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DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
TG THERAPEUTICS, INC.
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019
TABLE OF CONTENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains trademarks and trade names of TG Therapeutics, Inc., including our name and logo. All other trademarks, service marks, or trade names referenced in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of their respective owners.
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would” or the negative of these words or other comparable terminology, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words.
The forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K include, but are not limited to, statements about:
|●||the initiation, timing, progress and results of our pre-clinical studies and clinic trials, including, without limitation, our on-going UNITY-CLL Phase 3 clinical trial, ULTIMATE I and II Phase 3 clinical trial and UNITY-NHL Phase 2b clinical trial;|
|●||our ability to advance drug candidates into, and successfully complete, clinical trials;|
|●||the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals;|
|●||the commercialization of our drug candidates, if approved;|
|●||the pricing and reimbursement of our drug candidates, if approved;|
|●||the implementation of our business model, strategic plans for our business, drug candidates and technology;|
|●||the scope of protection we are able to establish and maintain for intellectual property rights covering our drug candidates and technologies;|
|●||estimates of our expenses, future revenues, capital requirements and our needs for additional financing;|
|●||our ability to maintain and establish collaborations and enter into strategic arrangements, if desired;|
|●||our financial performance and cash burn management; and|
|●||developments relating to our competitors and our industry.|
Any forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K reflect our current views with respect to future events or to our future financial performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. We have included important factors in the cautionary statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, particularly in the “Risk Factors” section, that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements that we make. Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Our forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers, dispositions, joint ventures or investments we may make or enter into.
You should read this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the documents that we have filed as exhibits to this Annual Report on Form 10-K completely and with the understanding that our actual future results, performance or achievements may be materially different from what we expect. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, even if new information becomes available in the future.
SPECIAL CAUTIONARY NOTICE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain matters discussed in this report, including matters discussed under the captions “Business” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” may constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from the future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would” or the negative of these words or other comparable terminology, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. All written or oral forward-looking statements attributable to us are expressly qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements. In addition, with respect to all of our forward-looking statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about our:
|●||expectations for increases or decreases in expenses;|
|●||expectations for the clinical and pre-clinical development, manufacturing, regulatory approval, and commercialization of our pharmaceutical product candidates or any other products we may acquire or in-license;|
|●||use of clinical research centers and other contractors;|
|●||expectations as to the timing of commencing or completing pre-clinical and clinical trials and the expected outcomes of those trials;|
|●||expectations for incurring capital expenditures to expand our research and development and manufacturing capabilities;|
|●||expectations for generating revenue or becoming profitable on a sustained basis;|
|●||expectations or ability to enter into marketing and other partnership agreements;|
|●||expectations or ability to enter into product acquisition and in-licensing transactions;|
|●||expectations or ability to build our own commercial infrastructure to manufacture, market and sell our drug candidates;|
|●||products being accepted by doctors, patients or payors;|
|●||ability to compete against other companies and research institutions;|
|●||ability to secure adequate protection for our intellectual property;|
|●||ability to attract and retain key personnel;|
|●||availability of reimbursement for our products;|
|●||estimates of the sufficiency of our existing cash and cash equivalents and investments to finance our operating requirements, including expectations regarding the value and liquidity of our investments;|
|●||stock price and its volatility; and|
|●||expectations for future capital requirements.|
Our actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including, without limitation, those discussed under the captions “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and elsewhere in this report, as well as other factors which may be identified from time to time in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, or in the documents where such forward-looking statements appear. Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Our forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers, dispositions, joint ventures or investments we may make or enter into.
You should read this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the documents that we have filed as exhibits to this Annual Report on Form 10-K completely and with the understanding that our actual future results, performance or achievements may be materially different from what we expect. Any forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K reflect our current views with respect to future events or to our future financial performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this report reflect our views and assumptions only as of the date this report is signed. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, even if new information becomes available in the future.
This Annual Report on Form 10-K also contains estimates, projections and other information concerning our industry, our business and the markets for certain diseases, including data regarding the estimated size of those markets, and the incidence and prevalence of certain medical conditions. Information that is based on estimates, forecasts, projections, market research or similar methodologies is inherently subject to uncertainties and actual events or circumstances may differ materially from events and circumstances reflected in this information. Unless otherwise expressly stated, we obtained this industry, business, market and other data from reports, research surveys, studies and similar data prepared by market research firms and other third parties, industry, medical and general publications, government data and similar sources.
Unless the context requires otherwise, references in this report to “TG,” “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to TG Therapeutics, Inc. and our subsidiaries.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS.
We are a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and delivering medicines for patients with B-cell mediated diseases, including Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We have developed a robust B-cell directed research and development (R&D) platform for identification of key B-cell pathways of interest and rapid clinical testing. Currently, we have five B-cell targeted drug candidates in clinical development, with the lead two therapies, ublituximab (TG-1101) and umbralisib (TGR-1202), in pivotal trials for CLL, NHL and MS. Ublituximab is a novel anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (mAb) that has been glycoengineered for enhanced potency over first generation antibodies. Umbralisib is an oral, once daily, dual inhibitor of PI3K-delta and CK1-epsilon, which may lead to a differentiated safety profile. When used together in combination therapy, ublituximab and umbralisib are referred to as "U2". Additionally, in early clinical development we have an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody referred to as cosibelimab (TG-1501), an oral Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase (“BTK”) inhibitor referred to as TG-1701, and an anti-CD47/CD19 bispecific antibody referred to as TG-1801.
We also actively evaluate complementary products, technologies and companies for in-licensing, partnership, acquisition and/or investment opportunities. To date, we have not received approval for the sale of any of our drug candidates in any market and, therefore, have not generated any product sales from our drug candidates.
Current Phase 3 or Registration Directed Clinical Trial Highlights:
We have initiated and enrolled several Phase 3 and registration-directed Phase 2b clinical trials (i.e., clinical trials that may support a marketing application for approval). The following are highlights from our current Phase 3 trials and registration-directed Phase 2b clinical trials:
|●||UNITY-NHL Phase 2b Trial: UNITY-NHL is a broad Phase 2b registration-directed clinical trial designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of umbralisib monotherapy and U2 combinations in patients with previously treated NHL. The marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) and the follicular lymphoma (FL)/small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) single agent umbralisib cohorts of this trial are fully enrolled. The primary objective of these cohorts is to assess the efficacy of single agent umbralisib as measured by Overall Response Rate (ORR). In February 2019, we announced that the MZL cohort met the primary endpoint of ORR as determined by Independent Review Committee (IRC) for all treated patients (n=69). The results met our target guidance of 40-50% ORR. Interim safety and efficacy data from the MZL cohort were presented in an oral presentation at three medical meetings, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting in April 2019, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in June 2019 and the International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma (ICML) also in June 2019. In October 2019, we announced that the FL patients within the FL/SLL cohort met the primary endpoint of ORR as determined by Independent Review Committee (IRC) for all treated patients (n=118). The results also met our target guidance of 40-50% ORR. Most recently, in January of 2020, we received guidance from the FDA allowing submission of a single New Drug Application (NDA) for MZL and FL indications and initiated a rolling submission of an NDA to the FDA for umbralisib in MZL/FL. We anticipate completion of the rolling submission in the first half of 2020.|
|●||UNITY-CLL Phase 3 Trial Evaluating Umbralisib plus Ublituximab (U2): UNITY-CLL is a global Phase 3 randomized controlled clinical trial comparing the U2 combination to an active control arm of obinutuzumab plus chlorambucil in patients with both treatment naive and relapsed or refractory CLL. Two additional arms evaluating single agent ublituximab and single agent umbralisib were also enrolled for purposes of evaluating contribution in the U2 combination regimen. The primary endpoint for this study is progression free survival (PFS) which we intend to use to support a submission for approval of the U2 combination in CLL. The study completed enrollment in October 2017 with over 600 patients enrolled across the four treatment arms, with approximately 420 patients in the U2 and the active control arm combined. This trial is conducted under Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) with the FDA.|
|●||ULTIMATE I & II Trials Evaluating Single Agent Ublituximab in RMS: ULTIMATE I and ULTIMATE II are two independent Phase 3 trials. Each trial is a global, randomized, multi-center, double-blinded, double-dummy, active-controlled study comparing ublituximab to teriflunomide in subjects with relapsing forms of Multiple Sclerosis (RMS). The primary endpoint for each study is Annualized Relapse Rate (ARR) following 96 weeks of treatment which we intend to use to support a submission for approval of ublituximab in RMS. These trials are conducted under a SPA with the FDA. Full enrollment for the ULTIMATE studies was completed in second half of 2018, with approximately 1,100 subjects enrolled in both studies combined.|
|●||ULTRA-V Phase 2b Trial Evaluating U2 plus Venetoclax in CLL: ULTRA-V is a Phase 2b open-label, multicenter, registration-directed clinical trial designed to investigate the efficacy and safety of ublituximab and umbralisib (U2) combined with venetoclax in subjects with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. The primary endpoint for this study is ORR and Complete Response (CR) rate. This trial is currently enrolling.|
We were incorporated in Delaware in 1993. Our executive offices are located at 2 Gansevoort Street, 9th Floor, New York, New York 10014. Our telephone number is 1-212-554-4484, and our e-mail address is email@example.com.
We maintain a website with the address www.tgtherapeutics.com and maintain various social media accounts, including but not limited to Twitter and LinkedIn. We make available free of charge through our corporate website our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K, as well as any amendments to these reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish such material to, the SEC. We are not including the information on our website or our social media accounts as a part of, nor incorporating either by reference into, this report. The SEC maintains a website that contains annual, quarterly, and current reports, proxy statements, and other information that issuers (including us) file electronically with the SEC. The SEC’s website address is http://www.sec.gov.
In addition, we intend to use our corporate website, SEC filings, press releases, public conference calls and webcasts as well as social media to communicate with our subscribers and the public. It is possible that the information we post on social media could be deemed to be material information. Therefore, in light of the SEC’s guidance, we encourage investors, the media and others interested in us to review the information we post on the U.S. social media channels listed on our website.
|●||Completing our current Phase 3 and registration-directed trials for umbralisib and ublituximab, including, UNITY-CLL, UNITY-NHL, and the ULTIMATE Phase 3 Program in MS;|
|●||Gaining regulatory approval for umbralisib in NHL, umbralisib plus ublituximab (“U2”) in CLL, and ublituximab in MS;|
|●||Preparing for commercial launch and building commercial capability to ensure, when approved, broad access to patients for the approved indications for umbralisib and ublituximab;|
|●||Developing U2 in NHL;|
|●||Advancing cosibelimab (TG-1501), TG-1701, and TG-1801 through clinical development and defining potential regulatory paths for these drug candidates both as single agents and in combination with umbralisib, ublituximab, and/or U2;|
|●||Building upon the MS program to expand ublituximab into additional MS indications and other autoimmune diseases;|
|●||Continuing to expand our pipeline with mechanisms of importance to B-cell mediated diseases;|
|●||Evaluating potential strategic collaborations to maximize the value of our programs and B-cell directed platform; and|
|●||Maintaining our “patient first” culture as we grow our business.|
Our Approach and Platform
Our approach to drug development is centered on developing solutions for patients rather than developing single therapies for a disease. Our process begins by identifying validated targets against B-cell diseases, and then searching for and, ideally, acquiring what we believe to be “best-in-class” compounds with complementary mechanisms against these targets, with the goal of developing multi-drug proprietary targeted combinations, which can potentially offer better outcomes for patients.
Our preference is to identify targets for which there is human clinical proof of concept that the mechanism is active in B-cell diseases and then to identify drug candidates that effectively modulate the desired molecular target. We identify these drug candidates at academic centers of excellence or in development at biotech companies or pharmaceutical companies globally. Our current drug candidates were acquired through license agreements, collaborations, or joint ventures with biopharmaceutical companies located in the US, France, Switzerland, India, and China. This approach enables us to minimize target risk while looking for the best available drug candidates around the world. By focusing on B-cell diseases and targets with a known activity profile, we believe that we can quickly identify the patients most likely to respond, resulting in a more efficient development path with the potential for a greater likelihood of success. Importantly, since all our drug candidates are focused in one disease area, we can rapidly explore combination therapies, which we believe is essential to improving outcomes for patients and holds the key to identifying cures for patients with B-cell diseases.
Our approach is enabled by our clinical development platform which includes:
|●||An internal team with a deep understanding of B-cell diseases and the treatment of patients; and|
|●||An external network of more than 350 community and academic clinical trial sites globally.|
B-CELL DISEASES OVERVIEW
B-cell mediated diseases comprise a constellation of disorders that result from cancerous B-cells or aberrant B-cells. In the case of cancerous B-cells, the most common forms of B-cell cancers or B-cell malignancies are non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). In the case of aberrant B-cells, many autoimmune diseases are believed to result from aberrant B-cell activity, including, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), and Lupus.
The Company’s current clinical programs are focused on CLL, MZL, FL and MS.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Overview
CLL is the most common type of adult leukemia, and in 2019, it is estimated there will be more than 20,000 new cases of CLL diagnosed in the United States1. Although signs of CLL may disappear for a period of time after initial treatment, the disease is considered incurable and many people will require additional treatment due to the return of malignant cells.
Marginal Zone Lymphoma Overview
MZL comprises a group of indolent (slow growing) B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs) that begin forming in the marginal zone of lymphoid tissue. With an annual incidence of approximately 7,500 newly diagnosed patients in the United States2, MZL is the third most common B-cell NHL, accounting for approximately eight percent of all NHL cases. MZL consists of three different subtypes: extranodal MZL of the mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT), nodal marginal zone lymphoma (NMZL), and splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL)3.
1 Cancer Stat Facts: Leukemia – Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/clyl.html
2 2016 Lymphoid Malignancy Statistics by World Health Organization Subtypes VOLUME 66 _ NUMBER 6 _ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.3322/caac.21357
3 Lymphoma Research Foundation: Marginal Zone Lymphoma https://lymphoma.org/aboutlymphoma/nhl/mzl/
Follicular Lymphoma Overview
FL is typically a slow-growing or indolent form of NHL which accounts for 20 to 30 percent of all NHL cases4, with a prevalence of approximately 245,0005 and an incidence of approximately 31,0006 in the US, Japan, and 5 major EU markets. Advanced stage FL is usually not considered to be curable, but more of a chronic disease, with patients living for many years.
Multiple Sclerosis Overview
Relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) is a chronic demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) and includes people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) who continue to experience relapses. RRMS is the most common form of multiple sclerosis (MS) and is characterized by episodes of new or worsening signs or symptoms (relapses) followed by periods of recovery. It is estimated that nearly 1,000,000 people are living with MS in the United States7 and approximately 85 percent are initially diagnosed with RRMS8. The majority of people who are diagnosed with RRMS will eventually transition to SPMS, in which they experience steadily worsening disability over time.
OUR PRODUCTS UNDER DEVELOPMENT
We have leveraged our B-cell platform to develop a robust drug pipeline of both targeted orally available, potent and selective small molecule kinase inhibitors and intravenously delivered “off-the-shelf” immunotherapies that leverage the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. We currently own worldwide development and commercial rights, subject to certain limited geographical restrictions, to all of our pre-clinical and clinical programs. The following table summarizes our most advanced drug candidates as of February 2020.
Clinical Drug Candidate
Initial Target Disease
Stage of Development
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Phase 3 trial (UNITY-CLL)
Phase 3 trials (ULTIMATE I and II)
Umbralisib (Dual PI3K delta and CK1 epsilon inhibitor)
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Phase 3 trial (UNITY-CLL)
Marginal Zone Lymphoma
Phase 2b trial (UNITY-NHL)
Phase 2b trial (UNITY-NHL)
Phase 1 trial
TG-1701 (BTK inhibitor)
Phase 1 trial
Phase 1 trial
4 Lymphoma Research Foundation: Follicular Lymphoma https://lymphoma.org/aboutlymphoma/nhl/fl/
5 Decision Resources via Pharmacyclics Investor Presentation, December 2014
6 Global Data 2016 NHL Model
7 National MS Society https://www.nationalmssociety.org/About-the-Society/MS-Prevalence
8 Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, 2013 via Datamonitor p. 236
Ublituximab (also referred to as TG-1101) is a glycoengineered anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody that targets a unique epitope on the CD20 antigen found on the surface of B-lymphocytes. We hold exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize ublituximab for all indications, except for the territories of France and Belgium for which an option to commercialize has been retained by LFB Biotechnologies, South Korea and Southeast Asia which we licensed to Ildong Pharmaceutical Ltd in November 2012.
Generally, anti-CD20 antibodies are believed to exert their B-cell depleting effects through three primary mechanisms: antibody dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), complement dependent cytotoxicity (CDC), and direct or programmed cell death (DCD or PCD). Ublituximab has been specifically glycoengineered to enhance ADCC activity, which should enhance its ability to deplete B-cells and may improve its anti-cancer effects when compared to rituximab the leading anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, which had worldwide sales in 2018 of approximately $7 billion.
ADCC is a mechanism that is dependent on interactions between the Fc region of the antibody and the FcγR receptors on immune system effector cells, most notably the Fc−gammaRIIIA (CD16) receptor found on NK cells. These interactions trigger effector cells to release cytotoxic molecules and proteases resulting in B-cell death. Ublituximab is a next generation, type I chimeric IgG1 monoclonal antibody with a glycoengineered Fc region designed specifically to induce higher ADCC activity in comparison to rituximab. In pre-clinical (non-human) experiments, ublituximab has demonstrated an ability to enhance ADCC by >50x over rituximab, resulting in enhanced potency.
Umbralisib (also referred to as TGR-1202) is an oral, once daily dual inhibitor of PI3K-delta and CK1-epsilon, with nanomolar potency to the delta isoform and high selectivity over the alpha, beta, and gamma isoforms. Umbralisib also uniquely inhibits CK1-epsilon, which may lead to a differentiated safety profile. The phosphoinositide-3-kinases (“PI3Ks”) are a family of enzymes involved in various cellular functions, including cell proliferation and survival, cell differentiation, intracellular trafficking, and immunity. There are four isoforms of PI3K (alpha, beta, delta, and gamma), of which the delta isoform is strongly expressed in cells of hematopoietic origin, and often implicated in B-cell related lymphomas.
In October 2016, a manuscript titled, "Silencing c-Myc Translation as a Therapeutic Strategy through Targeting PI3K Delta and CK1 Epsilon in Hematological Malignancies," was published online in the First Edition section of Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology. The publication presents preclinical data describing the synergy of umbralisib with the proteasome inhibitor carfilzomib and the unique effects of the combination to silence c-Myc in various preclinical lymphoma and myeloma models. Importantly, the manuscript for the first time reported on umbralisib’s unique complimentary mechanism of inhibiting the protein kinase casein kinase-1 epsilon (CK1e), which may lead to a differentiated safety profile by supporting T regulatory cells, a part of the immune system necessary to protect against autoimmune mediated toxicities.
Early Clinical Development of Ublituximab and Umbralisib
Single Agent Ublituximab (TG-1101) in Relapsed/Refractory NHL & CLL
Two single-agent, dose-escalation, Phase I studies were undertaken with ublituximab to establish an optimal dose in patients with NHL and CLL. The first was a two part first-in-human Phase I clinical trial completed in France in which ublituximab was evaluated in relapsed or refractory CLL. In 2012 a second single-agent Phase I study was undertaken in the US entitled "An Open Label Phase I/II Trial of the Efficacy and Safety of TG-1101 in Patients with B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma who have Relapsed or are Refractory After CD20 Directed Antibody Therapy." In July 2014, this trial completed enrollment of 35 patients, of which 12 patients were included in the dose escalation component and 23 patients in various expansion cohorts. All enrolled patients were relapsed or refractory to rituximab or a rituximab containing regimen, and in most cases multiple other lines of therapy. Dr. Owen O'Connor, Professor of Medicine and Director, Center for Lymphoid Malignancies at New York Presbyterian Columbia Medical Center was the Principal Investigator for the multi-center study. Data from this study were published in the British Journal of Haematology in February 2017. In both Phase 1 studies, single agent ublituximab was deemed well tolerated by treating investigators and displayed promising clinical activity in relapsed and refractory patients.
Single Agent Ublituximab (TG-1101) in Relapsing Forms of Multiple Sclerosis
In May 2016, we commenced our first study of ublituximab in patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS), a chronic demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The study, entitled "A Placebo-Controlled Multi-Center Phase 2 Dose Finding Study of Ublituximab, a Third-Generation Anti-CD20 Monoclonal Antibody, in Patients with Relapsing Forms of Multiple Sclerosis," was led by Edward Fox, MD, PhD, Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic of Central Texas and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Texas Dell Medical School in Austin, TX. The primary objective of the study was to determine the optimal dosing regimen for ublituximab with a focus on accelerating infusion times. In addition to monitoring for safety and tolerability at each dosing cohort, B-cell depletion and established MS efficacy endpoints were also evaluated.
In October 2018, final data from this Phase 2 study were presented at the 34th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) meeting in Berlin, Germany. The presentation included final data on all 48 patients enrolled in the study through 48 weeks of treatment. Ublituximab was well tolerated across all patients including those receiving rapid infusions, as low as a one hour for the 450mg dose currently being studied in the Phase 3 ULTIMATE program and no study drug related discontinuations occurred. Median B cell depletion was >99% at the primary analysis point of Week 4 (n=48) and maintained at Week 24 and Week 48. Ublituximab also completely eliminated all (100%) T1 Gd-enhancing lesions at Week 24 and maintained complete elimination at Week 48 (n=46) and an Annualized Relapse Rate (ARR) of 0.07 was observed with 93% of subjects relapse free at Week 48.
In October of 2019, at the 35th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, we re-presented the final 48-week data from the Phase 2 trial, and also presented long-term follow-up data for 45 patients from the Phase 2 trial that enrolled into the Open Label Extension (OLE) trial. With a median duration of follow-up of 124.7 weeks, ublituximab continued to be well tolerated, no subjects discontinued due to an adverse event (AE) related to ublituximab, and AEs deemed at least possibly related to ublituximab were infrequent with all patients dosed at 450mg administered in a one-hour infusion. Additionally, infusion related reactions (IRRs) were rare during the OLE, occurring in only 5 patients (11%) all Grade 1 or 2.
Single Agent Umbralisib (TGR-1202) in Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Hematologic Malignancies
In January 2013, we initiated a Phase I, open label, multi-center, first-in-human clinical trial of umbralisib in patients with hematologic malignancies. The study entitled "A Phase I Dose Escalation Study Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of TGR-1202 in Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Hematologic Malignancies," is being run in collaboration with the Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville, TN with Howard “Skip” Burris, MD, Executive Director, Drug Development as the acting Study Chair. Enrollment was open to patients with relapsed or refractory NHL, CLL, and other select hematologic malignancies. As of February 2016, this study closed to enrollment.
In February 2018, data from this first-in-human Phase 1 clinical trial of umbralisib was published in The Lancet Oncology. The manuscript was titled, “Umbralisib, a novel PI3K and casein kinase-1 epsilon inhibitor, in relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia and lymphoma: an open-label, phase 1, dose-escalation, first-in-human study.” The paper includes safety and efficacy information from 90 patients with relapsed or refractory hematologic malignancies, including patients with CLL and various forms of lymphoma treated with single agent umbralisib. In this study, the data showed that umbralisib was well tolerated with a favorable safety profile.
Additional Early Studies with Ublituximab (TG-1101) and/or Umbralisib (TGR-1202)
In addition to the above Phase 1 trials for ublituximab and umbralisib, the following Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies, as well as an integrated analysis were conducted:
|●||Phase 1/2 Study of Umbralisib, Ublituximab and Venetoclax in patients with relapsed or refractory CLL – In December 2019, we presented triple therapy data from patients with relapsed/refractory CLL treated with the triple therapy combination of ublituximab, umbralisib and venetoclax during an oral session at the 61st American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting and exposition. At the time of presentation, twenty-seven patients were evaluable for safety and 23 were evaluable for efficacy. The triple therapy regimen was administered with 3 cycles of U2 induction/debulking to reduce the risk of tumor lysis syndrome (TLS), followed by the combination of umbralisib and venetoclax starting in cycle 4. Patients who were bone marrow MRD negative after cycle 12 stopped all therapy. Overall response rate (ORR) of 87% (20/23) after U2 induction period at cycle 3, prior to introduction of venetoclax, in relapsed/refractory CLL patients, including patients refractory to ibrutinib. U2 induction appeared to reduce venetoclax TLS risk, with no patients remaining as TLS high-risk following 3 cycles of U2. 13 patients were treated for >7 cycles and 9 patients for > 12 cycles, with the following response rates observed: 100% ORR (13/13) after cycle 7 for the triple combination; 100% ORR (9/9) including 44% Complete Response (CR) after cycle 12 for the combination; 100% (9/9) of patients had undetectable minimal residual disease (MRD) (<0.01%) in peripheral blood after 12 cycles of therapy; and 78% (7/9) of patients who completed 12 cycles of therapy had undetectable MRD in bone marrow and have stopped therapy. At the time of the presentation, no patients (n=27) had progressed with a median follow-up of 6.4 months. Overall the triplet regimen was generally well tolerated with no events of TLS observed.|
|●||Phase 1 Study of TG-1701, a Once-Daily BTK inhibitor, as a Single Agent and in Triple Combination with Umbralisib and Ublituximab in patients with relapsed or refractory NHL and CLL – In December 2019, we presented data from patients with relapsed/refractory NHL and CLL treated with the triple therapy combination of TG-1701, umbralisib and ublituximab during a poster session at the 61st American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting and exposition. The proprietary triplet of U2 plus TG-1701 induced 86% ORR (6 of 7) in patients with relapsed/refractory NHL and CLL at the lowest dose of TG-1701 tested. Of the 7 patients treated with the triple, 4 patients had follicular lymphoma (FL), of which 2 achieved a complete response (CR), 1 patient achieved partial response (PR) and 1 patient had stable disease SD). The remaining three patients treated with the combination included the following: 1 patient with marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) achieved a PR, 1 patient with Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM) achieved a PR; and 1 patient with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) achieved a PR. As of the time of the presentation, all patients treated with the triple combination of TG-1701 plus U2 remained on study.|
|●||Ublituximab in Combination with Umbralisib with/without ibrutinib or bendamustine for Relapsed/Refractory NHL & CLL— In November 2013, we initiated a multi-center, Phase I study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the combination of ublituximab and umbralisib, (U2), for patients with relapsed and/or refractory CLL and NHL. The MD Anderson Cancer Center was the lead center for this clinical trial. Additional cohorts were added to this study to explore the triple therapy combination of U2 plus ibrutinib and the triple therapy combination of U2 plus bendamustine. Both U2 and the triplet combinations demonstrated acceptable levels of tolerability with promising activity. Enrollment in all cohorts is now closed and patients continued to be followed for safety and efficacy. Data highlights from each cohort include the following:|
|o||Ublituximab plus Umbralisib (U2):|
|◾||In December 2015 we presented the results from the U2 portion of this trial at the 57th American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting, Abstract Number 1538. The presentation included data from patients with relapsed and refractory NHL and CLL treated with U2. The combination was well tolerated in the 71 patients evaluable for safety at all dose levels up through 1200mg. This was a heavily pretreated population with high-risk features, including 58% refractory to last treatment with multiple previous lines of rituximab-based therapy. Notably, the only Grade 3/4 adverse event occurring in > 5% of patients was neutropenia and of the 71 patients available for safety, only 6 patients (8%) discontinued due to an umbralisib related event. Additionally, 26 patients had been on U2 for 6+ months, with no events of colitis reported as of the date of publication. Efficacy data was presented on patients treated at the higher doses of umbralisib (1200mg of the original formulation and 600mg or greater of the micronized formulation). 80% (8 of 10) ORR was observed in patients with CLL/SLL, including 1 complete response (CR) and 7 partial responses (PRs). Notably, 75% of CLL patients had high-risk cytogenetics (17p and/or 11q del). 71% (12 of 17) ORR was observed in heavily pretreated patients with indolent NHL (FL & MZL), including 4 CRs (24%) and 8 PRs, with 4 of the remaining 5 patients achieving stable disease.|
|◾||In September of 2019, results from the Phase I/IB combination trial of U2 were published in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology. The paper includes safety and efficacy information from 22 patients with CLL or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) and 53 patients with NHL treated with the combination of ublituximab and umbralisib, referred to as “U2”. Safety data was available from all 75 patients and demonstrated that the U2 combination was well tolerated with the majority of adverse events (AEs) being grade 1 or 2 in severity and no maximum tolerated dose achieved in either CLL or NHL. Importantly, U2 exhibited low rates of immune-mediated toxicities, typically associated with other PI3K-delta inhibitors including colitis, pneumonia/pneumonitis, or hepatic toxicity, and discontinuations due to AEs were limited (13%).|
|◾||Efficacy data was available from 69 patients and showed the combination to be highly active with a 72.5% clinical benefit rate (defined as patients obtaining a Complete Response, Partial Response, or Stable Disease) across all subtypes of B-cell cancers enrolled in the study. Of note, a median PFS of 27.57 months was observed in patients with relapsed/refractory CLL (n=15) treated at therapeutic dose levels of umbralisib and a 65% overall response rate (ORR) was observed in patients relapsed/refractory indolent NHL (n=20), including a 100% ORR amongst MZL patients (n=5).|
|◾||These data are described further in the manuscript entitled, “Ublituximab and Umbralisib in Relapsed/ Refractory B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia,” which was published online in the First Edition section of Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology.|
|o||U2 plus Bendamustine: In December 2018, updated data for the U2 plus bendamustine cohort was presented at the 60th ASH Annual Meeting. Overall, the U2 plus bendamustine combination was well tolerated and highly active in patients with advanced indolent and aggressive NHL, including those not eligible for HD/SCT or CD19 CART therapy. Efficacy highlights from this poster included an 85% (11 of 13) ORR including a 54% CR rate in patients with relapsed or refractory FL.|
|o||U2 plus Ibrutinib: In January 2019, we announced the publication of results from the U2 plus ibrutinib cohort in The Lancet Haematology. Safety data was available from 46 patients and the triple combination of ublituximab, umbralisib, and ibrutinib was well tolerated with a manageable adverse event profile and no maximum tolerated dose achieved for the combination. Efficacy data was available from 44 patients and showed the U2 plus ibrutinib combination to be highly active. The ORR amongst all evaluable patients was 84%, with 100% (22 of 22) of patients with CLL/SLL achieving a response, including 36% achieving a CR. Among patients with NHL, 68% (15 of 22) achieved a response, including a 71% ORR in FL (n=7), a 100% ORR in MZL (n=3), and a 100% ORR in MCL (n=6).|
|●||Umbralisib as a single agent in CLL patients who are intolerant to prior BTK inhibitor or PI3K delta inhibitor therapy— In September 2019, at the XVIII iwCLL meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, data was presented from 51 patients with CLL who were intolerant to prior BTK or PI3K delta inhibitor therapy who were then treated with single agent umbralisib. Umbralisib demonstrated a favorable safety profile with only 12% of patients discontinuing due to an umbralisib related adverse event, of which only one patient discontinued due to a recurrent adverse event (AE) also experienced with prior kinase inhibitor therapy. As of the data presentation, over half of the patients enrolled had been on umbralisib for a duration longer than their prior kinase inhibitor. The estimated median progression free survival (PFS) was 23.5 months (95% confidence interval: 13.1 – Not Estimable). Enrollment is now closed with patients continuing to be followed.|
|●||Umbralisib Long-term Follow-up Integrated Analysis in Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Hematologic Malignancies— In December 2017, at the 59th ASH Annual Meeting, the Company presented integrated long-term follow-up data from 347 patients exposed to umbralisib across 5 studies, which continued to demonstrate high response rates in CLL, and FL coupled with a favorable safety profile. In June 2018, an update on the data was presented at the 23rd Congress of the European Hematology Association (EHA). The presentation included data pooled from 4 completed or ongoing Phase 1 or 2 studies containing umbralisib, focusing on 177 patients who have been on daily umbralisib for a minimum of 6 months. Patients were heavily pretreated, with 45% of patients having seen 3 or more prior lines of therapy. Umbralisib continued to exhibit a tolerable safety profile with serious adverse events occurring in >1% of patients after 6 months on therapy limited to pneumonia (3%), diarrhea (2%), and cellulitis (2%) with only 2% of patients discontinuing umbralisib as a result of diarrhea/colitis after being on umbralisib for more than 6 months.|
|●||Phase 2 trial of Umbralisib plus Ibrutinib in patients with relapsed or refractory CLL and MCL— In December 2018, we announced the publication of results from the multicenter Phase 1/1b trial of umbralisib in combination with ibrutinib, the oral Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, in Lancet Haematology. This investigator-initiated trial was conducted at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and four additional centers across the USA in collaboration with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Blood Cancer Research Partnership with funding by TG Therapeutics. The publication includes safety and efficacy information from a total of 42 relapsed or refractory patients, 21 with CLL and 21 with MCL. In this study, the combination of umbralisib and ibrutinib was well tolerated and consistent with the additive toxicity profile of the two drugs individually. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed, and the maximum-tolerated dose of umbralisib when combined with ibrutinib was not reached. The recommended phase 2 dose of umbralisib when given in combination with ibrutinib was 800 mg once daily. Importantly, serious immune-mediated toxicities were not observed with this combination, as had previously been reported with combinations of different agents targeting this pathway, with only one case of transient Grade 3 transaminitis and no Grade 3/4 colitis or pneumonitis. The combination of umbralisib and ibrutinib was also clinically active, with 90% of relapsed/refractory CLL patients achieving an overall response (n=19), of which 62% (n=13) achieved a partial response or partial response with lymphocytosis, and 29% (n=6) achieved a complete response. Of the 21 patients treated with MCL, 67% (n=14) achieved an overall response, of which 48% (n=10) achieved a partial response and 19% (n=4) achieved a complete response.|
|●||Phase 2 trial of Ublituximab plus Ibrutinib in patients with relapsed or refractory CLL and Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)— In December 2013, we initiated a multi-center Phase 2 clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the combination of ublituximab and ibrutinib for patients with CLL and MCL. Jeff P. Sharman, MD, Medical Director, Hematology Research, US Oncology Network, was the Study Chair. This trial has completed enrollment. Final data from the MCL cohort of this study was presented at the 57th ASH meeting held in December 2015, with data from the CLL cohort published in the British Journal of Haematology in December 2016. The combination displayed marked clinical activity, reporting an 88% (35/41) response rate in patients with CLL, a 95% (19/21) response rate in those CLL patients with high-risk cytogenetics, and an 87% (13/15) response rate in patients with MCL. The data from the CLL cohort of this study supported the Phase 3 GENUINE study evaluating ublituximab plus ibrutinib in CLL patients with high-risk cytogenetics.|
|●||Additional early combination studies utilizing umbralisib with approved agents— Umbralisib has been evaluated in combination with the anti-CD30 antibody drug conjugate, brentuximab vedotin, in patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma and in combination with the JAK inhibitor, ruxolitinib, in patients with Myelofibrosis or Polycythemia Vera. Additional investigator sponsored trials are also underway which are combining umbralisib and or the U2 combination with other approved agents for the treatment of B-cell malignancies.|
Current Phase 3 or Registration Directed Clinical Trials for Ublituximab and Umbralisib:
We have initiated and enrolled several Phase 3 and registration-directed Phase 2b clinical trials (i.e., clinical trials that may support a marketing application for approval). The following are the current Phase 3 trials and registration-directed Phase 2b clinical trials:
UNITY-NHL Phase 2b Trial: UNITY-NHL is a broad, multicenter, open-label, Phase 2b registration-directed clinical trial designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of umbralisib monotherapy and U2 combinations in patients with previously treated NHL. The marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) and the follicular lymphoma (FL)/small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) single agent umbralisib cohorts of this trial are fully enrolled. These indolent lymphoma cohorts of the trial are being led by Nathan H. Fowler, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The primary objective of these cohorts is to assess the efficacy of single agent umbralisib as measured by Overall Response Rate (ORR).
|●||UNITY-NHL MZL Single Agent Umbralisib Cohort: The MZL cohort enrolled adult patients who had at least one prior line of therapy that included an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody. This cohort was designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of single agent umbralisib and the primary endpoint is ORR as determined by Independent Review Committee (IRC) assessment. The primary analysis of ORR will be conducted once all treated patients have had at least 9 cycles (Cycle = 28 days) of follow-up. Secondary endpoints include safety, duration of response, and progression-free survival (PFS).|
In February 2019, we announced that the MZL cohort met the primary endpoint of ORR as determined by IRC for all treated patients (n=69). The results met our target guidance of 40-50% ORR. Interim safety and efficacy data from the MZL cohort were presented in an oral presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting on April 1, 2019. The data presented included safety and tolerability data on all 69 treated patients (safety population) and efficacy data on 42 patients who were enrolled at least 9 cycles (28 day cycles) prior to the data cut-off date (interim efficacy population). The safety population had a median duration of exposure of 6.9 months and no unexpected toxicities were observed. Analysis of the interim efficacy population showed an ORR by IRC of 52%, including 19% CR rate, an 88% clinical benefit rate by IRC (defined as patients obtaining Complete Response + Partial Response + Stable Disease) and a median duration of exposure of 10.1 months. These results were also presented in oral presentations during the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting and the 2019 International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma (ICML) both held in June of 2019.
Previously, in January 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) to umbralisib for the treatment of adult patients with MZL who have received at least one prior anti-CD20 regimen. The BTD was based on interim data from the MZL cohort of the UNITY-NHL trial. In April 2019, the FDA granted orphan drug designation to umbralisib for the treatment of patients with any of the three types of marginal zone lymphoma (MZL): nodal, extranodal, and splenic MZL.
Most recently, in January of 2020, we initiated a rolling submission of an NDA to the FDA for umbralisib as a treatment for previously treated MZL or FL. We anticipate completion of this rolling submission in the first half of 2020.
|●||UNITY-NHL FL/SLL Single Agent Umbralisib Cohort: The FL/SLL cohort enrolled adult patients who had two or more prior lines of therapy that included an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody and an alkylating agent. In October 2019, we announced that the FL patients within this cohort met the primary endpoint of ORR as determined by Independent Review Committee (IRC) for all treated follicular lymphoma patients (n=118). The results met our target guidance of 40-50% ORR. Importantly, umbralisib monotherapy appeared to be well tolerated with a safety profile consistent with previous reports. Most recently, in January of 2020, we received guidance from the FDA allowing submission of a single NDA for MZL and FL indications. As noted earlier, we initiated a rolling submission of an NDA to the FDA for umbralisib in MZL/FL and anticipate completion of the rolling submission in the first half of 2020. We plan to present the data at a future medical conference as well as discuss the data with the FDA.|
|●||UNITY-NHL Additional Cohorts: There are additional exploratory cohorts of the UNITY-NHL trial focused on Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) and Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL). In total, there are currently four cohorts in the UNITY-NHL trial including, MZL, FL/SLL, DLBCL, and MCL. Each cohort is enrolled and evaluated separately from the others.|
UNITY-CLL Phase 3 Trial Evaluating Umbralisib plus Ublituximab (U2): UNITY-CLL is a global Phase 3 randomized controlled clinical trial that includes two key objectives: first, to demonstrate contribution of each agent in the ublituximab plus umbralisib regimen (the combination sometimes referred to as "U2"), and second, to demonstrate superiority in PFS over the standard of care to support the submission for full approval of the combination. The study randomized patients into four treatment arms: ublituximab plus umbralisib, ublituximab alone, umbralisib alone, and an active control arm of obinutuzumab plus chlorambucil. The primary endpoint for this study is progression free survival (PFS) which we intend to use to support a submission for approval of the U2 combination in CLL. The UNITY-CLL trial is being led by John Gribben, MD, professor of Medical Oncology, Barts Cancer Institute, United Kingdom. The study completed enrollment in October 2017 with over 600 patients across the four treatment arms, with approximately 420 patients in the U2 arm and the active control arm combined.
In September 2015, we reached an agreement with the FDA regarding a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) on the design, endpoints, and statistical analysis approach of the UNITY-CLL Phase 3 trial. The SPA provides agreement that the Phase 3 trial design adequately addresses objectives that, if met, would support the regulatory submission for drug approval of both ublituximab and umbralisib in combination.
In May 2017, a pre-specified interim analysis was conducted to assess contribution of each single agent in the ublituximab plus umbralisib combination regimen, which allowed for the early termination of both single agent arms. A second interim analysis was planned to evaluate ORR to support accelerated approval when all patients in the U2 arm and the active control arm had at least 6 months of follow-up. In September 2018, we announced that the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (“DSMB”) reviewed ongoing data from the trial and advised us that the second interim analysis of ORR could not be conducted at that time as the data were not sufficiently mature to conduct the analysis. Given the uncertainty surrounding the timing and outcome of the ORR analysis, as well as the significant regulatory hurdles associated with accelerated approval in CLL, we are no longer planning to seek accelerated approval for U2 in CLL based on ORR. The Company remains blinded to all efficacy data and the trial continues to be conducted under SPA agreement with the FDA. We await the results for the primary endpoint for the study, PFS, to seek full approval for U2 in patients with CLL, if the study is positive. Importantly, an application based on PFS is expected to support full approval versus accelerated approval, which is a conditional approval. Additionally, in September 2018, the DSMB reviewed safety data from over 600 patients, including over 300 patients treated with umbralisib either alone or in combination with ublituximab, of which approximately 60% were treatment naïve. After review of the data, the DSMB identified no safety concerns and recommended the trial continue without modification.
In March 2019, the UNITY-CLL Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) conducted a pre-planned futility analysis of PFS. The DSMB determined that the trial was not futile and recommended the UNITY-CLL trial continue as planned. The pre-specified futility analysis of the UNITY-CLL trial did not allow for early stopping due to positive efficacy but only for lack of efficacy. The DSMB also again reviewed safety information from all 600+ CLL patients on the UNITY-CLL trial, including over 300 treatment naive and previously treated patients on umbralisib alone or in combination with ublituximab. Based on its review, no safety concerns were identified and the DSMB recommended the UNITY-CLL trial continue without modification.
GENUINE Phase 3 Trial Evaluating Ublituximab plus Ibrutinib: GENUINE is a randomized controlled clinical trial evaluating patients with previously treated CLL with specific high-risk cytogenetic abnormalities. Patients in this trial were randomized to receive either ublituximab plus ibrutinib or ibrutinib alone. Due to enrollment challenges associated with this study, in October 2016, we announced revisions to the design of the GENUINE study to accelerate its completion. Initially the study was being conducted pursuant to an SPA with the FDA, and was designed to enroll approximately 330 patients, with a two-part analysis of both ORR and PFS. The trial as amended in October 2016, and PFS was removed as a co-primary endpoint leaving ORR as the sole primary endpoint. The target number of patients was also reduced to 120 patients. The SPA was terminated at the time the changes were implemented.
In March 2017, we reported positive top-line data from the GENUINE study. The study met its primary endpoint demonstrating a statistically significant improvement in ORR, as determined by an Independent Review Committee (IRC) using the iwCLL (Hallek 2008) criteria, compared to ibrutinib alone in both the Intent to Treat (ITT) population (p=0.001) and Treated population (p < 0.001).
In June 2017, the results were presented by Dr. Jeff P. Sharman, Medical Director, Hematology Research, US Oncology in an oral session during the 53rd American Society of Clinical Oncology ("ASCO") Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. We had hoped to use the ORR results from the GENUINE trial to file for accelerated approval for the combination of ublituximab plus ibrutinib. In October of 2017, we announced the results of a meeting with the FDA related to the potential accelerated approval application. The FDA had expressed concern that an intervening approval for the treatment of relapsed or refractory CLL could, as available therapy, have the effect of blocking our accelerated approval application. In June 2018, venetoclax received full approval for the treatment of relapsed or refractory CLL, the same indication for which we planned to file for accelerated approval. While we do believe under the FDA guidance related to accelerated approval that there are benefits of ublituximab plus ibrutinib over presently available therapies that could support approval, we have decided at this time to not pursue the filing of the results from the GENUINE trial to support accelerated approval.
In October 2019, we announced that final long-term results from the Phase 3 GENUINE study demonstrated that ublituximab in combination with ibrutinib improved progression-free survival (PFS), as determined by Independent Review Committee (IRC). Additionally, the combination of ublituximab and ibrutinib was well tolerated with no new safety signals identified at a median follow-up of >4 years. We plan to present these final data at a future medical conference, as well as share the results with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
ULTIMATE I & II Trials Evaluating Single Agent Ublituximab in RMS: ULTIMATE I and ULTIMATE II are two independent Phase 3 trials. Each trial is a global, randomized, multi-center, double-blinded, double-dummy, active-controlled study comparing ublituximab to teriflunomide in subjects with relapsing forms of Multiple Sclerosis (RMS). The primary endpoint for each study is Annualized Relapse Rate (ARR) following 96 weeks of treatment which we intend to use to support a submission for approval of ublituximab in RMS. Each trial was designed to enroll approximately 440 subjects, randomized in a 1:1 ratio. This trial is being led by Lawrence Steinman, MD, George A. Zimmermann Professor and Professor of Pediatrics, Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University.
In August 2017, we reached an agreement with the FDA regarding an SPA on the design of two Phase 3 clinical trials for ublituximab, referred to as the ULTIMATE I and ULTIMATE II trials, for the treatment of relapsing forms of Multiple Sclerosis (RMS). The SPA provides agreement that the two Phase 3 trial designs adequately address objectives that, if met, would support the regulatory submission for approval of ublituximab in RMS.
In August 2018, we announced that target enrollment into the ULTIMATE I and II trials had been achieved, and that enrollment would continue into September 2018 to allow identified patients to participate in the study. At completion of full enrollment in October of 2018, approximately 1,100 subjects were enrolled in both studies combined.
In October 2019, at the 35th Congress of ECTRIMS, we presented the ULTIMATE I & II Phase 3 program trial design and demographic data. The presentation concluded that patient baseline characteristics were consistent with a typical RMS population, and topline results from the ULTIMATE I & II trials are expected in the second half of 2020.
ULTRA-V Phase 2b Trial Evaluating U2 plus Venetoclax in CLL: ULTRA-V is a Phase 2b open-label, multicenter, registration-directed clinical trial designed to investigate the efficacy and safety of ublituximab and umbralisib (U2) combined with venetoclax in subjects with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. The primary endpoint for this study is ORR and CR rate. This trial is currently enrolling.
Early Pipeline Overview and Clinical Development
Cosibelimab (anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody) Overview
Cosibelimab (also referred to as TG-1501) is a fully human monoclonal antibody of IgG1 subtype that binds to Programmed Death-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) and blocks its interactions with PD-1 and B7.1 receptors. Cancer cells elude anti-tumor immunity through multiple mechanisms, including upregulated expression of ligands for inhibitory immune checkpoint receptors. Signals from PD-L1 on tumor cells and in the tumor microenvironment help those tumors avoid immune attack and elimination by preventing activation of tumor specific effector T-cells. Anti-PD-L1 antibodies are designed to block that signal, permitting effector T-cells to attack the cancer. Clinical studies have shown that blockade of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway by monoclonal antibodies can enhance the immune response and result in anti-tumor activity.
Preclinically, it has been shown that the effects of anti-PD-L1 intervention can be enhanced by utilizing other mechanisms targeting the tumor microenvironment. Combining immunotherapies like anti-PD-L1, which counters the tumor's immune-evading defense system with other anti-cancer agents such as ublituximab or umbralisib, may better engage the body's own immune system to help fight cancer.
A comprehensive array of in vitro biochemical and cellular assays was established to characterize the binding and the functional activities of cosibelimab. The in vitro data demonstrated that the affinity, PD-L1 binding capability, relative ability to inhibit PD-1/PDL-1 interactions, and functional activity of cosibelimab in cellular assays are comparable to those of atezolizumab, durvalumab and avelumab - the currently approved products sharing the same mechanism of action.
Cosibelimab is currently being evaluated in an ongoing study (Study CK-301-101: NCT03212404), enrolling patients with select solid tumors, being conducted by our licensor. In the dose escalation portion of this trial, doses ranging from 200mg to 800mg were tested with no dose-limiting toxicities observed and no maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was achieved; therefore, a fixed dose of 800 mg was the selected starting dose of cosibelimab for patients with hematologic malignancies.
In December 2018, the FDA approved an IND for cosibelimab and a Phase 1 study in subjects with select subtypes of lymphoma commenced in 2019, as did a study of cosibelimab in combination with ublituximab and/or umbralisib. Based on our rapidly evolving understanding of the pathobiology of lymphoma subtypes, we envision further combinations with other immunotherapies in the future.
TG-1701 (BTK inhibitor) Overview
TG-1701 is a novel, orally available and covalently-bound Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor that exhibits superior selectivity to BTK compared to ibrutinib in in vitro kinase screening.
B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling is crucial for normal B-cell development and supports the survival and growth of malignant B-cells in patients with B-cell leukemias or lymphomas. Targeting BTK, an essential element of BCR signaling pathway which regulates the survival, activation, proliferation, and differentiation of B lymphocytes, has shown remarkable efficacy with an acceptable safety profile in B-cell malignancies.
In June 2018, pre-clinical data for TG-1701 demonstrating favorable pharmacologic properties was presented at the 23rd Congress of the European Hematology Association (EHA) in Stockholm, Sweden. In vitro pharmacology studies have revealed that TG-1701 inhibited BTK with greater than 10-fold selectivity as measured by IC50 on the kinase activities of EGFR, ITK, TXK, JAK3, HER2 and HER4. In vivo pharmacology studies showed that TG-1701 significantly inhibited the growth of xenograft lymphoid tumors including OCI-LY-10 and DOHH-2 in nude mice.
We are currently evaluating TG-1701 in a Phase 1, multi-center, dose-escalation clinical trial in patients with B-cell malignancies. This trial is designed to evaluate the safety and tolerability of TG-1701 alone and in combination with ublituximab and umbralisib (U2) in adults with B-cell malignancies and determine the recommended Phase 2 dose. Key secondary objectives include evaluation of pharmacokinetics (PK), pharmacodynamics, and preliminary anticancer activity. Preliminary data from this Phase 1 study was presented at ASH 2019.
TG-1801 (anti-CD47/anti-CD19 bispecific monoclonal antibody) Overview
TG-1801 is a first-in-class, bispecific CD47 and CD19 antibody. It is the first therapy to target both CD19, a B-cell specific market widely expressed across B-cell malignancies, and CD47, the "don’t eat me" signal used by both healthy and tumor cells to evade macrophage mediated phagocytosis. CD47 is expressed ubiquitously on normal cells, including red blood cells and platelets. CD19 is a specific B-cell marker, expressed early during pre-B cell ontogeny and until terminal differentiation into early plasma cells. The majority of B-cell lineage malignancies (more than 90%) express CD19, including NHL, CLL and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Tumor B-cells that have lost the expression of CD20 after anti-CD20 mAb therapy, have been found to maintain the expression of CD19, making CD19 an attractive target in the treatment of B cell malignancies. By co-targeting both CD47 and CD19, TG-1801 has the potential to overcome the limitations of existing CD47 targeted therapies by avoiding the side effects caused by indiscriminate blockade of CD47 on healthy cells. In addition to potentially enhancing tolerability, the co-targeting of CD19 by TG-1801 may provide a secondary mechanism of direct anti-tumor activity through the engagement of effector cells and induction of antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC).
TG-1801 binds to human CD19 with significantly higher affinity than towards CD47. This difference between its affinity to CD19 and CD47 allows TG-1801 to bind and selectively block CD47 on CD19+ B-cells but not on CD19- red blood cells or platelets in human peripheral blood.
In in vitro assays, TG-1801 induces antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis (ADCP) and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) of malignant tumor B-cell lines and primary tumor B-cells from patients with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) and numerous subtypes of NHL.
In in vivo mouse tumor models, treatment with TG-1801 inhibited tumor growth in Raji cell subcutaneous xenograft model, NALM-6 cell disseminated tumor model, and patient-derived xenograft models, including primary tumor cells from patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and B-ALL. In addition, the combination of rituximab and TG-1801 demonstrated enhanced activity over TG-1801 monotherapy.
In summary, TG-1801 demonstrates anti-tumor activity in both in vitro assays (ADCP and ADCC) and in vivo animal tumor models.
In the first quarter of 2019, we commenced a Phase 1 first-in-human, dose-escalation study of TG-1801. This study is evaluating escalating doses of TG-1801 in patients with B-Cell lymphoma. The primary objective of the study is to determine the recommended Phase 2 dose and to characterize the safety profile of TG-1801. Key secondary objectives are to evaluate the pharmacokinetics of TG-1801 and its preliminary anticancer activity. Enrollment is ongoing in this Phase 1 study.
In addition to our clinical programs, we currently have licensed preclinical programs for BET (TG-1601), IRAK4, and GITR.
COSTS AND TIME TO COMPLETE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
The information below provides estimates regarding the costs associated with the completion of the current development phase and our current estimated range of the time that will be necessary to complete that development phase for our key pipeline products. We also direct your attention to the risk factors which could significantly affect our ability to meet these cost and time estimates found in this report in Item 1A under the heading “Risks Related to the Company’s Business and Industry.”
Estimated Completion of Phase
Estimated Cost to Complete Phase
Ublituximab & Umbralisib
Approximately $2 million
In Relapsing forms of Multiple Sclerosis (RMS)
Approximately $15 million
Umbralisib + Ublituximab
Relapsed/refractory NHL patients
Approximately $3 million
*Completion of phase for this study indicates completion of portion of study, which, if successful, would support an accelerated approval.
Completion dates and costs in the above table are estimates due to the uncertainties associated with clinical trials and the related requirements of development. In the cases where the requirements for clinical trials and development programs have not been fully defined, or are dependent on the success of other trials, we cannot estimate trial completion or cost with any certainty. The actual spending on each trial during the year is also dependent on funding. We therefore direct your attention to Item 7 under the heading “Liquidity and Capital Resources.”
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND PATENTS
Our goal is to obtain, maintain and enforce patent protection for our products, formulations, processes, methods and other proprietary technologies, preserve our trade secrets, and operate without infringing on the proprietary rights of other parties, both in the United States and in other countries. Our policy is to actively seek to obtain, where appropriate, the broadest intellectual property protection possible for our product candidates, proprietary information and proprietary technology through a combination of contractual arrangements and patents, both in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
We also depend upon the skills, knowledge and experience of our scientific and technical personnel, as well as that of our advisors, consultants and other contractors. This knowledge, trade secrets, proprietary information and experience we call “know-how.” To help protect our proprietary know-how which is not patentable, and for inventions for which patents may be difficult to enforce, we rely on trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements to protect our interests. To this end, we seek to protect our proprietary technology and processes, in part, by entering into confidentiality agreements with our collaborators, scientific advisors, employees and consultants, and invention assignment agreements with our employees and consultants. There can be no assurance, however, that we can prevent unauthorized disclosure or use of our trade secrets, know-how and proprietary information despite the existence of confidentiality agreements.
Patents and other proprietary rights are crucial to the development of our business. We will be able to protect our proprietary technologies from unauthorized use by third parties only to the extent that our proprietary rights are covered by valid and enforceable patents, supported by regulatory exclusivity or are effectively maintained as trade secrets. We have a number of patents and patent applications related to our compounds and other technology, but we cannot guarantee the scope of protection of the issued patents, or that such patents will survive a validity or enforceability challenge, or that any of the pending patent applications will issue as patents.
Generally, patent applications in the U.S. are maintained in secrecy for a period of 18 months or more. Since publication of discoveries in the scientific or patent literature often lags behind actual discoveries, we are not certain that we were the first to make the inventions covered by each of our pending patent applications or that we were the first to file those patent applications. The patent positions of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are highly uncertain and involve complex legal and factual questions. Therefore, we cannot predict the breadth of claims allowed in biotechnology and pharmaceutical patents, or their enforceability. To date, there has been no consistent policy regarding the breadth of claims allowed in biotechnology patents. Third parties or competitors may challenge or circumvent our patents or patent applications, if issued. If our competitors prepare and file patent applications in the U.S. that claim technology also claimed by us, we may have to participate in interference proceedings declared by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to determine priority of invention, which could result in substantial cost, even if the eventual outcome is favorable to us. Because of the extensive time required for development, testing and regulatory review of a potential product, it is possible that before we commercialize any of our products, any related patent may expire or remain in existence for only a short period following commercialization, thus reducing any advantage of the patent. However, the life of a patent covering a product that has been subject to regulatory approval may have the ability to be extended through the patent restoration program, although any such extension could still be minimal. If a patent is issued to a third party containing one or more preclusive or conflicting claims, and those claims are ultimately determined to be valid and enforceable, we may be required to obtain a license under such patent or to develop or obtain alternative technology. In the event of litigation involving a third party claim, an adverse outcome in the litigation could subject us to significant liabilities to such third party, require us to seek a license for the disputed rights from such third-party, and/or require us to cease use of the technology. Further, our breach of an existing license or failure to obtain a license to technology required to commercialize our products may seriously harm our business. We also may need to commence litigation to enforce any patents issued to us or to determine the scope and validity of third-party proprietary rights. Litigation would involve substantial costs.
We, or those companies from which we have licensed our drug candidates, file patent applications directed to our drug candidates in an effort to establish intellectual property positions regarding these new chemical entities as well as uses of these new chemical entities in the treatment of diseases. We also file patent applications directed to novel combinations of our drugs together and with drugs developed by others. The intellectual property portfolios for our most advanced drug candidates as of February 2020 are summarized below. Each of these portfolios contains pending patent applications covering our drug candidates and uses and combinations of the drug candidates, prosecution has just begun or is in progress. Prosecution is a lengthy process, during which the scope of the claims initially submitted for examination by the USPTO is often significantly narrowed by the time they issue, if they issue at all. We expect this to be the case with respect to our pending patent applications referred to below.
Additionally, because the date for any potential regulatory approval is currently unknown we cannot predict the expected expiration date, and it is possible that the life of these patents following regulatory approval could be minimal.
Pursuant to our license for ublituximab with LFB Biotechnologies, GTC Biotherapeutics, and LFB/GTC LLC, we have the exclusive commercial rights to a series of patents and patent applications in the U.S. and in multiple countries around the world, as well as a non-exclusive license to additional background patent rights. These patents and patent protections include composition of matter patents relating to the structure and mechanism of action for ublituximab as well as method of use patents which cover use of ublituximab in combination with various agents and for various therapeutic indications.
The composition of matter patent for ublituximab has been issued in the U.S. and Europe, which affords patent protection until 2029 in the U.S. and 2025 in Europe, exclusive of patent term extensions. We also have a method of use patent on the combination of umbralisib and ublituximab which has been issued in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, and is pending in other territories globally. Additionally, we have numerous granted patents and pending patent applications outside the U.S. which include claims directed to the composition of matter and methods of treatment with ublituximab in various settings.
Pursuant to our license for umbralisib with Rhizen, we have the exclusive commercial rights to a series of patent applications in the U.S. and multiple countries around the world. The patent applications include composition of matter patents relating to the structure, mechanism of action, and formulation for umbralisib as well as method of use patents which cover use of umbralisib in combination with various agents and for various therapeutic indications. The composition of matter patent for umbralisib has been issued in the U.S. and Europe, which affords patent protection until 2033, exclusive of patent term extensions. We also have a method of use patent on the combination of umbralisib and ublituximab which has been issued in the U.S., EU, and Japan, and is pending in other territories globally. All other patent applications currently filed for umbralisib are currently pending. Because the dates for any potential regulatory approval are currently unknown we cannot predict the expected expiration date, and it is possible that the life of these patents following regulatory approval could be minimal.
Cosibelimab (anti-PDL1 monoclonal antibody)
Pursuant to our Global Collaboration with Checkpoint Therapeutics, we have the exclusive commercial rights in the treatment of hematological cancers and autoimmune diseases to a series of patent applications pending in the United States, Australia, Canada, Europe, Israel and Korea. Any patents maturing from these pending applications will expire no sooner than October 2033.
TG-1701 (BTK inhibitor)
Pursuant to our license agreement with Jiangsu Hengrui, we have the exclusive commercial rights in the treatment of hematologic cancers to a patent family which covers the composition of matter and proposed methods of use for various therapeutic indications in the U.S. and certain other countries. All patent applications currently filed for the BTK program are currently pending. Any patents maturing from these pending applications will expire no sooner than October 2034.
TG-1801 (anti-CD47/anti-CD19 bispecific antibody)
Pursuant to our joint venture and license option agreement with Novimmune, we maintain an exclusive option, exercisable at specific times during development, to license the commercial rights to a series of global patent applications, and the non-exclusive right to certain technology patent applications. Any patents maturing from these pending applications will expire no sooner than December 2032.
Limitations on Patent Rights and Trade Secrets
The patent rights that we own or have licensed relating to our product candidates are limited in ways that may affect our ability to exclude third parties from competing against us if we obtain regulatory approval to market these product candidates. See “Item 1A – Risk Factors -- Risks Related to the Company’s Intellectual Property.” In addition, the limited patent protection may adversely affect the value of our product candidates and may inhibit our ability to obtain a corporate partner at terms acceptable to us, if at all.
Proof of direct infringement by a competitor for method of use patents can prove difficult because the competitors making and marketing a product typically do not engage in the patented use. Additionally, proof that a competitor contributes to or induces infringement of a patented method of use by another can also prove difficult because an off-label use of a product could prohibit a finding of contributory infringement, and inducement of infringement requires proof of intent by the competitor.
Moreover, physicians may prescribe such a competitive identical product for indications other than the one for which the product has been approved, or off-label indications, that are covered by the applicable patents. Although such off-label prescriptions may directly infringe or contribute to or induce infringement of method of use patents, such infringement is difficult to prevent or prosecute.
Orphan Drug Designation
In addition to patent protection, we may utilize orphan drug regulations or other provisions of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938, as amended, or FDCA, to provide market exclusivity for certain of our drug candidates. Orphan drug regulations provide incentives to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to develop and manufacture drugs for the treatment of rare diseases, currently defined as diseases that exist in fewer than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., or, diseases that affect more than 200,000 individuals in the U.S. but that the sponsor does not realistically anticipate will generate a net profit. Under these provisions, a manufacturer of a designated orphan-drug can seek tax benefits, and the holder of the first FDA approval of a designated orphan product will be granted a seven-year period of marketing exclusivity for such FDA-approved orphan product.
Pursuant to these regulations, ublituximab received Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA for the treatment of MZL (Nodal and Extranodal) in September 2013, for the treatment of CLL in August of 2010, and Orphan Drug Designation by the European Medicines Agency (“EMA”) for the treatment of CLL in November of 2009.
We also obtained Orphan Drug Designation for umbralisib as monotherapy for the treatment of CLL in August 2016, and for the treatment of nodal, extranodal, and splenic MZL in April 2019. In addition, in January 2017, we announced that the FDA granted Orphan Drug Designation covering the combination of ublituximab and umbralisib for the treatment of patients with CLL and DLBCL. We believe that ublituximab and umbralisib, as well as our other pipeline products may be eligible for additional Orphan Drug Designations; however, we cannot assure you that ublituximab, umbralisib, or any other drug candidates we may acquire or in-license, will obtain such Orphan Drug Designations or that we will be the first to receive FDA approval for any drug candidates that do obtain Orphan Drug Designation so as to be eligible for market exclusivity protection.
U.S. Patent Term Restoration and Marketing Exclusivity
Depending upon the timing, duration and specifics of the FDA approval of our drug candidates, some of our U.S. patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, commonly referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Amendments. The Hatch-Waxman Amendments permit a patent restoration term of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. However, patent term restoration cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the product’s approval date. The patent term restoration period is generally one-half the time between the effective date of an IND and the submission date of an NDA or BLA plus the time between the submission date of an NDA or BLA and the approval of that application. Only one patent applicable to an approved drug is eligible for the extension and the application for the extension must be submitted prior to the expiration of the patent. The USPTO, in consultation with the FDA, reviews and approves the application for any patent term extension or restoration. In the future, we intend to apply for restoration of patent term for one of our currently owned or licensed patents to add patent life beyond its current expiration date, depending on the expected length of the clinical trials and other factors involved in the filing of the relevant NDA or the BLA.
Also under the Hatch-Waxman Amendments, drugs that are new chemical entities (NCEs) are eligible for a five-year period of non-patent marketing exclusivity in the United States. During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not accept for review an abbreviated new drug application, or ANDA, or a 505(b)(2) NDA submitted by another company for another drug based on the same active moiety, regardless of whether the drug is intended for the same indication as the original innovator drug or for another indication, where the applicant does not own or have a legal right of reference to all the data required for approval. However, an application may be submitted after four years if it contains a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement to one of the patents listed with the FDA by the innovator NDA holder. The Hatch-Waxman Amendments also provide three years of marketing exclusivity for an NDA, or supplement to an existing NDA if new clinical investigations, other than bioavailability studies, that were conducted or sponsored by the applicant are deemed by the FDA to be essential to the approval of the application, for example new indications, dosages or strengths of an existing drug. This three-year exclusivity covers only the modification for which the drug received approval on the basis of the new clinical investigations. During this period, FDA will not approve an application filed by a third party for the protected conditions of use that relies on any of the data from the new clinical investigations that was submitted by the innovator company. Five-year and three-year exclusivity will not delay the submission or approval of a full NDA that does not rely on the innovator company’s data.
The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCIA) created a 12-year period of data exclusivity for innovator biologics. FDA therefore cannot approve a biosimilar application relying on data for a specific reference product until 12 years after the reference product is first licensed. BLA supplements are not eligible for any additional exclusivity. The objectives of the BPCIA are conceptually similar to those of the Hatch-Waxman Act described above. The implementation of an abbreviated approval pathway for biological products is under the direction of the FDA. Since the enactment of the BPCIA, the FDA has issued several draft guidance’s for industry related to the BPCIA, addressing scientific, quality and procedural issues relevant to an abbreviated application for a biosimilar product. As of December 2019, FDA had approved 26 biosimilar applications.
Orphan drug exclusivity, as described below, may offer a seven-year period of marketing exclusivity, except in certain circumstances. Pediatric exclusivity is another type of regulatory market exclusivity in the United States. Pediatric exclusivity, if granted, adds six months to existing exclusivity periods and patent terms. This six-month exclusivity, which runs from the end of other exclusivity protection or patent term, may be granted based on the voluntary completion of a pediatric trial in accordance with an FDA-issued “Written Request” for such a trial.
Upon FDA approval, we believe umbralisib would qualify for five years of data exclusivity as a NCE and ublituximab would qualify for twelve years of data exclusivity as an innovator biologic.
LICENSING AGREEMENTS AND COLLABORATIONS
We have formed strategic alliances with a number of companies for the manufacture and commercialization of our products. Our current key strategic alliances are discussed below.
LFB Biotechnologies S.A.S, GTC Biotherapeutics, LFB/GTC LLC.
In January 2012, we entered into an exclusive license agreement with LFB Biotechnologies, GTC Biotherapeutics, and LFB/GTC LLC, all wholly-owned subsidiaries of LFB Group, relating to the development and commercialization of ublituximab. Under the license agreement, we have acquired the exclusive worldwide rights (exclusive of France/Belgium) for the development and commercialization of ublituximab. To date, we have made no payments to LFB Group under the license agreement, excluding an upfront equity payment. LFB Group is eligible to receive payments of up to an aggregate of approximately $31.0 million upon our successful achievement of certain clinical development, regulatory and sales milestones, in addition to royalty payments on net sales of ublituximab at a royalty rate that escalates from mid-single digits to high-single digits. The license will terminate on a country by country basis upon the expiration of the last licensed patent right or 15 years after the first commercial sale of a product in such country, unless the agreement is earlier terminated (i) by LFB if the Company challenges any of the licensed patent rights, (ii) by either party due to a breach of the agreement, or (iii) by either party in the event of the insolvency of the other party.
Ildong Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.
In November 2012, we entered into an exclusive (within the territory) sublicense agreement with Ildong relating to the development and commercialization of ublituximab in South Korea and Southeast Asia. Under the terms of the sublicense agreement, Ildong has been granted a royalty bearing, exclusive right, including the right to grant sublicenses, to develop and commercialize ublituximab in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Myanmar. To date, we have received $2 million in the form of an upfront payment from Ildong and are eligible to receive sales-based milestone payments up to an aggregate of $5 million and royalty payments on net sales of ublituximab at a royalty rate that escalates from mid-teens to high-teens upon approval in South Korea and/or Southeast Asia. The license will terminate on a country by country basis upon the expiration of the last licensed patent right or 15 years after the first commercial sale of a product in such country, unless the agreement is earlier terminated (i) by Ildong if the Company challenges any of the licensed patent rights, (ii) by either party due to a breach of the agreement, or (iii) by either party in the event of the insolvency of the other party.
In September 2014, we exercised our option to license the global rights to umbralisib, thereby entering into an exclusive licensing agreement (the “Umbralisib License”) with Rhizen Pharmaceuticals, S A (“Rhizen”) for the development and commercialization of umbralisib. Prior to this, we had been jointly developing umbralisib in a 50:50 joint venture with Rhizen.
Under the terms of the Umbralisib License, Rhizen received a $4.0 million cash payment and 371,530 shares of our common stock as an upfront license fee. With respect to umbralisib, Rhizen will be eligible to receive regulatory filing, approval and sales-based milestone payments in the aggregate of approximately $175 million, a small portion of which will be payable on the first New Drug Application (NDA) filing and the remainder on approval in multiple jurisdictions for up to two oncology indications and one non-oncology indication and attaining certain sales milestones. In addition, if umbralisib is co-formulated with another drug to create a new product (a "New Product"),
Rhizen will be eligible to receive similar regulatory approval and sales-based milestone payments for such New Product. Additionally, Rhizen will be entitled to tiered royalties that escalate from high single digits to low double digits on our future net sales of umbralisib and any New Product. Rhizen will also be eligible to participate in sublicensing revenue, if any, based on a percentage that decreases as a function of the number of patients treated in clinical trials following the exercise of the license option. Rhizen will retain global manufacturing rights to umbralisib, provided that they are price competitive with alternative manufacturers. The license will terminate on a country by country basis upon the expiration of the last licensed patent right or any other exclusivity right in such country, unless the agreement is earlier terminated (i) by us for any reason, (ii) by either party due to a breach of the agreement.
In March 2015, we entered into a Global Collaboration (the “Collaboration”) with Checkpoint Therapeutics, Inc. (“Checkpoint”) for the development and commercialization of Checkpoint’s anti-PD-L1 and anti-GITR antibody research programs in the field of hematological malignancies with an option to acquire rights in autoimmune diseases. These antibodies were generated at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Dana-Farber). In June 2019, we amended our Collaboration Agreement with Checkpoint to cover additional licenses necessary to continue the development of the anti-PD-L1 and anti-GITR research programs. Under the terms of the initial Collaboration, we made an up-front payment of $500,000, and upon entering into the amended agreement, made an additional payment of $1,000,000. Under the terms of the amended agreement, we will make development and sales-based milestone payments up to an aggregate of approximately $110 million, and will pay a tiered low double-digit royalty on net sales. The royalty term will terminate on a country by country basis upon the later of (i) ten years after the first commercial sale of any applicable licensed product in such country, or (ii) the expiration of the last-to-expire patent held by Dana Farber containing a valid claim to any licensed product in such country.
TG-1701 (BTK inhibitor)
In January 2018, we entered into a global exclusive license agreement with Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co., (“Hengrui”), to acquire worldwide intellectual property rights, excluding Asia but including Japan, and for the research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of products containing or comprising of any of Hengrui’s Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase inhibitors containing the compounds of either TG-1701 (SHR-1459 or EBI-1459) or TG-1702 (SHR-1266 or EBI-1266) for hematologic malignancies. Pursuant to the agreement, we paid Hengrui an upfront fee of $1.0 million in our common stock in April 2018. In addition, in July 2019, we paid Jiangsu the first milestone under the agreement of $0.1 million in our common stock. Hengrui is eligible to receive milestone payments totaling approximately $350 million upon and subject to the achievement of certain milestones. Various provisions allow for payments in conjunction with the agreement to be made in cash or our common stock, while others limit the form of payment. Royalty payments in the low double digits are due on net sales of licensed products and revenue from sublicenses. Additionally, before we can license, sell, develop, or commercialize ublituximab within China, we must notify Hengrui, giving Hengrui the right of first offer. The agreement allows combinations of TG-1701 or TG-1702 with umbralisib, ublituximab, or U2. Additional combinations may be undertaken under the agreement subject to additional pre-specified payments to Hengrui.
The term of the agreement expires after the expiration of the last royalty term to expire with respect to any of the patent rights under the agreement. We or Hengrui may terminate the agreement upon notice to the other upon breach without remedy or upon insolvency. In addition, either party may terminate the agreement upon a material breach, after providing the other party with adequate notice and allowing 45 days to cure.
TG-1801 (anti-CD47/anti-CD19 bispecific antibody)
In June 2018, we entered into a Joint Venture and License Option Agreement with Novimmune SA (“Novimmune”) to collaborate on the development and commercialization of Novimmune’s novel first-in-class anti-CD47/anti-CD19 bispecific antibody known as TG-1801 (previously NI-1701). The companies will jointly develop the product on a worldwide basis, focusing on indications in the area of hematologic B-cell malignancies. We serve as the primary responsible party for the development, manufacturing and commercialization of the product. Pursuant to the agreement, in June 2018 we paid Novimmune an upfront payment of $3.0 million in our common stock. Further milestone payments will be paid based on early clinical development, and the Company will be responsible for the costs of clinical development of the product through the end of the Phase 2 clinical trials, after which the Company and Novimmune will be jointly responsible for all development and commercialization costs. The Company and Novimmune will each maintain an exclusive option, exercisable at specific times during development, for the Company to license the rights to TG-1801, in which case Novimmune is eligible to receive additional milestone payments totaling approximately $185 million as well as tiered royalties on net sales in the high single to low double digits upon and subject to the achievement of certain milestones.
In June 2014, we entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (“Ligand”) for the development and commercialization of Ligand's interleukin-1 receptor associated kinase-4 (“IRAK4”) inhibitor technology, which currently is in preclinical development for potential use against certain cancers and autoimmune diseases. IRAK4 is a serine/threonine protein kinase that is a key downstream signaling component of the interleukin-1 receptor and multiple toll-like receptors.
Under the terms of the license agreement, Ligand received 125,000 shares of our common stock as an upfront license fee. Ligand will also be eligible to receive maximum potential milestone payments of approximately $207 million upon the achievement of specific clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone events. Additionally, Ligand will be entitled to royalties on our future net sales of licensed products containing IRAK4 inhibitors. The basic royalty rate for licensed products covered by Ligand's issued patents will be 6% for annual sales of up to $1 billion and 9.5% for annual sales in excess of that threshold. The license will terminate on a country by country basis upon the expiration of the last licensed patent right or 10 years after the first commercial sale of a product in such country, unless the agreement is earlier terminated by either party due to a breach of the agreement in the event of the insolvency of the other party.
TG-1601 (BET inhibitor)
In May 2016, as part of a broader agreement with Jubilant Biosys (“Jubilant”), we entered into a sub-license agreement (JBET Agreement) with Checkpoint for the development and commercialization of Jubilant’s novel BET inhibitor program in the field of hematological malignancies. The BET inhibitor program is the subject of a family of patents covering compounds that inhibit BRD4, a member of the BET (Bromodomain and Extra Terminal) domain for cancer treatment. Our BET inhibitor program is currently in pre-clinical development.
Under the terms of the agreement, we paid Checkpoint an up-front licensing fee of $1.0 million and will make additional payments contingent on certain preclinical, clinical, and regulatory milestones, including commercial milestones totaling up to approximately $177 million and a single-digit royalty on net sales. TG will also provide funding to support certain targeted research efforts at Jubilant.
Competition in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries is intense. Our competitors include pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies, as well as universities and public and private research institutions. In addition, companies that are active in different but related fields represent substantial competition for us. Many of our competitors have significantly greater capital resources, larger research and development staffs and facilities and greater experience in drug development, regulation, manufacturing and marketing than we do. These organizations also compete with us to recruit qualified personnel, attract partners for joint ventures or other collaborations, and license technologies that are competitive with ours. To compete successfully in this industry, we must identify novel and unique drugs or methods of treatment and then complete the development of those drugs as treatments in advance of our competitors.
The drugs that we are attempting to develop will have to compete with existing therapies. In addition, a large number of companies are pursuing the development of pharmaceuticals that target the same diseases and conditions that we are targeting. Some of these potential competing drugs are further advanced in development than our drug candidates and may be commercialized earlier. The resulting changes in standard of care can impact the likelihood of regulatory accelerated approval opportunities for our drug candidates.
For the cancer indications for which we are developing our products there are a number of established therapies with which we will compete:
|●||For the treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, if U2 is approved, we expect U2 to compete with approved drugs such as ibrutinib (AbbVie and Janssen), venetoclax (AbbVie and Roche), obinutuzumab (Roche), idelalisib (Gilead) and duvelisib (Verastem), and established treatments such as rituximab (Roche), and several generically available chemotherapies. Additionally, there are two second generation BTK inhibitors similar to ibrutinib in late-stage clinical testing for CLL that could enter the market in the next 12-36 months. Each of these agents can be used as monotherapy or in combination with one or more of the other agents.|
|●||For the treatment of Marginal Zone Lymphoma, if approved, we expect umbralisib to compete with ibrutinib (AbbVie and Janssen), lenalidomide (Bristol-Myers) and established treatments such as rituximab and several generically available chemotherapies.|
|●||For the treatment of Follicular Lymphoma, if approved, we expect umbralisib to compete with approved drugs such as obinutuzumab (Roche), idelalisib (Gilead), copanlisib (Bayer), and duvelisib (Verastem), lenalidomide (Bristol-Myers) and established treatments such as rituximab (Roche), and several generically available chemotherapies. Each of these agents can be used as monotherapy or in combination with one or more of the other agents. There are also several PI3K delta inhibitors in earlier stages of development.|
|●||In addition, a number of pharmaceutical companies are developing antibodies and bispecific antibodies targeting CD20, CD19, CD47 and other B-cell associated targets, chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (“CAR-T”) immunotherapy, and other B-cell ablative therapy which, if approved, would potentially compete with U2 and umbralisib.|
For Multiple Sclerosis for which we are developing ublituximab there are a number of established therapies with which we will compete:
|●||If ublituximab is approved, we expect ublituximab will primarily compete against other CD20 targeted agents, while the group of CD20 targeted agents will also compete broadly against a number of already approved MS therapies. Currently, there is one anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody approved, ocrelizumab (Roche), and another having recently completed Phase 3 development, ofatumumab (Novartis), which is expected to enter the market in the next 12 months.|
Cosibelimab, TG-1701 and TG-1801 if approved will also face competition from drugs on the market and under development that are in the same therapeutic class as each of those drugs.
Additional information can be found under Item “1A - Risk Factors – Other Risks Related to Our Business” within this report.
SUPPLY AND MANUFACTURING
We have limited experience in manufacturing products for clinical or commercial purposes. We currently do not have any manufacturing capabilities of our own. We have established contract manufacturing relationships for the supply of ublituximab. For the supply of umbralisib, Rhizen has established contract manufacturing relationships as part of our licensing agreement. As with any supply program, obtaining pre-clinical and clinical materials of sufficient quality and quantity to meet the requirements of our development programs cannot be guaranteed and we cannot ensure that we will be successful in this endeavor. In addition, as we move closer to commercialization for ublituximab and umbralisib we will need to scale-up production to ensure adequate commercial supply, complete validation batches and complete pre-approval inspection batches. We are currently in the process of scaling up ublituximab and completing validation and pre-approval inspection batches for both ublituximab and umbralisib. This is an expensive process which will require significant investment on our part over the next 24 months and there can be no assurance given that such scale-up and process validation will be successful in providing pharmaceutical product that is of sufficient quantity, or of a quality that is consistent with our previously established specifications, or that meets the requirements set by regulatory agencies under which we may seek approval of our product candidates.
Process improvements are common during clinical development to accommodate raw material and component variability, enhance productivity and/or accommodate different or larger equipment utilized during the scale-up process required for commercial manufacture. These types of incremental process changes have been made during clinical development for both TG’s small and large molecule programs. For example, our UNITY-CLL Phase 3 clinical trial contains ublituximab produced from both a pre-commercial process and the current commercial process. While there are some analytical differences between the two materials, we do not expect those differences to have an effect on the clinical performance of ublituximab. The primary difference is that the commercial process has resulted in further enhancement to the ADCC effect, potentially enhancing potency. We will analyze the Phase 3 data to ensure that the materials are substantially similar in performance. If there are material differences in safety or efficacy, we may need to adjust our statistical analysis of the Phase 3 study, which could impact the approvability of the U2 combination in CLL.
At the time of commercial sale, to the extent possible and commercially practicable, we would seek to engage back-up suppliers for raw materials, manufacturing and testing services for each of our product candidates. Until such time, we expect that we will rely on a single contract manufacturer to produce each of our product candidates under current Good Manufacturing Practice, or cGMP, regulations. Our third-party manufacturers have a limited number of facilities in which our product candidates can be produced and will have limited experience in manufacturing our product candidates in quantities sufficient for commercialization. Our third-party manufacturers will have other clients and may have other priorities that could affect their ability to perform the work satisfactorily and/or on a timely basis. Both of these occurrences would be beyond our control.
We expect to similarly rely on contract manufacturing relationships for any products that we may in-license or acquire in the future. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully contract with such manufacturers on terms acceptable to us, or at all.
Contract manufacturers are subject to ongoing periodic and unannounced inspections by the FDA, the Drug Enforcement Administration and corresponding state agencies to ensure strict compliance with cGMP and other state and federal regulations. Contract manufacturers outside of the United States face similar challenges from the numerous local and regional agencies and authorized bodies. We do not have control over third-party manufacturers’ compliance with these regulations and standards, other than through contractual obligations. If they are deemed out of compliance with cGMPs, product recalls could result, inventory could be destroyed, production could be stopped and supplies could be delayed or otherwise disrupted.
If we need to change manufacturers after commercialization, the FDA and corresponding foreign regulatory agencies must approve these new manufacturers in advance, which will involve testing and additional inspections to ensure compliance with FDA regulations and standards and may require significant lead times and delay. Furthermore, switching manufacturers may be difficult because the number of potential manufacturers is limited. It may be difficult or impossible for us to find a replacement manufacturer quickly or on terms acceptable to us, or at all.
GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY REGULATION
Numerous governmental authorities, principally the FDA and corresponding state and foreign regulatory agencies, impose substantial regulations upon the clinical development, manufacture and marketing of our drug candidates, as well as our ongoing research and development activities. None of our drug candidates have been approved for sale in any market in which we have marketing rights. Before marketing in the U.S., any drug that we develop must undergo rigorous pre-clinical testing and clinical trials and an extensive regulatory approval process implemented by the FDA under the FDCA. The FDA regulates, among other things, the pre-clinical and clinical testing, safety, efficacy, approval, manufacturing, record keeping, adverse event reporting, packaging, labeling, storage, advertising, promotion, export, sale and distribution of biopharmaceutical products.
The regulatory review and approval process is lengthy, expensive and uncertain. We are required to submit extensive pre-clinical and clinical data and supporting information to the FDA for each indication or use to establish a drug candidate’s safety and efficacy before we can secure FDA approval to market or sell a product in the U.S. The approval process takes many years, requires the expenditure of substantial resources and may involve ongoing requirements for post-marketing studies or surveillance. Before commencing clinical trials in humans, we must submit an IND to the FDA containing, among other things, pre-clinical data, chemistry, manufacturing and control information, and an investigative plan. Our submission of an IND may not result in FDA authorization to commence a clinical trial.
Clinical testing must meet requirements for institutional review board oversight, informed consent and good clinical practices, and must be conducted pursuant to an IND, unless exempted. In addition, the FDA, equivalent foreign regulatory authority, or a data safety monitoring committee for a trial may place a clinical trial on hold or terminate it if it concludes that subjects are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk, or for futility. Any drug is likely to produce some toxicity or undesirable side effects in animals and in humans when administered at sufficiently high doses and/or for a sufficiently long period of time. Unacceptable toxicity or side effects may occur at any dose level at any time in the course of studies in animals designed to identify unacceptable effects of a drug candidate, known as toxicological studies, or clinical trials of drug candidates. The appearance of any unacceptable toxicity or side effect could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, limit, delay or abort the development of any of our drug candidates and could ultimately prevent approval by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities for any or all targeted indications.
For purposes of NDA approval, clinical trials are typically conducted in the following sequential phases:
|●||Phase 1: The drug is administered to a small group of humans, either healthy volunteers or patients, to test for safety, dosage tolerance, absorption, metabolism, excretion, and clinical pharmacology.|
|●||Phase 2: Studies are conducted on a larger number of patients to assess the efficacy of the product, to ascertain dose tolerance and the optimal dose range, and to gather additional data relating to safety and potential adverse events.|
|●||Phase 3: Studies establish safety and efficacy in an expanded patient population.|
|●||Phase 4: The FDA may require Phase 4 post-marketing studies to find out more about the drug’s long-term risks, benefits, and optimal use, or to test the drug in different populations.|
The length of time necessary to complete clinical trials varies significantly and may be difficult to predict. Clinical results are frequently susceptible to varying interpretations that may delay, limit or prevent regulatory approvals. Additional factors that can cause delay or termination of our clinical trials, or that may increase the costs of these trials, include:
|●||slow patient enrollment due to the nature of the clinical trial plan, the proximity of patients to clinical sites, the eligibility criteria for participation in the study or other factors;|
|●||inadequately trained or insufficient personnel at the study site to assist in overseeing and monitoring clinical trials or delays in approvals from a study site’s review board;|
|●||longer treatment time required to demonstrate efficacy or determine the appropriate product dose;|
|●||insufficient supply of the drug candidates;|
|●||adverse medical events or side effects in treated patients; and|
|●||ineffectiveness of the drug candidates.|
For clinical trials that are intended to form the basis of a new drug or biologics license application for approval, sponsors of drugs may apply for an SPA from the FDA, by which the FDA provides official evaluation and written guidance on the design and size of proposed protocols. While obtaining an SPA provides some assurance the design of a trial should be sufficient for approval, the final marketing approval depends on the results of efficacy, the adverse event profile and an evaluation of the benefit/risk of treatment demonstrated in the Phase 3 trial. The SPA agreement may only be changed through a written agreement between the sponsor and the FDA, or if the FDA becomes aware of a substantial scientific issue essential to product safety or efficacy.
In September 2015, we reached an agreement with the FDA regarding an SPA on the design, endpoints and statistical analysis approach of a Phase 3 clinical trial, referred to as the UNITY-CLL trial, for the proprietary combination of ublituximab and umbralisib, for the treatment of CLL. The SPA provides agreement that the Phase 3 trial design adequately addresses objectives that, if met, would support the regulatory submission for drug approval of both ublituximab and umbralisib in combination. Additionally, in August 2017, we reached an agreement with the FDA regarding an SPA on the design of two Phase 3 clinical trials for ublituximab, referred to as the ULTIMATE I and ULTIMATE II Phase 3 clinical trials, for the treatment of relapsing forms of Multiple Sclerosis (RMS). The SPA provides agreement that the two Phase 3 trial designs adequately address objectives that, if met, would support the regulatory submission for approval of ublituximab. Despite obtaining an SPA the trials may not be positive and even if positive may not support FDA approval.
The FDA may permit expedited development, evaluation, and marketing of new therapies intended to treat persons with serious or life-threatening conditions for which there is an unmet medical need under its fast track drug development programs. A sponsor can apply for fast track designation at the time of submission of an IND, or at any time prior to receiving marketing approval of the new drug application, or NDA. To receive Fast Track designation, an applicant must demonstrate:
|●||that the drug is intended to treat a serious or life-threatening condition; and|
|●||that nonclinical or clinical data demonstrate the potential to address an unmet medical need.|
The FDA must respond to a request for fast track designation within 60 calendar days of receipt of the request. Over the course of drug development, a product in a fast track development program must continue to meet the criteria for fast track designation. Sponsors of products in fast track drug development programs must be in regular contact with the reviewing division of the FDA to ensure that the evidence necessary to support marketing approval will be developed and presented in a format conducive to an efficient review. Sponsors of products in fast track drug development programs ordinarily are eligible for priority review of a completed application in six months or less and also may be permitted to submit portions of an NDA to the FDA for review before the complete application is submitted.
In addition, sponsors may also apply to the FDA for Breakthrough Therapy Designation (“BTD”). The procedures and requirements for BTD are similar to those required for fast track such that the Breakthrough Therapy Designation is intended to expedite the development and review of a potential new drug for serious or life-threatening diseases however with BTD, there is a further requirement that the sponsor present “preliminary clinical evidence” which “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.” The designation of a drug as a Breakthrough Therapy was enacted as part of the 2012 Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act.
In January 2019, we announced that the FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for umbralisib for the treatment of adult patients with marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) who have received at least one prior anti-CD20 regimen based on interim results from a subset of patients from the MZL cohort of the UNITY-NHL clinical trial.
Sponsors of drugs designated as fast track and as breakthrough therapy also may seek approval under the FDA’s accelerated approval regulations. Under this authority, the FDA may grant marketing approval for a new drug product on the basis of adequate and well-controlled clinical trials establishing that the drug product has an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is reasonably likely, based on epidemiologic, therapeutic, pathophysiologic, or other evidence, to predict clinical benefit or on the basis of an effect on a clinical endpoint other than survival or irreversible morbidity. To obtain accelerated approval you have to be the first company to have a treatment that successfully addresses a certain unmet medical need or you need to clearly be better than all other treatments for that medical need, subject to certain qualifications. Many companies have filed for accelerated approval and have subsequently failed to obtain such approval for a variety of reasons, including not being first or not being best. To the extent a product does obtain an accelerated approval, such approval will be subject to the requirement that the applicant study the drug further in a post-marketing confirmation clinical trial to verify and describe its clinical benefit where there is uncertainty as to the relation of the surrogate endpoint to clinical benefit or uncertainty as to the relation of the observed clinical benefit to ultimate outcome. Accelerated approval is sometimes referred to as conditional approval because if the results of these confirmation clinical trials are not successful, the FDA has the right to remove the drug from the market and has done so in the past. Post-marketing confirmation studies are usually underway at the time an applicant files the NDA. When required to be conducted, such post-marketing confirmation studies must also be adequate and well-controlled. The applicant must carry out any such post-marketing confirmation studies with due diligence.
It is also becoming more common for the FDA to request a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, as part of a NDA/BLA. The REMS plan contains post-market obligations of the sponsor to train prescribing physicians, monitor off-label drug use, and conduct Phase 4 follow-up studies and registries to ensure the continued safe use of the drug.
As part of the approval process, the FDA must inspect and approve each manufacturing facility. Among the conditions of approval is the requirement that a manufacturer’s quality control and manufacturing procedures conform to cGMP. Manufacturers must expend significant time, money and effort to ensure continued compliance, and the FDA conducts periodic inspections to certify compliance. It may be difficult for our manufacturers or us to comply with the applicable cGMP, as interpreted by the FDA, and other FDA regulatory requirements. If we, or our contract manufacturers, fail to comply, then the FDA may not allow us to market products that have been affected by the failure. Many drug approvals have been delayed due to issues at contract manufacturing facilities. If we were to experience any such delay that would negatively impact our business and timeline to commercialization of any of our drug candidates affected by such manufacturing issue.
If the FDA grants approval, the approval will be limited to those disease states, conditions and patient populations for which the product is safe and effective, as demonstrated through clinical studies. Further, a product may be marketed only in those dosage forms and for those indications approved in the NDA/BLA. Certain changes to an approved NDA/BLA, including, with certain exceptions, any significant changes to labeling, require approval of a supplemental application before the drug may be marketed as changed. Any products that we manufacture or distribute pursuant to FDA approvals are subject to continued monitoring and regulation by the FDA, including compliance with cGMP and the reporting of adverse experiences with the drugs. The nature of marketing claims that the FDA will permit us to make in the labeling and advertising of our products will generally be limited to those specified in FDA approved labeling, and the advertising of our products will be subject to comprehensive monitoring and regulation by the FDA. Drugs whose review was accelerated may carry additional requirements on marketing activities, including the requirement that all promotional materials are pre-submitted to the FDA. Claims exceeding those contained in approved labeling will constitute a violation of the FDCA. Violations of the FDCA or regulatory requirements at any time during the product development process, approval process, or marketing and sale following approval may result in agency enforcement actions, including withdrawal of approval, recall, seizure of products, warning letters, injunctions, fines and/or civil or criminal penalties. Any agency enforcement action could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Should we wish to market our products outside the U.S., we must receive marketing authorization from the appropriate foreign regulatory authorities. The requirements governing the conduct of clinical trials, marketing authorization, pricing and reimbursement vary widely from country to country. Importantly, the level of evidence of efficacy and safety necessary to apply for marketing authorization for a drug candidate differs from country to country. In particular, clinical trial endpoints, and the level of clinical evidence that may support an accelerated approval filing with the US FDA, such as the ORR data we intend to use as the basis for a filing for umbralisib in MZL, may be insufficient to file for marketing application outside of the US. At present, companies are typically required to apply for foreign marketing authorizations at a national level. However, within the European Union, registration procedures are available to companies wishing to market a product in more than one European Union member state. Typically, if the regulatory authority is satisfied that a company has presented adequate evidence of safety, quality and efficacy, then the regulatory authority will grant a marketing authorization. This foreign regulatory approval process, however, involves risks similar or identical to the risks associated with FDA approval discussed above, and therefore we cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain the appropriate marketing authorization for any product in any particular country.
Failure to comply with applicable federal, state and foreign laws and regulations would likely have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, federal, state and foreign laws and regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of new drugs are subject to future changes. We cannot predict the likelihood, nature, effect or extent of adverse governmental regulation that might arise from future legislative or administrative action, either in the U.S. or abroad.
Coverage and Reimbursement
Sales of our drugs will depend, in part, on the extent to which our drugs will be covered by third-party payors, such as government health programs, commercial insurance and managed healthcare organizations. These third-party payors are increasingly reducing reimbursements for medical drugs and services. In addition, the containment of healthcare costs has become a priority of federal and state governments, and the prices of drugs have been a focus in this effort. The U.S. government, state legislatures and foreign governments have shown significant interest in implementing cost-containment programs, including price controls, restrictions on reimbursement, importation, and requirements for substitution of generic drugs. Adoption of price controls and cost-containment measures, and adoption of more restrictive policies in jurisdictions with existing controls and measures, could further limit our net revenue and results. Decreases in third-party reimbursement for our drug candidates, if approved, or a decision by a third-party payor to not cover our drug candidates could reduce physician usage of such drugs and have a material adverse effect on our sales, results of operations and financial condition.
In the United States, 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, enacted in March 2010, has had a significant impact on the health care industry. The Affordable Care Act expanded coverage for the uninsured while at the same time containing overall healthcare costs. With regard to pharmaceutical products, the Affordable Care Act, among other things, created a new average manufacturer price definition under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program for drugs that are inhaled, infused, instilled, implanted or injected and not generally dispensed through the retail channel, increased the minimum Medicaid rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program and extended the rebate program to individuals enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations, established annual fees and taxes on manufacturers of certain branded prescription drugs, and a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer 50% point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period (subsequent legislation increased this to 70% effective as of January 1, 2019), as a condition for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D.
Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act have been subject to judicial challenges as well as efforts to repeal or replace them or to alter their interpretation or implementation. For example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted on December 22, 2017 (the Tax Act), eliminated the shared responsibility payment for individuals who fail to maintain minimum essential coverage under section 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, commonly referred to as the individual mandate, effective January 1, 2019. In December 2018, a United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of Texas ruled (i) that the “individual mandate” was unconstitutional as a result of the associated tax penalty being repealed by Congress as part of the Tax Act; and (ii) the individual mandate is not severable from the rest of the Affordable Care Act, and as a result the entire Affordable Care Act is invalid. On December 18, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, but remanded the case to the district court to reconsider the severability question. It is unclear how the ultimate decision in this case, or other efforts to repeal, replace, or invalidate the Affordable Care Act or its implementing regulations, or portions thereof, will affect the Affordable Care Act or our business. Further, on January 20, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order directing federal agencies with authorities and responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision of the Affordable Care Act that would impose a fiscal burden on states or a cost, fee, tax, penalty or regulatory burden on individuals, healthcare providers, health insurers, or manufacturers of pharmaceuticals or medical devices. On October 13, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order that terminated the cost-sharing subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Several state Attorneys General filed suit to stop the administration from terminating these subsidies, but on October 25, 2017, a federal judge in California denied their request for a restraining order. In addition, CMS has issued regulations giving states greater flexibility, starting in 2020, in the identification of the essential health benefits benchmarks for non-grandfathered individual and small group market health insurance coverage, including plans sold through the health insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act. There may be further action to repeal, replace or modify the Affordable Care Act. While any legislative and regulatory changes will likely take time to develop and may or may not have an impact on the regulatory regime to which we are subject, we cannot predict the ultimate content, timing or effect of any healthcare reform legislation or the impact of potential legislation on us.
There has been increasing legislative and enforcement interest in the United States with respect to drug pricing practices. Specifically, there have been several recent U.S. Congressional inquiries and proposed federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, reduce the cost of prescription drugs under Medicare, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drugs. The Trump administration is currently assessing additional proposals that are designed to affect drug pricing, such as tying U.S. drug prices to prices outside the United States. Congress and the Trump administration have each indicated that they will continue to seek new legislative and/or administrative measures to control drug costs. We expect that additional U.S. federal healthcare reform measures could be adopted in the future, any of which could limit the amounts that the U.S. federal government will pay for healthcare products and services, which could result in additional pricing pressures and reduced demand for any of our products that receive marketing approval.
In addition, in some foreign countries, the proposed pricing for a drug must be approved before it may be lawfully marketed. The requirements governing drug pricing vary widely from country to country. For example, the European Union provides options for its member states to restrict the range of medicinal drugs for which their national health insurance systems provide reimbursement and to control the prices of medicinal drugs for human use. A member state may approve a specific price for the medicinal drug or it may instead adopt a system of direct or indirect controls on the profitability of the company placing the medicinal drug on the market. There can be no assurance that any country that has price controls or reimbursement limitations for pharmaceutical drugs will allow favorable reimbursement and pricing arrangements for any of our drugs. Historically, drugs launched in the European Union do not follow price structures of the United States and generally tend to be significantly lower.
Other Healthcare Laws
We may also be subject to healthcare regulation and enforcement by the federal government and the states and foreign governments where we may market our product candidates, if approved. These laws include, without limitation, state and federal anti-kickback, fraud and abuse, false claims, privacy and security and physician sunshine laws and regulations.
The federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits, among other things, any person from knowingly and willfully offering, soliciting, receiving or paying remuneration, directly or indirectly, to induce either the referral of an individual, for an item or service or the purchasing or ordering of a good or service, for which payment may be made under federal healthcare programs such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The government has enforced the Anti-Kickback Statute to reach large settlements with healthcare companies based on sham consulting and other financial arrangements with physicians. 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. In addition, the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the federal False Claims Act. The majority of states also have anti-kickback laws, which establish similar prohibitions and in some cases may apply to items or services reimbursed by any third-party payor, including commercial insurers.
In addition, the civil False Claims Act prohibits, among other things, knowingly presenting or causing the presentation of a false, fictitious or fraudulent claim for payment to the U.S. government. Actions under the False Claims Act may be brought by the Attorney General or as a qui tam action by a private individual in the name of the government. Violations of the False Claims Act can result in very significant monetary penalties and treble damages. The federal government is using the False Claims Act, and the accompanying threat of significant liability, in its investigation and prosecution of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies throughout the U.S., for example, in connection with the promotion of products for unapproved uses and other sales and marketing practices. The government has obtained multi-million and multi-billion dollar settlements under the False Claims Act in addition to individual criminal convictions under applicable criminal statutes. Given the significant size of actual and potential settlements, it is expected that the government will continue to devote substantial resources to investigating healthcare providers’ and manufacturers’ compliance with applicable fraud and abuse laws.
The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, also created new federal criminal statutes that prohibit among other actions, knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, including private third-party payors, knowingly and willfully embezzling or stealing from a healthcare benefit program, willfully obstructing a criminal investigation of a healthcare offense, and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services. 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.
There has also been a recent trend of increased federal and state regulation of payments made to physicians and other healthcare providers. The Affordable Care Act, among other things, imposes new reporting requirements on drug manufacturers for payments made by them to physicians and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. Failure to submit required information may result in civil monetary penalties of up to an aggregate of $150,000 per year (or up to an aggregate of $1 million per year for “knowing failures”), for all payments, transfers of value or ownership or investment interests that are not timely, accurately and completely reported in an annual submission. Drug manufacturers are required to submit annual reports to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which publicly posts the data on its website. Certain states also mandate implementation of compliance programs, impose restrictions on drug manufacturer marketing practices and/or require the tracking and reporting of gifts, compensation and other remuneration to physicians.
We may also be subject to data privacy and security regulation by both the federal government and the states in which we conduct our business. HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH, and their respective implementing regulations, including the final omnibus rule published on January 25, 2013, imposes specified requirements relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information. Among other things, HITECH makes HIPAA’s privacy and security standards directly applicable to “business associates,” defined as independent contractors or agents of covered entities that create, receive, maintain or transmit protected health information in connection with providing a service for or on behalf of a covered entity. HITECH also increased the civil and criminal penalties that may be imposed against covered entities, business associates and possibly other persons, and gave state attorneys general new authority to file civil actions for damages or injunctions in federal courts to enforce the federal HIPAA laws and seek attorney’s fees and costs associated with pursuing federal civil actions. In addition, we may be subject to state law equivalents of each of the above federal laws, such as anti-kickback and false claims laws which may apply to items or services reimbursed by any third-party payor, including commercial insurers, and state laws governing the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways, thus complicating compliance efforts.
As of February 14, 2020, we had 134 full and part-time employees. None of our employees are represented by a collective bargaining agreement, and we have never experienced a work stoppage.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS.
You should carefully consider the following risk factors and the other information contained elsewhere in this Annual Report before making an investment in our securities. If any of the following risks occur, our business, financial condition or operating results could be materially harmed. An investment in our securities is speculative in nature, involves a high degree of risk, and should not be made by an investor who cannot bear the economic risk of its investment for an indefinite period of time and who cannot afford the loss of its entire investment. The risks described below are not the only ones that our business faces. Additional risks not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial may adversely impact our business in the future.
Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Need for Additional Capital
We are a biopharmaceutical company with a limited operating history and have not generated any revenue from drug sales. We have incurred significant operating losses since our inception and anticipate that we will incur continued losses for the foreseeable future.
We are a biopharmaceutical company with a limited operating history on which investors can base an investment decision. Biopharmaceutical drug development is a highly speculative undertaking and involves a substantial degree of risk. We commenced operations in January 2012. Our operations to date have been limited primarily to organizing and staffing our company, business planning, raising capital, developing our technology, identifying potential drug candidates and undertaking pre-clinical studies and commencing clinical trials. We have never generated any revenue from drug sales. We have not obtained regulatory approvals for any of our drug candidates.
We have not yet demonstrated our ability to successfully complete large-scale, pivotal clinical trials, obtain regulatory approvals, manufacture a commercial scale drug, or arrange for a third party to do so on our behalf, or conduct sales and marketing activities necessary for successful commercialization. Typically, it takes many years to develop one new drug from the time it is discovered to when it is available for treating patients. Consequently, any predictions about our future success or viability may not be as accurate as they could be if we had a longer operating history. We will need to transition from a company with a research and development focus to a company capable of supporting commercial activities. We may not be successful in such a transition.
Since inception, we have focused substantially all of our efforts and financial resources on clinical trials and manufacturing of our drug candidates. To date, we have financed our operations primarily through public offerings of our common stock and a debt financing. Through February 18, 2020, we have received an aggregate of approximately $640 million from such transactions. Approximately $610 million of that amount constitutes the aggregate gross proceeds from the sale of common stock in one or more offerings and through the use of our at the market sales program, or ATM. The remaining $30.0 million is from our term loan facility with Hercules that we secured in February 2019.
Since inception, we have incurred significant operating losses. As of December 31, 2019, we had an accumulated deficit of $701.2 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 for the foreseeable future. Our prior losses, combined with expected future losses, have had and will continue to have an adverse effect on our stockholders’ deficit and working capital. We expect to continue to incur significant research and development expenses in connection with continuing our existing clinical trials and beginning additional clinical trials. In addition, if we obtain regulatory approval for our drug candidates, we will incur significant sales, marketing and outsourced-manufacturing expenses. We also have incurred and will continue to incur additional costs associated with operating as a public company. As a result, we expect to continue to incur significant and increasing operating losses for the foreseeable future. Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with developing pharmaceuticals, we are unable to predict the extent of any future losses or when we will become profitable, if at all. Even if we do become profitable, we may not be able to sustain or increase our profitability on a quarterly or annual basis. Our ability to become profitable depends upon our ability to generate revenue.
To date, we have not generated any significant revenue from our drug candidates and it is uncertain when and if we will generate any revenue from the sale of our drugs in the future. Our ability to become profitable depends upon our ability to generate significant and sustained revenues. To obtain significant and sustained revenues, we must succeed, either alone or with others, in developing, obtaining regulatory approval for and manufacturing and marketing our product candidates. Accordingly, we do not expect to generate significant and sustained revenue unless and until we obtain marketing approval of, and begin to sell umbralisib, ublituximab and/or one of our other product candidates. Our ability to generate revenue depends on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, our ability to:
|●||Successfully complete clinical trials that meet their clinical endpoints;|
|●||Initiate and successfully complete all safety, pharmacokinetic, biodistribution, and non-clinical studies required to obtain U.S. and Foreign marketing approval for our drug candidates;|
|●||Obtain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Foreign equivalents to market and sell our drug candidates;|
|●||Establish commercial manufacturing capabilities alone and/or with third parties that are satisfactory to the regulatory authorities, cost effective, and that are capable of providing commercial supply of our drug candidates;|
|●||Establish a commercial infrastructure to commercialize our drug candidates, if approved, by developing a sales force and/or entering into collaborations with third parties; and|
|●||Achieve market acceptance of our drug candidates in the medical community and with third-party payors.|
If we are unable to generate significant and sustained revenues, we will not become profitable and we will be unable to continue our operations without continued funding.
We will need to raise substantial additional funding. If we are unable to raise capital when needed, we would be forced to delay, reduce or eliminate some of our drug development programs or commercialization efforts.
The development of pharmaceuticals is capital-intensive. We are currently advancing our most advanced drug candidates, umbralisib, ublituximab, cosibelimab, TG-1701 and TG-1801 through clinical development. While we may experience short-term decreases in clinical trial expenses as our larger Phase 3 clinical trials complete and before our Phase 1 and 2 programs can advance into Phase 2 and 3, we do expect over time our overall expenses will increase in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we continue the research and development of, initiate or continue clinical trials of, seek marketing approval for, and develop an infrastructure to commercialize our drug candidates. In addition, depending on the status of regulatory approval or, if we obtain marketing approval for any of our drug candidates, we expect to incur significant commercialization expenses related to drug sales, marketing, manufacturing and distribution. Moreover, in anticipation of filing for regulatory approvals for umbralisib and ublituximab we will need to expend substantial resources on manufacturing and new drug application (NDA)/ biologics license application (BLA) preparation over the next 12 to 24 months, which could exceed any cost savings associated with lower clinical trial expenses during the same period.
While this timing is our current estimate, the amount and timing of our future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including, but not limited to, the following:
|●||the progress of our clinical trials, including expenses to support the trials and milestone payments that may become payable under our license agreements;|
|●||the costs and timing of regulatory approvals;|
|●||the costs and timing of clinical and commercial manufacturing supply arrangements for each product candidate;|
|●||the costs of establishing sales or distribution capabilities;|
|●||the success of the commercialization of our products;|
|●||our ability to establish and maintain strategic collaborations, including licensing and other arrangements;|
|●||the costs involved in enforcing or defending patent claims or other intellectual property rights; and|
|●||the extent to which we in-license or invest in other indications or product candidates.|
As a result, significant additional funding will be required. Additional sources of financing to continue our operations in the future might not be available on favorable terms, if at all. If we do not succeed in raising additional funds on acceptable terms, we might be unable to complete planned preclinical and clinical trials or obtain approval of any of our product candidates from the FDA or any foreign regulatory authorities. In addition, we could be forced to discontinue product development, reduce or forego sales, marketing and medical educational efforts that are required for a successful launch of umbralisib and/or ublituximab or any of our product candidates and otherwise forego attractive business opportunities. Any additional sources of financing will likely involve the issuance of our equity securities, which would have a dilutive effect to stockholders. Currently, none of our product candidates have been approved by the FDA or any foreign regulatory authority for sale. Therefore, for the foreseeable future, we will have to fund all of our operations and capital expenditures from cash on hand and amounts raised in future offerings or financings. Accordingly, our prospects must be considered in light of the uncertainties, risks, expenses and difficulties frequently encountered by companies in the early stages of operations and the competitive environment in which we operate.
Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies or drug candidates and occupy valuable management time and resources.
Until such time, if ever, as we can generate substantial drug revenues, we expect to finance our cash needs through a combination of public and private equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations, strategic alliances and licensing arrangements. We do not have any committed external source of funds, other than funds already borrowed under the loan and security agreement that we entered into with Hercules in February 2019 (See Note 7 to our consolidated financial statements for more information). To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of common stock or securities convertible or exchangeable into common stock, the ownership interest of our stockholders will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that materially adversely affect the rights of our common stockholders. We may also seek funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or licensing arrangements with third parties at a time that is not desirable to us and we may be required to relinquish valuable rights to some intellectual property, future revenue streams, research programs or drug candidates or to grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and prospects. 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. See our risk factors below under the heading Risks Related to Our Indebtedness.
Additionally, fundraising efforts may divert our management from their day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize our drug candidates. Dislocations in the financial markets have generally made equity and debt financing more difficult to obtain and may have a material adverse effect on our ability to meet our fundraising needs. We cannot guarantee that future financing will be available in sufficient amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all. Moreover, the issuance of additional securities, whether equity or debt, by us, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of our shares to decline.
All product candidate development timelines and projections in this report are based on the assumption of further financing.
The timelines and projections in this report are predicated upon the assumption that we will raise additional financing in the future to continue the development of our product candidates. In the event we do not successfully raise subsequent financing, our product development activities will necessarily be curtailed commensurate with the magnitude of the shortfall. If our product development activities are slowed or stopped, we would be unable to meet the timelines and projections outlined in this filing. Failure to progress our product candidates as anticipated will have a negative effect on our business, future prospects, and ability to obtain further financing on acceptable terms, if at all, and the value of the enterprise.
Due to limited resources we may fail to capitalize on programs or product candidates that may present a greater commercial opportunity or for which there is a greater likelihood of success.
Because we have limited resources, we may forego or delay pursuit of opportunities with certain programs or product candidates or for indications that later prove to have greater commercial potential. Our estimates regarding the potential market for a product candidate could be inaccurate, and our spending on current and future research and development programs may not yield any commercially viable products. If we do not accurately evaluate the commercial potential for a particular product candidate, we may relinquish valuable rights to that product candidate through strategic collaboration, licensing or other arrangements in cases in which it would have been more advantageous for us to retain sole development and commercialization rights to such product candidate. Alternatively, we may allocate internal resources to a product candidate in a therapeutic area in which it would have been more advantageous to enter into a partnering arrangement.
If any of these events occur, we may be forced to abandon or delay our development efforts with respect to a particular product candidate or fail to develop a potentially successful product candidate, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Risks Related to our Indebtedness
Our level of indebtedness and debt service obligations could adversely affect our financial condition, and may make it more difficult for us to fund our operations.
In February 2019, we entered into a Loan and Security Agreement (the Loan Agreement), with Hercules Capital, Inc., a Maryland corporation (Hercules) (See Note 7 to our consolidated financial statements for more information). Under the Loan Agreement, Hercules will provide access to term loans with an aggregate principal amount of up to $60.0 million (the Term Loan). Concurrently with the closing of the Loan Agreement, we borrowed an initial tranche of $30.0 million. In addition, we have incurred short-term liabilities of approximately $47.2 million with a contract manufacturing organization (CMO) for the scale-up, tech-transfer, and long-term supply of one of our drug candidates. This is an expensive and lengthy process and we expect to incur additional obligations associated with these ongoing manufacturing activities over the course of the next 24 months, and potentially longer. To date, this CMO has provided payment terms which we believe are reasonable; however, no assurance can be given that such terms will continue to be available to us in the future. No assurances can be made that the obligations associated with the Loan Agreement and the CMO will not have a material adverse impact on our financial condition.
All obligations under the Loan Agreement are secured by substantially all of our existing property and assets, excluding intellectual property. This indebtedness may create additional financing risk for us, particularly if our business or prevailing financial market conditions are not conducive to paying off or refinancing its outstanding debt obligations at maturity. This indebtedness could also have important negative consequences, including:
|●||we will need to repay the indebtedness by making payments of interest and principal, which will reduce the amount of money available to finance our operations, our research and development efforts and other general corporate activities; and|
|●||our failure to comply with the restrictive covenants in the Loan Agreement could result in an event of default that, if not cured or waived, would accelerate our obligation to repay this indebtedness, and Hercules could seek to enforce its security interest in the assets securing such indebtedness.|
To the extent additional debt is added to our current debt levels, the risks described above could increase.
We may not have cash available in an amount sufficient to enable us to make interest or principal payments on our indebtedness when due.
Failure to satisfy our current and future debt obligations under the Loan Agreement, or the breach of any of its covenants, subject to specified cure periods with respect to certain breaches, could result in an event of default and, as a result, Hercules could accelerate all of the amounts due. In the event of an acceleration of amounts due under the Loan Agreement as a result of an event of default, we may not have enough available cash or be able to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings to repay such indebtedness at the time of such acceleration. In that case, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product candidate development or commercialization efforts or grant to others rights to develop and market product candidates that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves. Hercules could also exercise its rights as collateral agent to take possession and dispose of the collateral securing the Term Loan for its benefit, which collateral includes substantially all of our property other than intellectual property. Our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected as a result of any of these events.
The Loan Agreement imposes operating and other restrictions on the Company. Such restrictions will affect, and in many respects limit or prohibit, our ability and the ability of any future subsidiary to, among other things:
|●||dispose of certain assets;|
|●||change its lines of business;|
|●||engage in mergers, acquisitions or consolidations;|
|●||incur additional indebtedness;|
|●||create liens on assets;|
|●||pay dividends and make contributions or repurchase our capital stock; and|
|●||engage in certain transactions with affiliates.|
The breach of any of these restrictive covenants could have a material adverse effect on our business and prospects.
Risks Related to Drug Development and Regulatory Approval
If we are unable to obtain regulatory approval for our most advanced drug candidates or other drug candidates and ultimately cannot commercialize our most advanced drug candidates or other drug candidates, or experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be materially harmed.
We are a development-stage biopharmaceutical company, and do not currently have any commercial products that generate revenues or any other sources of revenue. We may never be able to successfully develop marketable products. Our pharmaceutical development methods are unproven and may not lead to commercially viable products for a variety of reasons. We have substantially invested all of our efforts and financial resources in the identification and pre-clinical and clinical development of our drug candidates, including ublituximab, umbralisib, cosibelimab, TG-1701 and TG-1801. Our ability to generate drug revenues will depend completely on the successful completion of our current and future Phase 3 and registration-directed clinical trials and commercialization of our drug candidates, which may never occur. We currently generate no revenues from sales of any drugs, and we may never be able to develop or commercialize a marketable drug. Each of our drug candidates will require additional non-clinical or clinical development, management of clinical, non-clinical and manufacturing activities, regulatory approval in multiple jurisdictions, obtaining or manufacturing supply, building of a commercial organization, substantial investment and significant marketing efforts before we generate any revenues from drug sales. The success of our most advanced drug candidates and other drug candidates will depend on several factors, including the following:
|●||Successful completion of our UNITY-NHL trial, UNITY-CLL trial and our ULTIMATE I and II trials;|
|●||Receipt of regulatory approvals from applicable regulatory authorities for our drug candidates;|
|●||Establishing commercially viable arrangements with third-party manufacturers for clinical supply and commercial manufacturing;|
|●||Obtaining and maintaining patent and trade secret protection or regulatory exclusivity for our drug candidates;|
|●||Establishing sales and marketing capabilities, whether alone or through a collaboration, to support commercialization of our drug candidates;|
|●||Acceptance of the drug candidates, if and when approved, by patients, the medical community and third-party payors;|
|●||Effectively differentiating and competing with other therapies;|
|●||Establishing competitive prices for any drug candidates that receive regulatory approval that reflect the value that the drug candidates offer in the indications for which they are approved; Obtaining and maintaining healthcare coverage and adequate reimbursement;|
|●||Enforcing and defending intellectual property rights and claims; and|
|●||Maintaining an acceptable safety profile of the drug candidates following approval.|
If we do not achieve one or more of these factors in a timely manner or at all, we could experience significant delays or an inability to successfully commercialize our drug candidates, which would materially harm our business.
If we are unable to develop or receive regulatory approval for or successfully commercialize any of our product candidates, we will not be able to generate product revenues and we may not be able to continue our operations. Even if we are able to develop or receive regulatory approval for or successfully commercialize any of our product candidates, we may not be able to gain market acceptance for our product candidates if healthcare providers and patients do not view the overall safety, tolerability and efficacy profile of our drug candidates favorably.
Because the results of preclinical studies and early clinical trials are not necessarily predictive of future results, any product candidate we advance into clinical trials may not have favorable results in later clinical trials, if any, or receive regulatory approval.
Pharmaceutical development has inherent risks. The outcome of pre-clinical development testing and early clinical trials may not be predictive of the outcome of later clinical trials, and interim results of a clinical trial do not necessarily predict final results. Moreover, pre-clinical and clinical data are often susceptible to varying interpretations and analyses, and many companies that have believed their drug candidates performed satisfactorily in pre-clinical studies and clinical trials have nonetheless failed to obtain marketing approval of their drug candidates. Once a drug candidate has displayed sufficient pre-clinical data to warrant clinical investigation, we will be required to demonstrate through adequate and well-controlled clinical trials that our product candidates are effective with a favorable benefit-risk profile for use in populations for their target indications before we can seek regulatory approvals for their commercial sale. Success in early clinical trials does not mean that later clinical trials will be successful because product candidates in later-stage clinical trials may fail to demonstrate sufficient safety or efficacy despite having progressed through initial clinical testing. Companies frequently experience significant setbacks in advanced clinical trials, even after earlier clinical trials have shown promising results. There is an extremely high rate of failure of pharmaceutical candidates proceeding through clinical trials.
For instance, early clinical results seen with ublituximab (TG-1101) and/or umbralisib (TGR-1202) in a small number of patients may not be reproduced in expanded or larger clinical trials such as in our UNITY-CLL, UNITY-NHL or the ULTIMATE I and II trials. Individually reported outcomes of patients treated in clinical trials may not be representative of the entire population of treated patients in such studies. Larger scale Phase 3 studies, which are often conducted internationally, are inherently subject to increased operational risks compared to earlier stage studies, including the risk that the results could vary on a region to region, or country to country basis which could materially adversely affect the outcome of the study or the opinion of the validity of the study results by applicable regulatory agencies. In addition, early clinical trial results from interim analysis or from the review of a Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) or similar safety committee may not be reflective of the safety or efficacy results of the entire study, when completed. Clinical trial results can change over time as additional patients are added to a study or as additional follow-up is conducted, which may result in a material negative impact on the preliminary results. For instance, we recently announced that the Marginal Zone Lymphoma (MZL) and the Follicular Lymphoma (FL) cohorts of the UNITY-NHL study met the primary endpoint of overall response rate (ORR), falling within our target range which was between 40%-50%, and while we believe that the ORR results have the potential to increase over time within this range, or beyond, as patients continue to be followed, no assurance can be given that this will be the case, and the results may ultimately fall at the lower end of the range. Further, time to event based endpoints such as duration of response (DOR) and progression free survival (PFS) have the potential to change, sometimes drastically, with longer follow-up. No assurance can be provided that the ORR, DOR and PFS data from the MZL and FL cohorts of the UNITY-NHL study will be supportive of an FDA approval or will support broad market uptake based on the profile of competitor drugs which may be available. While the MZL and FL cohorts of the UNITY-NHL study met their primary endpoint, each cohort of this study is operated and analyzed independently, and no assurance can be given that other cohorts from the UNITY-NHL study, including the MCL cohort, the DLBCL cohort, or the Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (SLL) patients enrolled within the FL/SLL cohort will meet their primary endpoint, have a positive outcome, or will be supportive of an FDA filing.
Many of our Phase 3 and registration-directed clinical trials such as UNITY-CLL, UNITY-NHL and ULTIMATE I and II utilize international clinical research sites, including sites in eastern European countries. We work with what we believe are reputable contract research organizations (CROs) and clinical research sites in conducting our studies internationally. Nevertheless, the risk of fraud, misconduct, incompetence, unexpected patient variability and other issues affecting the quality and the outcome of our Phase 3 and registration-directed studies could arise from U.S. or international sites. If that were to occur, the study could be negatively impacted, potentially even preventing it from being useful for regulatory approval. If such event were to occur, it would have a substantial negative impact on our business.
Many of the results reported in our early clinical trials rely on local investigator-assessed safety and efficacy outcomes which may differ from results assessed in a blinded, independent, centrally reviewed manner, often required of adequate and well-controlled registration-directed clinical trials which may be undertaken at a later date. All of our current Phase 3 and registration-directed studies such as UNITY-CLL, UNITY-NHL and the ULTIMATE I and II trials utilize blinded, independent, central review to assess the primary endpoint of such studies. If the results from interim analyses are not consistent with final results or results from our registration-directed trials are different from the results found in the earlier studies of ublituximab and umbralisib, we may need to terminate or revise our clinical development plan, which could extend the time for conducting our development program and could have a material adverse effect on our business. For example, in January 2019, we presented to the FDA, interim results from the MZL cohort of our UNITY-NHL trial that supported the granting of Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD). These interim results were also presented at the 2019 American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting, 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, and the 2019 International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma (ICML). In October 2019, we announced that the FL cohort of the UNITY-NHL trial met our target range for overall response rate based on interim preliminary data. No assurance can be given that the final results from the MZL cohort or FL cohort will reflect the activity seen in these interim results, or that the final results will be sufficient to file for accelerated approval for umbralisib for the treatment of MZL and FL, and if filed that umbralisib will receive accelerated approval. Similarly, while early Phase 1 data for umbralisib and ublituximab alone and together looked promising there is no assurance that the UNITY-CLL trial will be positive. Moreover, while we believe one of the key differentiators for umbralisib is its tolerability and side effect profile compared to other drugs in the same class, no assurance can be given that a differentiated safety and tolerability profile will be realized in our Phase 3 or registration-directed trials such as UNITY-CLL or UNITY-NHL. Specifically, we have not yet assessed the final safety data from the MZL or FL cohorts of the UNITY-NHL study as patients continue on therapy, therefore there can be no assurance given that the final safety data, once fully analyzed, will be consistent with prior safety data presented on umbralisib, will be differentiated from other similar agents in the same class, or that it will be favorable enough to support regulatory approval. In addition, no assurance can be given that new toxicities, or an increase in the severity or frequency of previously seen toxicities, will not be observed, which could have a material negative impact on the approvability or marketability of umbralisib or any of our product candidates. Finally, while the Phase 2 data for ublituximab in MS looked promising, no assurance can be given that the safety, tolerability and efficacy profile will carry into Phase 3 and that the ULTIMATE I and II clinical trials will be positive.
In addition to umbralisib and ublituximab, we have a number of compounds in early clinical development, such as cosibelimab, TG-1701 and TG-1801. Many drug candidates fail in the early stages of clinical development for safety and tolerability issues or for insufficient clinical activity, despite promising pre-clinical results. Accordingly, no assurance can be made that a safe and efficacious dose can be found for these compounds or that they will ever enter into advanced clinical trials alone or in combination with umbralisib and/or ublituximab.
Clinical drug development involves a lengthy and expensive process, with an uncertain outcome. We may incur additional costs or experience delays in completing, or ultimately be unable to complete, the development and commercialization of our drug candidates.
Our drug candidates umbralisib and ublituximab are in several Phase 3 and registration-directed clinical trials such as UNITY-CLL, UNITY-NHL and ULTIMATE I and II. Despite promising early results, as with all clinical trials, the risk of failure for our drug candidates is high. It is impossible to predict when or if any of our drug candidates will prove effective and safe in humans or will receive regulatory approval or will have a differentiated safety and tolerability profile. Before obtaining marketing approval from regulatory authorities for the sale of any drug candidate, we must complete pre-clinical studies and then conduct extensive clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our drug candidates in humans. Clinical testing is expensive, difficult to design and implement, can take many years to complete and is uncertain as to outcome. A failure of one or more clinical trials can occur at any stage of testing. Accordingly, our current Phase 3 and registration-directed trials, such as UNITY-CLL, UNITY-NHL and ULTIMATE I and II and future clinical trials may not be successful.
Successful completion of our clinical trials is a prerequisite to submitting an NDA, or a BLA to the U.S. FDA and a Marketing Authorization Application (MAA), in the European Union for each drug candidate and, consequently, the ultimate approval and commercial marketing of our drug candidates. We do not know whether any of our on-going or future clinical trials for our drug candidates will be completed on schedule, if at all.
Whether or not and how quickly we complete clinical trials depends in part upon the rate at which we are able to engage clinical research/trial sites and, thereafter, the rate of enrollment of patients, and the rate we collect, clean, lock and analyze the clinical trial database. Patient enrollment is a function of many factors, including the size of the patient population, the proximity of patients to clinical sites, the eligibility criteria for the study, the existence of competitive clinical trials, and whether existing or new drugs are approved for the indication we are studying. We are aware that other companies are currently conducting or planning clinical trials that seek to enroll patients with the same diseases that we are studying. We may experience numerous unforeseen events during, or as a result of, any current or future clinical trials that we may conduct that could delay or prevent our ability to receive marketing approval or commercialize our drug candidates, including:
|●||the FDA or other regulatory authorities may require us to submit additional data or impose other requirements before permitting us to initiate a clinical trial;|
|●||health authorities or institutional review boards (IRBs), or ethics committees may not authorize us or our investigators to commence a clinical trial or conduct a clinical trial at a prospective trial site or country;|
|●||we may experience delays in reaching, or fail to reach, agreement on acceptable terms with prospective trial sites and prospective CROs, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and trial sites;|
|●||clinical trials of our drug candidates may produce negative or inconclusive results, and we may decide, or health authorities may require us, to conduct additional pre-clinical studies or clinical trials or we may decide to abandon drug development programs;|
|●||the number of patients required for clinical trials of our drug candidates may be larger than we anticipate, and enrollment in these clinical trials may be slower than we anticipate or participants may drop out of these clinical trials or fail to return for post-treatment follow-up at a higher rate than we anticipate;|
|●||our third-party contractors, including our clinical trial sites, may fail to comply with regulatory requirements or meet their contractual obligations to us in a timely manner, or at all, or may deviate from the clinical trial protocol or drop out of the trial, which may require that we add new clinical trial sites or investigators;|
|●||we may elect to, or health authorities or IRBs or ethics committees may require that we or our investigators suspend or terminate clinical research for various reasons, including noncompliance with regulatory requirements or a finding that the participants are being exposed to unacceptable health risks;|
|●||the cost of clinical trials of our drug candidates may be greater than we anticipate;|
|●||the supply or quality of our drug candidates or other materials necessary to conduct clinical trials of our drug candidates may be insufficient or inadequate, including, without limitation, as a result of disruptions to our supply chains caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and related work stoppages across China, South Korea, and potentially other parts of the world; and|
|●||our drug candidates may have undesirable side effects or other unexpected characteristics, causing us or our investigators, health authorities, IRBs or ethics committees to suspend or terminate the trials, or reports may arise from pre-clinical or clinical testing of other cancer therapies that raise safety or efficacy concerns about our drug candidates.|
We could encounter delays if a clinical trial is suspended or terminated by us, by the IRBs of the institutions in which such trials are being conducted, by the DSMB for such trial or by the FDA or other regulatory authorities. Such health authorities may impose a suspension or termination due to a number of factors, including failure to conduct the clinical trial in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical protocols, inspection of the clinical trial operations or trial site by the FDA or other regulatory authorities resulting in the imposition of a clinical hold, unforeseen safety issues or adverse side effects, failure to demonstrate a benefit from using a drug, changes in governmental regulations or administrative actions or lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial. The DSMBs for the UNITY-CLL and UNITY-NHL studies meet regularly to review ongoing safety from these studies, in an unblinded manner if applicable, and may recommend modification to the study design or closure of the study entirely based on their interpretation of the benefit/risk of the study. While we develop charters that guide the nature of the DSMBs meetings, their analysis and interpretation of study data occurs independently from us and is wholly within their control. Even if the DSMB finds no safety concerns and recommends no modifications to our ongoing studies, this does not mean the safety profile of these studies may support a marketing approval or commercial acceptance if marketing approval is granted. Many of the factors that cause, or lead to, a delay in the commencement or completion of clinical trials may also ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of our drug candidates. Further, the FDA may disagree with our clinical trial design and our interpretation of data from clinical trials, or may change the requirements for approval even after it has reviewed and commented on the design for our clinical trials. This could happen even for a protocol that has received a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA). In September 2015, we announced a Phase 3 clinical trial for the combination of ublituximab plus umbralisib for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), which is being conducted pursuant to an SPA with the FDA and in August 2017 we announced an SPA for our registration program for ublituximab in RMS. Many companies which have been granted SPAs have ultimately failed to obtain final approval to market
their drugs. Since we are seeking approvals under SPAs for some of our product registration strategies, based on protocol designs negotiated with the FDA, we may be subject to enhanced scrutiny. Further, while changes or amendments to protocols are common during conduct of a clinical trial, protocol changes or amendments to a study that is being conducted under SPA will have to be reviewed and approved by the FDA to verify that the SPA agreement is still valid. The FDAs willingness to agree to changes or amendments to a protocol or statistical analysis plan under SPA agreement is wholly within their discretion. Such re-reviews also provide an opportunity for the FDA to scrutinize any aspect of the study design and conduct, even if previously agreed to under the existing SPA. Failure to reach agreement with the FDA for routine protocol changes or modifications for any study we conduct under SPA could have a material negative impact to our ability to execute these studies. Even if the primary endpoint in a Phase 3 clinical trial is achieved, a SPA does not guarantee approval. While UNITY-CLL is being operated in a blinded manner, it is an open label study; meaning that trial participants, investigators, site staff, some employees of our contract research organizations, and our field level employees (e.g., clinical research associates and monitors), among others, have knowledge of treatment arm assignments on a patient-level, which has the potential to introduce bias into study conduct. Further, while the ULTIMATE 1 and 2 clinical trials are double-blind, double-dummy studies, unblinding of treatment arm assignment may occur from time to time, for example, on the occurrence of unexpected safety events which may necessitate understanding of study treatment. While we believe we have put in place adequate firewalls to prevent inappropriate unblinding of study data consistent with standard industry practice for these types of studies, no assurance can be given that issues related to study conduct will not be raised. The FDA may raise issues of safety, study conduct, bias, deviation from the protocol, statistical power, patient completion rates, changes in scientific or medical parameters or internal inconsistencies in the study design or data prior to making its final decision. The FDA may also seek the guidance of an outside advisory committee prior to making its final decision.
Negative or inconclusive results from the clinical trials we conduct or unanticipated adverse medical events could cause us to have to repeat or terminate the clinical trials. If we are required to repeat or conduct additional clinical trials or other testing of our drug candidates beyond those that we currently contemplate, if we are unable to successfully complete clinical trials of our drug candidates or other testing, if the results of these trials or tests are not positive or are only modestly positive or if there are safety concerns, we may:
|●||be delayed in obtaining marketing approval for our drug candidates;|
|●||not obtain marketing approval at all;|
|●||obtain approval for indications or patient populations that are not as broad as intended or desired;|
|●||be subject to post-marketing testing requirements; or|
|●||have the drug removed from the market after obtaining marketing approval.|
Our drug development costs will also increase if we experience delays in testing or regulatory approvals. We may also incur additional costs if enrollment is increased. All of our current Phase 3 and registration-directed clinical trials, such as UNITY-CLL, UNITY-NHL and ULTIMATE I and II enrolled a larger number of patients than our initial projections, adding significant costs to those studies over and above what had been projected. We do not know whether any of our clinical trials will begin as planned, will need to be restructured or will be completed on schedule, or at all. Certain clinical trials are designed to continue until a pre-determined number of events have occurred in the patients enrolled. Trials such as this are subject to delays stemming from patient withdrawal and from lower than expected event rates. UNITY-CLL is an event-driven study, which means the study can only end when a certain pre-specified number of events have occurred. In the case of UNITY-CLL, an event is defined as disease progression or death. Given that these events cannot be predicted with certainty, predicting accurately when this study will reach a sufficient number of events is impossible. We have stated we believe the number of events to conduct an efficacy analysis can be reached by the end of the first quarter of 2020 or at some point in 2020 but there can be no assurance that this will occur and timelines for this analysis and for the completion of this study should not be relied upon given this inherent uncertainty. Delays beyond the first quarter of 2020 could have a material and adverse impact on the Company. Significant clinical trial delays also could shorten any periods during which we may have the exclusive right to commercialize our drug candidates or allow our competitors to bring products to market before we do and impair our ability to successfully commercialize our drug candidates. Any delays in our pre-clinical or future clinical development programs may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly.
In addition, principal investigators for our clinical trials may serve as scientific advisors or consultants to us from time to time and receive cash or equity compensation in connection with such services. If these relationships and any related compensation result in perceived or actual conflicts of interest, the integrity of the data generated at the applicable clinical trial site, or the FDAs willingness to accept such data, may be jeopardized.
The sufficiency of our clinical trial results for accelerated approval are subject to the FDA’s discretion.
We have and will continue to explore strategies for ublituximab and/or umbralisib that involve use of the FDA’s accelerated approval pathway. Obtaining accelerated approval for an agent requires demonstration of meaningful benefit over all available therapies for a serious condition. While we believe we have an understanding of what is considered available therapy today, ultimately the determination of what constitutes available therapy is wholly up to the FDA and is subject to change. No assurance can be given that other agents will not receive full approval prior to our potential receipt of accelerated approval. If that were to occur, no assurance can be given that we would be successful in proving meaningful benefit over those later approved drugs. If we were unable to prove meaningful benefit over any such agents, we would be effectively blocked from receiving accelerated approval. We announced that we are planning to file the results from the MZL and FL cohorts from our UNITY-NHL trial for accelerated approval. No assurance can be given that umbralisib will obtain accelerated approval for either MZL or FL for a variety of reasons, including, without limitation, if we are unable to demonstrate meaningful benefit over a currently approved agent/regimen or any new treatment, if any, that receives full approval prior to our potential receipt of accelerated approval. Previously, we were hopeful to utilize the results from our GENUINE study for accelerated approval but the intervening full approval of a new therapy for the treatment of relapsed/refractory CLL has made that potential application more challenging. In October 2019, we announced that final results from the GENUINE study demonstrated improved progression-free survival for the combination arm compared to ibrutinib alone. Despite this positive outcome, no assurance can be given that a filing based on the GENUINE results will ever be made, or if made would result in a favorable review by regulatory authorities.
Finally, if any of our drugs were ever to receive accelerated approval, we would be required to conduct a post-market confirmatory study, which we may not complete, or if completed, may prove unsuccessful. In such instance, the FDA can remove the product from the market.
Our drug candidates may cause undesirable side effects that could delay or prevent their regulatory approval, limit the commercial profile of an approved label, or result in significant negative consequences following marketing approval, if any.
Unacceptable or undesirable adverse events caused by any of our product candidates that we take into clinical trials could cause either us, a DSMB, or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay, modify or halt clinical trials and could result in a more restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or other regulatory authorities. This, in turn, could prevent us from commercializing the affected product candidate and generating revenues from its sale.
As is the case with all drugs, it is likely that there will be side effects associated with the use of our drug candidates. Results of our trials could reveal a higher than expected and unacceptable severity and prevalence of side effects. In such an event, our trials could be suspended or terminated and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities could order us to cease further development of or deny approval of our drug candidates for any or all targeted indications. The drug-related side effects could also affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the trial or result in potential product liability claims. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly.
Many compounds that initially showed promise in early stage testing have later been found to cause side effects that prevented further development of the compound. Further, early clinical trials by their nature utilize a small sample of the potential patient population. With a limited number of patients and limited duration of exposure, rare and severe side effects of our drug candidates may only be uncovered with a significantly larger number of patients exposed to the drug candidate in Phase 3 or registration-directed trials and on the market.
We are currently running our Phase 3 and registration-directed trials, such as UNITY-CLL, UNITY-NHL and ULTIMATE I and II and have not completed testing of any of our product candidates for the treatment of the indications for which we intend to seek product approval in humans, and we currently do not know the extent that the adverse events, if any, will be observed in patients who receive any of our product candidates. To date, clinical trials using ublituximab and umbralisib have demonstrated a toxicity profile that was deemed acceptable by the investigators performing such studies. Such interpretation may not be shared by future investigators or by the health authorities and in the case of ublituximab and umbralisib, even if deemed acceptable for oncology and/or autoimmune indications, it may not be acceptable for diseases outside the oncology and autoimmune settings, and likewise for any other product candidates we may develop. Additionally, the severity, duration and incidence of adverse events may increase in larger study populations such as found in our on-going Phase 3 and registration-directed trials. Particularly, with respect to umbralisib, although over 1,500 patients have been dosed in umbralisib studies to date, the full adverse effect profile of umbralisib is not known. As additional patients are exposed for longer durations to umbralisib, it is unknown whether greater frequency and/or severity of adverse events are likely to occur. Common toxicities of other drugs in the same class as umbralisib include high levels of liver toxicity, infections and colitis, the latter of which notably has presented with later onset, with
incidence increasing with duration of exposure. No assurance can be given that an acceptable safety and tolerability profile for umbralisib will continue to be demonstrated in the future with longer durations of exposure, at the fixed 800mg dose being evaluated in our registration-directed trials and in multiple drug combinations. If any of our product candidates cause unacceptable adverse events in clinical trials, we may not be able to obtain marketing approval and generate revenues from its sale, or even if approved for sale may lack differentiation from competitive products, which could have a material adverse impact on our business and operations.
Additionally, in drug-combination clinical development, there is an inherent risk of drug-drug interactions between combination agents which may affect each component’s individual pharmacologic properties and the overall efficacy and safety of the combination regimen. Both ublituximab and umbralisib are being evaluated in combination with each other, as well as with a variety of other active anti-cancer agents, which may cause unforeseen toxicity, or impact the severity, duration, and incidence of adverse events observed compared to those seen in the single agent studies of these agents. We also intend to explore multiple combination studies involving cosibelimab, TG-1701, and TG-1801. Further, with multi-drug combinations, it is often difficult to interpret or properly assign attribution of an adverse event to any one particular agent, introducing the risk that toxicity caused by a component of a combination regimen could have a material adverse impact on the development of our product candidates. There can be no assurances given that the combination regimens being studied will display tolerability or efficacy suitable to warrant further testing or produce data that is sufficient to obtain marketing approval.
If any of our drug candidates receive marketing approval and we or others later identify undesirable or unacceptable side effects caused by such drug candidates (or any other similar drugs) after such approval, a number of potentially significant negative consequences could result, including:
|●||regulatory authorities may withdraw or limit their approval of such drug candidates;|
|●||regulatory authorities may require a more significant clinical benefit for approval to offset the risk;|
|●||regulatory authorities may require the addition of labeling statements, including warnings, contra-indications, or precautions, that could diminish the usage of the product or otherwise limit the commercial success of the affected product;|
|●||we may be required to create a medication guide outlining the risks of such side effects for distribution to patients;|
|●||we may be required to change the way such drug candidates are distributed or administered, or to conduct additional clinical trials;|
|●||regulatory authorities may require a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS), plan to mitigate risks, which could include medication guides, physician communication plans, or elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools;|
|●||we may be subject to regulatory investigations and government enforcement actions;|
|●||we may decide to remove such drug candidates from the marketplace;|
|●||we may not be able to enter into collaboration agreements on acceptable terms and execute on our business model;|
|●||we could be sued and held liable for injury caused to individuals exposed to or taking our drug candidates; and|
|●||our reputation may suffer.|
Any one or a combination of these events could prevent us from obtaining or maintaining regulatory approval and achieving or maintaining market acceptance of the affected product or could substantially increase the costs and expenses of commercializing the affected product, which in turn could significantly impact our ability to successfully commercialize our drug candidates and generate revenues.
Any product candidates we may advance through clinical development are subject to extensive regulation, which can be costly and time consuming, cause unanticipated delays or prevent the receipt of the required approvals.
The clinical development, manufacturing, labeling, storage, record-keeping, advertising, promotion, import, export, marketing and distribution of our product candidates or any future product candidates are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA in the United States and by comparable health authorities worldwide. In the United States, we are not permitted to market a product candidate until we receive approval of a BLA or NDA from the FDA. The process of obtaining BLA and NDA approval is expensive, often takes many years and can vary substantially based upon the type, complexity and novelty of the products involved. Approval policies or regulations may change and the FDA has substantial discretion in the pharmaceutical approval process, including the ability to delay, limit or deny approval of a product candidate for many reasons. In addition, the FDA may require post-approval clinical trials or studies which also may be costly. The FDA approval for a limited indication or approval with required warning language, such as a box warning, could significantly impact our ability to successfully market our product candidates. Finally, the FDA may require adoption of a REMS requiring prescriber training, post-market registries, or otherwise restricting the marketing and dissemination of these products. Despite the time and expense invested in the clinical development of product candidates, regulatory approval is never guaranteed. Assuming successful clinical development, we intend to seek product approvals in countries outside the United States. As a result, we would be subject to regulation by the EMA, as well as the other regulatory agencies in these countries.
Approval procedures vary among countries and can involve additional product testing and additional administrative review periods. The time required to obtain approval in other countries might differ from that required to obtain FDA approval. Regulatory approval in one country does not ensure regulatory approval in another, but a failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approval in one country may negatively impact the regulatory process in others. As in the United States, the regulatory approval process in Europe and in other countries is a lengthy and challenging process. The FDA, and any other regulatory body around the world can delay, limit or deny approval of a product candidate 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 a product candidate is safe and effective for an indication;|
|●||the FDA may not accept clinical data from trials conducted by individual investigators or in countries where the standard of care is potentially different from the United States;|
|●||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 a product candidate’s clinical and other benefits outweigh its safety risks;|
|●||the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with our interpretation of data from preclinical studies or clinical trials;|
|●||the data collected from clinical trials of our product candidates may not be sufficient to support the submission of a BLA, NDA or other submission or to obtain regulatory approval in the United States or elsewhere;|
|●||the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may not approve the manufacturing processes or facilities of third-party manufacturers with which we or our collaborators currently contract for clinical supplies and plan to contract for commercial supplies; or|
|●||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.|
In addition, raising questions about the safety of marketed pharmaceuticals may result in increased cautiousness by the FDA and other regulatory authorities in reviewing new pharmaceuticals based on safety, efficacy or other regulatory considerations and may result in significant delays in obtaining regulatory approvals. Regulatory approvals for our product candidates may not be obtained without lengthy delays, if at all. Any delay in obtaining, or inability to obtain, applicable regulatory approvals would prevent us from commercializing our product candidates.
A breakthrough therapy designation by the FDA for our drug candidates, including umbralisib for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory Marginal Zone Lymphoma who have received at least one prior treatment including an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, may not lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process, and it does not ensure that our drug candidates will receive marketing approval.
In January 2019, the FDA granted breakthrough therapy designation (also referred to as BTD) to umbralisib for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory MZL who have received at least one prior treatment including an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody. We may also seek breakthrough therapy designation for some of our other drug candidates. A breakthrough therapy is defined as a drug that is intended, alone or in combination with one or more other drugs, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition, and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development. Our breakthrough therapy designation was based on interim data from the MZL cohort of the UNITY-NHL clinical trial. No assurance can be given that the full results from the MZL cohort of the UNITY-NHL clinical trial will support accelerated approval.
For drugs that have been designated as breakthrough therapies, interaction and communication between the FDA and the sponsor of the trial can help to identify the most efficient path for clinical development while minimizing the number of patients who may be placed in potentially less effective control regimens. Drugs designated as breakthrough therapies by the FDA are also eligible for accelerated approval. Designation as a breakthrough therapy is wholly within the discretion of the FDA. Accordingly, even if we believe one of our drug candidates meets the criteria for designation as a breakthrough therapy, the FDA may disagree and instead determine not to grant such designation to the drug candidate. In any event, the receipt of a breakthrough therapy designation for a drug candidate may not result in a faster development process, review or approval compared to drugs considered for approval under conventional FDA procedures and does not assure ultimate approval by the FDA. In addition, even if one or more of our drug candidates qualify as breakthrough therapies, the FDA may later decide that the drugs no longer meet the conditions for qualification and rescind the designation.
A fast track designation by the FDA may not actually lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process.
We may seek fast track designation for some of our other drug candidates. If a drug is intended for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening condition and the drug demonstrates the potential to address unmet medical needs for this condition, the drug sponsor may apply for fast track designation. The FDA has broad discretion whether or not to grant this designation, so even if we believe a particular drug candidate is eligible for this designation, we cannot assure you that the FDA would decide to grant it. Even if we receive fast track designation for our other drug candidates, we may not experience a faster development process, review or approval compared to conventional FDA procedures. The FDA may withdraw fast track designation if it believes that the designation is no longer supported by data from our clinical development program.
While we have received orphan drug designation for umbralisib and ublituximab for specified indications, we may seek additional orphan drug designation for those and some of our other drug candidates. However, we may be unsuccessful in obtaining or may be unable to maintain the benefits associated with orphan drug designation, including the potential for market exclusivity.
Ublituximab received orphan drug designation from the FDA for the treatment of MZL (nodal and extranodal) in September 2013, for the treatment of CLL in August of 2010, and orphan-drug designation by the EMA for the treatment of CLL in November of 2009. We also obtained orphan drug designation for umbralisib as monotherapy for the treatment of CLL in August 2016 and all three types of MZL (nodal, extranodal and splenic) in April 2019, and in January 2017, we announced that the FDA granted orphan drug designation covering the combination of ublituximab and umbralisib for the treatment of patients with CLL and DLBCL. As part of our business strategy, we may seek orphan drug designation for our other drug candidates, and we may be unsuccessful. Regulatory authorities in some jurisdictions, including the United States and the European Union, may designate drugs for relatively small patient populations as orphan drugs. Under the U.S. Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may designate a drug as an orphan drug if it is a drug intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is generally defined as a patient population of fewer than 200,000 individuals annually in the United States, or a patient population greater than 200,000 in the United States where there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing the drug will be recovered from sales in the United States. In the United States, orphan drug designation entitles a party to financial incentives such as opportunities for grant funding towards clinical trial costs, tax advantages and user-fee waivers.
Even if we obtain orphan drug exclusivity for a drug, that exclusivity may not effectively protect the designated drug from competition because different drugs can be approved for the same condition. Even after an orphan drug is approved, the FDA can subsequently approve another product that meets the definition of a “same drug” under 21 C.F.R. 316.3 for the same condition if the FDA concludes that the later product is clinically superior in that it is shown to be safer, 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 drug 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 the manufacturer is unable to assure sufficient quantity of the drug 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. While we intend to seek additional orphan drug designation for our other drug candidates, we may never receive such designations. Even if we receive orphan drug designation for any of our drug candidates, there is no guarantee that we will enjoy the benefits of those designations.
An approval of one of our product candidates in the United States would not assure approval of that candidate in foreign jurisdictions.
The approval procedures for pharmaceuticals vary among countries, and obtaining approval in one jurisdiction does not guarantee approval in another jurisdiction. For example, even if the FDA grants approval of a product candidate, comparable regulatory authorities in foreign jurisdictions may not approve the same product candidate or may require additional evidence for approval. In many countries outside the United States, the product must be approved for reimbursement before it can be marketed. As a general matter, however, the foreign regulatory approval process involves risks similar or identical to the risks associated with FDA approval discussed above. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that we, or future collaborators, will obtain approvals of our product candidates in any foreign jurisdiction on a timely basis, if at all. Failure to receive approval in certain foreign markets could significantly impact the full market potential of our product candidates. Furthermore, if we obtain regulatory approval for a product candidate in a foreign jurisdiction, we will be subject to the burden of complying with complex regulatory, legal, and other requirements that could be costly and could subject us to additional risks and uncertainties.
As all of our product candidates are still under development, manufacturing site additions, scale-up and process improvements implemented in the production of those product candidates may affect their ultimate activity or function.
Our product candidates are in the initial stages of development and are currently manufactured in relatively small batches for use in pre-clinical and clinical studies. Process improvements implemented to date have changed, and process improvements in the future may change, the activity and/or analytical profile of the product candidates, which may affect the safety and efficacy of the products. For instance, the manufacturing process for ublituximab has undergone several process improvements during the clinical trial process which have resulted in analytical differences between the materials. Such process improvements continued during the conduct of Phase 3 and materials from more than one manufacturing process were utilized in the Phase 3 UNITY-CLL trial. While analytical differences exist between those materials, we do not believe the differences will alter the safety or efficacy profile of ublituximab. However, it is possible that additional and/or different adverse events may appear among patients exposed to drug product manufactured under one process compared to the other, or that adverse events may arise with greater frequency, intensity and duration among patients exposed to drug product manufactured under one process compared to the other. Additionally, the efficacy of ublituximab also can be negatively impacted by such process changes. Given the uncertainty of the impact on product specifications, quality and performance, process improvements made during Phase 3 development carry a higher level of risk than those made prior to Phase 3 development. If there are significant differences in product attributes between the two materials, we may need to adjust our statistical analysis plans of the Phase 3 study to confirm that there is no difference in safety or efficacy between product made by each process in order to allow us to utilize data from all enrolled patients, as well as be able to integrate clinical safety and/or efficacy results across studies to support any potential marketing application. There can be no assurance given that such analyses will be successful in demonstrating no clinical differences between these drug products, which could substantially impact the approvability of the U2 combination based on the results of the UNITY-CLL study. In such circumstances, that would have a material adverse effect on the Company.
Further, no assurance can be given that the material manufactured from any future optimized processes, if any, for ublituximab or any of our product candidates will perform comparably to the product candidates as manufactured to date which could result in an unexpected safety or efficacy outcome as compared to the data published or presented to date. Similarly, following each round of process improvements, if any, for any of our drug candidates, future clinical trial results conducted with the new material will be subject to uncertainty related to the effects, if any, of those additional process improvements that were made.
In addition, we have engaged a secondary manufacturer for ublituximab to meet our current clinical and future commercial needs and anticipate engaging additional manufacturing sources for umbralisib to meet expanded clinical trial and commercial needs. If a secondary manufacturer is not successful in replicating the product or experiences delays, or if regulatory authorities impose unforeseen requirements with respect to product comparability from multiple manufacturing sources, we may experience delays in clinical development. No assurance can be given that any additional manufacturers will be successful or that material manufactured by the additional manufacturers will perform comparably to ublituximab or umbralisib as manufactured to date and used in currently available pre-clinical data and or in clinical trials presented publicly or reported in this or any previous filing, or that the relevant regulatory agencies will agree with our interpretation of comparability.
In addition, as we move closer to commercialization for ublituximab and umbralisib we will need to scale-up production to ensure adequate commercial supply. We are currently in the process of scaling up ublituximab. This is an expensive process and there can be no assurance given that such scale-up will be successful in providing pharmaceutical product that is of sufficient quantity, or of a quality that is consistent with our previously established specifications, or that meets the requirements set by regulatory agencies under which we may seek approval of our product candidates. If scale-up were not to succeed our ability to supply our anticipated market at a reasonable cost of goods would be negatively impacted. In such event, that would have a material adverse effect on the Company. Scale up could also require additional process improvement that might be required to accommodate new and larger equipment utilized in the scaled-up process. If that were to occur and we could not demonstrate to the FDA that the materials were analytically substantially similar, we might be required to run additional clinical testing to demonstrate that they are substantially similar. That would entail a significant delay and significant increase in total cost, all of which would have a material adverse effect on the Company.
Risks Related to Commercialization
The incidence and prevalence for target patient populations of our drug candidates have not been established with precision. If the market opportunities for our drug candidates are smaller than we estimate or if any approval that we obtain is based on a narrower definition of the patient population, our revenue and ability to achieve profitability will be adversely affected, possibly materially.
The precise incidence and/or prevalence of CLL, relapsed/refractory MZL, relapsed/refractory FL and multiple sclerosis (MS)are unknown. Our projections of both the number of people who are affected by disease within our target indications, as well as the subset of these people who have the potential to benefit from treatment with our product candidates, are based on our beliefs and estimates. Our beliefs are typically based on one on one and group interactions with target physicians and our estimates have been derived from a variety of sources, including the scientific literature, healthcare utilization databases and market research, and may prove to be incorrect. Further, new studies may change the estimated incidence or prevalence of these diseases.
The total addressable market opportunity for umbralisib and ublituximab for the treatment of patients with CLL, MZL, FL and MS will ultimately depend upon, among other things, the final label indication, approval for sale for these indications, acceptance by the medical community, patient access, drug pricing and reimbursement. The number of patients in major markets, including the number of addressable patients in those markets, may turn out to be lower than expected, patients may not be otherwise amenable to treatment with our drugs, new patients may become increasingly difficult to identify or gain access to, or patients and physicians may choose to utilize competitive products, all of which would adversely affect our results of operations and our business.
We face substantial competition for treatments for our target indications, which may result in others commercializing drugs before or more successfully than we do resulting in the reduction or elimination of our commercial opportunity.
We operate in a highly competitive segment of the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical market. We face competition from numerous sources, including commercial pharmaceutical and biotechnology enterprises, academic institutions, government agencies, and private and public research institutions. Many of our competitors have significantly greater financial, product development, manufacturing and marketing resources. Large pharmaceutical companies have extensive experience in clinical testing and obtaining regulatory approval for drugs. Additionally, many universities and private and public research institutes are active in cancer research, some in direct competition with us. We may also compete with these organizations to recruit scientists and clinical development personnel. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies.
Our commercial opportunity could be reduced or eliminated if our competitors develop and commercialize drugs that are more effective, have fewer or less severe side effects, are more convenient or are less expensive than any drugs that we or our collaborators may develop. Our competitors also may obtain FDA or other regulatory approval for their drugs more rapidly than we may obtain approval for ours, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we or our collaborators are able to enter the market. The key competitive factors affecting the success of all of our drug candidates, if approved, are likely to be their efficacy, safety, convenience, price, the effectiveness of any related companion diagnostic tests, the level of generic competition and the availability of reimbursement from government and other third-party payors.
For the cancer indications for which we are developing our products there are a number of established therapies with which we will compete:
|●||For the treatment of CLL, if U2 is approved, we expect U2 to compete with recently approved drugs such as ibrutinib (AbbVie and Janssen), venetoclax (AbbVie and Roche), obinutuzumab (Roche), idelalisib (Gilead) and duvelisib (Verastem), and established treatments such as rituximab (Roche), and several generically available chemotherapies. Additionally, there are two second generation BTK inhibitors similar to ibrutinib in late-stage clinical testing for CLL that could enter the market in the next 12-36 months. Each of these agents can be used as monotherapy or in combination with one or more of the other agents.|
|●||For the treatment of Marginal Zone Lymphoma, if approved, we expect umbralisib to compete with ibrutinib (AbbVie and Janssen) and established treatments such as rituximab and several generically available chemotherapies. Additionally, in May 2019, the FDA approved the combination of rituximab and lenalidomide (Bristol-Myers) for the treatment of previously treated MZL.|
|●||For the treatment of Follicular Lymphoma, if approved, we expect umbralisib to compete with recently approved drugs such as obinutuzumab (Roche), idelalisib (Gilead), copanlisib (Bayer), and duvelisib (Verastem), and established treatments such as rituximab (Roche), and several generically available chemotherapies. Each of these agents can be used as monotherapy or in combination with one or more of the other agents. In addition, in May 2019, the FDA approved the combination of rituximab and lenalidomide (Bristol-Myers) for the treatment of previously treated FL. There are also several PI3K delta inhibitors in earlier stages of development.|
|●||In addition, a number of pharmaceutical companies are developing antibodies and bispecific antibodies targeting CD20, CD19, CD47 and other B-cell associated targets, chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) immunotherapy, and other B-cell ablative therapy which, if approved, would potentially compete with U2 and umbralisib.|
For Multiple Sclerosis for which we are developing ublituximab there are a number of established therapies with which we will compete:
|●||If ublituximab is approved, we expect ublituximab will primarily compete against other CD20 targeted agents, while the group of CD20 targeted agents will also compete broadly against a number of already approved MS therapies. Currently, there is one anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody approved, ocrelizumab (Roche), and another in Phase 3 development, ofatumumab (Novartis), which is expected to enter the market in the next 12-24 months.|
Cosibelimab, TG-1701 and TG-1801 if approved will also face competition from drugs on the market and under development in the same therapeutic class as each of those drugs.
New developments, including the development of other pharmaceutical technologies and methods of treating disease, occur in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries at a rapid pace. These developments may render our product candidates obsolete or noncompetitive. Compared to us, many of our potential competitors have substantially greater:
|●||research and development resources, including personnel and technology;|
|●||pharmaceutical development, clinical trial and pharmaceutical commercialization experience;|
|●||experience and expertise in exploitation of intellectual property rights; and|
We will also face competition from these third parties in recruiting and retaining qualified personnel, establishing clinical trial sites, patient registration for clinical trials, and in identifying and in-licensing new product candidates.
Product liability lawsuits against us could cause us to incur substantial liabilities and could limit commercialization of any drug candidates that we may develop.
We face an inherent risk of product liability exposure related to the testing of our drug candidates in human clinical trials and use of our drug candidates through compassionate use programs in the event we establish such programs, and we will face an even greater risk if we commercially sell any drug candidates that we may develop. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against claims that our drug candidates caused injuries, we could incur substantial liabilities. Regardless of merit or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:
|●||decreased demand for any drug candidates that we may develop;|
|●||injury to our reputation and significant negative media attention;|
|●||withdrawal of clinical trial participants;|
|●||significant costs to defend the related litigation;|
|●||substantial monetary awards to trial participants or patients;|
|●||loss of revenue; and|
|●||the inability to commercialize any drug candidates that we may develop.|
Although we maintain product liability insurance coverage, it may not be adequate to cover all liabilities that we may incur. We anticipate that we will need to increase our insurance coverage if we successfully commercialize any drug candidate. Insurance coverage is increasingly expensive. We may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or in an amount adequate to satisfy any liability that may arise.
If any product candidate for which we receive regulatory approval does not achieve broad market acceptance among physicians, patients, healthcare payors, and the medical community, the revenues that we generate from its sales will be limited.
Even if our product candidates receive regulatory approval, they may not gain market acceptance among physicians, patients, healthcare payors, and the medical community. Commercial success also will depend, in large part, on the coverage and reimbursement of our product candidates by third-party payors, including private insurance providers and government payors. The degree of market acceptance of any approved product would depend on a number of factors, including:
|●||the efficacy, safety and tolerability as demonstrated in clinical trials;|
|●||the timing of market introduction of such product candidate as well as competitive products;|
|●||the clinical indications for which the product is approved;|
|●||acceptance by physicians, major operators of cancer clinics and patients of the product as a safe, tolerable and effective treatment;|
|●||the potential and perceived advantages of the product candidate over alternative treatments;|
|●||the safety and tolerability of the product candidate in a broader patient group;|
|●||the cost of treatment in relation to alternative treatments;|
|●||the availability of adequate reimbursement and pricing by third parties and government authorities;|
|●||changes in regulatory requirements by government authorities for the product candidate;|
|●||relative convenience and ease of administration;|
|●||the prevalence and severity of side effects and adverse events;|
|●||the effectiveness of our sales and marketing efforts; and|
|●||unfavorable publicity relating to the product.|
If any product candidate is approved but does not achieve an adequate level of acceptance by physicians, hospitals, healthcare payors and patients, we may not generate sufficient revenue from these products and we may not become or remain profitable, which would have a material adverse effect on our business.
Even if we are able to commercialize any drug candidates, such drugs may become subject to unfavorable pricing regulations or third-party coverage and reimbursement policies, which would harm our business.
The regulations that govern regulatory approvals, pricing and reimbursement for new drugs vary widely from country to country. Some countries require approval of the sale price of a drug before it can be marketed. In many countries, the pricing review period begins after marketing approval is granted. In some foreign markets, prescription pharmaceutical pricing remains subject to continuing governmental control even after initial approval is granted. As a result, we might obtain marketing approval for a drug candidate in a particular country, but then be subject to price regulations that delay our commercial launch of the drug candidate, possibly for lengthy time periods, and negatively impact the revenues we are able to generate from the sale of the drug candidate in that country. Adverse pricing limitations may hinder our ability to recoup our investment in one or more drug candidates, even if our drug candidates obtain marketing approval. In addition, if we are successful in receiving FDA approval for ublituximab for the treatment of CLL and MS, we will need to identify and execute a pricing strategy that takes into account the value of the product in each indication independently to realize the product’s full potential in both indications. If we are unable to identify and execute such a strategy, the pricing of ublituximab across indications may not be optimal, which may have a material adverse impact on the sales in one or both of the indications and on our overall business.
Our ability to commercialize any drug candidates successfully also will depend in part on the extent to which coverage and reimbursement for these drug candidates and related treatments will be available from government authorities, private health insurers and other organizations. Government authorities and third-party payors, such as private health insurers and health maintenance organizations, decide which medications they will pay for and establish reimbursement levels. A primary trend in the U.S. healthcare industry and elsewhere is cost containment. Government authorities and third-party payors have attempted to control costs by limiting coverage and the amount of reimbursement for particular drugs. Increasingly, third-party payors are requiring that drug companies provide them with predetermined discounts from list prices and are challenging the prices charged for drugs. We cannot be sure that coverage will be available for any drug candidate that we commercialize and, if coverage is available, the level of reimbursement. Reimbursement may impact the demand for, or the price of, any drug candidate for which we obtain marketing approval. If reimbursement is not available or is available only to limited levels, we may not be able to successfully commercialize any drug candidate for which we obtain marketing approval.
There may be significant delays in obtaining reimbursement for newly approved drugs, and coverage may be more limited than the purposes for which the drug is approved by the FDA or similar regulatory authorities outside the United States. Moreover, eligibility for reimbursement does not imply that any drug will be paid for in all cases or at a rate that covers our costs, including research, development, manufacture, sale and distribution. Interim reimbursement levels for new drugs, if applicable, may also not be sufficient to cover our costs and may not be made permanent. Reimbursement rates may vary according to the use of the drug and the clinical setting in which it is used, may be based on reimbursement levels already set for lower-cost drugs and may be incorporated into existing payments for other services. Net prices for drugs may be reduced by mandatory discounts or rebates required by government healthcare programs or private payors and by any future relaxation of laws that presently restrict imports of drugs from countries where they may be sold at lower prices than in the United States. Third-party payors often rely upon Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement policies. Our inability to promptly obtain coverage and profitable payment rates from both government-funded and private payors for any approved drugs that we develop could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, our ability to raise capital needed to commercialize drugs and our overall financial condition.
We are subject to new legislation, regulatory proposals and managed care initiatives that may increase our costs of compliance and adversely affect our ability to market our products, obtain collaborators and raise capital.
In both the United States and certain foreign countries, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory changes to the healthcare system that could impact our ability to sell our products profitably. In particular, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 revised the payment methodology for many products reimbursed by Medicare, resulting in lower rates of reimbursement for many types of drugs, and added a prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program that involves commercial plans negotiating drug prices for their members. Since 2003, there have been a number of other legislative and regulatory changes to the coverage and reimbursement landscape for pharmaceuticals.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, collectively, the ACA, was enacted in 2010 and made significant changes to the United States healthcare system. The ACA and any revisions or replacements of that Act, any substitute legislation, and other changes in the law or regulatory framework could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Among the provisions of the ACA, those of importance to our potential product candidates are:
|●||an annual, nondeductible fee on any entity that manufactures or imports specified branded prescription drugs and biologic agents, apportioned among these entities according to their market share in certain government healthcare programs;|
|●||an increase in the statutory minimum rebates a manufacturer must pay under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program to 23.1% and 13.0% of the average manufacturer price for branded and generic drugs, respectively;|
|●||expansion of healthcare fraud and abuse laws, including the federal False Claims Act and the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, new government investigative powers and enhanced penalties for non-compliance;|
|●||a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer 50% point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period, as a condition for a manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D (subsequent legislation increased this amount to 70% effective as of January 1, 2019);|
|●||extension of a manufacturer’s Medicaid rebate liability to covered drugs dispensed to individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations;|
|●||expansion of eligibility criteria for Medicaid programs by, among other things, allowing states to offer Medicaid coverage to additional individuals and by adding new mandatory eligibility categories for certain individuals with income at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, thereby potentially increasing a manufacturer’s Medicaid rebate liability;|
|●||expansion of the list of covered entities eligible to enroll in the 340B Drug Pricing Program to include certain free standing cancer hospitals, critical access hospitals, rural referral centers, and sole community hospitals, but exempting orphan drugs from the ceiling price requirements for these covered entities;|
|●||the new requirements under the federal Open Payments program and its implementing regulations;|
|●||a new requirement to annually report drug samples that manufacturers and distributors provide to physicians;|
|●||a new regulatory pathway for the approval of biosimilar biological products, all of which will impact existing government healthcare programs and will result in the development of new programs; and|
|●||a new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to oversee, identify priorities in, and conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research, along with funding for such research.|
Certain provisions of the ACA have been subject to judicial challenges as well as efforts to release or replace them or to alter the interpretation or implementation. For example, at the end of 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Act), which repealed the penalty for individuals who fail to maintain minimum essential health coverage as required by the ACA, commonly referred to as the individual mandate, effective January 1, 2019. In December 2018, a United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of Texas ruled (i) that the individual mandate was unconstitutional as a result of the associated tax penalty being repealed as part of the Tax Act; and (ii) that the individual mandate is not severable from the rest of the ACA and, as a result, the ACA in its entirety is invalid. In December 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s decision that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, but remanded the case back to the district court to reconsider the severability question. It is unclear how the ultimate decision in this case, or other efforts to repeal, replace, or invalidate the ACA or its implementing regulations, or portions thereof, will affect the ACA or our business. Other attempts have been made in Congress to modify or repeal all or certain provisions of the ACA, and we anticipate that there may be further efforts to repeal, replace or invalidate the ACA, which could affect our business and operations.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the BBA, which set government spending levels for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019, revised certain provisions of the ACA. Specifically, beginning in 2019, the BBA increased manufacturer point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs in the Medicare Part D coverage gap from 50% to 70%, ultimately increasing the liability for brand drug manufacturers. Further, this mandatory manufacturer discount applied to biosimilars beginning in 2019.
There has been increasing legislative and enforcement interest in the United States with respect to drug pricing practices. Specifically, there have been several recent U.S. Congressional inquiries and proposed federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, reduce the cost of prescription drugs under Medicare, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drugs. The Trump administration is currently assessing additional proposals that are designed to affect drug pricing, such as tying U.S. drug prices to prices outside the United States. Congress and the Trump administration have each indicated that it will continue to seek new legislative and/or administrative measures to control drug costs. Most recently, President Trump signed into law the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement. As enacted, there are no commitments with respect to biologic product intellectual property rights or data protection, which may create an unfavorable environment across the three countries.
The 116th Congress has explored legislation intended to address the cost of prescription drugs. Notably, the major committees of jurisdiction in the Senate (Finance Committee, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Judiciary Committee) have marked up legislation intended to address various elements of the prescription drug supply chain. Proposals include a significant overhaul of the Medicare Part D benefit design, addressing patent loopholes, and efforts to cap increases in drug prices. The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved drug-related legislation intended to increase transparency of drug prices and also curb anti-competitive behavior in the pharmaceutical supply chain. In addition, the House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation intended to improve drug price transparency, including for drug manufacturers to justify certain price increases. On December 12, 2019, the House of Representatives passed broad legislation that would, among other provisions, require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate drug prices and impose price caps. Failure by a manufacturer to reach an agreement with HHS on the negotiated price could result in significant penalties for prescription drug manufacturers. While we cannot predict what proposals may ultimately become law, the proposals under consideration could significantly change the landscape in which the pharmaceutical market operates.
The Trump Administration has also taken several regulatory steps to redirect ACA implementation. HHS finalized Medicare fee-for-service hospital payment reductions for Part B drugs acquired through the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which remains subject to ongoing legal challenge. HHS also has signaled its intent to continue to pursue reimbursement policy changes for Medicare Part B drugs as a whole that likely would reduce hospital and physician reimbursement for these drugs.
HHS has made numerous other proposals aimed at lowering drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries and increasing price transparency. These proposals include giving Medicare Advantage and Part D plans flexibility in the availability of drugs in protected classes, more transparency in the cost of drugs, including the beneficiary’s financial liability, and less costly alternatives and permitting the use of step therapy as a means of prior authorization. HHS has also proposed requiring that pharmaceutical manufacturers disclose the prices of certain drugs in direct-to-consumer television advertisements. The proposal related to protected classes has been withdrawn and the disclosure requirements have been rejected by the courts. In addition, a proposed rule that would have passed drug rebates to consumers at the point of sale also has been withdrawn. However, it appears the Trump Administration will continue to explore its authority to make regulatory changes to the pharmaceutical industry. For example, the Trump Administration released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking related to an international price index model. It is unclear what eventually will be proposed, but the President has alluded to the concept of most favored nation pricing with regard to U.S. drug purchasing. In addition, HHS, in conjunction with the FDA, released two pharmaceutical importation models in December 2019: (a) a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to permit importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada, and (2) draft FDA guidance permitting manufacturers to import their own pharmaceuticals that were originally intended for marketing in other countries.
HHS also has taken steps to increase the availability of cheaper health insurance options, typically with fewer benefits. The Trump Administration has also signaled its intention to address drug prices and to increase competition, including by increasing the availability of biosimilars and generic drugs. As these are regulatory actions, a new administration could undo or modify these efforts.
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 drug. Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government healthcare programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors. The implementation of cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may prevent us from being able to generate revenue, attain profitability or commercialize our drugs.
Legislative and regulatory proposals have been made to expand post-approval requirements and restrict sales and promotional activities for drugs. We cannot be sure whether additional legislative changes will be enacted, or whether the FDA regulations, guidance or interpretations will be changed, or what the impact of such changes on the marketing approvals of our product candidates, if any, may be. In addition, increased scrutiny by 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.
There likely will continue to be legislative and regulatory proposals at the federal and state levels directed at broadening the availability of healthcare and containing or lowering the cost of healthcare products and services. We cannot predict the initiatives that may be adopted in the future. The continuing efforts of the government, insurance companies, managed care organizations and other payors of healthcare services to contain or reduce costs of healthcare may adversely affect:
|●||our ability to generate revenues and achieve or maintain profitability;|
|●||the demand for any products for which we may obtain regulatory approval;|
|●||our ability to set a price that we believe is fair for our products;|
|●||the level of taxes that we are required to pay; and|
|●||the availability of capital.|
In addition, governments may impose price controls, which may adversely affect our future profitability.
We cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of government regulation that may arise from future legislation or administrative or executive action, either in the United States or abroad.
We cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of how government regulation that may arise from future legislation or administrative or executive action taken by the U.S. presidential administration may impact our business and industry. In particular, the U.S. President has taken several executive actions, including the issuance of a number of Executive Orders, that could impose significant burdens on, or otherwise materially delay, the FDA’s ability to engage in routine regulatory and oversight activities such as implementing statutes through rulemaking, issuance of guidance, and review and approval of marketing applications. Notably, on January 23, 2017, President Trump ordered a civilian hiring freeze for all executive departments and agencies, including the FDA, which prohibits the FDA from filling employee vacancies or creating new positions. Under the terms of the order, the freeze was to remain in effect until implementation of a plan to be recommended by the Director for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in consultation with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, to reduce the size of the federal workforce through attrition. An under-staffed FDA could result in delays in FDA’s responsiveness or in its ability to review submissions or applications, issue regulations or guidance or implement or enforce regulatory requirements in a timely fashion or at all. This hiring freeze was lifted later in 2017. Moreover, on January 30, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order, applicable to all executive agencies, including the FDA, which requires that for each notice of proposed rulemaking or final regulation to be issued in fiscal year 2017, the agency shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed, unless prohibited by law. These requirements are referred to as the two-for-one provisions. This Executive Order includes a budget neutrality provision that requires the total incremental cost of all new regulations in the 2017 fiscal year, including repealed regulations, to be no greater than zero, except in limited circumstances. For fiscal years 2018 and beyond, the Executive Order requires agencies to identify regulations to offset any incremental cost of a new regulation and approximate the total costs or savings associated with each new regulation or repealed regulation. In interim guidance issued by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within OMB on February 2, 2017, the administration indicates that the two-for-one provisions may apply not only to agency regulations, but also to significant agency guidance documents. It is difficult to predict how these requirements will be implemented, and the extent to which they will impact the FDA’s ability to exercise its regulatory authority. If these executive actions impose constraints on the FDA’s ability to engage in oversight and implementation activities in the normal course, our business may be negatively impacted.
In addition, on October 12, 2017, the President released an Executive Order intended to promote health care choices and competition and on June 24, 2019, the President released an Executive Order intended to improve price transparency and quality transparency. These may push HHS, FDA, and other relevant agencies to engage in rulemaking that may impact the pharmaceutical industry.
If, in the future, we are unable to establish sales and marketing capabilities or enter into agreements with third parties to sell and market our drug candidates, we may not be successful in commercializing our drug candidates if and when they are approved, and we may not be able to generate any revenue.
We do not currently have a sales or marketing infrastructure and have limited experience in the sale, marketing or distribution of drugs. To achieve commercial success for any approved drug candidate for which we retain sales and marketing responsibilities, we must build our sales, marketing, managerial, and other non-technical capabilities or make arrangements with third parties to perform these services. In the future, we may choose to build a focused sales and marketing infrastructure to sell, or participate in sales activities with our collaborators for, some of our drug candidates if and when they are approved.
In advance of FDA approval of our first product, we will need to make significant investments to build a commercial organization and infrastructure. We will need to hire a sales force and commercial support personnel, in order to build processes and systems to support a commercial launch prior to knowing whether our product will receive FDA approval. It is possible that the FDA approval is unexpectedly delayed or our product is not approved at all. In either case we will incur delays that may impede or significantly delay our ability to generate revenue and at the same time will incur significant expenses. If this were to occur, it would have a material adverse effect on the Company.
There are risks involved with both establishing our own sales and marketing capabilities and entering into arrangements with third parties to perform these services. For example, recruiting and training a sales force are expensive and time-consuming and could delay any drug launch. If the commercial launch of a drug candidate for which we recruit a sales force and establish marketing capabilities is delayed or does not occur for any reason, we would have prematurely or unnecessarily incurred these commercialization expenses. This may be costly, and our investment would be lost if we cannot retain or reposition our sales and marketing personnel.
Factors that may inhibit our efforts to commercialize our drug candidates on our own include:
|●||our inability to recruit and retain adequate numbers of effective sales and marketing personnel;|
|●||the inability of sales personnel to obtain access to physicians or to effectively promote any future drugs;|
|●||the lack of complementary drugs to be offered by sales personnel, which may put us at a competitive disadvantage relative to companies with more extensive product lines; and|
|●||unforeseen costs and expenses associated with creating a sales and marketing organization.|
If we enter into arrangements with third parties to perform sales, marketing and distribution services, our drug revenues or the profitability of these drug revenues to us are likely to be lower than if we were to market and sell any drug candidates that we develop ourselves. In addition, we may not be successful in entering into arrangements with third parties to sell and market our drug candidates or may be unable to do so on terms that are favorable to us. We likely will have little control over such third parties, and any of them may fail to devote the necessary resources and attention to sell and market our drug candidates effectively. If we do not establish sales and marketing capabilities successfully, either on our own or in collaboration with third parties, we will not be successful in commercializing our drug candidates. Further, our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects will be materially adversely affected.
Our relationships with customers and third-party payors will be subject to applicable fraud and abuse laws, false claims laws, transparency and disclosure laws, health information and security laws, and other healthcare laws and regulations, which could expose us to criminal sanctions, civil penalties, exclusion from government healthcare programs, contractual damages, reputational harm and diminished profits and future earnings.
Although we do not currently have any drugs on the market, once we begin commercializing our drug candidates, we will be subject to additional extensive healthcare statutory and regulatory requirements and oversight by the federal government and the states and foreign governments in which we conduct our business. Healthcare providers, physicians and third-party payors play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of any drug candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. Our future arrangements with third-party payors and customers will expose 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 our drug candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. Restrictions under applicable federal and state healthcare laws and regulations include the following:
|●||the federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits, among other things, persons 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 and state healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. 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 False Claims Act imposes civil penalties, including through civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, against individuals or entities for, among other things, knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, to the federal government, 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 and services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the False Claims Act;|
|●||the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, imposes criminal and civil liability for executing a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, or knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering|
|up a material fact or making any materially false statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services; 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 transparency requirements, sometimes referred to as the Sunshine Act under the Affordable Care Act require manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies that are reimbursable under Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program to report to the Department of Health and Human Services information related to physician payments and other transfers of value and the ownership and investment interests of such physicians and their immediate family members;|
|●||HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 and its implementing regulations, which also imposes obligations on certain covered entity healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses as well as their business associates that perform certain services involving the use or disclosure of individually identifiable health information, including mandatory contractual terms, with respect to safeguarding the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information;|
|●||federal consumer protection and unfair competition laws, which broadly regulate marketplace activities and activities that potentially harm consumers; and|
|●||analogous state laws and regulations, such as state anti-kickback and false claims laws that 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 in addition to requiring drug manufacturers to report information related to pricing of products or payments to physicians and other health care providers or marketing expenditures, and governing the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and often are not preempted by HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts.|
Ensuring that our future business arrangements with third parties comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations will involve substantial costs. It is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices do 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, including anticipated activities to be conducted by our sales team, were to be 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, exclusion from government-funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, qui tam actions brought by individual whistleblowers in the name of the government, and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations. If any of the physicians or other providers or entities with whom we expect to do business is found to be not in compliance with applicable laws, they may be subject to criminal, civil or administrative sanctions, including exclusions from government-funded healthcare programs.
If we fail to adequately understand and comply with the local laws and customs as we expand into new international markets, these operations may incur losses or otherwise adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We expect to operate a portion of our business in certain countries through subsidiaries or through supply, marketing, and distributor arrangements. In those countries where we have limited experience in operating subsidiaries and in reviewing equity investees, we will be subject to additional risks related to complying with a wide variety of national and local laws, including restrictions on the import and export of certain intermediates, drugs, technologies and multiple and possibly overlapping tax laws. In addition, we may face competition in certain countries from companies that may have more experience with operations in such countries or with international operations generally. We may also face difficulties integrating new facilities in different countries into our existing operations, as well as integrating employees hired in different countries into our existing corporate culture. If we do not effectively manage our operations in these subsidiaries and review equity investees effectively, or if we fail to manage our alliances, we may lose money in these countries and it may adversely affect our business and results of our operations. In all interactions with foreign regulatory authorities, we are exposed to liability risks under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or similar anti-bribery laws.
Any product for which we obtain marketing approval could be subject to 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 products.
Any regulatory approvals that we receive for our drug candidates may be subject to limitations on the indicated uses for which the drug may be marketed or to conditions of approval that may require potentially costly post-marketing clinical trials or surveillance to monitor safety and efficacy of the drug candidate. In addition, any product for which we obtain marketing approval, along with the manufacturing
processes and facilities, post-approval clinical data, labeling, advertising and promotional activities for such product, will be subject to continual requirements of, and review by, the FDA and comparable regulatory authorities. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration requirements, current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) requirements relating to quality control, quality assurance and corresponding maintenance of records and documents, and requirements regarding promotional interactions with healthcare professionals. Failure to comply with these regulatory requirements or later discovery of previously unknown problems with products, manufacturers, or manufacturing processes, may result in actions such as:
|●||restrictions on product manufacturing, distribution or use;|
|●||restrictions on the labeling or marketing of a product;|
|●||requirements to conduct post-marketing studies or clinical trials;|
|●||withdrawal of the products from the market;|
|●||refusal to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications that we or our subsidiaries submit;|
|●||suspension or withdrawal of marketing or regulatory approvals;|
|●||refusal to permit the import or export of products;|
|●||product seizure or detentions;|
|●||injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties; and|
If we, or our respective suppliers, third-party contractors, clinical investigators or collaborators are slow to adapt, or are unable to adapt, to changes in existing regulatory requirements or adoption of new regulatory requirements or policies, we, our subsidiaries, or our respective collaborators may be subject to the actions listed above, including losing marketing approval for products, resulting in decreased revenue from milestones, product sales or royalties.
We will need to obtain FDA approval of any proposed product brand names, and any failure or delay associated with such approval may adversely impact our business.
A pharmaceutical product candidate cannot be marketed in the United States or other countries until we have completed a rigorous and extensive regulatory review process, including approval of a brand name. Any brand names we intend to use for ublituximab, umbralisib or any future product candidates will require approval from the FDA regardless of whether we have secured a formal trademark registration from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The FDA typically conducts a review of proposed product brand names, including an evaluation of potential for confusion with other product names. The FDA may also object to a product brand name if it believes the name inappropriately implies medical claims. If the FDA objects to any of our proposed product brand names, we may be required to adopt an alternative brand name for ublituximab, umbralisib or any future product candidates. If we adopt an alternative brand name, we would lose the benefit of our existing trademark applications for such product candidate and may be required to expend significant additional resources in an effort to identify a suitable product brand name that would qualify under applicable trademark laws, not infringe the existing rights of third parties and be acceptable to the FDA. We may be unable to build a successful brand identity for a new trademark in a timely manner or at all, which would limit our ability to commercialize ublituximab, umbralisib, or any future product candidates. We do not currently have an agreed upon brand name for umbralisib, and no assurance can be given that we will obtain one in a timely fashion. Any delay in obtaining a brand name for umbralisib or any other of our drug candidates could delay approval and/or commercialization and have a negative impact on our launch and future prospects for umbralisib or any other such drug candidates.
Risks Related to Our Dependence on Third Parties
We rely on third parties to generate clinical, preclinical and other data necessary to support the regulatory applications needed to conduct clinical trials and file for marketing approval. We rely on third parties to help conduct our planned clinical trials. If these third parties do not perform their services as required, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates when expected or at all.
In order to submit an Investigational New Drug application (IND), BLA, or NDA to the FDA and maintain these applications, it is necessary to submit all information on the clinical, non-clinical, chemistry, manufacturing, controls and quality aspects of the product candidate. We rely on our third-party contractors and our licensing partners to provide portions of this data. If we are unable to obtain this data, or the data is not sufficient to meet the regulatory requirements, we may experience significant delays in our development programs. While we maintain an active IND for ublituximab and umbralisib enabling the conduct of studies in the FDA’s Division of Hematology and Oncology, and an active IND for ublituximab under the FDA’s Division of Neurology, there can be no assurance that the FDA will allow us to continue the development of our product candidates in those divisions where we maintain an active IND.
Additionally, we use CROs to assist in the conduct of our current clinical trials and expect to use such services for future clinical trials and we rely upon medical institutions, clinical investigators and contract laboratories to conduct our trials in accordance with our clinical protocols and appropriate regulations. Our current and future CROs, investigators and other third parties play a significant role in the conduct of our trials and the subsequent collection and analysis of data from the clinical trials. There is no guarantee that any CROs, investigators and other third parties will devote adequate time and resources to our clinical trials or perform as contractually required. If any third parties upon whom we rely for administration and conduct of our clinical trials fail to meet expected deadlines, fail to adhere to its clinical protocols or otherwise perform in a substandard manner, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated, and we may not be able to commercialize our product candidates. In addition to the third parties identified above, we are also heavily reliant on the conduct of our patients enrolled to our studies by our third-party investigators. We rely on our clinical trial sites and investigators to properly identify and screen eligible candidates for our clinical trials, and for them to ensure participants adhere to our clinical protocol requirements. The majority of our clinical trial conduct occurs in the out-patient setting, where patients are expected to continue to adhere to our study protocol specified requirements. The ability of our enrolled patients to properly identify, document, and report adverse events; take protocol specified study drugs at the correct quantity, time, and setting, as applicable; avoid contraindicated medications; and comply with other protocol specified procedures such as returning to the trial site for scheduled laboratory and disease assessments, is wholly out of our control. Deviations from protocol procedures, such as those identified previously, could materially affect the quality of our clinical trial data, and therefore ultimately affect our ability to develop and commercialize our drug candidates. If any of our clinical trial sites terminates for any reason, we may experience the loss of follow-up information on patients enrolled in our ongoing clinical trials unless we are able to transfer the care of those patients to another qualified clinical trial site. If any of our clinical trial sites are required by the FDA or IRB to close down due to data management or patient management or any other issues, we may lose patients. In our MS Phase 2 trial, during routine monitoring and site audits, significant Good Clinical Practice (GCP) violations and other noncompliance issues were identified at one of our US-based large academic sites. The investigator left the institution and shortly thereafter the site terminated their participation in our study before all data could be source document verified. While we do not believe this will have any effect on the overall results of the MS Phase 2 trial, sensitivity analyses excluding data from this site will be performed and no assurance can be given that the results were not affected.
Whether conducted through a CRO or through our internal staff, we are solely responsible for ensuring that each of our clinical trials is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol, legal and regulatory requirements and scientific standards, and our reliance on CROs will not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities. For any violations of laws and regulations during the conduct of our clinical trials, we could be subject to warning letters or other enforcement actions that may include civil penalties up to and including criminal prosecution. We and our CROs are required to comply with regulations, including GCP guidelines for conducting, monitoring, recording and reporting the results of clinical trials to ensure that the data and results are scientifically credible and accurate, and that the trial patients are adequately informed of the potential risks of participating in clinical trials and their rights are protected. These regulations are enforced by the FDA, the Competent Authorities of the Member States of the European Economic Area and comparable foreign regulatory authorities for any drug candidates in clinical development. The FDA enforces GCP regulations through periodic inspections of clinical trial sponsors, clinical investigators, CROs, institutional review boards, and non-clinical laboratories. If we, our CROs, our investigators or other third parties fail to comply with applicable GCPs, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our marketing applications. We cannot assure you that, upon inspection, the FDA will determine that our current or future clinical trials comply with GCPs. In addition, our clinical trials must be conducted with drug candidates produced under cGMP regulations. Our failure or the failure of our CROs or CMOs to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process and could
also subject us to enforcement action. We also are required to register most ongoing clinical trials and post the results of completed clinical trials on government-sponsored databases, e.g. ClinicalTrials.gov, within certain timeframes. Failure to do so can result in fines, adverse publicity and civil and criminal sanctions.
Although we intend to design the clinical trials for our drug candidates, CROs play an important role in the conduct of our clinical trials, especially outside of the United States. As a result, many important aspects of our development programs, including their conduct and timing, will be outside of our direct control. Our reliance on third parties to conduct current or future clinical trials will also result in less direct control over the management of data developed through clinical trials than would be the case if we were relying entirely upon our own staff. Communicating with outside parties can also be challenging, potentially leading to mistakes as well as difficulties in coordinating activities. Outside parties may:
|●||have staffing difficulties;|
|●||fail to comply with contractual obligations;|
|●||experience regulatory compliance issues;|
|●||undergo changes in priorities or become financially distressed; or|
|●||form relationships with other entities, some of which may be our competitors.|
These factors may materially adversely affect the willingness or ability of third parties to conduct our clinical trials and may subject us to unexpected cost increases that are beyond our control. If the CROs do not perform clinical trials in a satisfactory manner, breach their obligations to us or fail to comply with regulatory requirements, the development, regulatory approval and commercialization of our drug candidates may be delayed, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval and commercialize our drug candidates, or our development program may be materially and irreversibly harmed. If we are unable to rely on clinical data collected by our CROs, we could be required to repeat, extend the duration of, or increase the size of any clinical trials we conduct and this could significantly delay commercialization and require significantly greater expenditures.
If any of our relationships with these third-party CROs terminate, we may not be able to enter into arrangements with alternative CROs. If CROs do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or obligations or meet expected deadlines, if they need to be replaced or if the quality or accuracy of the clinical data they obtain is compromised due to the failure to adhere to our clinical protocols, regulatory requirements or for other reasons, any clinical trials such CROs are associated with may be extended, delayed or terminated, and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or successfully commercialize our drug candidates. As a result, we believe that our financial results and the commercial prospects for our drug candidates in the subject indication would be harmed, our costs could increase and our ability to generate revenue could be delayed.
We contract with third parties for the manufacture of our drug candidates for pre-clinical development and clinical trials, and we expect to continue to do so for commercialization. This reliance on third parties increases the risk that we will not have sufficient quantities of our drug candidates or drugs or such quantities at an acceptable cost or quality, which could delay, prevent or impair our development or commercialization efforts.
We do not currently own or operate, nor do we have any plans to establish in the future, any manufacturing facilities or personnel. We rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties for the manufacture of our drug candidates for pre-clinical development and clinical testing, as well as for the commercial manufacture of our drugs if any of our drug candidates receive marketing approval. In some circumstances, our licensor has entered into arrangements with contract manufacturers to supply product for our clinical and commercial demand. Our reliance on third parties increases the risk that we will not have sufficient quantities of our drug candidates or drugs or such quantities at an acceptable cost or quality, which could delay, prevent or impair our development or commercialization efforts.
The facilities used by contract manufacturers to manufacture our drug candidates must be approved by the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority pursuant to inspections that may be conducted after we submit our marketing applications to the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority. We do not control the manufacturing process of, and will be completely dependent on, our contract manufacturers for compliance with cGMPs in connection with the manufacture of our drug candidates. If our contract manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our specifications and the strict regulatory requirements of the FDA or others, they will not be able to secure and/or maintain regulatory approval for their manufacturing facilities. In addition, we have no control over the ability of our contract manufacturers to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority does not approve these facilities for the manufacture of our drug candidates or if it withdraws any such approval in the future, we may need to find alternative manufacturing facilities, which would significantly impact, including causing substantial delay,
in our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval for or market our drug candidates. Further, our failure, or the failure of our third-party manufacturers, to comply with applicable regulations could result in sanctions being imposed on us, including clinical holds, fines, injunctions, civil penalties, delays, suspension or withdrawal of approvals, license revocation, seizures or recalls of drug candidates or drugs, operating restrictions and criminal prosecutions, any of which could significantly and adversely affect our business and supplies of our drug candidates.
For certain of our drug candidates, we do not have long-term supply agreements with contract manufacturers. For these drug candidates, we purchase our required drug supply, including the drug product and drug substance on a purchase order basis. We may be unable to establish or maintain agreements with third-party manufacturers for these drug candidates or do so on acceptable terms. No assurance can be given that long-term, scalable manufacturers can be identified or that they can make clinical and commercial supplies of our product candidates that meet the product specifications of previously manufactured batches, or are of a sufficient quality, or at an appropriate scale and cost to make it commercially feasible. If they are unable to do so, it could have a material adverse impact on our business.
Even if we are able to establish and maintain agreements with third-party manufacturers, reliance on third-party manufacturers entails additional risks, including:
|●||reliance on the third party for regulatory compliance and quality assurance;|
|●||the possible breach of the manufacturing or supply agreement by the third party;|
|●||the possible misappropriation of our proprietary information, including our trade secrets and know-how; and|
|●||the possible termination or nonrenewal of the agreement by the third party at a time that is costly or inconvenient for us.|
Moreover, our current long-term supply agreements contain certain minimum purchases in what are commonly referred to as “take or pay” provisions, and we would expect all future supply agreements to contain such provisions. To the extent our demand does not meet the minimum supply required amounts, we would be forced to pay more than desired. This could create a situation where we are spending more than required and could impact our on-going operations and entail curtailing other important research and development or commercialization efforts, all of which could have a material adverse effect on the Company.
Our drug candidates and any drugs that we may develop may compete with other drug candidates and approved drugs for access to manufacturing facilities. There are a limited number of manufacturers that operate under cGMP regulations and that might be capable of manufacturing for us.
Any performance failure on the part of our existing or future manufacturers could delay clinical development or marketing approval. If our current contract manufacturers cannot perform as agreed, we may be required to replace such manufacturers causing additional costs and delays in identifying and qualifying any such replacement.
Our current and anticipated future dependence upon others for the manufacture of our drug candidates or drugs could result in significant delays or gaps in availability of such drug candidates or drugs and may adversely affect our future profit margins and our ability to commercialize any drugs that receive marketing approval on a timely and competitive basis.
We also expect to rely on other third parties to store and distribute drug supplies for our clinical trials. Any performance failure on the part of our distributors could delay clinical development or marketing approval of any future product candidates or commercialization of our products, producing additional losses and depriving us of potential product revenue.
In addition, we do not have the capability to package finished products for distribution to hospitals and other customers. Prior to commercial launch, we intend to enter into agreements with one or more alternate packaging and labeling suppliers so that we can ensure proper supply chain management once we are authorized to make commercial sales of our product candidates. If we receive marketing approval from the FDA, we intend to sell pharmaceutical product finished and packaged by such suppliers. We have not yet entered into long-term agreements with our fill/finish suppliers for all of our drug candidates, and we may be unable to enter into such an agreement or do so on commercially reasonable terms, which could have a material adverse impact upon our business.
The third parties upon whom we rely for the supply of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), drug product, regulatory starting materials and intermediates for drug substance and other materials used in our drug candidates are our sole source of supply, and the loss of any of these suppliers could significantly harm our business.
The API, drug product and drug substance used in many of our drug candidates are currently supplied to us from single-source suppliers. Our ability to successfully develop our drug candidates, supply our drug candidates for clinical trials and to ultimately supply our commercial drugs in quantities sufficient to meet the market demand, depends in part on our ability to obtain the API, drug product and drug substance for these drugs in accordance with regulatory requirements and in sufficient quantities for clinical testing and commercialization. If any of our suppliers ceases its operations for any reason or is unable or unwilling to supply API, drug product, drug substance and other materials in sufficient quantities or on the timelines necessary to meet our needs, it could significantly and adversely affect our business, the supply of our drug candidates and our financial condition.
In most cases, our manufacturing partners are single source suppliers. It is expected that many of our manufacturing partners will be sole source suppliers from single site locations for the foreseeable future. Various raw materials, components, and testing services required for our products may also be single sourced. Given this, any disruption of supply from these partners could have a material, long-term impact on our ability to supply products for clinical trials or commercial sale. This includes potential disruptions to our supply chains that may be caused by COVID-19 and related work stoppages across regions impacted by this public health crisis. Ublituximab is manufactured in South Korea, and TG-1701 is manufactured in China.We have sufficient inventory of clinical supplies of ublituximab to support our current clinical program needs. In addition, we source certain raw materials for umbralisib from China; however, we have sufficient quantities of these raw materials to meet our current clinical program needs and our anticipated initial commercial demand in the event we receive FDA approval. Although COVID-19 has not had a material adverse effect on our business to date, no assurance can be given that it will not in the future if the situation persists or worsens. We continue to monitor the situation very closely with our suppliers in impacted regions. If our suppliers do not deliver sufficient quantities of our product candidates on a timely basis, or at all, and in accordance with applicable specifications, there could be a significant interruption of our supply, which would adversely affect clinical development and commercialization of our products. In addition, if our current or future supply of any of our product candidates should fail to meet specifications during its stability program there could be a significant interruption of our supply of drug, which would adversely affect the clinical development and commercialization of the product.
For all of our drug candidates, we plan to identify and qualify additional manufacturers and other suppliers to provide such API, drug product and drug substance prior to or following submission of an NDA or BLA to the FDA and/or an MAA to the EMA. We are not certain, however, that our single-source suppliers will be able to meet our demand for their products, either because of the nature of our agreements with those suppliers, our limited experience with those suppliers, our relative importance as a customer to those suppliers, or public health emergencies (i.e., COVID-19) or natural disasters that may cause those suppliers to stop work for a period of time.. It may be difficult for us to assess their ability to timely meet our demand in the future based on past performance.
Establishing additional or replacement suppliers for the API, drug product and drug substance used in our drug candidates, if required, may not be accomplished quickly or at all and may involve significant expense. If we are able to find a replacement supplier, such replacement supplier would need to be qualified and require additional regulatory approval, which could result in further delay. While we seek to maintain adequate inventory of the API, drug product and drug substance used in our drug candidates, any interruption or delay in the supply of components or materials, or our inability to obtain such API, drug product and drug substance from alternate sources at acceptable prices in a timely manner could impede, delay, limit or prevent our development efforts, which could harm our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
Because we have in-licensed our product candidates from third parties, any dispute with or non-performance by our licensors will adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize the applicable product candidates.
Because we license our product candidates from third parties and we expect to continue to in-license additional product candidates, if there is any dispute between us and our licensor regarding our rights under a license agreement, our ability to develop and commercialize our product candidates may be adversely affected. Disputes may arise with the third parties from whom we license our product candidates for a variety of reasons, including:
|●||the scope of rights granted under the license agreement and other interpretation-related issues;|
|●||the extent to which our technology and processes infringe on intellectual property of the licensor that is not subject to the license agreement;|
|●||the sublicensing of patent and other rights under our collaborative development relationships and obligations associated with sublicensing;|
|●||our diligence obligations under the license agreement and what activities satisfy those diligence obligations;|
|●||the ownership of inventions and know-how resulting from the joint creation or use of intellectual property by our licensors and us and our partners; and|
|●||the priority of invention of patented technology.|
In addition, the agreements under which we currently license product candidates from third parties are complex, and certain provisions in such agreements may be susceptible to multiple interpretations, or may conflict in such a way that puts us in breach of one or more agreements, which would make us susceptible to lengthy and expensive disputes with one or more of our licensing partners. The resolution of any contract interpretation disagreement that may arise could narrow what we believe to be the scope of our rights to the relevant intellectual property or technology, or increase what we believe to be our financial or other obligations under the relevant agreement, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects. Moreover, if disputes over intellectual property that we have licensed prevent or impair our ability to maintain our current licensing arrangements on commercially acceptable terms, we may be unable to successfully develop and commercialize the affected product candidates, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions, results of operations, and prospects.
If conflicts arise between us and our future collaborators or strategic partners, these parties may act in a manner adverse to us and could limit our ability to implement our strategies.
If conflicts arise between our future corporate or academic collaborators or strategic partners and us, the other party may act in a manner adverse to us and could limit our ability to implement our strategies. Future collaborators or strategic partners, may develop, either alone or with others, products in related fields that are competitive with the products or potential products that are the subject of these collaborations. Competing products, either developed by the collaborators or strategic partners or to which the collaborators or strategic partners have rights, may result in the withdrawal of partner support for any future product candidates. Our current or future collaborators or strategic partners may preclude us from entering into collaborations with their competitors, fail to obtain timely regulatory approvals, terminate their agreements with us prematurely, or fail to devote sufficient resources to the development and commercialization of products. Any of these developments could harm any future product development efforts.
We may seek to establish additional collaborations, and, if we are not able to establish them on commercially reasonable terms, we may have to alter our development and commercialization plans.
Our drug development programs and the potential commercialization of our drug candidates will require substantial additional cash to fund expenses. For some of our drug candidates, we may decide to collaborate with additional pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for the development and potential commercialization of those drug 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 our clinical trials, the likelihood of approval by the FDA or similar regulatory authorities outside the United States, the potential market for the subject drug candidate, the costs and complexities of manufacturing and delivering such drug 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 drug candidates or technologies for similar indications that may be available to collaborate on and whether such a collaboration could be more attractive than the one with us for our drug candidate. The terms of any additional collaborations or other arrangements that we may establish may not be favorable to us.
We may be restricted under our collaboration agreements from entering into future agreements on certain terms with potential collaborators. 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 additional 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 drug candidate for which we are seeking to collaborate, reduce or delay its development program or one or more of our other development programs, delay its potential commercialization or reduce the scope of any sales or marketing activities, or increase our expenditures and undertake development or commercialization activities at our own expense. If we elect to increase our expenditures to fund development or commercialization activities on our own, we may need to obtain additional capital, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. If we do not have sufficient funds, we may not be able to further develop our drug candidates or bring them to market and generate drug revenue.
Any future collaborations that we enter into may not be successful. The success of our 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 drug candidate and, in some cases, termination of the collaboration arrangement. 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 termination or expiration of any future collaboration agreement could adversely affect us financially or harm our business reputation.
Risks Relating to Our Intellectual Property
Our success depends upon our ability to obtain and protect our intellectual property and proprietary technologies and if the scope of our patent protection obtained is not sufficiently broad, our competitors could develop and commercialize technology and drugs similar or identical to ours, and our ability to successfully commercialize our technology and drugs may be impaired.
Our commercial success in part depends on obtaining and maintaining patent protection and trade secret protection in the United States and other countries with respect to our product candidates or any future product candidate that we may license or acquire, their formulations and uses and the methods we use to manufacture them, as well as successfully defending these patents against third-party challenges. We seek to protect our proprietary and intellectual property position by filing patent applications in the United States and abroad related to our novel technologies and product candidates, and by maintenance of our trade secrets through proper procedures. Because we in-license our drug candidates, we also rely on our licensors to protect the patent and other intellectual property rights necessary for commercialization of our drug candidates.
We will only be able to protect our technologies from unauthorized use by third parties to the extent that valid and enforceable patents or trade secrets cover them in the market they are being used or developed. The degree of patent protection we require to successfully commercialize our drug candidates may be unavailable or severely limited in some cases and may not adequately protect our rights or permit us to gain or keep any competitive advantage. We cannot provide any assurances that any of our patents have, or that any of our pending patent applications that mature into issued patents will include, claims with a scope sufficient to protect any of our drug candidates. In addition, the laws of foreign countries may not protect our rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States.
Furthermore, patents have a limited lifespan. In the United States, the natural expiration of a patent is generally twenty years after it is filed. Various extensions may be available; however, the life of a patent, and the protection it affords, is limited. Given the amount of time required for the development, testing and regulatory review of new drug candidates, patents protecting such candidates might expire before or shortly after such candidates are commercialized. As a result, our owned patent portfolio may not provide us with adequate and continuing patent protection sufficient to exclude others from commercializing drugs similar or identical to our drug candidates, including generic versions of such drugs.
Currently, the composition of matter patent for ublituximab and umbralisib are granted in both the United States and EU, among other countries. A method of use patent covering the combination of ublituximab and umbralisib has also been granted in the US, EU, Japan, and several other territories. Additionally, several method of use patents for ublituximab and umbralisib in various indications and settings have also been applied for but have not yet been issued, or have been issued in certain territories but not under all jurisdictions in which such applications have been filed. There can be no guarantee that any patents for which an application has already been filed, nor any patents filed
in the future, for our cosibelimab, TG-1701 and TG-1801 or for our pre-clinical product candidates will be granted in any or all jurisdictions in which they were filed, or that all claims initially included in such patent applications will be allowed in the final patent that is issued. The patent application process is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, and there can be no assurance that we or our partners will be successful in protecting our product candidates by obtaining and defending patents, or what the scope of an issued patent may ultimately be.
These risks and uncertainties include the following:
|●||the patent applications that we or our licensors file may not result in any patents being issued;|
|●||patents that may be issued or in-licensed may be challenged, invalidated, modified, revoked or circumvented, or otherwise may not provide any competitive advantage;|
|●||as of March 16, 2013, the United States converted from a first to invent to a first to file system. If we do not win the filing race, we will not be entitled to inventive priority;|
|●||our competitors, many of which have substantially greater resources than we do, and many of which have made significant investments in competing technologies, may seek, or may already have obtained, patents that will limit, interfere with, or eliminate its ability to file new patent applications or make, use, and sell our potential products either in the United States or in international markets;|
|●||there may be significant pressure on the United States government and other international governmental bodies to limit the scope of patent protection both inside and outside the United States for disease treatments that prove successful as a matter of public policy regarding worldwide health concerns; and|
|●||countries other than the United States may have less restrictive patent laws than those upheld by United States courts, allowing foreign competitors the ability to exploit these laws to create, develop, and market competing products.|
If patents are not issued that protect our product candidates, it could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, the patent prosecution process is expensive and time-consuming, and we may not be able to file and prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. Further, with respect to some of the pending patent applications covering our drug candidates, prosecution has yet to commence. Patent prosecution is a lengthy process, during which the scope of the claims initially submitted for examination by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, have been significantly narrowed by the time they issue, if at all. It is also possible that we will fail to identify any patentable aspects of our research and development output and methodology, and, even if we do, an opportunity to obtain patent protection may have passed. Given the uncertain and time-consuming process of filing patent applications and prosecuting them, it is possible that our product(s) or process(es) originally covered by the scope of the patent application may have changed or been modified, leaving our product(s) or process(es) without patent protection. Moreover, in some circumstances, we do 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 third parties. Therefore, these patents and applications may not be prosecuted and enforced in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business. If our licensors or we fail to appropriately prosecute and maintain patent protection or trade secret protection for one or more product candidates or any future product candidate we may license or acquire, our ability to develop and commercialize these product candidates may be adversely affected and we may not be able to prevent competitors from making, using and selling competing products. This failure to properly protect the intellectual property rights relating to these product candidates could impair our ability to compete in the market and adversely affect our ability to generate revenues and achieve profitability, which would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Furthermore, should we enter into other collaborations, including out-licensing or partnerships, we may be required to consult with or cede control to collaborators regarding the prosecution, maintenance and enforcement of licensed patents. Therefore, these patents and applications may not be prosecuted and enforced in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business.
The patent position of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies generally is highly uncertain, involves complex legal and factual questions, and has in recent years been the subject of much litigation. In addition, no consistent policy regarding the breadth of claims allowed in pharmaceutical or biotechnology patents has emerged to date in the United States. The patent situation outside the United States is even more uncertain. The laws of foreign countries may not protect our rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States, and we may fail to seek or obtain patent protection in all major markets. For example, European patent law restricts the patentability of methods of treatment of the human body more than United States law does. Our pending and future patent applications may not result in patents being issued which protect our technology or products, in whole or in part, or which effectively prevent others from commercializing competitive technologies and products. Changes in either the patent laws or interpretation of the patent laws in the United States and other countries may diminish the value of our patents or narrow the scope of our patent protection. For example, the federal courts of the United States have
taken an increasingly dim view of the patent eligibility of certain subject matter, such as naturally occurring nucleic acid sequences, amino acid sequences and certain methods of utilizing same, which include their detection in a biological sample and diagnostic conclusions arising from their detection. Such subject matter, which had long been a staple of the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industry to protect their discoveries, is now considered, with few exceptions, ineligible in the first instance for protection under the patent laws of the United States. Accordingly, we cannot predict the breadth of claims that may be allowed or enforced in our patents or in those licensed from a third-party.
In addition, U.S. patent laws may change, which could prevent or limit us, our subsidiaries, or our licensors from filing patent applications or patent claims to protect products and/or technologies or limit the exclusivity periods that are available to patent holders, as well as affect the validity, enforceability, or scope of issued patents. For example, on September 16, 2011, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act was signed into law. The Leahy-Smith Act includes a number of significant changes to United States patent law. These include changes to transition from a first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system and to the way issued patents are challenged. The formation of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board now provides a quicker and less expensive process for challenging issued patents.
We may be subject to a third-party pre-issuance submission of prior art to the USPTO, or become involved in opposition, derivation, reexamination, inter parties review, post-grant review or interference proceedings challenging our patent rights or the patent rights of others. The costs of these proceedings could be substantial and it is possible that our efforts to establish priority of invention would be unsuccessful, resulting in a material adverse effect on our United States patent position. An adverse determination in any such submission, patent office trial, proceeding or litigation could reduce the scope of, render unenforceable, or invalidate, our patent rights, allow third parties to commercialize our technology or products and compete directly with us, without payment to us, or result in our inability to manufacture or commercialize products without infringing third-party patent rights. In addition, if the breadth or strength of protection provided by patents and patent applications for our drug candidates is threatened, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to license, develop or commercialize current or future product candidates.
The issuance of a patent does not foreclose challenges to its inventorship, scope, validity or enforceability. Therefore, our owned and licensed patents may be challenged in the courts or patent offices in the United States and abroad. Such challenges may result in loss of exclusivity or in patent claims being narrowed, invalidated or held unenforceable, in whole or in part, which could limit our ability to stop others from using or commercializing similar or identical technology and products, or limit the duration of the patent protection of our technology and products. Given the amount of time required for the development, testing and regulatory review of new product candidates, patents protecting such product candidates might expire before or shortly after such product candidates are commercialized. As a result, our owned and licensed patent portfolio may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing products similar or identical to ours.
Even if our patent applications issue as patents, and they are unchallenged, our issued patents and our pending patents, if issued, may not provide us with any meaningful protection or prevent competitors from designing around our patent claims to circumvent our owned or licensed patents by developing similar or alternative technologies or drugs in a non-infringing manner. For example, a third party may develop a competitive drug that provides benefits similar to one or more of our drug candidates but that has a different composition that falls outside the scope of our patent protection. If the patent protection provided by the patents and patent applications we hold or pursue with respect to our drug candidates is not sufficiently broad to impede such competition, our ability to successfully commercialize our drug candidates could be negatively affected, which would harm our business.
In addition, we may in the future be subject to claims by our former employees or consultants asserting an ownership right in our patents or patent applications, as a result of the work they performed on our behalf. Although we have entered into agreements with many of our employees, consultants and advisors and any other third parties who have access to our proprietary know-how, information or technology to assign or grant similar rights to their inventions to us, we cannot be certain that we have executed such agreements with all parties who may have contributed to our intellectual property, nor can we be certain that our agreements with such parties will be upheld in the face of a potential challenge, or that they will not be breached, for which we may not have an adequate remedy. An adverse determination in any such submission or proceeding may result in loss of exclusivity or freedom to operate or in patent claims being narrowed, invalidated or held unenforceable, in whole or in part, which could limit our ability to stop others from using or commercializing similar or identical technology and drugs, without payment to us, or could limit the duration of the patent protection covering our technology and drug candidates. Such challenges may also result in our inability to manufacture or commercialize our drug candidates without infringing third-party patent rights. In addition, if the breadth or strength of protection provided by our patents and patent applications is threatened, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to license, develop or commercialize current or future drug candidates.
Patent protection and other intellectual property protection are crucial to the success of our business and prospects, and there is a substantial risk that such protections will prove inadequate.
Obtaining and maintaining patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.
The USPTO and various foreign governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other similar provisions during the patent application process. In addition, periodic maintenance fees on issued patents often must be paid to the USPTO and foreign patent agencies over the lifetime of the patent. While an unintentional lapse can in many cases be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules, there are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of the patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction.
Non-compliance events that could result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application include, but are not limited to, failure to respond to official actions within prescribed time limits, non-payment of fees and failure to properly legalize and submit formal documents. If we fail to maintain the patents and patent applications covering our drugs or procedures, we may not be able to stop a competitor from marketing drugs that are the same as or similar to our drug candidates, which would have a material adverse effect on our business.
If we do not obtain patent term extensions under the Hatch-Waxman Amendments and similar foreign legislation extending the terms of our licensed patents and any future patents we may own, our business may be materially harmed.
Depending on the timing, duration, and specifics of any FDA regulatory approval for our drug candidates, one or more of our licensed U.S. patents or future U.S. patents that we may license or own may be eligible for limited patent term restoration under the Hatch-Waxman Amendments. The Hatch-Waxman Amendments permit a patent term extension of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during the FDA regulatory review process. A patent term extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond 14 years from the date of product approval by the FDA, and only one patent covering the approved product may be extended.
The application for a patent term extension is subject to approval by the USPTO, in conjunction with the FDA. We may not be granted an extension because of, for example, failing to apply within applicable deadlines, failing to apply prior to expiration of relevant patents or otherwise failing to satisfy applicable requirements. Moreover, the applicable time period or the scope of the patent protection afforded could be less than we request. If we are unable to obtain patent term extension or any term of such extension is less than we request, the period during which we will have the right to exclusively market our product will be shortened and our competitors may obtain earlier approval of competing products, and our ability to generate revenues could be materially adversely affected.
We may not be able to enforce our intellectual property rights throughout the world.
Filing, prosecuting and defending patents on drug candidates throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive. Competitors may use our licensed and owned technologies in jurisdictions where we have not licensed or obtained patent protection to develop their own products and, further, may export otherwise infringing products to territories where we may obtain or license patent protection, but where patent enforcement is not as strong as that in the United States. These products may compete with our products in jurisdictions where we do not have any issued or licensed patents and any future patent claims or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from so competing.
Moreover, our ability to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights may be adversely affected by unforeseen changes in foreign intellectual property laws. Additionally, laws of some countries outside of the United States and Europe do not afford intellectual property protection to the same extent as the laws of the United States and Europe. Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in certain foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of some countries, including India, China and other developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property rights. This could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents or the misappropriation of our other intellectual property rights. For example, many foreign countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner must grant licenses to third parties. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in certain countries outside the United States and Europe.
Proceedings to enforce our future patent rights, if any, in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial cost and divert our resources and attention from other aspects of our business. Moreover, such proceedings could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and our patent applications at risk of not issuing and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate, and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be meaningful. Furthermore, while we intend to protect our intellectual property rights in major markets for our products, we cannot ensure that we will be able to initiate or maintain similar efforts in all jurisdictions in which we may wish to market our products. Accordingly, our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights in such countries may be inadequate.
If we or our partners are sued for infringing intellectual property rights of third parties, it will be costly and time consuming, and an unfavorable outcome in that litigation would have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our commercial success depends upon our ability and the ability of our collaborators to develop, manufacture, market and sell our drug candidates and use our proprietary technologies without infringing the proprietary rights and intellectual property of third parties. The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are characterized by extensive and frequent litigation regarding patents and other intellectual property rights. We may in the future become party to, or threatened with, adversarial proceedings or litigation regarding intellectual property rights with respect to our drug candidates and technology, including interference proceedings before the USPTO.
Our competitors or other third parties may assert infringement claims against us, alleging that our drugs are covered by their patents. Given the vast number of patents in our field of technology, we cannot be certain that we do not infringe existing patents or that we will not infringe patents that may be granted in the future. Numerous United States and foreign issued patents and pending patent applications, which are owned by third parties, exist in the fields in which we are developing products, some of which may be directed at claims that overlap with the subject matter of our intellectual property. In addition, because patent applications can take many years to issue, there may be currently pending applications, unknown to us, which may later result in issued patents that our product candidates or proprietary technologies may infringe. Similarly, there may be issued patents relevant to our product candidates of which we are not aware. Publications of discoveries in the scientific literature often lag behind the actual discoveries, and patent applications in the United States and other jurisdictions are typically not published until 18 months after a first filing, or in some cases not at all. Therefore, we cannot know with certainty whether we or our licensors were the first to make the inventions claimed in patents or pending patent applications that we own or licensed, or that we or our licensors were the first to file for patent protection of such inventions.
We are aware of certain patents that may pose issues for our commercialization of our drug candidates. For example, Roche, Biogen Idec, and Genentech hold patents for the use of anti-CD20 antibodies utilized in the treatment of CLL in the United States which expired in November of 2019. While these patents have been challenged, to the best of our knowledge, those matters were settled in a way that permitted additional anti-CD20 antibodies to be marketed for CLL. If those patents are still valid and enforced at the time we are intending to launch ublituximab, then we will need to either prevail in a litigation to challenge those patents or negotiate a settlement agreement with the patent holders. If we decide to initiate proceedings to challenge the validity of these patents in the future, we may be unsuccessful, as courts or patent offices in the United States and abroad could uphold the validity of any such patents. If we were to challenge the validity of any issued United States patent in court, we would need to overcome a statutory presumption of validity that attaches to every United States patent. This means that in order to prevail, we would have to present clear and convincing evidence as to the invalidity of the patent’s claims. If we are unable to do so, we may be forced to delay the launch of ublituximab or launch at the risk of litigation for patent infringement, which may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
If a third-party claims that we or any collaborators of ours infringe their intellectual property rights, we may have to defend litigation or administrative proceedings which may be costly whether we win or lose, and which could result in a substantial diversion of our financial and management resources. If we are found to infringe a third party’s intellectual property rights, we could be required to obtain a license from such third party to continue developing and marketing our drug candidates and technology. However, we may not be able to obtain any required license on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Even if we were able to obtain such a license, it could be granted on non-exclusive terms, thereby providing our competitors and other third parties access to the same technologies licensed to us. Without such a license, we could be forced, including by court order, to cease developing and commercializing the infringing technology or drug candidates. In addition, we could be found liable for monetary damages, including treble damages and attorneys fees if we are found to have willfully infringed such third-party patent rights. A finding of infringement could prevent us from commercializing our drug candidates or force us to cease some of our business operations, which could materially harm our business.
No assurance can be given that patents issued to third parties do not exist, have not been filed, or could not be filed or issued, which contain claims covering its products, technology or methods that may encompass all or a portion of our products and methods. Given the number of patents issued and patent applications filed in our technical areas or fields, we believe there is a risk that third parties may allege they have patent rights encompassing our products or methods.
Other product candidates that we may in-license or acquire could be subject to similar risks and uncertainties.
We may need to license certain intellectual property from third parties, and such licenses may not be available or may not be available on commercially reasonable terms.
A third party may hold intellectual property, including patent rights that are important or necessary to the development and commercialization of our products. It may be necessary for us to use the patented or proprietary technology of third parties to commercialize our products, in which case we would be required to obtain a license from these third parties, whom may or may not be interested in granting such a license, on commercially reasonable terms, or our business could be harmed, possibly materially. For example, we engage extensively with third parties, including academic institutions, to conduct non-clinical and clinical research on our product candidates. While we seek to ensure all material transfer and service agreements governing this research provide us with favorable terms covering newly generated intellectual property, a general principle under which much of this research with academic institutions is conducted provides third-party ownership of newly generated intellectual property, with an exclusive option available for us to obtain a license to such intellectual property. Through the conduct of this research, it is possible that valuable intellectual property could be developed by a third party, which we will then need to license in order to better develop or commercialize our products. No assurance can be given that we will be able to successfully negotiate such a license on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Further, should we fail to successfully negotiate a license to such intellectual property, most institutions are then free to license such intellectual property to any other third party, including potentially direct competitors of ours. Should we fail to adequately secure a license to any newly generated intellectual property, our ability to successfully develop or commercialize our products may be hindered, possibly materially.
We may be involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our patents or the patents of our licensors, which could be expensive, time consuming and unsuccessful.
Competitors may infringe our patents or the patents of our licensors. To counter infringement or unauthorized use, we may be required to file infringement claims, which typically are very expensive, time-consuming and disruptive of day-to-day business operations. Any claims we assert against accused infringers could provoke these parties to assert counterclaims against us alleging invalidity of our or certain of our subsidiaries patents or that we infringe their patents; or provoke those parties to petition the USPTO to institute inter parties review against the asserted patents, which may lead to a finding that all or some of the claims of the patent are invalid. In addition, in an infringement proceeding, a court may decide that a patent of ours or our licensors is not valid or is unenforceable, or may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patents do not cover the technology in question. An adverse result in any litigation or defense proceedings could put one or more of our pending patents at risk of being invalidated, held unenforceable, or interpreted narrowly.
In patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims challenging the validity, enforceability or scope of asserted patents are commonplace. In addition, third parties may initiate legal proceedings against us to assert such challenges to our intellectual property rights. The outcome of any such proceeding is generally unpredictable. Grounds for a validity challenge could be an alleged failure to meet any of several statutory requirements, including lack of novelty, obviousness or non-enablement. Patents may be unenforceable if someone connected with prosecution of the patent withheld relevant information from the USPTO or made a misleading statement during prosecution. It is possible that prior art of which we and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution exists, which could render our patents invalid. Moreover, it is also possible that prior art may exist that we are aware of but do not believe is relevant to our current or future patents, but that could nevertheless be determined to render our patents invalid.
Competing drugs may also be sold in other countries in which our patent coverage might not exist or be as strong. If we lose a foreign patent lawsuit, alleging our infringement of a competitor’s patents, we could be prevented from marketing our drugs in one or more foreign countries. Any of these outcomes would have a materially adverse effect on our business.
In addition, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation. Furthermore, adverse results on United States patents may affect related patents in our global portfolio. The adverse result could also put related pending patent applications at risk of not issuing. Additionally, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments. If securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a substantial adverse effect on the price of our common stock.
Interference proceedings provoked by third parties or brought by the USPTO may be necessary to determine the priority of inventions with respect to our patents or pending patent applications or those of our collaborators or licensors. An unfavorable outcome could require us to cease using the related technology or to attempt to license rights to it from the prevailing party. The costs of these proceedings could be substantial. As a result, the issuance, scope, validity, enforceability and commercial value of our or any of our respective licensors patent rights are highly uncertain. Our business could be harmed if the prevailing party does not offer us a license on commercially reasonable terms. Litigation or interference proceedings may fail and, even if successful, may result in substantial costs and distract our management and other employees. We may not be able to prevent, alone or with our licensors, misappropriation of our trade secrets or confidential information, particularly in countries where the laws may not protect those rights as fully as in the United States.
We may not have sufficient financial or other resources to adequately conduct such litigation or proceedings. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of such litigation or proceedings more effectively than we can because of their greater financial resources and more mature and developed intellectual property portfolios. Accordingly, despite our efforts, we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing upon or misappropriating or from successfully challenging our intellectual property rights. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of patent litigation or other proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our ability to compete in the marketplace.
If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our trade secrets, our business and competitive position may be harmed.
In addition to the protection afforded by patents, we rely upon unpatented trade secret protection, unpatented know-how and continuing technological innovation to develop and maintain our competitive position. With respect to the building of our proprietary compound library, we consider trade secrets and know-how to be our primary intellectual property. We seek to protect our proprietary technology and processes, in part, by entering into confidentiality agreements with our collaborators, scientific advisors, employees and consultants, and invention assignment agreements with our consultants and employees. We may not be able to prevent the unauthorized disclosure or use of our technical know-how or other trade secrets by the parties to these agreements, however, despite the existence generally of confidentiality agreements and other contractual restrictions. Monitoring unauthorized uses and disclosures is difficult, and we do not know whether the steps we have taken to protect our proprietary technologies will be effective. If any of the collaborators, scientific advisors, employees and consultants who are parties to these agreements breaches or violates the terms of any of these agreements, we may not have adequate remedies for any such breach or violation, and we could lose our trade secrets as a result. Enforcing a claim that a third party illegally obtained and is using our trade secrets, like patent litigation, is expensive and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. In addition, courts outside the United States are sometimes less willing to protect trade secrets.
Our trade secrets could otherwise become known or be independently discovered by our competitors. Competitors could purchase our drug candidates and attempt to replicate some or all of the competitive advantages we derive from our development efforts, willfully infringe our intellectual property rights, design around our protected technology or develop their own competitive technologies that fall outside of our intellectual property rights. If any of our trade secrets were to be lawfully obtained or independently developed by a competitor, we would have no right to prevent them, or those to whom they communicate it, from using that technology or information to compete with us. If our trade secrets are not adequately protected so as to protect our market against competitors’ drugs, our competitive position could be adversely affected, as could our business.
We may be subject to damages resulting from claims that we or our employees have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged trade secrets of our competitors or are in breach of non-competition or non-solicitation agreements with our competitors.
We could in the future be subject to claims that we or our employees have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed alleged trade secrets or other proprietary information of former employers or competitors. Although we try to ensure that our employees and consultants do not use the intellectual property, proprietary information, know-how or trade secrets of others in their work for us, we may in the future be subject to claims that we caused an employee to breach the terms of his or her non-competition or non-solicitation agreement, or that we or these individuals have, inadvertently or otherwise, used or disclosed the alleged trade secrets or other proprietary information of a former employer or competitor. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. Even if we are successful in defending against these claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and could be a distraction to management. If our defenses to these claims fail, in addition to requiring us to pay monetary damages, a court could prohibit us from using technologies or features that are essential to our drug candidates, if such technologies or features are found to incorporate or be derived from the trade secrets or other proprietary information of the former employers. An inability to incorporate such technologies or features would have a material adverse effect on our business, and may prevent us from successfully commercializing our drug candidates. In addition, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel as a result of such claims. Moreover, any such litigation or the threat thereof may adversely affect our ability to hire employees or contract with independent sales representatives. A loss of key personnel or their work product could hamper or prevent our ability to commercialize our drug candidates, which would have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Risks Related to Employee Matters, Managing Growth and Other Risks Related to Our Business
If we fail to attract and keep key management and clinical development personnel, we may be unable to successfully develop or commercialize our product candidates.
We are highly dependent on the research and development, clinical, business development, financial and legal expertise of our senior management team as well as the other principal members of our management, scientific and clinical team. Although we have entered into an employment agreement with our chief executive officer and employment letters with our senior managers, each of our executive officers may terminate their employment with us at any time. We do not maintain key person insurance for any of our executives or other employees. In addition, we rely on consultants and advisors, including scientific and clinical advisors, to assist us in formulating our research and development and commercialization strategy. Our consultants and advisors may be employed by employers other than us and may have commitments under consulting or advisory contracts with other entities that may limit their availability to us. If we are unable to continue to attract and retain high quality personnel, our ability to pursue our growth strategy will be limited.
We expect to continue hiring qualified development personnel. Recruiting and retaining qualified scientific, clinical, manufacturing and sales and marketing personnel will be critical to our success. The loss of the services of our chief executive officer or other key employees could impede the achievement of our research, development and commercialization objectives and seriously harm our ability to successfully implement our business strategy. Furthermore, replacing key employees may be difficult and may take an extended period of time because of the limited number of individuals in our industry with the breadth of skills and experience required to successfully develop, gain regulatory approval of and commercialize drugs. Competition to hire from this limited pool is intense, and we may be unable to hire, train, retain or motivate these key personnel on acceptable terms given the competition among numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for similar personnel. Failure to succeed in clinical trials may make it more challenging to recruit and retain qualified medical and scientific personnel. If we are not able to attract and retain the necessary personnel to accomplish our business objectives, we may experience constraints that will impede significantly the achievement of our development objectives, our ability to raise additional capital, and our ability to implement our business strategy.
We will need to develop and expand our business, and we may encounter difficulties in managing this development and expansion, which could disrupt our operations.
As of February 14, 2020, we had 134 full-time employees, and we expect to continue to increase our number of employees and expand the scope of our operations. Our management and medical, commercial, and scientific personnel, systems and facilities currently in place will not be adequate to support our anticipated future growth. 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. Also, our management may need to divert a disproportionate amount of its attention away from its day-to-day activities and devote a substantial amount of time to managing these development activities. Due to our limited resources, we may not be able to effectively manage the expansion of our operations or recruit and train additional qualified personnel. This may result in weaknesses in our infrastructure, give rise to operational mistakes, loss of business opportunities, loss of employees and reduced productivity among remaining employees. To accommodate growth, additional physical expansion of our operations in the future may lead to significant costs, including capital expenditures, and may divert financial resources from other projects, such as the development of our drug candidates. If our management is unable to effectively manage our expected development and expansion, our expenses may increase more than expected, our ability to generate or increase our revenue could be reduced and we may not be able to implement our business strategy. Our future financial performance and our ability to commercialize our drug candidates, if approved, and compete effectively will depend, in part, on our ability to effectively manage the future development and expansion of our business.
Additionally, to help manage the expanding needs, we may utilize the services of outside vendors or consultants to perform tasks including clinical trial management, statistics and analysis, regulatory affairs, formulation development, chemistry, manufacturing, controls, and other pharmaceutical development functions. Our growth strategy may also entail expanding our group of contractors or consultants to implement these tasks going forward. Because we rely on a substantial number of consultants, effectively outsourcing many key functions of our business, we will need to be able to effectively manage these consultants to ensure that they successfully carry out their contractual obligations and meet expected deadlines. However, if we are unable to effectively manage our outsourced activities or if the quality or accuracy of the services provided by consultants is compromised for any reason, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated, and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates or otherwise advance our business. There can be no assurance that we will be able to manage our existing consultants or find other competent outside contractors and consultants on economically reasonable terms, or at all. If we are not able to effectively expand our organization by hiring new employees and expanding our groups of consultants and contractors, we may be unable to successfully implement the tasks necessary to further develop and commercialize our product candidates and, accordingly, may not achieve our research, development and commercialization goals.
Unfavorable global economic conditions could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our results of operations could be adversely affected by general conditions in the global economy and in the global financial markets. For example, the global financial crisis caused extreme volatility and disruptions in the capital and credit markets. A severe or prolonged economic downturn, such as the global financial crisis, could result in a variety of risks to our business, including, weakened demand for our drug candidates and our ability to raise additional capital when needed on acceptable terms, if at all. A weak or declining economy could also strain our suppliers, possibly resulting in supply disruption, or cause our customers to delay making payments for our services.
On January 31, 2019 (Brexit Day), the United Kingdom formally left the European Union. Although Brexit has already and may continue to adversely affect European and/or worldwide economic or market, political or regulatory conditions and may contribute to instability in the global financial markets, political institutions and regulatory agencies, the resulting immediate changes in foreign currency exchange rates have had a limited overall impact due to natural hedging. The long-term impact of Brexit, including on our business and our industry, will depend on the terms that are negotiated in relation to the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union during the transition period which began on Brexit Day and is currently set to end on December 31, 2020. We are closely monitoring the Brexit developments in order to determine, quantify and proactively address changes as they become clear. Despite the Brexit developments, we do not expect macroeconomic conditions to have a significant impact on our liquidity needs, financial condition or results of operations.
Our internal computer systems, or those of our third-party CROs, CMOs, or other contractors or consultants, may fail or suffer security breaches, which could result in a material disruption of our drug candidates’ development programs.
Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems and those of our third-party CROs, CMOs, and other contractors and consultants are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, unauthorized access, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures. While we have not experienced any such system failure, accident, or security breach to date, if such an event were to occur and cause interruptions in our operations, it could result in a material disruption of our programs. For example, the loss of clinical trial data for our drug candidates could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. Furthermore, in preparing for potential commercialization of our first drug candidate, we anticipate that our computer systems will increase in magnitude and complexity. Building the systems and infrastructure required for commercialization with appropriate security measures may be time consuming and costly. In addition, there can be no assurance that our efforts will prevent breakdowns or breaches in our systems. To the extent that any disruption or security breach results in a loss of or damage to our data or applications or other data or applications relating to our technology or drug candidates, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur financial, legal, business or reputational harm.
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, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
We are exposed to the risk that our employees, principal investigators, CROs, CMOs, and consultants may engage in fraudulent conduct or other illegal activity. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional failures to comply with FDA regulations, provide accurate information to the FDA, comply with manufacturing standards we have established, comply with federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations, 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. Activities subject to these laws also involve the improper use of information obtained in the course of clinical trials or creating fraudulent data in our pre-clinical studies or clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions and cause serious harm to our reputation. We have adopted a code of ethics applicable to all of our employees, but it is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct by employees and other third parties, 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. In addition, we are subject to the risk that a person could allege such fraud or other misconduct, even if none occurred. If any such actions are instituted against us, regardless of the outcome, our reputation and our business may suffer. If we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could lead to imposition of civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, monetary fines, possible exclusion from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, and curtailment of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business.
We may acquire businesses or drugs, or form strategic alliances, in the future, and we may not realize the benefits of such acquisitions.
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.
We may be subject to adverse legislative or regulatory tax changes that could negatively impact our financial condition.
The rules dealing with U.S. federal, state and local income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department. Changes to tax laws (which changes may have retroactive application) could adversely affect our stockholders or us. In recent years, many such changes have been made and changes are likely to continue to occur in the future. We cannot predict whether, when, in what form, or with what effective dates, tax laws, regulations and rulings may be enacted, promulgated or decided, which could result in an increase in our, or our stockholders, tax liability or require changes in the manner in which we operate in order to minimize increases in our tax liability.
On December 22, 2017, legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Act) was signed into law and is generally effective after December 31, 2017. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes significant changes to the United States federal income tax rules for taxation of individuals and business entities. Most of the changes applicable to individuals are temporary and apply only to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026. For corporations, the Tax Act reduces the top corporate income tax rate to 21% and repeals the corporate alternative minimum tax, limits the deduction for net interest expense, limits the deduction for net operating losses and eliminates net operating loss carrybacks, modifies or repeals many business deductions and credits, shifts the United States toward a more territorial tax system, and imposes new taxes to combat erosion of the U.S. federal income tax base. The Tax Act makes numerous other large and small changes to the federal income tax rules that may affect potential investors and may directly or indirectly affect us. We continue to examine the impact this tax reform legislation may have on our business. However, the effect of the Tax Act on us, whether adverse or favorable, is uncertain, and may not become evident for some period of time. This document does not discuss such legislation or the manner in which it might affect us or purchasers of our common stock. Prospective investors are urged to consult with their legal and tax advisors with respect to the Tax Act and any other regulatory or administrative developments and proposals, and their potential effects on them based on their unique circumstances.
Risks Related to Our Common Stock and Being a Publicly-Traded Company
Our stock price is, and we expect it to remain, volatile, which could limit investors ability to sell stock at a profit.
The trading price of our common stock has been and is likely to continue to be highly volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in price in response to various factors, many of which are beyond our control. These factors include:
|●||publicity regarding actual or potential clinical results relating to products under development by our competitors or us;|
|●||delay or failure in initiating, completing or analyzing nonclinical or clinical trials or the unsatisfactory design or results of these trials;|
|●||achievement or rejection of regulatory approvals by our competitors or us;|
|●||announcements of technological innovations or new commercial products by our competitors or us;|
|●||developments concerning proprietary rights, including patents;|
|●||developments concerning our collaborations;|
|●||regulatory developments in the United States and foreign countries;|
|●||economic or other crises and other external factors;|
|●||period-to-period fluctuations in our revenues and other results of operations;|
|●||changes in financial estimates by securities analysts; and|
|●||sales of our common stock by us.|
We will not be able to control many of these factors, and we believe that period-to-period comparisons of our financial results will not necessarily be indicative of our future performance.
In addition, the stock market in general, and the market for biotechnology companies in particular, has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that may have been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of individual companies. These broad market and industry factors may seriously harm the market price of our common stock, regardless of our operating performance.
Our executive officers, directors, principal stockholders and their affiliates maintain the ability to exercise significant influence over our company and all matters submitted to stockholders for approval.
Our executive officers, directors and stockholders who own more than 5% of our outstanding common stock, together with their affiliates and related persons, beneficially own shares of common stock representing a significant percentage of our capital stock. As a result, if these stockholders were to choose to act together, they would be able to influence our management and affairs and the outcome of matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election of directors and any sale, merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets. This concentration of voting power could delay or prevent an acquisition of our company on terms that other stockholders may desire. In addition, this concentration of ownership might adversely affect the market price of our common stock by:
|●||delaying, deferring or preventing a change of control of us;|
|●||impeding a merger, consolidation, takeover or other business combination involving us; or|
|●||discouraging a potential acquirer from making a tender offer or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us.|
Because we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our capital stock in the foreseeable future, capital appreciation, if any, will be the sole source of gain for our stockholders.
We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain all of our future earnings, if any, to finance the growth and development of our business. In addition, under the Loan Agreement, we are currently restricted from paying cash dividends, and we expect these restrictions to continue in the future. In addition, the terms of any future debt agreements may continue to preclude us from paying dividends. As a result, capital appreciation, if any, of our common stock will be the sole source of gain for our stockholders for the foreseeable future.
Certain anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and Delaware law could make a third-party acquisition of us difficult. This could limit the price investors might be willing to pay in the future for our common stock.
Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and restated bylaws could have the effect of making it more difficult for a third party to acquire, or of discouraging a third party from attempting to acquire, or control us. These factors could limit the price that certain investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation allows us to issue preferred stock without the approval of our stockholders. The issuance of preferred stock could decrease the amount of earnings and assets available for distribution to the holders of our common stock or could adversely affect the rights and powers, including voting rights, of such holders. In certain circumstances, such issuance could have the effect of decreasing the market price of our common stock. Our restated bylaws eliminate the right of stockholders to call a special meeting of stockholders, which could make it more difficult for stockholders to effect certain corporate actions. Any of these provisions could also have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control.
On July 18, 2014, the Board of Directors declared a distribution of one right for each outstanding share of common stock. The rights may have certain anti-takeover effects. The rights will cause substantial dilution to a person or group that attempts to acquire us on terms not approved by the Board of Directors unless the offer is conditioned on a substantial number of rights being acquired. However, the rights should not interfere with any merger, statutory share exchange or other business combination approved by the Board of Directors since the rights may be terminated by us upon resolution of the Board of Directors. Thus, the rights are intended to encourage persons who may seek to acquire control of the Company to initiate such an acquisition through negotiations with the Board of Directors. However, the effect of the rights may be to discourage a third party from making a partial tender offer or otherwise attempting to obtain a substantial equity position in the equity securities of, or seeking to obtain control of, the Company. To the extent any potential acquirers are deterred by the rights, the rights may have the effect of preserving incumbent management in office.
An active trading market for our common stock may not be sustained, and investors may not be able to resell their shares at or above the price they paid.
Although we have listed our common stock on The Nasdaq Capital Market, an active trading market for our shares may not be sustained. In the absence of an active trading market for our common stock, investors may not be able to sell their common stock at or above the price at which they acquired their shares or at the time that they would like to sell. An inactive trading market may also impair our ability to raise capital to continue to fund operations by selling shares and may impair our ability to acquire other companies or technologies by using our shares as consideration.
If equity research analysts do not publish research or reports about our business or if they publish negative evaluations of or downgrade our common stock, the price of our common stock could decline.
The trading market for our common stock relies in part on the research and reports that equity research analysts publish about us or our business. We do not control these analysts. We may never obtain research coverage by industry or financial analysts. If no or few analysts commence coverage of us, the trading price of our stock would likely decrease. Even if we do obtain analyst coverage, if one or more of the analysts covering our business downgrade their evaluations of our common stock, the price of our common stock could decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover our common stock, we could lose visibility in the market for our common stock, which in turn could cause our common stock price to decline.
We incur significant increased costs as a result of operating as a public company, and our management is required to devote substantial time to compliance initiatives.
As a public company, we incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules subsequently implemented by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the rules of any stock exchange on which we are listed. These rules impose various requirements on public companies, including requiring establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls and appropriate corporate governance practices. Our team has devoted and will continue to devote a substantial amount of time to these compliance initiatives. Moreover, these rules and regulations increase our legal and financial compliance costs and make some activities more time-consuming and costly. For example, these rules and regulations make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. As a result, it may be more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our Board of Directors, our Board committees or as executive officers.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires, among other things, that we maintain effective internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. As a result, we are required to periodically perform an evaluation of our internal control over financial reporting to allow management to report on the effectiveness of those controls, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Additionally, our independent auditors are required to perform a similar evaluation and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. These efforts to comply with Section 404 will require the commitment of significant financial and managerial resources. While we anticipate maintaining the integrity of our internal control over financial reporting and all other aspects of Section 404, we cannot be certain that a material weakness will not be identified when we test the effectiveness of our control systems in the future. If a material weakness is identified, we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities, which would require additional financial and management resources, costly litigation or a loss of public confidence in our internal control, which could have an adverse effect on the market price of our stock.
Volatility in the price of our common stock may subject us to securities litigation, which could cause us to incur substantial costs and divert management’s attention, financial resources and other company assets.
In the past, securities class action litigation has often been brought against a company following periods of volatility in the market price of its securities. This risk is especially relevant for us because pharmaceutical companies have experienced significant stock price volatility in recent years. Past lawsuits and any future lawsuits to which we may become a party are subject to inherent uncertainties and will likely be expensive and time-consuming to investigate, defend and resolve, and will divert our management’s attention and financial and other resources. The outcome of litigation is necessarily uncertain, and we could be forced to expend significant resources in the defense of these and other suits, and we may not prevail. Any litigation to which we are a party may result in an onerous or unfavorable judgment that may not be reversed upon appeal or in payments of substantial monetary damages or fines, or we may decide to settle this or other lawsuits on similarly unfavorable terms, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or stock price.
Future sales of our common stock, including by us or our directors and executive officers or shares issued upon the exercise of currently outstanding options, could cause our stock price to decline.
A substantial portion of our outstanding common stock can be traded without restriction at any time. In addition, a portion of our outstanding common stock is currently restricted as a result of federal securities laws, but can be sold at any time subject to applicable volume limitations. As such, sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market could occur at any time. These sales, or the perception in the market that the holders of a large number of shares intend to sell shares, by us or others, could reduce the market price of our common stock or impair our ability to raise adequate capital through the sale of additional equity securities. In addition, we have a significant number of shares that are subject to outstanding options. The exercise of these options and the subsequent sale of the underlying common stock could cause a further decline in our stock price. These sales also might make it difficult for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate. We cannot predict the number, timing or size of future issuances or the effect, if any, that any future issuances may have on the market price for our common stock.
Our ability to utilize our net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be limited.
Under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, if a corporation undergoes an ownership change (generally defined as a greater than 50% change (by value) in the ownership of its equity over a three year period), the corporations ability to use its pre-change net operating loss carryforwards and certain other pre-change tax attributes to offset its post-change income may be limited. We may have experienced such ownership changes in the past, and we may experience ownership changes in the future as a result of shifts in our stock ownership, some of which are outside our control. As of December 31, 2019, we had federal net operating loss carryforwards of approximately $709.9 million, and our ability to utilize those net operating loss carryforwards could be limited by an ownership change as described above, which could result in increased tax liability to us. In addition, pursuant to the TCJA, we may not use net operating loss carry-forwards to reduce our taxable income in any year by more than 80%, and we may not carry back any net operating losses to prior years. These new rules apply regardless of the occurrence of an ownership change.
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES.
We maintain corporate and executive space in New York, New York, and Edison, New Jersey. We are also currently leasing small office spaces in Raleigh, North Carolina and Kingsport, Tennessee to accommodate our clinical operations groups and commercial team. We believe that our existing facilities are adequate to meet our current requirements. We do not own any real property.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.
We, and our subsidiaries, are not a party to, and our property is not the subject of, any material pending legal proceedings.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.
Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market and trades under the symbol “TGTX”.
The number of record holders of our common stock as of February 21, 2020 was 230.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock and do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors.
Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans
The following table provides information as of December 31, 2019, regarding the securities authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plan, the TG Therapeutics, Inc. Amended and Restated 2012 Incentive Plan.
Equity Compensation Plan Information
securities to be
exercise price of
in column 1)
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
For information about all of our equity compensation plans see Note 5 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in this report.
COMMON STOCK PERFORMANCE GRAPH
The following graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock for the period from December 31, 2014 through December 31, 2019, with the cumulative total return over such period on (i) the U.S. Index of The Nasdaq Stock Market and (ii) the Biotechnology Index of The Nasdaq Stock Market. The graph assumes an investment of $100 on December 31, 2014, in our common stock (at the adjusted closing market price) and in each of the indices listed above, and assumes the reinvestment of all dividends. Measurement points are December 31 of each year.
* $100 invested on December 31, 2014 in stock or index, including reinvestment of dividends. Fiscal Years ending December 31.
ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.
The following Statement of Operations data for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, and Balance Sheet Data as of December 31, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, as set forth below are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements. Audited financial statements prior to 2017 are not contained herein. This financial data should be read in conjunction with “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”
Years ended December 31,
Costs and expenses:
Research and development:
Noncash stock expense associated with in-licensing agreements
Other research and development
Total research and development
General and administrative:
Other general and administrative
Total general and administrative
Total costs and expenses
Other (income) expense:
Total other (income) expense, net
Basic and diluted net loss per common share
Balance Sheet Information:
Cash, cash equivalents, investment securities and interest receivable
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.
The following discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements about our plans and expectations of what may happen in the future. Forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions and estimates that are inherently subject to significant risks and uncertainties, and our results could differ materially from the results anticipated by our forward-looking statements as a result of many known or unknown factors, including, but not limited to, those factors discussed in “Risk Factors.” See also the “Special Cautionary Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” set forth at the beginning of this report.
You should read the following discussion and analysis in conjunction with “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” and our consolidated financial statements beginning on page F-1 of this report.
We are a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and delivering medicines for patients with B-cell mediated diseases, including Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We have developed a robust B-cell directed research and development (R&D) platform for identification of key B-cell pathways of interest and rapid clinical testing. Currently, we have five B-cell targeted drug candidates in clinical development, with the lead two therapies, ublituximab (TG-1101) and umbralisib (TGR-1202), in pivotal trials for CLL, NHL and MS. Ublituximab is a novel anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (mAb) that has been glycoengineered for enhanced potency over first generation antibodies. Umbralisib is an oral, once daily, dual inhibitor of PI3K-delta and CK1-epsilon, which may lead to a differentiated safety profile. When used together in combination therapy, ublituximab and umbralisib are referred to as "U2". Additionally, in early clinical development we have an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody referred to as cosibelimab (TG-1501), an oral Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase (“BTK”) inhibitor referred to as TG-1701, and an anti-CD47/CD19 bispecific antibody referred to as TG-1801.
We also actively evaluate complementary products, technologies and companies for in-licensing, partnership, acquisition and/or investment opportunities. To date, we have not received approval for the sale of any of our drug candidates in any market and, therefore, have not generated any product sales from our drug candidates.
Our license revenues currently consist of license fees arising from our agreement with Ildong. In accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) ASC Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (“ASC 606”), which the Company adopted on January 1, 2018, we recognize upfront license fee revenues ratably over the estimated period in which we will have certain performance obligations, with unamortized amounts recorded as deferred revenue. We have not earned any revenues from the commercial sale of any of our drug candidates.
Our research and development expenses consist primarily of expenses related to in-licensing of new product candidates, fees paid to consultants and outside service providers for clinical and laboratory development, facilities-related and other expenses relating to the design, development, manufacture, testing and enhancement of our drug candidates and technologies. We expense our research and development costs as they are incurred. Research and development expenses for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 were approximately $148.4 million, $153.8 million and $96.9 million, respectively, excluding non-cash compensation expenses related to research and development.
The following table sets forth the research and development expenses per project, exclusive of non-cash compensation expenses, for the periods presented.