States.

 

The APADAZ License Agreement will terminate on the later of the date that all of the patent rights for APADAZ have expired in the United States or KVK’s cessation of commercialization of APADAZ in the United States. KVK may terminate the APADAZ License Agreement upon 90 days written notice if a regulatory authority in the United States orders KVK to stop sales of APADAZ due to a safety concern. In addition, after the third anniversary of the APADAZ License Agreement, KVK may terminate the APADAZ License Agreement without cause upon 18 months prior written notice. We may terminate the APADAZ License Agreement if KVK stops conducting regulatory activities for or commercializing APADAZ in the United States for a period of six months, subject to specified exceptions, or if KVK or its affiliates challenge the validity, enforceability or scope of any licensed patent under the APADAZ License Agreement. Both parties may terminate the APADAZ License Agreement (i) upon a material breach of the APADAZ License Agreement, subject to a 30-day cure period, (ii) the other party encounters bankruptcy or insolvency or (iii) if the Initial Adoption Milestone is not achieved. Upon termination, all licenses and other rights granted by us to KVK pursuant to the APADAZ License Agreement would revert to us.

 

The APADAZ License Agreement also established a joint steering committee, which monitors progress of the commercialization of APADAZ.

 

In November 2019, APADAZ and its authorized generic (AG-APADAZ) became nationally available. To date, KVK’s commercialization strategy has targeted outreach to pharmacy benefit managers, managed care organizations and integrated delivery networks for the exclusive utilization of APADAZ as an alternative to currently available hydrocodone/acetaminophen products. We may also license the international commercial rights to APADAZ to one or more collaborators.

 

Market Opportunity

 

Typically, patients are instructed to take 4-6 pills per day and prescriptions provide approximately 14 days of therapy. Hydrocodone is associated with more drug abuse and diversion than any other opioid, and IR hydrocodone abuse results in more emergency department visits than any other prescription opioid.

 

Key Product Features of APADAZ

 

We believe APADAZ has many valuable product features and may provide significant benefits to patients, physicians and society when compared to other FDA-approved and widely-prescribed IR hydrocodone/APAP combination products:

 

 

Composition-of-matter patent protection. APADAZ is protected by a U.S. composition-of-matter patent on benzhydrocodone, the prodrug of hydrocodone contained in APADAZ, that will expire, after utilizing all appropriate patent term adjustments but excluding possible patent term extensions, in 2031. Our patent strategy is focused primarily on key geographic markets and benzhydrocodone has received granted, issued or allowed patent status in multiple foreign jurisdictions and patent applications covering benzhydrocodone were pending in other foreign jurisdictions.

 

 

No generic equivalent product. Benzhydrocodone, the APADAZ active pharmaceutical ingredient, or API, is a prodrug with a new chemical name given by the USAN, benzhydrocodone. APADAZ has a lower prescribed milligram strength of benzhydrocodone than the therapeutic equivalent amount of hydrocodone bitartrate used in existing IR hydrocodone/APAP combination products. The difference in chemical structure and prescription strength means that there is no generic equivalent product for APADAZ in most states (outside of the authorized generic AG-APADAZ), making substitution difficult at the pharmacy.

 

 

Convenient dosing. Based on data from our food-effect PK trial, APADAZ can be administered without regard to food and, accordingly, APADAZ will be as convenient as existing IR hydrocodone/APAP combination products.

  

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Our Intellectual Property

 

Our intellectual property strategy includes seeking composition-of-matter patents, among other patents, for our prodrugs and product candidates and conjugates of our prodrugs while also protecting, where appropriate as trade secrets, our proprietary LAT technology, the process by which we identify, screen, evaluate and select ligands to be conjugated with parent drugs to create our prodrugs. Our current prodrugs all consist of an approved parent drug and one or more ligands that we have selected using our proprietary LAT technology. The parent drug and ligand or ligands together may potentially constitute a new molecule and thus may be eligible for composition-of-matter patent protection, among other patent protections, in the United States and abroad.

 

As of December 31, 2019, we have been granted 31 active patents within the United States, and an additional 84 active foreign patents covering our selected prodrugs and product candidates. The terms of the 31 issued U.S. patents extend to various dates ranging, for example, between 2030 and 2035. The term of our overall domestic and foreign patent portfolio related to our selected prodrugs and product candidates, including patent term adjustments but excluding possible patent term extensions, extend to various dates ranging, for example, between 2030 and 2035, if pending patent applications in each of our patent families issue as patents. As of December 31, 2019, we had 24 pending patent applications under active prosecution in the United States, and an additional 44 pending foreign patent applications potentially covering our selected prodrugs and product candidates. Our issued and granted patents provide protection in jurisdictions that include the United States, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, European Countries, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa,  South Korea Ukraine, and Vietnam. 

 

We have received composition-of-matter patents and also additionally filed composition-of-matter patent applications related to the KP415 and KP484 families in the United States and in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, European Countries, India, Israel, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam. We anticipate filing additional patent applications for our prodrugs and product candidates.

 

In 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or the USPTO, issued a composition-of-matter patent covering benzhydrocodone, which will expire, after utilizing all appropriate patent term adjustments but excluding possible patent term extensions, no earlier than 2030. Further, there are granted or recently allowed compositions-of-matter patents covering benzhydrocodone in Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Mexico, South Africa, and South Korea. In addition, three U.S. patent applications covering benzhydrocodone-related compositions-of-matter were pending as of December 31, 2019, and patent applications covering benzhydrocodone were pending as of December 31, 2019, in Brazil, EPC, Israel, Thailand, New Zealand, South Korea, and Vietnam.

 

We also depend upon the skills, knowledge and experience of our scientific and technical personnel, as well as that of our advisors, consultants and other contractors. To help protect our LAT technology, as well as any proprietary know-how and show-how beyond that which is patentable, we rely on trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements to protect our interests. To this end, we generally require our employees, consultants and advisors to enter into confidentiality agreements prohibiting the disclosure of confidential information and, in some cases, requiring disclosure and assignment to us of the ideas, developments, discoveries, inventions and improvements important to our business.

 

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Commercialization

 

In February 2018, we announced that the FDA approved APADAZ for the short-term (no more than 14 days) management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate.

 

In October 2018, we entered into the APADAZ License Agreement with KVK pursuant to which we have granted an exclusive license to KVK to conduct regulatory activities for, manufacture and commercialize APADAZ in the United States. Under the terms of the APADAZ License Agreement we are eligible to receive milestone payments of up to $53.0 million and royalties based on the net profits of APADAZ sales in the United States. In November 2019, APADAZ and its authorized generic (AG-APADAZ) became nationally available. To date, KVK’s commercialization strategy has targeted outreach to pharmacy benefit managers, managed care organizations and integrated delivery networks for the exclusive utilization of APADAZ as an alternative to currently available hydrocodone/acetaminophen products. In support of the commercial launch, including the transition of commercial-level manufacturing to KVK,  the technology transfer process outlined under the APADAZ License Agreement is underway. As part of this process, in February 2019 we completed the transfer of the NDA for APADAZ to KVK. We may also license the international commercial rights to APADAZ to one or more collaborators in the future.

 

With the exception of APADAZ, we have not yet begun commercialization activities for our product candidates in active development. Because many of our product candidates may have large potential market opportunities, and may require significant marketing resources, we may conclude that the most appropriate approach to their commercialization, if they receive regulatory approval, will involve forming a commercial collaboration or strategic relationship similar to those we have entered into with KVK and Commave, or consummating some type of strategic transaction, with a larger pharmaceutical or other marketing organization. Alternatively, we may conclude that building our own focused sales and marketing organization will be most appropriate, perhaps as part of a co-promotional arrangement, or some other form of collaboration. As we get closer to potential approval of our product candidates which are not currently subject to the APADAZ License Agreement or KP415 License Agreement, we will work to identify and implement the commercialization strategies that we conclude are the most desirable with regard to the specific product candidates.

 

Research and Development

 

Historically, we have devoted a significant amount of resources to develop our product candidates. For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, we recorded $19.4 million and $41.8 million, respectively, in research and development expenses. We plan to devote a significant portion of our capital towards research and development for the foreseeable future as we continue our efforts to further advance the development of our product candidates and commercialize APADAZ and our product candidates, if approved, subject to the availability of additional funding. However, as part of the KP415 License Agreement, Commave agreed to be responsible for and reimburse us for all of development, commercialization and regulatory expenses for the Licensed Product Candidates, as defined in the KP415 License Agreement, subject to certain limitations as set forth in the KP415 License Agreement.

 

Competition

 

Our industry is characterized by rapidly advancing technologies, intense competition and a strong emphasis on proprietary products. We will face competition and potential competition from a number of sources, including pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, specialty pharmaceutical companies, generic drug companies, drug delivery companies and academic and research institutions. Our competitors may develop or market drugs that are more effective, more convenient, more widely used and less costly or have a better safety profile than our products or product candidates and these competitors may also have significantly more resources than us and be more successful than us in manufacturing and marketing their products.

 

If approved, both KP415 and KP484 will compete against currently marketed, branded and generic methylphenidate products for the treatment of ADHD. Some of these currently marketed products include Janssen's CONCERTA, Tris Pharma's QUILLIVANT XR and QUILLICHEW ER, Novartis' RITALIN, FOCALIN and FOCALIN XR, UCB's METADATE CD, Noven's DAYTRANA, Neos Therapeutics' CONTEMPLA XR-ODT, Ironshore Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s JORNAY PM and Adlon Therapeutics' ADHANSIA XR, in addition to multiple other branded and generic methylphenidate products. In addition, if approved, KP415 and KP484 will face potential competition from any other methylphenidate products for the treatment of ADHD that are currently in or which may enter into clinical development.

 

Currently, there are no approved drugs in the United States for the treatment of SUD. If approved, KP879 will face potential competition from any products for the treatment of SUD that are currently in or which may enter into clinical development.

 

APADAZ competes against currently marketed, branded and generic IR hydrocodone/APAP combination products indicated for the short-term management of acute pain. In addition, APADAZ will face potential competition from any IR or hydrocodone/APAP combination products for the short-term management of acute pain that are currently in or may enter into clinical development.

 

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Manufacturing

 

Our manufacturing strategy is to rely on contract manufacturers to produce our product candidates for clinical trials and, if approved, drug product for commercial sale. We currently have no manufacturing facilities and limited personnel with manufacturing experience. We rely on Johnson Matthey Inc., or JMI, a third-party manufacturer, to produce the bulk quantities of benzhydrocodone required to manufacture APADAZ under a supply agreement. We have contracted with another third-party manufacturer to supply KP415 and KP484 to be used in our non-clinical, clinical and formulation development programs necessary to support an NDA filing. We plan to continue to rely on these manufacturers to manufacture commercial quantities of APADAZ, and subject to Commave's approval, KP415 and KP484, respectively, for sale in the United States, if and when we receive approval by the FDA. We expect to contract with third-party manufacturers for the manufacture of all API supply needs outside the United States if and when we receive approval by regulatory authorities outside the United States.

 

Our current and any future third-party manufacturers, their facilities and all lots of drug substance and drug products used in our clinical trials are required to be in compliance with current good manufacturing practices, or cGMPs. The cGMP regulations include requirements relating to organization of personnel, buildings and facilities, equipment, control of components and drug product containers and closures, production and process controls, packaging and labeling controls, holding and distribution, laboratory controls, records and reports, and returned or salvaged products. The manufacturing facilities for our products must meet cGMP requirements and FDA satisfaction before any product is approved and we can manufacture commercial products. Our current and any future third-party manufacturers are also subject to periodic inspections of facilities by the FDA and other authorities, including procedures and operations used in the testing and manufacture of our products to assess our compliance with applicable regulations.

 

Failure to comply with statutory and regulatory requirements subjects a manufacturer to possible legal or regulatory action, including refusal to approve pending applications, license suspension or revocation, withdrawal of an approval, imposition of a clinical hold or termination of clinical trials, warning letters, untitled letters, cyber letters, modification of promotional materials or labeling, product recalls, product seizures or detentions, refusal to allow imports or exports, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, debarment, injunctions, fines, consent decrees, additional reporting requirements and oversight if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or similar agreements to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, refusals of government contracts and new orders under existing contracts, exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs, restitution, disgorgement or civil or criminal penalties, including fines and individual imprisonments.

 

Supply Agreement with Johnson Matthey

 

Under our supply agreement with JMI, or the Supply Agreement, JMI has agreed to supply us with all of the benzhydrocodone necessary for clinical trials and commercial sale for a price equal to JMI’s manufacturing cost and to provide process development services for benzhydrocodone. In exchange, we issued shares of our common stock to JMI, provided that the commercial supply arrangement for benzhydrocodone would be exclusive to them in the United States. In addition, for further process optimization and manufacture of NDA registration batches, we agreed to pay a minimum royalty on the net sales on the commercial sale of any products which utilize benzhydrocodone as the API. The percentage royalty rate ranges from the high teens at low volumes to the mid-single digits at higher volumes. Under the agreement, JMI has completed manufacture of our registration batches of any products which utilize benzhydrocodone as the API, and stability testing for those batches is in process.

 

Under the Supply Agreement, we retain sole ownership of benzhydrocodone and are required to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop and to pursue FDA marketing approval of any products which utilize benzhydrocodone as the API. We are responsible for product development, including formulation, preclinical studies and clinical trials, and for regulatory approval, quality assurance and commercialization. If any products which utilize benzhydrocodone as the API are subject to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, scheduling quota, then each year, both we and JMI are responsible for using commercially reasonable efforts to obtain a quota from the DEA for the production of benzhydrocodone for use with any products that utilize benzhydrocodone as an API.

 

JMI is responsible for all costs of any benzhydrocodone manufactured during a specified validation process for any products which utilize benzhydrocodone as an API. After completion of the validation process, but prior to the commercial launch of any products that utilize benzhydrocodone as the API, JMI will manufacture batches of benzhydrocodone at a negotiated price. Upon commercial launch, JMI will manufacture and supply benzhydrocodone at a price equal to JMI’s fully allocated manufacturing cost after commercial launch of APADAZ or any other product that may utilize benzhydrocodone as an API, should we obtain approval for marketing from the FDA.

 

We must purchase all of our U.S. benzhydrocodone needs from JMI and JMI cannot supply benzhydrocodone to other companies. After the commercial launch of any product that utilizes benzhydrocodone as the API, JMI is required to identify a secondary manufacturing site and qualify and validate that site for the production of benzhydrocodone.

 

The term of the Supply Agreement extends as long as we hold a valid and enforceable patent for benzhydrocodone or until the tenth anniversary of the commercial launch of any product that utilizes benzhydrocodone as the API, whichever date is later. Upon the expiration of such term, the agreement will automatically renew for a period of two years unless either party provides 12 months’ prior notice of its intent not to renew.

 

Asset Purchase Agreement with Shire

 

In March 2012, as a result of a litigation settlement, we and our chief executive officer, Travis C. Mickle, Ph. D., entered into an asset purchase agreement with Shire pursuant to which we sold assets and intellectual property to Shire for proceeds of $5.1 million. Pursuant to this agreement, we also granted Shire a right of first refusal to acquire, license or commercialize KP415 and KP484. In January 2019, Shire was acquired by Takeda to whom this right of first refusal was transferred at that time. Takeda did not exercise this right of first refusal as part of the KP415 License Agreement.

 

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Third-Party Reimbursement

 

Sales of pharmaceutical products depend in significant part on the availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement by third-party payors, such as state and federal governmental authorities, including those that administer the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and private managed care organizations and health insurers. Decisions regarding the extent of coverage and amount of reimbursement to be provided for each of our product and product candidates will be made on a plan-by-plan basis. One payor’s determination to provide coverage for a product does not assure that other payors will also provide coverage, and adequate reimbursement, for the product. Each third-party payor determines whether or not it will provide coverage for a drug, what amount it will pay providers for the drug, and on what tier of its formulary the drug will be placed. These decisions are influenced by the existence of multiple drug products within a therapeutic class and the net cost to the plan, including the amount of the prescription price, if any, rebated by the drug’s manufacturer. Typically, generic versions of drugs are placed in a preferred tier. The position of a drug on the formulary generally determines the co-payment that a patient will need to make to obtain the drug and can strongly influence the adoption of a drug by patients and physicians. Patients who are prescribed treatments for their conditions and providers performing the prescribed services generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the associated healthcare costs. 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. Additionally, a third-party payor’s decision to provide coverage for a drug does not imply that an adequate reimbursement rate will be approved. Also, third-party payors are developing increasingly sophisticated methods of controlling healthcare costs. As a result, coverage, reimbursement and placement determinations are complex and are often the subject of extensive negotiations between the payor and the owner of the drug.

 

Unless we enter into a strategic collaboration under which our collaborator assumes responsibility for seeking coverage and reimbursement for a given product, we will be responsible for negotiating coverage, reimbursement and placement decisions for our product candidates. Coverage, reimbursements and placement decisions for a new product are based on many factors including the coverage, reimbursement and placement of already marketed branded drugs for the same or similar indications, the safety and efficacy of the new product, availability of generics for similar indications, the clinical need for the new product and the cost-effectiveness of the product. Increasingly, both purchasers and payors are also conducting comparative clinical and cost effectiveness analyses involving application of metrics, including data on patient outcomes, provided by manufacturers.

 

Within the Medicare program, as self-administered drugs, our product and product candidates would be reimbursed under the expanded prescription drug benefit known as Medicare Part D. This program is a voluntary Medicare benefit administered by private plans that operate under contracts with the federal government. These plans develop formularies that determine which products are covered and what co-pay will apply to covered drugs. The plans have considerable discretion in establishing formularies and tiered co-pay structures, negotiating rebates with manufacturers and placing prior authorization and other restrictions on the utilization of specific products, subject to review by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, for discriminatory practices. These Part D plans negotiate discounts with drug manufacturers, which are passed on, in whole or in part, to each of the plan’s enrollees through reduced premiums. Historically, Part D beneficiaries have been exposed to significant out-of-pocket costs after they surpass an annual coverage limit and until they reach a catastrophic coverage threshold. However, changes made by recent legislation will reduce this patient coverage gap, known as the “donut hole”, by transitioning patient responsibility in that coverage range from 100% in 2010 to only 25% currently. To help achieve this reduction, pharmaceutical manufacturers are required to provide quarterly discounts of 50%, and 70% commencing January 1, 2019. In 2020, drug manufacturers will be responsible for a larger share of total drug costs due to an increase to the catastrophic threshold. Such increase will also result in a higher out-of-pocket threshold paid by Part D beneficiaries.

 

If a drug product is available for reimbursement by Medicare or Medicaid, its manufacturer must comply with various health regulatory requirements and price reporting metrics, which may include, as applicable, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, the Medicaid rebate requirements of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, or the OBRA, and the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992, or the VHCA, each as amended. Among other things, the OBRA requires drug manufacturers with certain drugs covered by Medicaid to pay rebates on prescription drugs to state Medicaid programs. States may also negotiate “supplemental” Medicaid rebates on drug products dispensed under Medicaid. Manufacturers participating in Medicaid are also generally required to participate in the Public Health Service 340B Drug Discount Program, which imposes a mandatory discount on purchases by certain customers. Manufacturers of innovator drugs, including 505(b)(2) drugs, that participate in the Medicaid program are also required to offer the drugs on the Federal Supply Schedule purchasing program of the General Services Administration for purchase by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and other authorized users at a mandatory discount. Additional laws and requirements apply to these contracts. Participation in such federal programs may result in prices for our future products that will likely be lower than the prices we might otherwise obtain.

 

Third-party payors, including the U.S. government, continue to apply downward pressure on the reimbursement of pharmaceutical products. Also, the trend towards managed health care in the United States and the concurrent growth of organizations such as health maintenance organizations may result in lower reimbursement for pharmaceutical products. We expect that these trends will continue as these payors implement various proposals or regulatory policies, including various provisions of the recent health reform legislation that affect reimbursement of these products. There are currently, and we expect that there will continue to be, a number of federal and state proposals to implement controls on reimbursement and pricing, directly and indirectly.

 

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Government Regulation

 

The FDA and comparable regulatory agencies in state and local jurisdictions and in foreign countries impose substantial requirements upon the clinical development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceutical products. These agencies and other federal, state and local entities regulate research and development activities and the testing, manufacture, quality control, safety, effectiveness, labeling, storage, packaging, recordkeeping, tracking, approval, import, export, distribution, advertising and promotion of our products.

 

The process required by the FDA before product candidates may be marketed in the United States generally involves the following:

 

 

non-clinical laboratory and animal tests that must be conducted in accordance with good laboratory practices, or GLPs;

 

 

submission of an investigational new drug application, or IND, which must be received by the FDA and become effective before human clinical trials may begin;

 

 

approval by an independent institutional review board, or IRB, for each clinical site or centrally before each trial may be initiated;

 

 

adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials to establish the safety and efficacy of the proposed product candidate for its intended use, performed in accordance with good clinical practices, or GCPs;

 

 

submission of a NDA to the FDA;

 

 

satisfactory completion of an FDA advisory committee review, if applicable;

 

 

pre-approval inspection of manufacturing facilities and selected clinical investigators for their compliance with cGMP and GCPs; and

 

 

FDA approval of an NDA to permit commercial marketing for particular indications for use.

 

Prior to the commencement of marketing of controlled substances, the DEA must also determine the controlled substance schedule, taking into account the recommendation of the FDA.

 

The testing and approval process requires substantial time, effort and financial resources. Preclinical studies include laboratory evaluation of drug substance chemistry, pharmacology, toxicity and drug product formulation, as well as animal studies to assess potential safety and efficacy. Prior to commencing the first human clinical trial with a product candidate, we must submit the results of the preclinical tests and preclinical literature, together with manufacturing information, analytical data and any available clinical data or literature, among other things, to the FDA as part of an IND. Additional non-clinical studies may be required even after the IND is submitted. The IND becomes effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless the FDA, within the 30-day time period, raises safety concerns or questions about the conduct of the clinical trial by imposing a clinical hold. In such a case, the IND sponsor and the FDA must resolve any outstanding concerns before the clinical trial can begin. Submission of an IND may not result in FDA authorization to commence a clinical trial. A separate submission to the existing IND must be made for each successive clinical trial conducted during product development, as well as amendments to previously submitted clinical trials. Further, an independent IRB for each study site proposing to conduct the clinical trial must review and approve the plan for any clinical trial, its informed consent form and other communications to study subjects before the clinical trial commences at that site. The IRB must continue to oversee the clinical trial while it is being conducted, including any changes to the study plans. Regulatory authorities, an IRB or the sponsor may suspend or discontinue a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the subjects are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk, the clinical trial is not being conducted in accordance with the FDA’s or the IRB’s requirements, if the drug has been associated with unexpected serious harm to subjects, or based on evolving business objectives or competitive climate. Some studies also include a data safety monitoring board, which receives special access to unblinded data during the clinical trial and may advise us to halt the clinical trial if it determines that there is an unacceptable safety risk for subjects or other grounds, such as no demonstration of efficacy.

 

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In general, for purposes of NDA approval, human clinical trials are typically conducted in three sequential phases that may overlap.

 

 

Phase 1—Studies are initially conducted to test the product candidate for safety, dosage tolerance, structure-activity relationships, mechanism of action, absorption, metabolism, distribution and excretion in healthy volunteers or subjects with the target disease or condition. If possible, Phase 1 trials may also be used to gain an initial indication of product effectiveness.

 

 

Phase 2—Controlled studies are conducted with groups of subjects with a specified disease or condition to provide enough data to evaluate the preliminary efficacy, optimal dosages and dosing schedule and expanded evidence of safety. Multiple Phase 2 clinical trials may be conducted to obtain information prior to beginning larger and more expensive Phase 3 clinical trials.

 

 

Phase 3—These clinical trials are undertaken in larger subject populations to provide statistically significant evidence of clinical efficacy and to further test for safety in an expanded subject population at multiple clinical trial sites. These clinical trials are intended to establish the overall risk/benefit ratio of the product and provide an adequate basis for product labeling. These trials may be done globally to support global registrations so long as the global sites are also representative of the U.S. population and the conduct of the study at global sites comports with FDA regulations and guidance, such as compliance with GCPs.

 

In the case of a 505(b)(2) NDA, some of the above-described studies and preclinical studies may not be required or may be abbreviated. Bridging studies may be needed, however, to demonstrate the relevance of the studies that were previously conducted by other sponsors to the drug that is the subject of the NDA.

 

The FDA may require, or companies may pursue, additional clinical trials after a product is approved. These so-called Phase 4, or post-market, studies may be made a condition to be satisfied after approval. The results of Phase 4 studies can confirm the effectiveness of a product candidate and can provide important safety information.

 

Clinical trials must be conducted under the supervision of qualified investigators in accordance with GCP requirements, which includes the requirements that all research subjects provide their informed consent in writing for their participation in any clinical trial, and the review and approval of the study by an IRB. Investigators must also provide information to the clinical trial sponsors to allow the sponsors to make specified financial disclosures to the FDA. Clinical trials are conducted under protocols detailing, among other things, the objectives of the trial, the trial procedures, the parameters to be used in monitoring safety and the efficacy criteria to be evaluated and a statistical analysis plan. Information about some clinical trials, including a description of the trial and trial results, must be submitted within specific timeframes to the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, for public dissemination on their ClinicalTrials.gov website.

 

The manufacture of investigational drugs for the conduct of human clinical trials is subject to cGMP requirements. Investigational drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients imported into the United States are also subject to regulation by the FDA relating to their labeling and distribution. Further, the export of investigational drug products outside of the United States is subject to regulatory requirements of the receiving country as well as U.S. export requirements under the FFDCA. Progress reports detailing the results of the clinical trials must be submitted at least annually to the FDA and the IRB and more frequently if serious adverse events occur.

 

Concurrent with clinical trials, companies usually complete additional animal studies and must also develop additional information about the chemistry and physical characteristics of the product candidate as well as finalize a process for manufacturing the product in commercial quantities in accordance with cGMP requirements. The manufacturing process must be capable of consistently producing quality batches of the product candidate and, among other things, must develop methods for testing the identity, strength, quality and purity of the final product. Additionally, appropriate packaging must be selected and tested, and stability studies must be conducted to demonstrate that the product candidate does not undergo unacceptable deterioration over its shelf life.

 

505(b)(2) Approval Process

 

Section 505(b)(2) of the FFDCA, provides an alternate regulatory pathway to FDA approval for new or improved formulations or new uses of previously approved drug products. Specifically, 505(b)(2) permits the filing of an NDA where at least some of the information required for approval comes from studies not conducted by or for the applicant and for which the applicant has not obtained a right of reference or use from the person by or for whom the investigations were conducted. The applicant may rely upon the FDA’s prior findings of safety and effectiveness for an approved product that acts as the reference listed drug for purposes of a 505(b)(2) NDA. The FDA may also require 505(b)(2) applicants to perform additional studies or measurements to support any changes from the reference listed drug. The FDA may then approve the new product candidate for all or some of the labeled indications for which the referenced product has been approved, as well as for any new indication sought by the 505(b)(2) applicant.

 

Our current and anticipated product candidates are or will be based on already approved APIs in combination with a ligand. Accordingly, we have and expect to be able to continue to rely on information from studies previously conducted by the companies that obtained approval for drugs containing such APIs.

 

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Orange Book Listing

 

Section 505 of the FFDCA describes three types of marketing applications that may be submitted to the FDA to request marketing authorization for a new drug. A Section 505(b)(1) NDA is an application that contains full reports of investigations of safety and efficacy. A 505(b)(2) NDA is an application that contains full reports of investigations of safety and efficacy but where at least some of the information required for approval comes from investigations that were not conducted by or for the applicant and for which the applicant has not obtained a right of reference or use from the person by or for whom the investigations were conducted. This regulatory pathway enables the applicant to rely, in part, on the FDA’s prior findings of safety and efficacy for an existing product, or published literature, in support of its application. Section 505(j) establishes an abbreviated approval process for a generic version of approved drug products through the submission of an abbreviated new drug application, or ANDA. An ANDA provides for marketing of a generic drug product that has the same active ingredients, dosage form, strength, route of administration, labeling, performance characteristics and intended use, among other things, to a previously approved product. ANDAs are termed “abbreviated” because they are generally not required to include preclinical and clinical data to establish safety and efficacy. Instead, generic applicants must scientifically demonstrate that their product is bioequivalent to, or performs in the same manner as, the innovator drug through in vitro, in vivo, or other testing. The generic version must deliver the same amount of active ingredients into a subject’s bloodstream in the same amount of time as the innovator drug and can often be substituted by pharmacists under prescriptions written for the reference listed drug.

 

In seeking approval for a drug through an NDA, including a 505(b)(2) NDA, applicants are required to list with the FDA patents whose claims cover the applicant’s product. Upon approval of an NDA, each of the patents listed in the application for the drug is then published in the Orange Book. These products may be cited by potential competitors in support of approval of an ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA.

 

Any applicant who files an ANDA seeking approval of a generic equivalent version of a drug listed in the Orange Book or a 505(b)(2) NDA referencing a drug listed in the Orange Book must certify to the FDA that (1) no patent information on the drug or method of use that is the subject of the application has been submitted to the FDA; (2) such patent has expired; (3) the date on which such patent expires; or (4) such patent is invalid or will not be infringed upon by the manufacture, use or sale of the drug product for which the application is submitted. This last certification is known as a Paragraph IV certification. Generally, the ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA cannot be approved until all listed patents have expired, except where the ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA applicant challenges a listed patent through a Paragraph IV certification. If the applicant does not challenge the listed patents or does not indicate that it is not seeking approval of a patented method of use, the ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA application will not be approved until all of the listed patents claiming the referenced product have expired, or, if permissible, are carved out.

 

If the ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA applicant has provided a Paragraph IV certification to the FDA, the applicant must also send notice of the Paragraph IV certification to the holder of the NDA for the reference listed drug and the patent owner once the application has been accepted for filing by the FDA. The NDA holder or patent owner may then initiate a patent infringement lawsuit in response to the notice of the Paragraph IV certification. The filing of a patent infringement lawsuit within 45 days of the receipt of a Paragraph IV certification prevents the FDA from approving the application until the earlier of 30 months from the date of the lawsuit, expiration of the patent, settlement of the lawsuit, a decision in the infringement case that is favorable to the applicant or such shorter or longer period as may be ordered by a court. This prohibition is generally referred to as the 30-month stay. In instances where an ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA applicant files a Paragraph IV certification, the NDA holder or patent owner regularly take action to trigger the 30-month stay, recognizing that the related patent litigation may take many months or years to resolve. Thus, approval of an ANDA or 505(b)(2) NDA could be delayed for a significant period of time depending on the patent certification the applicant makes and the reference drug sponsor’s decision to initiate patent litigation. The applicant may also elect to submit a statement certifying that its proposed label does not contain, or carves out, any language regarding the patented method-of-use rather than certify to a listed method-of-use patent.

 

Exclusivity

 

The FDA provides periods of regulatory exclusivity, which provides the holder of an approved NDA limited protection from new competition in the marketplace for the innovation represented by its approved drug for a period of three or five years following the FDA’s approval of the NDA. Five years of exclusivity are available to NCEs. An NCE is a drug that contains no active moiety that has been approved by the FDA in any other NDA. An active moiety is the molecule or ion, excluding those appended portions of the molecule that cause the drug to be an ester, salt, including a salt with hydrogen or coordination bonds, or other noncovalent derivatives, such as a complex, chelate, or clathrate, of the molecule, responsible for the therapeutic activity of the drug substance. During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not accept for review or approve an ANDA or a 505(b)(2) NDA submitted by another company that contains the previously approved active moiety. An ANDA or 505(b)(2) application, however, may be submitted one year before NCE exclusivity expires if a Paragraph IV certification is filed. Applicants may also seek to carve out certain drug labeling that is protected by exclusivity.

 

If a product is not eligible for the NCE exclusivity, it may be eligible for three years of exclusivity. Three-year exclusivity is available to the holder of an NDA, including a 505(b)(2) NDA, for a particular condition of approval, or change to a marketed product, such as a new formulation for a previously approved product, if one or more new clinical trials, other than bioavailability or bioequivalence trials, was essential to the approval of the application and was conducted or sponsored by the applicant. This three-year exclusivity period protects against FDA approval of ANDAs and 505(b)(2) NDAs for the condition of the new drug’s approval. As a general matter, three-year exclusivity does not prohibit the FDA from approving ANDAs or 505(b)(2) NDAs for generic versions of the original, unmodified drug product. Five-year and three-year exclusivity will not delay the submission or approval of a full NDA; however, an applicant submitting a full NDA would be required to conduct or obtain a right of reference to all of the preclinical studies and adequate and well-controlled clinical trials necessary to demonstrate safety and efficacy.

 

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NDA Submission and Review by the FDA

 

Assuming successful completion of the required clinical and preclinical testing, among other items, the results of product development, including chemistry, manufacture and controls, non-clinical studies and clinical trials are submitted to the FDA, along with proposed labeling, as part of an NDA. The submission of an NDA requires payment of a substantial application user fee to the FDA. These user fees must be filed at the time of the first submission of the application, even if the application is being submitted on a rolling basis. Fee waivers or reductions are available in some circumstances.

 

In addition, under the Pediatric Research Equity Act, or PREA, an NDA or supplement to an NDA for a new active ingredient, indication, dosage form, dosage regimen or route of administration must contain data that are adequate to assess the safety and efficacy of the drug for the claimed indications in all relevant pediatric subpopulations, and to support dosing and administration for each pediatric subpopulation for which the product is safe and effective. The FDA may, on its own initiative or at the request of the applicant, grant deferrals for submission of some or all pediatric data until after approval of the product for use in adults or full or partial waivers from the pediatric data requirements.

 

The FDA may refer drugs which present difficult questions of safety, purity or potency to an advisory committee. An advisory committee is a panel that typically includes clinicians and other experts who review, evaluate and make a recommendation as to whether the application should be approved and under what conditions. The FDA is not bound by the recommendations of an advisory committee, but it considers such recommendations carefully when making decisions.

 

The FDA reviews applications to determine, among other things, whether a product is safe and effective for its intended use and whether the manufacturing controls are adequate to assure and preserve the product’s identity, strength, quality and purity. Before approving an NDA, the FDA will inspect the facility or facilities where the product is manufactured. The FDA will not approve an application unless it determines that the manufacturing processes and facilities, including contract manufacturers and subcontracts, are in compliance with cGMP requirements and adequate to assure consistent production of the product within required specifications. Additionally, before approving an NDA, the FDA will typically inspect one or more clinical trial sites to assure compliance with GCPs.

 

Once the FDA receives an application, it has 60 days to review the NDA to determine if it is substantially complete to permit a substantive review, before it accepts the application for filing. Once the submission is accepted for filing, the FDA begins an in-depth review of the NDA. The timeline for the FDA to complete its review of a NDA may differ based on whether the application is a standard review or priority review application. The FDA may give a priority review designation to drugs that are intended to treat serious conditions and provide significant improvements in the safety or effectiveness of the treatment, diagnosis, or prevention of serious conditions. Under the goals and policies agreed to by the FDA under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, the FDA has set the review goal of ten months from the 60-day filing date to complete its initial review of a standard NDA for a new molecular entity, or NME, and make a decision on the application. For non-NME standard applications, the FDA has set the review goal of ten months from the submission date to complete its initial review and to make a decision on the application. For priority review applications, the FDA has set the review goal of reviewing NME NDAs within six months of the 60-day filing date and non-NME applications within six months of the submission date. Such deadlines are referred to as the PDUFA date. The PDUFA date is only a goal and the FDA does not always meet its PDUFA dates. The review process and the PDUFA date may also be extended if the FDA requests or the NDA sponsor otherwise provides additional information or clarification regarding the submission.

 

Once the FDA’s review of the application is complete, the FDA will issue either a Complete Response Letter, or CRL, or approval letter. A CRL indicates that the review cycle of the application is complete, and the application is not ready for approval. A CRL generally contains a statement of specific conditions that must be met in order to secure final approval of the NDA and may require additional clinical or preclinical testing, or other information or analyses in order for the FDA to reconsider the application. The FDA has the goal of reviewing 90% of application resubmissions in either two or six months of the resubmission date, depending on the kind of resubmission (Class 1 or Class 2). Even with the submission of additional information, the FDA ultimately may decide that the application does not satisfy the regulatory criteria for approval. If and when those conditions have been met to the FDA’s satisfaction, the FDA may issue an approval letter. An approval letter authorizes commercial marketing of the drug with specific prescribing information for specific indications.

 

The FDA may delay or refuse approval of an NDA if applicable regulatory criteria are not satisfied, require additional testing or information and/or require post-marketing testing and surveillance to monitor safety or efficacy of a product, or impose other conditions, including distribution restrictions or other risk management mechanisms. For example, the FDA may require a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS, as a condition of approval or following approval to mitigate any identified or suspected serious risks and ensure safe use of the drug. The FDA may prevent or limit further marketing of a product, or impose additional post-marketing requirements, based on the results of post-marketing studies or surveillance programs. After approval, some types of changes to the approved product, such as adding new indications, manufacturing changes and additional labeling claims, are subject to further testing requirements, FDA notification and FDA review and approval. Further, should new safety information arise, additional testing, product labeling or FDA notification may be required.

 

If regulatory approval of a product is granted, such approval may entail limitations on the indicated uses for which such product may be marketed or may include contraindications, warnings or precautions in the product labeling, including a boxed warning. If the FDA requires a boxed warning, we would also be subject to specified promotional restrictions, such as the prohibition of reminder advertisements. The FDA also may not approve the inclusion of labeling claims necessary for successful marketing. Once approved, the FDA may withdraw the product approval if compliance with pre- and post-marketing regulatory standards is not maintained or if problems occur after the product reaches the marketplace. In addition, the FDA may require Phase 4 post-marketing studies to monitor the effect of approved products and may limit further marketing of the product based on the results of these post-marketing studies.

 

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Post-approval Requirements

 

Any products manufactured or distributed by us pursuant to FDA approvals are subject to continuing regulation by the FDA, including manufacturing, periodic reporting, product sampling and distribution, advertising, promotion, drug shortage reporting, compliance with any post-approval requirements imposed as a conditional of approval such as Phase 4 clinical trials, REMS and surveillance, recordkeeping and reporting requirements, including adverse experiences.

 

After approval, most changes to the approved product, such as adding new indications or other labeling claims are subject to prior FDA review and approval. There also are continuing, annual human prescription drug program fee requirements for approved products. Drug manufacturers and their subcontractors are required to register their establishments with the FDA and certain state agencies and to list their drug products, and are subject to periodic announced and unannounced inspections by the FDA and these state agencies for compliance with cGMPs and other requirements, which impose procedural and documentation requirements upon us and our third-party manufacturers. We cannot be certain that we or our present or future suppliers will be able to comply with the cGMP regulations and other FDA regulatory requirements.

 

Changes to the manufacturing process are strictly regulated and often require prior FDA approval before being implemented, or FDA notification. FDA regulations also require investigation and correction of any deviations from cGMPs and specifications and impose reporting and documentation requirements upon the sponsor and any third-party manufacturers that the sponsor may decide to use. Accordingly, manufacturers must continue to expend time, money and effort in the area of production and quality control to maintain cGMP compliance.

 

Later discovery of previously unknown problems with a product, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or with manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in withdrawal of marketing approval, mandatory revisions to the approved labeling to add new safety information or other limitations, imposition of post-market studies or clinical trials to assess new safety risks, or imposition of distribution or other restrictions under a REMS program, among other consequences.

 

The FDA closely regulates the marketing and promotion of drugs. A company can make only those claims relating to safety and efficacy, purity and potency that are approved by the FDA. Physicians, in their independent professional medical judgment, may prescribe legally available products for uses that are not described in the product’s labeling and that differ from those tested by us and approved by the FDA. We, however, are prohibited from marketing or promoting drugs for uses outside of the approved labeling.

 

In addition, the distribution of prescription pharmaceutical products, including samples, is subject to the Prescription Drug Marketing Act, or PDMA, which regulates the distribution of drugs and drug samples at the federal level, and sets minimum standards for the registration and regulation of drug distributors by the states. Both the PDMA and state laws limit the distribution of prescription pharmaceutical product samples and impose requirements to ensure accountability in distribution. The Drug Supply Chain Security Act also imposes obligations on manufacturers of pharmaceutical products related to product tracking and tracing.

 

Failure to comply with any of the FDA’s requirements could result in significant adverse enforcement actions. These include a variety of administrative or judicial sanctions, such as refusal to approve pending applications, license suspension or revocation, withdrawal of an approval, imposition of a clinical hold or termination of clinical trials, warning letters, untitled letters, cyber letters, modification of promotional materials or labeling, product recalls, product seizures or detentions, refusal to allow imports or exports, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, debarment, injunctions, fines, consent decrees, additional reporting requirements and oversight if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or similar agreement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, refusals of government contracts and new orders under existing contracts, exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs, restitution, disgorgement or civil or criminal penalties, including fines and individual imprisonment. Any of these sanctions could result in adverse publicity, among other adverse consequences.

 

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Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy

 

The FDA has the authority to require a REMS to ensure the safe use of the drug. In determining whether a REMS is necessary, the FDA must consider the size of the population likely to use the drug, the seriousness of the disease or condition to be treated, the expected benefit of the drug, the duration of treatment, the seriousness of known or potential adverse events, and whether the drug is a new molecule. If the FDA determines a REMS is necessary, the drug sponsor must develop the REMS program, which the FDA reviews and approves. A REMS may be required for a single drug or an entire class of drugs.

 

A REMS may be required to include various elements, including, but not limited to, a medication guide or patient package insert, a communication plan to educate healthcare providers of the drug’s risks, limitations on who may prescribe or dispense the drug, elements to assure safe use, or ETASU, an implementation system, or other measures that the FDA deems necessary to assure the safe use of the drug. ETASU can include, but are not limited to, special training or certification for prescribing or dispensing, dispensing only under specified circumstances, special monitoring, and the use of patient registries. In addition, the REMS must include a timetable to periodically assess the strategy. The FDA may also impose a REMS requirement on a drug already on the market if the FDA determines, based on new safety information, that a REMS is necessary to ensure that the drug’s benefits outweigh its risks. The requirement for a REMS can materially affect the potential market and profitability of a drug.

 

APADAZ is currently subject to a REMS requirement, and under the APADAZ License Agreement, KVK is responsible for the maintenance of and all expenses and fees for the APADAZ REMS program.

 

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DEA Regulation

 

Most of our products and product candidates, if approved, will be regulated as “controlled substances” as defined in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, or CSA, and the DEA’s implementing regulations, which establish registration, security, recordkeeping, reporting, storage, distribution, importation, exportation, inventory, quota and other requirements administered by the DEA. These requirements are directly applicable to us and also applicable to our contract manufacturers and to distributors, prescribers and dispensers of our product candidates. The DEA regulates the handling of controlled substances through a closed chain of distribution. This control extends to the equipment and raw materials used in their manufacture and packaging in order to prevent loss and diversion into illicit channels of commerce.

 

The DEA regulates controlled substances as Schedule I, II, III, IV or V substances. Schedule I substances by definition have no established medicinal use and may not be marketed or sold in the United States. A pharmaceutical product may be listed as Schedule II, III, IV or V, with Schedule II substances considered to present the highest risk of abuse and Schedule V substances the lowest relative risk of abuse among such substances. Schedule II drugs are those that meet the following criteria:

 

 

the drug has a high potential for abuse;

 

 

the drug has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions; and

 

 

abuse of the drug may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

 

APADAZ is listed as a Schedule II controlled substance under the CSA, and we expect that most of our other products and product candidates may be listed in the same manner, if approved. If our product candidates are ultimately listed as Schedule II controlled substances, then the importation of APIs for our product candidates, as well as the manufacture, shipping, storage, sales and use of the products, will be subject to a high degree of regulation. In addition to maintaining an importer and/or exporter registration, importers and exporters of controlled substances must obtain a permit for every import of a Schedule I or II substance and a narcotic substance in Schedule III, IV and V, as well as every export of a Schedule I or II substance and a narcotic substance in Schedule III and IV. For all other drugs in Schedule III, IV and V, importers and exporters must submit an import or export declaration. Schedule II drugs are subject to the strictest requirements for registration, security, recordkeeping and reporting. Also, distribution and dispensing of these drugs are highly regulated. For example, all Schedule II drug prescriptions must be signed by a physician, physically presented to a pharmacist and may not be refilled without a new prescription. Electronic prescriptions may also be permissible depending on the state, so long as the prescription complies with the DEA’s requirements for electronic prescriptions.

 

Controlled substances classified in Schedule III, IV, and V are also subject to registration, recordkeeping, reporting, and security requirements. For example, Schedule III drug prescriptions must be authorized by a physician and may not be refilled more than six months after the date of the original prescription or more than five times. A prescription for controlled substances classified in Schedules III, IV, and V issued by a physician, may be communicated either orally, in writing or by facsimile to the pharmacies. Controlled substances that are also classified as narcotics, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and hydromorphone, are also subject to additional DEA requirements, such as manufacturer reporting of the import of narcotic raw material.

 

Annual registration is required for any facility that manufactures, distributes, dispenses, imports or exports any controlled substance. The registration is specific to the particular location, activity and controlled substance schedule. For example, separate registrations are needed for import and manufacturing, and each registration will specify which schedules of controlled substances are authorized. Similarly, separate registrations are also required for separate facilities. Acquisition and distribution transactions must also be reported for Schedule I and II controlled substances, as well as Schedule III narcotic substances.

 

The DEA typically inspects a facility to review its security measures prior to issuing a registration and on a periodic basis. Security requirements vary by controlled substance schedule, with the most stringent requirements applying to Schedule I and Schedule II substances. Required security measures include background checks on employees and physical control of inventory through measures such as cages, surveillance cameras and inventory reconciliations. Records must be maintained for the handling of all controlled substances, and periodic reports made to the DEA, for example distribution reports for Schedule I and II controlled substances, Schedule III substances that are narcotics, and other designated substances. Reports must also be made for thefts or losses of any controlled substance, and to obtain authorization to destroy any controlled substance. In addition, special permits and notification requirements apply to imports and exports of narcotic drugs. To enforce these requirements, the DEA conducts periodic inspections of registered establishments that handle controlled substances. Failure to maintain compliance with applicable requirements, particularly as manifested in loss or diversion, can result in administrative, civil or criminal enforcement action that could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. The DEA may seek civil penalties, refuse to renew necessary registrations, or initiate administrative proceedings to revoke those registrations. In some circumstances, violations could result in criminal proceedings.

 

In addition, a DEA quota system controls and limits the availability and production of controlled substances in Schedule I or II. Distributions of any Schedule I or II controlled substance or Schedule III narcotic must also be accompanied by special order forms, with copies provided to the DEA. Because APADAZ and most of our current product candidates may be regulated as Schedule II controlled substances, they may be subject to the DEA’s production and procurement quota scheme. The DEA establishes annually an aggregate quota for how much of a controlled substance may be produced in total in the United States based on the DEA’s estimate of the quantity needed to meet legitimate scientific and medicinal needs. The limited aggregate amount of stimulants that the DEA allows to be produced in the United States each year is allocated among individual companies, which must submit applications annually to the DEA for individual production and procurement quotas. We and our contract manufacturers must receive an annual quota from the DEA in order to produce or procure any Schedule I or Schedule II substances for use in manufacturing of our product candidates. The DEA may adjust aggregate production quotas and individual production and procurement quotas from time to time during the year, although the DEA has substantial discretion in whether or not to make such adjustments. Our, or our contract manufacturers’, quota of an active ingredient may not be sufficient to meet commercial demand or complete clinical trials. Any delay, limitation or refusal by the DEA in establishing our, or our contract manufacturers’, quota for controlled substances could delay or stop our clinical trials or product launches, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations.

 

Individual states also independently regulate controlled substances. We and our contract manufacturers will be subject to state regulation on distribution of these products, including, for example, state requirements for licensures or registration.

 

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Other Healthcare Regulations

 

Our business activities, including but not limited to, research, sales, promotion, distribution, medical education and other activities are subject to regulation by numerous regulatory and law enforcement authorities in the United States in addition to the FDA, including potentially the Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its various divisions, including the CMS and the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and state and local governments. Our business activities must comply with numerous healthcare laws, including those described below.

 

The federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits, among other things, any person or entity, from knowingly and willfully offering, paying, soliciting or receiving any remuneration, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward, or in return for, the referral of an individual for, or purchasing, leasing, ordering, or arranging for the purchase, lease or order of, any good, facility, item or service reimbursable under Medicare, Medicaid or other federal healthcare programs. The term remuneration has been interpreted broadly to include anything of value. There are a number of statutory exceptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting some common activities from prosecution. The exceptions and safe harbors are drawn narrowly and practices that involve remuneration that may be alleged to be intended to induce prescribing, purchasing or recommending may be subject to scrutiny if they do not qualify for an exception or safe harbor. Failure to meet all of the requirements of a particular applicable statutory exception or regulatory safe harbor does not make the conduct per se illegal under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. Instead, the legality of the arrangement will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis based on a cumulative review of all of its facts and circumstances. Additionally, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, or collectively, the ACA, amended the intent requirement of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, and some other healthcare criminal fraud statutes, so that a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, or the specific intent to violate it, to have violated those statutes. The ACA also provided that a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute is grounds for the government or a whistleblower to assert that a claim for payment of items or services resulting from such violation constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the False Claims Act.

 

The federal civil and criminal false claims laws, including the federal False Claims Act, which can be enforced by private citizens through civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, prohibit, among other things, any person or entity from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false claim for payment to, or approval by, the federal government, including the Medicare and Medicaid programs, or knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim or to avoid, decrease or conceal an obligation to pay money to the federal government.

 

The civil monetary penalties statute imposes penalties against any person or entity who, among other things, is determined to have presented or caused to be presented a claim to a federal health program that the person knows or should know is for an item or service that was not provided as claimed or is false or fraudulent.

 

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, created additional federal criminal statutes that prohibit knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or control of, any healthcare benefit program, regardless of whether the payor is 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. Additionally, the ACA amended the intent requirement of some of these criminal statutes under HIPAA so that a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of the statute, or the specific intent to violate it, to have committed a violation.

 

Additionally, the federal Open Payments program, created under Section 6002 of the ACA and its implementing regulations, require some manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (with specified exceptions) to report annually information related to specified payments or other transfers of value provided to physicians, as defined by such law, and teaching hospitals, or to entities or individuals at the request of, or designated on behalf of, the physicians and teaching hospitals and to report annually specified ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members.

 

Failure to submit timely, accurately and completely the required information for all payments, transfers of value and ownership or investment interests may result in significant civil monetary penalties.

 

In addition, we may be subject to data privacy and security regulation by both the federal government and the states in which we conduct our business. HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH, and its implementing regulations, imposes requirements covered entities, including certain healthcare providers, health plans and healthcare clearinghouses, and their respective business associates, independent contractors or agents of covered entities that receive or obtain individually identifiable health information in connection with providing a service on behalf of a covered entity, relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information. Among other things, HITECH created four new tiers of civil monetary penalties, amended HIPAA to make civil and criminal penalties directly applicable to business associates, and gave state attorneys general new authority to file civil actions for damages or injunctions in federal courts to enforce HIPAA and seek attorneys’ fees and costs associated with pursuing federal civil actions. In addition, state laws govern the privacy and security of health information in some circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and may not have the same effect, thus complicating compliance efforts.

 

Many states have also adopted laws similar to each of the above federal laws, which may be broader in scope and apply to items or services reimbursed by any third-party payor, including commercial insurers. Several states and local jurisdictions have also enacted legislation requiring pharmaceutical companies to, among other things, establish marketing compliance programs, file periodic reports with the state, make periodic public disclosures on sales, marketing, pricing, clinical trials and other activities, or register their sales representatives, as well as prohibiting pharmacies and other healthcare entities from providing certain physician prescribing data to pharmaceutical companies for use in sales and marketing, and prohibiting certain other sales and marketing practices.

 

Depending on the circumstances, failure to comply with these laws can result in significant penalties, including criminal, civil and/or administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, debarment from government contracts, individual imprisonment, additional reporting requirements and oversight if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or similar agreement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, exclusion from government programs, refusal to allow us to enter into supply contracts, including government contracts, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our business.

 

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Healthcare Reform Measures

 

The United States and some foreign jurisdictions are considering or have enacted a number of legislative and regulatory proposals designed to change the healthcare system in ways that could affect our ability to sell our products profitably. 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 March 2010, the ACA was passed. The ACA has substantially changed health care financing by both governmental and private insurers, and significantly affected the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. The ACA, among other things, subjected manufacturers to new annual fees and taxes for specified branded prescription drugs, increased the minimum Medicaid rebates owed by most manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, expanded health care fraud and abuse laws, revised the methodology by which rebates owed by manufacturers to the state and federal government for covered outpatient drugs under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program are calculated, imposed an inflation penalty on new formulations of drugs, extended the Medicaid Drug Rebate program to utilization of prescriptions of individuals enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations, expanded the 340B program which caps the price at which manufacturers can sell covered outpatient pharmaceuticals to specified hospitals, clinics and community health centers, and provided incentives to programs that increase the federal government’s comparative effectiveness research. There remain judicial and congressional challenges to certain aspects of the ACA. Since January 2017, President Trump has signed two Executive Orders designed to delay the implementation of certain provisions of the ACA or otherwise circumvent some of the requirements for health insurance mandated by ACA. Concurrently, Congress has considered legislation to repeal or repeal and replace all or part of the ACA. While Congress has not passed comprehensive repeal legislation, several bills affecting the implementation of certain taxes under the ACA have been signed into law. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes a provision repealing, effective January 1, 2019, the tax-based shared responsibility payment imposed by the ACA on certain individuals who fail to maintain qualifying health coverage for all or part of a year that is commonly referred to as the “individual mandate”. Additionally, the 2020 federal spending package permanently eliminates, effective January 1, 2020, the ACA-mandated “Cadillac” tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage and medical device tax and, effective January 1, 2021, also eliminates the health insurer tax. On December 14, 2018, a Texas U.S. District Court Judge ruled that the ACA is unconstitutional in its entirety because the “individual mandate” was repealed by Congress as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Additionally, on December 18, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld the District Court ruling that the individual mandate was unconstitutional and remanded the case back to the District Court to determine whether the remaining provisions of the ACA are invalid as well.  It is unclear how this decision, future decisions, subsequent appeals, and other efforts to repeal and replace the ACA will impact the ACA and our business.

 

Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the ACA was enacted. In August 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, created measures for spending reductions by Congress. A Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, tasked with recommending a targeted deficit reduction of at least $1.2 trillion for the years 2013 through 2021, was unable to reach required goals, thereby triggering the legislation’s automatic reduction to several government programs. This includes aggregate reductions of Medicare payments to providers up to 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect in April 2013 and, due to subsequent legislative amendments, including the BBA, will remain in effect through 2029 unless additional Congressional action is taken. In addition, in January 2013, President Obama signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which, among other things, reduced Medicare payments to several categories of healthcare providers and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years.

 

Further, there has been increasing legislative and enforcement interest in the United States with respect to specialty drug pricing practices. Specifically, there have been several recent U.S. Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, reduce the cost of drugs under Medicare, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drugs. At the federal level, the Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 contains further drug price control measures that could be enacted during the budget process or in other future legislation, including, for example, measures to permit Medicare Part D plans to negotiate the price of certain drugs under Medicare Part B, to allow some states to negotiate drug prices under Medicaid, and to eliminate cost sharing for generic drugs for low-income patients. Further, the Trump administration released a “Blueprint” to lower drug prices and reduce out of pocket costs of drugs that contains additional proposals to increase drug manufacturer competition, increase the negotiating power of certain federal healthcare programs, incentivize manufacturers to lower the list price of their products, and reduce the out of pocket costs of drug products paid by consumers. The Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, has solicited feedback on some of these measures and, at the same, has implemented others under its existing authority. For example, in May 2019, CMS issued a final rule to allow Medicare Advantage plans the option to use step therapy for Part B drugs beginning January 1, 2020. This final rule codified CMS’s policy change that was effective January 1, 2019. While some of these and other measures may require additional authorization to become effective, Congress and the Trump administration have each indicated that it will continue to seek new legislative and/or administrative measures to control drug costs. At the state level, legislatures are increasingly passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing.

 

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The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

 

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, prohibits any U.S. individual or business from paying, offering or authorizing payment or offering of anything of value, directly or indirectly, to any foreign official, political party or candidate for the purpose of influencing any act or decision of the foreign entity in order to assist the individual or business in obtaining or retaining business. The FCPA also obligates companies whose securities are listed in the United States to comply with accounting provisions requiring the companies to maintain books and records that accurately and fairly reflect all transactions of the companies, including international subsidiaries, and to devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls for international operations.

 

Foreign Regulation

 

In addition to regulations in the United States, we will be subject to a variety of foreign regulations governing clinical trials and commercial sales and distribution of our products to the extent we choose to develop or sell any products outside of the United States. The approval process varies from country to country and the time may be longer or shorter than that required to obtain FDA approval. The requirements governing the conduct of clinical trials, product licensing, pricing and reimbursement vary greatly from country to country.

 

Employees

 

As of December 31, 2019, we employed 22 full-time employees. We have never had a work stoppage, and none of our employees are represented by a labor organization or under any collective bargaining arrangements. We consider our employee relations to be good.

 

Segments and Geographic Information

 

We view our operations and manage our business as one operating segment. See our financial statements for a discussion of revenues, operating loss, net loss and total assets. All of our assets were held in the United States for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.

 

Corporate Information

 

We were incorporated under the laws of the State of Iowa in October 2006 and were reincorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware in May 2014. Our principal executive offices are located at 1180 Celebration Boulevard, Suite 103, Celebration, FL 34747 and our telephone number is (321) 939-3416.

 
Our website address is www.kempharm.com. The information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
 
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ITEM 1A.

RISK FACTORS.

 

You should carefully consider all the risk factors and uncertainties described below, in addition to other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the section of this report titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our financial statements and related notes, before investing in our common stock. If any of the following risks materialize, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be seriously harmed. This Annual Report on Form 10-K also contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements because of factors that are described below and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

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Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Capital Needs

 

We will need substantial additional funding to pursue our business objectives. If we are unable to raise capital when needed, we could be forced to delay, reduce or altogether cease our prodrug development programs or commercialization efforts or cease operations altogether.

 

Based on our current operating plan, our existing resources and projected revenues are expected to be sufficient to fund our operating expense and capital investment requirements into, but not through, the first quarter of 2021. If revenues are not as we project, we believe our existing resources are sufficient to fund our current operations into but not through the third quarter of 2020. We do not currently have sufficient funds to finance our continuing operations beyond the short-term or to substantially advance our product candidates further into clinical development. We expect that our only source of revenues will be through payments arising from our license agreements with KVK and Commave, and/or through any other future arrangements related to one of our other product candidates. Accordingly, our ability to continue as a going concern will require us to obtain, in the short term, additional financing to fund our operations. In order to substantially advance development of our product candidates, we will need to obtain additional funding in connection with our continuing operations from one or more equity offerings, including pursuant to our purchase agreement, or the Purchase Agreement, with Lincoln Park Capital Fund, LLC, or Lincoln Park, debt financings, the APADAZ License Agreement, the KP415 License Agreement or other third-party funding, including potential strategic alliances and licensing or collaboration arrangements, and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to generate sufficient proceeds from sales under the Purchase Agreement, the APADAZ License Agreement or the KP415 License Agreement, or be successful in completing other transactions, that will fund our operating expenses. If we are delayed in obtaining additional funding or are unable to complete a strategic transaction, we may discontinue our development activities on our product candidates or discontinue our operations. Even if we are able to fund continued development and any of our product candidates, beyond APADAZ, are approved, we expect that we will need to complete a strategic transaction or raise substantial additional funding through public or private debt or equity securities to successfully commercialize any product candidate. Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including:

 

 

the progress and results of our preclinical studies, clinical trials, chemistry, manufacturing and controls, or CMC, and other product development and commercialization activities;

 

 

 

 

the scope, progress, results and costs of preclinical development, laboratory testing and clinical trials for our product candidates;

 

 

 

 

the ability to obtain differentiating claims in the labels for our product candidates;

 

 

 

 

the number and development requirements of other product candidates that we may pursue;

 

 

 

 

the costs, timing and outcome of regulatory review of our product candidates;

 

 

 

 

the efforts necessary to institute post-approval regulatory compliance requirements;

 

 

 

 

the costs and timing of future commercialization activities, including product manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution, for any of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval;

 

 

 

 

the revenue, if any, received from commercial sales of APADAZ under our APADAZ License Agreement, or any product candidate subject to the terms of the KP415 License agreement or sales of our other product candidates for which we receive marketing approval, which may be affected by market conditions, including obtaining coverage and adequate reimbursement of APADAZ or our product candidates from third-party payors, including government programs and managed care organizations, and competition within the therapeutic class to which APADAZ or our product candidates are assigned; 

 

 

 

 

our success in developing and commercializing our ADHD product candidates in accordance with the terms of the KP415 License Agreement;

 

 

 

 

the costs and timing of preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications, maintaining and enforcing our intellectual property rights and defending any intellectual property-related claims; and

 

 

 

 

the extent to which we acquire or in-license other product candidates and technologies.

 

27

 

The auditor's opinion on our audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, included in this annual report on Form 10-K, contains an explanatory paragraph relating to our ability to continue as a going concern.

 

The auditor's opinion on our audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 includes an explanatory paragraph stating that our recurring losses from operations, stockholders' deficit and negative operating cash flows raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. While we believe that we will be able to raise the capital we need to continue our operations, there can be no assurances that we will be successful in these efforts or will be able to resolve our liquidity issues or eliminate our operating losses. If we are unable to obtain sufficient funding, we would need to significantly reduce our operating plans and curtail some or all of our product development, commercialization and strategic plans. Accordingly, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations will be materially and adversely affected and we may be unable to continue as a going concern. If we are unable to continue as a going concern, we may have to liquidate our assets and may receive less than the value at which those assets are carried on our audited financial statements, and it is likely that investors will lose all or a part of their investment. If we seek additional financing to fund our business activities in the future and there remains substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern, investors or other financing sources may be unwilling to provide additional funding on commercially reasonable terms or at all.

 

In connection with preparation of our annual financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, we identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. Any failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could harm us.

 

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting. Internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. In connection with our audit of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, we identified a material weakness in our internal controls over financial reporting regarding our ineffective controls over non-routine transactions. 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. This control deficiency resulted in misstatements to research and development expenses, debt discount, interest expense related to amortization of debt discount, fair value adjustment related to derivative and warrant liability, revenue, accounts and other receivables, accounts payable and accrued expenses, prepaid expenses and other current assets and general and administrative expenses all of which were corrected prior to issuance of our financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2019 included in this annual report on Form 10-K. As this deficiency created a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement would not be prevented or detected in a timely basis, management concluded that the control deficiency represented a material weakness and accordingly our internal control over financial reporting was not effective as of December 31, 2019.

 

We are still considering the full extent of the procedures to implement in order to remediate the material weakness described above, however, the current remediation plan includes implementing controls over calculations and conclusions associated with non-routine transactions at a more precise level of operation. We cannot assure you that any of our remedial measures will be effective in resolving this material weakness or that we will not suffer from other material weaknesses in the future.

 

If our management is unable to conclude that we have effective internal control over financial reporting, or to certify the effectiveness of such controls, or if additional material weaknesses in our internal controls are identified in the future, we could be subject to regulatory scrutiny and a loss of public confidence, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and our stock price. In addition, if we do not maintain adequate financial and management personnel, processes and controls, we may not be able to manage our business effectively or accurately report our financial performance on a timely basis, which could cause a decline in our common stock price and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

28

 

 

We have incurred significant operating losses since our inception. We expect to incur operating losses over the next several years and may never achieve or maintain profitability.

 

We have had negative operating cash flows since our inception and, as of December 31, 2019, had an accumulated deficit of $245.7 million. Our negative operating cash flows for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, were $23.7 million and $54.2 million, respectively. We have financed our operations through December 31, 2019 with funds raised in private placements of redeemable convertible preferred stock, in the issuance of convertible promissory notes and term debt, our initial public offering and other public and private offerings of our common stock, as well as through revenue received under the KP415 License Agreement.

 

In February 2019, we entered into a purchase agreement with Lincoln Park, or the Prior Purchase Agreement, which provided that, upon the terms and subject to the conditions and limitations set forth therein, we could sell to Lincoln Park up to $15.0 million of shares of our common stock, from time to time over the 36-month term of the Prior Purchase Agreement, and upon execution of the Prior Purchase Agreement we issued 120,200 shares of our common stock to Lincoln Park as commitment shares in accordance with the closing conditions contained within the Prior Purchase Agreement. We terminated the Prior Purchase Agreement in February 2020 in connection with entering into the Purchase Agreement. We sold 3,401,271 shares of our common stock to Lincoln Park under the Prior Purchase Agreement for approximately $5.4 million in gross proceeds prior to termination.

 

In February 2020, we entered into a new purchase agreement with Lincoln Park, or the Purchase Agreement, which provides that, upon the terms and subject to the conditions and limitations set forth therein, we may sell to Lincoln Park up to $4.0 million of shares of our common stock, from time-to-time over the 12-month term of the Purchase Agreement, and upon execution of the Purchase Agreement we issued 308,637 shares of our common stock to Lincoln Park as commitment shares in accordance with the closing conditions contained within the Purchase Agreement. There are no assurances whether we will utilize any portion of, or receive any proceeds from, the Purchase Agreement.

 

Our negative cash flows from operations and accumulated deficit raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. The perception of our inability to continue as a going concern may make it more difficult for us to obtain financing for the continuation of our operations and could result in the loss of confidence by investors, suppliers and employees. We have devoted substantially all of our financial resources and efforts to research and development, including preclinical studies and clinical trials. We are in various stages of development of our product candidates, and we have only completed development of, and received regulatory approval for, one product, APADAZ. We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and operating losses over the next several years and our net losses may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year as we:

 

 

continue our ongoing preclinical studies, clinical trials and our product development activities for our pipeline of product candidates;

     
 

seek regulatory approvals for product candidates that successfully complete clinical trials;

     
 

continue research and preclinical development and initiate clinical trials of our product candidates;

     
 

seek to discover and develop additional product candidates either internally or in partnership with other pharmaceutical companies;

     
 

adapt our regulatory compliance efforts to incorporate requirements applicable to marketed products;

     
 

maintain, expand and protect our intellectual property portfolio;

     
 

incur additional legal, accounting and other expenses in operating as a public company; and

     
 

add operational systems and personnel, if needed, to support any future commercialization efforts.

 

29

 

 

To become and remain profitable, we must succeed in developing and eventually commercializing prodrugs that generate significant revenue. This will require us to be successful in a range of challenging activities, including completing preclinical studies and clinical trials and obtaining regulatory approval of our product candidates, and manufacturing, marketing and selling, whether ourselves or through a license with a third party, any of our product candidates for which we may obtain regulatory approval, as well as discovering and developing additional product candidates. We are in various stages of these activities for our product candidates and we cannot guarantee that any strategy we adopt will be successful. For instance, in October 2018, we entered into the APADAZ License Agreement with KVK pursuant to which we granted an exclusive license to KVK to commercialize APADAZ in the United States. We cannot guarantee that KVK will be able to successfully commercialize APADAZ or that we will ever receive any payments under the APADAZ License Agreement from commercial sales of APADAZ. In addition, in September 2019, we entered into the KP415 License Agreement with Commave pursuant to which we granted an exclusive, worldwide license to Commave to develop, manufacture and commercialize KP415 and KP484 worldwide. Even if approved, we cannot guarantee that Commave will be able to successfully develop, manufacture or commercialize KP415 or KP484 or that we will ever receive any future payments under the KP415 License Agreement. We may never succeed in commercialization activities and, even if we do, may never generate revenue that is significant enough to achieve profitability.

 

Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with prodrug development, we are unable to accurately predict the timing or amount of expenses or when, or if, we will be able to achieve profitability. If we are required by regulatory authorities to perform studies in addition to those currently expected, or if there are any delays in the initiation and completion of our clinical trials or the development of any of our product candidates, our expenses could increase.

 

Even if we achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain or increase profitability on a quarterly or annual basis. Our failure to become and remain profitable would depress our value and could impair our ability to raise capital, expand our business, maintain our research and development efforts, obtain product approvals, diversify our product offerings or continue our operations. A decline in our value could also cause you to lose all or part of your investment.

 

Identifying potential product candidates and conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials is a time-consuming, expensive and uncertain process that takes years to complete, and we may not generate the necessary data or results required to obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates or claims necessary to make such candidates profitable and achieve product sales. In addition, APADAZ or our product candidates, if approved, may not achieve commercial success. Our commercial revenue, if any, will be derived from sales of prodrug products. We cannot guarantee that KVK will be able to successfully commercialize APADAZ, that Commave will be able to successfully commercialize any product candidates subject to the KP415 License Agreement, even if approved, or that we will ever receive any payments under the APADAZ License Agreement from commercial sales of APADAZ or any future payments under the KP415 License Agreement. Accordingly, we will need to continue to rely on additional financing to achieve our business objectives. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or debt securities, the terms of these securities or this debt may restrict our ability to operate. We previously entered into a credit facility, dated as of June 2, 2014, as subsequently amended, or the Deerfield Facility Agreement with Deerfield Private Design Fund III, LP, or Deerfield, and certain other holders of our senior secured convertible promissory notes. The Deerfield Facility Agreement includes, and any future debt financing and equity financing, if available, may involve agreements that include, covenants limiting and restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures, entering into profit-sharing or other arrangements or declaring dividends. The Deerfield Facility Agreement also includes high yield discount obligation protections that went into effect in June 2019. Going forward, if at any interest payment date our outstanding indebtedness under the Deerfield Facility Agreement would qualify as an "applicable high yield discount obligation" under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, then we are obligated to prepay in cash on each such date the amount necessary to avoid such classification. Under the terms of the Deerfield Facility Agreement periodic interest is paid-in-kind and added to principal, we are required to make payments of all paid-in-kind interest and principal upon maturity. In this regard, if holders of the notes do not convert their notes prior to the maturity date, we will be required to repay the principal amount of all then outstanding notes plus any paid-in-kind, accrued and unpaid interest. We may also be required to repurchase the notes for cash upon the occurrence of a change of control or certain other fundamental changes involving us. If our capital resources are insufficient to satisfy our debt service obligations, we will be required to seek to sell additional equity or debt or to obtain debt financing. If we raise additional funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may be required to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, future revenue streams, research programs or product candidates or to grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. In addition, we may seek additional capital due to favorable market conditions or strategic considerations even if we believe we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans. If we are unable to raise capital when needed or on attractive terms, we could be forced to delay, reduce or altogether cease our research and development programs or future commercialization efforts.

 

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Our substantial indebtedness may limit cash flow available to invest in the ongoing needs of our business.

 

We have a significant amount of indebtedness. As of February 1, 2020, we had $75.2 million of outstanding borrowings under the Deerfield Facility Agreement. Amounts outstanding under the Deerfield Facility Agreement bear interest at a rate of 6.75% per annum, and all outstanding principal and accrued interest for our outstanding borrowings under the Deerfield Facility Agreement are due and payable on March 31, 2021. Our obligations under the Deerfield Facility Agreement are secured by substantially all of our assets. We could in the future incur additional indebtedness beyond our borrowings under our Deerfield Facility Agreement.

 

Our debt combined with our other financial obligations and contractual commitments could have significant adverse consequences, including:

 

 

requiring us to dedicate a substantial portion of cash flow from operations, if any, or cash on hand to the payment of interest on, and principal of, our debt, which will reduce the amounts available to fund working capital, capital expenditures, product development efforts and other general corporate purposes;

     
 

increasing our vulnerability to adverse changes in general economic, industry and market conditions;

     
 

subjecting us to restrictive covenants that may reduce our ability to take certain corporate actions or obtain further debt or equity financing;

     
 

limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and our industry; and

     
 

placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt or better debt servicing options.

 

We may not have sufficient funds or may be unable to arrange for additional financing to pay the amounts due under our existing debt and funds from external sources may not be available on acceptable terms, if at all. In addition, a failure to comply with the covenants under the Deerfield Facility Agreement could result in an event of default and acceleration of amounts due. If an event of default occurs and the lenders accelerate the amounts due under the Deerfield Facility Agreement, we may not be able to make accelerated payments, and the lender could seek to enforce security interests in the collateral securing such indebtedness.

 

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We may be unable to issue securities under our shelf registration statement, which may have an adverse effect on our liquidity.

 

We have filed shelf registration statements on Form S-3 with the SEC. Based on the market value of our outstanding common stock held by non-affiliates as of February 28, 2020, the date we filed this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, in order to issue securities on Form S-3, we must rely on Instruction I.B.6. of Form S-3, which imposes a limitation on the maximum amount of securities that we may sell pursuant to the registration statements during any twelve-month period. At the time we sell securities pursuant to the applicable registration statement, the amount of securities to be sold plus the amount of any securities we have sold during the prior twelve months in reliance on Instruction I.B.6. may not exceed one-third of the aggregate market value of our outstanding common stock held by non-affiliates as of a day during the 60 days immediately preceding such sale, as computed in accordance with Instruction I.B.6. This calculation is updated immediately upon filing our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019. As of filing this Annual Report, based on this calculation, the amount of securities we are able to sell under a registration statement on Form S-3 is approximately $10.9 million, of which we (i) have filed a prospectus supplement to register approximately $4.0 million for sales under the Purchase Agreement (as defined below); and (ii) have previously sold an aggregate of $5.7 million of shares of common stock in prior offering on Form S-3 in the previous 12 months. Based on this calculation, we expect that we will be unable to sell additional securities beyond those amounts on Form S-3 in the near term, unless and until the market value of our outstanding common stock held by non-affiliates increases significantly. In addition, under the terms of the Purchase Agreement, stockholder approval may be required to access a portion of the amounts available under the Purchase Agreement. If we cannot sell securities on Form S-3, we may be required to utilize more costly and time-consuming means of accessing the capital markets, which could materially adversely affect our liquidity and cash position.

 

Our operating history may make it difficult for you to evaluate the success of our business to date and to assess our future viability.

 

We commenced active operations in 2006, and our operations to date have been largely focused on raising capital, identifying potential product candidates, broadening our expertise in the development of our prodrugs, undertaking preclinical studies and conducting clinical trials. To date, we have only one product approved by the FDA, APADAZ for the short-term (no more than 14 days) management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate. We have not yet demonstrated an ability to manufacture a prodrug on a commercial scale, or arrange for a third party to do so, or conduct sales and marketing activities necessary for successful commercialization. Further, we cannot guarantee that KVK will be able to successfully commercialize APADAZ, that Commave will be able to successfully commercialize any product candidates subject to the KP415 License Agreement, if approved, or that we will ever receive any payments under the APADAZ License Agreement or the KP415 License Agreement from commercial sales of APADAZ or any other approved product candidates, if any. 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.

 

We may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other known or unknown factors in achieving our business objectives. We will need to transition at some point from a company with a research and development focus to a company capable of supporting commercial activities. We may not be successful in such a transition.

 

We expect our financial condition and operating results to continue to fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year due to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. Accordingly, you should not rely upon the results of any quarterly or annual periods as indications of future operating performance.

 

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Risks Related to the Development of Our Product Candidates

 

Our research and development activities are focused on discovering and developing proprietary prodrugs, and we are taking an innovative approach to discovering and developing prodrugs, which may never lead to marketable prodrug products.

 

A key element of our strategy is to use our proprietary LAT technology to build a pipeline of prodrugs and progress product candidates based on these prodrugs through clinical development for the treatment of a variety of diseases and conditions. The scientific discoveries that form the basis for our efforts to discover and develop prodrugs are relatively new. As our scientific efforts are primarily focused on discovering novel prodrugs with new molecular structures, the evidence to support the feasibility of developing product candidates based on these discoveries is both preliminary and limited. Although our research and development efforts to date have resulted in a pipeline of prodrug product candidates, we may not be able to develop  those product candidates into prodrugs that are bioequivalent, safe and effective and that have commercially significant improvements over already approved drugs. 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 reasons including being shown to have harmful side effects, a lack of efficacy, or other characteristics that indicate that they are unlikely to be prodrugs that will receive marketing approval and achieve market acceptance. For instance, in June 2016, we received a Complete Response Letter, or CRL, from the FDA for the APADAZ new drug application, or NDA. Following a Formal Dispute Resolution Request, or FDRR, process and detailed discussions with the FDA, we responded to the CRL by submitting an amended NDA for APADAZ. In February 2018, we announced that the FDA approved the NDA for APADAZ. If APADAZ is not successfully commercialized under our APADAZ License Agreement and we do not successfully develop and commercialize our product candidates based upon our proprietary LAT technology, we will not be able to obtain product revenue in future periods, which likely would result in significant harm to our financial position and adversely affect our stock price.

 

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If we are not able to obtain required regulatory approvals for our product candidates, we will not be able to commercialize them and our ability to generate revenue or profits or to raise future capital could be limited.

 

The research, testing, manufacturing, labeling, packaging, storage, approval, sale, marketing, advertising and promotion, pricing, export, import and distribution of drug products are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA and other regulatory authorities in the United States and other countries, which regulations differ from country to country and change over time. We are not permitted to market any of our product candidates in the United States until we receive approval of an NDA from the FDA, or in any foreign countries until we receive the requisite approvals in such countries. In the United States, the FDA generally requires the completion of non-clinical testing and clinical trials of each drug to establish its safety and efficacy and extensive pharmaceutical development to ensure its quality and other factors before an NDA is approved. Regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions impose similar requirements. Of the large number of drugs in development, only a small percentage result in the submission of an NDA to the FDA and even fewer are approved for commercialization.

 

Even if regulatory approval is obtained, subsequent safety, efficacy, quality or other issues can result in a product approval being suspended or withdrawn. In February 2018, we announced that the FDA approved the NDA for APADAZ for the short-term (no more than 14 days) management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate. Even with the regulatory approval of APADAZ by the FDA, we cannot guarantee that the FDA will approve any of our other product candidates for commercial sale. For example, our NDA submission for KP415 may not be accepted for filing by FDA, may encounter review difficulties, and may ultimately receive a Complete Response Letter for any deficiencies in nonclinical, clinical or manufacturing of KP415. If our development efforts for our product candidates, including regulatory approval, are not successful for their planned indications or are delayed, or if adequate demand for our product candidates that are approved for marketing, if any, is not generated, our business will be harmed.

 

The success of our product candidates will depend on the receipt and maintenance of regulatory approval and the issuance and maintenance of such approval is uncertain and subject to a number of risks, including the following:

 

 

the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, institutional review boards, or IRBs, or ethics committees may disagree with the design or conduct of our clinical trials;

 

 

the results of our clinical trials may not meet the level of statistical or clinical significance required by the FDA or other regulatory agencies for marketing approval or for us to receive approval for claims that are necessary for commercialization;

 

 

the dosing in a particular clinical trial may not be at an optimal level;

 

 

patients in our clinical trials may suffer adverse effects for reasons that may or may not be related to our product candidates;

 

 

the data collected from clinical trials may not be sufficient to support submissions to regulatory authorities or to obtain regulatory approval in the United States or elsewhere;

 

 

the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may fail to approve the manufacturing processes or facilities of third-party manufacturers with which we contract for clinical and commercial supplies or may later suspend or withdraw such approval;

 

 

the approval policies or regulations of the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may significantly change in a manner rendering our clinical data insufficient for approval; and 

 

 

even if we obtain marketing approval in one or more countries, future safety or other issues could result in the suspension or withdrawal of regulatory approval in such countries.

 

We have only limited experience in filing the applications necessary to gain regulatory approvals and have relied, and expect to continue to rely, on consultants and third-party contract research organizations, or CROs, with expertise in this area to assist us in this process. Securing FDA approval requires the submission of extensive non-clinical and clinical data, information about product manufacturing processes and inspection of facilities and supporting information to the FDA for each therapeutic indication to establish a product candidate's safety and efficacy for each indication and manufacturing quality. Additionally, we cannot guarantee that regulators will agree with our assessment of the results of the clinical trials we have conducted or that any future trials will be successful. For example, in May 2016, the Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee of the FDA voted 16 to 4 for the approval of APADAZ, but voted 18 to two against inclusion of abuse-deterrent labeling for APADAZ. Additionally, in June 2016, we received a CRL from the FDA for the APADAZ NDA. Following a FDRR process and detailed discussions with the FDA, we responded to the CRL we received in June 2016 by submitting an amended NDA for APADAZ for the short-term (no more than 14 days) management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate. In February 2018, we announced that the FDA approved the NDA for APADAZ.

 

Any product candidates we develop may prove to have undesirable or unintended side effects, toxicities or other characteristics that may preclude our obtaining regulatory approval or prevent or limit commercial use with respect to one or all intended indications.

 

The process of obtaining regulatory approvals is expensive, often takes many years, if approval is obtained at all, and can vary substantially based upon, among other things, the type, complexity and novelty of the product candidates involved, the jurisdiction in which regulatory approval is sought and the substantial discretion of the regulatory authorities. Changes in the regulatory approval policy during the development period, changes in or the enactment of additional statutes or regulations, or changes in regulatory review for a submitted product application may cause delays in the approval or rejection of an application or may result in future withdrawal of approval. Regulatory approval obtained in one jurisdiction does not necessarily mean that a product candidate will receive regulatory approval in all jurisdictions in which we may seek approval, but the failure to obtain approval in one jurisdiction may negatively impact our ability to seek approval in a different jurisdiction. Failure to obtain regulatory marketing approval of our product candidates in any indication will prevent us from commercializing those product candidates for that indication, and our ability to generate revenue will be impaired.

 

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We are early in our development efforts and have only one product which has completed development and obtained regulatory approval by the FDA, APADAZ. All our other active product candidates are in clinical or preclinical development. If commercialization of APADAZ or our product candidates is not successful, or we experience significant delays in commercialization, our business will be harmed.

 

We are early in our development efforts and have only one product that has completed development and been approved by the FDA, APADAZ. All of our other active product candidates are in clinical or preclinical development. We currently generate no commercial revenue from the sale of any prodrugs and we may never be able to successfully commercialize a prodrug product. For instance, while we have entered into the APADAZ License Agreement with KVK pursuant to which we granted an exclusive license to KVK to commercialize APADAZ in the United States, we cannot guarantee that KVK will be able to successfully commercialize APADAZ or that we will ever receive any payments under the APADAZ License Agreement from commercial sales of APADAZ. In addition, we entered into the KP415 License Agreement with Commave pursuant to which we granted an exclusive, worldwide license to Commave to develop, manufacture and commercialize KP415 and KP484 worldwide. We cannot guarantee that Commave will be able to successfully develop, manufacture or commercialize KP415 or KP484 or that we will ever receive any future payments under the KP415 License Agreement. We have invested substantially all our efforts and financial resources in the development of our proprietary LAT technology, the identification of potential product candidates and the development of our product candidates. Our ability to generate revenue from APADAZ under the APADAZ License Agreement and generate revenue from our product candidates will depend heavily on their successful development and eventual commercialization. The success of APADAZ and our product candidates will depend on several factors, including:

 

 

successful completion of preclinical studies and requisite clinical trials;

 

 

successful completion and achievement of endpoints in our clinical trials;

 

 

demonstration that the risks involved with APADAZ and our product candidates are outweighed by the benefits;

 

 

successful development of our manufacturing processes for APADAZ under the APADAZ License Agreement and for our other product candidates, including entering into and maintaining arrangements with third-party manufacturers;

 

 

successful completion of an FDA preapproval inspection of the facilities used to manufacture APADAZ and our product candidates, as well as select clinical trial sites;

 

 

receipt of timely marketing approvals from applicable regulatory authorities, including, if applicable, the determination by the DEA of the controlled substance schedule for a product candidate, taking into account the recommendation of the FDA;

 

 

obtaining differentiating claims in the labels for our product candidates;

 

 

obtaining and maintaining patent, trademark and trade secret protection and regulatory exclusivity for APADAZ and our product candidates and otherwise protecting our rights in our intellectual property portfolio;

 

 

maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements, including cGMPs;

 

 

launching commercial sales of APADAZ under the APADAZ License Agreement and launching commercial sales of our product candidates, if and when approved, whether alone or in collaboration with Commave or others;

 

 

acceptance of APADAZ and our prodrug product candidates, if approved, by patients, the medical community and third-party payors;

 

 

competing effectively with other therapies;

 

 

obtaining and maintaining healthcare coverage and adequate reimbursement; and

 

 

maintaining a continued acceptable safety and efficacy profile of the prodrug products following approval.

 

Whether regulatory approval will be granted is unpredictable and depends upon numerous factors, including the substantial discretion of the regulatory authorities. If, following submission, our NDA for a product candidate is not accepted for substantive review or approval, the FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require that we conduct additional studies or clinical trials, provide additional data, take additional manufacturing steps or require other conditions before they will reconsider our application. If the FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authorities require additional studies, clinical trials or data, we would incur increased costs and delays in the marketing approval process, which may require us to expend more resources than we have available. In addition, the FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authorities may not consider sufficient any additional required studies, clinical trials, data or information that we perform and complete or generate, or we may decide to abandon the program.

 

Although APADAZ obtained regulatory approval in February 2018, it is possible that none of our other existing product candidates or any of our future product candidates will ever obtain regulatory approval, even if we expend substantial time and resources seeking such approval.

 

If we do not achieve one or more of these factors in a timely manner or at all, we could experience significant delays or KVK could experience an inability to successfully commercialize APADAZ or we could experience an inability to successfully commercialize our product candidates approved for marketing in the future, if any, which would harm our business.

 

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If we, subject to the approval of Commave, or Commave themselves attempt to rely on Section 505(b)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the FDA does not conclude that our product candidates are sufficiently bioequivalent, or have comparable bioavailability, to approved drugs, or if the FDA does not allow us or Commave to pursue the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway as anticipated, the approval pathway for our product candidates will likely take significantly longer, cost significantly more and entail significantly greater complications and risks than anticipated, and the FDA may not ultimately approve our product candidates.

 

A key element of our strategy is to seek FDA approval for most of our product candidates under Section 505(b)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, otherwise known as the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway with any NDA submitted thereunder a 505(b)(2) NDA, where possible. The 505(b)(2) NDA pathway permits the filing of an NDA where at least some of the information required for approval comes from studies not conducted by or for the applicant and for which the applicant has not obtained a right of reference. Such reliance is typically predicated on a showing of bioequivalence or comparable bioavailability to an approved drug.

 

If the FDA does not allow us to pursue the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway as anticipated, or if we cannot demonstrate bioequivalence or comparable bioavailability of our product candidates to approved products, we may need to conduct additional clinical trials, provide additional data and information, and meet additional standards for regulatory approval. Moreover, even if the FDA does allow us to pursue the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway, depending on the product candidate, we may still need to conduct additional clinical trials, including clinical trials to assess product safety or efficacy. For instance, subject to Commave approval, we currently plan on relying on the 505(b)(2) pathway for any NDA submitted for KP415 or KP484. However, we do not anticipate that the 505(b)(2) pathway will be available for every product candidate. For instance, it is possible we will only be permitted to utilize the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway for either KP415 or KP484, but not both. If this were to occur, the time and financial resources required to obtain FDA approval for our product candidates, and complications and risks associated with our product candidates, would likely substantially increase.

 

Moreover, our inability to pursue the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway could result in new competitive products reaching the market more quickly than our product candidates, which could hurt our competitive position and our business prospects. Even if we are allowed to pursue the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway, we cannot assure you that our product candidates will receive the requisite approvals for commercialization on a timely basis, if at all. Other companies may achieve product approval of similar products before we do, which would delay our ability to obtain product approval, expose us to greater competition, and would require that we seek approval via alternative pathways, such as an abbreviated new drug application, or ANDA, which is used for the development of generic drug products.

 

In addition, notwithstanding the approval of several products by the FDA under 505(b)(2) over the last few years, pharmaceutical companies and others have objected to the FDA’s interpretation of 505(b)(2). If the FDA’s interpretation of 505(b)(2) is successfully challenged, the FDA may change its policies and practices with respect to 505(b)(2) regulatory approvals, which could delay or even prevent the FDA from approving any NDA that we submit under 505(b)(2).

 

Even if our product candidates are approved under 505(b)(2), the approval may be subject to limitations on the indicated uses for which the products may be marketed, including more limited subject populations than we request, may require that contraindications, warnings or precautions be included in the product labeling, including a boxed warning, may be subject to other conditions of approval, or may contain requirements for costly post-marketing clinical trials, testing and surveillance to monitor the safety or efficacy of the products, or other post-market requirements, such as a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS. The FDA also may not approve a product candidate with a label that includes the labeling claims necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of that product candidate. Based upon currently approved products, we anticipate that we will be required to conduct Phase 4 studies and to implement a REMS and will have a boxed warning for at least some of our product candidates, including APADAZ.

 

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The FDA may determine that any NDA we may submit under the 505(b)(2) regulatory pathway for any of our product candidates in the future is not sufficiently complete to permit a substantive review.

 

If we were to submit an NDA under the 505(b)(2) regulatory for any of our product candidates, within 60 days of the agency’s receipt of our NDA, the FDA will make a threshold determination of whether the NDA is sufficiently complete to permit a substantive review. This 60-day review period is referred to as the filing review. If the NDA is sufficiently complete, the FDA will file the NDA. If the agency refuses to file the NDA, it will notify us and state the reason(s) for the refusal. The FDA may refuse to file our NDA for various reasons, including but not limited to, if:

 

 

the NDA is incomplete because it does not on its face contain the information required under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act or the FDA’s regulations;

 

 

the NDA does not contain a statement that each non-clinical laboratory study was conducted in compliance with good laboratory practices requirements, or for each study not so conducted, a brief statement of the reason for the noncompliance;

 

 

the NDA does not contain a statement that each clinical trial was conducted in compliance with the IRB regulations or was not subject to those regulations, and the agency’s informed consent regulations or a brief statement of the reason for noncompliance; or

 

 

the drug is a duplicate of a listed drug approved before receipt of the NDA and is eligible for approval under an ANDA for generic drugs. 

 

In its procedures, the FDA has stated that it could find an NDA submitted under the Section 505(b)(2) regulatory pathway incomplete and refuse to file it if the NDA, among other reasons:

 

 

fails to include appropriate literature or a listed drug citation to support the safety or efficacy of the drug product;

 

 

fails to include data necessary to support any aspects of the proposed drug that represent modifications to the listed drug(s) relied upon;

 

 

fails to provide a bridge, for example by providing comparative bioavailability data, between the proposed drug product and the listed drug product to demonstrate that such reliance is scientifically justified;

 

 

uses an unapproved drug as a reference product for the bioequivalence study; or

 

 

fails to provide a patent certification or statement as required by the FDA’s regulations where the 505(b)(2) NDA relies on one or more listed drugs.

 

Additionally, the FDA will refuse to file an NDA if an approved drug with the same active moiety is entitled to five years of exclusivity, unless the exclusivity period has elapsed, or unless four years of the five-year period have elapsed, and the NDA contains a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement. An active moiety is the molecule or ion, excluding those appended portions of the molecule that cause the drug to be an ester, salt (including a salt with hydrogen or coordination bond) or other noncovalent derivative (such as a complex, chelate, or clathrate) of the molecule, responsible for the therapeutic activity of the drug substance.

 

If the FDA refuses to file an NDA submitted by us, we may amend the NDA and resubmit it. In such a case, the FDA will again review the NDA and determine whether it may be filed. There can be no assurance that the FDA will file any NDA submitted by us in the future. If the agency refuses to file an NDA, we will need to address the deficiencies cited by the FDA, which could substantially delay the review process.

 

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Clinical drug development involves a lengthy and expensive process, with an uncertain outcome. We may incur additional costs or experience delays in completing, or ultimately be unable to complete, the development and commercialization of our product candidates.

 

The risk of failure for our product candidates is high. It is impossible to predict when or if any of our current product candidates will prove effective or safe in humans and will receive regulatory approval. Before obtaining marketing approval from regulatory authorities for the sale of any product candidate, we must complete preclinical development and then conduct clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates in humans. Clinical testing is expensive, difficult to design and implement, can take many years to complete and is uncertain as to outcome. A failure of one or more clinical trials can occur at any stage of testing. The outcome of preclinical studies and early clinical trials may not be predictive of the success of later clinical trials, and interim results of a clinical trial do not necessarily predict final results. Interpretation of results from early, usually smaller, studies that suggest positive trends in some subjects, requires caution. Results from later stages of clinical trials enrolling more subjects may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy results or otherwise fail to be consistent with the results of earlier trials of the same product candidates. Later clinical trial results may not replicate earlier clinical trials for a variety of reasons, including differences in trial design, different trial endpoints, or lack of trial endpoints in exploratory studies, subject population, number of subjects, subject selection criteria, trial duration, drug dosage and formulation and lack of statistical power in the earlier studies. Moreover, preclinical and clinical data are often susceptible to varying interpretations and analyses, and many companies that have believed their product candidates performed satisfactorily in preclinical studies and clinical trials have nonetheless failed to obtain marketing approval of their products. For instance, in June 2016, the FDA issued a CRL for the APADAZ NDA. In its CRL, the FDA advised us that it did not believe our proposed labeling included in the application accurately conveyed the outcome of our abuse-deterrent studies of APADAZ. Following a FDRR process and detailed discussions with the FDA, we responded to the CRL we received in June 2016 by submitting an amended NDA for APADAZ. In February 2018, we announced that the FDA approved the NDA for APADAZ for the short-term (no more than 14 days) management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate. Despite this, the final approved product labeling for APADAZ concluded that the overall results of the clinical program did not demonstrate abuse-deterrence by current measurement standards.

 

We may experience numerous unforeseen events during, or as a result of, clinical trials that could delay or prevent our ability to receive marketing approval or commercialize our product candidates, including:

 

 

regulators or IRBs may not authorize us or our investigators to commence a clinical trial, conduct a clinical trial at a prospective trial site or amend clinical trial protocols as needed;

 

 

we may experience delays in reaching, or fail to reach, agreement on acceptable clinical trial contracts or clinical trial protocols with prospective trial sites and CROs;

 

 

clinical trials of our product candidates may produce negative or inconclusive results, including failure to demonstrate statistical significance in cases where that is required, and we may decide, or regulators may require us, to conduct additional clinical trials or abandon prodrug development programs; 

 

 

the number of subjects required for clinical trials of our product candidates may be larger than we anticipate enrollment in these clinical trials may be slower than we anticipate, or participants may drop out of these clinical trials at a higher rate than we anticipate;

 

 

our third-party contractors may fail to comply with regulatory requirements or trial protocols, or meet their contractual obligations to us in a timely manner, or at all;

 

 

regulators or IRBs may require that we or our investigators suspend or terminate clinical research for various reasons, including noncompliance with regulatory requirements or a finding that the participants are being exposed to unacceptable health risks;

 

 

the cost of clinical trials of our product candidates may be greater than we anticipate, including if we are not able to pursue the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway for approval of our product candidates;

 

 

we will need to pay substantial application user fees, which we may not be able to afford;

 

 

the supply or quality of our product candidates or other materials necessary to conduct clinical trials of our product candidates may be insufficient or inadequate;

 

 

we may abandon our development program or programs based on the changing regulatory or commercial environment;

 

 

regulatory authorities may not agree with our trial design or implementation; and

 

 

our product candidates may have undesirable side effects or other unexpected characteristics, causing us or our investigators, regulators or IRBs to suspend or terminate the trials.

 

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If we are required to conduct additional clinical trials or other testing of our product candidates beyond those that we currently contemplate, if we are unable to successfully complete clinical trials of our product candidates or other testing, if the results of these trials or tests are not positive or are only modestly positive or if there are safety concerns, we may:

 

 

be delayed in obtaining marketing approval for our product candidates;

 

 

not obtain marketing approval at all;

 

 

obtain approval for indications or patient populations that are not as broad as intended or desired;

 

 

obtain approval but without the claims necessary for us to successfully commercialize our product candidates;

 

 

obtain approval with labeling that includes significant use or distribution restrictions or safety warnings;

 

 

be subject to additional post-marketing testing, surveillance, or other requirements, such as REMS; or

 

 

have the product removed from the market after obtaining marketing approval.

 

Our prodrug development costs may also increase if we experience delays in testing or obtaining marketing approvals. Additionally, if we do not successfully develop any product candidates subject to the KP415 License Agreement, we may not be eligible to receive any future payments under the KP415 License Agreement. We do not know whether any of our preclinical studies or clinical trials will begin as planned, will need to be restructured or will be completed on schedule, or at all. Significant preclinical study or clinical trial delays also could shorten any periods during which we may have the exclusive right to commercialize our product candidates or allow our competitors to bring products to market before we do and impair our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates.

 

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Changes in methods of product candidate manufacturing or formulation may result in additional costs or delay.

 

As product candidates are developed through preclinical studies to late-stage clinical trials towards approval and commercialization, various aspects of the development program, such as manufacturing methods and formulation, may be altered along the way in an effort to optimize processes and results. Such changes may 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, increase clinical trial costs, delay approval of our product candidates and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and generate revenue.

 

Our decision to seek approval of our product candidates under the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway, if available, may increase the risk that patent infringement suits are filed against us, which would delay the FDA's approval of such product candidates.

 

Regarding any NDA that we may submit under the 505(b)(2) NDA pathway, if there are patents that claim the approved drug contained in our product candidates and referenced in our 505(b)(2) NDA, we must certify to the FDA and notify the patent holder that any patents listed for the approved drug in the FDA's Orange Book publication are invalid, unenforceable or will not be infringed by the manufacture, use or sale of our prodrug. If a patent infringement lawsuit is filed against us within 45 days of its receipt of notice of our certification, the FDA is automatically prevented from approving our 505(b)(2) NDA until the earliest of 30 months, expiration of the patent, settlement of the lawsuit or a court decision in the infringement case that is favorable to us, or such shorter or longer period as may be ordered by a court. Such actions are routinely filed by patent owners. Accordingly, we may invest considerable time and expense in the development of our product candidates only to be subject to significant delay and patent litigation before our product candidates may be commercialized. We may not be successful in defending any patent infringement claim. Even if we are found not to infringe, or a plaintiff's patent claims are found invalid or unenforceable, defending any such infringement claim would be expensive and time-consuming, and would delay launch of our product candidates and distract management from their normal responsibilities.

 

We may not be successful in our efforts to develop a prodrug-based product that might allow us to seek a rare pediatric disease priority review voucher.

 

The FDA has awarded rare pediatric disease priority review vouchers to sponsors of drug candidates to treat rare pediatric disease, if the treatment sponsors apply for this designation and meet certain criteria. Under this program, upon the approval of a qualifying NDA, for the treatment of a rare pediatric disease, the sponsor of such an application would be eligible for a rare pediatric disease priority review voucher that can be used to obtain priority review for a subsequent NDA. The priority review voucher may be sold or transferred an unlimited number of times.

 

We previously announced a technology licensing agreement with Genco Sciences, LLC to develop prodrug-based therapy for potential rare pediatric indications of Tourette’s Syndrome with ADHD. We cannot guarantee that we will be successful in this effort to develop such a prodrug-based therapy. Additionally, we cannot guarantee that the FDA would grant us a rare pediatric disease designation for such a prodrug-based product candidate. Even if the FDA grants us a rare pediatric disease designation for one of our prodrug-based product candidates, designation of a drug as a drug for a rare pediatric disease does not guarantee that an NDA for such drug will meet the eligibility criteria for a rare pediatric disease priority review voucher at the time the application is approved.

 

APADAZ is subject to mandatory REMS programs, which could increase the cost, burden and liability associated with the commercialization of APADAZ and certain product candidates.

 

The FDA has indicated that opioid analgesic drugs formulated with the active ingredients hydrocodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone and others will be required to have a REMS to ensure that the benefits of the drugs continue to outweigh the risks. In September 2018, the FDA approved the Opioid Analgesic REMS for extended-release, long-acting, or ER/LA, and IR opioids as one strategy among multiple national and state efforts to reduce the risk of abuse, misuse, addiction, overdose and deaths due to prescription opioid analgesics. The Opioid Analgesic REMS affects more than 60 companies that manufacture these products. Under this REMS, companies are required to make training available to all healthcare providers who are involved in the management of patients with pain, including nurses and pharmacists. To meet this requirement, drug companies with approved opioid analgesics will provide unrestricted grants to accredited continuing education providers for the development of education courses for healthcare providers based on the FDA's Opioid Analgesic REMS Education Blueprint for Health Care Providers Involved in the Treatment and Monitoring of Patients with Pain. The REMS program also requires companies to make available FDA-approved patient education materials on the safe use of these drugs. The companies must perform periodic assessments of the implementation of the REMS and the success of the program in meeting its goals. The FDA will review these assessments and may require additional elements to achieve the goals of the program. Independent audits must also be conducted of the educational efforts.

 

APADAZ is subject to this REMS, and we anticipate that any opioid product candidates we may choose to develop in the future, if approved by the FDA, are likely to also be subject to a REMS requirement. There may be increased cost, administrative burden and potential liability associated with the marketing and sale of these types of product candidates subject to a REMS requirement, which could increase the costs to us and reduce the commercial benefits to us from the sale of these product candidates. In October 2018, we entered into the APADAZ License Agreement with KVK pursuant to which we granted an exclusive license to KVK to commercialize APADAZ in the United States. As part of this agreement KVK has assumed most regulatory and commercialization costs, including this REMS requirement.

 

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APADAZ and our product candidates contain controlled substances, the manufacture, use, sale, importation, exportation, prescribing and distribution of which are subject to regulation by the DEA.

 

Before we can commercialize any of our product candidates, if approved, the DEA will need to determine the controlled substance schedule, taking into account the recommendation of the FDA. This may be a lengthy process that could delay our marketing of a product candidate and could potentially diminish any regulatory exclusivity periods for which we may be eligible. For APADAZ, the DEA has completed its process for determining the controlled substance schedule and determined it to be a Schedule II drug. We expect that most of our product candidates, including KP415, KP484 and KP879, if approved, will be regulated as “controlled substances” as defined in the Controlled Substances Act, or the CSA, and the implementing regulations of the DEA, which establish registration, security, recordkeeping, reporting, storage, distribution, importation, exportation, inventory, quota and other requirements administered by the DEA. These requirements are applicable to us, to our contract manufacturers and to distributors, prescribers and dispensers of our product candidates. The DEA regulates the handling of controlled substances through a closed chain of distribution. This control extends to the equipment and raw materials used in their manufacture and packaging, in order to prevent loss and diversion into illicit channels of commerce. A number of states and foreign countries also independently regulate these drugs as controlled substances.

 

The DEA regulates controlled substances as Schedule I, II, III, IV or V substances. Schedule I substances by definition have no established medicinal use and may not be marketed or sold in the United States. A pharmaceutical product may be listed as Schedule II, III, IV or V, with Schedule II substances considered to present the highest risk of abuse and Schedule V substances the lowest relative risk of abuse among such substances. Schedule II drugs are those that meet the following characteristics:

 

 

the drug has a high potential for abuse;

 

 

the drug has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions; and

 

 

abuse of the drug may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

 

We expect that most of our current product candidates may be listed by the DEA as Schedule II controlled substances under the CSA. If our product candidates are listed as Schedule II controlled substances, then the importation of the APIs for our product candidates, as well as the manufacture, shipping, storage, sales and use of the products, will be subject to a high degree of regulation. In addition to maintaining an importer and/or exporter registration, importers and exporters of controlled substances must obtain a permit for every import of a Schedule I or II substance and a narcotic substance in Schedule III, IV and V, as well as every export of a Schedule I or II substance and a narcotic substance in Schedule III and IV. For all other drugs in Schedule III, IV and V, importers and exporters must submit an import or export declaration. Schedule II drugs are subject to the strictest requirements for registration, security, recordkeeping and reporting. Also, distribution and dispensing of these drugs are highly regulated. For example, all Schedule II drug prescriptions must be signed by a physician, physically presented to a pharmacist and may not be refilled without a new prescription. Electronic prescriptions may also be permissible depending on the state, so long as the prescription complies with the DEA’s requirements for electronic prescriptions.

 

Controlled substances classified in Schedule III, IV, and V are also subject to registration, recordkeeping, reporting and security requirements. For example, Schedule III drug prescriptions must be authorized by a physician and may not be refilled more than six months after the date of the original prescription or more than five times. A prescription for controlled substances classified in Schedules III, IV and V issued by a physician, may be communicated either orally, in writing or by facsimile to the pharmacies. Controlled substances that are also classified as narcotics, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and hydromorphone, are also subject to additional DEA requirements, such as manufacturer reporting of the import of narcotic raw material.

 

Annual registration is required for any facility that manufactures, distributes, dispenses, imports or exports any controlled substance. The registration is specific to the particular location, activity and controlled substance schedule. For example, separate registrations are needed for import and manufacturing, and each registration will specify which schedules of controlled substances are authorized. Similarly, separate registrations are also required for separate facilities. Acquisition and distribution transactions must also be reported for Schedule I and II controlled substances, as well as Schedule III narcotic substances.

 

In addition, a DEA quota system controls and limits the availability and production of controlled substances in Schedule I or II. Because most of our product candidates may be regulated as Schedule II controlled substances, they may be subject to the DEA’s production and procurement quota scheme. The DEA establishes annually an aggregate quota for how much of a controlled substance may be produced in total in the United States based on the DEA’s estimate of the quantity needed to meet legitimate scientific and medicinal needs. Manufacturers of Schedule I and II controlled substances are required to apply for quotas on an annual basis. If we or our contract manufacturers or suppliers do not obtain a sufficient quota from the DEA, we may not be able to obtain sufficient quantities of these controlled substances in order to complete our clinical trials or meet commercial demand, if our product candidates are approved for marketing.

 

Because of their restrictive nature, these laws and regulations could limit commercialization of our product candidates containing controlled substances. States may also have their own controlled substance laws that may further restrict and regulate controlled substances. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations could also result in withdrawal of our DEA registrations, disruption in manufacturing and distribution activities, consent decrees, criminal and civil penalties and state actions, among other consequences.

 

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If we experience delays or difficulties in the enrollment of subjects in clinical trials, our receipt of necessary regulatory approvals could be delayed or prevented.

 

We may not be able to initiate or continue clinical trials for our product candidates if we are unable to locate and enroll a sufficient number of eligible subjects to participate in these trials as required by the FDA or similar regulatory authorities outside the United States. We cannot predict how successful we will be at enrolling subjects in future clinical trials. If we are not successful at enrolling subjects in one clinical trial, it may affect when we are able to initiate our next clinical trial, which could result in significant delays in our efforts to pursue regulatory approval of and commercialize our product candidates. In addition, some of our competitors have ongoing clinical trials to treat the same indications as our product candidates, and subjects who would otherwise be eligible for our clinical trials may instead enroll in clinical trials of our competitors. Subject enrollment is affected by other factors including:

 

 

the size and nature of the subject population specified in the trial protocol;

 

 

the eligibility criteria for the study in question;

 

 

the perceived risks and benefits of the product candidate under study;

 

 

the fact that the product candidate is a controlled substance;

 

 

severe or unexpected drug-related adverse events experienced by subjects in a clinical trial;

 

 

the availability of drugs approved to treat the diseases or conditions under study;

 

 

the efforts to facilitate timely enrollment in clinical trials;

 

 

the patient referral practices of physicians;

 

 

the severity of the disease or condition under investigation;

 

 

the ability to obtain and maintain subject informed consent;

 

 

the ability to retain subjects in the clinical trial and their return for follow-up;

 

 

the clinical trial design, including required tests, procedures and follow-up;

 

 

the ability to monitor subjects adequately during and after treatment;

 

 

delays in adding new investigators and clinical sites;

 

 

withdrawal of clinical trial sites from clinical trials; and

 

 

the proximity and availability of clinical trial sites for prospective subjects.

 

Our inability to enroll a sufficient number of subjects for clinical trials would result in significant delays and could require us to abandon one or more clinical trials altogether. Enrollment delays in these clinical trials may result in increased development costs for our product candidates, which could cause our value to decline and limit our ability to obtain additional financing.

 

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Our clinical trials may fail to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates, or serious adverse or unacceptable side effects may be identified during the development of our product candidates, which could prevent or delay regulatory approval and commercialization, increase our costs or necessitate the abandonment or limitation of the development of some of our product candidates.

 

Before obtaining regulatory approvals for the commercial sale of our product candidates, we must demonstrate through lengthy, complex and expensive preclinical studies and clinical trials that our product candidates are both safe and effective for use in each target indication, and failures can occur at any stage of testing. Clinical trials often fail to demonstrate safety and efficacy of the product candidate studied for the target indication.

 

If our product candidates are associated with side effects in clinical trials or have characteristics that are unexpected, we may need to abandon their development or limit development to more narrow uses or subpopulations in which the side effects or other characteristics are less prevalent, less severe or more acceptable from a risk-benefit perspective. The FDA or an IRB may also require that we suspend, discontinue, or limit our clinical trials based on safety information. Such findings could further result in regulatory authorities failing to provide marketing authorization for our product candidates. Many product candidates that initially showed promise in early stage testing have later been found to cause side effects that prevented further development of the product candidate.

 

We may expend our limited resources to pursue a particular product candidate or indication and fail to capitalize on product candidates or indications that may be more profitable or for which there is a greater likelihood of success.

 

Because we have limited financial and management resources, we focus on research programs and product candidates that we identify for specific indications. As a result, we may forego or delay pursuit of opportunities with other product candidates or for other indications that later prove to have greater commercial potential. Our resource allocation decisions may cause us to fail to capitalize on viable commercial drugs or profitable market opportunities. Our spending on current and future research and development programs and product candidates for specific indications may not yield any commercially viable products. If we do not accurately evaluate the commercial potential or target market for a particular product candidate, we may relinquish valuable rights to that product candidate through collaboration, licensing or other royalty arrangements in cases in which it would have been more advantageous for us to retain sole development and commercialization rights to such product candidate.

 

Social issues around the abuse of opioids and stimulants, including law enforcement concerns over diversion and regulatory efforts to combat abuse, could decrease the potential market for APADAZ or our other applicable product candidates.

 

Media stories regarding prescription drug abuse and the diversion of opioids, stimulants and other controlled substances are commonplace. Law enforcement and regulatory agencies may apply policies that seek to limit the availability of opioids and stimulants. Such efforts may inhibit the ability to commercialize APADAZ under the APADAZ License Agreement or to commercialize our other applicable product candidates. Aggressive enforcement and unfavorable publicity regarding, for example, the use or misuse of hydrocodone or other opioid drugs and stimulants, the limitations of abuse-deterrent formulations, public inquiries and investigations into prescription drug abuse, litigation or regulatory activity, sales, marketing, distribution or storage of our products could harm our reputation. Such negative publicity could reduce the potential size of the market for APADAZ or our other applicable product candidates and decrease the revenue we are able to generate from their sale, if approved. Similarly, to the extent prescription drug abuse becomes a less prevalent or less urgent public health issue, regulators and third-party payors may not be willing to pay a premium for formulations with improved attributes of opioids or stimulants.

 

Additionally, efforts by the FDA and other regulatory bodies to combat abuse of opioids and stimulants may negatively impact the market for APADAZ and our other applicable product candidates. For example, in April 2014, the FDA approved class-wide labeling changes to the indications for use of all approved ER/LA opioids, so that ER/LA opioids will be indicated only for the management of pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment and for which alternative treatment options are inadequate. These changes have reduced the number of prescriptions for opioids written by physicians and negatively impact the potential market for APADAZ or our other applicable product candidates. The FDA also held a public meeting in October 2014, on the development and regulation of abuse-deterrent formulations of opioid medications. Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously issued draft guidelines for the prescribing of opioids for chronic pain, providing recommendations for primary care providers prescribing opioids for chronic pain on when to initiate or continue opioids, opioid selection and discontinuation, and the assessment of the risk and addressing harms of opioid use, among other areas. It is possible that FDA, or other regulatory bodies, will announce new regulatory initiatives at any time that may increase the regulatory burden or decrease the commercial opportunity for APADAZ or our other applicable product candidates.

 

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Risks Related to Our Dependence on Third Parties

 

We rely on and expect to continue to rely on third parties to conduct our clinical trials for our product candidates, and those third parties may not perform satisfactorily, including failing to meet deadlines for the completion of such trials.

 

We have engaged and expect to continue to engage CROs for our planned clinical trials of our product candidates. We rely on and expect to continue to rely on CROs, as well as other third parties, such as clinical data management organizations, medical institutions and clinical investigators, to conduct those clinical trials. Agreements with such third parties might terminate for a variety of reasons, including a failure to perform by the third parties. If we need to enter into alternative arrangements, our drug development activities would be delayed.

 

Our reliance on these third parties for research and development activities reduces our control over these activities but does not relieve us of our responsibilities. For example, we remain responsible for ensuring that each of our clinical trials is conducted in accordance with the general investigational plan and protocols for the trial. Moreover, the FDA requires us to comply with regulatory standards, commonly referred to as good clinical practices, or GCPs, for conducting, recording and reporting the results of clinical trials to assure that data and reported results are credible and accurate and that the rights, integrity and confidentiality of trial participants are protected. Regulatory authorities enforce these GCPs through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, investigators and trial sites. We also are required to register specified ongoing clinical trials and post the results of completed clinical trials on a government-sponsored database, ClinicalTrials.gov, within specified timeframes. In addition, we must conduct our clinical trials with product produced under cGMP requirements. Failure to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat preclinical studies and clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process. Failure to comply with the applicable requirements related to clinical investigations by us, our CROs or clinical trial sites can also result in clinical holds and termination of clinical trials, debarment, FDA refusal to approve applications based on the clinical data, warning letters, withdrawal of marketing approval if the product has already been approved, fines and other monetary penalties, delays, adverse publicity and civil and criminal sanctions, among other consequences.

 

Furthermore, these third parties may also have relationships with other entities, some of which may be our competitors. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties, meet expected deadlines or conduct our clinical trials in accordance with regulatory requirements or our stated protocols, we will not be able to obtain, or may be delayed in obtaining, marketing approvals for our product candidates and will not be able to, or may be delayed in our efforts to, successfully commercialize our product candidates.

 

In addition, investigators for our clinical trials may serve as scientific advisors or consultants to us from time to time and may 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, or the FDA concludes that the financial relationship may have affected the interpretation of the study, the integrity of the data generated at the applicable clinical trial site may be questioned and the utility of the clinical trial itself may be jeopardized, which could result in the delay or rejection of any NDA we submit by the FDA. Any such delay or rejection could prevent us from commercializing our product candidates. Further, our arrangements with investigators are also subject to scrutiny under other health care regulatory laws, such as the Anti-Kickback Statute.

 

We also rely on and expect to continue to rely on other third parties to store and distribute product supplies for our clinical trials. Any performance failure on the part of our distributors could delay clinical development or marketing approval of our product candidates or commercialization of our products, producing additional losses and depriving us of potential product revenue.

 

If the third parties with whom we contract do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or obligations or 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 other reasons, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated, we may need to conduct additional trials, and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or successfully commercialize our product candidates. As a result, the commercial prospects for our product candidates would be harmed, our costs could increase and our ability to generate revenue could be delayed. To the extent we are unable to successfully identify and manage the performance of third-party service providers in the future, our business may be adversely affected.

 

44

 

 

We contract with third parties for the manufacture of our partnered product and product candidates that utilize benzhydrocodone and SDX as the API used in our clinical trials and with a sole source supplier for the manufacture of bulk quantities of benzhydrocodone and SDX used in the partnered product and product candidates that utilize these moieties as the API and we expect to continue to do so. This reliance on third-party manufacturers increases the risk that we will not have sufficient quantities of benzhydrocodone and SDX, or such quantities at an acceptable cost, which could delay, prevent or impair our development or commercialization efforts.

 

We do not have any manufacturing facilities. We procure the bulk drug substances for KP415, KP484, APADAZ and KP879 from sole-source, third-party manufacturers and the partnered product and product candidates that utilize these moieties as the API used in our clinical trials  from other third parties. We anticipate we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. We also expect to continue to rely on third parties as we proceed with preclinical and clinical testing of our product candidates, as well as for commercial manufacture of APADAZ or our product candidates should they receive marketing approval. This reliance on third parties increases the risk that we will not have sufficient quantities of benzhydrocodone, SDX, other bulk drug substances or our partnered product or product candidates, or such quantities at an acceptable cost or quality, which could delay, prevent or impair our ability to timely conduct our clinical trials or our other development or commercialization efforts.

 

We may be unable to establish any future agreements with third-party manufacturers or to do so on acceptable terms. Even if we are able to maintain our existing third-party relationships or establish any such agreements with other third-party manufacturers, reliance on third-party manufacturers entails additional risks, including:

 

 

reliance on the third party for FDA and DEA regulatory compliance and quality assurance;

 

 

the possible misappropriation of our proprietary information, including our trade secrets and know-how;

 

 

disruption and costs associated with changing suppliers, including additional regulatory filings;

 

 

the possible breach, termination or nonrenewal of the agreement by the third party at a time that is costly or inconvenient for us;

 

 

a delay or inability to procure or expand sufficient manufacturing capacity; 

 

 

manufacturing and product quality issues related to scale-up of manufacturing;

 

 

costs and validation of new equipment and facilities required for scale-up;

 

 

the inability to negotiate manufacturing agreements with third parties under commercially reasonable terms;

 

 

termination or nonrenewal of manufacturing agreements with third parties in a manner or at a time that is costly or damaging to us;

 

 

the reliance on a limited number of sources, and in some cases, single sources for product components, such that if we are unable to secure a sufficient supply of these product components, we will be unable to manufacture and sell our product candidates in a timely fashion, in sufficient quantities or under acceptable terms; and

 

 

carrier disruptions or increased costs that are beyond our control.

 

Any of these events could lead to clinical trial delays, failure to obtain regulatory approval or impact our ability to successfully commercialize our products. Some of these events could be the basis for FDA action, including injunction, recall, seizure or total or partial suspension of production.

 

45

 

 

The facilities used by our contract manufacturers to manufacture APADAZ and our product candidates must be approved by the FDA pursuant to inspections that will be conducted after we submit our marketing application to the FDA, and these facilities could fail to obtain FDA approval.

 

We do not, other than through our contractual arrangements, control the manufacturing process of APADAZ or our product candidates, and we are completely dependent on, our contract manufacturing partners for compliance with cGMP requirements and for manufacture of both active drug substances and finished drug products. If our contract manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our specifications and the strict regulatory requirements of the FDA or other regulatory authorities, we will not be able to secure and maintain regulatory approval for their manufacturing facilities. In addition, other than through our contractual agreements, we have no control over the ability of our contract manufacturers to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority does not approve these facilities for the manufacturing of APADAZ or our product candidates or if it withdraws any such approval in the future, we may need to find alternative manufacturing facilities, which would significantly impact our ability to develop, obtain marketing approval for or market APADAZ or our product candidates, if approved.

 

Further, for APADAZ and our product candidates, if approved, our suppliers will be subject to regulatory requirements, covering manufacturing, testing, quality control and record keeping relating to APADAZ or our product candidates, if approved, and subject to ongoing inspections by the regulatory agencies. Failure by any of our suppliers to comply with applicable regulations may result in long delays and interruptions to our manufacturing capacity while we seek to secure another supplier that meets all regulatory requirements, as well as market disruption related to any necessary recalls or other corrective actions.

 

Third-party manufacturers may not be able to comply with current cGMP regulations or similar regulatory requirements outside the United States. Our failure, or the failure of our third-party manufacturers, to comply with applicable regulations could result in sanctions being imposed on us, including warning letters, clinical holds or termination of clinical trials, fines, injunctions, restitution, disgorgement, civil penalties, delays, suspension or withdrawal of approvals or other permits, FDA refusal to approve pending applications, product detentions, FDA or DEA consent decrees placing significant restrictions on or suspending manufacturing and distribution operations, debarment, refusal to allow import or export, product detentions, adverse publicity, dear-health-care-provider letters or other warnings, license revocation, seizures or recalls of product candidates, operating restrictions, refusal of government contracts or future orders under existing contracts and civil and criminal liability, including False Claims Act liability, exclusion from participation in federal health care programs, and corporate integrity agreements among other consequences, any of which could significantly and adversely affect supplies of our prodrugs.

 

Our product candidates and any prodrugs that we may develop may compete with other product candidates and drugs for access to manufacturing facilities, and we may be unable to obtain access to these facilities on favorable terms.

 

There are a limited number of manufacturers that operate under cGMP regulations and that might be capable of manufacturing for us. Any performance failure on the part of our existing or future manufacturers could delay clinical development or marketing approval. We do not currently have arrangements in place for redundant supply or a second source for KP415, KP484 or KP879 bulk drug substance. If our current contract manufacturer for KP415, KP484 or KP879 bulk drug substance cannot perform as agreed, we may be required to replace such manufacturer and we may incur added costs and delays in identifying and qualifying any such replacement.

 

46

 

 

We have entered into collaborations with KVK, for the commercialization of APADAZ in the United States, and Commave, to develop, manufacture and commercialize KP415 and KP484 worldwide. In addition, we may seek collaborations with third parties for the development or commercialization of our other product candidates, or in other territories. If those collaborations are not successful, we may not be able to capitalize on the market potential of APADAZ or KP415, KP484 or other product candidates, if approved.

 

We have entered into the APADAZ License Agreement with KVK pursuant to which we granted an exclusive license to KVK to commercialize APADAZ in the United States. We cannot guarantee that our collaboration with KVK will be successful or that we will ever receive any payments under the APADAZ License Agreement. For instance, if the Initial Adoption Milestone is not achieved, KVK may terminate the APADAZ License Agreement without making any payments to us. Further, even if the Initial Adoption Milestone under the APADAZ License Agreement is achieved, we cannot guarantee that we will receive any additional milestone or royalty payments under the APADAZ License Agreement. Further, under the APADAZ License Agreement, we have limited control over the amount and timing of resources that KVK will dedicate to the commercialization of APADAZ, and we may not always agree with KVK’s commercialization efforts. Our ability to generate revenue under the APADAZ License Agreement will depend on KVK’s ability to successfully perform the functions assigned to it under the APADAZ License Agreement. The commercialization strategy under the APADAZ License Agreement is novel and untested, and, even if successful we expect that the pricing for any sales of APADAZ will be at or near the prices of currently available generic equivalent drugs. As a result, even if KVK does successfully perform its functions under the APADAZ License Agreement, we cannot guarantee that there will be sufficient market demand for APADAZ for us to receive any revenue under the APADAZ License Agreement.

 

In addition, we entered into the KP415 License Agreement with Commave pursuant to which we granted an exclusive, worldwide license to Commave to develop, manufacture and commercialize KP415 and KP484. We cannot guarantee that the K415 License Agreement with Commave will be successful or that we will receive any future payments under the KP415 License Agreement. For instance, Commave has the option to terminate the KP415 License Agreement, in its entirety or on a product-by-product and country-by-country basis, at their convenience either (i) prior to the first regulatory approval of a product upon sixty days prior written notice or (ii) subsequent to the first regulatory approval of a product upon one hundred twenty days prior written notice. Further, even if Commave does not terminate the KP415 License Agreement, we cannot guarantee that we will receive any additional milestone or royalty payments under the KP415 License Agreement. In addition, under the KP415 License Agreement, we have limited control over the amount and timing of resources that Commave will dedicate to the development, manufacturing or commercialization of KP415 and KP484, and we may not always agree with Commave’s efforts. Our ability to generate revenue under the KP415 License Agreement will depend, in part, on Commave’s ability to successfully perform the functions assigned to it under the KP415 License Agreement.

 

We may also seek additional third-party collaborators for the commercialization of APADAZ outside of the United States or for the development or commercialization of our other product candidates, which are not subject to the KP415 License Agreement, or those that are subject to the KP415 License Agreement but the option is not exercised by Commave. In such cases, our likely collaborators would include large and mid-size pharmaceutical companies, regional, national and international pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies. If we do enter into any such collaboration arrangements with any third parties, we will likely have limited control over the amount and timing of resources that our collaborators dedicate to the development or commercialization of APADAZ outside of the United States or our other product candidates. Our ability to generate revenue from these arrangements will depend on our collaborators’ abilities to successfully perform the functions assigned to them in these arrangements.

 

47

 

 

Our collaborations with KVK and Commave, or combined the Collaborators, pose the following risks to us:

 

 

The Collaborators have significant discretion in determining the efforts and resources that they will apply to these collaborations;

 

 

The Collaborators may not perform their obligations as expected;

 

 

The Collaborators may not pursue commercialization of APADAZ the products covered under the KP415 License Agreement, if approved, or may elect not to continue or renew commercialization programs based on post-approval clinical trial results, changes in the Collaborator's strategic focus or available funding, or external factors, such as an acquisition, that divert resources or create competing priorities;

 

 

The Collaborators could independently develop, or develop with third parties, products that compete directly or indirectly with APADAZ or the products covered under the KP415 License Agreement, as applicable, if the Collaborators believe that competitive products are more likely to be successfully developed or can be commercialized under terms that are more economically attractive than ours;

 

 

APADAZ and the products covered under the KP415 License Agreement may be viewed by the Collaborators as competitive with their own product candidates or products, which may cause the Collaborators to cease to devote resources to the commercialization of APADAZ or the products covered under the KP415 License Agreement, if approved;

 

 

The Collaborators may not commit sufficient resources to the development, marketing and distribution of APADAZ and the products covered under the KP415 License Agreement, as applicable;

 

 

disagreements with the Collaborators, including disagreements over proprietary rights, contract interpretation or the preferred course of development or commercialization, might cause delays or termination of the development or commercialization of APADAZ or the products covered under the KP415 License Agreement, as applicable, might lead to additional responsibilities for us with respect to APADAZ or the products covered under the KP415 License Agreement, or might result in litigation or arbitration, any of which would be time-consuming and expensive;

 

 

The Collaborators may not properly maintain or defend our or their intellectual property rights or may use our or their proprietary information in such a way as to invite litigation that could jeopardize or invalidate such intellectual property or proprietary information or expose us to potential litigation;

 

 

The Collaborators may infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties, which may expose us to litigation and potential liability; and

 

 

the license agreements may be terminated by the Collaborators under specified circumstances and, if terminated, we could be required to raise additional capital to pursue further development or commercialization of APADAZ or the products covered under the KP415 License Agreement.

 

If we enter into any future collaborations we will face similar risks with any future collaborators as well.

 

The APADAZ License Agreement, KP415 License Agreement and any other licensing or collaboration agreements we may enter into may not lead to commercialization of APADAZ or development or commercialization of KP415, KP484 or of our other product candidates in the most efficient manner or at all. If KVK, Commave or a future collaborator of ours were to be involved in a business combination, the continued pursuit and emphasis on our drug development or commercialization program could be delayed, diminished or terminated.

 

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If we are not able to establish collaborations for our product candidates, we may have to alter our development and commercialization plans.

 

Our prodrug development programs and the potential commercialization of our product candidates, if approved, will require substantial additional capital. For our product candidates, which are not subject to the terms of the APADAZ License Agreement or KP415 License Agreement, we may need to collaborate with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for the development and potential commercialization of those product candidates.

 

We face significant competition in seeking appropriate collaborators. Whether we reach a definitive agreement for a collaboration will depend, among other things, upon our assessment of the collaborator’s resources and expertise, the terms and conditions of the proposed collaboration and the proposed collaborator’s evaluation of a number of factors. Those factors may include the design or results of clinical trials, the likelihood of approval by the FDA or similar regulatory authorities outside the United States, 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, the existence of uncertainty with respect to our ownership of technology, which can exist if there is a challenge to such ownership without regard to the merits of the challenge, and industry and market conditions generally.

 

The collaborator may also consider alternative product candidates or technologies for similar indications that may be available to collaborate on and whether such a collaboration could be more attractive than the one with us for our product candidate.

 

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 collaborators.

 

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 product candidates, reduce or delay one or more of our development programs, delay potential commercialization of our product candidates or reduce the scope of any sales or marketing activities of our product candidates, or increase our expenditures and undertake development or commercialization activities at our own expense of our product candidate. 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 our product candidates to market and generate product revenue.

 

Provisions in our agreements with Aquestive Therapeutics and Commave may inhibit our ability to enter into future collaborations with third parties.

 

We are party to a termination agreement with Aquestive that may limit the value of any sale, license or commercialization of KP415, KP484 or KP879. Under this termination agreement, Aquestive has the right to receive a royalty amount equal to 10% of any value generated by KP415, KP484 or KP879, and any product candidates which contain SDX, including royalty payments on any license of KP415, KP484 or KP879, the sale of KP415, KP484 or KP879 to a third party or the commercialization of KP415, KP484 or KP879. As part of the KP415 License Agreement, we paid Aquestive a royalty equal to 10%  of the license upfront payment we received in the third quarter of 2019.

 

We also granted to Commave a right of first refusal to acquire, license or commercialize any Additional Product Candidate, with such right of first refusal expiring upon the acceptance of a new drug application for such Additional Product Candidate. We also granted Commave a right of first negotiation and a right of first refusal, subject to specified exceptions, for any assignment of our rights under the KP415 License Agreement. We cannot predict if these obligations will limit the value we may receive from any future sale or license of any Additional Product Candidate.

 

Provisions in the Deerfield Facility Agreement may inhibit our ability to enter into specified transactions, including any joint venture, partnership or any other profit-sharing arrangement.

 

Pursuant to the Deerfield Facility Agreement, we may not enter into specified transactions, including any joint venture, partnership or any other profit-sharing arrangement, without the prior approval of the holders of a majority of our senior secured convertible promissory notes. The interests of our noteholders may not always coincide with our corporate interests or the interests of our other stockholders, and our noteholders may act in a manner with which you may not agree or that may not be in the best interests of our other stockholders. If our noteholders do not approve our entry into specified transactions, it could significantly delay or inhibit the commercialization of our product candidates. For instance, our noteholders consented to our entry into the APADAZ License Agreement and KP415 License Agreement, but we cannot guarantee that sufficient noteholders will consent to any future collaboration agreement for commercialization of APADAZ outside of the United States or for the development or commercialization of any of our other product candidates.

 

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Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property

 

If we are unable to obtain and maintain trade secret protection or patent protection for our technology, APADAZ, KP415, KP484 and our other product candidates, or if the scope of the patent protection obtained is not sufficiently broad, our competitors could develop and commercialize technology and drugs similar or identical to ours, and our ability to successfully commercialize our technology, APADAZ, KP415, KP484 and our other product candidates, if approved, may be impaired.

 

Our success depends in large part on our ability to obtain and maintain trade secret protection of our proprietary LAT technology as well as patent protection in the United States and other countries with respect to APADAZ, KP415, KP484 and our other product candidates. We seek to protect our proprietary position by filing patent applications in the United States and abroad related to our product technology and product candidates. As part of the APADAZ License Agreement, KVK obtained from us an exclusive license to certain patents that cover APADAZ. In addition, as part of the KP415 License Agreement, Commave obtained from us an exclusive, worldwide license to certain patents that cover KP415 and KP484.

 

The patent prosecution process is expensive and time-consuming, and we may not be able to file and prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of our research and development output before it is too late to obtain patent protection. We may not have the right to control the preparation, filing and prosecution of patent applications, or to maintain the rights to patents, licensed to third parties by us.

 

Further, we may also not have the right to control the preparation, filing and prosecution of patent applications, or to maintain the rights to patents, licensed from third parties to us. Therefore, any such patents and applications may not be prosecuted and enforced in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business. If such licensors or licensees fail to maintain such patents, or lose rights to those patents, the rights we have in- or out-licensed may be reduced or eliminated.

 

The patent position of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies generally is highly uncertain, involves complex legal and factual questions and has in recent years been the subject of much litigation. In addition, the laws of foreign countries may not protect our rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States or visa-versa. For example, European patent law restricts the patentability of methods of treatment of the human body more than United States law. Publications of discoveries in the scientific literature often lag behind the actual discoveries, and utility, or equivalent, patent applications in the United States and other jurisdictions are typically not published until 18 months after the filing date of such patent applications, or in some cases not at all. Therefore, we cannot know with certainty whether we were the first to make the inventions claimed in our owned or licensed patents or pending patent applications, or that we were the first to file for patent protection of such inventions. As a result, the issuance, scope, validity, enforceability and commercial value of our patent rights are highly uncertain. Our pending and future patent applications may not result in patents being issued that protect our product candidates, in whole or in part, or which effectively prevent others from commercializing competitive technologies and drugs. Changes in either the patent laws or interpretation of the patent laws in the United States and other countries may diminish the value of our patents or narrow the scope of our patent protection.

 

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Our patent position is subject to numerous additional risks, including the following:

 

 

we may fail to seek patent protection for inventions that are important to our success;

 

 

our pending patent applications may not result in issued patents;

 

 

we cannot be certain that we are the first to invent the inventions covered by pending patent applications or that we are the first to file such applications and, if we are not, we may be subject to priority disputes or lose rights;

 

 

we may be required to disclaim part or all of the term of certain patents or all of the term of certain patent applications;

 

 

we may file patent applications but have claims restricted or we may not be able to supply sufficient data to support our claims and, as a result, may not obtain the original claims desired or we may receive restricted claims; alternatively, it is possible that we may not receive any patent protection from an application;

 

 

even if our owned and licensed patent applications issue as patents, they may not issue in a form that will provide us with any meaningful protection, and may not be of sufficient scope or strength to provide us with any commercial advantage;

 

 

our competitors may be able to design around our owned or licensed patents by developing similar or alternative technologies or drugs without infringing on our intellectual property rights;

 

 

we could inadvertently abandon a patent or patent application, resulting in the loss of protection of intellectual property rights in a particular country, and we, our collaborators or our patent counsel may take action resulting in a patent or patent application becoming abandoned which may not be able to be reinstated or if reinstated, may suffer patent term adjustments;

 

 

the claims of our issued patents or patent applications when issued may not cover our product candidates;

 

 

no assurance can be given that our patents would be declared by a court to be valid or enforceable or that a competitor’s technology or product would be found by a court to infringe our patents and our patents or patent applications may be challenged by third parties in patent litigation or in proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or the USPTO, or its foreign counterparts, and may ultimately be declared invalid or unenforceable or narrowed in scope; 

 

 

there may be prior art of which we are not aware that may affect the validity or enforceability of a patent claim and there may be prior art of which we are aware, but which we do not believe affects the validity or enforceability of a claim, which may, nonetheless, ultimately be found to affect the validity or enforceability of a claim;

 

 

third parties may develop products that have the same or similar effect as our products without infringing our patents;

 

 

third parties may intentionally circumvent our patents by means of alternate designs or processes or file applications or be granted patents that would block or hurt our efforts;

 

 

there may be dominating patents relevant to our product candidates of which we are not aware;

 

 

obtaining regulatory approval for pharmaceutical products is a lengthy and complex process, and as a result, any patents covering our product candidates may expire before or shortly after such product candidates are approved and commercialized;

 

 

the patent and patent enforcement laws of some foreign jurisdictions do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as laws in the United States, and many companies have encountered significant difficulties in protecting and defending such rights in foreign jurisdictions; and

 

 

we may not develop additional proprietary technologies that are patentable.

 

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Any of these factors could hurt our ability to gain full patent protection for our products. Registered trademarks and trademark applications in the United States and other countries are subject to similar risks as described above for patents and patent applications, in addition to the risks described below.

 

Further, a third party may misappropriate or reverse engineer our proprietary LAT technology, which could limit our ability to stop others from using or commercializing similar or identical technology and resultant product candidates, product technology or prodrugs, or limit the duration of the trade secret protection of our proprietary LAT technology.

 

Moreover, we may be subject to a third-party pre-issuance submission of prior art to the USPTO, or become involved in opposition, nullity, derivation, reexamination, inter partes review, post-grant review or interference proceedings challenging our patent rights or the patent rights of others. An adverse determination in any such submission, proceeding or litigation could reduce the scope of, or invalidate, our patent rights, allow third parties to commercialize our technology or drugs and compete directly with us, without payment to us or result in our inability to manufacture or commercialize drugs without infringing third-party patent rights. In addition, if the breadth or strength of protection provided by our patents and patent applications is threatened, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to seek patent protection or to license, develop or commercialize current or future product candidates.

 

In addition, the issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its inventorship, ownership, scope, validity or enforceability, and our owned and licensed patents may be challenged in the courts, patent offices and tribunals in the United States and abroad. Such challenges may result in loss of exclusivity or in patent claims being narrowed, invalidated or held unenforceable, in whole or in part, which could limit our ability to stop others from using or commercializing similar or identical technology and drugs, or limit the duration of the patent protection of our product technology, product candidates and prodrugs.

 

Patent reform legislation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our issued patents.

 

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 U.S. patent law. These include provisions that affect the way patent applications are prosecuted in the United States, redefine prior art and may also affect patent litigation. The USPTO recently developed new regulations and procedures to govern administration 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, only became effective on March 16, 2013.

 

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 issued patents. For instance, the Leahy-Smith Act established the inter partes review and post grant review procedures that has lowered the burden of proof for invalidity challenges to issued patents and limited the ability to amend patent claims in response to such challenges. In addition, patent reform legislation may pass in the future that could lead to additional uncertainties and increased costs surrounding the prosecution, enforcement and defense of our owned and licensed patents and/or patent applications.

 

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We may become involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our patents or other intellectual property, which could be expensive, time consuming and unsuccessful.

 

Competitors may infringe our issued patents or other intellectual property. To counter infringement or unauthorized use, we may be required to file infringement claims, which can be expensive and time consuming. Any claims we assert against perceived infringers could provoke those parties to assert counterclaims against us alleging that we infringe their intellectual property rights. In addition, in a patent infringement proceeding, a court may decide that a patent of ours is invalid or unenforceable, in whole or in part, construe the patent’s claims narrowly or refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patents do not cover the technology or its prior use by a third party. An adverse result in any litigation proceeding could put one or more of our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly, which would undermine our competitive position.

 

Third parties may initiate legal proceedings alleging that we are infringing their intellectual property rights, the outcome of which would be uncertain and could significantly harm our business.

 

Our commercial success depends upon our ability, and the ability of any collaborators, to develop, manufacture, market and sell our product candidates and use our proprietary technologies without infringing the proprietary rights of third parties. There is considerable intellectual property litigation in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. In particular, we are focused on developing product candidates based on widely used therapeutic agents or drugs, many of which may be protected by proprietary rights of third parties.

 

Although we seek to develop proprietary prodrug formulations that do not infringe the intellectual property rights of others, we may become party to, or threatened with, future adversarial proceedings or litigation regarding intellectual property rights with respect to our prodrugs or other aspects of our technology, including, for example, interference or derivation proceedings before the USPTO. Third parties may assert infringement claims against us based on existing patents or patents that may be granted in the future.

 

If we are found to infringe a third party’s intellectual property rights, we could be required to obtain a license from such third party to continue developing and marketing our technology and drugs. However, we may not be able to obtain any required license on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Even if we were able to obtain a license, it could be non-exclusive, thereby giving our competitors access to the same technologies licensed to us. We could be forced, including by court order, to cease commercializing the infringing technology or product. In addition, we could be found liable for monetary damages, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees if we are found to have willfully infringed a patent. A finding of infringement could prevent us from commercializing our product candidates or force us to cease some or all of our business operations.

 

Competing products may also be sold in other countries in which our patent coverage might not exist or be as strong. If we lose a foreign patent lawsuit alleging our infringement of a competitor’s patent, we could be prevented from marketing our products in one or more foreign countries. As a result, our ability to grow our business and compete in the market may be harmed.

 

Intellectual property litigation could cause us to spend substantial resources and distract our personnel from their normal responsibilities.

 

Even if resolved in our favor, litigation or other legal proceedings relating to intellectual property claims may cause us to incur significant expenses and could distract our technical and management personnel from their normal responsibilities.

 

In addition, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments. If securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could hurt the price of our common stock. Such litigation or proceedings could substantially increase our operating losses and reduce the resources available for development activities or any future sales, marketing or distribution activities. We may not have sufficient financial or other resources to conduct such litigation or proceedings adequately. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of such litigation or proceedings more effectively than we can because of their greater financial resources. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of patent litigation or other proceedings could compromise our ability to compete in the marketplace.

 

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We may need to license intellectual property from third parties, and such licenses may not be available or may not be available on commercially reasonable terms.

 

A third party may hold intellectual property rights, including patent rights, which are important or necessary to the development of our product candidates. It may be necessary for us to use the patented or proprietary technology of third parties to commercialize our product candidates, in which case we would be required to obtain a license from these third parties. Such a license may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, and we could be forced to accept unfavorable contractual terms. If we are unable to obtain such licenses on commercially reasonable terms, our business could be harmed.

 

If we or our third-party licensors fail to comply with our obligations in our intellectual property licenses and funding arrangements with third parties, we could lose rights that are important to our business.

 

We are currently party to license agreements for technologies that we anticipate using in our product development activities. In the future, we may become party to licenses that are important for product development and commercialization. If we or our third-party licensors fail to comply with the obligations under current or future license and funding agreements, our counterparties may have the right to terminate these agreements, we may be forced to terminate these agreement or we may no longer effectively rely on any licenses to us under these agreements, in which event we might not be able to develop, manufacture or market any product or utilize any technology that is covered by these agreements or may face other penalties under the agreements. Such an occurrence could materially and adversely affect the value of a product candidate being developed under any such agreement or could restrict our drug discovery activities. Termination of these agreements or reduction or elimination of our rights under these agreements may result in our having to negotiate new or reinstated agreements with less favorable terms or cause us to lose our rights under these agreements, including our rights to important intellectual property or technology.

 

We may be required to reduce the scope of our intellectual property due to third-party intellectual property claims.

 

Our competitors may have filed, and may in the future file, patent applications covering technology similar to ours. Any such patent application may have priority over our patent applications, 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 ours that claims priority to an application filed prior to March 16, 2013, we may have to participate in an interference proceeding declared by the USPTO to determine priority of invention in the United States. The costs of these proceedings could be substantial, and it is possible that such efforts would be unsuccessful if, unbeknownst to us, the other party had independently arrived at the same or similar invention prior to our own invention, resulting in a loss of our U.S. patent position with respect to such inventions. In addition, changes enacted on March 16, 2013, to the U.S. patent laws under the Leahy-Smith Act resulted in the United States changing from a “first to invent” country to a “first to file” country. As a result, we may lose the ability to obtain a patent if another party files with the USPTO first and could become involved in proceedings before the USPTO to resolve disputes related to inventorship. We may also become involved in similar proceedings in other jurisdictions.

 

Furthermore, recent changes in U.S. patent law under the Leahy-Smith Act allows for post-issuance challenges to U.S. patents, including ex parte re-examinations, inter partes reviews and post-grant reviews. There is significant uncertainty as to how the new laws will be applied. If our U.S. patents are challenged using such procedures, we may not prevail, possibly resulting in altered or diminished claim scope or loss of patent rights altogether. Similarly, some countries, notably Europe, also have post-grant opposition proceedings that can result in changes in scope or cancellation of patent claims.

 

We may be subject to claims by third parties asserting that we or our employees have misappropriated their intellectual property or claiming ownership of what we regard as our own intellectual property.

 

Many of our employees were previously employed at other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies. Although we try to ensure that our employees do not use the proprietary information, show-how or know-how of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that these employees or we have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed intellectual property, including trade secrets or other proprietary information, of any such employee’s former employer. For example, in March 2012, we settled litigation regarding similar matters with Shire. We may also in the future be subject to claims that we have caused an employee to breach the terms of his or her non-competition or non-solicitation agreement. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these potential claims.

 

In addition, while it is our policy to require our employees and contractors who may be involved in the development of intellectual property to execute agreements assigning such intellectual property to us, we may be unsuccessful in executing such an agreement with each party who in fact develops intellectual property that we regard as our own. Our and their assignment agreements may not be self-executing or may be breached, and we may be forced to bring claims against third parties, or defend claims they may bring against us, to determine the ownership of what we regard as our intellectual property.

 

If we fail in prosecuting or defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel. A court could prohibit us from using technologies or features that are essential to our products, if such technologies or features are found to incorporate or be derived from the trade secrets or other proprietary information of the former employers. Even if we are successful in prosecuting or defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and could be a distraction to management. In addition, any litigation or threat thereof may adversely affect our ability to hire employees or contract with independent service providers. Moreover, a loss of key personnel or their work product could hamper or prevent our ability to commercialize our products.

 

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Any trademarks we may obtain may be infringed or successfully challenged, resulting in harm to our business.

 

We expect to rely on trademarks as one means to distinguish APADAZ and any of our product candidates that are approved for marketing from the products of our competitors. We have registered trademarks for APADAZ and KemPharm. In addition, we have solicited and applied for trademarks for the KemPharm Logo, LAT and several potential tradenames and logos for KP415. For our other product candidates, we have not yet solicited trademarks and have not yet begun the process of applying to register trademarks. Once we select trademarks and apply to register them, our trademark applications may not be approved. Third parties may oppose or attempt to cancel our trademark applications or trademarks, or otherwise challenge our use of the trademarks. If our trademarks are successfully challenged, we could be forced to rebrand our products, which could result in loss of brand recognition and could require us to devote resources to advertising and marketing new brands. Our competitors may infringe our trademarks and we may not have adequate resources to enforce our trademarks.

 

If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our trade secrets, our business and competitive position would be harmed.

 

In addition to seeking patent and trademark protection for APADAZ and our product candidates, we also rely on trade secrets, including unpatented show-how, know-how, technology and other proprietary information, to maintain our competitive position. We seek to protect our trade secrets, in part, by entering into non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with parties who have access to them, such as our employees, corporate collaborators, outside scientific collaborators, contract manufacturers, consultants, advisors and other third parties. We also enter into confidentiality and invention or patent assignment agreements with our employees and consultants. Despite these efforts, any of these parties may breach the agreements and disclose our proprietary information, including our trade secrets.

 

Monitoring unauthorized uses and disclosures of our intellectual property, including our trade secrets, is difficult, and we do not know whether the steps we have taken to protect our intellectual property will be effective. In addition, we may not be able to obtain adequate remedies for any such breaches. Enforcing a claim that a party illegally disclosed or misappropriated a trade secret is difficult, expensive and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. In addition, some courts inside and outside the United States are less willing or unwilling to protect trade secrets.

 

Moreover, our competitors may independently develop or reverse engineer knowledge, methods, show-how and know-how equivalent to our trade secrets. Competitors could purchase our products and replicate some or all of the competitive advantages we derive from our development efforts for technologies on which we do not have patent protection. If any of our trade secrets were to be lawfully obtained or independently developed by a competitor, we would have no right to prevent them, or those to whom they communicate such trade secrets, from using that technology or information to compete with us. If any of our trade secrets were to be disclosed to or independently developed by a competitor, our competitive position would be harmed.

 

Outside of the U.S. we cannot be certain that any country’s patent or trademark office will not implement new rules that could seriously affect how we draft, file, prosecute and maintain patents, trademarks and patent and trademark applications.

 

We cannot be certain that the patent or trademark offices of countries outside the United States will not implement new rules that increase costs for drafting, filing, prosecuting and maintaining patents, trademarks and patent and trademark applications or that any such new rules will not restrict our ability to file for patent protection. For example, we may elect not to seek patent protection in some jurisdictions or for some inventions to save costs. We may be forced to abandon or return the rights to specific patents due to a lack of financial resources.

 

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Risks Related to the Commercialization of Our Partnered Product and Product Candidates

 

If we are unable to establish sales, marketing and distribution capabilities for our product candidates, if approved, we may not be successful in commercializing any approved product candidate in the United States.

 

We have only a limited sales and marketing infrastructure and have no experience in the sale, marketing or distribution of pharmaceutical products. To achieve commercial success for any product candidate for which we may obtain marketing approval in the United States, we will need to enter into collaborations with one or more parties or establish our own sales and marketing organization. While we entered into the APADAZ License Agreement to establish a collaboration for the commercialization of APADAZ and we entered into the KP415 License Agreement to establish a collaboration for the commercialization of any product candidates subject to such agreement, we may not choose to enter into a collaboration for any future approved product. Should we decide to establish our own sales, marketing and distribution capabilities, we would encounter a number of risks. For example, recruiting and training a sales force is expensive and time consuming and could delay any product launch. If the commercial launch of a product candidate for which we recruit a sales force and establish marketing capabilities is delayed or does not occur for any reason, we would have prematurely or unnecessarily incurred these commercialization expenses. This may be costly, and our investment would be lost if we cannot retain or reposition our sales and marketing personnel.

 

Factors that may inhibit our efforts to commercialize our product candidates on our own include:

 

 

our inability to recruit, train and retain adequate numbers of effective sales and marketing personnel;

 

 

our inability to access government and commercial health plan formularies or secure preferred coverage and adequate reimbursement levels;

 

 

the inability of sales personnel to obtain access to physicians or achieve adequate numbers of physicians to prescribe any future prodrug products;

 

 

the lack of complementary drugs to be offered by sales personnel, which may put us at a competitive disadvantage relative to companies with more extensive product lines;

 

 

liability for personnel, including sales personnel, failing to comply with applicable legal requirements; and

 

 

costs associated with maintaining compliance with the FDA’s marketing and promotional requirements, including ongoing training and monitoring, as well as unforeseen costs and expenses associated with creating an independent sales and marketing organization.

 

If we decide not to or are unable to establish our own sales, marketing and distribution capabilities and, instead, enter into arrangements with third parties to perform these services, our product revenue and our profitability, if any, are likely to be lower than if we were to sell, market and distribute any product candidates that we develop ourselves. For instance, under the APADAZ License Agreement, we and KVK will share the quarterly net profits of APADAZ by KVK in the United States at specified tiered percentages, with the portion we receive ranging from 30% to 50% of net profits. As a result, we will be entitled to a smaller portion of the net profits of any sales of APADAZ in the United States than if we had decided to sell, market and distribute APADAZ ourselves. In addition, we may not be successful in entering into arrangements with third parties to sell, market and distribute our product candidates in the future, or may be unable to do so on terms that are favorable to us, including as a result of restrictions in the Deerfield Facility Agreement. We likely will have little control over such third parties, including KVK and Commave, and any of them may fail to devote the necessary resources and attention to sell and market APADAZ, KP415, KP484 or our other product candidates, if approved, effectively. Further, we may be liable for conduct of third parties, including KVK and Commave, acting on our behalf, including failure to comply with legal requirements applicable to sales and marketing of our product or product candidates, if approved. If we do not establish sales, marketing and distribution capabilities successfully, either on our own or in collaboration with third parties, we will not be successful in commercializing APADAZ, KP415, KP484 or our other product candidates, if approved.

 

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APADAZ, or any of our product candidates that may receive marketing approval, may fail to achieve the degree of market acceptance by physicians, patients, third-party payors and others in the medical community necessary for commercial success.

 

APADAZ, or any of our product candidates that may receive marketing approval, may fail to gain sufficient market acceptance by physicians, patients, third-party payors and others in the medical community. Despite the fact that APADAZ is now nationally available, we cannot guarantee that it will receive significant, if any, market acceptance in the United States. If APADAZ, or any other product candidates, if approved for commercial sale, do not achieve an adequate level of market acceptance, they may not generate significant product revenue and we may not become profitable. For instance, under the APADAZ License Agreement, we are entitled to milestone and royalty payments only if APADAZ sales in the United States are above specified levels. If APADAZ does not achieve an adequate level of market acceptance, it is unlikely that sales will satisfy these thresholds and we may not be entitled to any payments under the APADAZ License Agreement. Additionally, the commercialization strategy under the APADAZ License Agreement is novel and untested, and, even if successful we expect that the pricing for any sales of APADAZ will be at or near the prices of currently available generic equivalent drugs. Accordingly, we expect that APADAZ will need to achieve broad market acceptance in order for this strategy to be successful. The degree of market acceptance of APADAZ, or our product candidates if approved for commercial sale, will depend on a number of factors, including:

 

 

the efficacy and potential advantages compared to alternative treatments, including less expensive generic treatments;

 

 

the ability to obtain differentiating claims in the labels for most of our product candidates;

 

 

our ability to offer our prodrug products for sale at competitive prices;

 

 

the clinical indications for which our product candidates are approved;

 

 

the convenience and ease of administration compared to alternative treatments;

 

 

the willingness of the target patient population to try new therapies and of physicians to prescribe these therapies;

 

 

the cost of treatment in relation to alternative treatments;

 

 

the steps that prescribers and dispensers must take, since APADAZ and most of our product candidates are controlled substances, as well as the perceived risks based upon their controlled substance status;

 

 

the ability to manufacture our product in sufficient quantities and yields;

 

 

the strength of marketing and distribution support;

 

 

the availability of third-party coverage and adequate reimbursement or willingness of patients to pay out of pocket in the absence of third-party coverage;

 

 

the prevalence and severity of any side effects;

 

 

any potential unfavorable publicity;

 

 

any restrictions on the use, sale or distribution of APADAZ or our product candidates, including through REMS; and

 

 

any restrictions on the use of our prodrug products together with other medications.

 

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We face substantial competition, which may result in others discovering, developing or commercializing products before or more successfully than we do.

 

Our industry is characterized by rapidly advancing technologies, intense competition and a strong emphasis on proprietary products. We will face competition and potential competition from a number of sources, including pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, specialty pharmaceutical companies, generic drug companies, drug delivery companies and academic and research institutions. Our competitors may develop or market drugs that are more effective, more convenient, more widely used and less costly or have a better safety profile than our products or product candidates and these competitors may also have significantly more resources than us and be more successful than us in manufacturing and marketing their products.

 

If approved, KP415 and KP484 will compete against currently marketed, branded and generic methylphenidate products for the treatment of ADHD. Some of these currently marketed products include Janssen's Concerta, Tris Pharma's QUILLIVANT XR and QUILLICHEW ER, Novartis' RITALIN, FOCALIN and Focalin XR, UCB's METADATE CD, Noven's Daytrana, nEOS tHERAPEUTICS' CONTEMPLA XR-ODT, Ironshore Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s JORNAY PM and Adlon Therapeutics' Adhansia XR, in addition to multiple other branded and generic methylphenidate products. In addition, if approved, KP415 and KP484 will face potential competition from any other methylphenidate products for the treatment of ADHD that are currently in or which may enter into clinical development.

 

Currently, there are no approved drugs in the United States for the treatment of SUD. If approved, KP879 will face potential competition from any products for the treatment of SUD that are currently in or which may enter into clinical development.

 

APADAZ competes against currently marketed, branded and generic IR hydrocodone/APAP combination products indicated for the short-term management of acute pain. In addition, APADAZ will face potential competition from any IR or hydrocodone/APAP combination products for the short-term management of acute pain that are currently in or may enter into clinical development.

 

Many of our potential competitors have substantially greater financial, technical and human resources than we do, as well as more experience in the development of product candidates, obtaining FDA and other regulatory approvals of products and the commercialization of those products. Consequently, our competitors may develop products for indications we are pursuing or may pursue in the future, and such competitors’ products may be more effective, better tolerated and less costly than our product candidates. Our competitors may also be more successful in manufacturing and marketing their products than we are. We will also face competition in recruiting and retaining qualified personnel and establishing clinical trial sites and patient enrollment in clinical trials.

 

Our competitors also may obtain FDA or other regulatory approval for their product candidates more rapidly than we may obtain approval for ours, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market. If the competitor’s product were similar to our product candidates, we may be required to seek approval via alternative pathways, such as the ANDA, which is used for the development of generic drug products. We may also be blocked from product marketing by periods of patent protection or regulatory exclusivity.

 

In addition, our ability to compete may be affected in many cases by insurers or other third-party payors seeking to encourage the use of generic drugs or giving drugs with improved attributes sufficient weight in a comparative clinical cost effectiveness analysis. For some of the indications that we are pursuing, drugs used off-label serve as cheaper alternatives to our product candidates. Their lower prices could result in significant pricing pressure, even if our product candidates are otherwise viewed as a preferable therapy. Additional drugs may become available on a generic basis over the coming years.

 

Mergers and acquisitions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries may result in even more resources being concentrated among a smaller number of our competitors. Smaller and other early stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies.

 

Consequently, our competitors may develop products for the treatment of ADHD, pain or for other indications we may pursue in the future, and such competitors’ products may be more effective, better tolerated and less costly than our product candidates. Our competitors may also be more successful in manufacturing and marketing their products than we are. We will also face competition in recruiting and retaining qualified personnel and establishing clinical trial sites and subject enrollment in clinical trials.

 

We may not be able to obtain either five-year FDA regulatory exclusivity as a new chemical entity or three-year FDA regulatory exclusivity.

 

The FDA provides periods of regulatory exclusivity following their approval of an NDA, which provide the holder of an approved NDA limited protection from new competition in the marketplace for the innovation represented by its approved drug. Five-year exclusivity precludes approval of 505(b)(2) applications or ANDAs by delaying the submission or approval of the application, while three-year exclusivity precludes the approval of the application. We intend to seek new chemical entity, or NCE, status for any of our prodrug product candidates as appropriate. Five years of exclusivity are available to NCEs following the approval of an NDA by the FDA. An NCE is a drug that contains no active moiety that has been approved by the FDA in any other NDA. If a product is not eligible for the NCE exclusivity, it may be eligible for three years of exclusivity. Three-year exclusivity is available to the holder of an NDA, including a 505(b)(2) NDA, for a particular condition of approval, or change to a marketed product, such as a new formulation for a previously approved product, if one or more new clinical trials, other than bioavailability or bioequivalence trials, were essential to the approval of the application and were conducted or sponsored by the applicant.

 

There is a risk that the FDA may disagree with any claim that we may make that any of our prodrug product candidates are NCEs and therefore entitled to five-year exclusivity. The FDA may also take the view that the studies that we are conducting are not clinical trials, other than bioavailability and bioequivalence studies, that are essential to approval and therefore do not support three-year exclusivity. Further, to the extent that the basis for exclusivity is not clear, the FDA may determine to defer a decision until it receives an application which necessitates a decision.

 

If we do obtain either five or three years of exclusivity, such exclusivity will not block all potential competitors from the market. Competitors may be able to obtain approval for similar products with different forms of competitive differentiating mechanisms or may be able to obtain approval for similar products without a competitive differentiating mechanism.

 

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Even if we or our collaborators are able to commercialize APADAZ, or any of our product candidates, they may be subject to unfavorable pricing regulations, third-party coverage and reimbursement policies.

 

The successful commercialization of APADAZ and any of our product candidates will depend, in part, on the extent to which coverage and adequate reimbursement for APADAZ, or our product candidates, will be available from government payor programs at the federal and state levels, including Medicare and Medicaid, private health insurers and managed care plans and other third-party payors. Government authorities and other third-party payors decide which medical products they will pay for and establish reimbursement levels, including co-payments. A trend in the U.S. healthcare industry and elsewhere is cost containment. Government authorities and other third-party payors have attempted to control costs by limiting coverage and the amount of reimbursement for particular medical products. Increasingly, third-party payors are requiring that drug companies provide them with predetermined discounts from list prices and are challenging the prices charged for drugs and products. Coverage and reimbursement may not be available for any product that we commercialize and, even if these are available, the level of reimbursement may not be satisfactory. Inadequate reimbursement levels may adversely affect the demand for, or the price of, APADAZ, or any product candidate for which we obtain marketing approval. Obtaining and maintaining adequate reimbursement for our prodrug products may be difficult. We may be required to conduct expensive pharmacoeconomic studies to justify coverage and reimbursement or the level of reimbursement relative to other therapies. Moreover, the trend has been for government and commercial health plans and their pharmacy benefit managers to commoditize drug products through therapeutic equivalence determinations, making formulary decisions based on cost. If coverage and adequate reimbursement are not available or reimbursement is available only at limited levels, we may not be able to successfully commercialize APADAZ under the APADAZ License Agreement, or commercialize any product candidates for which marketing approval is obtained.

 

There may be significant delays in obtaining coverage and reimbursement for newly approved prodrug products, and coverage may be more limited than the indications for which the product is approved by the FDA or similar regulatory authorities outside the United States. Moreover, eligibility for coverage and reimbursement does not imply that a product will be paid for in all cases or at a rate that covers our costs, including research, development, manufacture, sale and distribution expenses. Interim reimbursement levels for new prodrug products, if applicable, may also not be sufficient to cover our costs and may not be made permanent. Reimbursement rates may vary according to the use of the product and the clinical setting in which it is used, may be based on reimbursement levels already set for lower cost drugs and may be incorporated into existing payments for other services. Net prices for prodrug products may be reduced by mandatory discounts or rebates required by government healthcare programs or private payors and by any future relaxation of laws that presently restrict imports of drugs from countries where they may be sold at lower prices than in the United States. Private third-party payors often rely upon Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement policies. Except for certain government health care programs, such as the Department of Defense’s TRICARE Uniform Formulary, no uniform policy requirement for coverage and reimbursement for drug products exists among third-party payors in the United States. Even state Medicaid programs have their own preferred drug lists that may disadvantage non-preferred brand drugs. Therefore, coverage and reimbursement 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 products to each payor separately, with no assurance that coverage and adequate reimbursement will be applied consistently or obtained at all. Our inability to promptly obtain coverage and adequate reimbursement rates from both government-funded and private payors for any approved prodrug products that we develop could significantly harm our operating results, our ability to raise capital needed to commercialize prodrugs and our overall financial condition.

 

The regulations that govern marketing approvals, pricing, coverage and reimbursement for new drugs vary widely from country to country. Current and future legislation may significantly change the approval requirements in ways that could involve additional costs and cause delays in obtaining approvals. Some countries require approval of the sale price of a product before it can be marketed. In many countries, the pricing review period begins after marketing or product licensing approval is granted. In some foreign markets, prescription pharmaceutical pricing remains subject to continuing governmental control even after initial approval is granted. As a result, we might obtain marketing approval for a product in a particular country, but then be subject to price regulations that delay commercial launch of the product, possibly for lengthy time periods, and negatively impact the revenue able to be generated from the sale of the product in that country. Adverse pricing limitations may hinder our ability to recoup our investment in one or more product candidates, even if our product candidates obtain marketing approval.

 

There can be no assurance that APADAZ, or our product candidates, if they are approved for sale in the United States or in other countries, will be considered medically reasonable and necessary for a specific indication, that they will be considered cost-effective by third-party payors, that coverage or an adequate level of reimbursement will be available, or that third-party payors’ reimbursement policies will not adversely affect the ability to sell APADAZ under the APADAZ License Agreement, or our ability to sell any of our product candidates profitably if they are approved for sale.

 

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We may be subject to enforcement action if we engage in improper marketing or promotion of our products.

 

The FDA closely regulates promotional materials and other promotional activities. Even if the FDA initially approves product labeling that includes a description of our improved attribute claims, the FDA may object to our marketing claims and product advertising campaigns. Failure to comply with the FDA’s promotional, marketing and advertising laws and regulations could lead to the issuance of warning letters, cyber letters, or untitled letters, adverse publicity, the requirement for dear-health-care-provider letters or other corrective information, fines and other monetary penalties, civil or criminal prosecution, including False Claims Act liability, restrictions on our operations and other operating requirements through consent decrees or corporate integrity agreements, debarment, exclusion from participation in federal health care programs and refusal of government contracts or future orders under existing contracts, among other consequences. Any of these consequences would harm the commercial success of our products.

 

Further, our promotional materials, statements and training methods must comply with the FDA’s prohibition of the promotion of unapproved, or off-label, use. Physicians may use our products off-label, as the FDA does not restrict or regulate a physician’s independent choice of treatment within the practice of medicine. However, if the FDA determines that our promotional materials, statements or training constitutes promotion of an off-label use, it could request that we modify our promotional materials, statements or training methods or subject us to regulatory or enforcement actions, such as the issuance of an untitled letter, a warning letter, injunction, seizure, civil fine, disgorgement of money, operating restrictions or criminal penalties. We may also be subject to actions by other governmental entities or private parties, such as the False Claims Act, civil whistleblower or “qui tam” actions. It is also possible that other federal, state or foreign enforcement authorities might take action if they consider our promotional or training materials to constitute promotion of an off-label use, which could result in significant fines or penalties under other statutory authorities, such as laws prohibiting false claims for reimbursement. In that event, our reputation could be damaged and adoption of the products could be impaired. In addition, the off-label use of our products may increase the risk of product liability claims. Product liability claims are expensive to defend and could divert our management’s attention, result in substantial damage awards against us and harm our reputation.

 

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Product liability lawsuits against us could cause us to incur substantial liabilities and to limit commercialization of APADAZ or any products that we may develop.

 

We face an inherent risk of product liability exposure related to the testing of our product candidates in human clinical trials and will face an even greater risk as APADAZ, and any prodrug products that may be approved in the future, are commercialized. This includes the risk that our products may be misused. For example, APADAZ does, and we anticipate that any other product candidates we may choose to develop in the future, if approved may, carry a boxed warning regarding lethality if our oral tablets or capsules are prepared for injection and hepatotoxicity, as is commonly done by abusers of opioids. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against claims that our product candidates or products caused injuries, we will incur substantial liabilities on behalf of ourselves. Regardless of merit or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:

 

 

decreased demand for APADAZ and any product candidates or products that we may develop;

 

 

injury to our reputation and significant negative media attention;

 

 

termination of clinical trial sites or entire trial programs;

 

 

withdrawal of clinical trial participants;

 

 

initiation of investigations by regulators;

 

 

significant costs to defend the related litigation;

 

 

a diversion of management’s time and our resources;

 

 

substantial monetary awards paid to trial participants or patients; 

 

 

product recalls, withdrawals or labeling revisions and marketing or promotional restrictions;

 

 

loss of revenue;

 

 

reduced resources of our management to pursue our business strategy; and

 

 

the inability to successfully commercialize APADAZ or any prodrug products that we may develop.

 

We currently hold $10.0 million in product liability insurance coverage in the aggregate, with a per incident limit of $10.0 million, which may not be adequate to cover all liabilities that we may incur. We may need to increase our insurance coverage as we expand our clinical trials or upon commencement of commercialization of any product approved in the future. Insurance coverage is increasingly expensive. We may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or in an amount adequate to satisfy any liability that may arise.

 

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A variety of risks associated with international operations could materially adversely affect our business.

 

We expect to engage in significant cross-border activities, and we will be subject to risks related to international operations, including:

 

 

different regulatory requirements for maintaining approval of drugs in foreign countries;

 

 

differing payor reimbursement regimes, governmental payors or patient self-pay systems and price controls;

 

 

reduced protection for contractual and intellectual property rights in some countries;

 

 

unexpected changes in tariffs, trade barriers and regulatory requirements;

 

 

economic weakness, including inflation, or political instability in particular foreign economies and markets;

 

 

compliance with tax, employment, immigration and labor laws for employees living or traveling abroad;

 

 

foreign currency fluctuations, which could result in increased operating expenses and reduced revenue, and other obligations incident to doing business in another country;

 

 

workforce uncertainty in countries where labor unrest is more common than in North America;

 

 

tighter restrictions on privacy and the collection and use of patient data; and

 

 

business interruptions resulting from geopolitical actions, including war and terrorism, or natural disasters including earthquakes, typhoons, floods and fires.

 

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Risks Related to Regulatory Approval of Our Product Candidates and Other Legal Compliance Matters

 

Failure to obtain marketing approval in international jurisdictions would prevent APADAZ and our product candidates from being marketed abroad.

 

In order to market and sell our products in the European Union and any other jurisdictions, we must obtain separate marketing approvals and comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements. The approval procedure varies among countries and can involve additional testing. The time required to obtain approval may differ substantially from that required to obtain FDA approval. The regulatory approval process outside the United States generally includes all of the risks associated with obtaining FDA approval. In addition, in many countries outside the United States, it is required that the product be approved for reimbursement before the product can be approved for sale in that country. We may not obtain approvals from regulatory authorities outside the United States on a timely basis, if at all. Approval by the FDA does not ensure approval by regulatory authorities in other countries or jurisdictions, and approval by one regulatory authority outside the United States does not ensure approval by regulatory authorities in other countries or jurisdictions or by the FDA. However, failure to obtain approval in one jurisdiction may impact our ability to obtain approval elsewhere. We may not be able to file for marketing approvals and may not receive necessary approvals to commercialize our products in any market.

 

A variety of risks associated with marketing APADAZ and our product candidates internationally could affect our business.

 

We may seek regulatory approval for APADAZ and our product candidates outside of the United States and, accordingly, we expect that we will be subject to additional risks related to operating in foreign countries if we obtain the necessary approvals, including:

 

 

differing regulatory requirements in foreign countries;

 

 

the potential for so-called parallel importing, which is what happens when a local seller, faced with high or higher local prices, opts to import goods from a foreign market with low or lower prices rather than buying them locally;

 

 

unexpected changes in tariffs, trade barriers, price and exchange controls and other regulatory requirements;

 

 

economic weakness, including inflation, or political instability in particular foreign economies and markets;

 

 

compliance with tax, employment, immigration and labor laws for employees living or traveling abroad;

 

 

foreign taxes, including withholding of payroll taxes;

 

 

foreign currency fluctuations, which could result in increased operating expenses and reduced revenue, and other obligations incident to doing business in another country;

 

 

difficulties staffing and managing foreign operations;

 

 

workforce uncertainty in countries where labor unrest is more common than in the United States;

 

 

potential liability under the FCPA or comparable foreign regulations;

 

 

challenges enforcing our contractual and intellectual property rights, especially in those foreign countries that do not respect and protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the United States;

 

 

production shortages resulting from any events affecting raw material supply or manufacturing capabilities abroad; and

 

 

business interruptions resulting from geo-political actions, including war and terrorism.

 

These and other risks associated with our international operations may compromise our ability to achieve or maintain profitability.

 

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APADAZ is, and any product candidate for which we obtain marketing approval could be, subject to post-marketing restrictions or recall or withdrawal from the market, and we may be subject to penalties if we or our collaborators fail to comply with regulatory requirements or if we or our collaborators experience unanticipated problems with APADAZ, or our product candidates when and if any of them are approved.

 

APADAZ is, and any product candidate for which we obtain marketing approval could be, subject to a comprehensive regulatory scheme, which includes the regulation of manufacturing processes, post-approval clinical data, labeling, advertising, marketing, distribution and promotional activities for such product, by the FDA and other regulatory authorities. For example, we are required to conduct pediatric studies related to Apadaz to determine its safety and effectiveness for the claimed indication in pediatric patients. Under the APADAZ License Agreement, KVK will be responsible for these regulatory activities going forward, and we cannot guarantee they will be complied with. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration and listing requirements, payment of substantial annual product and establishment fees, labeling requirements, promotional, marketing and advertising requirements, requirements related to further development, packaging, storage and distribution requirements, cGMP requirements relating to manufacturing, quality control, quality assurance and corresponding maintenance of records and documents, requirements regarding the distribution of samples to physicians and recordkeeping. If there are any modifications to the drug, including changes in indications, labeling, manufacturing processes or facilities, or new safety issues arise, a new or supplemental NDA, a post-implementation notification or other reporting may be required or requested depending on the change, which may require additional data or additional preclinical studies and clinical trials.

 

APADAZ is, and if marketing approval of a product candidate is granted may be, subject to limitations on the indicated uses for which the product may be marketed or to the conditions of approval, including the requirement to implement a REMS, which could involve requirements for, among other things, a medication guide, special training for prescribers and dispensers, and patient registries. For example, in September 2018, the FDA approved the Opioid Analgesic REMS for ER/LA and IR opioids as one strategy among multiple national and state efforts to reduce the risk of abuse, misuse, addiction, overdose, and deaths due to prescription opioid analgesics. APADAZ is subject to this REMS, and we anticipate that any of our other opioid product candidates that we may choose to develop in the future, if approved by the FDA, are likely to also be subject to a REMS requirement.

 

APADAZ does, and if any of our product candidates receive marketing approval they may, have a label that limits their approved uses, including more limited subject populations, than we request, and regulatory authorities may require that contraindications, warnings or precautions be included in the product labeling, including a boxed warning, or may approve a product candidate with a label that does not include the labeling claims necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of that product candidate, which could limit sales of the product. For instance, we expect that at least some of our product candidates would likely be required to carry boxed warnings, including warnings regarding tampering, lethality if our oral tablets or capsules are prepared for injection and hepatotoxicity.

 

The FDA may also impose requirements for costly post-marketing studies or clinical trials and surveillance to monitor the safety or efficacy of the product. APADAZ is subject to a post-marketing requirement for four deferred pediatric assessments that must be completed pursuant to the FDA's February 2018 approval letter. The FDA closely regulates the post-approval marketing and promotion of products to ensure products are marketed only for the approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved labeling. The FDA imposes stringent restrictions on manufacturers’ communications regarding off-label use and if we do not market our prodrug products, if any, for their approved indications, we may be subject to enforcement action for off-label marketing. Violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act relating to the promotion of prescription drugs may lead to a number of actions and penalties, including warning letters, cyber letters, or untitled letters, adverse publicity, the requirement for dear-health-care-provider letters or other corrective information, fines and other monetary penalties, civil or criminal prosecution, including False Claims Act liability, restrictions on our operations and other operating requirements through consent decrees or corporate integrity agreements, debarment, exclusion from participation in federal health care programs and refusal of government contracts or future orders under existing contracts, among other consequences.

 

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In addition, later discovery of previously unknown adverse events or other problems with our prodrug products, including those related to manufacturers or manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may have negative consequences, including:

 

 

adverse inspectional findings;

     
 

restrictions on such prodrug products, distribution, manufacturers or manufacturing processes;

     
 

restrictions on the labeling or marketing of a drug;

     
 

additional warnings or otherwise restrict the product’s indicated use, label, or marketing;

     
 

issuance of safety alerts, dear-healthcare-provider letters, press releases or other communications containing warnings regarding the product;

     
 

requirement to establish or modify a REMS;

     
 

requirement to conduct post-marketing studies or surveillance;

     
 

restrictions on drug distribution or use;

     
 

requirements to conduct post-marketing studies or clinical trials;

     
 

warning letters;

     
 

recall or withdrawal of the prodrug products from the market;

     
 

refusal to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications that we submit and other delays;

     
 

clinical holds, or the suspension or termination of ongoing clinical trials;

     
 

fines, restitution or disgorgement of profits or revenue;

     
 

suspension or withdrawal of marketing approvals or other permits or voluntary suspension of marketing;

     
 

refusal to permit the import or export of our prodrug products;

     
 

reputational harm;

     
 

refusal of government contracts or future orders under existing contracts, exclusion from participation in federal health care programs, and corporate integrity agreements;

     
 

product seizure or detention; or 

     
 

injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties, including False Claims Act liability.

 

Non-compliance with European Union requirements regarding safety monitoring or pharmacovigilance, and with requirements related to the development of drugs for the pediatric population, can also result in significant financial penalties. Similarly, failure to comply with the European Union’s requirements regarding the protection of personal information can also lead to significant penalties and sanctions.

 

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Our employees, independent contractors, principal investigators, CROs, consultants, commercial collaborators, contract manufacturers, service providers and other vendors may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including non-compliance with regulatory standards and requirements.

 

We are exposed to the risk of misconduct by employees and independent contractors, such as principal investigators, CROs, consultants, commercial collaborators, contract manufacturers, service providers and other vendors. Such misconduct could include failures to comply with FDA regulations, to provide accurate information to the FDA, to comply with manufacturing standards that we have established or that are established by regulation, to comply with federal and state contracting and healthcare fraud and abuse laws, to report drug pricing, financial information or data accurately or to disclose unauthorized activities to us. 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, but not limited to, research, manufacturing, distribution, pricing, discounting, marketing, advertising and promotion, sales commissions, customer incentive programs and other business arrangements. Employee and independent contractor misconduct could also involve the improper use of individually identifiable information, including, without limitation, information obtained in the course of clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions 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 and self-disclose credible evidence of False Claims Act violations. It is not always possible to identify and deter employee and independent contractor misconduct, and any precautions we take to detect and prevent improper activities may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to be in compliance with such laws. If any such actions are instituted against us, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of warning letters, untitled letters, cyber letters, seizure or recall of products, injunctions, withdrawal of product approval or other permits, clinical holds and termination of clinical trials, FDA refusal to approve pending applications, product detentions, FDA or DEA consent decrees, restriction or suspension of manufacturing and distribution, debarment, refusal to allow product import or export, adverse publicity, refusal of government contracts or future orders under existing contracts, dear-health-care-provider letters or other warnings or corrective information, recalls, delays, significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties including False Claims Act liability, damages, monetary fines, disgorgement, restitution, possible exclusion from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs, corporate integrity agreements, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings and curtailment or restructuring of our operations, among other consequences, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate.

 

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Our current and future relationships with healthcare professionals, principal investigators, consultants, customers and third-party payors in the United States and elsewhere may be subject, directly or indirectly, to applicable anti-kickback, fraud and abuse, false claims, physician payment transparency, health information privacy and security and other healthcare laws and regulations, which could expose us to penalties.

 

Healthcare providers, physicians and third-party payors in the United States and elsewhere will play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. Our current and future arrangements with healthcare professionals, principal investigators, consultants, customers and third-party payors may expose us to broadly applicable fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws, including, without limitation, the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act, that may constrain the business or financial arrangements and relationships through which  we sell, market and distribute any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. In addition, we may be subject to physician payment transparency laws and patient privacy and security regulation by the federal government and by the U.S. states and foreign jurisdictions in which we conduct our business. The applicable federal, state and foreign healthcare laws that may affect our ability to operate include the following:

 

 

the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons and entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, offering, receiving or paying remuneration, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward, or in return for, either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, lease, order or arranging 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 and state healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid;

     
 

federal civil and criminal false claims laws, including the False Claims Act, which impose criminal and civil penalties, including through 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 or using a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim or to avoid, decrease or conceal an obligation to pay money to the federal government, including erroneous pricing information on which mandatory rebates, discounts and reimbursement amounts are based, or in the case of the False Claims Act, for violations of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute in connection with a claim for payment or for conduct constituting reckless disregard for the truth;

     
 

the civil monetary penalties statute, which imposes penalties against any person or entity who, among other things, is determined to have presented or caused to be presented a claim to a federal health program that the person knows or should know is for an item or service that was not provided as claimed or is false or fraudulent;

     
 

the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, which created additional federal criminal statutes that prohibit knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or control of, any healthcare benefit program, regardless of whether the payor is 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 of 2009 and their respective implementing regulations, which impose obligations on covered entities, including certain 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 Open Payments program, created under Section 6002 of the Affordable Care Act, or the ACA, and its implementing regulations, which imposes new annual reporting requirements for manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, with certain exceptions, to annually report certain payments and transfers of value provided to physicians and teaching hospitals, or to entities or individuals at the request of, or designated on behalf of, the physicians, as defined by such law, and teaching hospitals, and to report annually certain ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members; and

     
 

comparable state and foreign laws, which may be broader in scope than the analogous federal laws and may differ from each other in significant ways.

 

These laws may affect our sales, marketing, and other promotional activities by imposing administrative and compliance burdens on us. 

 

Efforts to ensure that our current and future business arrangements with third parties will comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations may involve substantial costs. It is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices may not comply with current or future statutes, regulations or case law involving applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws, or that our compliance systems are inadequate to detect and report such conduct or to report accurate pricing information to the government. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of these laws or any other governmental regulations that may apply to us, we may be subject to significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, including, without limitation, damages, fines, imprisonment, exclusion from participation in government healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, corporate integrity agreements or similar agreements to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, which could significantly harm our business. If any of the physicians or other healthcare providers or entities with whom we currently, or expect to, do business, including future collaborators, is found not to be in compliance with applicable laws, they and we may be subject to significant penalties and potential exclusion from participation in healthcare programs as a result of their non-compliance.

 

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Recently enacted and future legislation may increase the difficulty and cost for us to obtain marketing approval of our product candidates and increase the cost to commercialize APADAZ and any of our product candidates that may be approved in the future and affect the prices thereof.

 

In the United States and some foreign jurisdictions, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding the healthcare system that could, among other things, prevent or delay marketing approval of our product candidates, restrict or regulate post-approval activities and affect the ability to profitably sell APADAZ under the APADAZ License Agreement and our ability to profitably sell any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval.

 

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. In March 2010, President Obama signed into law the ACA, a sweeping law intended to broaden access to health insurance, reduce or constrain the growth of healthcare spending, enhance remedies against fraud and abuse, add new transparency requirements for the healthcare and health insurance industries, impose new taxes and fees on the health industry and impose additional health policy reforms.

 

Among the provisions of the ACA of importance to our potential product candidates are the following:

 

 

an annual, nondeductible fee on any entity that manufactures or imports certain branded prescription drugs and biologic agents, apportioned among these entities according to their market share in certain government healthcare programs;

     
 

an increase in the statutory minimum rebates a manufacturer must pay under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program to 23.1% and 13.0% of the average manufacturer price for branded drugs and generic drugs, respectively;

     
 

expansion of healthcare fraud and abuse laws, including the False Claims Act and the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, new government investigative powers and enhanced penalties for non-compliance;

     
 

establishment of a new and distinct methodology by which rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program are calculated for drugs that are inhaled, infused, instilled, implanted or injected;

     
 

a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer 70% point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices (generally as negotiated between the Medicare Part D plan and the pharmacy) of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period, as a condition for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D;

     
 

extension of manufacturers’ Medicaid rebate liability to covered drugs dispensed to individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations and extension of the inflation percentage applicable to existing branded drugs to new formulations for purposes of computing the inflation penalty component of Medicaid rebates;

     
 

expansion of eligibility criteria for Medicaid programs by, among other things, allowing states to offer Medicaid coverage to additional individuals and by adding new mandatory eligibility categories for certain individuals with income at or below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level, thereby potentially increasing manufacturers’ Medicaid rebate liability;

     
 

expansion of the entities eligible for discounts under the Public Health Service pharmaceutical pricing program;

     
 

the new requirements under the federal Open Payments program and its implementing regulations;

     
 

a new requirement to annually report drug samples that manufacturers and distributors provide to physicians; and 

     
 

a new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to oversee, identify priorities in, and conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research, along with funding for such research.

 

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There remain judicial and congressional challenges to numerous provisions of the ACA, as well as efforts by the Trump administration to repeal or replace certain aspects of the ACA, and we expect there will be additional challenges and amendments in the future. Since January 2017, President Trump has signed two Executive Orders and other directives designed to delay the implementation of certain provision of the ACA or otherwise circumvent some of the requirements for health insurance mandated by the ACA. Concurrently, Congress has considered legislation that would repeal or repeal and replace all or part of the ACA. While Congress has not passed comprehensive repeal legislation, several bills affecting the implementation of certain taxes under the ACA have been signed into law. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes a provision repealing the tax-based shared responsibility payment imposed by the ACA on certain individuals who fail to maintain qualifying health coverage for all or part of a year that is commonly referred to as the “individual mandate”. Additionally, the 2020 federal spending package permanently eliminates, effective January 1, 2020, the ACA-mandated “Cadillac” tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage and medical device tax and, effective January 1, 2021, also eliminates the health insurer tax. Further, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, or the BBA, among other things, amends the ACA to close the coverage gap in most Medicare drug plans, commonly referred to as the “donut hole”. On December 14, 2018, a Texas U.S. District Court Judge ruled that the ACA is unconstitutional in its entirety because the “individual mandate” was repealed by Congress as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Additionally, on December 18, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld the District Court ruling that the individual mandate was unconstitutional and remanded the case back to the District Court to determine whether the remaining provisions of the ACA are invalid as well. It is unclear how this decision, future decisions, subsequent appeals, and other efforts to repeal and replace the ACA will impact the ACA and our business.

 

In addition, other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted since the ACA was enacted. In August 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, created measures for spending reductions by Congress. A Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, tasked with recommending a targeted deficit reduction of at least $1.2 trillion for the years 2013 through 2021, was unable to reach required goals, thereby triggering the legislation’s automatic reduction to several government programs. This includes aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to providers of up to 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect in April 2013, and, due to subsequent legislative amendments, including the BBA, will stay in effect through 2029 unless additional Congressional action is taken. In January 2013, President Obama signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which, among other things, further reduced Medicare payments to several providers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years.

 

Further, there has been increasing legislative and enforcement interest in the United States with respect to specialty drug pricing practices. Specifically, there have been several recent U.S. Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, reduce the cost of drugs under Medicare, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drugs. At the federal level, the Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 contains further drug price control measures that could be enacted during the budget process or in other future legislation, including, for example, measures to permit Medicare Part D plans to negotiate the price of certain drugs under Medicare Part B, to allow some states to negotiate drug prices under Medicaid, establish an international price index for Medicare Part B pricing and to eliminate the Medicaid drug rebate cap. Further, the Trump administration released a “Blueprint” to lower drug prices and reduce out of pocket costs of drugs that contains additional proposals to increase drug manufacturer competition, increase the negotiating power of certain federal healthcare programs, incentivize manufacturers to lower the list price of their products, and reduce the out of pocket costs of drug products paid by consumers. The Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, has solicited feedback on some of these measures and, at the same, has implemented others under its existing authority. For example, in May 2019, CMS issued a final rule to allow Medicare Advantage plans the option to use step therapy for Part B drugs beginning January 1, 2020. This final rule codified CMS’s policy change that was effective January 1, 2019. While some of these and other measures may require additional authorization to become effective, Congress and the Trump administration have each indicated that it will continue to seek new legislative and/or administrative measures to control drug costs. At the state level, legislatures are increasingly passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. These new laws may result in additional reductions in Medicare and other healthcare funding, which could negatively impact customers for our product candidates, if approved, and, accordingly, our financial operations.

 

We expect that the healthcare reform measures that have been adopted and may be adopted in the future, may, among other things, result in more rigorous coverage criteria and in additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any approved product. 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 prodrug product candidates.

 

Legislative and regulatory proposals and enacted statutes have been made to expand post-approval requirements and restrict sales and promotional activities for drugs. For instance, the Drug Supply Chain Security Act imposes obligations on manufacturers of pharmaceutical products, among others, related to product tracking and tracing. Among the requirements of this new legislation, manufacturers are required to provide specified information regarding the drug products they produce to individuals and entities to which product ownership is transferred, label drug products with a product identifier and keep specified records regarding the drug products. The transfer of information to subsequent product owners by manufacturers will eventually be required to be done electronically. Manufacturers are also required to verify that purchasers of products are appropriately licensed. Further, under this legislation, manufacturers have drug product investigation, quarantine, disposition and FDA and trading-partner notification responsibilities related to counterfeit, diverted, stolen and intentionally adulterated products, as well as products that are the subject of fraudulent transactions or which are otherwise unfit for distribution such that they would be reasonably likely to result in serious health consequences or death.

 

We cannot be sure 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.

 

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Governments outside the United States tend to impose strict price controls, which may affect our revenue, if any.

 

In some countries, particularly the countries of the European Union, the pricing of prescription pharmaceuticals is subject to governmental control. In these countries, pricing negotiations with governmental authorities can take considerable time after the receipt of marketing approval for a product. To obtain coverage and reimbursement or pricing approval in some countries, we may be required to conduct a clinical trial that compares the cost-effectiveness of our product candidate to other available therapies. If reimbursement of our prodrug products is unavailable or limited in scope or amount, or if pricing is set at unsatisfactory levels, our business could be harmed, possibly materially.

 

If we fail to comply with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, we could become subject to fines or penalties or incur costs that could harm our business.

 

We are subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, including those governing laboratory procedures and the handling, use, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes. Our operations involve the use of hazardous and flammable materials, including chemicals and biological materials. Our operations also produce hazardous waste products. We generally contract with third parties for the disposal of these materials and wastes. We cannot eliminate the risk of contamination or injury from these materials. In the event of contamination or injury resulting from our use of hazardous materials, we could be held liable for any resulting damages, and any liability could exceed our resources. We also could incur significant costs associated with civil or criminal fines and penalties for failure to comply with such laws and regulations.

 

Although we maintain workers’ compensation insurance to cover us for costs and expenses we may incur due to injuries to our employees resulting from the use of hazardous materials, this insurance may not provide adequate coverage against potential liabilities. We do not maintain insurance for environmental liability or toxic tort claims that may be asserted against us in connection with our storage or disposal of biological, hazardous or radioactive materials.

 

In addition, we may incur substantial costs in order to comply with current or future environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. These current or future laws and regulations may impair our research, development or production efforts. Our failure to comply with these laws and regulations also may result in substantial fines, penalties or other sanctions.

 

Our business and operations would suffer in the event of computer system failures.

 

Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems, and those of our CROs and other third parties on which we rely, are vulnerable to damage from malicious human acts, unauthorized access, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures. Moreover, despite network security and back-up measures, some of our and our vendors' servers are potentially vulnerable to physical or electronic break-ins, including cyber-attacks, computer viruses and similar disruptive problems. These events could lead to the unauthorized access, disclosure and use of non-public information. The techniques used by criminal elements to attack computer systems are sophisticated, change frequently and may originate from less regulated and remote areas of the world. As a result, we may not be able to address these techniques proactively or implement adequate preventative measures. If our computer systems are compromised, we could be subject to fines, damages, litigation and enforcement actions, and we could lose trade secrets, the occurrence of which could harm our business and could result in a material disruption of our drug development programs. For example, the loss of clinical trial data from completed or ongoing or planned 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 was 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 development of our product candidates could be delayed.

 

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Risks Related to Employee Matters and Managing Our Growth

 

Our future success depends on our ability to retain key executives and to attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel.

 

We are highly dependent on the management, research and development, clinical, financial and business development expertise of Travis C. Mickle, Ph.D., our president and chief executive officer, R. LaDuane Clifton, CPA, our chief financial officer, and Sven Guenther, Ph.D., our executive vice president research and development, as well as the other members of our scientific and clinical teams. Although we have employment agreements with each of our executive officers, these agreements do not obligate them to continue working for our company and they may terminate their employment with us at any time.

 

Recruiting and retaining qualified scientific and clinical personnel and, if we progress the development of our product candidate pipeline toward scaling up for commercialization, manufacturing and sales and marketing personnel, will also be critical to our success. The loss of the services of our executive officers or other key employees could impede the achievement of our research, development and commercialization objectives and seriously harm our ability to successfully implement our business strategy. Furthermore, replacing executive officers and key employees may be difficult and may take an extended period of time because of the limited number of individuals in our industry with the breadth of skills and experience required to successfully develop, gain regulatory approval of and commercialize our prodrug product candidates. Competition to hire from this limited pool is intense, and we may be unable to hire, train, retain or motivate these key personnel on acceptable terms given the competition among numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for similar personnel. We also experience competition for the hiring of scientific and clinical personnel from universities and research institutions. In addition, we rely on consultants and advisors, including scientific and clinical advisors, to assist us in formulating our research and development and commercialization strategy. Our consultants and advisors may have commitments under consulting or advisory contracts with other entities that may limit their availability to us. If we are unable to continue to attract and retain high quality personnel, our ability to pursue our growth strategy will be limited.

 

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Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock and Our Status as a Public Company

 

An active trading market for our common stock may not be sustained and you may not be able to resell your shares of our common stock for a profit, if at all.

 

Prior to our initial public offering there had been no public market for our common stock. An active trading market for our shares may not be sustained. If an active market for our common stock is not sustained, it may be difficult for you to sell our shares at an attractive price or at all.

 

The trading price of the shares of our common stock is likely to be volatile, and purchasers of our common stock could incur substantial losses.

 

Our stock price has been, and is likely to continue to be, volatile. Since shares of our common stock were sold in our initial public offering in April 2015 at a price of $11.00 per share, our stock price has ranged from a low of $0.27 to a high of $26.15 through February 26, 2020. In addition, the stock market in general and the market for pharmaceutical companies in particular have experienced extreme volatility that has often been unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies. As a result of this volatility, investors may not be able to sell their common stock at or above the price paid for the shares. The market price for our common stock may be influenced by many factors, including:

 

 

actual or anticipated variations in our operating results;

     
 

changes in financial estimates by us or by any securities analysts who might cover our stock;

     
 

conditions or trends in our industry, including without limitation changes in the structure of healthcare payment systems;

     
 

stock market price and volume fluctuations of comparable companies and, in particular, those that operate in the pharmaceutical industry;

     
 

announcements by us or our competitors of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships or divestitures;

     
 

announcements of investigations or regulatory scrutiny of our operations or lawsuits filed against us;

     

 

adverse regulatory announcements or determinations regarding our product candidates;

     
 

capital commitments;

     
 

investors’ general perception of us and our business;

     
 

recruitment or departure of key personnel; and

     
 

sales of our common stock, including sales by our directors and officers or specific stockholders.

 

Many of the factors described above are not within our control. For instance, in May 2016, we announced that the Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee of the FDA voted 16 to 4 for the approval of APADAZ but voted 18 to 2 against inclusion of abuse-deterrent labeling for APADAZ. The announcement was followed by a substantial decrease in the trading price of our common stock on Nasdaq. Additionally, when we announced in June 2016 that the FDA had issued a CRL for the APADAZ NDA, the trading price of our common stock on Nasdaq was subject to another substantial decrease. We cannot guarantee that future announcements will not have similar effects on the trading price of our common stock.

 

In addition, in the past, stockholders have initiated class action lawsuits against pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies following periods of volatility in the market prices of these companies’ stock. For instance, in December 2016, we received notice of a class action suit filed against us in the Iowa District Court in Johnson County by a stockholder alleging that we, certain of our senior executives and directors who signed the registration statement in connection with our initial public offering, and each of the investment banks that acted as underwriters for the offering negligently issued untrue statements of material facts and omitted to state material facts required to be stated in the registration statement and incorporated offering materials that we filed with the SEC in support of the offering. In June 2018, the case was dismissed without prejudice to members of the putative class. Future litigation could cause us to incur substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources from our business. Further, companies listed on The Nasdaq Capital Market, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in particular, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of these companies. Broad market and industry factors may negatively affect the market price of our common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance.

 

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If we fail to maintain compliance with the listing requirements of The Nasdaq Stock Market, we may be delisted and the price of our common stock and our ability to access the capital markets could be negatively impacted.

 

Our common stock is currently listed on The Nasdaq Capital Market. To maintain the listing of our common stock on The Nasdaq Capital Market, we are required to meet certain listing requirements.

 

If we fail to satisfy the continued listing requirements of The Nasdaq Capital Market, The Nasdaq Capital Market may take steps to delist our common stock, which could have a materially adverse effect on our ability to raise additional funds as well as the price and liquidity of our common stock. Such a delisting would likely have a negative effect on the price of our common stock and would impair our stockholders’ ability to sell or purchase our common stock when they wish to do so. In the event of a delisting, we can provide no assurance that any action taken by us to restore compliance with listing requirements would allow our common stock to become listed again, stabilize the market price or improve the liquidity of our common stock, prevent our common stock from dropping below the Nasdaq minimum bid price requirement, or prevent future non-compliance with The Nasdaq Capital Market’s listing requirements.

 

On January 15, 2020, we announced that the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel, or Nasdaq Listings Panel, of the Nasdaq Stock Market, LLC, or Nasdaq, granted us an extension, until May 13, 2020, to regain compliance with the Market Value of Listed Securities, or MVLS, continued listing requirement of The Nasdaq Capital Market, conditioned upon achievement of certain milestones included in a plan of compliance which we previously submitted to the Nasdaq Listings Panel. Previously, on May 17, 2019, we received notice from the Listing Qualification Department of Nasdaq that we were not in compliance with the continued listing requirement of The Nasdaq Global Market to maintain a minimum MVLS of $50.0 million. By transferring the listing of our common stock to The Nasdaq Capital Market, we will regain compliance with the MVLS continued listing requirement of The Nasdaq Capital Market by reaching a minimum MVLS of $35.0 million for ten consecutive trading days on or before May 13, 2020. Should we fail to demonstrate compliance with the MVLS continued listing requirement by that date, Nasdaq will issue a final delisting determination and we will be suspended from trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. In order to maintain the listing of our common stock on The Nasdaq Capital Market, we must also regain compliance for all other continued listing standards within the applicable compliance period.

 

For instance, on September 27, 2019, we received notice from Nasdaq that we were not in compliance with the continued listing requirement to maintain a minimum bid price of $1.00. The initial compliance period for this continued listing requirement ends on March 25, 2020. If we fail to increase our bid price above $1.00 for at least ten consecutive trading days prior to this time, then our bid price deficiency may be an additional ground for delisting by Nasdaq.

 

Additionally, on December 19, 2019, we received notice that we were not in compliance with the continued listing requirement of The Nasdaq Global Market to maintain a minimum Market Value of Publicly Held Shares, or MVPHS, of $15.0 million. However, upon transferring to The Nasdaq Capital Market, the Company became subject to its MVPHS continued listing requirement, which is $1.0 million. Based on the lower requirement, the Company has maintained a MVPHS greater than $1.0 million since transferring The Nasdaq Capital Market.

 

If we do not regain compliance within the allotted compliance period(s), including any extensions that may be granted by Nasdaq, Nasdaq will provide notice that our shares of common stock will be subject to delisting. At such time, we may appeal the delisting determination to a hearings panel pursuant to the procedures set forth in the applicable Nasdaq Listing Rules.

 

There can be no assurance that we will be successful in maintaining the listing of our common stock on The Nasdaq Capital Market. This could impair the liquidity and market price of our common stock. In addition, the delisting of our common stock from a national exchange could have a material adverse effect on our access to capital markets, and any limitation on market liquidity or reduction in the price of our common stock as a result of that delisting could adversely affect our ability to raise capital on terms acceptable to us, or at all.

 

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If equity research analysts do not publish research or reports, or publish unfavorable research or reports, about us, our business or our market, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

 

The trading market for our common stock is influenced by the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business, our market and our competitors. We do not have any control over these analysts. If one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our shares or change their opinion of our shares, our share price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which could cause our share price or trading volume to decline.

 

A significant portion of our outstanding warrants and convertible securities are entitled to certain anti-dilution protections which, if triggered, may cause substantial dilution to your investment.

 

Our outstanding senior secured convertible promissory notes and the warrant we issued to Deerfield under the Deerfield Facility Agreement, or the Deerfield Warrant, each include conversion or exercise, as applicable, price protection provision, pursuant to which the conversion or exercise, as applicable, price of each note or the Deerfield Warrant will be adjusted downward on a broad-based weighted-average basis if we issue or sell any shares of common stock, convertible securities, warrants or options at a sale or exercise price per share less than the greater of (i) $5.85 per share, which represents the Deerfield Warrant's exercise price and the conversion price of our outstanding senior secured convertible promissory notes or (ii) the closing sale price of our common stock as reported on The Nasdaq Capital Market on the last trading date immediately prior to such issuance or, in the case of a firm commitment underwritten offering, on the date of execution of the underwriting agreement between us and the underwriters for such offering. Additionally, if we effect an "at the market offering", as defined in Rule 415 of the Securities Act, of our common stock, the exercise price of the Deerfield Warrant and conversion price of our outstanding senior secured convertible promissory notes will be adjusted downward pursuant to this anti-dilution adjustment only if such sales are made at a price less than $5.85 per share, provided that this anti-dilution adjustment will not apply to any sales made under the Purchase Agreement, the Second ATM Agreement or the September 2019 Exchange Agreement, as amended, or the September 2019 Exchange Agreement, that we entered into with Deerfield and Deerfield Special Situations Fund, or the Deerfield Lenders.

 

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Future sales and issuances of equity and debt could result in additional dilution to our stockholders.

 

We expect that we will need significant additional capital in the short term to continue as a going concern and in the future to fund our planned future operations, including to complete potential clinical trials for our product candidates. To raise capital, we may sell common stock, convertible securities or other equity securities in one or more transactions at prices and in a manner we determine from time to time.

 

The holders of our senior secured convertible promissory notes may convert all or any portion of the outstanding principal and any accrued but unpaid interest on such notes into shares of our common stock at a conversion price of $5.85 per share.

 

According to the terms of our outstanding senior secured convertible promissory notes in no event may any holder thereof convert such holder’s note to the extent such conversion would result in such holder beneficially owning more than 4.985% of the then issued and outstanding shares of our common stock, provided that this limitation is 19.985% of our issued and outstanding common stock for any holder of our senior secured convertible promissory note who owned more than 4.985% of our issued and outstanding common stock at the time the issuance of such note. This conversion limitation may not be waived and any purported conversion that is inconsistent with this conversion limitation will be null and void. This conversion limitation will not apply to any conversion made immediately prior to a change of control transaction. If noteholder is only able to convert such holder’s senior secured convertible promissory note into a limited number of shares due to this conversion limitation, such note could subsequently become convertible into the remainder of the shares as a result of a variety of events. This could occur, for example, if we issue more shares or such holder sells some of its existing shares.

 

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In September 2019, we entered into the September 2019 Exchange Agreement, which was subsequently amended in December 2019. Under the September 2019 Exchange Agreement, we issued an aggregate of 1,499,894 shares of our common stock and an aggregate of 1,576 shares of our Series B-1 Preferred Stock in exchange for the cancellation of an aggregate of $3,000,000 principal amount of our then outstanding convertible debt. As of February 1, 2020, 1,576 shares of Series B-1 Preferred Stock have been converted into 1,659,996 shares of common stock. The September 2019 Exchange Agreement provides the Deerfield Lenders the option to exchange the principal amount of their outstanding senior secured convertible promissory notes  for shares of common stock or shares of our Series B-2 convertible preferred stock, subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the September 2019 Exchange Agreement. In December 2019, we amended the September 2019 Exchange Agreement, to, among other things, (i)  to allow the Deerfield Lenders to effect optional exchanges of all their outstanding senior secured convertible promissory notes under the terms of the September 2019 Exchange Agreement; (ii) amend the common stock exchange price under the September 2019 Exchange Agreement to be a per share price equal to the greater of (x) $0.60, subject to adjustment to reflect stock splits and similar events, or (y) the average of the volume-weighted average prices of our common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market on each of the 15 trading days immediately preceding such exchange, (iii) provide that no more than 28,439,015 of shares of our common stock shall be issued pursuant to optional exchanges under the September 2019 Exchange Agreement (whether by common stock exchange or upon conversion of shares of Series B-2 convertible preferred stock), subject to adjustment to reflect stock splits and similar events and (iv) eliminate limitations regarding the timing and aggregate amount of principal which may be exchanged under the September 2019 Exchange Agreement. If the Deerfield Lenders choose to exchange any portion of their senior secured convertible promissory notes for shares of Series B-2 convertible preferred stock, such exchange will be effected at an exchange price of $1,000 per share.  As of February 1, 2020, there was an aggregate of 17,439,015 shares of our common stock issuable (i) in exchange of the then outstanding principal amount of our senior secured convertible promissory notes held by the Deerfield Lenders, or (ii) upon conversion of the Series B-2 convertible preferred stock issuable in exchange of the then outstanding principal amount of such senior secured convertible promissory notes.

 

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If Deerfield Lenders elect to exchange their senior secured convertible promissory notes for shares of our common stock (or convert any shares of our Series B-2 preferred stock for shares of common stock), or the holders of our senior secured convertible promissory notes elect to convert such notes into common stock, your ownership interest will be diluted and the market price of our common stock may be materially and adversely effected.

 

Pursuant to our equity incentive plan, we may grant equity awards and issue additional shares of our common stock to our employees, directors and consultants, and the number of shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under this plan will be subject to automatic annual increases in accordance with the terms of the plans. To the extent that new options are granted and exercised, or we issue additional shares of common stock in the future, our stockholders may experience additional dilution, which could cause our stock price to fall.

  

In February 2020, we entered into the Purchase Agreement with Lincoln Park which provides that, upon the terms and subject to the conditions and limitations set forth therein, we may sell to Lincoln Park up to $4.0 million of shares of our common stock, from time to time over the 12-month term of the Purchase Agreement, and we issued an additional 308,637 shares of our common stock to Lincoln Park as commitment shares under the Purchase Agreement.  Concurrently with entering into the Purchase Agreement, we also entered into the Registration Rights Agreement, pursuant to which we agreed to register the sale of the shares of our common stock that have been and may be issued to Lincoln Park under the Purchase Agreement pursuant to our Current Registration Statement or a new registration statement.

 

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The accounting method for the Deerfield Warrant, our outstanding senior secured convertible promissory notes and the warrant we issued to KVK under the APADAZ License Agreement could have a material effect on our reported financial results.

 

The Deerfield Warrant, our outstanding senior secured convertible promissory notes and the warrant we issued to KVK under the APADAZ License Agreement contain embedded derivatives, which require mark-to-market accounting treatment and could result in a gain or loss on a quarterly basis with regards to the mark-to-market value of that feature. Such accounting treatment could have a material impact on, and could potentially result in significant volatility in, our quarterly results of operations.

 

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market could cause the market price of our common stock to drop significantly, even if our business is doing well.

 

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market could occur at any time. If our stockholders sell, or the market perceives that our stockholders intend to sell, substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market, the market price of our common stock could decline significantly.

 

Deerfield has the right, subject to some conditions, to require us to file one or more registration statements covering its shares of our common stock, including shares issued or issuable upon conversion or exercise of its senior secured convertible promissory note issued in June 2014 and the Deerfield Warrant, as applicable, or to include such shares in registration statements that we may file for ourselves or other stockholders. If we were to register the resale of these shares, they could be freely sold in the public market. If these additional shares are sold, or if it is perceived that they will be sold, in the public market, the trading price of our common stock could decline.

 

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Anti-takeover provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, as well as provisions of Delaware law and the terms of some or our contracts, might discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company or changes in our board of directors or management and, therefore, depress the price of our common stock.

 

Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and Delaware law contain provisions that may discourage, delay or prevent a merger, acquisition or other change in control that stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which you might otherwise receive a premium for your shares of our common stock or transactions that our stockholders might otherwise deem to be in their best interests. These provisions may also prevent or frustrate attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove members of our board of directors or our management. Therefore, these provisions could adversely affect the price of our stock. Our corporate governance documents include provisions:

 

 

establishing a classified board of directors with staggered three-year terms so that not all members of our board of directors are elected at one time;

     
 

providing that directors may be removed by stockholders only for cause;

     
 

preventing the ability of our stockholders to call and bring business before special meetings and to take action by written consent in lieu of a meeting;

     
 

requiring advance notice of stockholder proposals for business to be conducted at meetings of our stockholders and for nominations of candidates for election to our board of directors;

     
 

permitting the board of directors to issue up to 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock with any rights, preferences and privileges they may designate;

     
 

limiting the liability of, and providing indemnification to, our directors and officers;

     
 

providing that vacancies may be filled by remaining directors;

     
 

preventing cumulative voting; and

     
 

providing for a supermajority requirement to amend our bylaws.

 

As a Delaware corporation, we are also subject to provisions of Delaware law, including Section 203 of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, which prohibits a Delaware corporation from engaging in a broad range of business combinations with any “interested” stockholder for a period of three years following the date on which the stockholder became an “interested” stockholder.

 

In addition, the provisions of our termination agreement with Aquestive and our outstanding senior secured convertible promissory notes, the Deerfield Warrant and Deerfield Facility Agreement, may delay or prevent a change in control of our company. For example, if we enter into a merger, an asset sale or any other change of control transaction, then Aquestive will be entitled to a royalty equal to 10% of the price being paid to us and our stockholders in such transaction which is attributable to the value of KP415, KP484 or KP879, as was the case with the KP415 License Agreement. Pursuant to the Deerfield Facility Agreement, we may not enter into any major transaction without the prior approval of a majority of the holders of our outstanding senior secured convertible promissory notes, including a merger, asset sale or change of control transaction, and pursuant to the terms of such notes, each holder thereof has the option to demand repayment of all outstanding principal, and any unpaid interest accrued thereon, of such note immediately prior to consummation of such event. Further, under the Deerfield Warrant, Deerfield has the right to demand that we redeem the Deerfield Warrant for a cash amount equal to the Black-Scholes value of a portion of the warrant upon the occurrence of specified events, including a merger, an asset sale or any other change of control transaction. A takeover of us may trigger the requirement that we repurchase our outstanding senior secured convertible promissory notes and the Deerfield Warrant, which could make it more costly for a potential acquirer to engage in a business combination transaction with us.

 

Finally, in the event of a sale of the Company the holders of our Series B-2 convertible preferred stock, if any, will share ratably in any distribution of our assets or other proceeds with holders of common stock on an as-converted basis without giving effect to any limitation on conversion of the Series B-2 convertible preferred stock. This would in turn reduce the distribution to the holders of our common stock in such change of control.

 

Any provision of our certificate of incorporation, bylaws or Delaware law or any term of our contracts that has the effect of discouraging, delaying or preventing a change in control could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our common stock and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock.

 

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Our certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees.

 

Our certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a breach of fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws, or (iv) any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. While these choice of forum provisions do not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Securities Act, the Exchange Act, or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction, the 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 our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and other employees. If a court were to find the choice of forum provision contained in our certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions.

 

We are an “emerging growth company” and as a result of the reduced disclosure and governance requirements applicable to emerging growth companies, our common stock may be less attractive to investors.

 

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jump-Start Our Business Startups Act, or the JOBS Act, and we take advantage of some of the exemptions from reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, including:

 

 

not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements in the assessment of our internal controls over financial reporting;

     
 

not being required to comply with any requirement that may be adopted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding mandatory audit firm rotation or a supplement to the auditor’s report providing additional information about the audit and the financial statements;

     
 

reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation; and 

     
 

not being required to hold a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved.

 

We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive because we will rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile. We may take advantage of these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an emerging growth company. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of (1) the last day of the fiscal year (a) following the fifth anniversary of the completion of our initial public offering, (b) in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.07 billion or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which means the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the prior June 30th and (2) the date on which we have issued more than $1.00 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period.

 

Under Section 107(b) of the JOBS Act, emerging growth companies can delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have irrevocably elected not to avail ourselves of this exemption from new or revised accounting standards and, therefore, we will be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not emerging growth companies.

 

We might not be able to utilize a significant portion of our net operating loss carryforwards, which could adversely affect our profitability.

 

As of December 31, 2019, we had federal net operating loss carryforwards of approximately $217.1 million, due to prior period losses, $138.1 million of which if not utilized, will begin to expire in 2027. These net operating loss carryforwards could expire unused and be unavailable to offset future income tax liabilities, which could adversely affect our profitability. On December 22, 2017, the U.S. government enacted H.R. 1, “An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018” (informally titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act). Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, U.S. federal net operating losses incurred in 2018 and in future years may be carried forward indefinitely, but the deductibility of such federal net operating losses is limited. It is uncertain if and to what extent various states will conform to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. To the extent that we continue to generate taxable losses in the United States, unused losses will carry forward to offset future taxable income (subject to any applicable limitations), if any. In addition, under Section 382 and Section 383 of the Code, if a corporation undergoes an ‘‘ownership change,’’ which is generally defined as a greater than 50% change, by value, in its equity ownership over a three-year period, the corporation’s ability to use its pre-change net operating loss carryforwards and other pre-change tax attributes to offset its post-change income may be limited. We performed a Section 382 ownership change analysis in 2017 and determined that we experienced an ownership change in 2010, which resulted in a portion of our net operating loss carryforwards being subject to an annual limitation under Section 382 through 2012. No other ownership changes or limitations on our historical net operating loss carryforwards were noted through the year ended December 31, 2017. In addition, we may experience ownership changes in the future as a result of subsequent shifts in our stock ownership, including as a result of the conversion of our outstanding convertible debt or as a result of future changes in our stock ownership. If we determine that an ownership change has occurred and our ability to use our historical net operating loss carryforwards is materially limited, it would harm our future operating results by increasing our future tax obligations.

 

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Changes in tax laws or regulations that are applied adversely to us may have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow, financial condition or results of operations.

 

New income, sales, use or other tax laws, statutes, rules, regulations or ordinances could be enacted at any time, which could affect the tax treatment of our domestic earnings, if any. Any new taxes could adversely affect our business operations, and our business and financial performance. Further, existing tax laws, statutes, rules, regulations or ordinances could be interpreted, changed, modified or applied adversely to us. For example, legislation enacted in 2017, informally titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, significantly revised the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. Future guidance from the Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities with respect to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may affect us, and certain aspects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could be repealed or modified in future legislation. In addition, it is uncertain if and to what extent various states will conform to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act or any newly enacted federal tax legislation. Changes in corporate tax rates, the realization of net deferred tax assets relating to our operations, the taxation of foreign earnings, and the deductibility of expenses under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act or future reform legislation could have a material impact on the value of our deferred tax assets, could result in significant one-time charges, and could increase our future U.S. tax expense.

 

If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, our ability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis could be impaired.

 

We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the rules and regulations of the stock market on which our common stock is listed. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting. For our fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, we performed system and process evaluation and testing of our internal controls over financial reporting to allow management to report on the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting in our Annual Report on Form 10-K, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We will be required to perform this evaluation and testing of our internal controls over financial reporting to allow management to report on the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting on an annual basis. This requires that we incur substantial additional professional fees and internal costs and that we expend significant management efforts on an annual basis. We have and will be required to test our internal controls within a specified period, and, as a result, we may experience difficulty in meeting these reporting requirements.

 

We may discover weaknesses in our system of internal financial and accounting controls and procedures that could result in a material misstatement of our financial statements. Our internal controls over financial reporting will not prevent or detect 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. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that misstatements due to error or fraud will not occur or that all control issues and instances of fraud will be detected.

 

For example, management identified a control deficiency as of December 31, 2019 regarding our ineffective controls over non-routine transactions that constituted a material weakness. For more information regarding the material weakness refer to our risk factor titled “In connection with preparation of our annual financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, we identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. Any failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could harm us” and Item 9A of this annual report on Form 10-K. We are still considering the full extent of the procedures to implement in order to remediate this material weakness. We can give no assurances that any additional material weakness will not arise in the future due to our failure to implement and maintain adequate internal controls over financial reporting. In addition, even if we are successful in strengthening our controls and procedures to resolve this material weakness, those controls and procedures may not be adequate to prevent or identify irregularities or ensure the fair presentation of our financial statements included in our periodic reports filed with the SEC.

 

If we are not able to comply with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or if we are unable to maintain proper and effective internal controls, we may not be able to produce timely and accurate financial statements. If that were to happen, the market price of our stock could decline and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the stock exchange on which our common stock is listed, the SEC or other regulatory authorities.

 

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Because we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future, capital appreciation, if any, will be your sole source of gains and you may never receive a return on your investment.

 

You should not rely on an investment in our common stock to provide dividend income. We have not declared or paid cash dividends on our common stock to date. We currently intend to retain our future earnings, if any, to fund the development and growth of our business. In addition, the terms of the Deerfield Facility Agreement, and any future debt agreements may, preclude us from paying dividends. As a result, capital appreciation, if any, of our common stock will be your sole source of gain for the foreseeable future. Investors seeking cash dividends should not purchase our common stock.

 

We incur increased costs and demands upon management as a result of being a public company.

 

As a public company listed in the United States, we incur significant additional legal, accounting and other costs, which we estimate to be between $1.0 million and $2.0 million annually, that we did not incur as a private company. These additional costs could negatively affect our financial results. In addition, changing laws, regulations and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure, including regulations implemented by the SEC and The NASDAQ Stock Market, may increase legal and financial compliance costs and make some activities more time consuming. These laws, regulations and standards are subject to varying interpretations and, as a result, their application in practice may evolve over time as new guidance is provided by regulatory and governing bodies. We intend to invest resources to comply with evolving laws, regulations and standards, and this investment may result in increased general and administrative expenses and a diversion of management’s time and attention from revenue-generating activities to compliance activities. If, notwithstanding our efforts to comply with new laws, regulations and standards, we fail to comply, regulatory authorities may initiate legal proceedings against us.

 

Failure to comply with these rules might also make it more difficult for us to obtain some types of insurance, including director and officer liability insurance, and we might be forced to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. The impact of these events could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors, on committees of our board of directors or as members of senior management.

 

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ITEM 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2.

PROPERTIES

 

As of December 31, 2019, we occupied approximately 17,000 square feet of headquarters office space in Celebration, Florida, comprised of two contiguous office suites, under a non-cancelable lease agreement that expires in August 2025 and February 2026, respectively. We have the right to extend the term of the lease for two successive five-year terms upon expiration. In February 2020, we agreed to sublease approximately 6,000 square feet of office space in Celebration, Florida to a third-party, under a non-cancelable lease agreement that expires in February 2026. In addition, we occupy leased laboratory space in Coralville, Iowa and Blacksburg, Virginia. We believe that our facilities are adequate for our current needs.

 

ITEM 3.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

 

From time to time, we may be involved in routine legal proceedings, as well as demands, claims and threatened litigation, which arise in the normal course of our business. We believe there is no litigation pending that would reasonably be expected to, individually or in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

 

ITEM 4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

 

Not applicable.

 

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PART II

 

ITEM 5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS, AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

 

Common Stock Listing

 

From April 16, 2015 until January 14, 2020, our common stock was listed on The Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “KMPH”.  Effective January 15, 2020, our common stock was listed on The Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol “KMPH”. Prior to April 16, 2015, there was no public trading market for our common stock.

 

Holders of our Common Stock

 

As of February 26, 2020, we had 132 holders of record of our common stock. The actual number of stockholders is greater than this number of record holders, and includes stockholders who are beneficial owners, but whose shares are held in street name by brokers and other nominees. This number of holders of record also does not include stockholders whose shares may be held in trust by other entities.

 

Dividend Policy

 

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock. We anticipate that we will retain all of our future earnings, if any, for use in the operation and expansion of our business and do not anticipate paying cash dividends in the foreseeable future. The terms of the Deerfield Facility Agreement limits our ability to pay dividends.

 

Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans

 

The information regarding securities authorized for issuance under equity compensation plans is included in Part III of this report.

 

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

 

Not applicable.

 

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

 

Not applicable.

 

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ITEM 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS 

 

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our financial statements and related notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or set forth elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business and related financing, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. As a result of many factors, including those factors set forth in the “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, our actual results could differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis.

 

Overview

 

We are a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of proprietary prodrugs to treat serious medical conditions through our proprietary Ligand Activated Therapy, or LAT™, technology. We utilize our proprietary LAT technology to generate improved prodrug versions of drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, as well as to generate prodrug versions of existing compounds that may have applications for new disease indications. Our product candidate pipeline is focused on the high need areas of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and stimulant use disorder, or SUD. Our co-lead clinical development candidates, KP415 and KP484, are both based on a prodrug of d-methylphenidate, or d-MPH, but with differing extended-release, or ER, effect profiles, and are intended for the treatment of ADHD. Our preclinical product candidate for the treatment of SUD is KP879, based on a prodrug of d-MPH. In addition, we have announced our commercial partnership with KVK Tech, Inc., or KVK, of APADAZ®, an FDA approved immediate-release, or IR, combination product of benzhydrocodone, our prodrug of hydrocodone, and acetaminophen, or APAP, for the short-term (no more than 14 days) management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate.

 

We expect that our only source of revenues will be through payments arising from our license agreements with KVK and Commave, and through any other future arrangements we might enter into related to one of our other product candidates. To date, we have only generated revenue from the KP415 License Agreement in the form of the non-refundable upfront payment of $10.0 million, of which we paid Aquestive $1.0 million as a royalty payment, reimbursement of out-of-pocket third-party research and development costs and payments related to the performance of consulting services. We had negative cash flows from operations since our inception and, as of December 31, 2019, had an accumulated deficit of $245.7 million. Our negative cash flows from operations for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 were $23.7 million and $54.2 million, respectively.

 

We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and negative operating cash flows for the foreseeable future, and those expenses and losses may fluctuate significantly from quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year. We anticipate that our expenses will fluctuate substantially as we:

 

 

continue our ongoing preclinical studies, clinical trials and our product development activities for our pipeline of product candidates;

     
 

seek regulatory approvals for any product candidates that successfully complete clinical trials;

     
 

continue research and preclinical development and initiate clinical trials of our other product candidates;

     
 

seek to discover and develop additional product candidates either internally or in partnership with other pharmaceutical companies;

     
 

adapt our regulatory compliance efforts to incorporate requirements applicable to marketed products;

     
 

maintain, expand and protect our intellectual property portfolio; and

     
 

incur additional legal, accounting and other expenses in operating as a public company.

 

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Our commercial revenue, if any, will be derived from sales of APADAZ or any other product candidates for which we obtain regulatory approval. In October 2018, we entered into the APADAZ License Agreement with KVK, pursuant to which we granted an exclusive license to KVK to commercialize APADAZ in the United States, and in September 2019, we entered into the KP415 License Agreement, pursuant to which we granted an exclusive, worldwide license to Commave to develop, manufacture and commercialize our product candidates containing SDX and d-MPH, including KP415 and KP484. We cannot guarantee that KVK or Commave will be able to successfully commercialize APADAZ or our product candidates covered under the KP415 License Agreement, or that we will ever receive any payments under the APADAZ License Agreement from commercial sales of APADAZ or any future payments under the KP415 License Agreement. We also do not know when, if ever, any other product candidate will be commercially available. Accordingly, we will need to continue to rely on additional financing to achieve our business objectives. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or debt, the terms of these securities may restrict our ability to operate. If we raise additional funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may be required to relinquish valuable rights. If we are unable to raise capital when needed or on attractive terms, we could be forced to delay, reduce or altogether cease our research and development programs or future commercialization efforts.

 

Our recurring negative cash flows from operations and stockholders' deficit raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. We expect that our only source of revenues will be through payments arising from our license agreements with KVK and Commave, and through any other future arrangements related to one of our other product candidates. Accordingly, our ability to continue as a going concern will require us to obtain additional financing to fund our operations. The perception of our inability to continue as a going concern may make it more difficult for us to obtain financing for the continuation of our operations and could result in the loss of confidence by investors, suppliers and employees. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or debt, the terms of these securities may restrict our ability to operate. If we raise additional funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may be required to relinquish valuable rights. If we are unable to raise capital when needed or on attractive terms, we could be forced to delay, reduce or altogether cease our research and development programs or future commercialization efforts.

 

Third-Party Agreements

 

APADAZ License Agreement

 

In October 2018, we entered into the APADAZ License Agreement with KVK pursuant to which we have granted an exclusive license to KVK to conduct regulatory activities for, manufacture and commercialize APADAZ in the United States.

 

Pursuant to the APADAZ License Agreement, KVK has agreed to pay us certain payments and cost reimbursements of an estimated $3.4 million, which includes a payment of $2.0 million within 10 days of the achievement of a specified milestone related to the initial formulary adoption of APADAZ, or the Initial Adoption Milestone. In addition, KVK has agreed to make additional payments to us upon the achievement of specified sales milestones of up to $53.0 million in the aggregate. Further, we and KVK will share the quarterly net profits of APADAZ by KVK in the United States at specified tiered percentages, ranging from us receiving 30% to 50% of net profits, based on the amount of net sales on a rolling four quarter basis. We are responsible for a portion of commercialization and regulatory expenses for APADAZ until the Initial Adoption Milestone is achieved, after which KVK will be responsible for all expenses incurred in connection with commercialization and maintaining regulatory approval in the United States.

 

The APADAZ License Agreement will terminate on the later of the date that all of the patent rights for APADAZ have expired in the United States or KVK’s cessation of commercialization of APADAZ in the United States. KVK may terminate the APADAZ License Agreement upon 90 days written notice if a regulatory authority in the United States orders KVK to stop sales of APADAZ due to a safety concern. In addition, after the third anniversary of the APADAZ License Agreement, KVK may terminate the APADAZ License Agreement without cause upon 18 months prior written notice. We may terminate the APADAZ License Agreement if KVK stops conducting regulatory activities for or commercializing APADAZ in the United States for a period of six months, subject to specified exceptions, or if KVK or its affiliates challenge the validity, enforceability or scope of any licensed patent under the APADAZ License Agreement. Both parties may terminate the APADAZ License Agreement (i) upon a material breach of the APADAZ License Agreement, subject to a 30-day cure period, (ii) the other party encounters bankruptcy or insolvency or (iii) if the Initial Adoption Milestone is not achieved. Upon termination, all licenses and other rights granted by us to KVK pursuant to the APADAZ License Agreement would revert to us.

 

The APADAZ License Agreement also established a joint steering committee, which monitors progress of the commercialization of APADAZ.

 

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KP415/484 License Agreement

 

In September 2019, we entered into the KP415 License Agreement with Commave. Under the KP415 License Agreement, we granted to Commave an exclusive, worldwide license to develop, manufacture and commercialize our product candidates containing SDX and d-MPH, including KP415, KP484, and, at the option of Commave, KP879, KP922 or any other product candidate developed by us containing SDX and developed to treat ADHD or any other central nervous system disorder, or the Additional Product Candidates and, collectively with KP415 and KP484, the Licensed Product Candidates.

 

Under the terms of the KP415 License Agreement, we granted Commave an exclusive, worldwide license to commercialize and develop the Licensed Product Candidates; provided that such license shall apply to an Additional Product Candidates only if Commave exercises its option under the KP415 License Agreement related thereto. If Commave exercises its option related to any Additional Product Candidate under the KP415 License Agreement, the parties are obligated to negotiate in good faith regarding the economic terms of such Additional Product Candidate. We also granted to Commave a right of first refusal to acquire, license or commercialize any Additional Product Candidate, with such right of first refusal expiring upon the acceptance of a new drug application for such Additional Product Candidate. We also granted Commave a right of first negotiation and a right of first refusal, subject to specified exceptions, for any assignment of our rights under the KP415 License Agreement.

 

Pursuant to the KP415 License Agreement, Commave paid us an upfront payment of $10.0 million and agreed to pay up to $63.0 million in milestone payments upon the occurrence of specified regulatory milestones related to the KP415 and KP484. In addition, Commave agreed to make additional payments upon the achievement of specified U.S. sales milestones of up to $420.0 million in the aggregate, depending, among other things, on timing of approval for a new drug applicable for KP415 and its final approved label, if any. Further, Commave will pay us quarterly, tiered royalty payments ranging from a percentage in the high single digits to the mid-twenties of Net Sales (as defined in the KP415 License Agreement) in the United States and a percentage in the low to mid-single digits of Net Sales in each country outside the United States, in each case subject to specified reductions under certain conditions as described in the KP415 License Agreement. Commave is obligated to make such royalty payments on a product-by-product basis until expiration of the Royalty Term (as defined in the KP415 License Agreement) for the applicable product.

 

Commave agreed to be responsible for and reimburse us for all of development, commercialization and regulatory expenses for the Licensed Product Candidates, subject to certain limitations as set forth in the KP415 License Agreement.

 

The KP415 License Agreement will continue on a product-by-product basis (i) until expiration of the Royalty Term for the applicable Licensed Product Candidate in the United States and (ii) perpetually for all other countries. Commave may terminate the KP415 License Agreement at its convenience upon prior written notice prior to regulatory approval of any Licensed Product Candidate or upon prior written notice after regulatory approval of any Licensed Product Candidate. We may terminate the KP415 License Agreement in full if Commave, any of its sublicensees or any of its or their affiliates challenge the validity of any Licensed Patent (as defined in the KP415 License Agreement) and such challenge is not required under a court order or subpoena and is not a defense against a claim, action or proceeding asserted by us. Either party may terminate the KP415 License Agreement (i) upon a material breach of the KP415 License Agreement by the other party, subject to a cure period, or (ii) if the other party encounters bankruptcy or insolvency. Upon a Serious Material Breach (as defined in the KP415 License Agreement) by us, subject to a cure period, Commave may choose not to terminate the KP415 License Agreement and instead reduce the milestone and royalty payments owed to us. Upon termination, all licenses and other rights granted by us to Commave pursuant to the KP415 License Agreement would revert to us. During the term of the KP415 License Agreement, we may not develop or commercialize any Competing Product (as defined in the KP415 License Agreement).

 

The KP415 License Agreement also established a joint steering committee, which monitors progress of the development of both KP415 and KP484. Subject to the oversight of the joint steering committee, we otherwise retain all responsibility for the conduct of all regulatory activities required to obtain new drug application approval of KP415 and KP484; provided that Commave shall be the sponsor of any clinical trials conducted by us on behalf of Commave.

 

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JMI Agreement

 

In November 2009, we entered into the Supply Agreement with JMI, whereby JMI has agreed to supply us with all the benzhydrocodone necessary for clinical trials and commercial sale for a price equal to JMI's manufacturing cost and to provide process optimization and development services for benzhydrocodone. In exchange, we issued shares of our common stock to JMI, provided that the commercial supply arrangement for benzhydrocodone would be exclusive to JMI in the United States and agreed to pay JMI royalties on the net sales of any products that utilize benzhydrocodone as the API. The percentage royalty rate ranges from the high teens at low volumes to the mid-single digits at higher volumes. Our FDA-approved drug, APADAZ, contains benzhydrocodone.

 

We are responsible for all costs of any benzhydrocodone manufactured during a specified validation process for APADAZ. After completion of the validation process, but prior to the commercial launch of any products that utilize benzhydrocodone as the API JMI will manufacture batches of benzhydrocodone at a price to be negotiated. Failure to agree upon this pricing would result in JMI supplying these batches to us free of charge and we would pay JMI an additional royalty payment on such batches. The percentage royalty rate ranges from the low teens at low volumes to the low single digits at higher volumes and is additive to any minimum royalty we may owe JMI on such batch. JMI will manufacture and supply benzhydrocodone at a price equal to JMI's fully allocated manufacturing cost after commercial launch of APADAZ.

 

We must purchase all our U.S. benzhydrocodone needs from JMI and JMI cannot supply benzhydrocodone to other companies. After the commercial launch of any product that utilizes benzhydrocodone as the API, JMI is required to identify a secondary manufacturing site and qualify and validate that site to produce benzhydrocodone.

 

The term of the supply agreement extends as long as we hold a valid and enforceable patent for benzhydrocodone or until the tenth anniversary of the commercial launch of any product that utilizes benzhydrocodone as the API, whichever date is later. Upon the expiration of such term, the agreement will automatically renew for a period of two years unless either party provides 12 months' prior notice of its intent not to renew.

 

Other Third-Party Agreements

 

Under our March 2012 asset purchase agreement with Shire, Shire had a right of first refusal to acquire, license or commercialize KP415 and KP484. In early 2019, Shire was acquired by Takeda to whom this right of first refusal was transferred at that time. Takeda did not exercise this right of first refusal in connection with our entry into the KP415 License Agreement.

 

Under our March 2012 termination agreement with Aquestive, Aquestive has the right to receive a royalty amount equal to 10% of any value generated by KP415, KP484 or KP879, and any product candidates containing SDX, including royalty payments on any license of KP415, KP484 or KP879, the sale of KP415, KP484 or KP879 to a third party, the commercialization of KP415, KP484 or KP879 and the portion of any consideration that is attributable to the value of KP415, KP484 or KP879 and paid to us or our stockholders in a change of control transaction. In connection with the KP415 License Agreement, we paid Aquestive a royalty equal to 10% of the upfront license payment we received in the third quarter of 2019.

 

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Components of our Results of Operations

 

Revenue

 

Our commercial revenue, if any, will be derived from sales of APADAZ or any other product candidates for which we obtain regulatory approval. We expect that our only source of revenues will be through payments arising from our license agreements with KVK and Commave, and through any other future arrangements related to one of our other product candidates. To date, we have only generated revenue from the KP415 License Agreement in the form of the non-refundable upfront payment of $10.0 million, of which we paid Aquestive $1.0 million as a royalty payment, reimbursement of out-of-pocket third-party research and development costs and payments related to the performance of consulting services. We cannot guarantee that KVK or Commave will be able to successfully commercialize APADAZ or our product candidates covered under the KP415 License Agreement, or that we will ever receive any payments under the APADAZ License Agreement from commercial sales of APADAZ or any future payments under the KP415 License Agreement. We also do not know when, if ever, any other product candidate will be commercially available.

 

Royalties and Contract Costs

 

The components of our royalties and contract costs are royalties and expenses directly attributable to revenue. To date, we have only generated revenue from the KP415 License Agreement in the form of the non-refundable upfront payment of $10.0 million, reimbursement of out-of-pocket third-party research and development costs and payments related to the performance of consulting services. In connection with the KP415 License Agreement, we paid Aquestive a royalty equal to 10% of the upfront license payment we received in the third quarter of 2019 and capitalized incremental costs directly attributable to the KP415 License Agreement, these costs are amortized to royalties and contract costs as revenue is recognized.

 

Operating Expenses

 

We classify our operating expenses into three categories: research and development expenses, general and administrative expenses and severance expense. Salaries and personnel-related costs, including benefits, bonuses and stock-based compensation expense, comprise a significant component of each of these expense categories. We allocate expenses associated with our facilities, information technology costs and depreciation and amortization between research and development expenses and general and administrative expenses based on employee headcount and the nature of work performed by each employee.

 

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Research and Development Expense

 

Research and development expense consists of expenses incurred while performing research and development activities to discover and develop potential product candidates. This includes conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials, manufacturing development efforts and activities related to regulatory filings for product candidates. We recognize research and development expenses as they are incurred. Our research and development expense primarily consists of:

 

 

salaries and personnel-related costs, including benefits and any stock-based compensation, for our scientific personnel performing research and development activities;

     
 

costs related to executing preclinical studies and clinical trials;

     
 

fees paid to consultants and other third parties who support our product candidate development;

     
 

other costs in seeking regulatory approval of our products; and

     
 

allocated facility-related costs and overhead.

 

We typically use our employee, consultant and infrastructure resources across our development programs. We track outsourced development costs by product candidate or development program, but we do not allocate personnel costs, other internal costs or external consultant costs to specific product candidates or development programs.

 

The following table summarizes our research and development costs for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 (in thousands):

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

   

2019

 

2018

Outsourced development costs directly identified to programs:

               

KP415

  $ 7,831     $ 28,798  

KP484

    24       195  

APADAZ

    3,866       4,150  

Total outsourced development costs directly identified to programs

    11,721       33,143  

Research and development costs not directly identified to programs:

               

Personnel costs including cash compensation, benefits and stock-based compensation

    5,204       6,244  

Facilities costs

    599       473  

Other costs

    1,891       1,899  

Total research and development costs not directly allocated to programs

    7,694       8,616  

Total research and development expenses

  $ 19,415     $ 41,759  

 

We anticipate that our research and development expense will fluctuate for the foreseeable future as we continue our efforts to advance the development of our product candidates, subject to the availability of additional funding. In accordance with the KP415 License Agreement, Commave has also agreed to be responsible and reimburse us for all of development, commercialization and regulatory expenses for the Licensed Product Candidates, subject to certain limitations as set forth in the KP415 License Agreement.

 

The successful commercialization of APADAZ and our product candidates, if approved, and development of our product candidates is highly uncertain. At this time, we cannot reasonably estimate the nature, timing or costs required to commercialize APADAZ or our product candidates, if approved, and complete the remaining development of any product candidates. This is due to the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with the commercialization and development of products and product candidates.

 

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General and Administrative Expense

 

General and administrative expense consists primarily of salaries and personnel-related costs, including employee benefits and any stock-based compensation, for employees performing functions other than research and development. This includes personnel in executive, finance, human resources and administrative support functions. Other general and administrative expenses include facility-related costs not otherwise allocated to research and development expense, professional fees for auditing, tax and legal services, expenses associated with obtaining and maintaining patents, consulting costs and costs of our information systems.

 

We expect that our general and administrative expense will fluctuate as we continue to operate as a public reporting company and continue to develop our product candidates. We believe that these fluctuations will likely include costs related to the hiring of additional personnel and fees for outside consultants, lawyers and accountants. We also expect to continue to incur costs to comply with corporate governance, internal controls, investor relations, disclosure and similar requirements applicable to public reporting companies.

 

Severance Expense

 

Severance expense consisted of severance payments and stock-based compensation paid to our former executive vice president, government and public relations who resigned in August 2018. We had no severance expense in 2019. We anticipate that we will have additional severance expense in 2020 for severance payments and stock-based compensation to be paid to our former chief business officer who ceased to serve in this role in February 2020.

 

Other (Expense) Income

 

Other (expense) income consists primarily of non-cash costs associated with fair value adjustments to our derivative and warrant liability and amortization of debt issuance costs and debt discount to interest expense. Other (expense) income also includes interest expense incurred on our outstanding borrowings, as well as, interest and other income consisting primarily of interest earned on investments. Additionally, we recognized a gain on extinguishment of debt for the year ended December 31, 2019, related to the exchange of $9.6 million of principal on the 2021 Notes for Series A Preferred Stock in October 2018. These items are unrelated to our core business and thus are recognized as other (expense) income in our statements of operations.

 

Income Tax Benefit

 

Income tax benefit consists of refundable state income tax credits. To date, we have not been required to pay U.S. federal or state income taxes because we have not generated taxable income. We have received state income tax credits related to our qualified research activities in Iowa.

 

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Results of Operations

 

Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 (in thousands):

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

Period-to

   

2019

 

2018

 

Period Change

Revenue

  $ 12,839     $ -     $ 12,839  

Operating expenses:

                       
Royalties and contract costs     2,945       -       2,945  

Research and development

    19,415       41,759       (22,344 )

General and administrative

    10,816       12,508       (1,692 )

Severance expense

    -       1,636       (1,636 )

Total operating expenses

    33,176       55,903       (22,727 )

Loss from operations

    (20,337 )     (55,903 )     35,566  

Other (expense) income:

                       

Gain on extinguishment of debt

    -       2       (2 )

Interest expense related to amortization of debt issuance costs and discount

    (1,656 )     (1,618 )     (38 )

Interest expense on principal

    (4,858 )     (5,469 )     611  

Fair value adjustment related to derivative and warrant liability

    1,998       5,976       (3,978 )

Interest and other income, net

    309       420       (111 )

Total other (expense) income

    (4,207 )     (689 )     (3,518 )

Loss before income taxes

    (24,544 )     (56,592 )     32,048  

Income tax benefit

    22       126       (104 )

Net loss

  $ (24,522 )   $ (56,466 )   $ 31,944  

 

Net Loss

 

Net loss for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $24.5 million, a decrease of $31.9 million compared to net loss for the year ended December 31, 2018 of $56.5 million. The decrease was primarily attributable to a decrease in loss from operations of $35.6 million and a decrease in net interest expense and other items of $0.4 million, partially offset by a decrease in non-cash fair value adjustment income of $4.0 million related changes to the derivative and warrant liability.

 

Revenue

 

Revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $12.8 million, which was comprised of a $10.0 million non-refundable up-front payment, $1.1 million of reimbursements for out-of-pocket third-party research and development costs and $1.7 million of consulting fees earned, all related to the KP415 License Agreement. We had no revenue for the year ended December 31, 2018

 

Royalties and Contract Costs

 

Royalties and contract costs for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $2.9 million, which was comprised of a royalty payment to Aquestive related to the $10.0 million non-refundable upfront payment under the KP415 License Agreement and $1.9 million of contract costs which were directly attributable to the revenue recognized. We had no royalties and contract costs for the year ended December 31, 2018.

 

Research and Development

 

Research and development expenses decreased by $22.3 million, from $41.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, to $19.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. This decrease was primarily attributable to a decrease in net third-party research and development costs and personnel-related costs.

 

General and Administrative

 

General and administrative expenses decreased by $1.7 million, from $12.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, to $10.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. This decrease was primarily attributable to a decrease in personnel-related costs.  

 

Severance Expense

 

Severance expense of $1.6 million was recognized for the year ended December 31, 2018 due to the resignation of our executive vice president, government and public relations in August 2018. Severance expense is comprised of $0.4 million of severance payments and $1.2 million of stock compensation expense related to the acceleration of vesting on certain stock options upon termination. We had no severance expense for the year ended December 31, 2019.

 

Other (Expense) Income

 

Other (expense) income increased by $3.5 million, from expense of $0.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, to expense of $4.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. This period-to-period increase in expense was primarily attributable to a decrease in non-cash fair value adjustment income related to our derivative and warrant liability, partially offset by a decrease in net interest expense and other items.

 

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Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

Sources of Liquidity

 

Through December 31, 2019, we have funded our research and development and operating activities primarily through the issuance of debt, private placements of redeemable convertible preferred stock and the sale of common stock in our initial public offering, at-the-market offering, underwritten public offerings, through our Prior Purchase Agreement with Lincoln Park, and from revenue received under the KP415 License Agreement. As of December 31, 2019, we had cash and cash equivalents of $3.2 million and restricted cash of $0.3 million.

 

We filed a registration statement on Form S-3 covering the sale from time to time of up to $150.0 million of our common stock, preferred stock, debt and/or warrants, which was declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, on October 17, 2016, or the Current Registration Statement. In October 2019, the Company filed a registration on Form S-3 covering the sale of up to $80.0 million of the Company's common stock, preferred stock, and debt and/or warrants, or the Replacement Registration Statement. Once the Replacement Registration Statement is declared effective by the SEC, the Company will no longer make any sales under the Current Registration Statement.

 

Based on the market value of our outstanding common stock held by non-affiliates as of February 28, 2020, the date we filed this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, in order to issue securities under the Current Registration Statement and the Replacement Registration Statement, once effective, we must rely on Instruction I.B.6. of Form S-3, which imposes a limitation on the maximum amount of securities that we may sell pursuant to the registration statements during any twelve-month period. At the time we sell securities pursuant to the applicable registration statement, the amount of securities to be sold plus the amount of any securities we have sold during the prior twelve months in reliance on Instruction I.B.6. may not exceed one-third of the aggregate market value of our outstanding common stock held by non-affiliates as of a day during the 60 days immediately preceding such sale, as computed in accordance with Instruction I.B.6. This calculation is updated immediately upon filing this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019. As of filing this Annual Report, based on this calculation, the amount of securities we are able to sell under a registration statement on Form S-3 is approximately $10.9 million, of which we (i) have filed a prospectus supplement to register approximately $4.0 million for sales under the Purchase Agreement (as defined below); and (ii) have previously sold an aggregate of $5.7 million of shares of common stock in prior offering on Form S-3 in the previous 12 months. Based on this calculation, we expect that we will be unable to sell additional securities beyond those amounts pursuant to our Current Registration Statement or the Replacement Registration Statement, once effective, in the near term, unless and until the market value of our outstanding common stock held by non-affiliates increases significantly. In addition, under the terms of the Purchase Agreement, stockholder approval may be required to access a portion of the amounts available under the Purchase Agreement.

 

In September 2018, we entered into the Second ATM Agreement with RBCCM, under which we may offer and sell, from time to time, in our sole discretion, shares of common stock having an aggregate offering price of up to $50,000,000 through RBCCM as our sales agent. The registration statement on Form S-3 originally contemplated under the Second ATM Agreement includes a prospectus supplement covering the offering of up to $50,000,000 of shares of common stock in accordance with the Second ATM Agreement, but in February 2020, we filed a prospectus supplement to our registration statement on Form S-3 to terminate this offering in its entirety. As a result, we do not anticipate making any sales under the Second ATM Agreement in the near term, if at all. Through the date of termination we did not sell any shares of common stock under the Second ATM Agreement.

 

In October 2018, we entered into an underwriting agreement with RBCCM pursuant to which we sold 8,333,334 shares of our common stock in an underwritten public offering pursuant to our registration statement on Form S-3. Our net proceeds from the offering were approximately $23.1 million after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses.

 

In February 2019, we entered into the Prior Purchase Agreement with Lincoln Park, which provided that, upon the terms and subject to the conditions and limitations set forth therein, we may sell to Lincoln Park up to $15.0 million of shares of our common stock, from time to time over the 36-month term of the Prior Purchase Agreement, and upon execution of the Prior Purchase Agreement we issued an additional 120,200 shares of our common stock to Lincoln Park as commitment shares in accordance with the closing conditions contained within the Prior Purchase Agreement. Concurrently with entering into the Prior Purchase Agreement, we also entered into a registration rights agreement with Lincoln Park, pursuant to which we agreed to register the sale of the shares of our common stock that have been and may be issued to Lincoln Park under the Prior Purchase Agreement pursuant to our existing shelf registration statement on Form S-3 or a new registration statement. Upon entering into the Purchase Agreement with Lincoln Park, we terminated the Prior Purchase Agreement and we filed a prospectus supplement to our registration statement on Form S-3 to terminate this offering in its entirety. As a result, we will not make any future sales under the Prior Purchase Agreement. Through the date of termination we sold 3,401,271 shares of our common stock to Lincoln Park under the Prior Purchase Agreement for approximately $5.4 million in gross proceeds.

 

In September 2019, we entered into the KP415 License Agreement with Commave and Commave paid us a non-refundable upfront payment of $10.0 million.

 

In February 2020, we entered into the Purchase Agreement with Lincoln Park, which provided that, upon the terms and subject to the conditions and limitations set forth therein, we may sell to Lincoln Park up to $4.0 million of shares of our common stock, from time to time over the 12-month term of the Purchase Agreement, and upon execution of the Purchase Agreement we issued an additional 308,637 shares of our common stock to Lincoln Park as commitment shares in accordance with the closing conditions contained within the Purchase Agreement. Concurrently with entering into the Purchase Agreement, we also entered into a registration rights agreement with Lincoln Park, pursuant to which we agreed to register the sale of the shares of our common stock that have been and may be issued to Lincoln Park under the Purchase Agreement pursuant to our existing shelf registration statement on Form S-3 or a new registration statement.

 

We had negative operating cash flows since our inception and, as of December 31, 2019, had an accumulated deficit of $245.7 million. We anticipate that we will continue to incur negative operating flows for at least the next several years. Our recurring negative cash flows from operations and stockholders' deficit raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. We expect that our only source of revenues will be through payments arising from our license agreements with KVK and Commave, or through any other future arrangements related to one of our other product candidates. Accordingly, our ability to continue as a going concern may require us to obtain additional financing to fund our operations. The perception of our inability to continue as a going concern may make it more difficult for us to obtain financing for the continuation of our operations and could result in the loss of confidence by investors, suppliers and employees. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or debt, the terms of these securities may restrict our ability to operate. If we raise additional funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may be required to relinquish valuable rights. If we are unable to raise capital when needed or on attractive terms, we could be forced to delay, reduce or altogether cease our research and development programs or future commercialization efforts.

 

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Convertible Debt

 

As of December 31, 2019, we had $80.2 million of convertible notes outstanding, consisting of (i) senior secured convertible promissory notes issued under the Deerfield Facility Agreement in the aggregate principal amount of $77.2 million and (ii) one 5.50% Senior Convertible Note due 2021, or the 2021 Note, in the principal amount of $3.0 million.

 

Deerfield Facility Agreement

 

In June 2014, we entered into the Deerfield Facility Agreement as a $60.0 million multi-tranche credit facility with Deerfield. At the time we entered into the Deerfield Facility Agreement, we borrowed the first tranche, which consisted of a $15.0 million term note and the $10.0 million convertible note, or the Deerfield Convertible Note. We used approximately $18.6 million of the net proceeds from the offering of the 2021 Notes to repay in full the $15.0 million original principal amount on the term note issued under the Deerfield Facility Agreement plus all accrued but unpaid interest on the term note, a make whole interest payment on the term note and a prepayment premium on the term note. Deerfield is no longer obligated to provide us any additional disbursements under the Deerfield Facility Agreement. 

 

The Deerfield Convertible Note originally bore interest at 9.75% per annum, but was subsequently reduced to 6.75%. Interest accrued on the outstanding balance under the Deerfield Convertible Note was due quarterly in arrears. We originally had to repay one-third of the outstanding principal amount of the Deerfield Convertible Note on the fourth and fifth anniversaries of the Deerfield Facility Agreement (June 2018 and June 2019). In June 2018, Deerfield agreed to convert the $3,333,333 of the principal amount then due, plus $168,288 of accrued interest, into 598,568 shares of our common stock. In September 2019, we entered into an amendment with Deerfield in order to (i) reduce the interest rate applicable under the Deerfield Facility Agreement from 9.75% to 6.75%, (ii) provide for “payment in kind” of interest on the Loans (as defined in the Deerfield Facility Agreement), and (iii) defer the Loan payments due pursuant to the Deerfield Facility Agreement until June 1, 2020. In December 2019, we entered into another amendment with Deerfield in order to (i) defer the Loan payments due pursuant to the Deerfield Facility Agreement until March 31, 2021 and (ii) allow for the entries of additional debt and debt holders under the Deerfield Facility Agreement (as discussed in more detail below). We are also obligated to repay principal in the amount of $6,980,824 plus any capitalized interest to date on March 31, 2021. Prepayment of the outstanding balance is not allowed without written consent of Deerfield.

 

Pursuant to the Deerfield Facility Agreement, we issued to Deerfield 1,923,077 shares of our Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock, or Series D Preferred, as consideration for the loans provided to us thereunder. Upon closing of our initial public offering, these shares of Series D Preferred reclassified into 256,410 shares of our common stock.

 

We also issued to Deerfield the Deerfield Warrant to purchase 14,423,076 shares of our Series D Preferred at an initial exercise price of $0.78 per share, or the Deerfield Warrant. Upon closing of our initial public offering, this warrant converted into a warrant exercisable for 1,923,077 shares of our common stock at an exercise price of $5.85 per share.

 

Pursuant to the Deerfield Facility Agreement, we may not enter into specified transactions, including a debt financing in the aggregate value of $750,000 or more, other than permitted indebtedness under the Deerfield Facility Agreement, a merger, an asset sale or any other change of control transaction or any joint venture, partnership or other profit-sharing arrangement, without the prior approval of the Required Lenders (as defined in the Deerfield Facility Agreement). Additionally, if we were to enter into a major transaction, including a merger, consolidation, sale of substantially all of our assets or other change of control transaction, Deerfield would have the ability to demand that prior to consummation of such transaction we repay all outstanding principal and accrued interest of the Deerfield Convertible Note. Deerfield has the right to demand that we redeem the Deerfield Warrant for a cash amount equal to the Black-Scholes value of a portion of the warrant upon the occurrence of specified events, including a merger, an asset sale or any other change of control transaction.

 

The Deerfield Facility Agreement also includes high yield discount obligation protections that went into effect in June 2019. Going forward, if at any interest payment date our outstanding indebtedness under the Deerfield Facility Agreement would qualify as an "applicable high yield discount obligation" under the Code, then we are obligated to prepay in cash on each such date the amount necessary to avoid such classification.

 

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2021 Notes

 

In February 2016, we issued the 2021 Notes in aggregate principal amount of $86.3 million. The 2021 Notes were originally issued to Cowen and Company LLC and RBCCM as representatives of the several initial purchasers, who subsequently resold the 2021 Notes to qualified institutional buyers in reliance on the exemption from registration provided by Rule 144A under the Securities Act.  

 

The 2021 Notes were issued pursuant to an indenture, dated as of February 9, 2016, or the indenture, between the Company and U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee. Interest on the 2021 Notes was payable semi-annually in cash in arrears on February 1 and August 1 of each year, beginning on August 1, 2016, at a rate of 5.50% per year. The 2021 Notes originally matured on February 1, 2021 unless earlier converted or repurchased.  

 

The 2021 Notes were not redeemable prior to the maturity date, and no sinking fund was provided for the 2021 Notes. The 2021 Notes were convertible at an initial conversion rate of 58.4454 shares of our common stock per $1,000 principal amount of the 2021 Notes, subject to adjustment under the indenture, which was equal to an initial conversion price of approximately $17.11 per share of our common stock.

 

If we underwent a "fundamental change" (as defined in the indenture), holders may require that we repurchase for cash all or any portion of their 2021 Notes at a fundamental change repurchase price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the 2021 Notes to be repurchased, plus accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, the fundamental change repurchase date.

 

The indenture included customary terms and covenants, including certain events of default after which the 2021 Notes may be due and payable immediately.

 

As described in more detail below, in multiple exchanges occurring in October 2018, December 2019 and January 2020, all outstanding 2021 Notes were exchanged by the holders thereof for either shares of our common stock or senior secured convertible promissory notes issued under the terms of the Deerfield Facility Agreement.

 

2021 Note Exchanges

 

2021 Note Exchange Effected in October 2018

 

In October 2018, we entered into an exchange agreement, or the October 2018 Exchange Agreement, with the Deerfield Lenders Under the October 2018 Exchange Agreement, the Deerfield Lenders exchanged an aggregate of $9,577,000 principal amount of our 2021 Notes for an aggregate of 9,577 shares of our Series A Convertible Preferred Stock, par value $0.0001, or the Series A Preferred Stock.

 

As a condition to closing of the October 2018 Exchange Agreement, we filed a Certificate of Designation of Preferences, Rights and Limitations of Series A Convertible Preferred Stock, or the Series A Certificate of Designation, with the Secretary of State of the State Delaware, setting forth the preferences, rights and limitations of the Series A Preferred Stock.

 

Each share of Series A Preferred Stock has an aggregate stated value of $1,000 and is convertible into shares of our common stock at a price equal to $3.00 per share (subject to adjustment to reflect stock splits and similar events). Immediately following the exchange under the October 2018 Exchange Agreement, an aggregate of 3,192,333 shares of common stock were issuable upon conversion of the Series A Preferred Stock. As of December 31, 2019, all 9,577 shares of Series A Preferred Stock issued under the October 2018 Exchange Agreement have been converted into an aggregate 3,192,333 shares of our common stock.

 

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2021 Note Exchange Effected in September 2019

 

In September 2019, we entered into the September 2019 Exchange Agreement with the Deerfield Lenders. Under the September 2019 Exchange Agreement, we issued an aggregate of 1,499,894 shares of our common stock and an aggregate of 1,576 shares of our Series B-1 Convertible Preferred Stock, par value $0.0001 per share, or the Series B-1 Preferred Stock, (such shares of common stock and Series B-1 Preferred Stock, the Initial Exchange Shares), in exchange for the cancellation of an aggregate of $3,000,000 principal amount of the 2021 Notes. The September 2019 Exchange Agreement provided the Deerfield Lenders the option to exchange up to an additional aggregate of $27,000,000 principal amount of the 2021 Notes, or the Optional Exchange Principal Amount, for shares of common stock or shares of our Series B-2 Convertible Preferred Stock, par value $0.0001 per share, or the Series B-2 Preferred Stock, and, together with the Series B-1 Preferred Stock, the Series B Preferred Stock, subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the September 2019 Exchange Agreement, including limits as to the principal amount that can be exchanged prior to specified dates therein. If the Deerfield Lenders choose to exchange any portion of the Optional Exchange Principal Amount for shares of Series B-2 Preferred Stock, such exchange will be effected at an exchange price of $1,000 per share. If the Deerfield Lenders choose to exchange any portion of the Optional Exchange Principal Amount for shares of common stock, such exchange will be effected at an exchange price equal to the greater of (i) $0.9494 or (ii) the average of the volume-weighted average price of the common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market on each of the 15 trading days immediately preceding such exchange.

 

As a condition to closing of the September 2019 Exchange Agreement, we filed a Certificate of Designation of Preferences, Rights and Limitations of Series B-1 Convertible Preferred Stock, or the Series B-1 Certificate of Designation, and a Certificate of Designation of Preferences, Rights and Limitations of Series B-2 Convertible Preferred Stock, or the Series B-2 Certificate of Designation, with the Secretary of State of the State Delaware, setting forth the preferences, rights and limitations of the Series B-1 Preferred Stock and the Series B-2 Preferred Stock, respectively. 

 

Each share of Series B-1 Preferred Stock has an aggregate stated value of $1,000 and is convertible into shares of common stock at a per share price equal to $0.9494 per share (subject to adjustment to reflect stock splits and similar events). There was an aggregate of 1,659,996 shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of the Series B-1 Preferred Stock (without giving effect to the limitation on conversion described below). Each share of Series B-2 Preferred Stock has an aggregate stated value of $1,000 and is convertible into shares of common stock at a per share price equal to the greater of (i) $0.9494 (subject to adjustment to reflect stock splits and similar events), or (ii) the average of the volume-weighted average prices of the common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market on each of the 15 trading days immediately preceding such exchange. Immediately following the exchange under the September 2019 Exchange Agreement, there was an aggregate of 28,439,015 shares of Common Stock issuable (i) in exchange of the Optional Exchange Principal Amount, or (ii) upon conversion of the Series B-2 Preferred Stock issuable in exchange of the Optional Exchange Principal Amount (in each case without giving effect to the limitation on conversion described below).

 

The Series B Preferred Stock is convertible at any time at the option of the Deerfield Lenders; provided that the Deerfield Lenders are prohibited from converting shares of Series B Preferred Stock into shares of common stock if, as a result of such conversion, such holders (together with certain affiliates and “group” members of such holders) would beneficially own more than 4.985% of the total number of shares of common stock then issued and outstanding. The Series B Preferred Stock is not redeemable. In the event of the Company’s liquidation, dissolution or winding up, the Deerfield Lenders will receive an amount equal to $0.0001 per share, plus any declared but unpaid dividends, and thereafter will share ratably in any distribution of our assets with holders of common stock and with the holders of any shares of any other class or series of capital stock of us entitled to share in such remaining assets of us (including our Series A Preferred Stock on an as-converted basis. With respect to rights upon liquidation, the Series B Preferred Stock ranks senior to the common stock, on parity with the Series A Preferred Stock, if any is outstanding, and junior to existing and future indebtedness. Except as otherwise required by law (or with respect to approval of certain actions involving our organizational documents that materially and adversely affect the holders of Series B Preferred Stock), the Series B Preferred Stock does not have voting rights. The Series B Preferred Stock is not subject to any price-based anti-dilution protections and does not provide for any accruing dividends, but provides that holders of Series B Preferred Stock will participate in any dividends on the common stock on an as-converted basis (without giving effect to the limitation on conversion described above). The Series B-1 Certificate of Designation and the Series B-2 Certificate of Designation also provide for partial liquidated damages in the event that the Company fails to timely convert shares of Series B-1 Preferred Stock or Series B-2 Preferred Stock, respectively, into common stock in accordance with the applicable Certificate of Designation.

 

As of December 31, 2019, 1,576 shares of Series B-1 Preferred Stock have been converted into 1,659,996 shares of common stock, and there were no shares of Series B-2 Preferred Stock outstanding.

 

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2021 Note Exchange Effected in December 2019

 

In December 2019, we entered into the December 2019 Exchange Agreement and Amendment to Facility Agreement, Senior Secured Convertible Notes and Warrants, or the December 2019 Exchange Agreement, with the Deerfield Lenders and Delaware Street Capital Master Fund, L.P., or DSC and, collectively with the Deerfield Lenders, the December 2019 Holders. Under the December 2019 Exchange Agreement, we issued senior secured convertible promissory notes under the Deerfield Facility Agreement in the aggregate principal amount of $71,418,011, or the December 2019 Notes, in exchange for the cancellation of an aggregate of $71,418,011 principal amount and accrued interest of the 2021 Notes. Upon entering into the December 2019 Exchange Agreement, we agreed to pay the December 2019 Holders, in the aggregate, an interest payment of $745,011, which represents 50% of the accrued interest, as of December 18, 2019, on the 2021 Notes owned by the December 2019 Holders. The remainder of such interest was included in the principal amount of the December 2019 Notes.

 

The December 2019 Notes bear interest at 6.75% per annum. The December 2019 Notes were originally convertible into shares of our common stock at an initial conversion price of $17.11 per share (which represents the conversion price of the 2021 Notes), subject to adjustment in accordance with the terms of the December 2019 Notes. As of the date of issuance, the December 2019 Notes were convertible, by their terms, into an aggregate of 4,174,051 shares of our common stock. We subsequently amended the December 2019 Notes to provide that such notes shall be convertible into shares of our common stock at a conversion price of $5.85 per share (which represents the conversion price of the Deerfield Convertible Note). The conversion price of the December 2019 Notes will be adjusted downward if we issue or sell any shares of common stock, convertible securities, warrants or options at a sale or exercise price per share less than the greater of the December 2019 Notes’ conversion price or the closing sale price of our common stock as reported on the Nasdaq Stock Market on the last trading date immediately prior to such issuance, or, in the case of a firm commitment underwritten offering, on the date of execution of the underwriting agreement between us and the underwriters for such offering. However, if we effect an “at the market offering” as defined in Rule 415 of the Securities Act or 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, of our common stock, the conversion price of the December 2019 Notes will be adjusted downward pursuant to this anti-dilution adjustment only if such sales are made at a price less than $5.85 per share, provided that this anti-dilution adjustment will not apply to any sales made under (x) the Purchase Agreement, (y) Second ATM Agreement, or (z) the September 2019 Exchange Agreement (as amended). Notwithstanding anything in the contrary in the December 2019 Notes, the anti-dilution adjustment of such notes shall not result in the conversion price of the December 2019 Notes being less than $0.583 per share. The December 2019 Notes are convertible at any time at the option of the holders thereof, provided that a holder of a December 2019 Note is prohibited from converting such note into shares of our common stock if, as a result of such conversion, such holder (together with certain affiliates and “group” members) would beneficially own more than 4.985% of the total number of shares of common stock then issued and outstanding. However, the December 2019 Note issued to DSC, due to the fact DSC was a beneficial owner of more than 4.985% of the total number of shares of our common stock then issued and outstanding, has a beneficial ownership cap equal to 19.985% of the total number of shares of our common stock then issued and outstanding. Pursuant to the December 2019 Notes, the December 2019 Holders have the option to demand repayment of all outstanding principal, and any unpaid interest accrued thereon, in connection with a Major Transaction (as defined in the December 2019 Notes), which shall include, among others, any acquisition or other change of control of the Company; a liquidation, bankruptcy or other dissolution of the Company; or if at any time after March 31, 2021, shares of our common stock are not listed on an Eligible Market (as defined in the December 2019 Notes). The December 2019 Notes are subject to specified events of default, the occurrence of which would entitle the December 2019 Holders to immediately demand repayment of all outstanding principal and accrued interest on the December 2019 Notes. Such events of default include, among others, failure to make any payment under the December 2019 Notes when due, failure to observe or perform any covenant under the Deerfield Facility Agreement or the other transaction documents related thereto (subject to a standard cure period), the failure of the Company to be able to pay debts as they come due, the commencement of bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings against the Company, a material judgement levied against the Company and a material default by the Company under the Deerfield Warrant, the December 2019 Notes or the Deerfield Convertible Note.

 

The December 2019 Exchange Agreement amends the Deerfield Facility Agreement, in order to, among other things, (i) provide for the Deerfield Facility Agreement to govern the December 2019 Notes received by the December 2019 Holders pursuant to the December 2019 Exchange Agreement, (ii) extend the maturity of the Deerfield Convertible Note from February 14, 2020 and June 1, 2020, as applicable, to March 31, 2021, (iii) defer interest payments on the Deerfield Convertible Note and December 2019 Notes until March 31, 2021 (which such interest shall accrue as “payment-in-kind” interest), (iv) designate DSC as a Lender under (and as defined in the Deerfield Facility Agreement), (v) name Deerfield as the “Collateral Agent” for all Lenders and (vi) modify the terms and conditions under which the Company may issue additional pari passu and subordinated indebtedness under the Deerfield Facility Agreement (subject to certain conditions specified in the Deerfield Facility Agreement).

 

The December 2019 Exchange Agreement also amends and restates that the Deerfield Convertible Note to conform the definitions of “Eligible Market” and “Major Transactions” to the definition in the December 2019 Notes, to remove provisions that were only applicable prior to our initial public offering and to make certain other changes to conform to the December 2019 Notes. The conversion price for the Deerfield Convertible Note remains $5.85 per share, subject to adjustment on the same basis as the December 2019 Notes, but subject to a floor price of $0.583.

 

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The December 2019 Exchange Agreement also amends Deerfield Warrant to conform the definitions of “Eligible Market” and “Major Transaction” in the Warrant with the definitions of such terms in the December 2019 Notes.

 

In connection with entering into the December 2019 Exchange Agreement, we also amended and restated the Guaranty and Security Agreement, dated June 2, 2014, by and between the Company and the other parties thereto, or the GSA, to, among other things, (i) provide that all of the notes will be secured by the liens securing the indebtedness under the Deerfield Facility Agreement, and (ii) name Deerfield as the “Collateral Agent” under the GSA.

 

In connection with entering into the December 2019 Exchange Agreement, we also entered into an amendment, or the September 2019 Exchange Agreement Amendment, to the September 2019 Exchange Agreement to, among other things, (i) amend and restate Annex I of the September 2019 Exchange Agreement to allow the Deerfield Lenders to effect optional exchanges of the December 2019 Notes and the Deerfield Convertible Note under the terms of the September 2019 Exchange Agreement; (ii) amend the common stock exchange price under the September 2019 Exchange Agreement to be a per share price equal to the greater of (x) $0.60, subject to adjustment to reflect stock splits and similar events, or (y) the average of the volume-weighted average prices of our common stock on the Nasdaq Stock Market on each of the 15 trading days immediately preceding such exchange, (iii) provide that no more than 28,439,015 of shares of the Company’s common stock shall be issued pursuant to optional exchanges under the September 2019 Exchange Agreement (whether by common stock exchange or upon conversion of Series B-2 Shares (as defined in the September 2019 Exchange Agreement Amendment)), subject to adjustment to reflect stock splits and similar events and (iv) eliminate limitations regarding the timing and aggregate amount of principal which may be exchanged under the September 2019 Exchange Agreement.

 

In connection with entering into the September 2019 Exchange Agreement Amendment, we filed an amendment to the Certificate of Designation of Preferences, Rights and Limitations of Series B-2 Convertible Preferred Stock, or the Series B-2 Certificate of Designation Amendment, with the Secretary of State of the State Delaware. The Series B-2 Certificate of Designation Amendment provides that each share of the  Series B-Preferred Stock is convertible into shares of the Company’s common stock at a per share price equal to the common stock exchange price under the September 2019 Exchange Agreement, which equals the greater of (i) $0.60 (subject to adjustment to reflect stock splits and similar events), or (ii) the average of the volume-weighted average prices of the Company’s common stock on the Nasdaq Stock Market on each of the 15 trading days immediately preceding such exchange.

 

As of December 31, 2019, the Deerfield Lenders have converted $1.2 million of principal on the December 2019 Notes into 2,000,000 shares of common stock.

 

2021 Note Exchange Effected in January 2020

 

In January 2020, we entered into a January 2020 Exchange Agreement, or the January 2020 Exchange Agreement, with M. Kingdon Offshore Master Fund, LP, or Kingdon. Under the January 2020 Exchange Agreement, we issued a senior secured convertible note in the aggregate principal amount of $3,037,354, or the January 2020 Note, in exchange for the cancellation of an aggregate of $3,037,354 principal amount and accrued interest of the 2021 Note then owned by Kingdon. Upon entering into the January 2020 Exchange Agreement, we agreed to pay Kingdon an interest payment of $37,354, which represents 50% of the accrued and unpaid interest, as of January 13, 2020, on Kingdon’s 2021 Note. The remainder of such interest was included in the principal amount of the January 2020 Note.

 

The January 2020 Note was issued with substantially the same terms and conditions as the December 2019 Notes (as amended by the amendment described in more detail below).

 

In connection with entering into the January 2020 Exchange Agreement, we entered into an Amendment to Facility Agreement and December 2019 Notes and Consent, or the December 2019 Note Amendment, with the December 2019 Holders that, among other things, (i) amended the December 2019 Notes to (a) reduce the Conversion Price (as defined in the December 2019 Notes) from $17.11 to $5.85 per share d (b) increased the Floor Price (as defined in the December 2019 Notes) from $0.38 to $0.583 per share, and (ii) amended Deerfield Facility Agreement to (x) provide for the Kingdon to join the Deerfield Facility Agreement as a Lender (as defined in the Deerfield Facility Agreement) and (y) provide that the 2020 Note and shall constitute a “Senior Secured Convertible Note” (as defined in the Deerfield Facility Agreement) for purposes of the Deerfield Facility Agreement and other Transaction Documents (as defined in the Deerfield Facility Agreement). As a result of the December 2019 Note Amendment, the December 2019 Notes were convertible, by their terms, into an aggregate of 11,753,016 shares of the Company’s common stock, assuming a conversion date of January 13, 2020.

 

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Cash Flows

 

The following table summarizes our cash flows for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 (in thousands):

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

Period-to

   

2019

 

2018

 

Period Change

Net cash used in operating activities

  $ (23,737 )   $ (54,203 )   $ 30,466  

Net cash provided by investing activities

    3,234       33,332       (30,098 )

Net cash provided by financing activities

    4,939       28,019       (23,080 )

Net (decrease) increase in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash

  $ (15,564 )   $ 7,148     $ (22,712 )

 

Operating Activities

 

For the year ended December 31, 2019, net cash used in operating activities of $23.7 million consisted of a net loss of $24.5 million, primarily attributable to our spending on research and development programs, partially offset by revenue received under the KP415 License Agreement, and $5.1 million in changes in working capital; partially offset by $5.9 million in adjustments for non-cash items. The adjustments for non-cash items primarily consisted of stock-based compensation expense of $4.4 million, non-cash interest expense of $1.4 million, amortization of debt issuance costs and debt discount of $1.7 million and $0.4 million related to depreciation, amortization and other items; partially offset by non-cash income related to the change in the fair value of our derivative and warrant liabilities of $2.0 million. The changes in working capital consisted of $1.7 million related to a change in accounts and other receivables, $3.8 million related to a change in accounts payable and accrued expenses, $1.5 million related to operating lease right-of-use assets and $0.8 million related to a change in other liabilities; partially offset by $0.5 million related to a change in prepaid expenses and other assets and $2.2 million related to operating lease liabilities.

 

For the year ended December 31, 2018, net cash used in operating activities of $54.2 million consisted of a net loss of $56.5 million, primarily attributable to our spending on research and development programs, and $2.3 million in changes in working capital, partially offset by $4.5 million in adjustments for non-cash items. The changes in working capital consisted of $1.6 million related to an increase in accounts payable and accrued expenses, $0.5 million related to an increase in prepaid expenses and other assets and $0.1 million related to other liabilities. The adjustments for non-cash items primarily consisted of stock-based compensation expense of $6.5 million, non-cash interest expense of $2.1 million, amortization of debt issuance costs and debt discount of $1.6 million and $0.3 million related to depreciation, amortization and other items, partially offset by non-cash income related to the change in the fair value of our derivative and warrant liabilities of $6.0 million.

 

Investing Activities

 

For the year ended December 31, 2019, net cash provided by investing activities was $3.2 million, which was primarily attributable to maturities of marketable securities.

 

For the year ended December 31, 2018, net cash provided by investing activities was $33.3 million, which was primarily attributable to maturities of marketable securities of $33.4 million, partially offset by purchases of property and equipment of $0.1 million.

Financing Activities

For the year ended December 31, 2019, net cash provided by financing activities was $4.9 million, which was primarily attributable to proceeds from sales of our common stock under the Prior Purchase Agreement of $5.4 million; partially offset by repayment of principal on finance lease liabilities of $0.2 million and payment of debt issuance costs of $0.3 million.

 

For the year ended December 31, 2018, net cash provided by financing activities was $28.0 million. This consisted of proceeds from the issuance of common stock under the underwritten public offering in October 2018, net of commissions, of $23.5 million, proceeds from the issuance of common stock under the First ATM agreement, net of commissions, of $4.8 million and proceeds from the exercise of common stock options of $0.1 million, partially offset by repayment of $0.2 million of obligations under capital lease arrangements and payment of $0.2 million of deferred offering costs.

 

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Future Funding Requirements

 

We anticipate that we will need substantial additional funding in connection with our continuing operations. Based upon our current operating plan, revenue projections and existing cash resources as of December 31, 2019, we believe our cash resources will be sufficient to fund operating expense and capital investment requirements into, but not through, the first quarter of 2021. If revenues are not as we project, we believe our existing resources are sufficient to fund our current operations into but not through the third quarter of 2020.

 

Potential near-term sources of additional funding include:

 

 

sales of common stock under the Purchase Agreement;

 

any revenues generated under the APADAZ License Agreement; and

 

any out-of-pocket third-party research and development cost reimbursements, consulting services revenue or short-term milestone payments generated under the KP415 License Agreement.

 

We cannot guarantee that we will be able to generate sufficient proceeds from any of these potential sources to fund our operating expenses. For instance, pursuant to the terms of the Purchase Agreement, stockholder approval may be required to access a portion of the amounts available under the Purchase Agreement. Accordingly, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to sell the full $4.0 million subject to the terms of the Purchase Agreement.

 

To date, we have only generated revenue from the non-refundable upfront payment and consulting services under the KP415 License Agreement. We do not know when, or if, we will generate any additional revenue. We expect that our only source of revenues will be through payments arising from our license agreements with KVK and Commave, or through any other future arrangements related to one of our product candidates. While we have entered into the APADAZ License Agreement to commercialize APADAZ in the United States, and entered into the KP415 License Agreement to develop, manufacture and commercialize KP415 and KP484, we cannot guarantee that this, or any strategy we adopt in the future, will be successful. We also expect to continue to incur additional costs associated with operating as a public company. If we are unable to generate revenue in the short term under our license agreements, we will need substantial additional funding in order to continue our operations.

 

Our audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019, includes an explanatory paragraph, within Note A, stating that our recurring losses, negative operating cash flows and stockholders' deficit raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. We expect that our only source of revenues will be through payments arising from our license agreements with KVK and Commave, or through any other future arrangements related to one of our other product candidates. Accordingly, our ability to continue as a going concern will require us to obtain additional financing to fund our operations. The perception of our inability to continue as a going concern may make it more difficult for us to obtain financing for the continuation of our operations and could result in the loss of confidence by investors, suppliers and employees. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or debt, the terms of these securities may restrict our ability to operate. If we raise additional funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may be required to relinquish valuable rights. If we are unable to raise capital when needed or on attractive terms, we could be forced to delay, reduce or altogether cease our research and development programs or future commercialization efforts.

 

We have based our estimates of our cash needs and cash runway on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we may use our available capital resources sooner than we currently expect and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to generate sufficient proceeds from our license agreements with KVK and Commave, sales under our Purchase Agreement or other funding transactions to fund our operating expenses. To meet any additional cash requirements, we may seek to sell additional equity or convertible securities that may result in dilution to our stockholders, issue additional debt or seek other third-party funding, including potential strategic transactions, such as licensing or collaboration arrangements. Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with the development and commercialization of product candidates and products, we are unable to estimate the amounts of increased capital outlays and operating expenditures necessary to complete the commercialization and development of our partnered product or product candidates, should they obtain regulatory approval.

 

We have filed shelf registration statements on Form S-3 with the SEC. Based on the market value of our outstanding common stock held by non-affiliates as of the date we filed this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, in order to issue securities under our Current Registration Statement or our Replacement Registration Statement, once effective, we must rely on Instruction I.B.6. of Form S-3, which imposes a limitation on the maximum amount of securities that we may sell pursuant to the registration statements during any twelve-month period. At the time we sell securities pursuant to the applicable registration statement, the amount of securities to be sold plus the amount of any securities we have sold during the prior twelve months in reliance on Instruction I.B.6. may not exceed one-third of the aggregate market value of our outstanding common stock held by non-affiliates as of a day during the 60 days immediately preceding such sale, as computed in accordance with Instruction I.B.6. This calculation is updated immediately upon filing our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019. As of filing this Annual Report, based on this calculation, the amount of securities we are able to sell under a registration statement on Form S-3 is approximately $10.9 million, of which we (i) have filed a prospectus supplement to register approximately $4.0 million for sales under the Purchase Agreement; and (ii) have previously sold an aggregate of $5.7 million of shares of common stock in prior offering on Form S-3 in the previous 12 months. Based on this calculation, we expect that we will be unable to sell additional securities beyond those amounts pursuant to the Current Registration Statement or the Replacement Registration Statement, once effective, in the near term, unless and until the market value of our outstanding common stock held by non-affiliates increases significantly. In addition, under the terms of the Purchase Agreement, stockholder approval may be required to access a portion of the amounts available under the Purchase Agreement.

 

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Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including:

 

 

the progress and results of our preclinical studies, clinical trials, chemistry , manufacturing and controls, or CMC, and other product development and commercialization activities;

     
  the scope, progress, results and costs of preclinical development, laboratory testing and clinical trials for our product candidates;
     
 

the ability to obtain differentiated claims in the labels for our product candidates;

     
 

the number and development requirements of product candidates that we may pursue;

     
 

the costs, timing and outcome of regulatory review of our product candidates;

     
 

the efforts necessary to institute post-approval regulatory compliance requirements for our product candidates;

     
 

the revenue, if any, received from commercial sales of APADAZ under the APADAZ License Agreement, or any product candidate subject to the terms of the KP415 License Agreement or sales of our other product candidates for which we receive marketing approval, which may be affected by market conditions, including obtaining coverage and adequate reimbursement of APADAZ and our product candidates from third-party payors, including government programs and managed care organizations, and competition within the therapeutic class to which APADAZ and our product candidates are assigned;

     
  our success in developing and commercializing our ADHD product candidates in accordance with the terms of the KP415 License Agreement;
     
 

the costs and timing of preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications, maintaining and enforcing our intellectual property rights and defending any intellectual property-related claims; and

     
 

the extent to which we acquire or in-license other products or product candidates and technologies.

 

Our commercial revenue, if any, will likely be derived from payments under the APADAZ License Agreement in connection with sales of APADAZ or payments under the KP415 License Agreement any other product candidates for which we obtain regulatory approval subject to the terms of such agreement. We cannot guarantee that KVK or Commave will be able to successfully commercialize APADAZ or our product candidates covered under the KP415 License Agreement, if approved, or that we will ever receive any payments under the APADAZ License Agreement from commercial sales of APADAZ or any future payments under the KP415 License Agreement. We also do not know when, if ever, any other product candidate will be commercially available. Accordingly, we will need to continue to rely on additional financing to achieve our business objectives. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or debt, the terms of these securities or this debt may restrict our ability to operate. The Deerfield Facility Agreement includes, and any future debt financing and equity financing, if available, may involve agreements that include, covenants limiting and restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures, entering into profit-sharing or other arrangements or declaring dividends. If we raise additional funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may be required to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, future revenue streams, research programs or product candidates or to grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us.

 

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Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

 

During the periods presented, we did not have, nor do we currently have, any off-balance sheet arrangements as defined under SEC rules.

 

Critical Accounting Policies and Significant Judgements and Estimates

 

This management’s discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations is based on our financial statements, which we have prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. The preparation of our financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of our financial statements, as well as the reported revenues and expenses during the reported periods. We evaluate these estimates and judgements on an ongoing basis. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other factors that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgements about the carrying value of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.

 

While our significant accounting policies are more fully described in Note B to our audited financial statements appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we believe that the following accounting policies are critical to the process of making significant judgments and estimates in the preparation of our financial statements and understanding and evaluating our reported financial results.

 

Accrued Expenses

 

We enter into contractual agreements with third-party vendors who provide research and development, manufacturing, and other services in the ordinary course of business. Some of these contracts are subject to milestone-based invoicing and services are completed over an extended period of time. We record liabilities under these contractual commitments when an obligation has been incurred. This accrual process involves reviewing open contracts and purchase orders, communicating with our applicable personnel to identify services that have been perf