SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|☒||QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the quarterly period ended March 31, 2022
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the transition period from to .
Commission File No. 001-35890
Tempest Therapeutics, Inc.
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
7000 Shoreline Court, Suite 275
South San Francisco, California
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (415) 798-8589
(Former Name, Former Address and Former Fiscal Year, if Changed Since Last Report)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
|Name of each exchange|
|on which registered|
|Common Stock, $0.001 par value||TPST|
The Nasdaq Capital Market
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports),
and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||☐||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 Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The number of shares of Registrant’s Common Stock, $0.001 par value per share, outstanding as of May 11, 2022 was 10,323,006.
INDEX TO FORM 10-Q
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q contains forward-looking statements (including within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”)) about us and our industry that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. These statements may discuss goals, intentions and expectations as to future plans, trends, events, results of operations or financial condition, or otherwise, based on current beliefs of our management, as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, our management. Forward-looking statements generally include statements that are predictive in nature and depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, and include words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “would,” “could”, “expect,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “likely,” “believe,” “estimate,” “intend,” and other similar expressions. Statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on current beliefs and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties and are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results could differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement as a result of various factors, including, without limitation: our strategies, prospects, plans, expectations or objectives for future operations; the progress, scope or timing of the development of our product candidates; the benefits that may be derived from any future products or the commercial or market opportunity with respect to any of our future products; our ability to protect our intellectual property rights; our anticipated operations, financial position, ability to raise capital to fund operations, revenues, costs or expenses; statements regarding future economic conditions or performance; statements of belief and any statement of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the risks included in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q under Part II, Item 1A, “Risk Factors.” Other sections of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, as well as our other disclosures and filings, include additional factors that could harm our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risk factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ from those contained in, or implied by, any forward-looking statements.
Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Also, forward-looking statements represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this document. You should read this document with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. Except as required by law, we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this report, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Forward-looking statements contained in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q include, but are not limited to, statements about:
•our expected future growth and our ability to manage such growth;
•our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval for and commercialize TPST-1495 and TPST-1120 and our future product candidates;
•the size and growth potential of the markets for our product candidates, and our ability to serve those markets;
•the development, regulatory approval, efficacy and commercialization of competing products;
•our ability to establish sales and marketing capabilities or enter into agreements with third parties to market and sell our product candidates;
•our ability to retain regulatory approval for our product candidates or future product candidates in the United States and in any foreign countries in which we make seek to do business;
•our ability to retain and hire our board of directors, senior management, or operational personnel;
•our ability to integrate TempestTx, Inc. and Millendo Therapeutics, Inc. (now the Company) successfully and realize the anticipated benefits of the merger of the two entities, which closed in July 2021;
•our expectation regarding the period during which we will qualify as a smaller reporting company under the federal securities laws;
•our ability to develop and maintain our corporate infrastructure, including our ability to remediate our existing material weakness and to design and maintain an effective system of internal controls;
•our financial performance and capital requirements; and
•our expectations regarding our ability to obtain, maintain and enforce intellectual property protection for our products and technology, as well as our ability to operate our business without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating the intellectual property rights of others.
You should read this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q as well as the documents that we reference in, and have filed as exhibits to, this report with the understanding that our actual future results, levels of activity, performance and achievements may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.
Unless the context suggests otherwise, references in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q to “Tempest,” “the Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to Tempest Therapeutics, Inc. and, where appropriate, its subsidiaries.
PART I – FINANCIAL INFORMATION
Item 1 – Financial Statements
TEMPEST THERAPEUTICS, INC.
Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets
(in thousands except share and per share amounts)
|March 31, 2022|
|December 31, 2021|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||45,754 ||$||51,829 |
|Insurance recovery of legal settlement||15,000 ||15,000 |
|Prepaid expenses and other current assets||1,956 ||2,134 |
|Total current assets||62,710 ||68,963 |
|Property and equipment — net||1,024 ||1,113 |
|Operating lease right-of-use assets||2,739 ||3,051 |
|Other noncurrent assets||480 ||111 |
|Total assets||$||66,953 ||$||73,238 |
|Liabilities and stockholders’ equity |
|Accounts payable||$||684 ||$||991 |
|Accrued legal settlement||15,000 ||15,000 |
|Accrued expenses||3,234 ||1,589 |
|Current operating lease liabilities||1,473 ||1,442 |
|Accrued compensation||330 ||912|
|Interest payable||94 ||92 |
|Total current liabilities||20,815 ||20,026 |
Loan payable (net of discount and issuance costs of $692 and $756, respectively)
|15,133 ||15,069 |
|Operating lease liabilities||1,648 ||2,026 |
|Total liabilities||37,596 ||37,121 |
|Commitments and contingencies (Note 6)|
Common stock, $0.001 par value; 100,000,000 shares authorized at March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021; 7,173,094 and 6,910,324 shares issued and outstanding at March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, respectively
|7 ||7 |
|Additional paid-in capital||137,904 ||136,173 |
|Total stockholders’ equity ||29,357 ||36,117 |
|Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity ||$||66,953 ||$||73,238 |
See accompanying Notes to the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements
TEMPEST THERAPEUTICS, INC.
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations
(in thousands except share and per share amounts)
Three Months Ended March 31,
|Research and development||$||5,109 ||$||3,592 |
|General and administrative||3,052 ||1,535 |
|Loss from operations||(8,161)||(5,127)|
Other (expense) income, net:
Interest and other (expense) income, net
|3 ||3 |
|Total other (expense) income, net||(330)||(228)|
|Provision for income taxes||— ||— |
|Net loss per share of common stock, basic and diluted||$||(1.18)||$||(10.55)|
|Weighted-average shares of common stock outstanding, basic and diluted||7,167,255 ||507,450 |
See accompanying Notes to the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements
TEMPEST THERAPEUTICS, INC.
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity (Deficit)
(in thousands except share amounts)
Three Months Ended March 31, 2022
|Common Stock||Additional |
BALANCE — December 31, 2021
|6,910,324 ||$||7 ||$||136,173 ||$||(100,063)||$||36,117 |
Issuance of common stock for cash, net of issuance cost of $44
|262,770 ||— ||1,403 ||— ||1,403 |
|Share-based compensation||— ||— ||328 ||— ||328 |
|Net loss||— ||— ||— ||(8,491)||(8,491)|
BALANCE — March 31, 2022
|7,173,094 ||$||7 ||$||137,904 ||$||(108,554)||$||29,357 |
Three Months Ended March 31, 2021
|Common Stock||Additional |
BALANCE — December 31, 2020
|498,269 ||$||1 ||$||2,967 ||$||(71,761)||$||(68,793)|
|Exercise of stock options||4,368 ||— ||20 ||— ||20 |
|Vesting of early exercised stock options||11,916 ||— ||57 ||— ||57 |
|Share-based compensation||— ||— ||120 ||— ||120 |
|Net loss||— ||— ||— ||(5,355)||(5,355)|
BALANCE — March 31, 2021
|514,553 ||$||1 ||$||3,164 ||$||(77,116)||$||(73,951)|
See accompanying Notes to the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements.
TEMPEST THERAPEUTICS, INC.
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
For The Three Months
Ended March 31,
|Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash used in operating activities:|
|Depreciation expense||108 ||78 |
|Stock-based compensation expense||328 ||120 |
|Noncash lease expense||311 ||136 |
|Noncash interest and other expense, net||64 ||3 |
|Changes in operating assets and liabilities:|
Prepaid expenses and other assets
|Accrued expenses and other liabilities||1,063 ||(480)|
|Interest payable||2 ||92 |
|Operating lease liabilities||(347)||(240)|
|Cash used in operating activities||(7,107)||(6,310)|
|Purchase of property and equipment||(3)||(14)|
|Cash used in investing activities||(3)||(14)|
Proceeds from the issuance of common stock, net of equity issuance costs
|1,403 ||— |
|Borrowings on loan payable||— ||15,000 |
|Payment of loan issuance costs||— ||(59)|
|Proceeds from option exercises||— ||3 |
|Cash provided by financing activities||1,403 ||14,944 |
Net (decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at beginning of period
|51,829 ||18,820 |
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of period
|$||46,122 ||$||27,440 |
|Supplemental disclosure of cash flow information:|
|Cash paid for interest||$||268 ||$||108 |
Non-cash investing activities: Property and equipment in accounts payable
|$||16 ||$||— |
Non-cash financing activities:
|Vesting of early exercise stock options||$||— ||$||57 |
See accompanying Notes to the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements
TEMPEST THERAPEUTICS, INC.
Notes to the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements
(Amounts are in thousands except share and per share data)
1.ORGANIZATION AND DESCRIPTION OF THE BUSINESS
Description of Business—Tempest Therapeutics, Inc. (“Tempest” or the “Company”) is a clinical-stage oncology company advancing small molecules that combine both tumor-targeted and immune-mediated mechanisms with the potential to treat a wide range of tumors. The Company’s two clinical programs are TPST-1120 and TPST-1495, antagonists of PPARα and EP2/EP4, respectively. Both TPST-1120 and TPST-1495 are advancing through Phase 1 clinical trials designed to study both agents as monotherapies and in combination with other approved agents. In collaboration with F. Hoffmann La Roche, TPST-1120 is also advancing through a randomized first line, global, Phase 1b/2 clinical study in combination with the standard-of-care regimen of atezolizumab and bevacizumab in patients with advanced or metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma. Tempest is also developing an orally available inhibitor of TREX-1 designed to activate selectively the cGAS/STING pathway, an innate immune response pathway important for the development of anti-tumor immunity. Tempest is headquartered in South San Francisco, California.
Merger with Millendo—On March 29, 2021, TempestTx, Inc. (“Private Tempest”) entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “Merger Agreement”) with Millendo Therapeutics, Inc. (“Millendo”).
Concurrent with the execution and delivery of the Merger Agreement, Private Tempest entered into funding agreements with certain investors named therein, pursuant to which the investors agreed to purchase, in the aggregate, $30.0 million of common stock of Private Tempest, convertible into securities of Millendo.
On June 25, 2021, Private Tempest completed the merger with Millendo in accordance with the Merger Agreement. Prior to the effective time of the merger, Millendo effected a 1-for-15 reverse stock split, and right after the merger, Millendo changed its name to Tempest Therapeutics, Inc. Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, immediately prior to the effective time of the merger, each share of Private Tempest’s preferred stock was converted into a share of Private Tempest’s common stock. At closing of the merger, the Company issued an aggregate of approximately 5,365,899 shares of its common stock to Private Tempest stockholders, based on an exchange ratio of 0.0322 shares of the Company’s common stock for each share of Private Tempest common stock outstanding immediately prior to the merger, including those shares of common stock issued upon conversion of the Private Tempest preferred stock, resulting in approximately 6,635,345 shares of the Company’s common stock being issued and outstanding immediately following the effective time of the merger. The Company also assumed all of the outstanding and unexercised stock options and warrants to purchase shares of Private Tempest capital stock. The assumed options continue to be governed by the terms of the 2011 and 2017 Equity Incentive Plans (as discussed more in Note 10) under which the options were originally granted, with such options hence forth representing the right to purchase a number of shares of the Company’s common stock equal to 0.0322 multiplied by the number of shares of Private Tempest common stock previously represented by such options.
The merger was accounted for as a reverse recapitalization in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). Under this method of accounting, Private Tempest was be deemed to be the accounting acquirer for financial reporting purposes. This determination was primarily based on the expectation that, immediately following the merger: (i) Private Tempest stockholders would own a substantial majority of the voting rights; (ii) Private Tempest would designate a substantial majority of the initial members of the board of directors of the combined company; (iii) Private Tempest’s executive management team would become the management of the combined company; and (iv) the combined company would be named Tempest Therapeutics, Inc. Accordingly, for accounting purposes, the merger was treated as the equivalent of Tempest issuing stock to acquire the net assets of Millendo. As a result of the merger, the net assets of Millendo were recorded at their acquisition-date fair value in the financial statements of Private Tempest and the reported operating results prior to the merger will be those of Private Tempest. Historical per share figures of Private Tempest have been retroactively restated based on the exchange ratio of 0.0322.
Liquidity and Management Plans—The accompanying financial statements have been prepared assuming the Company will continue as a going concern. The Company has incurred operating losses since inception. The Company’s ultimate success depends on the outcome of the ongoing research and development activities. The Company has not yet generated product sales and as a result has experienced operating losses since inception. The Company expects to incur additional losses in the future to conduct research and development and will need to raise additional capital to fully implement management’s business plan. The Company intends to raise such capital through the issuance of additional equity and potentially through borrowings, strategic alliances with partner companies and other licensing transactions. However, if such
financing is not available at adequate levels, the Company may need to reevaluate its operating plans. Management believes that its cash and cash equivalents as of March 31, 2022 will be sufficient to fund the Company’s cash requirements for the next 12 months following the issuance of these financial statements.
On April 29, 2022, the Company completed a $15 million private investment in public equity (“PIPE”) financing from the sale of 3,149,912 shares of its common stock at a price per share of $2.36 and, and in lieu of shares of common stock, pre-funded warrants to purchase up to 3,206,020 shares of its common stock at price per pre-funded warrant of $2.359 to EcoR1 Capital, LLC and Versant Venture Capital (the “PIPE Investors”). Gross proceeds from the PIPE financings total approximately $15.0 million, before deducting offering expenses.
2. SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Significant Accounting Policies -- The Company’s significant accounting policies are described in Note 2, “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies,” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on March 29, 2022. There have been no material changes to the significant accounting policies during the period ended March 31, 2022, except for items mentioned below.
Basis of Presentation—The unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements have been prepared pursuant to the rules and regulations of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Accordingly, certain information and footnote disclosures normally included in annual financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP have been omitted. These unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements should be read in conjunction with the Company’s audited consolidated financial statements and notes included in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021.
The Company has prepared the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements on the same basis as the audited financial statements, and the unaudited interim financial statements include, in the Company’s opinion, all adjustments, consisting only of normal recurring adjustments that the Company considers necessary for a fair presentation of its financial position and results of operations for these periods.
Use of Estimates—The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of expenses during the reporting period. On an ongoing basis, the Company evaluates its estimates and assumptions, including those related to research and development accruals, recoverability of long-lived assets, right-of-use assets, lease obligations, stock-based compensation and income taxes uncertainties and valuation allowances. Management bases its estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ from those estimates.
3. MILLENDO MERGER
As described in Note 1, Private Tempest merged with the Company on June 25, 2021. The merger was accounted for as a reverse recapitalization with Private Tempest as the accounting acquirer. The primary pre-combination assets of Millendo were cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash. Under reverse recapitalization accounting, the assets and liabilities of Millendo were recorded at their fair value which approximated book value due to the short-term nature of the instruments. No goodwill or intangible assets were recognized. Consequently, the condensed consolidated financial statements of Tempest reflect the operations of Millendo for accounting purposes together with a deemed issuance of shares, equivalent to the shares held by the former stockholders of the legal acquirer and a recapitalization of the equity of the accounting acquirer.
As part of the reverse recapitalization, the Company obtained approximately $17.0 million of cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash. The Company also obtained prepaids and other assets of approximately $1.4 million and assumed payables and accruals of approximately $0.5 million. The Company also acquired the operating lease right-of-use asset of $2.1 million and the related operating lease liability of $2.1 million. All of the development programs and associated collaboration arrangements were terminated prior to the merger and were deemed to have no value at the transaction date and the Company is winding down the legacy Millendo operations.
The Company incurred transaction costs of approximately $6.4 million and this amount is recorded in additional paid-in capital in the condensed consolidated statements of stockholders’ equity for the year ended December 31, 2021.
4. FAIR VALUE MEASUREMENTS
The following tables present the Company’s fair value hierarchy for assets and liabilities measured at fair value on a recurring basis:
|March 31, 2022|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Total|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||45,754 ||$||— ||$||— ||$||45,754 |
|Total ||$||45,754 ||$||— ||$||— ||$||45,754 |
|December 31, 2021|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Total|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||51,829 ||$||— ||$||— ||$||51,829 |
|Total ||$||51,829 ||$||— ||$||— ||$||51,829 |
5. BALANCE SHEET ITEMS
Prepaid expenses and other current asset consist of the following as of March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021:
|March 31,||December 31,|
|Prepaid expenses||$||643 ||$||949 |
|Prepaid research and development costs||622 ||632 |
|Other current assets||691 ||553 |
|Total||$||1,956 ||$||2,134 |
Property and equipment, net, consists of the following as of March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021:
|March 31,||December 31,|
|Computer equipment and software||$||162 ||$||156 |
|Furniture and fixtures||203 ||193 |
|Lab equipment||751 ||748 |
|Leasehold improvements||840 ||840 |
|Property and equipment||1,956 ||1,937 |
|Less accumulated depreciation||(932)||(824)|
|Property and equipment—net||$||1,024 ||$||1,113 |
Depreciation expense for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021 were $108 and $78, respectively.
Accrued liabilities as of March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021 consist of the following:
|March 31,||December 31,|
|Accrued other liabilities||$||2,249 ||$||748 |
|Accrued clinical trial liability||985 ||841 |
|$||3,234 ||$||1,589 |
6. COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
Facilities Lease Agreements—In February 2019, the Company entered into a 5-year office lease agreement for a 9,780 square feet facility in South San Francisco, California (“SSF Lease”). The remaining lease term of the SSF Lease is one year and eleven months as of March 31, 2022.
As a result of the merger with Millendo, the Company assumed Millendo’s noncancelable operating leases for office space which have remaining lease terms of approximately 2.1 years. In February 2019 and October 2018, Millendo entered into two noncancellable operating leases for office space in Ann Arbor, Michigan (“Ann Arbor Leases”) of which one that Millendo took possession of in April 2019 and the other that Millendo took possession of in July 2019, respectively. One of its leases in Ann Arbor, Michigan expires in June 2024 and the other expires in March 2024. There were no other leases assumed by the Company as of March 31, 2022.
As of March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, the balance of the operating lease right of use assets were $2,739 and $3,051, respectively, and the related operating lease liability were $3,121 and $3,468 respectively, as shown in the accompanying condensed consolidated balance sheets.
Rent expense was $359 and $161 for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively.
As of March 31, 2022, future minimum annual lease payments were as follows:
|2022 (excluding the three months ended March 31, 2022)||$||1,209 |
|Total minimum lease payments||3,299 |
|Less: imputed interest||(178)|
|Present value of operating lease obligations||3,121 |
|Less: current portion||(1,473)|
|Noncurrent operating lease obligations||$||1,648 |
In January 2022, the Company entered into a new 8-year office lease agreement for a 20,116 square feet facility in Brisbane, California. The lease is scheduled to commence in October 2022. Related to this office lease agreement, the Company entered into a letter of credit with a bank to deposit $368 in a separate account that is restricted cash to serve as security rent deposit. This amount is included in other noncurrent assets in the accompanying condensed consolidated balance sheet as of March 31, 2022.
Guarantees and Indemnifications—In the normal course of business, the Company enters into agreements that contain a variety of representations and provide for general indemnification. The Company’s exposure under these agreements is unknown because it involves claims that may be made against the Company in the future. To date, the Company has not paid any claims or been required to defend any action related to its indemnification obligations. As of March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, the Company does not have any material indemnification claims that were probable or reasonably possible and consequently has not recorded related liabilities.
Legal Proceedings—Liabilities for loss contingencies arising from claims, assessments, litigation, fines, penalties, and other sources are recorded when it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount can be reasonably estimated. As a result of the merger with Millendo, the Company is party to various litigation matters given Millendo’s role as successor to OvaScience, Inc. (“OvaScience”). OvaScience merged with Millendo in 2018. Prior to the merger with Millendo, OvaScience was sued in three matters that are disclosed below.
On November 9, 2016, a purported shareholder derivative action was filed in Massachusetts State court (Cima v. Dipp) against OvaScience and certain former officers and directors of OvaScience and OvaScience alleging breach of fiduciary duties, unjust enrichment, abuse of control, gross mismanagement and waste of corporate assets for purported actions related to OvaScience’s January 2015 follow-on public offering. No material proceedings have occurred since the case was filed. On February 25, 2022, the parties filed a joint status report with the Court. During a May 4, 2022 status conference, the court continued the stay and scheduled a further status conference for June 14, 2022.
On March 24, 2017, a purported shareholder class action lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts Federal court (Dahhan v. OvaScience, Inc.) against OvaScience and certain former officers of OvaScience alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act (the “Dahhan Action”). On March 4, 2022, the parties filed a motion to preliminarily approve a settlement of the action. The settlement amount of $15 million will be funded entirely by insurance. All defendants expressly deny liability. On April 1, 2022, the Court preliminarily approved the settlement. The settlement remains subject to final approval. The amount of $15 million was recorded as Accrued legal settlement with offsetting Insurance recovery of legal settlement in the accompanying condensed consolidated balance sheet as of March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021.
On July 27, 2017, a purported shareholder derivative complaint was filed in Massachusetts Federal court (Chiu v. Dipp) against OvaScience and certain former officers and directors of OvaScience alleging breach of fiduciary duties, unjust enrichment and violations of Section 14(a) of the Exchange Act. related to OvaScience’s January 2015 follow-on public offering and other public statements concerning OvaScience’s AUGMENT treatment. Following the Court’s dismissal of an amended complaint, the parties agreed that plaintiffs could file a second amended complaint and that the case would be stayed pending the resolution of the Dahhan Action. In May 2018, the court entered an order staying this case pending the resolution of the Dahhan Action.
With respect to the two OvaScience matters described above (Cima v. Dipp and Chiu v. Dipp), the Company is unable to estimate potential losses, if any. However, the Company believes the matters are without merit, and that in light of applicable insurance, any material exposure to the Company is remote.
7. LOAN PAYABLE
On January 15, 2021, the Company entered into a loan agreement with a lender to borrow a term loan amount of $35,000 to be funded in three tranches. Tranche A of $15,000 was wired to the Company on January 15, 2021. Tranche B of $10,000 will be available through March 31, 2022 contingent upon achievement of each of the following: i) receipt of at least $50,000 in Series C equity capital, ii) initiation of the Phase 1 combination study of TPST-1495 or monotherapy expansion study, and iii) initiation of Phase 2 trial of TPST-1120 or the 1L Triplet Collaboration study. And Tranche C of $10,000 is available at lender’s option. The term loan matures on August 1, 2025 and has an annual floating interest rate of 7.15% which is an Index Rate plus 7%. Index Rate is the greater of (i) 30-day US LIBOR or (ii) 0.15%. Monthly principal payments of $500 will begin on March 1, 2023. Related to this borrowing, the Company recorded loan discounts totaling $898 and paid $95 of debt issuance costs. These amounts would be amortized as additional interest expense over the life of the loan. As of March 31, 2022, the balance of the loan payable (net of debt issuance costs) was $15,133. The carrying value of the loan approximates fair value (Level 2).
For the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, total interest expense was $333 and $231, respectively.
8. CONVERTIBLE PREFERRED STOCK
Prior to the merger with Millendo on June 25, 2021, Private Tempest had issued and outstanding convertible preferred stock. The authorized, issued and outstanding shares of the convertible preferred stock and liquidation preferences of Private Tempest as of December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021 were as follows (in thousands except share and per share amounts):
|Series|| Shares Authorized||Shares Issued and Outstanding||Per Share Liquidation Preference||Aggregate Liquidation Amount||Proceeds Net of Issuance Cost ||Net Carrying Value|
|Series A||17,000,000 ||17,000,000 ||$||1.00 ||$||17,000 ||$||16,982 ||$||16,982 |
|Series B||25,186,738 ||25,186,738 ||1.00 ||25,187 ||24,943 ||12,235 |
|Series B-1||93,749,993 ||72,499,993 ||0.80 ||58,000 ||57,489 ||57,489 |
|135,936,731 ||114,686,731 ||$||100,187 ||$||99,414 ||$||86,706 |
On June 25, 2021, Private Tempest completed the merger with Millendo in accordance with the Merger Agreement. Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, immediately prior to the effective time of the merger, each share Private Tempest’s preferred stock was converted into a share of Private Tempest’s common stock. At closing of the merger, the Company issued an aggregate of approximately 5,365,899 shares of its common stock to Private Tempest stockholders, based on an exchange ratio of 0.0322 shares of the Company’s common stock for each share of Private Tempest common stock outstanding immediately prior to the merger, including 3,692,912 shares of common stock issued upon conversion of the Private Tempest preferred stock.
The significant rights, preferences, and privileges of this convertible preferred stock were as follows:
Dividends—The holders of the Company’s convertible preferred stock are entitled to receive noncumulative dividends of 8% per share (as adjusted for stock splits, combinations, and reorganizations) per annum on each outstanding share of Series convertible preferred stock. Such dividends shall be payable only when and if declared by the Board of Directors. As of December 31, 2020, the Company’s Board of Directors had not declared any dividends. Dividends on convertible preferred stock shall be payable in preference to and prior to any payments of any dividends on common stock. No dividends have been declared to date.
Voting Rights—The holders of preferred stock are entitled to one vote for each share of common stock into which such preferred stock could then be converted; and with respect to such vote, such holder shall have full voting rights and powers equal to the voting rights and powers of the holders of common stock.
Liquidation—The holders of preferred stock are entitled to receive liquidation preferences at an amount per share of preferred stock equal to the original price plus all declared and unpaid dividends on the preferred stock. Liquidation payments to the holders of preferred stock have priority and are made in preference to any payments to the holders of common stock. After full payment of the liquidation preference to the holders of the preferred stock, the remaining assets, if any, will be distributed ratably to the holders of the common stock and preferred stock on an as-if-converted to common stock basis.
Redemption and Balance Sheet Classification— The convertible preferred stock was recorded within mezzanine equity because while it is not mandatorily redeemable, it would become redeemable at the option of the stockholders upon the occurrence of certain deemed liquidation events that were considered not solely within the Company’s control.
9. COMMON STOCK AND CONVERTIBLE PREFERRED STOCK
Upon completion of the merger on June 25, 2021, the Company issued an aggregate of approximately 5,365,899 shares of its common stock to Private Tempest stockholders, based on an exchange ratio of 0.0322 shares of the Company’s common stock for each share of Private Tempest common stock outstanding immediately prior to the merger, including those shares of common stock issued upon conversion of the Private Tempest preferred stock (3,692,912 common shares) and those shares of common stock issued with its pre-merger financing of $30.0 million (1,136,849 common shares).
As of March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, the Company was authorized to issue 100,000,000 shares of common stock at a par value of $0.001. Of the 100,000,000 common stock shares authorized, 7,173,094 and 6,910,324 were legally issued and outstanding at March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, respectively. There were no shares subject to repurchase due to remaining vesting requirements. Common stockholders are entitled to dividends as declared by the Board of Directors, subject to rights of holders of all classes of stock outstanding having priority rights as to dividends. There have been no dividends declared to date. The holders of each share of common stock are entitled to one vote. Except for effecting or validating certain specific actions intended to protect the preferred stockholders, the holders of common stock vote together with preferred stockholders and have the right to elect one member of the Company’s Board of Directors.
On July 23, 2021, the Company entered into a sales agreement with Jefferies LLC, pursuant to which the Company may sell, from time to time, up to an aggregate sales price of $100,000,000 of its common stock through Jefferies LLC.
As of March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, the Company was authorized to issue up to 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock at a par value of $0.001. There was no preferred stock issued nor outstanding as of March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021.
10. STOCK COMPENSATION
In 2011 Private Tempest adopted the 2011 Equity Incentive Plan (the “2011 Plan), and in 2017, Private Tempest adopted the 2017 Equity Incentive Plan (the “2017 Plan,” and together with the 2011 Plan, “the Tempest Equity Plans”. Upon adoption of the 2017 Plan, the 2011 Plan was terminated.
The Board of Millendo adopted the 2019 Equity Incentive Plan (the “2019 Plan”) on April 29, 2019, subject to approval by the Company’s stockholders, and became effective with such stockholder approval on June 11, 2019. As a result of the merger, the Tempest Equity Plans were assumed by the Company.
Both the 2017 Plan and the 2019 Plan allow the Company to grant stock awards to employees, directors and consultants of the Company, including incentive stock options (“ISOs”), nonqualified stock options (“NSOs”), stock appreciation rights, restricted stock awards, restricted stock unit awards and other stock awards. The 2019 ESPP enables employees to purchase shares of the Company’s common stock through offerings of rights to purchase the Company’s common stock to all eligible employees.
The number of shares of the Company's common stock reserved for issuance under the 2019 Plan will automatically increase on January 1st of each year, for a period of 10 years, from January 1, 2020 continuing through January 1, 2029, by 4% of the total number of shares of the Company's common stock outstanding on December 31 of the preceding calendar year, or a lesser number of shares as may be determined by the Board. On January 1, 2022, the common stock reserved for issuance was increased by 276,412 shares.
The Company measures employee and nonemployee stock-based awards at grant date fair value and records compensation expense on a straight-line basis over the vesting period of the award.
As of March 31, 2022, a total of 393,598 shares are available for future grant under the 2017 Plan and 2019 Plan.
Employee Stock Ownership Plan
The Board of Millendo adopted the 2019 Employee Stock Purchase Plan (the “2019 ESPP”) on April 29, 2019, subject to approval by the Company’s stockholders, and became effective with such stockholder approval on June 11, 2019. The number of shares of the Company's common stock reserved for issuance under the 2019 ESPP will automatically increase on January 1st of each year, for a period of up to ten years, from January 1, 2020 continuing through January 1, 2029, by the lesser of (i) 1% of the total number of shares of the Company's capital stock outstanding on December 31 of the preceding calendar year, or (ii) 133,580 shares of the Company's common stock, unless a lesser number of shares is determined by the Board. As of March 31, 2022, 35,621 shares of common stock remained available for future issuance under the ESPP.
Employee Stock Options
Options to purchase the Company’s common stock may be granted at a price not less than the fair market value in the case of both NSOs and ISOs, except for an employee or non-employee with options who owns more than 10% of the voting power of all classes of stock of the Company, in which case the exercise price shall be no less than 110% of the fair market value per share on the grant date. Stock options granted under the Plans generally vest over four years and expire no later than ten (10) years from the date of grant. Vested options can be exercised at any time.
Prior to the merger, the grant date fair market value of the shares of common stock underlying stock options has historically been determined by the Company’s Board of Directors. Up until the merger, there had been no public market for the Company’s common stock, and therefore the Board of Directors exercised reasonable judgment and considered a number of objective and subjective factors to determine the best estimate of the fair market value, which included valuations performed by an independent third-party, important developments in the Company’s operations, sales of convertible preferred stock, actual operating results, financial performance, the conditions in the life sciences industry, the economy in general, the stock price performance and volatility of comparable public companies, and the lack of liquidity of the Company’s common stock.
The following shows the stock option activities for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021:
|Total Options Outstanding||Weighted-Average Exercise Price|
|Balance—December 31, 2021||790,637 ||$||32.82 |
|Granted||303,125 ||5.26 |
|Cancelled and forfeited||(17,202)||7.49 |
|Balance—March 31, 2022||1,076,560 ||25.75 |
|Balance—December 31, 2020||452,165 ||$||5.35 |
|Granted||62,468 ||10.25 |
|Cancelled and forfeited||(5,667)||5.90 |
|Balance—March 31, 2021||504,598 ||5.96 |
The following table summarizes information about stock options outstanding at March 31, 2022:
|Shares||Weighted Average Remaining Contractual Life (In Years)||Weighted Average Exercise Price||Aggregate Intrinsic Value|
|Vested and expected to vest||1,076,560||8.72||$||25.75||$||—|
During the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, the Company granted employees stock options to purchase 303,125 and 60,858 shares of common stock with a weighted-average grant date fair value of $4.24 and $6.13 per share, respectively. As of March 31, 2022, there was total unrecognized compensation costs related to unvested employee stock options of $3,992. These costs are expected to be recognized over a weighted-average period of approximately 3.2 years.
The Company estimated the fair value of stock options using the Black-Scholes option pricing valuation model. The fair value of employee stock options is being amortized on the straight-line basis over the requisite service period of the awards. The fair value of employee stock options was estimated using the following assumptions for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021:
|Expected term (in years)||6||6|
|Expected volatility||68 ||%||67 ||%|
|Risk-free interest rate|
1.5% - 1.7%
|Dividends||— ||%||— ||%|
Expected Term—The expected term of options granted represents the period of time that the options are expected to be outstanding. Due to the lack of historical exercise history, the expected term of the Company’s employee stock options has been determined utilizing the simplified method for awards that qualify as plain-vanilla options.
Expected Volatility—The expected stock price volatility assumption was determined by examining the historical volatilities for industry peers, as the Company did not have any trading history for the Company’s common stock. The Company will continue to analyze the historical stock price volatility and expected term assumption as more historical data for the Company’s common stock becomes available.
Risk-Free Interest Rate—The risk-free interest rate assumption is based on the U.S. Treasury instruments whose term was consistent with the expected term of the Company’s stock options.
Dividends—The Company has not paid any cash dividends on common stock since inception and does not anticipate paying any dividends in the foreseeable future. Consequently, an expected dividend yield of zero was used.
Stock-Based Compensation Expense
The following table summarizes the components of stock-based compensation expense recognized in the Company’s condensed consolidated statement of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2022:
|Three Months Ended March 31, |
|Research and development||$||102 ||$||77 |
|General and administrative||226 ||43 |
|Total||$||328 ||$||120 |
11. RETIREMENT PLAN
The Company participates in a qualified 401(k) Plan sponsored by its professional service organization. The retirement plan is a defined contribution plan covering eligible employees. Participants may contribute a portion of their annual compensation limited to a maximum annual amount set by the Internal Revenue Service. There was no contribution from the Company for the three months ended March 31, 2021. During the three months ended March 31, 2022, the Company contributed $24 to the 401(k) Plan.
12. NET LOSS PER SHARE
The following table sets forth the computation of the Company’s basis in diluted net loss per share for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021 (in thousands except share and per share amounts):
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Weighted-average common shares outstanding||7,167,255 ||527,693 |
|Less: Weighted-average unvested restricted shares and shares subject to repurchase||— ||(20,243)|
|Weighted-average shares used to computing basic and diluted net loss per share||7,167,255 ||507,450 |
|Net loss per share attributable to common stockholders—basic and diluted||$||(1.18)||$||(10.55)|
As of March 31, 2022 and 2021, the Company’s potentially dilutive securities included outstanding convertible preferred stock, stock options, unvested restricted stock and stock warrants, which have been excluded from the computation of diluted net loss per share attributable to common stockholders as the effect would be anti-dilutive. Based on the amounts outstanding as of March 31, 2022 and 2021, the Company excluded the following potential common shares from the computation of diluted net loss per share attributable to common stockholders because including them would have had an anti-dilutive effect:
|As of March 31,|
|Series A preferred stock||— ||547,400 |
|Series B preferred stock||— ||811,013 |
|Series B-1 preferred stock||— ||2,334,500 |
|Options to purchase common stock||1,076,560 ||504,598 |
|Unvested restricted common stock||— ||17,081 |
|Common stock warrants||6,036 ||6,036 |
|1,082,596 ||4,220,628 |
13. SUBSEQUENT EVENTS
On April 29, 2022, the Company completed a $15 million private investment in public equity (“PIPE”) financing from the sale of 3,149,912 shares of its common stock at a price per share of $2.36 and, in lieu of shares of common stock, pre-funded warrants to purchase up to 3,206,020 shares of its common stock at price per pre-funded warrant of $2.359 to EcoR1 Capital, LLC and Versant Venture Capital (the “PIPE Investors”). Gross proceeds from the PIPE financings total approximately $15.0 million, before deducting offering expenses. The pre-funded warrants provide that the holder will not have the right to exercise any portion of its warrants if such holder, together with its affiliates, would beneficially own in excess of 9.99% of the number of shares of the Company’s common stock outstanding immediately after giving effect to such exercise (the “Beneficial Ownership Limitation”); provided, however, that the holder may increase or decrease the Beneficial Ownership Limitation by giving 61 days’ notice to the Company, but not to any percentage in excess of 19.99%. The securities sold in this private placement, including the shares of common stock underlying the pre-funded warrants, have not been registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and may not be offered or sold in the United States except pursuant to an effective registration statement or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements. The Company entered into a registration rights agreement (the “Registration Rights Agreement”) with the PIPE Investors pursuant to which the Company agreed to file a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission registering the resale of the shares of common stock issued in the PIPE and the shares of common stock underlying the pre-funded warrants.
Item 2. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
You should read the following discussion of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with our unaudited Interim Financial Statements and the notes thereto included elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. This discussion and other parts of this report contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, such as our plans, objectives, expectations, intentions, and beliefs, as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, our management. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed in the section of this report entitled “Risk Factors,” under Part II, Item 1A of this report and those discussed in our other disclosures and filings.
We are a clinical-stage oncology company focused on leveraging a deep scientific understanding of cancer biology and medicinal chemistry to develop and advance novel, orally available therapies for the treatment of solid tumors. Our philosophy is to build a company based upon not only creative science and thoughtful management, but also upon the efficient translation of those ideas into therapies that will improve patient’s lives. To this end, we currently are advancing three programs, TPST-1495, TPST-1120 and a third program targeting the three prime repair exonuclease ("TREX-1"). TPST-1495 is a dual antagonist of the EP2 and EP4 prostaglandin E2 receptors, and, to our knowledge, is the only such dual antagonist in clinical development. TPST-1495 is currently in a Phase 1 trial in solid tumors. Our second clinical program, TPST-1120, is a selective antagonist of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (" PPARα"), and is also in a Phase 1 trial in solid tumors. Similar to TPST-1495, we believe TPST-1120 is the only PPARα antagonist in clinical development. We also have a third program in preclinical studies that could be the first to target TREX-1, a cellular enzyme that regulates the innate immune response in tumors.
We have no products approved for commercial sale and have not generated any revenue from product sales. From inception to March 31, 2022, we have raised $149.4 million, through sales of common stock, convertible preferred stock and issuance of debt.
We have never been profitable and has incurred operating losses in each period since inception. Our net losses were $8.5 million and $5.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. As of March 31, 2022, we had an accumulated deficit of $108.6 million. Substantially all of the operating losses resulted from expenses incurred in connection with our research and development programs and from general and administrative costs associated with our operations.
We expect to incur significant expenses and increasing operating losses for at least the next several years as we initiate and continue the clinical development of, and seek regulatory approval for, our product candidates and add personnel necessary to advance our pipeline of clinical-stage product candidates. In addition, operating as a publicly traded company will involve the hiring of additional financial and other personnel, upgrading our financial information and other systems, and incurring substantial costs associated with operating as a public company. We expect our operating losses will fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year due to timing of clinical development programs and efforts to achieve regulatory approval.
As of March 31, 2022, we had cash and cash equivalents of $45.8 million. Our ability to fund continued development will require additional capital, and we intend to raise such capital through the issuance of additional debt or equity including in connection with potential merger opportunities, or through business development activities. Our ability to continue as a going concern is dependent upon our ability to successfully accomplish these plans and secure sources of financing and ultimately attain profitable operations. If we are unable to obtain adequate capital, we could be forced to cease operations.
On April 29, 2022, we completed a $15 million private investment in public equity (“PIPE”) financing from the sale of 3,149,912 shares of our common stock at a price per share of $2.36 and, in lieu of shares of common stock, pre-funded warrants to purchase up to 3,206,020 shares of our common stock at price per pre-funded warrant of $2.359 to EcoR1 Capital, LLC and Versant Venture Capital (the “PIPE Investors”). Gross proceeds from the PIPE financings total approximately $15.0 million, before deducting offering expenses. The pre-funded warrants provide that the holder will not have the right to exercise any portion of its warrants if such holder, together with its affiliates, would beneficially own in
excess of 9.99% of the number of shares of the Company’s common stock outstanding immediately after giving effect to such exercise (the “Beneficial Ownership Limitation”); provided, however, that the holder may increase or decrease the Beneficial Ownership Limitation by giving 61 days’ notice, but not to any percentage in excess of 19.99%. The securities sold in this private placement, including the shares of common stock underlying the pre-funded warrants, have not been registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and may not be offered or sold in the United States except pursuant to an effective registration statement or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements. We entered into a registration rights agreement (the “Registration Rights Agreement”) with the PIPE Investors pursuant to which we agreed to file a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) registering the resale of the shares of common stock issued in the PIPE and the shares of common stock underlying the pre-funded warrants.
On March 29, 2021, TempestTx, Inc. (“Private Tempest”) and Millendo Therapeutics, Inc. (“Millendo”) entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the "Merger Agreement"). Concurrent with the execution and delivery of the Merger Agreement, Private Tempest entered into funding agreements with certain investors named therein, pursuant to which the investors agreed to purchase, in the aggregate, $30.0 million of common stock of Private Tempest, convertible into securities of Millendo.
On June 25, 2021, Private Tempest closed the merger with Millendo. Pursuant to the Merger Agreement, Mars Merger Corp. (“Merger Sub”), a direct, wholly owned subsidiary of Millendo merged with and into Private Tempest, with Private Tempest surviving as a wholly owned subsidiary of Millendo. Following the closing of the merger, Millendo effected a 1-for-15 reverse stock split of its common stock and changed its corporate name to Tempest Therapeutics, Inc.
Components of Results of Operations
Research and Development Expense
Research and development expenses represent costs incurred to conduct research and development, such as the development of our product candidates.
We recognize all research and development costs as they are incurred. Research and development expenses consist primarily of the following:
•Salaries, benefits and stock-based compensation;
•materials and supplies;
•contracted research and manufacturing;
•consulting arrangements; and
•other expenses incurred to advance our research and development activities.
The largest component of our operating expenses has historically been the investment in research and development activities. We expect research and development expenses will increase in the future as we advance our product candidates into and through clinical trials and pursues regulatory approvals, which will require a significant investment in costs of clinical trials, regulatory support and contract manufacturing and inventory build-up. In addition, we continue to evaluate opportunities to acquire or in-license other product candidates and technologies, which may result in higher research and development expenses due to license fee and/or milestone payments, as well as added clinical development costs.
The process of conducting clinical trials necessary to obtain regulatory approval is costly and time consuming. We may never succeed in timely developing and achieving regulatory approval for our product candidates. The probability of success of our product candidates may be affected by numerous factors, including clinical data, competition, manufacturing capability and commercial viability. As a result, we are unable to determine the duration and completion costs of our development projects or when and to what extent we will generate revenue from the commercialization and sale of any of our product candidates.
General and Administrative Expenses
General and administrative expenses consist of employee-related expenses, including salaries, benefits, travel and noncash stock-based compensation, for our personnel in executive, finance and accounting, and other administrative functions, as well as fees paid for legal, accounting and tax services, consulting fees and facilities costs not otherwise included in research and development expense. Legal costs include general corporate legal fees and patent costs. We expect to incur additional expenses as a result of becoming a public company following completion of the merger, including expenses related to compliance with the rules and regulations of the SEC and Nasdaq, additional insurance, investor relations and other administrative expenses and professional services.
Other (Expense) Income, Net
Other (expense) income, net consists primarily of interest expense, interest income, and various income or expense items of a non-recurring nature.
Results of Operations
The following table summarizes our operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021:
|Three Months Ended|
|Research and development||$||5,109 ||$||3,592 |
|General and administrative||3,052 ||1,535 |
|Total expenses||8,161 ||5,127 |
|Interest and other (expense) income, net||3 ||3 |
|Provision for income taxes||— ||— |
Research and development
Our research and development expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021 were primarily incurred in connection with our most advanced product candidates, TPST-1120 and TPST-1495. We have not historically tracked research and development expense by program other than direct external expenses in conducting clinical trials for TPST-1120 and TPST-1495. We typically have various early-stage research and drug discovery projects, as well as various potential product candidates undergoing clinical trials. Our internal resources, employees and infrastructure are not directly tied to any one research and drug discovery project and our resources are typically deployed across multiple projects. As such, we do not maintain information regarding these costs incurred for these early-stage research and drug discovery programs on a project specific basis.
Research and development expense increased by $1.5 million to $5.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022. The following table summarizes our research and development expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021:
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Research and development outside services||$||1,842 ||$||853 |
|Compensation expense||1,013 ||722 |
|Stock-based compensation expense||102 ||77 |
|Consulting and professional services||295 ||466 |
|Other expenses||1,857 ||1,474 |
|Total research and development expense||$||5,109 ||$||3,592 |
The growth in total research and development expense of $1.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022 was primarily attributable to expanded research and development efforts and increased fees for consulting services and compensation expenses.
General and administrative
General and administrative expenses increased by $1.5 million to $3.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022. The increase was primarily due to an increase of $0.1 million in compensation related expense, an increase of $0.9 million in professional and consulting fees and an increase of $0.3 million in insurance expense as a result of operating as a publicly traded company after the Millendo merger.
Other (expense) income, Net
For the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, other (expense) income, net consisted of total interest expense of $333 thousand and $231 thousand, respectively, related to the Oxford Loan and interest income of $3 thousand.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Sources of Liquidity
Since inception through March 31, 2022, our operations have been financed primarily by net cash proceeds from the sale of its common stock, convertible preferred stock and issuance of debt. As of March 31, 2022, we had $45.8 million in cash and cash equivalents and an accumulated deficit of $108.6 million. We expect that our research and development and general and administrative expenses will increase, and, as a result, we anticipate that we will continue to incur increasing losses in the foreseeable future.
We believe our cash and cash equivalents as of March 31, 2022 and our access to our term loan will fund our ongoing working capital, investing, and financing requirements for at least the next 12 months.
On July 23, 2021, we entered into a sales agreement with Jefferies LLC, pursuant to which we may sell, from time to time, up to an aggregate sales price of $100.0 million of our common stock through the Agent in a series of one or more ATM equity offerings (the “ATM Program”). As of March 31, 2022, we sold 510,930 shares of common stock under the ATM Program for net proceeds of approximately $5.1 million.
The following table summarizes our cash flows for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021:
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Cash used in operating activities||$||(7,107)||$||(6,310)|
|Cash used in investing activities||(3)||(14)|
|Cash provided by financing activities||1,403 ||14,944 |
|Net (decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents||$||(5,707)||$||8,620 |
Cash flows from operating activities
Cash used in operating activities for the three months ended March 31, 2022 was $7.1 million, consisting of a net loss of $8.5 million, add back of non-cash adjustments for depreciation, stock-based compensation, non-cash operating lease expense and other non-cash items totaling $0.8 million, plus changes in operating assets and liabilities of $0.6 million.
Cash used in operating activities for the three months ended March 31, 2021 was $6.3 million consisting of a net loss of $5.4 million, add back of non-cash adjustments for depreciation, stock-based compensation, non-cash operating lease expense and other non-cash items totaling $0.3 million, less changes in operating assets and liabilities of $1.2 million.
Cash flows from investing activities
Cash used in investing activities for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021 was related to purchases of property and equipment, primarily related to office, laboratory and computer equipment.
Cash flows from financing activities
Cash provided by financing activities for the three months ended March 31, 2022 was $1.4 million, primarily related to proceeds from the issuance of common stock of $1.4 million (net of issuance costs). Cash provided by financing activities for the three months ended March 31, 2021 was primarily related to proceeds from Oxford Loan of $14.9 million (net of issuance costs).
Material Cash Requirements
We expect our expenses to increase in connection with our ongoing development activities, particularly as we continue the research, development and clinical trials of, and seek regulatory approval for, our product candidates. In addition, subject to obtaining regulatory approval for our product candidates, we anticipate that we will need substantial additional funding in connection with our continuing operations.
Until we can generate a sufficient amount of product revenue to finance our cash requirements, we expect to finance our future cash needs primarily through the issuance of additional equity, borrowings and strategic alliances with partner companies. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the issuance of additional equity or convertible debt securities, the ownership interest of our stockholders will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect the rights of existing stockholders. Debt financing, if available, may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends. If we raise additional funds through marketing and distribution arrangements or other collaborations, strategic alliances or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, future revenue streams, research programs or product candidates or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. If we are unable to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development or commercialization efforts or grant rights to develop and market product candidates to third parties that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourself.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 2 to our Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements for a description of recent accounting pronouncements applicable to our Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements.
Smaller Reporting Company Status
We are a smaller reporting company as defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. We may take advantage of certain of the scaled disclosures available to smaller reporting companies and will be able to take advantage of these scaled disclosures for so long as (i) our voting and non-voting common stock held by nonaffiliates is less than $250.0 million measured on the last business day of our second fiscal quarter or (ii) our annual revenue is less than $100.0 million during the most recently completed fiscal year and our voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates is less than $700.0 million measured on the last business day of our second fiscal quarter.
Item 4. Controls and Procedures
Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures
Our management, with the participation of our Chief Executive Officer (principal executive officer) and Vice-President, Strategy and Finance (principal financial officer), evaluated the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Rules 13a-15(e) or 15d-15(e)) as required by paragraph (b) of Exchange Act Rules 13a-15 or 15d-15, as of March 31, 2022. Based on the evaluation of our disclosure controls and procedures as of March 31, 2022, our Chief Executive Officer and Vice-President, Strategy and Finance concluded that, as of such date, our disclosure controls and procedures were not effective at a reasonable assurance level because of the material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting set forth below; provided, however, that we have made improvements with respect to addressing such material weaknesses and will continue to execute on an existing plan to remedy them.
Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting (as defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d (f) under the Exchange Act). 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 for external reporting purposes in accordance with GAAP. Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed by, or under the supervision of, a company’s principal executive and principal financial officers, or persons performing similar functions, and effected by a company’s board of directors, management and other personnel to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. 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 our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected and corrected on a timely basis.
In preparing the financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2020, our management identified material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting. The material weaknesses identified were as follows:
(i) There was a material weakness in our internal control environment over financial reporting as a result of insufficient resources with appropriate knowledge and expertise to design, implement, document and operate effective internal controls over financial reporting.
(ii) There was a material weakness in our internal control activities due to a failure in design and implementation of controls to review clinical trial expenses, including the evaluation of the terms of clinical trial contracts. Specifically, Tempest failed to properly review and evaluate progress of expense incurred in clinical trial contracts which resulted in the inaccurate actual of our clinical trial expenses.
Remediation of Material Weaknesses in Internal Control over Financial Reporting
Our management, under the supervision of our Chief Executive Officer, has undertaken a plan to remediate the material weaknesses identified above, including adjustment to the methodology used to reflect clinical trial expenses in our financial statements and leveraging additional accounting resources. The additional efforts summarized below, which are in the process of being implemented, are intended to finalize the remediation, which our management expects to complete in the first half of 2022.
(i) We will seek to recruit and hire additional accounting personnel with appropriate experience, certification, education and training to help design, implement, document and operate effective internal controls over financial reporting; and
(ii) We will finalize our internal control design, and implement management review controls to review clinical trial expenses and the completeness of our reserves based on the status of clinical development and the progress of expense incurred.
Our management cannot assure you that the material weaknesses identified will be remediated on the timelines currently anticipated by us, or at all, or that there will not be additional material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in the future.
Notwithstanding the existence of the material weaknesses as described above, we believe that the Consolidated Financial Statements in this Annual Report fairly present, in all material respects, our financial position, results of operations and cash flows as of the dates, and for the periods, presented, in conformity with GAAP.
Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting
There were no changes in internal control over financial reporting during the quarter ended March 31, 2022 that have materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.
Inherent Limitations on Effectiveness of Controls
Our management, including our Chief Executive Officer and our Vice-President, Strategy and Finance, believes that our disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting are designed to provide reasonable assurance of achieving their objectives and are effective at the reasonable assurance level. However, our management does not expect that our disclosure controls and procedures or our internal control over financial reporting will prevent all errors and all fraud. A control system, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met. Further, the design of a control system must reflect the fact that there are resource constraints, and the benefits of controls must be considered relative to their costs. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control issues and instances of fraud, if any, have been detected. These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision making can be faulty, and that breakdowns can occur because of a simple error or mistake. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons, by collusion of two or more people or by management override of the controls. The design of any system of controls also is based in part upon certain assumptions about the likelihood of future events, and there can be no assurance that any design will succeed in achieving its stated goals under all potential future conditions; over time, controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or the degree of compliance with policies or procedures may deteriorate. Because of the inherent limitations in a cost-effective control system, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.
PART II - OTHER INFORMATION
Item 1. Legal Proceedings
Information pertaining to legal proceedings is provided in Note 6 to the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements contained in this report and is incorporated by reference herein.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Our business involves significant risks, some of which are described below. You should carefully consider the risks described below, together with all of the other information contained in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, including the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the financial statements and the related notes. Any of these events could cause the trading price of our common stock to decline, which would cause you to lose all or part of your investment. The occurrence of any of the following risks could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and future growth prospects or cause our actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements we have made or may make from time to time. Such risks may be amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential impact on our business and the global economy.
Summary of Selected Risks Associated with Our Business
Our business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including those discussed at length in the section titled "Risk Factors." Below is a summary of some of the risks and uncertainties as of the date of the filing of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, any one of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results, and prospects. You should read this summary together with the more detailed description of each risk factor contained below.
•We have a history of operating losses, and we may not achieve or sustain profitability. We anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future. If we fail to obtain additional funding to conduct our planned research and development efforts, we could be forced to delay, reduce or eliminate our product development programs or commercial development efforts.
•We expect that we will need to raise additional funding to finance our operations. This additional financing may not be available on acceptable terms or at all. Failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed may force us to delay, limit or terminate our product development efforts or other operations.
•We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. Failure to achieve and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could harm our business and negatively impact the value of our common stock.
•If we are unable to develop, obtain regulatory approval for and commercialize TPST-1495 and TPST-1120 and its future product candidates, or if we experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be materially harmed.
•Success in preclinical studies and earlier clinical trials for our product candidates may not be indicative of the results that may be obtained in later clinical trials, which may delay or prevent obtaining regulatory approval.
•The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, or similar public health crises, could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations, including the execution of our planned clinical trials.
•We may not be successful in our efforts to expand our pipeline of product candidates and develop marketable products.
•The commercial success of our product candidates, including TPST-1495 and TPST-1120, will depend upon their degree of market acceptance by providers, patients, patient advocacy groups, third-party payors and the general medical community.
•We face significant competition in an environment of rapid technological change, and it is possible that our competitors may achieve regulatory approval before us or develop therapies that are more advanced or effective than ours, which may harm our business, financial condition and ability to successfully market or commercialize TPST-1495, TPST-1120, and our other product candidates.
•If we are unable to establish sales and marketing capabilities or enter into agreements with third parties to market and sell our product candidates, we may be unable to generate any revenues.
•We may not be successful in finding strategic collaborators for continuing development of certain of our future product candidates or successfully commercializing or competing in the market for certain indications.
•The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) regulatory approval process is lengthy and time-consuming, and we may experience significant delays in the clinical development and regulatory approval of our product candidates.
•We expect to expand our development and regulatory capabilities, and as a result, we may encounter difficulties in managing our growth, which could disrupt our operations.
•If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, our ability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis could be impaired.
Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Capital Needs
We have a history of operating losses, and we may not achieve or sustain profitability. We anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future. If we fail to obtain additional funding to conduct our planned research and development efforts, we could be forced to delay, reduce or eliminate our product development programs or commercial development efforts.
We are a clinical-stage biotechnology company with a limited operating history. Biotechnology product development is a highly speculative undertaking and involves a substantial degree of risk. Our operations to date have been limited primarily to organizing and staffing, business planning, raising capital, acquiring and developing product and technology rights, manufacturing, and conducting research and development activities for our product candidates. We have never generated any revenue from product sales and we have not obtained regulatory approvals for any of our product candidates.
We incurred net losses of $28.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, and $8.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022. As of March 31, 2022, we had an accumulated deficit of $108.6 million. Substantially all of our operating losses have resulted from costs incurred in connection with our research and development programs and from general and administrative costs associated with our operations. We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and operating losses over the next several years and for the foreseeable future as we continue to conduct research and development, clinical testing, regulatory compliance activities, manufacturing activities, and, if any of our product candidates is approved, sales and marketing activities. Our prior losses, combined with our expected future losses, have had and will continue to have an adverse effect on our stockholders’ equity and working capital.
We expect that we will need to raise additional funding to finance our operations. This additional financing may not be available on acceptable terms or at all. Failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed may force us to delay, limit or terminate our product development efforts or other operations.
We will require substantial future capital in order to complete planned and future preclinical and clinical development for our product candidates and potentially commercialize these product candidates. We expect our spending levels to increase in connection with our preclinical studies and clinical trials of our product candidates. In addition, if we obtain marketing approval for any of our product candidates, we expect to incur significant expenses related to commercial launch, product sales, medical affairs, marketing, manufacturing and distribution. Furthermore, we expect to incur additional costs associated with operating as a public company. Accordingly, we will need to obtain substantial additional funding in connection with our continuing operations before any commercial revenue may occur.
Additional capital might not be available when we need it and our actual cash requirements might be greater than anticipated. If we require additional capital at a time when investment in our industry or in the marketplace in general is limited, we might not be able to raise funding on favorable terms, if at all. If we are not able to obtain financing when needed or on terms favorable to us, we may need to delay, reduce or eliminate certain research and development programs or other operations, sell some or all of our assets or merge with another entity.
Our operations have consumed significant amounts of cash since inception. Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including:
•the costs associated with the scope, progress and results of discovery, preclinical development, laboratory testing and clinical trials for our product candidates;
•the costs associated with the manufacturing of our product candidates;
•the costs related to the extent to which we enter into partnerships or other arrangements with third parties to further develop our product candidates;
•the costs and fees associated with the discovery, acquisition or in-license of product candidates or technologies;
•our ability to establish collaborations on favorable terms, if at all;
•the costs of future commercialization activities, if any, including product sales, marketing, manufacturing and distribution, for any of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval;
•revenue, if any, received from commercial sales of our product candidates, should any of our product candidates receive marketing approval; and
•the costs of preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications, maintaining and enforcing our intellectual property rights and defending intellectual property-related claims.
Our product candidates, if approved, may not achieve commercial success. Our commercial revenues, if any, will be derived from sales of product candidates that we do not expect to be commercially available for many years, if at all. Accordingly, we will need to continue to rely on additional financing to achieve our business objectives, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all.
Our limited operating history may make it difficult for you to evaluate the success of our business to date and to assess our future viability.
Our operations to date have been limited to organizing and staffing, business planning, raising capital, acquiring our technology, identifying potential product candidates, undertaking research and preclinical studies of our product candidates, manufacturing, and establishing licensing arrangements. We have not yet demonstrated the ability to complete clinical trials of our product candidates, obtain marketing approvals, manufacture a commercial scale product or conduct sales and marketing activities necessary for successful commercialization. Consequently, any predictions you make about our future success or viability may not be as accurate as they could be if we had a longer operating history.
In addition, as a new business, we may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other known and unknown factors. We will need to transition from a company with a licensing and research focus to a company that is also capable of supporting clinical development and commercial activities. We may not be successful in such a transition.
We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. Failure to achieve and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could harm our business and negatively impact the value of our common stock.
In connection with the preparation and audit of our financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2020, a material weakness was identified in our internal control over financial reporting. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. Specifically, we identified the following material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting:
•We did not have sufficient resources with appropriate knowledge and expertise to design, implement, document and operate effective internal controls over financial reporting.
•We did not design and implement controls surrounding review of clinical trial expenses, including the evaluation of the terms of our clinical trial contracts. Specifically, we failed to properly review and evaluate the progress of expenses incurred in our clinical trial contracts that resulted in the inaccurate accrual of clinical trial expenses.
These material weaknesses resulted in adjustments to our financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020. Additionally, these material weaknesses could result in a misstatement of our accounts or disclosures that would result in a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements that would not be prevented or detected.
We are actively recruiting additional accounting personnel with appropriate experience, certification, education and training as a component of our plans to remediate the material weaknesses. We also plan to design and implement controls related to review of clinical trial expenses to properly evaluate progress of expense incurred in clinical trial contracts. To the extent that we are not able to hire and retain such individuals, or are unable to successfully design and implement such controls, the material weaknesses identified may not be remediated and management may be required to record additional adjustments to our financial statements in the future.
Our ability to utilize our net operating loss carryforwards and tax credit carryforwards may be subject to limitations.
Our ability to use our federal and state net operating losses (“NOLs”) to offset potential future taxable income and related income taxes that would otherwise be due is dependent upon our generation of future taxable income, and we cannot predict with certainty when, or whether, we will generate sufficient taxable income to use all of our NOLs.
Under Section 382 and Section 383 of the Code and corresponding provisions of state law, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change,” its ability to use its pre-change NOL carryforwards and other pre-change tax attributes (such as research tax credits) to offset its post-change income or taxes may be limited. A Section 382 “ownership change” is generally defined as a greater than 50 percentage point change (by value) in its equity ownership by certain stockholders over a three-year period. We may have experienced ownership changes in the past, including as a result of the merger with Millendo, and may experience ownership changes in the future due to subsequent shifts in our stock ownership (some of which are outside of our control). Furthermore, the merger constituted an ownership change (within the meaning of Section 382 of the Code) of Millendo which may have eliminated or otherwise substantially limited our ability to use Millendo’s federal and state NOLs to offset our future taxable income. Consequently, even if we achieve profitability, we may not be able to utilize a material portion of Private Tempest’s, Millendo’s or our combined NOL carryforwards and other tax attributes, which could have a material adverse effect on cash flow and results of operations. Similar provisions of state tax law may also apply to limit our ability to use of accumulated state tax attributes. There is also a risk that due to regulatory changes, such as suspensions on the use of NOLs, or other unforeseen reasons, our existing NOLs could expire or otherwise be unavailable to offset future income tax liabilities.
Risks Related to Our Business and Strategy
We face business disruption and related risks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which could have a material adverse effect on our business plan
The development of our product candidates has been, and could continue to be, disrupted and materially adversely affected by past and continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is largely a result of measures imposed by the governments and hospitals in affected regions, businesses and schools were suspended due to quarantines intended to contain this outbreak. While the constraints of the pandemic are being lifted, we are still assessing the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our development plans, and on the ability to conduct our clinical trials. COVID-19 could continue to disrupt production and cause delays in the supply and delivery of products used in our operations, may affect our operations, including the conduct of clinical studies, or the ability of regulatory bodies to grant approvals or supervise our candidates and products, may further divert the attention and efforts of the medical community to coping with the COVID-19 and disrupt the marketplace in which we operate and may have a material adverse effects on our operations. COVID-19 may also affect our employees and employees and operations at suppliers that may result in delays or disruptions in supply. In addition, a recession or market correction resulting from the spread of COVID-19 could materially affect our business and the value of our common stock. Additionally, if the COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on our business and financial results for an extended period of time, our liquidity and cash resources could be negatively impacted. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing global efforts to contain its spread will impact our operations will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain, and include the duration, severity and scope of the pandemic and the actions taken to contain or treat the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the specific clinical outcomes, or future pandemic-related impacts of emerging COVID-19 variants cannot be reliably predicted.
We expect to expand our development and regulatory capabilities, and as a result, we may encounter difficulties in managing our growth, which could disrupt our operations.
We expect to experience significant growth in the number of our employees and the scope of our operations, particularly in the areas of product candidate development, growing our capability to conduct clinical trials, and, if approved, through commercialization of our product candidates. To manage our anticipated future growth, we must continue to implement and improve our managerial, operational and financial systems, expand our facilities and continue to recruit and train additional qualified personnel, or contract with third parties to provide these capabilities. Due to our limited financial resources and the limited experience of our management team in managing a company with such anticipated growth, we may not be able to effectively manage the expansion of our operations or recruit and train additional qualified personnel. The expansion of our operations may lead to significant costs and may divert our management and business development resources. Any inability to manage growth could delay the execution of our business plans or disrupt our operations.
We must attract and retain highly skilled employees to succeed.
To succeed, we must recruit, retain, manage and motivate qualified clinical, scientific, technical and management personnel, and we face significant competition for experienced personnel. If we do not succeed in attracting and retaining qualified
personnel, particularly at the management level, it could adversely affect our ability to execute our business plan, harm our results of operations and increase our capabilities to successfully commercialize our product candidates. In particular, we believe that our future success is highly dependent upon the contributions of our senior management, particularly our Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Brady, our President, Thomas Dubensky and our Chief Medical Officer, Sam Whiting. The loss of services of Messrs. Dubensky or Brady or Whiting, or any of our other senior management, could delay or prevent the successful development of our product pipeline, completion of our planned clinical trials or the commercialization of our product candidates, if approved. The competition for qualified personnel in the biotechnology field is intense and as a result, we may be unable to continue to attract and retain qualified personnel necessary for the development of our business or to recruit suitable replacement personnel.
Many of the other biotechnology companies that we compete against for qualified personnel have greater financial and other resources, different risk profiles and a longer history in the industry than we do. They also may provide more diverse opportunities and better chances for career advancement. Some of these characteristics may be more appealing to high-quality candidates than what we have to offer. If we are unable to continue to attract and retain high-quality personnel, the rate and success at which we can discover and develop product candidates and our business will be limited.
Future acquisitions or strategic alliances could disrupt our business and harm our financial condition and results of operations.
We may acquire additional businesses or drugs form strategic alliances or create joint ventures with third parties that we believe will complement or augment our existing business. If we acquire businesses with promising markets or technologies, we may not be able to realize the benefit of acquiring such businesses if we are unable to successfully integrate them with our existing operations and company culture. We may encounter numerous difficulties in developing, manufacturing and marketing any new drugs resulting from a strategic alliance or acquisition that delay or prevent us from realizing their expected benefits or enhancing our business. We cannot assure you that, following any such acquisition, we will achieve the expected synergies to justify the transaction. The risks we face in connection with acquisitions, include:
•diversion of management time and focus from operating our business to addressing acquisition integration challenges;
•coordination of research and development efforts;
•retention of key employees from the acquired company;
•changes in relationships with strategic partners as a result of product acquisitions or strategic positioning resulting from the acquisition;
•cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization;
•the need to implement or improve controls, procedures and policies at a business that prior to the acquisition may have lacked sufficiently effective controls, procedures and policies;
•liability for activities of the acquired company before the acquisition, including intellectual property infringement claims, violation of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities and other known liabilities;
•unanticipated write-offs or charges; and
•litigation or other claims in connection with the acquired company, including claims from terminated employees, customers, former stockholders or other third parties.
Our failure to address these risks or other problems encountered in connection with our past or future acquisitions or strategic alliances could cause us to fail to realize the anticipated benefits of these transactions, cause us to incur unanticipated liabilities and harm the business generally. There is also a risk that future acquisitions will result in the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities, amortization expenses or incremental operating expenses, any of which could harm our financial condition or results of operations.
Risks Related to Our Product Development and Regulatory Approval
If we are unable to develop, obtain regulatory approval for and commercialize TPST-1495 and TPST-1120 and our future product candidates, or if we experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be materially harmed.
We plan to invest a substantial amount of our efforts and financial resources in our current lead product candidates, TPST-1495, a dual EP2/EP4 prostaglandin (“PGE2”) receptor antagonist, and TPST-1120, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (“PPARα”) antagonist for the treatment of various cancers. We have initiated Phase 1 clinical trials of TPST-1495 and TPST-1120 for the treatment of advanced solid tumors. In addition, we plan to advance our program targeting the three prime repair exonuclease (“TREX-1”) and select a development candidate for this program by first half of 2022. Our ability to generate product revenue will depend heavily on the successful development and eventual commercialization of TPST-1495 and TPST-1120 and our other product candidates, which may never occur. We currently generate no revenue from sales of any product and we may never be able to develop or commercialize a marketable product.
Each of our programs and product candidates will require further clinical and/or preclinical development, regulatory approval in multiple jurisdictions, obtaining preclinical, clinical and commercial manufacturing supply, capacity and expertise, building of a commercial organization, substantial investment and significant marketing efforts before we generate any revenue from product sales. TPST-1495 and TPST-1120 and our other product candidates must be authorized for marketing by the FDA, the Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada (“HPFB”), the European Medicines Agency (“EMA”), and certain other foreign regulatory agencies before we may commercialize any of our product candidates in the United States, Canada, EU, or other jurisdictions.
The success of TPST-1495 and TPST-1120 and our other product candidates depends on multiple factors, including:
•successful completion of preclinical studies, including those compliant with Good Laboratory Practice (“GLP”), or GLP toxicology studies, biodistribution studies and minimum effective dose studies in animals, and successful enrollment and completion of clinical trials compliant with current Good Clinical Practices (“GCPs”);
•effective Investigational New Drug applications or other regulatory applications, that allow commencement of our planned clinical trials or future clinical trials for our product candidates in relevant territories;
•establishing and maintaining relationships with contract research organizations (“CROs”) and clinical sites for the clinical development of our product candidates, both in the United States and internationally;
•maintenance of arrangements with third-party contract manufacturing organizations (“CMOs”) for key materials used in our manufacturing processes and to establish backup sources for clinical and large-scale commercial supply;
•positive results from our clinical programs that are supportive of safety and efficacy and provide an acceptable risk-benefit profile for our product candidates in the intended patient populations;
•receipt of regulatory approvals from applicable regulatory authorities, including those necessary for pricing and reimbursement of our product candidates;
•establishment and maintenance of patent and trade secret protection and regulatory exclusivity for our product candidates;
•commercial launch of our product candidates, if and when approved, whether alone or in collaboration with others;
•acceptance of our product candidates, if and when approved, by patients, patient advocacy groups, third-party payors and the general medical community;
•our ability to effectively compete with developers of other therapies available in the market;
•establishment and maintenance of adequate reimbursement from third-party payors for our product candidates;
•our ability to acquire or in-license additional product candidates;
•prosecution, maintenance, enforcement and defense of intellectual property rights and claims;
•maintenance of a continued acceptable safety profile of our product candidates following approval, including meeting any post-marketing commitments or requirements imposed by or agreed to with applicable regulatory authorities;
•political factors surrounding the approval process, such as government shutdowns; or
•business interruptions resulting from geopolitical actions, including war and terrorism such as Russia's recent incursion into Ukraine, natural disasters including earthquakes, typhoons, floods and fires, and public health emergencies, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, or
•disruptions in enrollment of our clinical trials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If we do not succeed in one or more of these factors in a timely manner or at all, we could experience significant delays or an inability to successfully commercialize our product candidates, which would materially harm our business. If we do not receive regulatory approvals for our product candidates, we may not be able to continue our operations.
Success in preclinical studies and earlier clinical trials for our product candidates may not be indicative of the results that may be obtained in later clinical trials, which may delay or prevent obtaining regulatory approval.
Clinical development is expensive and can take many years to complete, and our outcome is inherently uncertain. Failure can occur at any time during the clinical trial process. Success in preclinical studies and early clinical trials may not be predictive of results in later-stage clinical trials, and successful results from early or small clinical trials may not be replicated or show as favorable an outcome in later-stage or larger clinical trials, even if successful. We will be required to demonstrate through adequate and well-controlled clinical trials that our product candidates are safe and effective for their intended uses before we can seek regulatory approvals for their commercial sale. The conduct of phase 3 trials and the submission of a New Drug Application (“NDA”) is a complicated process. We have not previously completed any clinical trials, has limited experience in preparing, submitting and supporting regulatory filings, and has not previously submitted an NDA. Consequently, we may be unable to successfully and efficiently execute and complete necessary clinical trials and other requirements in a way that leads to NDA submission and approval of any product candidate we are developing.
Although TPST-1495 and TPST-1120 are being evaluated in clinical trials, our other product candidates, such as TREX-1, have not been evaluated in human clinical trials, and we may experience unexpected or negative results in the future if and
when TREX-1 or our other product candidates are evaluated in clinical trials. Any positive results we observe for TREX-1 in preclinical animal models may not be predictive of our future clinical trials in humans, as animal models carry inherent limitations relevant to all preclinical studies. Our product candidates, including TREX-1, may also fail to show the desired safety and efficacy in later stages of clinical development even if they successfully advance through initial clinical trials. Even if our clinical trials demonstrate acceptable safety and efficacy of TPST-1495, TPST-1120 or TREX-1 or any other product candidates and such product candidates receive regulatory approval, the labeling we obtain through negotiations with the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities may not include data on secondary endpoints and may not provide us with a competitive advantage over other products approved for the same or similar indications.
Many companies in the biotechnology industry have suffered significant setbacks in late-stage clinical trials after achieving positive results in early-stage development, and there is a high failure rate for product candidates proceeding through clinical trials. In addition, different methodologies, assumptions and applications we utilize to assess particular safety or efficacy parameters may yield different statistical results. Even if we believe the data collected from clinical trials of our product candidates are promising, these data may not be sufficient to support approval by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities. Preclinical and clinical data can be interpreted in different ways. Accordingly, the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities could interpret these data in different ways from us or our partners, which could delay, limit or prevent regulatory approval. If our study data does not consistently or sufficiently demonstrate the safety or efficacy of any of our product candidates, including TPST-1495 and TPST-1120, to the satisfaction of the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities, then the regulatory approvals for such product candidates could be significantly delayed as we work to meet approval requirements, or, if we are not able to meet these requirements, such approvals could be withheld or withdrawn.
If we encounter difficulties enrolling patients in our clinical trials, our clinical development activities could be delayed or otherwise adversely affected.
We may experience difficulties in patient enrollment in our clinical trials for a variety of reasons, including, without limitation, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The timely completion of clinical trials in accordance with our protocols depends, among other things, on our ability to enroll a sufficient number of patients who remain in the study until our conclusion. The enrollment of patients depends on many factors, including:
•the patient eligibility criteria defined in the protocol;
•the size of the patient population required for analysis of the trial’s primary endpoints;
•the proximity of patients to study sites;
•the design of the trial;
•our ability to recruit clinical trial investigators with the appropriate competencies and experience;
•our ability to obtain and maintain patient consents; and
•the risk that patients enrolled in our clinical trials will drop out of the trials before the infusion of our product candidates or trial completion.
We intend to conduct a number of clinical trials for product candidates in the fields of cancer in geographies which are affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We believe COVID-19 could have an impact on various aspects of our future clinical trials. For example, investigators may not want to take the risk of exposing cancer patients to COVID-19 since the dosing of patients is conducted within an in-patient setting. Other potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our future various clinical trials include patient dosing and study monitoring, which may be paused or delayed due to changes in policies at various clinical sites, federal, state, local or foreign laws, rules and regulations, including quarantines or other travel restrictions, prioritization of healthcare resources toward pandemic efforts, including diminished attention of physicians serving as our clinical trial investigators and reduced availability of site staff supporting the conduct of our clinical trials, interruption or delays in the operations of the government regulators, or other reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unknown how long these pauses or disruptions could continue.
In addition, our clinical trials will compete with other clinical trials for product candidates that are in the same therapeutic areas as our product candidates, and this competition will reduce the number and types of patients available to us because some patients who might have opted to enroll in our trials may instead opt to enroll in a trial being conducted by one of our competitors. Since the number of qualified clinical investigators is limited, some of our clinical trial sites are also being used by some of our competitors, which may reduce the number of patients who are available for our clinical trials in that clinical trial site.
Moreover, because our product candidates represent unproven methods for cancer treatment, potential patients and their doctors may be inclined to use existing therapies rather than enroll patients in our clinical trials.
Delays in patient enrollment may result in increased costs or may affect the timing or outcome of our ongoing clinical trial and planned clinical trials, which could prevent completion of these trials and adversely affect our ability to advance the development of our product candidates.
Interim and preliminary data from our clinical trials that we may announce or publish from time to time may change as more patient data becomes available and are subject to audit and verification procedures that could result in material changes in the final data.
From time to time, we may publish interim or preliminary data from our clinical studies. Interim data from clinical trials that we may complete are subject to the risk that one or more of the clinical outcomes may materially change as patient enrollment continues and more patient data become available.
Preliminary or interim data also remain subject to audit and verification procedures that may result in the final data being materially different from the preliminary data we previously published. As a result, interim and preliminary data should be viewed with caution until the final data is available. Adverse differences between preliminary or interim data and final data could significantly harm our business prospects.
Even if we complete the necessary preclinical studies and clinical trials, we cannot predict when, or if, we will obtain regulatory approval to commercialize a product candidate and the approval may be for a narrower indication than we seek.
Prior to commercialization, TPST-1495, TPST-1120 and our other product candidates must be approved by the FDA pursuant to an NDA in the United States and pursuant to similar marketing applications by the HPFB, EMA and similar regulatory authorities outside the United States. The process of obtaining marketing approvals, both in the United States and abroad, is expensive and takes many years, if approval is obtained at all, and can vary substantially based upon a variety of factors, including the type, complexity and novelty of the product candidates involved. Failure to obtain marketing approval for a product candidate will prevent us from commercializing the product candidate. We have not received approval to market TPST-1495, TPST-1120 or any of our other product candidates from regulatory authorities in any jurisdiction. We have no experience in submitting and supporting the applications necessary to gain marketing approvals, and, in the event regulatory authorities indicate that we may submit such applications, we may be unable to do so as quickly and efficiently as desired. Securing marketing approval requires the submission of extensive preclinical and clinical data and supporting information to regulatory authorities for each therapeutic indication to establish the product candidate’s safety and efficacy. Securing marketing approval also requires the submission of information about the product manufacturing process to, and inspection of manufacturing facilities by, the regulatory authorities. Our product candidates may not be effective, may be only moderately effective or may prove to have undesirable or unintended side effects, toxicities or other characteristics that may preclude us from obtaining marketing approval or prevent or limit commercial use. Regulatory authorities have substantial discretion in the approval process and may refuse to accept or file any application or may decide that our data is insufficient for approval and require additional preclinical, clinical or other studies. In addition, varying interpretations of the data obtained from preclinical and clinical testing could delay, limit or prevent marketing approval of a product candidate.
Approval of TPST-1495 and TPST-1120 and our other product candidates may be delayed or refused for many reasons, including:
•the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with the design or implementation of our clinical trials;
•we may be unable to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, that our product candidates are safe and effective for any of their proposed indications;
•the populations studied in clinical trials may not be sufficiently broad or representative to assure efficacy and safety in the populations for which we seek approval;
•the results of clinical trials may not meet the level of statistical significance required by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities for approval;
•we may be unable to demonstrate that our product candidates’ clinical and other benefits outweigh their safety risks;
•the data collected from clinical trials of our product candidates may not be sufficient to support the submission of an NDA or other comparable submission in foreign jurisdictions or to obtain regulatory approval in the United States or elsewhere;
•the facilities of third-party manufacturers with which we contract or procure certain service or raw materials, may not be adequate to support approval of our product candidates; and
•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.
Even if our product candidates meet their pre-specified safety and efficacy endpoints in clinical trials, the regulatory authorities may not complete their review processes in a timely manner and may not consider such clinical trial results sufficient to grant, or we may not be able to obtain, regulatory approval. Additional delays may result if an FDA Advisory Committee or other regulatory authority recommends non-approval or restrictions on approval. In addition, we may experience delays or rejections based upon additional government regulation from future legislation or administrative action, or changes in regulatory authority policy during the period of product development, clinical trials and the review process.
Regulatory authorities also may approve a product candidate for more limited indications than requested or they may impose significant limitations in the form of narrow indications, warnings, contraindications or Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies ("REMS"). These regulatory authorities may also grant approval subject to the performance of costly post-marketing clinical trials. In addition, regulatory authorities may not approve the labeling claims that are necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of our product candidates. Any of the foregoing scenarios could materially harm the commercial prospects for our product candidates and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
TPST-1495, TPST-1120 and our other product candidates may cause undesirable and/or unforeseen side effects or be perceived by the public as unsafe, which could delay or prevent their advancement into clinical trials or regulatory approval, limit the commercial potential or result in significant negative consequences.
As is the case with pharmaceuticals generally, it is likely that there may be side effects and adverse events associated with our product candidates’ use. Results of our clinical trials could reveal a high and unacceptable severity and prevalence of side effects or unexpected characteristics. As we continue developing our product candidates and initiate clinical trials of our additional product candidates, serious adverse events ("SAEs"), undesirable side effects, relapse of disease or unexpected characteristics may emerge causing us to abandon these product candidates or limit their development to more narrow uses or subpopulations in which the SAEs or undesirable side effects or other characteristics are less prevalent, less severe or more acceptable from a risk-benefit perspective or in which efficacy is more pronounced or durable.
If any such adverse events occur, our clinical trials could be suspended or terminated and the FDA, the HPFB, the European Commission, the EMA or other regulatory authorities could order us to cease further development of, or deny approval of, our product candidates for any or all targeted indications. Even if we can demonstrate that all future serious adverse events are not product-related, such occurrences could affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the trial. Moreover, if we elect, or are required, to not initiate, delay, suspend or terminate any future clinical trial of any of our product candidates, the commercial prospects of such product candidates may be harmed and our ability to generate product revenues from any of these product candidates may be delayed or eliminated. Any of these occurrences may harm our ability to develop other product candidates, and may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects significantly, including our ability to successfully sign collaboration or license agreements with external partners. Other treatments for cancers that utilize prostaglandin E2 antagonist or a PPARα antagonist or similar mechanism of action could also generate data that could adversely affect the clinical, regulatory or commercial perception of TPST-1495 and TPST-1120 and our other product candidates.
Additionally, if any of our product candidates receives marketing approval, the FDA could require us to adopt a REMS to ensure that the benefits of the product outweigh our risks, which may include, for example, a Medication Guide outlining the risks of the product for distribution to patients and a communication plan to health care practitioners, or other elements to assure safe use of the product.
Furthermore, if we or others later identify undesirable side effects caused by our product candidates, several potentially significant negative consequences could result, including:
•regulatory authorities may suspend or withdraw approvals of such product candidate;
•regulatory authorities may require additional warnings in the product labeling;
•we may be required to change the way a product candidate is administered or conduct additional clinical trials;
•we could be sued and held liable for harm caused to patients; and
•our reputation may suffer.
Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects significantly.
We may not be successful in our efforts to expand our pipeline of product candidates and develop marketable products.
Because we have limited financial and managerial resources, we focus on research programs and product candidates that we identify for specific indications. Our business depends on our successful development and commercialization of the limited number of internal product candidates we are researching or have in preclinical development. Even if we are successful in continuing to build our pipeline, development of the potential product candidates that we identify will require substantial
investment in additional clinical development, management of clinical, preclinical and manufacturing activities, regulatory approval in multiple jurisdictions, obtaining manufacturing supply capability, building a commercial organization, and significant marketing efforts before we generate any revenue from product sales. Furthermore, such product candidates may not be suitable for clinical development, including as a result of their harmful side effects, limited efficacy or other characteristics that indicate that they are unlikely to be products that will receive marketing approval and achieve market acceptance. If we cannot develop further product candidates, we may not be able to obtain product revenue in future periods, which would adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
Although our pipeline includes multiple programs, we are primarily focused on our lead product candidates, TPST-1495 and TPST-1120, and 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 products 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. Our understanding and evaluation of biological targets for the discovery and development of new product candidates may fail to identify challenges encountered in subsequent preclinical and clinical development. 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.
Any product candidate for which we obtain marketing approval will be subject to extensive post-marketing regulatory requirements and could be subject to post-marketing restrictions or withdrawal from the market, and we may be subject to penalties if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or if we experience unanticipated problems with our product candidates, when and if any of them are approved.
Our product candidates and the activities associated with their development and potential commercialization, including their testing, manufacturing, recordkeeping, labeling, storage, approval, advertising, promotion, sale and distribution, are subject to comprehensive regulation by the FDA and other U.S. and international regulatory authorities. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration and listing requirements, requirements relating to manufacturing, including current Good Manufacturing Practices (“cGMP”), quality control, quality assurance and corresponding maintenance of records and documents, including periodic inspections by the FDA and other regulatory authorities and requirements regarding the distribution of samples to providers and recordkeeping. In addition, manufacturers of drug products and their facilities are subject to continual review and periodic, unannounced inspections by the FDA and other regulatory authorities for compliance with cGMP.
The FDA may also impose requirements for costly post-marketing studies or clinical trials and surveillance to monitor the safety or efficacy of any approved product. The FDA closely regulates the post-approval marketing and promotion of drugs to ensure that they are marketed in a manner consistent with the provisions of the approved labeling. The FDA imposes stringent restrictions on manufacturers’ communications regarding use of their products. If we promote our product candidates in a manner inconsistent with FDA-approved labeling or otherwise not in compliance with FDA regulations, we may be subject to enforcement action. Violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act relating to the promotion of prescription drugs may lead to investigations alleging violations of federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws, as well as state consumer protection laws and similar laws in international jurisdictions.
In addition, later discovery of previously unknown adverse events or other problems with our product candidates, manufacturers or manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may yield various results, including:
•restrictions on such product candidates, manufacturers or manufacturing processes;
•restrictions on the labeling or marketing of a product;
•restrictions on product distribution or use;
•requirements to conduct post-marketing studies or clinical trials;
•warning or untitled letters;
•withdrawal of any approved product from the market;
•refusal to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications that we submit;
•recall of product candidates;
•fines, restitution or disgorgement of profits or revenues;
•suspension or withdrawal of marketing approvals;
•refusal to permit the import or export of our product candidates;
•product seizure; or
•injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.
The occurrence of any event or penalty described above may inhibit our ability to commercialize our product candidates and generate revenue and could require us to expend significant time and resources in response and could generate negative publicity. The FDA’s and other regulatory authorities’ policies may change, and additional government regulations may be enacted that could prevent, limit or delay regulatory approval of our product candidates. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, it may lose any marketing approval that we have obtained, and we may not achieve or sustain profitability.
Non-compliance with Canadian and European requirements regarding safety monitoring or pharmacovigilance, and with requirements related to the development of products for the pediatric population, can also result in significant financial penalties. Similarly, failure to comply with Canada’s or Europe’s requirements regarding the protection of personal information can also lead to significant penalties and sanctions.
Our failure to obtain regulatory approval in international jurisdictions would prevent us from marketing our product candidates outside the United States.
To market and sell TPST-1495, TPST-1120 and our other product candidates in 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 and data 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, we must secure product reimbursement approvals before regulatory authorities will approve the product for sale in that country. Failure to obtain foreign regulatory approvals or non-compliance with foreign regulatory requirements could result in significant delays, difficulties and costs for us and could delay or prevent the introduction of our product candidates in certain countries.
If we fail to comply with the regulatory requirements in international markets and receive applicable marketing approvals, our target market will be reduced and our ability to realize the full market potential of our product candidates will be harmed and our business will be adversely affected. We may not obtain foreign regulatory approvals on a timely basis, if at all. Our failure to obtain approval of any of our product candidates by regulatory authorities in another country may significantly diminish the commercial prospects of that product candidate and our business prospects could decline.
Risks Related to Commercialization and Manufacturing
The commercial success of our product candidates, including TPST-1495 and TPST-1120, will depend upon their degree of market acceptance by providers, patients, patient advocacy groups, third-party payors and the general medical community.
Even if the requisite approvals from the FDA, the HPFB, the EMA and other regulatory authorities internationally are obtained, the commercial success of our product candidates will depend, in part, on the acceptance of providers, patients and third-party payors of drugs designed to act as a dual antagonist of EP2 and EP4 and PPARα antagonists in general, and our product candidates in particular, as medically necessary, cost-effective and safe. In addition, we may face challenges in seeking to establish and grow sales of TPST-1495 and TPST-1120 or our other product candidates. Any product that we commercialize may not gain acceptance by providers, patients, patient advocacy groups, third-party payors and the general medical community. If these products do not achieve an adequate level of acceptance, we may not generate significant product revenue and may not become profitable.
Even if a potential product displays a favorable efficacy and safety profile in preclinical studies and clinical trials, market acceptance of the product will not be fully known until after it is launched.
The pricing, insurance coverage and reimbursement status of newly approved products is uncertain. Failure to obtain or maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement for our product candidates, if approved, could limit our ability to market those products and decrease our ability to generate product revenue.
Successful sales of our product candidates, if approved, depend on the availability of coverage and adequate reimbursement from third-party payors including governmental healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, managed care organizations and commercial payors, among others. Significant uncertainty exists as to the coverage and reimbursement status of any product candidates for which we obtain regulatory approval. In addition, because our product candidates represent new approaches to the treatment of cancer, we cannot accurately estimate the potential revenue from our product candidates.
We expect that coverage and reimbursement by third-party payors will be essential for most patients to be able to afford these treatments. Accordingly, sales of our product candidates will depend substantially, both domestically and internationally, on the extent to which the costs of our product candidates will be paid by health maintenance, managed care, pharmacy benefit and similar healthcare management organizations, or will be reimbursed by government payors, private health coverage insurers and other third-party payors. Even if coverage is provided, the established reimbursement amount may not be high enough to allow us to establish or maintain pricing sufficient to realize a sufficient return on our investment.
There is significant uncertainty related to the insurance coverage and reimbursement of newly approved products. In the United States, third-party payors, including private and governmental payors, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs, play an important role in determining the extent to which new drugs will be covered and reimbursed. The Medicare program covers certain individuals aged 65 or older, disabled or suffering from end-stage renal disease. The Medicaid program, which varies from state-to-state, covers certain individuals and families who have limited financial means. The Medicare and Medicaid programs increasingly are used as models for how private payors and other government payors develop their coverage and reimbursement policies for drugs. One payor’s determination to provide coverage for a drug product, however, does not assure that other payors will also provide coverage for the drug product. Further, a payor’s decision to provide coverage for a drug product does not imply that an adequate reimbursement rate will be approved.
In addition to government and private payors, professional organizations such as the American Medical Association, can influence decisions about coverage and reimbursement for new products by determining standards for care. In addition, many private payors contract with commercial vendors who sell software that provide guidelines that attempt to limit utilization of, and therefore reimbursement for, certain products deemed to provide limited benefit compared to existing alternatives. Such organizations may set guidelines that limit reimbursement or utilization of our product candidates, if approved. Even if favorable coverage and reimbursement status is attained for one or more product candidates for which our collaborators receive regulatory approval, less favorable coverage policies and reimbursement rates may be implemented in the future.
Outside the United States, international operations are generally subject to extensive governmental price controls and other market regulations, and we believe the increasing emphasis on cost-containment initiatives in Europe, Canada and other countries has and will continue to put pressure on the pricing and usage of therapeutics such as our product candidates. In many countries, particularly the countries of the EU, the prices of medical products are subject to varying price control mechanisms as part of national health systems. In these countries, pricing negotiations with governmental authorities can take considerable time after the receipt of marketing approval for a product. To obtain 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. In general, the prices of products under such systems are substantially lower than in the United States. Other countries allow companies to fix their own prices for products, but monitor and control company profits. Additional foreign price controls or other changes in pricing regulation could restrict the amount that we are able to charge for our product candidates. Accordingly, in markets outside the United States, the reimbursement for our product candidates may be reduced compared with the United States and may be insufficient to generate commercially reasonable revenues and profits.
Moreover, increasing efforts by government and other third-party payors, in the United States and internationally, to cap or reduce healthcare costs may cause such payors to limit both coverage and the level of reimbursement for new products approved and, as a result, they may not cover or provide adequate payment for our product candidates. We expect to experience pricing pressures in connection with the sale of any of our product candidates due to the trend toward managed healthcare, the increasing influence of certain third-party payors, such as health maintenance organizations, and additional legislative changes. The downward pressure on healthcare costs in general, particularly prescription drugs and surgical procedures and other treatments, has become very intense. As a result, increasingly high barriers are being erected to the entry of new products into the healthcare market. Recently there have been instances in which third-party payors have refused to reimburse treatments for patients for whom the treatment is indicated in the FDA-approved product labeling. Even if we are successful in obtaining FDA approval to commercialize our product candidates, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to secure reimbursement for all patients for whom treatment with our product candidates is indicated.
If third parties on which we depend to conduct our planned preclinical studies or clinical trials do not perform as contractually required, fail to satisfy regulatory or legal requirements or miss expected deadlines, our development program could be delayed with adverse effects on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We rely on third party CROs, CMOs, consultants and others to design, conduct, supervise and monitor key activities relating to, testing, discovery, manufacturing, preclinical studies and clinical trials of our product candidates, and we intend to do the same for future activities relating to existing and future programs. Because we rely on third parties and does not have the ability to conduct all required testing, discovery, manufacturing, preclinical studies or clinical trials independently, we have less control over the timing, quality and other aspects of discovery, manufacturing, preclinical studies and clinical trials than we would if we conducted them on our own. These investigators, CROs, CMOs and consultants are not our employees, and
we have limited control over the amount of time and resources that they dedicate to our programs. These third parties may have contractual relationships with other entities, some of which may be our competitors, which may draw time and resources from our programs. The third parties we contract with might not be diligent, careful or timely in conducting our discovery, manufacturing, preclinical studies or clinical trials, resulting in testing, discovery, manufacturing, preclinical studies or clinical trials being delayed or unsuccessful, in whole or in part.
If we cannot contract with acceptable third parties on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, or if these third parties do not carry out their contractual duties, satisfy legal and regulatory requirements for the conduct of preclinical studies or clinical trials or meet expected deadlines, our clinical development programs could be delayed and otherwise adversely affected. In all events, we are responsible for ensuring that each of our preclinical studies and clinical trials is conducted in accordance with the general investigational plan and protocols for the trial, as well as in accordance with GLP, GCP and other applicable laws, regulations and standards. Our reliance on third parties that we do not control does not relieve us of these responsibilities and requirements. The FDA and other regulatory authorities enforce GCP through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators and trial sites. If we or any of these third parties fails to comply with applicable GCP, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our marketing applications. We cannot assure you that upon inspection by a given regulatory authority, such regulatory authority will determine that any of our clinical trials have complied with GCP. In addition, our clinical trials must be conducted with product produced in accordance with cGMP. Our failure to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat clinical trials, which could delay or prevent the receipt of regulatory approvals. Any such event could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We face significant competition in an environment of rapid technological change, and it is possible that our competitors may achieve regulatory approval before us or develop therapies that are more advanced or effective than our therapies, which may harm our business, financial condition and our ability to successfully market or commercialize TPST-1495, TPST-1120, and our other product candidates.
The biopharmaceutical industry, and the immuno-oncology industry specifically, is characterized by intense competition and rapid innovation. We are aware of other companies focused on developing cancer therapies in various indications. We may also face competition from large and specialty pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic research institutions, government agencies and public and private research institutions that conduct research, seek patent protection, and establish collaborative arrangements for research, development, manufacturing and commercialization.
Many of our potential competitors, alone or with their strategic partners, may have substantially greater financial, technical and other resources than we do, such as larger research and development, clinical, marketing and manufacturing organizations. Mergers and acquisitions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries may result in even more resources being concentrated among a smaller number of competitors. Our commercial opportunity could be reduced or eliminated if competitors develop and commercialize products that are safer, more effective, have fewer or less severe side effects, are more convenient or are less expensive than any product candidates that we may develop. Competitors also may obtain FDA or other regulatory approval for their products more rapidly than we may obtain approval for our products, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market, if ever. Additionally, new or advanced technologies developed by our competitors may render our current or future product candidates uneconomical or obsolete, and we may not be successful in marketing our product candidates against competitors.
To become and remain profitable, we must develop and eventually commercialize product candidates with significant market potential, which will require us to be successful in a range of challenging activities. These activities include, among other things, completing preclinical studies and initiating and completing clinical trials of our product candidates, obtaining marketing approval for these product candidates, manufacturing, marketing and selling those products that are approved and satisfying any post marketing requirements. We may never succeed in any or all of these activities and, even if we do, we may never generate revenues that are significant or large enough to achieve profitability. If we do achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain or increase profitability on a quarterly or annual basis. Our failure to become and remain profitable would decrease the value of our common stock and could impair our ability to raise capital, maintain our research and development efforts, expand our business or continue operations. A decline in the value of our common stock also could cause you to lose all or part of your investment.
We may rely on third parties to manufacture our clinical product supplies, and we may have to rely on third parties to produce and process our product candidates, if approved.
We must currently rely on outside vendors to manufacture supplies and process our product candidates. We have not yet manufactured or processed our product candidates on a commercial scale and may not be able to achieve manufacturing and
processing and may be unable to create an inventory of mass-produced, off-the-shelf product to satisfy demands for any of our product candidates.
We do not yet have sufficient information to reliably estimate the cost of the commercial manufacturing and processing of our product candidates, and the actual cost to manufacture and process our product candidates could materially and adversely affect the commercial viability of our product candidates. As a result, we may never be able to develop a commercially viable product.
In addition, we anticipate reliance on a limited number of third-party manufacturers exposes us to the following risks:
•We may be unable to identify manufacturers on acceptable terms or at all because the number of potential manufacturers is limited, and the FDA may have questions regarding any replacement contractor. This may require new testing and regulatory interactions. In addition, a new manufacturer would have to be educated in, or develop substantially equivalent processes for, production of our products after receipt of FDA questions, if any.
•Our third-party manufacturers might be unable to timely formulate and manufacture our product or produce the quantity and quality required to meet our clinical and commercial needs, if any.
•Contract manufacturers may not be able to execute our manufacturing procedures appropriately.
•Our future contract manufacturers may not perform as agreed or may not remain in the contract manufacturing business for the time required to supply our clinical trials or to successfully produce, store and distribute our products.
•Manufacturers are subject to ongoing periodic unannounced inspection by the FDA, the Drug Enforcement Administration and corresponding state agencies to ensure strict compliance with cGMP and other government regulations and corresponding foreign standards. We do not have control over third-party manufacturers’ compliance with these regulations and standards.
•We may not own, or may have to share, the intellectual property rights to any improvements made by our third-party manufacturers in the manufacturing process for our products.
•Our third-party manufacturers could breach or terminate their agreement(s) with us.
Our contract manufacturers would also be subject to the same risks we face in developing our own manufacturing capabilities, as described above. Each of these risks could delay our clinical trials, the approval, if any, of our product candidates by the FDA or the commercialization of our product candidates or result in higher costs or deprive us of potential product revenue. In addition, we will rely on third parties to perform release tests on our product candidates prior to delivery to patients. If these tests are not appropriately done and test data are not reliable, patients could be put at risk of serious harm.
The manufacture of drugs is complex, and our third-party manufacturers may encounter difficulties in production. If any of our third-party manufacturers encounter such difficulties, our ability to provide adequate supply of our product candidates for clinical trials, our ability to obtain marketing approval, or our ability to provide supply of our product candidates for patients, if approved, could be delayed or stopped.
We intend to establish manufacturing relationships with a limited number of suppliers to manufacture raw materials, the drug substance and finished product of any product candidate for which we are responsible for preclinical or clinical development. Each supplier may require licenses to manufacture such components if such processes are not owned by the supplier or in the public domain. As part of any marketing approval, a manufacturer and its processes are required to be qualified by the FDA prior to regulatory approval. If supply from the approved vendor is interrupted, there could be a significant disruption in commercial supply. An alternative vendor would need to be qualified through an NDA supplement which could result in further delay. The FDA or other regulatory agencies outside of the United States may also require additional studies if a new supplier is relied upon for commercial production. Switching vendors may involve substantial costs and is likely to result in a delay in our desired clinical and commercial timelines.
The process of manufacturing drugs is complex, highly regulated and subject to multiple risks. Manufacturing drugs is highly susceptible to product loss due to contamination, equipment failure, improper installation or operation of equipment, vendor or operator error, inconsistency in yields, variability in product characteristics and difficulties in scaling the production process. Even minor deviations from normal manufacturing processes could result in reduced production yields, product defects and other supply disruptions. If microbial, viral or other contaminations are discovered at the facilities of our manufacturers, such facilities may need to be closed for an extended period of time to investigate and remedy the contamination, which could delay clinical trials and adversely harm our business. Moreover, if the FDA determines that our CMOs are not in compliance with FDA laws and regulations, including those governing cGMP, the FDA may deny an NDA approval until the deficiencies are corrected or we replace the manufacturer in our NDA with a manufacturer that is in compliance. In addition, approved products and the facilities at which they are manufactured are required to maintain ongoing compliance with extensive FDA requirements and the requirements of other similar agencies, including ensuring that quality control and manufacturing procedures conform to cGMP requirements. As such, our CMOs are subject to continual review and periodic inspections to assess compliance with cGMP. Furthermore, although we do not have day-to-day control
over the operations of our CMOs, we are responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including cGMP.
In addition, there are risks associated with large scale manufacturing for clinical trials or commercial scale including, among others, cost overruns, potential problems with process scale-up, process reproducibility, stability issues, compliance with good manufacturing practices, lot consistency and timely availability of raw materials. Even if our collaborators obtain regulatory approval for any of our product candidates, there is no assurance that manufacturers will be able to manufacture the approved product to specifications acceptable to the FDA or other regulatory authorities, to produce it in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements for the potential launch of the product or to meet potential future demand. If our manufacturers are unable to produce sufficient quantities for clinical trials or for commercialization, commercialization efforts would be impaired, which would have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We believe that we will rely upon on a limited number of manufacturers for our product candidates, which may include single-source suppliers for the various steps of manufacture. This reliance on a limited number of manufacturers and the complexity of drug manufacturing and the difficulty of scaling up a manufacturing process could cause the delay of clinical trials, regulatory submissions, required approvals or commercialization of our product candidates, cause us to incur higher costs and prevent us from commercializing our product candidates successfully. Furthermore, if our suppliers fail to deliver the required commercial quantities of materials on a timely basis and at commercially reasonable prices, and we are unable to secure one or more replacement suppliers capable of production in a timely manner at a substantially equivalent cost, our clinical trials may be delayed or we could lose potential revenue.
If we are unable to establish sales and marketing capabilities or enter into agreements with third parties to market and sell our product candidates, we may be unable to generate any revenues.
We currently do not have an organization for the sales, marketing and distribution of TPST-1495, TPST-1120, TREX-1 and our other product candidates, and the cost of establishing and maintaining such an organization may exceed the cost-effectiveness of doing so. To market any products that may be approved, we must build our sales, marketing, managerial and other non-technical capabilities or make arrangements with third parties to perform these services. With respect to certain of our current programs as well as future programs, we may rely completely on an alliance partner for sales and marketing. In addition, although we intend to establish a sales organization if we are able to obtain approval to market any product candidates, we may enter into strategic alliances with third parties to develop and commercialize TPST-1495, TPST-1120 and other product candidates, including in markets outside of the United States or for other large markets that are beyond our resources. This will reduce the revenue generated from the sales of these products.
Any future strategic alliance partners may not dedicate sufficient resources to the commercialization of our product candidates or may otherwise fail in their commercialization due to factors beyond our control. If we are unable to establish effective alliances to enable the sale of our product candidates to healthcare professionals and in geographical regions, including the United States, that will not be covered by our marketing and sales force, or if our potential future strategic alliance partners do not successfully commercialize the product candidates, our ability to generate revenues from product sales will be adversely affected.
If we are unable to establish adequate sales, marketing and distribution capabilities, whether independently or with third parties, we may not be able to generate sufficient product revenue and may not become profitable. We will be competing with many companies that currently have extensive and well-funded marketing and sales operations. Without an internal team or the support of a third party to perform marketing and sales functions, we may be unable to compete successfully against these more established companies.
We may not be successful in finding strategic collaborators for continuing development of certain of our future product candidates or successfully commercializing or competing in the market for certain indications.
In the future, we may decide to collaborate with non-profit organizations, universities and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for the development and potential commercialization of existing and new 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 drugs, 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 for our product candidate. The terms of any additional collaborations or other arrangements that we may establish may not be favorable to us. 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 the product candidate for which we are seeking to collaborate, reduce or delay our development program or one or more of our other development programs, delay our potential commercialization or reduce the scope of any sales or marketing activities, or increase our expenditures and undertake development or commercialization activities at our expense. If we elect to increase our expenditures to fund development or commercialization activities on our product candidates, we may need to obtain additional capital, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. If we do not have sufficient funds, we may not be able to further develop our product candidates or bring them to market and generate product revenue.
The success of any potential collaboration arrangements will depend heavily on the efforts and activities of our collaborators. Collaborators generally have significant discretion in determining the efforts and resources that they will apply to these collaborations. Disagreements between parties to a collaboration arrangement regarding clinical development and commercialization matters can lead to delays in the development process or commercializing the applicable product candidate and, in some cases, termination of such collaboration arrangements. These disagreements can be difficult to resolve if neither of the parties has final decision-making authority. Collaborations with pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies and other third parties often are terminated or allowed to expire by the other party. Any such termination or expiration would adversely affect us financially and could harm our business reputation.
Risks Related to Government Regulation
The FDA regulatory approval process is lengthy and time consuming, and we may experience significant delays in the clinical development and regulatory approval of our product candidates.
Obtaining FDA approval is unpredictable, typically takes many years following the commencement of clinical trials and depends upon numerous factors, including the type, complexity and novelty of the product candidates involved. In addition, approval policies, regulations or the type and amount of clinical data necessary to gain approval may change during the course of a product candidate’s clinical development and may vary among jurisdictions, which may cause delays in the approval or the decision not to approve an application. Regulatory authorities have substantial discretion in the approval process and may refuse to accept any application or may decide that our data are insufficient for approval and require additional preclinical, clinical or other data. Even if we eventually complete clinical testing and receive approval for our product candidates, the FDA may approve our product candidates for a more limited indication or a narrower patient population than originally requested or may impose other prescribing limitations or warnings that limit the product’s commercial potential. We have not submitted for, or obtained, regulatory approval for any product candidate, and it is possible that none of our product candidates will ever obtain regulatory approval. Further, development of our product candidates and/or regulatory approval may be delayed for reasons beyond our control.
We may also experience delays in obtaining regulatory approvals, including but not limited to:
•obtaining regulatory authorization to begin a trial, if applicable;
•redesigning our study protocols and needing to conduct additional studies as may be required by a regulator;
•governmental or regulatory delays and changes in regulation or policy relating to the development and commercialization of our product candidate by the FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authorities;
•the outcome, timing and cost of meeting regulatory requirements established by the FDA, and other comparable foreign regulatory authorities;
•the availability of financial resources to commence and complete the planned trials;
•negotiating the terms of any collaboration agreements we may choose to initiate or conclude;
•reaching agreement on acceptable terms with prospective CROs and clinical trial sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and trial sites;
•failure of third-party contractors, such as CROs, or investigators to comply with regulatory requirements, including GCPs;
•clinical sites deviating from trial protocol or dropping out of a trial;
•delay or failure in obtaining the necessary approvals from regulators or institutional review boards ("IRBs"), in order to commence a clinical trial at a prospective trial site, or their suspension or termination of a clinical trial once commenced;
•inability to recruit and enroll suitable patients to participate in a trial;
•having patients complete a trial, including having patients enrolled in clinical trials dropping out of the trial before the product candidate is manufactured and returned to the site, or return for post-treatment follow-up;
•difficulty in having patients complete a trial or return for post-treatment follow-up;
•clinical trial sites deviating from trial protocol or dropping out of a trial;
•addressing any patient safety concerns that arise during the course of a trial;
•inability to add new clinical trial sites; or
•varying interpretations of the data generated from our preclinical or clinical trials;
•the cost of defending intellectual property disputes, including patent infringement actions brought by third parties;
•the effect of competing technological and market developments;
•the cost and timing of establishing, expanding and scaling manufacturing capabilities;
•inability to manufacture, or obtain from third parties, sufficient quantities of qualified materials under cGMP, for the completion in pre-clinical and clinical studies;
•problems with biopharmaceutical product candidate storage, stability and distribution resulting in global supply chain disruptions;
•the cost of establishing sales, marketing and distribution capabilities for any product candidate for which we may receive regulatory approval in regions where we choose to commercialize our products on our own; or
•potential unforeseen business disruptions or market fluctuations that delay our product development or clinical trials and increase our costs or expenses, such as business or operational disruptions, delays, or system failures due to malware, unauthorized access, terrorism, war, natural disasters, strikes, geopolitical conflicts (such as Russia's recent incursion into Ukraine), restrictions on trade, import or export restrictions, or public health crises, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
We could also encounter delays if physicians encounter unresolved ethical issues associated with enrolling patients in clinical trials of our product candidates in lieu of prescribing existing treatments that have established safety and efficacy profiles. Further, a clinical trial may be suspended or terminated by us, the IRBs for the institutions in which such trials are being conducted or by the FDA or other regulatory authorities due to a number of factors, including failure to conduct the clinical trial in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical protocols, inspection of the clinical trial operations or trial site by the FDA or other regulatory authorities resulting in the imposition of a clinical hold, safety issues or adverse side effects, failure to demonstrate a benefit from using a product candidate, changes in governmental regulations or administrative actions, lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial, or based on a recommendation by the Data Safety Monitoring Committee. If we experience termination of, or delays in the completion of, any clinical trial of our product candidates, the commercial prospects for our product candidates will be harmed, and our ability to generate product revenue will be delayed. In addition, any delays in completing our clinical trials will increase our costs, slow down our product development and approval process and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and generate revenue.
Many of the factors that cause, or lead to, a delay in the commencement or completion of clinical trials may ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of our product candidates.
We may seek Breakthrough Therapy designation or Fast Track designation by the FDA for one or more of our product candidates but may not receive such designation. Even if we secure such designation, it may not lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process and it does not increase the likelihood that our product candidates will receive marketing approval.
We may seek Breakthrough Therapy or Fast Track designation for some of our product candidates. If a product candidate is intended for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening condition and clinical or preclinical data demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs for this condition, the product candidate may be eligible for Fast Track designation. The benefits of Fast Track designation include more frequent meetings with FDA to discuss the drug’s development plan and ensure collection of appropriate data needed to support drug approval, more frequent written communication from FDA about such things as the design of the proposed clinical trials and use of biomarkers, eligibility for Accelerated Approval and Priority Review, if relevant criteria are met, and rolling review, which means that a drug company can submit completed sections of our NDA for review by FDA, rather than waiting until every section of our NDA is completed before the entire application can be reviewed. NDA review usually does not begin until the entire application has been submitted to the FDA.
A breakthrough therapy is defined as a drug that is intended, alone or in combination with one or more other drugs or biologics, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development. Drugs designated as breakthrough therapies by the FDA may be eligible for all features of Fast Track designation, intensive guidance on an efficient drug development program, beginning as early as Phase 1, and organizational commitment involving senior managers at FDA.
The FDA has broad discretion whether or not to grant these designations, so even if we believe a particular product candidate is eligible, we cannot assure that the FDA would decide to grant the designation. Even if we obtain Fast Track designation and/or Breakthrough Therapy designation for one or more of our product candidates, it may not experience a faster development process, review or approval compared to non-expedited FDA review procedures. In addition, the FDA may withdraw Fast Track designation or Breakthrough Therapy designation if it believes that the designation is no longer supported. These designations do not guarantee qualification for the FDA’s priority review procedures or a faster review or approval process.
We may attempt to secure FDA approval of our product candidates through the accelerated approval pathway. If we are unable to obtain accelerated approval, we may be required to conduct additional preclinical studies or clinical trials beyond those that we currently contemplate, which could increase the expense of obtaining, and delay the receipt of, necessary marketing approvals.
We are developing certain product candidates for the treatment of serious conditions, and therefore may decide to seek approval of such product candidates under the FDA’s accelerated approval pathway. A product may be eligible for accelerated approval if it is designed to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and provides a meaningful therapeutic benefit over existing treatments based upon a determination that the product candidate has an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit, or on a clinical endpoint that can be measured earlier than irreversible morbidity or mortality that is reasonably likely to predict an effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality or other clinical benefit, taking into account the severity, rarity, or prevalence of the condition and the availability of or lack of alternative treatments. For the purposes of accelerated approval, a surrogate endpoint is a marker, such as a laboratory measurement, radiographic image, physical sign, or other measure that is thought to predict clinical benefit, but is not itself a measure of clinical benefit.
The accelerated approval pathway may be used in cases in which the advantage of a new drug over available therapy may not be a direct therapeutic advantage, but is a clinically important improvement from a patient and public health perspective. If granted, accelerated approval is usually contingent on the sponsor’s agreement to conduct, in a diligent manner, additional post-approval confirmatory studies to verity and describe the drug’s anticipated effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality or other clinical benefit. In some cases, the FDA may require that the trial be designed, initiated, and/or fully enrolled prior to approval. If the sponsor fails to conduct such studies in a timely manner, or if such post-approval studies fail to verify the drug’s predicted clinical benefit, or if other evidence demonstrates that our product candidate is not shown to be safe and effective under the conditions of use, the FDA may withdraw its approval of the drug on an expedited basis.
If we decide to submit an NDA seeking accelerated approval or receives an expedited regulatory designation for any of our product candidates, there can be no assurance that such submission or application will be accepted or that any expedited development, review or approval will be granted on a timely basis, or at all. If any of our competitors were to receive full approval on the basis of a confirmatory trial for an indication for which we are seeking accelerated approval before we receive accelerated approval, the indication we are seeking may no longer qualify as a condition for which there is an unmet medical need and accelerated approval of our product candidate would be more difficult or may not occur.
Failure to obtain accelerated approval or any other form of expedited development, review or approval for our product candidates would result in a longer time period to commercialization of such product candidate, if any, and could increase the cost of development of such product candidate harm our competitive position in the marketplace.
We may be unsuccessful in obtaining Orphan Drug Designation for our product candidates or transfer of designations obtained by others for future product candidates, and, even if we obtain such designation, we may be unable to maintain the benefits associated with Orphan Drug Designation, including the potential for market exclusivity.
The FDA may designate drugs intended to treat relatively small patient populations as orphan drugs. Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may designate a drug as an orphan drug if it is intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is defined as a patient population of fewer than 200,000 individuals in the United States, or a patient population greater than 200,000 in the United States when there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing and making available the drug in the United States will be recovered from sales in the United States for that drug. Orphan drug designation must be requested before submitting an NDA. In the United States, Orphan Drug Designation entitles a party to financial incentives such as opportunities for tax credits for qualified clinical research costs and exemption from prescription drug user fees. Generally, if a drug with an Orphan Drug Designation subsequently receives the first marketing approval for the indication for which it has such designation, the drug is entitled to a period of marketing exclusivity, which precludes FDA from approving another marketing application for the same drug and indication for that time period, except in limited circumstances. If a competitor is able to obtain orphan drug exclusivity prior to us for a product that constitutes the same active moiety and treats the same indications as our product candidates, we may not be able to obtain approval of our drug by the applicable regulatory
authority for a significant period of time unless we are able to show that our drug is clinically superior to the approved drug. The applicable period is seven years in the United States.
We may seek Orphan Drug Designation for one or more of our product candidates in the United States as part of our business strategy. However, Orphan Drug Designation does not guarantee future orphan drug marketing exclusivity. Even after an orphan drug is approved, the FDA can also subsequently approve a later application for the same drug for the same condition if the FDA concludes that the later drug is clinically superior in that it is shown to be safer in a substantial portion of the target populations, more effective or makes a major contribution to patient care. In addition, a designated orphan drug may not receive orphan drug exclusivity if it is approved for a use that is broader than the indication for which it received orphan designation.
Moreover, orphan drug exclusive marketing rights in the United States may be lost if the FDA later determines that the request for designation was materially defective or if we are unable to manufacture sufficient quantities of the product to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition. Orphan Drug Designation neither shortens the development time or regulatory review time of a drug nor gives the drug any advantage in the regulatory review or approval process.
Enacted and future legislation may increase the difficulty and cost for us to commercialize and obtain marketing approval of our product candidates and may affect the prices we may set.
Existing regulatory policies may change, and additional government regulations may be enacted that could prevent, limit or delay regulatory approval of our product candidates. We cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of government regulation that may arise from future legislation or administrative action, either in the United States or abroad. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any marketing approval that we may have obtained, and we may not achieve or sustain profitability.
In March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, or collectively the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), was enacted 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 health care and health insurance industries, impose new taxes and fees on the health industry and impose additional health policy reforms. The ACA contains provisions that may potentially affect the profitability of our product candidates, if approved, including, for example, increased rebates for products sold to Medicaid programs, extension of Medicaid rebates to Medicaid managed care plans, mandatory discounts for certain Medicare Part D beneficiaries and annual fees based on pharmaceutical companies’ share of sales to federal health care programs, and expansion of the entities eligible for discounts under the 340B Drug Pricing Program.
While Congress has not passed legislation to comprehensively repeal the ACA, legislation affecting the ACA has been signed into law, including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which eliminated, 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, which is commonly referred to as the “individual mandate.” On June 17, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the most recent judicial challenge to the ACA brought by several states without specifically ruling on the constitutionality of the law. While Congress continues to amend the ACA, the law appears likely to continue the downward pressure on pharmaceutical pricing, and may also increase our regulatory burdens and operating costs. In the future, there may be other efforts to challenge, repeal or replace the ACA. We are continuing to monitor any changes to the ACA that, in turn, may potentially impact our business in the future.
Additionally, on May 30, 2018, the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017 was signed into law. The law, among other things, provides a federal framework for certain patients who have been diagnosed with life-threatening diseases or conditions to access certain investigational new drug products that have completed a phase 1 clinical trial and that are undergoing investigation for FDA approval. Under certain circumstances, eligible patients can seek treatment without enrolling in clinical trials and without obtaining FDA authorization under an FDA expanded access program; however, manufacturers are not obligated to provide investigational new drug products under the current federal right to try law. We may choose to seek an expanded access program for our product candidates, or to utilize comparable rules in other countries that allow the use of a drug, on a named patient basis or under a compassionate use program.
Recently, the cost of prescription pharmaceuticals has been the subject of considerable discussion in the United States at both the federal and state levels. While several proposed reform measures will require Congress to pass legislation to become effective, Congress and the new Biden administration have each indicated that it will seek new legislative and/or administrative measures to address prescription drug costs. Since the Presidential inauguration, the Biden administration has taken several executive actions that signal changes in policy from the prior administration. For example, on July 9, 2021,
President Biden signed an executive order to promote competition in the U.S. economy that included several initiatives aimed prescription drugs. Among other provisions, the executive order directed the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to issue a report to the White House within 45 days that includes a plan to, among other things, reduce prices for prescription drugs, including prices paid by the federal government for such drugs. At the state level, legislatures and agencies are increasingly passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control spending on and patient out-of-pocket costs for drug products. These measures include constraints on pricing, discounting and reimbursement; restrictions on certain product access and marketing; cost disclosure and transparency measures that require detailed reporting of drug pricing and marketing information both at product launch and in the event of a price increase; and, in some cases, measures designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing.
We expect that the ACA, as well as other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, may result in more rigorous coverage criteria and in additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any approved 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 product candidates.
Legislative and regulatory proposals have also been made to expand post-approval requirements and restrict sales and promotional activities for pharmaceutical products. We cannot be sure whether additional legislative changes will be enacted, or whether 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.
The FDA’s ability to review and approve new products may be hindered by a variety of factors, including budget and funding levels, ability to hire and retain key personnel, statutory, regulatory and policy changes and global health concerns.
The ability of the FDA to review and approve new products can be affected by a variety of factors, including government budget and funding levels, statutory, regulatory and policy changes, the FDA’s ability to hire and retain key personnel and accept the payment of user fees, and other events that may otherwise affect the FDA’s ability to perform routine functions. In addition, government funding of other government agencies that fund research and development activities is subject to the political process, which is inherently fluid and unpredictable. Disruptions at the FDA and other agencies may also slow the time necessary for new drugs to be reviewed and/or approved by necessary government agencies, which would adversely affect our business. For example, over the last several years the U.S. government has shut down several times and certain regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, have had to furlough critical employees and stop critical activities.
The ability of the FDA and other government agencies to properly administer their functions is highly dependent on the levels of government funding and the ability to fill key leadership appointments, among various factors. Delays in filling or replacing key positions could significantly impact the ability of the FDA and other agencies to fulfill their functions, and could greatly impact healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry.
Separately, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 10, 2020, the FDA announced its intention to postpone most foreign inspections of manufacturing facilities and, subsequently, on March 18, 2020, the FDA temporarily postponed routine surveillance inspections of domestic manufacturing facilities. Regulatory authorities outside the United States may adopt similar restrictions or other policy measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequently, on July 10, 2020 the FDA announced its intention to resume certain on-site inspections of domestic manufacturing facilities subject to a risk-based prioritization system. The FDA intends to use this risk-based assessment system to identify the categories of regulatory activity that can occur within a given geographic area, ranging from mission critical inspections to resumption of all regulatory activities. Regulatory authorities outside the United States may adopt similar restrictions or other policy measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. If a prolonged government shutdown occurs, or if global health concerns continue to prevent the FDA or other regulatory authorities from conducting their regular inspections, reviews, or other regulatory activities, it could significantly impact the ability of the FDA or other regulatory authorities to timely review and process our regulatory submissions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our internal computer and information systems, or those used by our CROs, CMOs or other contractors or consultants, may fail or suffer security breaches, which could result in a material disruption of our development programs.
Despite the implementation of appropriate security measures, our internal computer and information systems and those of our current and any future CROs, CMOs and other contractors or consultants may become vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, unauthorized access, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures. If such an event were to occur and cause interruptions in our operations, it could result in a material disruption of our development programs
and our business operations, whether due to a loss of our trade secrets or other proprietary information or other similar disruptions. For example, the loss of data from completed or future preclinical studies or clinical trials could result in significant delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of, or damage to, our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability, our competitive position could be harmed and the further development and commercialization of our product candidates could be significantly delayed. Our internal information technology systems and infrastructure are also vulnerable to damage from natural disasters, terrorism, war, telecommunication and electrical failures. System failures or outages, including any potential disruptions due to significantly increased global demand on certain cloud-based systems during the COVID-19 pandemic, could compromise our ability to perform our day-to-day operations, which could harm our ability to conduct business or delay our financial reporting. Such failures could materially adversely affect our operating results and financial condition.
We are subject to a variety of privacy and data security laws, and our failure to comply with them could harm our business.
We maintain a large quantity of sensitive information, including confidential business and patient health information in connection with our preclinical and clinical studies, and is subject to laws and regulations governing the privacy and security of such information. In the United States, there are numerous federal and state privacy and data security laws and regulations governing the collection, use, disclosure and protection of personal information, including health information privacy laws, security breach notification laws, and consumer protection laws. Each of these laws is subject to varying interpretations and constantly evolving. In addition, we may obtain health information from third parties (including research institutions from which it obtains clinical trial data) that are subject to privacy and security requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). Depending on the facts and circumstances, we could be subject to criminal penalties if it knowingly obtains, uses or discloses individually identifiable health information maintained by a HIPAA covered entity in a manner that is not authorized or permitted by HIPAA.
Certain states have also adopted comparable privacy and security laws and regulations, some of which may be more stringent than HIPAA. For example, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”), which took effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA gives California residents expanded rights to access and delete their personal information, opt out of certain personal information sharing, and receive detailed information about how their personal information is used. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that is expected to increase data breach litigation. The CCPA may increase our compliance costs and potential liability. Some observers have noted that the CCPA could mark the beginning of a trend toward more stringent privacy legislation in the United States, which could increase our potential liability and adversely affect our business.
In Canada, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) and similar provincial laws may impose obligations with respect to processing personal information, including health-related information. PIPEDA requires companies to obtain an individual’s consent when collecting, using or disclosing that individual’s personal information. Individuals have the right to access and challenge the accuracy of their personal information held by an organization, and personal information may only be used for the purposes for which it was collected. If an organization intends to use personal information for another purpose, it must again obtain that individual’s consent. Failure to comply with PIPEDA could result in significant fines and penalties.
In May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”), took effect in the European Economic Area (the “EEA”). The GDPR governs the collection, use, disclosure, transfer or other processing of personal data of natural persons. Among other things, the GDPR imposes strict obligations on the ability to process health-related and other personal data of data subjects in the EEA, including in relation to use, collection, analysis and transfer (including cross-border transfer) of such personal data. The GDPR includes requirements relating to the consent of the individuals to whom the personal data relates, including detailed notices for clinical trial subjects and investigators. The GDPR also includes certain requirements regarding the security of personal data and notification of data processing obligations or security incidents to appropriate data protection authorities or data subjects as well as requirements for establishing a lawful basis on which personal data can be processed. In addition, the GDPR increases the scrutiny of transfers of personal data from clinical trial sites located in the EEA to the United States and other jurisdictions that the European Commission does not recognize as having “adequate” data protection laws, and imposes substantial fines for breaches and violations (up to the greater of €20 million or 4% of our annual worldwide gross revenue). Further, recent legal developments in Europe have created complexity and compliance uncertainty regarding certain transfers of information from the EEA to the United States. For example, on June 16, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”), declared the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework (the “Privacy Shield”), to be invalid. As a result, the Privacy Shield is no longer a valid mechanism for transferring personal data from the EEA to the United States. Moreover, it is uncertain whether the standard contractual clauses will also be invalidated by the European courts or legislature, which seems possible given the rationale behind the CJEU’s concerns about U.S. law and
practice on government surveillance. The GDPR also confers a private right of action on data subjects and consumer associations to lodge complaints with supervisory authorities, seek judicial remedies and obtain compensation for damages resulting from violations of the GDPR.
Compliance with these and any other applicable privacy and data security laws and regulations is a rigorous and time-intensive process, and we may be required to put in place additional mechanisms ensuring compliance with the new data protection rules. If we fail to comply with any such laws or regulations, we may face significant fines and penalties that could adversely affect Our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may be unable to adequately protect our information systems from cyberattacks, which could result in the disclosure of confidential information, damage our reputation, and subject us to significant financial and legal exposure.
Cyberattacks are increasing in their frequency, sophistication and intensity, and have become increasingly difficult to detect. Cyberattacks could include wrongful conduct by hostile foreign governments, industrial espionage, wire fraud and other forms of cyber fraud, the deployment of harmful malware, denial-of-service, social engineering fraud or other means to threaten data confidentiality, integrity and availability. A successful cyberattack could cause serious negative consequences for us, including, without limitation, the disruption of operations, the misappropriation of confidential business information, including financial information, trade secrets, financial loss and the disclosure of corporate strategic plans. The COVID-19 pandemic is generally increasing the attack surface available to criminals, as more companies and individuals work online and work remotely, and as such, the risk of a cybersecurity incident potentially occurring, and our investment in risk mitigations against such an incident, is increasing. For example, there has been an increase in phishing and spam emails as well as social engineering attempts from “hackers” hoping to use the recent COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage.
Although we devote resources to protect our information systems, we realize that cyberattacks are a threat, and there can be no assurance that our efforts will prevent information security breaches that would result in business, legal, financial or reputational harm to us, or would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
In addition, the computer systems of various third parties on which we rely, including our CROs, CMOs and other contractors, consultants and law and accounting firms, may sustain damage from computer viruses, unauthorized access, data breaches, phishing attacks, cybercriminals, natural disasters (including hurricanes and earthquakes), terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures. We rely on our third-party providers to implement effective security measures and identify and correct for any such failures, deficiencies or breaches.
Our employees, principal investigators, CROs, CMOs and consultants may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including non-compliance with regulatory standards and requirements and insider trading.
We are exposed to the risk of fraud or other misconduct by our employees, principal investigators, consultants and commercial partners. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional failures to comply with the regulations of FDA and non-U.S. regulators, to provide accurate information to the FDA and non-U.S. regulators, to comply with healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations in the United States and abroad, to report financial information or data accurately or disclose unauthorized activities to us. In particular, sales, marketing and business arrangements in the healthcare industry are subject to extensive laws and regulations intended to prevent fraud, misconduct, kickbacks, self-dealing and other abusive practices. These laws and regulations may restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, sales commission, customer incentive programs and other business arrangements. Such misconduct could also involve the improper use of information obtained in the course of clinical studies, which could result in regulatory sanctions and could cause serious harm to our reputation. It is not always possible to identify and deter employee misconduct, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to comply with these laws or regulations. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of significant fines or other sanctions.
Obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of our product candidates in one jurisdiction does not mean that we will be successful in obtaining regulatory approval of our product candidates in other jurisdictions.
Obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of our product candidates in one jurisdiction does not guarantee that we will be able to obtain or maintain regulatory approval in any other jurisdiction, while a failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approval in one jurisdiction may have a negative effect on the regulatory approval process in others. For example, even if the FDA grants marketing approval of a product candidate, comparable regulatory authorities in foreign jurisdictions must also approve the manufacturing, marketing and promotion of the product candidate in those countries. Approval procedures vary among jurisdictions and can involve requirements and administrative review periods different from, and greater than, those in the United States, including additional preclinical studies or clinical trials as clinical studies conducted in one jurisdiction
may not be accepted by regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions. In many jurisdictions outside the United States, a product candidate must be approved for reimbursement before it can be approved for sale in that jurisdiction. In some cases, the price that we intend to charge for our products is also subject to approval.
We may also submit marketing applications in other countries. Regulatory authorities in jurisdictions outside of the United States have requirements for approval of product candidates with which we must comply prior to marketing in those jurisdictions. Obtaining foreign regulatory approvals and compliance with foreign regulatory requirements could result in significant delays, difficulties and costs for us and could delay or prevent the introduction of our products in certain countries. If we fail to comply with the regulatory requirements in international markets and/or receive applicable marketing approvals, our target market will be reduced and our ability to realize the full market potential of our product candidates will be harmed.
Our operations and relationships with future customers, providers and third-party payors will be subject to applicable anti-kickback, fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations, which could expose us to penalties including criminal sanctions, civil penalties, contractual damages, reputational harm and diminished profits and future earnings.
Healthcare providers and third-party payors will play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. Our future arrangements with providers, third-party payors and customers will subject us to broadly applicable fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations that may constrain the business or financial arrangements and relationships through which we market, sell and distribute any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval.
Restrictions under applicable U.S. federal and state healthcare laws and regulations include the following:
•the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a criminal law that prohibits, among other things, persons and entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, offering, receiving or providing remuneration, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, order or recommendation of, any good or service, for which payment may be made under federal healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. A person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. Violations of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute can result in significant civil monetary penalties and criminal fines, as well as imprisonment and exclusion from participation in federal health care programs;
•the federal civil False Claims Act, imposes significant civil penalties and treble damages, including through civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, against individuals or entities for knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, to the federal government, claims for payment that are false or fraudulent or making a false statement to avoid, decrease or conceal an obligation to pay money to the federal government. In addition, the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the U.S. federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the civil False Claims Act;
•the federal Criminal Statute on False Statements Relating to Health Care Matters makes it a crime to knowingly and willfully falsify, conceal, or cover up a material fact, make any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations, or make or use any materially false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items, or services;
•the Federal Civil Monetary Penalties Law authorizes the imposition of substantial civil monetary penalties against an entity that engages in activities including, among others (1) knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a claim for services not provided as claimed or that is otherwise false or fraudulent in any way; (2) arranging for or contracting with an individual or entity that is excluded from participation in federal health care programs to provide items or services reimbursable by a federal health care program; (3) violations of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute; or (4) failing to report and return a known overpayment;
•HIPAA imposes criminal and civil liability for, among other things, knowingly and willfully executing or attempting to execute a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or making false statements relating to healthcare matters. Similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;
•the federal Physician Payment Sunshine Act requires applicable manufacturers of covered drugs, devices, biologics, and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, among others, to track and report payments and other transfers of value provided during the previous year to U.S. licensed physicians, teaching hospitals, and for reports submitted on or after January 1, 2022, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives, as well as certain ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family;
•analogous state and foreign laws and regulations, such as state anti-kickback and false claims laws, may apply to sales or marketing arrangements and claims involving healthcare items or services reimbursed by non-governmental third-party payors, including private insurers; and
•some state laws require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government and may require drug manufacturers to report information related to payments and other transfers of value to physicians and other healthcare providers or marketing expenditures.
Efforts to ensure that our business arrangements with third parties will comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations will 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 and regulations. 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, damages, fines, imprisonment, exclusion from government-funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, disgorgement, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations. If any of the physicians or other healthcare providers or entities with whom we expect to do business is found to be not in compliance with applicable laws, it may be costly to us in terms of money, time and resources, and we may be subject to criminal, civil or administrative sanctions, including exclusion from government-funded healthcare programs.
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 may produce hazardous waste products. We generally contract with third parties for the disposal of these materials and wastes. We will not be able to eliminate the risk of contamination or injury from these materials. In the event of contamination or injury resulting from any use by us 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 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.
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.
Changes in tax laws or regulations could materially adversely affect us.
New tax laws or regulations could be enacted at any time, and existing tax laws or regulations could be interpreted, modified or applied in a manner that is adverse to us, which could adversely affect our business and financial condition. For example, legislation enacted in 2017, informally titled the Tax Act, enacted many significant changes to the U.S. tax laws, including changes in corporate tax rates, the utilization of NOLs and other deferred tax assets, the deductibility of expenses, and the taxation of foreign earnings. Future guidance from the Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities with respect to the Tax Act may affect us, and certain aspects of the Tax Act could be repealed or modified in future legislation. For example, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), modified certain provisions of the Tax Act. In addition, it is uncertain if and to what extent various states will conform to the Tax Act, the CARES Act, or any newly enacted federal tax legislation. The impact of changes under the Tax Act, the CARES Act, or future reform legislation could increase our future U.S. tax expense and could have a material adverse impact on our business and financial condition.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
Our success depends in part on our ability to obtain, maintain and protect our intellectual property. It is difficult and costly to protect our proprietary rights and technology, and we may not be able to ensure their protection.
Our commercial success will depend in large part on obtaining and maintaining patent, trademark, trade secret and other intellectual property protection of our proprietary technologies and product candidates, which include TPST-1495, TPST-1120 and the other product candidates we have in development, their respective components, formulations, combination therapies, methods used to manufacture them and methods of treatment, as well as successfully defending our patents and other intellectual property rights against third-party challenges. Our ability to stop unauthorized third parties from making, using, selling, offering to sell, importing or otherwise commercializing our product candidates is dependent upon the
extent to which we have rights under valid and enforceable patents or trade secrets that cover these activities. If we are unable to secure and maintain patent protection for any product or technology we develop, or if the scope of the patent protection secured is not sufficiently broad, our competitors could develop and commercialize products and technology similar or identical to our, and our ability to commercialize any product candidates we may develop may be adversely affected.
The patenting process is expensive and time-consuming, and we may not be able to file and prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. In addition, we may not pursue or obtain patent protection in all relevant markets. It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of our research and development activities before it is too late to obtain patent protection. Moreover, in some circumstances, we may not have the right to control the preparation, filing and prosecution of patent applications, or to maintain the patents, covering technology that we license from or license to third parties and may be reliant on our licensors or licensees to do so. Our pending and future patent applications may not result in issued patents. Even if patent applications we license or own currently or in the future issue as patents, they may not issue in a form that will provide us with any meaningful protection, prevent competitors or other third parties from competing with us, or otherwise provide us with any competitive advantage. Any patents that we hold or in-licenses may be challenged, narrowed, circumvented or invalidated by third parties. Consequently, we do not know whether any of our platform advances and product candidates will be protectable or remain protected by valid and enforceable patents. In addition, our existing patents and any future patents we obtain may not be sufficiently broad to prevent others from using our technology or from developing competing products and technologies.
In the future, we may depend on intellectual property licensed from third parties, and our licensors may not always act in our best interest. If we fail to comply with our obligations under our intellectual property licenses, if the licenses are terminated, or if disputes regarding these licenses arise, we could lose significant rights that may be important to our business.
We may in the future depend on patents, know-how and proprietary technology licensed from third parties. Our licenses to such patents, know-how and proprietary technology may not provide exclusive rights in all relevant fields of use and in all territories in which we may wish to develop or commercialize our products in the future. The agreements under which we license patents, know-how and proprietary technology from others may be complex, and certain provisions in such agreements may be susceptible to multiple interpretations.
We may need to obtain licenses from third parties to advance our research or allow commercialization of product candidates Tempest may develop. It is possible that we may be unable to obtain any licenses at a reasonable cost or on reasonable terms, if at all. In either event, we may be required to expend significant time and resources to redesign our technology, product candidates, or the methods for manufacturing them or to develop or license replacement technology, all of which may not be feasible on a technical or commercial basis. If we are unable to do so, we may be unable to develop or commercialize the affected technology or product candidates.
If our future licensors fail to adequately protect our licensed intellectual property, our ability to commercialize product candidates could suffer. We may not have complete control over the maintenance, prosecution and litigation of our future in-licensed patents and patent applications. For example, we cannot be certain that activities such as the maintenance and prosecution by our future licensors have been or will be conducted in compliance with applicable laws and regulations or will result in valid and enforceable patents and other intellectual property rights. It is possible that our future licensors’ infringement proceedings or defense activities may be less vigorous than had we conducted them ourselves or may not be conducted in accordance with our best interests.
In addition, the resolution of any contract interpretation disagreement that may arise could narrow what we might believe to be the scope of our rights to the relevant patents, know-how and proprietary technology, or increase what we believe to be our financial or other obligations under the relevant agreement. Disputes that may arise between us and our future licensors regarding intellectual property subject to a license agreement could include disputes regarding:
•the scope of rights granted under the license agreement and other interpretation-related issues;