wint20191231_10k.htm
 

 

Table of Contents

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

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

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

 

Or

 

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

 

For the transition period from _____ to _____

 

Commission File Number: 000-26422

 

WINDTREE THERAPEUTICS, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Delaware

(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

94-3171943

(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

2600 Kelly Road, Suite 100

Warrington, Pennsylvania

(Address of principal executive offices)

18976-3622

(Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (215) 488-9300

 

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

 

Title of each class

Trading symbol(s)

Name of exchange on which registered

Common Stock, $0.001 par value

WINT

The Nasdaq Capital Market

 

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

 

None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
YES ☐ NO ☒

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act. YES ☐ NO ☒

 

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

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). YES ☒ NO ☐

 

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

 

Large accelerated filer     ☐

Accelerated filer        ☐

   

Non-accelerated filer       ☒

Smaller reporting company        ☒

   

Emerging growth company        ☐

 

 

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

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☐

 

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

 

 

On June 30, 2020, the aggregate market value of shares of voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $66.9 million (based on the closing price on The Nasdaq Capital Market on that date). In determining this amount, the registrant has assumed solely for this purpose that all of its directors, executive officers and persons beneficially owning 10% or more of the outstanding shares of common stock of the registrant may be considered to be affiliates. This assumption shall not be deemed conclusive as to affiliate status for this or any other purpose.

 

As of March 29, 2021, there were 26,257,065 shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding.

 

Unless the context otherwise requires, all references to we, us, our, and the Company include Windtree Therapeutics, Inc., and its consolidated subsidiaries.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K incorporates certain information by reference from the registrant’s proxy statement for the annual meeting of shareholders to be filed no later than 120 days after the end of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

 

 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements provide our current expectations or forecasts of future events and financial performance and may be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, including such terms as believes, estimates, anticipates, expects, plans, intends, may, will, should, could, targets, projects, contemplates, predicts, potential or continues or, in each case, their negative, or other variations or comparable terminology, though the absence of these words does not necessarily mean that a statement is not forward-looking.

 

We intend that all forward-looking statements be subject to the safe-harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are subject to many risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. We caution you therefore against relying on any of these forward-looking statements. They are neither statements of historical fact nor guarantees or assurances of future performance. Examples of such risks and uncertainties, which potentially could have a material adverse effect on our development programs, business and/or operations, include, but are not limited to the following:

 

 

our estimates regarding future results of operations, financial position, research and development costs, capital requirements and our needs for additional financing;

  how long we can continue to fund our operations with our existing cash and cash equivalents; 
 

delays in our anticipated timelines and milestones and additional costs associated with the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic;

 

the results, cost and timing of our preclinical studies and clinical trials, as well as the number of required trials for regulatory approval and the criteria for success in such trials;

 

legal and regulatory developments in the United States, or U.S., and foreign countries, including any actions or advice that may affect the design, initiation, timing, continuation, progress or outcome of clinical trials or result in the need for additional clinical trials;

 

the difficulties and expenses associated with obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of our product candidates, and the indication and labeling under any such approval;

 

our plans and the plans of our licensee in Asia and our respective abilities to successfully execute clinical and business development activities in a timely manner, if at all, and commercialize our product candidates;

 

risks related to manufacturing active pharmaceutical ingredients, drug product, medical devices and other materials we need;

  delays, interruptions or failures in the manufacture and supply of our product candidates;
  the performance of third parties, both foreign and domestic, upon which we depend, including contract research organizations, contract manufacturing organizations, contractor laboratories and independent contractors;
 

the size and growth of the potential markets for our product candidates, the regulatory requirements in such markets, the rate and degree of market acceptance of our product candidates and our ability to serve those markets;

 

the success of competing therapies and products that are or become available;

 

our ability to limit our exposure under product liability lawsuits;

 

our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for our product candidates;

 

recently enacted and future legislation regarding the healthcare system in the U.S. and other potential markets, including in the U.S. changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act;

 

our ability to recruit or retain key scientific, commercial or management personnel or to retain our executive officers; and

 

our ability to secure electronically stored work product, including clinical data, analyses, research, communications and other materials necessary to gain regulatory approval of our product candidates, including those acquired from third parties, and assure the integrity, proper functionality and security of our internal computer and information systems and prevent or avoid cyber-attacks, malicious intrusion, breakdown, destruction, loss of data privacy or other significant disruption.

 

Pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology companies have suffered significant setbacks conducting clinical trials, even after obtaining promising earlier preclinical and clinical data. In addition, data obtained from clinical trials are susceptible to varying interpretations, which could delay, limit or prevent regulatory approval. After gaining approval of a drug product, medical device or combination drug/device product, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies face considerable challenges in marketing and distributing their products and may never become profitable.

 

The forward-looking statements contained in this report or the documents incorporated by reference herein speak only as of their respective dates. Factors or events that could cause our actual results to differ may emerge from time to time and it is not possible for us to predict them all. Except to the extent required by applicable laws, rules or regulations, we do not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements or to publicly announce revisions to any of the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

 

Trademark Notice

AEROSURF®, AFECTAIR®, SURFAXIN®, SURFAXIN LS™, WINDTREE THERAPEUTICS® (logo),

WINDTREE THERAPEUTICS™, and WINDTREE™ are registered and common law trademarks of Windtree Therapeutics, Inc. (Warrington, PA).

 

i

 

RISK FACTOR SUMMARY

 

The risk factors summarized and detailed below could materially harm our business, operating results and/or financial condition, impair our future prospects and/or cause the price of our common stock to decline. These are not all of the risks we face, and other factors not presently known to us or that we currently believe are immaterial may also affect our business if they occur. The following is a summary of the material risks that may affect our business, operating results and financial condition include, but are not necessarily limited to, those relating to:

 

Risks Related to Our Financial Condition

 

 

We will require substantial additional financing to achieve our goals, and a failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed on acceptable terms, or at all, could force us to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development programs, or other operations.

 

 

Due to the significant resources required to develop each of our product candidates, we must prioritize development of certain product candidates and/or certain disease indications. We may be delayed in advancing a product candidate if our plan does not include sufficient funding to execute a clinical program. If we expend our limited resources on candidates or indications that do not yield a successful product and fail to capitalize on other product candidates or indications that may be more profitable or for which there is a greater likelihood of success, such failure could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.

 

 

We have a significant amount of intangible assets, including goodwill, recorded on our consolidated balance sheets which may lead to potentially significant impairment charges.

 

 

Risks Related to our Development Activities and Regulatory Approval of our Product Candidates

 

 

We have limited experience with the development of therapies targeted to the treatment of early cardiogenic shock and novel coronavirus, or COVID-19-related acute lung injury and may not succeed in our efforts to gain approval of our product candidates and establish a profitable business.

 

 

Delays in clinical trials are common and have many causes, and any delay could result in increased costs to us and jeopardize or delay our ability to obtain regulatory approval and commence product sales or allow for competition to emerge.

 

 

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may negatively impact our ability to develop our product candidates.

 

 

Use of our product candidates, which are being developed to treat critically-ill patients in acute-care hospital settings, could be associated with side effects, serious adverse events or other complications and safety risks, which could delay or preclude approval, cause us to suspend or discontinue clinical trials, abandon a product candidate, limit the commercial profile of an approved label or result in other significant negative consequences that could severely harm our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition.

 

 

If our competitors develop and receive United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, approval for treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, our commercial opportunity with respect to our development of KL4 surfactant for the treatment of lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome caused by COVID-19 may be reduced or eliminated.

 

 

Although we may pursue expedited regulatory programs for a product candidate or an indication, it may not qualify for expedited development or, if it does qualify for expedited development, it may not actually lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process.

 

 

Interim, topline and preliminary data from our clinical trials that we announce or publish from time to time may change as more patient data become available and are subject to audit and verification procedures that could result in material changes in the final data.

 

 

We are currently conducting, and may in the future conduct, certain of our clinical trials for our product candidates at clinical sites located in the United States, or U.S., and outside of the U.S. If the FDA and other foreign equivalents raise concerns about certain of the clinical sites based on location and regulatory environment, they may not accept data from such trials, in which case our development plans will be delayed, which could materially harm our business.

 

 

If the FDA or other applicable regulatory authorities approve generic products with claims that compete with our product candidates, it could reduce our sales of our product candidates if approved.

 

 

Failure of our new Aerosol Delivery System to perform as intended in clinical trials, including the planned AEROSURF phase 2 bridging study to be conducted by our licensee and potentially phase 3 development activities expected to be conducted by our licensee, would have a material adverse effect on our efforts to develop our aerosolized KL4 surfactant products, including AEROSURF, and our business strategy.

 

 

The successful commercialization of our product candidates, if approved, will depend in part on the extent to which governmental authorities and health insurers establish coverage, adequate reimbursement levels and favorable pricing policies. Failure to obtain or maintain coverage and adequate reimbursement for our products could limit our ability to market those products and decrease our ability to generate revenue.

 

Risks Related to Our Reliance on Third Parties

 

 

We rely on third parties to conduct many of our preclinical studies and clinical trials. Any failure by a third party to conduct the clinical trials according to good clinical practices and other requirements and in a timely manner may delay or prevent our ability to seek or obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates.

 

ii

 

 

We plan to rely on third parties, some of which are located outside the U.S., to manufacture our drug product candidates and manufacture and assemble our medical devices, which exposes us to risks that may affect our ability to maintain supplies of our clinical materials, and subject us to uncertainty associated with the international political climate, and could potentially delay our research and development activities, as well as eventual regulatory approval and commercialization of our drug product candidates.

 

Risks Related to our Business and Operations

 

 

Our operating results may fluctuate significantly, which makes our future operating results difficult to predict and could cause our operating results to fall below expectations or any guidance we may provide.

 

 

We are continually evaluating our business strategy and may modify this strategy to respond to developments in our business and other factors.

 

 

The political and healthcare policy environment is becoming more challenging for pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers and may adversely affect our business.

 

 

We depend upon key employees and consultants in a competitive market for skilled personnel. If we or our strategic partners or collaborators are unable to attract and retain key personnel, it could adversely affect our ability to develop and market our products.

 

 

We could be adversely affected by any interruption to our ability to conduct business at our current location.

 

Risks Related to Government Regulation

 

 

Our activities are subject to various and complex laws and regulations, and we are susceptible to a changing regulatory environment. Violations or allegations of violations of these laws may result in large civil and criminal penalties, debarment from participating in government programs, diversion of management time, attention and resources and may otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

 

Failure in our information technology systems could disrupt our operations and cause the loss of confidential information and business opportunities.

 

 

Healthcare reform measures in the U.S., as well as the general tightening of drug reimbursement pathways and levels of reimbursement globally, are expected to add additional pressure to achieve financial expectations for our product candidates, if approved.

 

 

Our international operations subject us to additional regulatory oversight in foreign jurisdictions, as well as economic, social, and political uncertainties, which could cause a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, and operating results.

 

 

Our employees and independent contractors, including principal investigators, contract research organizations, consultants and vendors, may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with regulatory standards and requirements.

 

 

We are subject to anti-bribery, anti-corruption, and anti-money laundering laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, in which violations of these laws could result in substantial penalties and prosecution.

 

 

We and any of our third-party manufacturers or suppliers may use potent chemical agents and hazardous materials, and any claims relating to improper handling, storage or disposal of these materials could be time consuming or costly.

 

Risks Related to Intellectual Property Matters

 

 

If we cannot protect our intellectual property, others could use our technology in competitive products. Even if we obtain patents to protect our products, those patents may not be sufficiently broad or they may expire and others could then compete with us.

 

 

Intellectual property rights of third parties could limit our ability to develop and market our products.

 

 

We rely on agreements containing obligations regarding intellectual property, confidentiality and noncompetition provisions that could be breached and may be difficult to enforce.

 

 

Intellectual property rights do not necessarily address all potential threats.

 

Risks Related to the Ownership of our Securities

 

 

A small group of our investors, including Lee’s Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited, may be able to exercise significant influence over our business strategy and operations.

 

 

Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market. We can provide no assurance that we will be able to comply with the continued listing requirements over time and that our common stock will continue to be listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market.

 

 

Our Certificate of Incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the exclusive forum for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to file in a different judicial forum to resolve disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.

 

iii

 

WINDTREE THERAPEUTICS, INC.

 

Table of Contents to Annual Report on Form 10-K
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2020

 

PART I 1
 

ITEM 1. BUSINESS.

1

 

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS.

26

 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

53

 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES.

53

 

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

54

 

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

54

     
PART II 54
 

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.

54
 

ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.

54

  ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS. 54
 

ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK.

62

  ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA.  62
  ITEM 9. CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE. 62
 

ITEM 9A. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES.

63

 

ITEM 9B. OTHER INFORMATION.

63

     
PART III 63
 

ITEM 10. DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

63

 

ITEM 11. EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

63

  ITEM 12. SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS  63
  ITEM 13. CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE  63
 

ITEM 14. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

63

     
PART IV 64
 

ITEM 15. EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES.

64

     
SIGNATURES

 

68

 

 

PART I

 

 

ITEM 1. BUSINESS.

 

Overview

 

We are a clinical-stage, biopharmaceutical and medical device company focused on the development of novel therapeutics intended to address significant unmet medical needs in important acute care markets. Our development programs are primarily focused in the treatment of acute cardiovascular and acute pulmonary diseases. Our lead acute cardiovascular product candidate, istaroxime, is a first-in-class, dual-acting agent being developed to improve cardiac function in patients with acute heart failure, or AHF, with a potentially differentiated safety profile from existing treatments. Istaroxime demonstrated significant improvement in both diastolic and systolic aspects of cardiac function and was generally well tolerated in two phase 2 clinical trials. Istaroxime has been granted Fast Track designation for the treatment of AHF by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. Based on the profile observed in the phase 2 clinical studies in AHF, where istaroxime significantly improved cardiac function and systolic blood pressure in heart failure patients, we initiated a small clinical study to evaluate istaroxime for the treatment of early cardiogenic shock, a severe form of heart failure characterized by very low blood pressure and hypo-perfusion to critical organs. We believe that istaroxime may fulfill an unmet need in early cardiogenic shock. In addition, our drug product candidates include rostafuroxin, a novel medicine for the treatment of hypertension in patients with a specific genetic profile, for which we are pursuing potential out-licensing transactions or other strategic opportunities and not advancing on our own. Our cardiovascular portfolio also includes early exploratory research programs to evaluate potential preclinical product candidates for development, including oral and intravenous sarco (endo) plasmic reticulum Ca2+ -ATPase 2a, or SERCA2a, activator heart failure compounds.

 

Our lead pulmonary product candidate is our proprietary lyophilized KL4 surfactant (lucinactant), which we believe may potentially support a product pipeline, alone or in combination with our proprietary Aerosol Delivery System, or ADS, technology, to address a broad range of serious respiratory conditions in children and adults. We are developing KL4 surfactant to be delivered either as a liquid instillate or noninvasively as an aerosol. In September 2020, the FDA accepted our investigational new drug, or IND, application for a small phase 2 pilot study to assess the ability of our KL4 surfactant liquid instillate to impact key respiratory parameters in the treatment of lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, resulting from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent in novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, infections. We dosed the first patient in this clinical trial in January 2021 and plan to enroll up to 20 patients with COVID-19 and ARDS who are on mechanical ventilation, with results expected mid-2021. Our aerosolized product candidate, AEROSURF® (lucinactant for inhalation), is a novel drug/medical device combination product for noninvasive delivery of aerosolized KL4 surfactant using our ADS technology for the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome, or RDS, in premature infants. Our licensee in Asia, Lee’s Pharmaceutical (HK) Ltd., or Lee’s (HK), has agreed to fund and conduct a phase 2b clinical bridging study for AEROSURF in Asia, referred to as the phase 2b bridging study, under the terms of our License, Development and Commercialization Agreement between us and Lee’s (HK) dated as of June 12, 2017, as amended, or the Asia License Agreement. Accordingly, we have suspended our AEROSURF clinical activities and ceased enrollment in the phase 2b bridging study being conducted in the European Union, or EU. To support the future development of AEROSURF and our lyophilized KL4 surfactant liquid instillate in markets outside of Asia, including the United States, or U.S., we are pursuing one or more licensing transactions, collaboration arrangements or other strategic opportunities.

 

Our ability to advance our development programs is dependent upon our ability to secure additional capital in both the near and long-term, through public or private equity offerings; through potential strategic opportunities, including licensing agreements, drug product development and marketing collaboration arrangements, pharmaceutical research cooperation arrangements or other similar transactions in geographic markets outside of Asia, including the U.S.; and/or through potential grants and other funding commitments from U.S. government agencies, in each case, if available. We have engaged with potential counterparties in various markets and will continue to pursue non-dilutive sources of capital as well as potential private and public offerings. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be able to identify and enter into public or private securities offerings on acceptable terms and in amounts sufficient to meet our needs, or qualify for non-dilutive funding opportunities under any grant programs sponsored by U.S. government agencies, private foundations and/or leading academic institutions, or identify and enter into any strategic transactions that will provide the additional capital that we will require. If none of these alternatives is available, or if available, we are unable to raise sufficient capital through such transactions, we potentially could be forced to limit or cease our development activities, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our Development Programs

 

The table below summarizes the current status and anticipated milestones for our principal product development programs. However, due to the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the U.S. and globally, and its effect on hospital resources, focus and availability of services, and professional staff, our clinical trials and the next expected milestones of our product candidates may be impacted, and we may experience delays in anticipated timelines and milestones. In addition, these timelines are dependent on our ability to secure sufficient capital to continue development without interruption.

 

Product Candidate

Indication

Status

Next Expected Milestone

Cardiovascular Programs      

Istaroxime

Early Cardiogenic Shock

Phase 2a

Ongoing clinical study in approximately 60 patients; data currently expected 2H 2021.

Istaroxime

AHF

Phase 2b

Ongoing study start-up activities for second phase 2b clinical trial in approximately 300 patients targeted to start once the clinical trial is fully funded.
Rostafuroxin Genetically Associated Hypertension Phase 2b Pursuing potential out-licensing transactions or other strategic opportunities.

Oral SERCA2a Activators

Chronic and acute HF, including HFpEF

Preclinical

Ongoing preclinical studies; pursuing potential licensing transactions, research partnership arrangements or other strategic opportunities.

Pulmonary Programs      

Lyophilized KL4 Surfactant

COVID-19-associated lung injury and ARDS

Phase 2a FDA accepted our IND for phase 2a pilot clinical study in up to approximately 20 patients in September 2020; study initiated in Q1 2021; data expected in mid-2021.

AEROSURF (aerosolized KL4 surfactant based on ADS technology)

RDS Phase 2b

Small phase 2b bridging study in premature infants using the new ADS, to be funded and conducted by licensee in Asia; pursuing licensing or collaboration arrangements or other strategic opportunities in markets outside of Asia.

 

1

 

Istaroxime

 

Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which patients often experience episodic periods of increased symptoms known as AHF, where the heart fails to adequately pump, resulting in worsening symptoms, including pulmonary and peripheral edema and other severe complications. In the U.S., approximately 6 million people (nearly 2% of the adult population) have heart failure and approximately half of these patients are expected to die within five years of diagnosis; and in the combined U.S., EU and Japan markets, there are more than 18 million patients suffering from heart failure. Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization in patients age 65 years and older. AHF can be precipitated by many factors and puts patients at increased risk for morbidity, hospital readmission and mortality. There are more than 1.3 million hospital admissions for heart failure in the U.S. each year and over 2.5 million hospital estimated admissions for AHF in the combined U.S., EU and Japan markets. We estimate that AHF may represent a potential combined addressable market (U.S., EU and Japan) of approximately $1.6 billion annually.

 

Istaroxime (Early Cardiogenic Shock)

 

We are evaluating istaroxime for the treatment of early cardiogenic shock, a severe presentation of heart failure characterized by very low blood pressure and hypo-perfusion to critical organs which is associated with high mortality and morbidity and is not well treated with current therapies. In September 2020, we initiated a small phase 2 clinical study of istaroxime for the acute treatment of early cardiogenic shock in heart failure patients with a more severe case of heart failure to evaluate the potential to improve blood pressure and organ perfusion. The study also will evaluate the safety and side effect profile of istaroxime in this patient population. We expect data to be available in the second half of 2021. With the current global COVID-19 pandemic, however, and its disruptive effect on hospital resources, including intensive care units, or ICUs, where this study is being conducted, and availability of services and professional staff, we have experienced delays in our site-set-up activities and anticipate that we may have continuing delays that could affect our clinical timelines and milestones.

 

We believe istaroxime may fulfill an unmet need in early cardiogenic shock based on the profile observed in our phase 2 clinical studies in AHF, which demonstrated that istaroxime significantly improved cardiac function and systolic blood pressure. Because of the unmet need in the treatment of early cardiogenic shock, we believe there may be an opportunity with a breakthrough therapy designation to benefit from an expedited development program. Moreover, regulatory precedent exists for an approval in distributive shock settings based upon improvements in blood pressure with an acceptable safety profile. In addition, receipt of either Fast Track or breakthrough therapy designation may increase the likelihood of receiving priority review of a marketing application, which would provide for an expedited review timeframe; however, there is no guarantee that we would receive breakthrough or Fast Track designation or that any such designation will lead to a faster development process, review or approval compared to product candidates considered for approval under conventional FDA procedures.

 

Istaroxime (AHF)

 

Istaroxime is a first-in-class, dual action investigational drug that we are developing to treat AHF with a potentially differentiated safety profile from current AHF therapies. In 2019, we announced topline results of a successful phase 2b clinical trial of istaroxime in which the primary endpoint of cardiac function, E/Ea ratio (echocardiographic assessment reflecting changes in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, or PCWP, or left ventricular filing pressure) as well as other important parameters were significantly improved. Istaroxime has been granted Fast Track designation by the FDA for the treatment of AHF. In April 2020, we announced the presentation at the American College of Cardiology 2020 virtual meeting of a new subset analysis from a phase 2b study of istaroxime in patients hospitalized with AHF. This post-hoc analysis characterized the responses between Caucasian and Asian patients and demonstrated that the istaroxime dose of 0.5 µg/kg/min produced a similar response on E/e’, the primary study endpoint, and stroke volume index, an important measure of cardiac performance.

 

Istaroxime represents a novel approach to the treatment of AHF. It has a dual mechanism of action to improve cardiovascular physiology. Current therapy for heart failure in the hospital typically includes intravenous diuretics and, if the blood pressure is low, supportive therapy with inotropes. Inotropes are often associated with adverse effects such as hypotension, arrhythmias and, in some cases, increased mortality. These drugs are used only if needed to support blood pressure and cardiac function. We believe that istaroxime, if approved, may have the potential to address unmet medical needs of these patients by improving cardiac function and management of fluid accumulation that contributes to heart failure symptoms with a potentially differentiated safety profile from current AHF therapies, including a potential reduction in complications and improvement of other clinical outcomes.

 

To advance istaroxime for the treatment of AHF potentially through the phase 2 clinical program and be in a phase 3-ready position, our strategy includes, subject to adequate resources, planning an additional phase 2 clinical trial that will enroll up to 300 patients in approximately 75 clinical sites globally. The trial will focus on enrolling patients with low blood pressure and those who are diuretic resistant, two of the specific patient populations that we believe could particularly benefit from the unique profile and potential ability of istaroxime to increase cardiac function, increase blood pressure and improve renal function. This trial has been designed to collect data on measures that may serve as primary endpoints in a phase 3 clinical trial, and will include an optimized dosing regimen, potentially extending the infusion time beyond 24 hours. We currently do not have sufficient capital to initiate this clinical trial. We are exploring capital from public and private equity offerings and potential strategic opportunities to fund the initiation of this clinical trial, and plan to initiate the clinical trial after obtaining adequate funding. We plan to closely monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on hospital resources and resulting potential changes in regulatory timelines for conducting non-COVID-19-related clinical trials.

 

Rostafuroxin

 

Rostafuroxin is a novel investigational drug product candidate being developed for the treatment of hypertension in patients with a specific genetic profile, which is found in approximately 20% - 25% of the adult hypertensive population. Rostafuroxin has been studied in three phase 2 clinical trials assessing reduction in blood pressure in a hypertensive population selected in accordance with the specified genetic profile. After positive phase 2a results, a phase 2b study was initiated. In this most recent phase 2b clinical trial, rostafuroxin demonstrated efficacy in Caucasian patients but not in Chinese patients.

 

According to the CDC, patients with high blood pressure have a greater risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the U.S. Nearly half of adults in the U.S. (108 million, or 45%) have hypertension defined as a systolic blood pressure ≥ 130 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure ≥ 80 mm Hg or are taking medication for hypertension. In 2018, nearly half a million deaths in the U.S. included hypertension as a primary or contributing cause. Only about 1 in 4 adults (24%) with hypertension have their condition under control. Patients often have persistent hypertension despite being on multiple therapies. Ethnicity and genetic makeup are known to impact the response to anti-hypertensive treatments, and uncontrolled hypertension has been associated with certain genetic makeups. Given the size of the market and the prevalence of unmet medical needs, major pharmaceutical companies have maintained hypertension as a key area of focus and continue to seek new drugs to compete in markets they have established with previous anti-hypertensive therapies. We are currently engaged in a process to test the industry’s interest in investing in new drugs in this market, and plan to pursue potential licensing transactions and/or other strategic opportunities.

 

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Preclinical Oral, Chronic and Acute Heart Failure Product Candidates

 

We are pursuing several early exploratory research programs to assess potential product candidates, including oral and intravenous SERCA2a activator heart failure compounds, and believe that we can add value to our cardiovascular portfolio by advancing these SERCA2a activator candidates through preclinical studies. To further advance these product candidates, we are actively exploring potential licensing transactions, research partnership arrangements or other strategic opportunities.

 

Lyophilized KL4 Surfactant (COVID-19 related Lung Injury)

 

Patients with COVID-19 pneumonia may progress to severe respiratory failure requiring supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation. This acute lung injury, known as ARDS, has no approved therapies and is associated with significant morbidity, mortality and healthcare resource utilization. The COVID-19 virus infects via angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor, or ACE2, on cells in the lung which impair surfactant production, resulting in decreased lung compliance, and increased likelihood of needing mechanical ventilation. We believe this mechanism of injury may differentiate COVID-19 lung injury from other etiologies of ARDS and is the basis for a potentially important role for our KL4 surfactant. Lung fibrosis and severe interstitial changes occurring in COVID-19 patients resemble those seen in premature infants who are initially ventilated due to RDS and later develop bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or BPD, a condition in which KL4 surfactant clinical data suggests a potential benefit. Pre-clinical and clinical evidence shows surfactant replacement therapy has the potential to improve lung function, oxygenation, lung compliance and decrease pulmonary inflammation. These beneficial effects could lead to potential clinical improvements such as decreased need for mechanical ventilation, decreased time on ventilator (freeing the devices for other patients) and possibly mortality.

 

In September 2020, the FDA accepted our IND application for a phase 2 clinical trial to assess the impact of our lyophilized KL4 surfactant on key respiratory parameters in ventilated COVID-19 patients. This small pilot study is designed to evaluate changes in physiological parameters in patients who are intubated and mechanically ventilated for COVID-19 associated lung injury and ARDS. The study will evaluate the dosing regimen, tolerability, and functional changes in gas exchange and lung compliance after KL4 surfactant administration. We dosed the first patient in this clinical trial in January 2021 and plan to enroll up to 20 patients with COVID-19 and ARDS who are on mechanical ventilation, from four to five U.S. sites, with data expected in mid-2021.

 

If the initial trial results are favorable and we are able to secure the required additional funding, we plan to engage with the FDA to define a development pathway forward and may initiate an expanded clinical trial in ventilated patients to establish a beneficial effect on clinical outcomes that could be the basis for regulatory approval. In addition, if the results warrant, we may consider expanding our development efforts to study ARDS caused by other viral pneumonias.

 

We are funding the initial COVID-19 study using available resources. If the results of the initial study are positive, we plan to pursue multiple non-dilutive funding sources to secure the additional capital that may be needed to initiate and complete any follow-on development activities, including, to the extent available, grants and other funding commitments from U.S. government agencies, and private foundations, as well as pursuant to co-development and co-marketing agreements, and similar arrangements. In early 2020, we approached the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, and requested funding for our development plans for KL4 surfactant in COVID-19 patients and we were granted a meeting to review our proposal with BARDA representatives. With the acceptance of the IND by the FDA and initiation of the clinical trial, we plan to reengage with BARDA and potentially other federal government agencies and private foundations to seek funding for this program. There can be no assurance that we will receive any funding from BARDA or any other governmental agency or foundation. If we are successful, we also may pursue one or more licensing transactions, collaboration arrangements or other strategic opportunities to support the further development of lyophilized KL4 surfactant in markets outside of Asia, including the U.S.

 

AEROSURF (lucinactant for inhalation)

 

AEROSURF is an investigational combination drug/medical device product that we are developing to improve the management of RDS in premature infants. RDS is a condition that occurs in premature infants who may not have fully developed natural lung surfactant, which is essential to normal respiratory function and survival, and may require surfactant therapy to sustain life, and can result in long-term respiratory problems, developmental delays and death. Surfactant therapy is the primary therapy to address an underlying surfactant deficiency, and AEROSURF is designed to deliver aerosolized KL4 surfactant noninvasively using our proprietary ADS technology. We have completed three AEROSURF phase 2 clinical trials. Our most recent phase 2b clinical trial did not achieve its primary endpoint, due primarily, we believe, to an unexpected rate of treatment interruptions associated with the prototype phase 2 ADS used in the phase 2b clinical trial, or phase 2 ADS. After excluding patients whose doses were interrupted, in accordance with the predesignated statistical plan, we observed a meaningful treatment effect in line with our desired targeted outcome and believe that these results support the further development of AEROSURF to reduce both the rate of nasal continuous positive airway pressure, or nCPAP, failure and the need for intubation in premature infants being treated for RDS. In addition, a pooled post-hoc analysis of data from two phase 2 studies suggests that AEROSURF treatment at the higher doses may have the potential to lower the incidence and severity of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or BPD, a chronic lung disease of premature infants who have required intubation, mechanical ventilation and oxygen therapy. AEROSURF has been granted Fast Track designation by the FDA for the treatment of RDS.

 

RDS is the most prevalent respiratory disease in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. Surfactants currently available in the U.S. are generally administered using invasive endotracheal intubation, frequently with mechanical ventilation, procedures that may result in serious respiratory conditions and other complications. AEROSURF is designed to deliver aerosolized KL4 surfactant noninvasively using our proprietary ADS technology and potentially may meaningfully reduce the use of invasive endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation. We believe that AEROSURF, if approved, may meaningfully reduce the number of premature infants who are subjected to invasive surfactant administration, and potentially provide transformative clinical and pharmacoeconomic benefits. In addition, we believe that AEROSURF may support an expansion of the RDS market by reducing the need for intubation and mechanical ventilation, reducing hospital costs, and enabling dosing and repeat dosing as needed using AEROSURF noninvasive delivery of KL4 surfactant via nCPAP. Moreover, while the current surfactant market represents drug-only revenues, we believe we can capture revenues from both the drug product and the ADS disposable cartridges, supported by anticipated pharmacoeconomic benefits associated with the successful use of nCPAP. We believe that AEROSURF, if approved, may be administered in less specialized hospitals and birthing centers, potentially further expanding access to treatment. We also believe that AEROSURF has the potential to achieve a higher price per patient in an addressable global market that could be in excess of $1.2 billion annually.

 

We successfully completed design verification activities for a newly designed ADS, referred to as the new ADS, for use in our remaining development activities, including potentially a phase 3 program. The new ADS combines the same aerosolization technology used during the phase 2 clinical program, but with improved ergonomics, interface, controls, and dose monitoring in a modular design. The new ADS also implements design changes to potentially mitigate the risks of device-related treatment interruptions experienced in the phase 2 ADS used in the phase 2b clinical trial, and we believe it will be easier and faster to use and may support enhanced clinical outcomes by potentially allowing for reduced time to initial administration of our KL4 surfactant and reduced time intervals between doses compared to our phase 2 prototype.

 

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In April 2020, as part of the phase 2 clinical program and to prepare to transition to a phase 3 clinical program, we enrolled the first patient and commenced a small, approximately 90-patient, phase 2b bridging study in premature infants with RDS that was designed to clinically evaluate the performance of our new ADS, provide for clinical experience in the NICU, and implement a more intensive dosing regimen, with additional higher dose treatment data to augment data previously obtained in the earlier phase 2b clinical trial. This trial was designed as a multicenter, randomized, controlled study with masked treatment assignment in up to 90 premature infants 26 to 32 week gestational age receiving nasal continuous airway pressure, or nCPAP, for RDS. The trial was designed to leverage the favorable safety profile of the two previous AEROSURF phase 2 clinical trials and evaluate higher and more frequent dosing of aerosolized KL4 surfactant compared to premature infants receiving standard care of nCPAP alone. The trial utilized the new ADS and was designed to bridge to data generated in the earlier phase 2 programs that utilized a phase 2 ADS on the following endpoints: time to nCPAP failure (the need for intubation and delayed surfactant therapy), incidence of nCPAP failure and physiological parameters indicating the effectiveness of lung function. 

 

In August 2020, we entered into a Project Financing Agreement with Lee’s (HK), or the PF Agreement, dated and effective as of August 12, 2020, under which we received payments totaling $2.8 million through October 2020. Pursuant to the PF Agreement, Lee’s (HK) agreed to pay additional amounts to be set forth in an updated development budget to be agreed between the parties by September 1, 2020 and updated every six months thereafter, to fund the continued development of AEROSURF and to be paid with the payment schedule to be set forth in each updated development budget. In partial satisfaction of our obligations under the PF Agreement, we agreed to pay Lee’s (HK) 50% of any Commercialization Net Revenues (as defined in the PF Agreement) up to an amount that is equal to 125% of the Project Expenses (as defined in the PF Agreement) funded by Lee’s (HK). On November 12, 2020, Lee’s (HK) provided notice of termination of additional funding under the PF Agreement. Thereafter, we and Lee’s (HK) revised our plans for the continued development of AEROSURF. Lee’s (HK) agreed to continue the development of AEROSURF in Asia at its cost. Lee’s (HK) will fund an additional $1.0 million to us in 2021 for certain transition and analytical services to be provided by us with respect to the development of AEROSURF, which will be considered Project Expenses under the terms of the PF Agreement.

 

In 2021, we plan to continue supporting Lee’s (HK) efforts to plan, fund and initiate in Asia the phase 2b bridging study needed to advance AEROSURF to phase 3 clinical trials. With termination of the PF Agreement, we ceased enrollment in our phase 2b bridging study at the EU clinical sites and are preparing to transfer AEROSURF development activities to Lee’s (HK) to be implemented under the terms of our Asia License Agreement. Our decision to cease enrollment and transfer the AEROSURF development activities to Lee’s (HK) in Asia was not related to any communications between ourselves and the FDA or the EU regulatory authorities and was not based on any underlying safety or efficacy concern, but rather compelled by our desire to preserve our limited capital to focus on acute cardiovascular and other KL4 surfactant programs, primarily treatment of lung injury in patients with COVID-19.

 

We also plan to pursue one or more licensing transactions, collaboration arrangements or other strategic opportunities to support the development of AEROSURF and our lyophilized KL4 surfactant in markets outside of Asia, including the U.S.

 

Lyophilized KL4 Surfactant (Lung Injury and Other Studies)

 

We believe our lyophilized KL4 surfactant and ADS technologies may potentially support a product pipeline to address a broad range of serious respiratory conditions in children and adults. We have from time to time worked with independent investigators and pharmaceutical companies to conduct or assist with preclinical studies, some of which were funded under grants from National Institutes of Health, or NIH, and other government agencies, to assess the utility of using our KL4 surfactant, alone or in combination with other pharmaceutical compounds, to address various respiratory conditions.

 

Impact of COVID-19

 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and we continue to closely monitor its impact on our business, operations, including its potential impact on our clinical development plans and timelines, and financial condition. As of the date of the filing of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, our operations, capital and financial resources and overall liquidity position and outlook have been impacted by COVID-19, primarily due to delays experienced in our operations, including in clinical study initiation and enrollment. The potentially extended timelines may force us to expend more of our capital resources than planned to achieve our projected milestones. For example, certain of our ongoing clinical trials, including our phase 2 study of istaroxime for early cardiogenic shock in heart failure patients, have experienced delays. The full extent, duration, or impact that the COVID-19 pandemic will have, directly or indirectly, on our financial condition and operations, including ongoing and planned clinical trials, will depend on future developments that are highly uncertain and cannot be accurately predicted. These potential future developments include new information that may emerge concerning the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, the severity and transmissibility of new variants of the virus, such as the B.1.1.7 strain first identified in the United Kingdom and the B.1.351 strain first detected in South Africa, cases of which have been confirmed in the U.S., information about any regional resurgences in one or more markets where our current or intended clinical trial sites, our principal executive offices, research and development laboratories or other facilities are located, and the actions taken to contain it or treat its impact, which may include, among others, the timing and extent of governments reopening activities and the economic impact on local, regional, national, and international markets. The strategic re-implementation of mitigating COVID-19 measures in one or more markets where our clinical trial sites, principal executive offices, research and development laboratories or other facilities are located remains possible and we believe there could be further impact on the clinical development of our product candidates, which may include potential delays, halts or modifications to our ongoing and planned trials in 2021.

 

Our Strategy

 

We intend to maximize the value of our product candidates and proprietary technologies. Our strategy to achieve this goal includes plans to:

 

 

Study istaroxime for early cardiogenic shock and, if the drug demonstrates adequate potential to raise blood pressure with an acceptable safety profile, pursue opportunity for a breakthrough therapy designation, and if available, an expedited regulatory pathway to address this area of unmet medical need. In the second half of 2020, we began an approximately 60-patient phase 2a clinical trial in early cardiogenic shock, with data expected in the second half of 2021;

 

 

Advance istaroxime for the treatment of AHF to a phase 3-ready position and potential partnering, collaboration or other strategic transaction. In 2020, we began start-up activities for an additional phase 2b clinical trial in approximately 300 patients and plan to initiate the clinical trial after obtaining adequate funding;

 

 

Pursue out-licensing transactions or other strategic arrangements for the development and potential commercialization of rostafuroxin. We are pursuing a potential out-licensing transaction or other strategic opportunities with one or more larger companies that have an interest in and/or operate in the very large and broad anti-hypertension market, and thereafter, to reinvest any proceeds to provide non-dilutive funding for our other core programs;

 

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Advance development of chronic and acute preclinical heart failure programs. To create added value for our cardiovascular portfolio, we plan to advance oral (chronic) and intravenous (acute) SERCA2a activator product candidates through selected preclinical studies to demonstrate proof of concept; actively exploring potential licensing transactions, research partnership arrangements or other strategic opportunities;

 

 

Assess the ability of KL4 surfactant to impact key respiratory parameters in COVID-19 patients. We plan to complete the initial small study begun in the first quarter of 2021 using existing resources and, if the trial results are favorable, we would engage with the FDA to define a development pathway forward and initiate an expanded clinical program in ventilated patients to establish a beneficial effect on clinical outcomes that could be the basis for regulatory approval; and if the results warrant, we may consider expanding our development efforts to study ARDS caused by other viral pneumonias. To fund any further development activities, we plan to pursue non-dilutive funding opportunities, including potentially grants and other funding commitments from U.S. government agencies, if available, and other potential strategic opportunities, including licensing transactions, collaboration arrangements or other similar transactions in markets outside of Asia, including the U.S.;

 

 

Support our licensee’s efforts to advance AEROSURF to a phase 3-ready position. In 2021, we plan to continue supporting Lee’s (HK)’s efforts to plan, fund and initiate in Asia the phase 2b bridging study to clinically evaluate the performance of the new ADS in the NICU, introduce a potentially optimized dose regimen, and advance AEROSURF towards a phase 3-ready position. This clinical trial will leverage Lee’s (HK)’s development capabilities in the People’s Republic of China, or China (the largest RDS and surfactant market), and will be conducted under the terms of our existing Asia License Agreement; and we plan to pursue one or more licensing transactions, collaboration arrangements or other strategic transactions to support the development of AEROSURF and our lyophilized KL4 surfactant in markets outside of Asia, including the U.S.; and

 

 

To enhance our product portfolio, pursue a focused business development agenda directed to enhancing our current offerings and identifying additional product candidates that enhance our portfolio and provide more opportunity to grow value and diversify risk. The strategic focus is on areas that fit our market focus (specialty critical, acute care), fit our scale for development and cost structure and leverage our therapeutic area and other competencies such as clinical stage development.

 

Our Product Candidates

 

Istaroxime

 

Our lead cardiovascular product is istaroxime, a novel, first-in-class, dual action investigational drug that we are developing to treat AHF and early cardiogenic shock. Istaroxime has been evaluated in two phase 2 clinical trials, the results of which suggest that istaroxime may improve cardiovascular physiological function as assessed by parameters of pump function, decreases in heart rate, increases in blood pressure and renal function (as measured by filtration rate) without adverse events such as arrhythmias or cardiac damage (as indicated by elevated troponin values). In August 2019, the FDA granted us Fast Track designation for istaroxime for the treatment of AHF.

 

AHF and Early Cardiogenic Shock Overview

 

Heart failure can result from structural or functional cardiac abnormalities. Heart failure is a chronic, progressive disease that commonly but episodically worsens to a point of critical decompensation, where cardiac output fails to meet the body’s metabolic needs. The disease is characterized by inadequate pumping function of the heart that results in fluid accumulation manifesting as pulmonary congestion, peripheral edema and congestion in other parts of the body. Insufficient cardiac output can result in inadequate peripheral perfusion that increases the risk of other organ dysfunction such as renal failure. Chronic heart failure is commonly treated with multiple medications including diuretics, inhibitors of neurohumoral imbalances (angiotensin, renin, aldosterone, naturetic peptides) and beta blockers. Effective treatments for AHF in a hospital setting are lacking.

 

Clinical objectives for AHF patient management include: (i) relieve pulmonary congestion and general edema with intravenous diuretics, (ii) improve cardiac function and peripheral / organ perfusion, (iii) achieve a stable, fully compensated clinical state and, (iv) transition to oral, outpatient medicines (for chronic management of their heart failure). 

 

Current approaches to acutely improve cardiac function are associated with unwanted effects including heart rhythm disturbances, increased heart rate and myocardial oxygen demand, decreased blood pressure, potential damage to the heart muscle, worsening renal function and even increases in mortality have been observed. In particular, patients with low systolic blood pressure, or SBP, and peripheral hypoperfusion are high risk, challenging patients and are also generally resistant to diuretic therapy and often discharged in a sub-optimal state.

 

Early cardiogenic shock is a severe presentation of heart failure characterized by very low blood pressure and hypo-perfusion to critical organs. It is associated with high mortality and morbidity and is not well treated with current therapies.

 

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Method of Action

 

Istaroxime represents a novel approach to the treatment of AHF. It has a dual mechanism of action to improve cardiovascular physiology. First, it activates the SERCA2a calcium pump on the sarcoplasmic reticulum, or SR, leading to enhanced SR calcium uptake and a reduction in cytoplasmic calcium that is thought to improve myocardial relaxation. Second, it inhibits the sodium-potassium ATPase activity leading to improved myocardial contractility.

 

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We believe that these mechanisms of action may result in improvement in cardiac function and perfusion to reduce congestion and edema and preserve other organ function while avoiding the side effects associated with other classes of heart failure therapies. Data from preclinical, phase 2a and phase 2b clinical studies performed to date suggest that istaroxime may improve cardiovascular physiology as assessed by parameters of pump function, decreases in PCWP, decreases in heart rate, increases in blood pressure without an increase in adverse events such as arrhythmias, cardiac damage (as indicated by elevated troponin values) or adverse impact on kidney function. We believe that these features of istaroxime, if approved, could potentially result in clinical improvement of patients' heart failure symptoms, reduce complications and improve other clinical outcomes when compared to current therapeutic regimens for AHF.

 

Clinical Development

 

Early Cardiogenic Shock

 

After assessing the regulatory landscape and data from the istaroxime phase 2 clinical program in AHF and discussions with our scientific advisors, we added to our istaroxime development program a study in early cardiogenic shock. We believe that istaroxime may fulfill an unmet medical need in early cardiogenic shock based on the profile observed in prior phase 2 clinical studies in AHF, in which istaroxime increased SBP, suggesting that istaroxime could potentially contribute to the clinical improvement of select patients in cardiogenic shock due to heart failure. In addition, we believe there may be opportunities for an expedited regulatory pathway and review in early cardiogenic shock. Based on precedent, we believe that approval for early cardiogenic shock potentially could be based on blood pressure changes alone (assuming comparable mortality compared to control patients at 30 days).

 

In the second half of 2020, we initiated a small study of istaroxime for the acute treatment of early cardiogenic shock in patients with more severe cases of heart failure, to evaluate the potential to improve blood pressure and organ perfusion. This study is a phase 2 international randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study to assess the effect of istaroxime in patients with early cardiogenic shock due to heart failure. This study will include 60 patients (30 assigned to istaroxime and 30 assigned to placebo) receiving study drug infusion over 24 hours. The primary endpoint is the change in systolic blood pressure over six hours after initiating the infusion. Secondary endpoints will include characterization of blood pressure changes over 24 hours, the number of patients requiring rescue therapy (vasopressors, inotropes or mechanical devices), assessment of renal function and measures associated with safety and tolerability. The study will also evaluate the safety and side effect profile of istaroxime in this patient population. We expect data to be available in the second half of 2021. With the current global COVID-19 pandemic, however, and its disruptive effect on hospital resources, including ICUs where this study is being conducted, and availability of services and professional staff, we have experienced delays in our site-set-up activities and anticipate that we may have continuing delays that could affect our clinical timelines and milestones.

 

AHF
 

Istaroxime has been evaluated in six clinical trials assessing three doses in 280 patients, including two phase 2 clinical trials. In a phase 2a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation clinical trial, three doses of istaroxime were evaluated in a study of 120 hospitalized patients (approximately 30 patients per cohort) with AHF and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction with three doses of istaroxime administered over a 6-hour infusion period. In this clinical trial, the primary endpoint of lowering of PCWP was significantly improved in all three doses relative to placebo, and the certain secondary hemodynamic endpoints (increased systolic blood pressure and decreased heart rate) also improved. The main side effects were vomiting (7.9%) and pain at the infusion site (5.6%); one severe adverse event of ventricular tachycardia was observed. The favorable effects on PCWP, blood pressure and heart rate provided the basis for moving the program forward into a phase clinical 2b trial and for selecting the doses to study.

 

The primary endpoint of the istaroxime phase 2b clinical trial for AHF was a change from baseline to 24 hours after start of infusion (Day 1) in E/e’ with istaroxime 0.5 or 1.0 gg/kg/min compared to placebo. The E/e’ ratio is a marker of the function of the left ventricle, or LV, of the heart and was measured using doppler echocardiography read by a central laboratory. Secondary endpoints included change in other parameters of cardiac function, such as diastolic function, or E/A, stroke volume, or SVI, left ventricle ejection fraction, or LVEF, LV volumes, left atrial, or LA, area, interior vena cava, or IVC, diameter. A 24-hour infusion of istaroxime was associated with significant improvements in cardiac function, in both dosing groups, with a mean E/e' of -4.55 for the 0.5 gg/kg/min group and -3.16 for the 1.0 gg/kg/min group, compared with mean placebo E/e’ ratios of -1.55 and -1.08, respectively. Twenty-four-hour infusions of istaroxime were also associated with substantial increases in stroke volume in both dosing groups, with a mean SVI value of 5.33 ml/beat/m2 for the 0.5 gg/kg/min group and 5.49 ml/beat/m2 for the 1.0 gg/kg/min group, compared with the mean placebo SVI of 1.65 ml/beat/m2 and 3.18 ml/beat/m2, respectively. Importantly, subjects also maintained or increased SBP, with a mean change in SBP of 2.82 mmHg for the 0.5 gg/kg/min group and 6.1 mmHg for the 1.0 gg/kg/min group, compared with the mean placebo SBP values of -2.47 mmHg and 2.7 mmHg, respectively. There were no signs of increased risk for arrhythmias or increased troponin levels (a marker of heart muscle damage) during or after istaroxime infusion. Additionally, blood pressure tended to increase, and heart rate decreased, during the infusion with istaroxime, which may have contributed to the short-term trend toward improvement in renal function. The findings were consistent with the physiologic improvements seen in the phase 2a study and the effects of istaroxime in AHF.

 

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Istaroxime was generally well tolerated. Istaroxime did not appear to be associated with an increased risk for arrhythmias or increases in cardiac troponin T. The rate of cardiovascular-related adverse events was 23% for placebo, 10% for istaroxime low dose, and 18% for istaroxime high dose, with cardiac failure occurring in 3%, 5% and 8% of placebo, low dose and high dose patients, respectively. The cases of cardiac failure were reported by the investigator as worsening of heart failure” symptoms that occurred approximately 10-14 days after study drug administration and were not considered to be drug related. The most common adverse drug reactions reported included pain at infusion site, generally associated with use of short catheters, and dose-related gastrointestinal adverse events in 5%, 10% and 38% of placebo, low dose and high dose patients, respectively. Serious adverse events included one cardiac death and one case of cardiogenic shock (in the same patient who died) in the istaroxime 1.0 mg group, two cases of cardiac failure in the 0.5 mg group, three cases of cardiac failure in the 1.0 mg group, and one case of renal embolism in the 1.0 mg group. There was an additional cardiac death outside the 30-day window.
 

Based on feedback from the FDA in June 2019 and discussions with our scientific advisors, to advance istaroxime for the treatment of AHF potentially through the phase 2 clinical program and be in a phase 3-ready position, our strategy includes, subject to adequate resources, planning an additional phase 2 clinical trial that will enroll up to 300 patients in approximately 75 clinical sites globally. This trial will focus on treating heart failure patients with low systolic blood pressure and those who are diuretic resistant and should serve as an enrichment strategy to target those patients most likely to respond well to istaroxime administration. These two, difficult-to-treat patient groups have limited treatment options and could particularly benefit from the istaroxime unique profile and potential ability to increase cardiac function, increase blood pressure and improve renal function. The trial will also collect data on measures that may serve as primary endpoints in a phase 3 clinical trial, and will include an optimized dosing regimen, potentially extending the infusion time beyond 24 hours. We currently do not have sufficient capital to initiate this clinical trial. We are exploring capital from public and private equity offerings and potential strategic opportunities to fund the initiation of this clinical trial, and plan to initiate the clinical trial after obtaining adequate funding.

 

Manufacturing

 

Istaroxime is manufactured for us by Zhaoke Pharmaceutical (Hefei) Co. Ltd.

 

The active pharmaceutical ingredient, or API, used in production of the drug product is manufactured by ScinoPharm Taiwan, Ltd.

 

We contracted with Clinical Supplies Management, Inc. for the receipt, labeling, packaging and distribution of drug and materials to support the istaroxime phase 2 clinical trial in early cardiogenic shock.

 

Rostafuroxin

 

Rostafuroxin is a novel investigational drug product candidate being developed for the treatment of hypertension in patients with a specific genetic profile, which is found in approximately 20% - 25% of the adult hypertensive population.

 

Hypertension Overview
 

According to the CDC, patients with high blood pressure have a greater risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the U.S. Nearly half of adults in the U.S. (108 million, or 45%) have hypertension defined as a systolic blood pressure ≥ 130 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure ≥ 80 mm Hg or are taking medication for hypertension. In 2018, nearly half a million deaths in the U.S. included hypertension as a primary or contributing cause. Only about 1 in 4 adults (24%) with hypertension have their condition under control. Patients often have persistent hypertension despite being on multiple therapies. Ethnicity and genetic makeup are known to impact the response to anti-hypertensive treatments, and uncontrolled hypertension has been associated with certain genetic makeups. Given the size of the market and the prevalence of unmet medical needs, major pharmaceutical companies have maintained hypertension as a key area of focus and continue to seek new drugs to compete in markets they have established with previous anti-hypertensive therapies. We are currently engaged in a process to test the industry’s interest in investing in new drugs in this market, and plan to pursue potential licensing transactions and/or other strategic opportunities with a company that has interest in and/or operates in the anti-hypertension market.

 

Method of Action

 

Rostafuroxin is designed to be a selective antagonist of adducin polymorphisms and endogenous ouabain, both known triggers of hypertension, and creates functional effects by enhancing renal tubular sodium reabsorption and increasing vascular tone.

 

Clinical Development

 

Rostafuroxin has been studied in three phase 2 clinical trials assessing reduction in blood pressure in a hypertensive population selected in accordance with a specified genetic profile. A phase 2b clinical trial was conducted as a two-part study with the first part conducted in Italy with Caucasian patients and the second part conducted in Taiwan with ethnic Chinese patients. The efficacy results in Italy were positive in both this trial and in an earlier phase 2a clinical trial; however, the blood pressure response in Chinese patients in the second part of the phase 2b study was minimal.

 

Manufacturing

 

The drug product for rostafuroxin is manufactured by Zhaoke Pharmaceutical (Guangzhou) Co., Ltd.

 

The API used in the production of the drug product is manufactured by SciAnda (Changshu) Pharmaceutical, Ltd.

 

 

Preclinical Heart Failure Product Candidates

 

We are pursuing early exploratory research to assess our preclinical follow-on oral and intravenous SERCA2a activator heart failure compounds. To advance these product candidates, we are actively exploring potential licensing transactions, research partnership arrangements or other strategic opportunities.

 

Lyophilized KL4 Surfactant

 

We believe our lyophilized KL4 surfactant and ADS technologies may potentially support a product pipeline to address a broad range of serious respiratory conditions in children and adults. One such program is our ongoing study to assess the utility of using KL4 surfactant to address COVID-19 pneumonia.

 

COVID-19 related Lung Injury Overview

 

Patients with COVID-19 pneumonia may progress to ARDS and require supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation. ARDS has no approved therapies and is associated with significant morbidity, mortality and healthcare resource utilization. The COVID-19 virus infects via angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor, or ACE2, on cells in the lung which impair surfactant production, resulting in decreased lung compliance, and increased likelihood of needing mechanical ventilation. We believe this mechanism of injury may differentiate COVID-19 lung injury from other etiologies of ARDS and is the basis for a potentially important role for our KL4 surfactant. Lung fibrosis and severe interstitial changes occurring in these COVID-19 patients resemble those seen in premature infants who are initially ventilated due to RDS and later develop BPD – a condition in which KL4 surfactant clinical data suggests a potential benefit. Pre-clinical and clinical evidence shows surfactant replacement therapy has the potential to improve lung function, oxygenation, lung compliance and decrease pulmonary inflammation. These beneficial effects could lead to potential clinical improvements such as decreased need for mechanical ventilation, decreased time on ventilator (freeing the devices for other patients) and possibly mortality.

 

RDS Overview

 

Our KL4 surfactant can be lyophilized (freeze-dried) and reconstituted to a liquid just prior to administration. We have in the past considered potential development pathways to secure marketing approval for lyophilized KL4 surfactant as an intratracheal instillate for the treatment and/or prevention of RDS in premature infants who, because they are unable to breathe on their own or other reason, are not candidates for AEROSURF. Lyophilized KL4 surfactant is the drug product component of AEROSURF and a lyophilized (freeze-dried) dosage form of the liquid KL4 surfactant intratracheal instillate, SURFAXIN®, that was approved by the FDA in 2012, but the SURFAXIN drug product was withdrawn from the market by us voluntarily in 2015 to focus our resources on the development of aerosolized KL4 surfactant for respiratory diseases, beginning with AEROSURF. We have demonstrated in laboratory experiments that our lyophilized KL4 surfactant retains many of the key attributes and characteristics of SURFAXIN. In September 2019, we discussed with the FDA a potential clinical trial design to open an IND for lyophilized KL4 surfactant and, if we decide to move forward, expect to re-engage with the FDA to confirm a development plan, trial design and regulatory plan to gain approval for lyophilized KL4 surfactant in the U.S. We expect that Lee’s (HK) will continue to pursue approval of lyophilized KL4 surfactant in Asia pursuant to the Asia License Agreement.

 

Clinical Development

 

COVID-19 related Lung Injury

 

In September 2020, the FDA accepted our IND application for a phase 2 clinical trial to assess the impact of our lyophilized KL4 surfactant on key respiratory parameters in ventilated COVID-19 patients. This small pilot study is designed to evaluate changes in physiological parameters in patients who are intubated and mechanically ventilated for COVID-19 associated lung injury and ARDS. The study will evaluate the dosing regimen, tolerability, and functional changes in gas exchange and lung compliance after KL4 surfactant administration. We dosed the first patient in this clinical trial in January 2021 and plan to enroll up to 20 patients with COVID-19 and ARDS who are on mechanical ventilation, from four to five U.S. sites, with data expected in mid-2021.

 

If the initial results are favorable and we are able to secure the required additional funding, we plan to engage with the FDA to define a development pathway forward and may initiate an expanded clinical trial in ventilated patients to establish a beneficial effect on clinical outcomes that could be the basis for regulatory approval. In addition, if the results warrant, we may consider expanding our development efforts to study ARDS caused by other viral pneumonias.

 

Lung Injury and Other Studies

 

We believe our lyophilized KL4 surfactant and ADS technologies may potentially support a product pipeline to address a broad range of serious respiratory conditions in children and adults. KL4 surfactant has been widely studied across 17 clinical studies in approximately 2,500 patients with various related acute pulmonary syndromes. We have previously announced results of a NIH-funded study of aerosolized KL4 surfactant demonstrating reduced lung inflammation and improved overall survival in a well-established animal model of a highly pathogenic avian influenza. We have received support in the past, and in the future may seek additional support, from the NIH and other government funding sources to explore the utility of our KL4 surfactant to address a variety of respiratory conditions such as acute lung injury, or ALI, including acute radiation exposure to the lung (acute pneumonitis and delayed lung injury), chemical-induced ALI, and influenza-induced ALI; as well as chronic rhinosinusitis, complications of certain major surgeries, mechanical ventilator-induced lung injury, often referred to as VILI, pneumonia, and diseases involving mucociliary clearance disorders, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis, or CF. We have also worked with pharmaceutical companies to explore the feasibility of combining our KL4 surfactant with other therapies.

 

AEROSURF

 

Overview

 

AEROSURF® (lucinactant for inhalation) is an investigational drug/medical device combination product that we are developing to improve the management of RDS in premature infants who may not have fully developed natural lung surfactant and may require surfactant therapy to sustain life. AEROSURF is designed to deliver aerosolized KL4 surfactant noninvasively using our proprietary ADS technology and potentially may meaningfully reduce the use of invasive endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation. We believe that AEROSURF, if approved, may meaningfully reduce the number of premature infants who are subjected to invasive surfactant administration, and potentially provide transformative clinical and pharmacoeconomic benefits. The FDA has granted Fast Track designation for AEROSURF to treat RDS.

 

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RDS and BPD Overview

 

RDS is the most prevalent respiratory disease in the NICU. Surfactant therapy can be a life-saving treatment for RDS and is the primary therapy to address an underlying surfactant deficiency. Unfortunately, surfactants currently available in the U.S. are animal-derived and are generally administered using invasive procedures, including endotracheal intubation, frequently with mechanical ventilation. We believe that this market has been constrained because the invasive procedures required to administer surfactants may result in serious respiratory conditions and other complications. We also believe that AEROSURF may support an expansion of the RDS surfactant market by reducing the need for intubation and mechanical ventilation, reducing hospital costs, and enabling dosing and repeat dosing as needed using noninvasive delivery of AEROSURF via nCPAP. Moreover, while the current surfactant market represents drug-only revenues, we believe we can capture revenues from both the drug product and the ADS disposable cartridges, supported by anticipated pharmacoeconomic benefits associated with the successful use of nCPAP. We believe that AEROSURF, if approved, may be administered in less specialized hospitals and birthing centers, potentially further expanding access to treatment and potentially achieving a higher price per patient in an addressable global market that could be in excess of $1.2 billion annually.

 

We also believe that AEROSURF may fulfill an unmet medical need in the treatment of BPD, a chronic lung disease of premature infants who have required intubation, mechanical ventilation and oxygen therapy. BPD is associated with ongoing pulmonary disease and neurodevelopmental impairment that contributes to substantial patient morbidity. This is associated with increased health care utilization and higher healthcare costs. Notwithstanding, effective prevention and treatment strategies for BPD have been elusive and there is no approved treatment.

 

Clinical Development

 

We have evaluated AEROSURF for the treatment of RDS in premature infants in three phase 2 clinical trials. We believe the results support further exploration of a potentially beneficial treatment effect when the treatment is delivered as intended.

 

In two phase 2a multicenter, randomized, open-label controlled studies in premature infants 26 to 32 week gestational age receiving nCPAP, AEROSURF was generally well-tolerated. Efficacy was an exploratory endpoint in both trials. There was evidence of a beneficial treatment effect in one study of premature infants 29 to 32 week gestational age. In the other study of premature infants 26 to 28 week gestational age, there was no difference in rate of nCPAP failure, but the assessment was complicated by the occurrence of unanticipated treatment interruptions which may have obscured a potential efficacy signal.

 

In 2017 we completed a phase 2b clinical trial evaluating AEROSURF for the treatment of RDS in premature infants. The clinical trial was a multicenter, randomized, controlled study with masked treatment assignment in 221 premature infants that was designed to evaluate aerosolized KL4 surfactant administered to premature infants 26 to 32 week gestational age receiving nCPAP, in two dose groups (25 and 50 minutes) with up to two potential repeat doses, compared to infants receiving nCPAP alone. This trial was conducted in approximately 50 clinical sites in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Latin America. In this clinical trial, AEROSURF did not meet the primary endpoint of a reduction in nCPAP failure at 72 hours. We believe this result was attributable in large part to an unexpected rate of treatment interruptions, which occurred in about 23% of active enrollments, predominantly in the 50-minute dose group. These interruptions, we believe, were primarily related to specific lots of disposable cartridge filters in the ADS that had a greater tendency to clog. After excluding patients in the 50-minute dose group whose dose was interrupted, in accordance with the predesignated statistical plan, nCPAP failure rates were 44% in the control group (n=71) compared to 32% (n=44) in the AEROSURF 50-minute dose group, which is a 12% absolute reduction or a 27% relative reduction in nCPAP failure compared to control. These data suggest a meaningful treatment effect in line with our desired targeted outcome. The overall data suggest that the safety and tolerability profile of AEROSURF was generally comparable to the control group. Reported adverse events and serious adverse events were those that are common and expected among premature infants with RDS and comparable to the control group. As expected, some peridosing events occurred (i.e., changes in oxygen requirements and blood pressure in the time around dosing) more commonly in the AEROSURF groups, however, these were transient in nature and occurred less frequently than seen in intratracheal administration.

 

In the post hoc pooled analysis of the AEROSURF phase 2b clinical trial and phase 2a clinical trial in infants 26 to 28 weeks gestational age, AEROSURF treatment at the higher doses was associated with significantly lowered incidence and severity of BPD compared to infants on nCPAP alone. This effect was observed without excluding patients whose treatment was interrupted.

 

In 2018, we transitioned from the phase 2 ADS, to the new ADS for use in our remaining development activities, including potentially a phase 3 clinical program. The new ADS combines the same aerosolization technology used during the phase 2 clinical program, but with improved ergonomics, interface, controls, and dose monitoring in a modular design. We successfully concluded design verification activities through a detailed assessment of the new ADS design and also implemented design changes to potentially mitigate the risks of device-related treatment interruptions experienced in the phase 2 ADS. We conducted extensive performance testing in which the ADS demonstrated consistent performance under rigorous testing and design verification protocols. We believe that the new ADS, which we planned to use in our phase 3 clinical program, will be easier and faster to use and may support enhanced clinical outcomes by potentially allowing for reduced time to initial administration of our KL4 surfactant and reduced time intervals between doses, if required.

 

In April 2020, as part of the phase 2 clinical program and to prepare to transition to a phase 3 clinical program, we enrolled the first patient and commenced a small, approximately 90-patient, phase 2b bridging study in premature infants with RDS that was designed to clinically evaluate the performance of our new ADS, provide for clinical experience in the NICU, and implement a more intensive dosing regimen, with additional higher dose treatment data to augment data previously obtained in the earlier phase 2b clinical trial. This trial, which was to be funded by Lee’s (HK), was designed as a multicenter, randomized, controlled study with masked treatment assignment in up to 90 premature infants 26 to 32 weeks gestational age receiving nCPAP for RDS. The trial was designed to leverage the favorable safety profile of the two previous AEROSURF phase 2 clinical trials and evaluate higher and more frequent dosing of aerosolized KL4 surfactant compared to premature infants receiving standard care of nCPAP alone. The trial utilized the new ADS and was designed to bridge to data generated in the earlier phase 2 programs that utilized a phase 2 ADS on the following endpoints: time to nCPAP failure (the need for intubation and delayed surfactant therapy), incidence of nCPAP failure and physiological parameters indicating the effectiveness of lung function. 

 

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On March 18, 2020, we entered into the Term Sheet with Lee’s (HK) pursuant to which Lee’s (HK) agreed to provide financing to fund the development of AEROSURF for the period April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020 and make payments of up to $3.9 million (which was reduced to $2.8 million under specified circumstances) prior to September 1, 2020. In August 2020, we entered into the PF Agreement with Lee’s (HK), formalizing the terms of the Term Sheet, and under which we received payments totaling $2.8 million through October 2020. Under the PF Agreement, Lee’s (HK) agreed to make certain payments to support the continued development of AEROSURF in amounts set forth in an updated development budget and payment schedule to be finalized no later than September 1, 2020, and thereafter updated every six months. In partial satisfaction of our obligations under the PF Agreement, we agreed to pay Lee’s (HK) 50% of any Commercialization Net Revenues (as defined in the PF Agreement) up to an amount that is equal to 125% of the Project Expenses (as defined in the PF Agreement) funded by Lee’s (HK). On November 12, 2020, Lee’s (HK) provided notice of termination of the PF Agreement. Thereafter, we and Lee’s (HK) revised our plans for the continued development of AEROSURF. Lee’s (HK) agreed to continue the clinical development of AEROSURF in Asia at its cost. Lee’s (HK) will fund an additional $1.0 million to us in 2021, repayable pursuant to the terms of the PF Agreement, for certain transition and analytical services to be provided by us with respect to the development of AEROSURF, which will be considered Project Expenses under the terms of the PF Agreement.

 

In 2021, we plan to continue supporting Lee’s (HK) efforts to plan, fund and initiate in Asia the phase 2b bridging study needed to advance AEROSURF to phase 3 clinical trials. With termination of the PF Agreement, we ceased enrollment in our phase 2b bridging study at the EU clinical sites and are preparing to transfer AEROSURF development activities to Lee’s (HK) to be implemented under the terms of our Asia License Agreement. Our decision to cease enrollment and to transfer the AEROSURF development activities to Lee’s (HK) in Asia was not related to any communications between ourselves and the FDA or the EU regulatory authorities and was not based on any underlying safety or efficacy concern, but rather compelled by our desire to preserve our limited capital to focus on acute cardiovascular and other KL4 surfactant programs, primarily treatment of lung injury in patients with COVID-19.

 

We also plan to pursue one or more licensing transactions, collaboration arrangements or other strategic opportunities to support the development of AEROSURF and our lyophilized KL4 surfactant in markets outside of Asia, including the U.S.

 

Manufacturing

 

KL4 surfactant is comprised of four APIs. Our API suppliers are PolyPeptide Group, or PolyPeptide, Corden Pharma and Avanti Polar Lipids, Inc. We have supply agreements for the POPG API, and source the other three APIs, including KL4, under purchase orders. Bachem Americas, Inc., or Bachem Americas, was our supplier of KL4 from 2008 through 2020. In June 2019, we received a notice of nonrenewal from them indicating that they were discontinuing the current manufacturing process but agreed to continue manufacturing for us through 2020. That Agreement is now expired. PolyPeptide previously manufactured KL4 for us from approximately 2002 to 2007 and participated in manufacturing development of the current manufacturing process. They have agreed to support our activities in the future.

 

Our lyophilized KL4 surfactant is manufactured for us by Pharma Services Group, Patheon, part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, or Patheon. We have discussed with Patheon the wind-down of our Master Services Agreement dated as of October 24, 2013 for the manufacture of lyophilized KL4 surfactant, when needed. Patheon has indicated that it will continue to manufacture lyophilized KL4 surfactant to support our planned clinical requirements and will assist us with the technology transfer to another contract manufacturing organization if required. As we plan our pathway forward, we have identified potential contract manufacturers that we believe have appropriate experience to support this program and to which we could issue requests for proposal covering the technology transfer and future manufacturing of lyophilized KL4 surfactant.

 

In our Warrington, Pennsylvania laboratory, we conduct certain analytical and quality control activities including release testing of all API’s and release and stability testing of our lyophilized and aerosolized KL4 surfactant drug product. We also work with a number of third-party institutions and laboratories that perform various studies as well as quality control release and stability testing.

 

We contracted with Clinical Supplies Management, Inc. for the receipt, labeling, packaging and distribution of drug and materials to support the AEROSURF phase 2b bridging study (now suspended).

 

With respect to our ADS, in the second quarter of 2021, we expect to complete a technology transfer of our device manufacturing process from Battelle Memorial Institute, or Battelle, to Mack Molding Company, or Mack, an FDA-registered medical device manufacturer that is capable of producing new ADS devices to support, if applicable, the remaining clinical development in Asia for AEROSURF, including the AEROSURF phase 2b bridging study, and, if applicable, the potential phase 3 clinical program and potential ex-Asia licensing and other strategic transactions. We expect that, if approved, the new ADS will also support our commercial market platform. We currently have a Memorandum of Understanding with Mack to cover this transfer.

 

Material Licenses and Collaborations

 

Lee’s Pharmaceutical (HK) Ltd. Asia License Agreement

 

We are party to the Asia License Agreement with Lee’s (HK), an affiliate of Lee’s Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited, or Lee’s. Under the Asia License Agreement, we granted to Lee’s (HK) an exclusive license with a right to sublicense (i) to develop, manufacture and commercialize our KL4 surfactant products, including SURFAXIN, which was approved by the FDA in 2012 for RDS in premature infants, SURFAXIN LS™, the lyophilized dosage form of SURFAXIN, and AEROSURF, including the ADS, and (ii) to register and manufacture SURFAXIN and SURFAXIN LS for use in the licensed territory, which includes China, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan and 12 other countries. Under the Asia License Agreement, Lee’s (HK) made an upfront payment to us of $1.0 million. We also may receive up to $35.8 million in potential clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments and will share in any sublicense income Lee’s (HK) may receive at a rate equal to low double digits. In addition, Lee’s (HK) is responsible for all costs and expenses in and for the licensed territory related to development activities, including a planned AEROSURF phase 3 clinical program, regulatory activities, and commercialization activities.

 

We will be eligible to receive tiered royalties based on a percent of Net Sales (as defined in the Asia License Agreement), depending on the product, in the range of high single to low-to-mid double-digit percentages. Royalties are payable on a country-by-country basis until the latest of (i) the expiration of the last valid patent claim covering the product in the country of sale, (ii) the expiration or revocation of any applicable regulatory exclusivity in the country of sale, and (iii) ten years after the first commercial sale in the country of sale. Thereafter, in consideration of licensed rights other than patent rights, royalties shall continue for the commercial life of each product and, for the initial three years, shall be in the range of low-to- mid single digits. In addition, in the event that one or more generic products are introduced, the royalty rates will be reduced, subject to certain minimums if we are subject to continuing obligations at the time to pay royalties under our in-license agreements.

 

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Under the Asia License Agreement, Lee’s (HK) is responsible for all activities related to development, regulatory approval and commercialization of KL4 surfactant and drug/medical device combination products in the licensed territory. Lee’s (HK) will hold the product licenses for all non-aerosolized products in the licensed territory and will seek regulatory approval initially for SURFAXIN and SURFAXIN LS for RDS. We will hold the product license in the licensed territory (except where prohibited by law) for all aerosolized products and will designate Lee’s (HK) our exclusive agent and representative to develop and register AEROSURF and other aerosolized products in our name and on our behalf. Lee’s (HK) also has agreed that, except as provided in the Asia License Agreement, for a period of ten (10) years beginning with the later of the first commercial sale of the first aerosolized product and the first commercial sale of the first non-aerosolized product in China, it will not develop, register, manufacture, or commercialize any product for the prevention and/or treatment of RDS in premature infants or other diseases and conditions in humans, in either case, that administers, utilizes or contains pulmonary surfactant without our prior written consent.

 

The term of the Asia License Agreement will continue on a country-by-country basis for the commercial life of the products. Either party may terminate the Asia License Agreement in the event of bankruptcy or a material breach of the Asia License Agreement by the other party that remains uncured for a period of sixty (60) days. In addition, either party may terminate the Asia License Agreement in its entirety or with respect to any individual product or country if a regulatory authority terminates, suspends or discontinues development of a product and such termination, suspension or discontinuance persists for a period in excess of eighteen (18) months. Upon termination of the Asia License Agreement in its entirety or with respect to a particular product or country, generally all related rights and licenses granted to Lee’s (HK) will terminate, all rights under our technology will revert to us, and Lee’s (HK) will cease all use of our technology.

 

Universita degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca Collaboration Agreement

 

In April 2015, our subsidiary, CVie Therapeutics Ltd., or CVie Therapeutics, entered into an Agreement for Scientific Collaboration, or the 2015 Agreement, with the Universita degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, or Bicocca, in Milan, Italy, focused on defining the role of SERCA2a and phospholamban, or PLN, in modulating cardiac contraction, and discovering new small molecules to modulate SERCA2a activity or new drugs for treating chronic and acute human heart failure. The initial term of the 2015 Agreement, which was three years, was extended for approximately an additional year, with an option for further renewal. In June 2019, we entered into a new Agreement for Scientific Collaboration with Bicocca, or the 2019 Agreement, focused on continuing the studies under the 2015 Agreement. The 2019 Agreement supersedes and replaces all prior agreements with Bicocca.

 

Under the 2019 Agreement, we provided funds aggregating € 0.16 million (approximately $0.178 million) to extend our use of Bicocca laboratories and to fund research conducted pursuant to the collaboration. (Under the 2015 Agreement, Bicocca had given us exclusive use of a research laboratory for the collaboration work, and nonexclusive access to a physiology laboratory within the university.) Under the 2019 Agreement, any results obtained from the collaboration are jointly owned by the parties. However, Bicocca has agreed to assign to us its interest in patent applications and patents covering any new SERCA2a activator compounds and diagnostic products suitable for further clinical development. We have agreed to pay Bicocca (corresponding to stage of development): (i) € 0.1 million (approximately $0.11 million) for new SERCA2a activator compounds developed up to phase 1 studies in humans upon the completion and availability of the proof of concept of biological efficacy of new compounds on modulating the SERCA2a activity in cell-free systems, or its functional counterpart in cardiac myocytes and (ii) € 1.5 million (approximately $1.7 million) upon obtaining marketing authorization in the U.S., EU, or China of new compounds with the corresponding companion diagnostic assay. We have also agreed to pay royalties on products generated from the collaboration in the range of a fraction of a single digit to a low single digit percent of net sales for any products sold in any country for a period of ten years from the date of the first commercial sale or until the expiry of patent(s) covering the products.

 

On March 19, 2021, we entered into an Agreement for Scientific Collaboration, or the New SERCA2a Agreement, with Bicocca, which extends our collaboration. The New SERCA2a Agreement amends and restates the recently expired terms of the prior collaboration agreement. Under the New SERCA2a Agreement, we will provide Bicocca with approximately € 0.2 million (approximately $0.2 million) for research activities and to cover laboratory space and operation costs. Results obtained from the collaboration will be jointly owned by the parties. However, Bicocca will assign to us its interest in patent applications and patents covering any new SERCA2a compounds and diagnostic products suitable for further clinical development. We have agreed to pay Bicocca (corresponding to stage of development): (i) € 25,000 (approximately $30,000) for execution of an assignment to the Company of Bicocca’s interest in the patent at issue, (ii) € 75,000 (approximately $90,000) for new SERCA2a compounds developed up to phase 1 studies in humans upon the completion and availability of the proof of concept of biological efficacy of new compounds on modulating the SERCA2a activity in cell-free systems, or its functional counterpart in isolated cells and (iii) € 1.5 million (approximately $1.8 million) upon obtaining marketing authorization in the U.S., EU, or China of new compounds with the corresponding companion diagnostic assay. We have also agreed to pay royalties on products generated from the collaboration in the range of a fraction of a single digit to a low single digit percent of net sales for any products sold in any country for a period of ten years from the date of the first commercial sale or until the expiry of patent(s) covering the products.

 

Philip Morris License Agreements

 

In 2008, we entered into an Amended and Restated License Agreement with Philip Morris USA, Inc., or PMUSA, with respect to the U.S., or the U.S. License Agreement, and, as PMUSA had assigned its ex-U.S. rights to Philip Morris Products S.A., or PMPSA, effective on the same date and on substantially the same terms and conditions, we entered into a license agreement with PMPSA with respect to rights outside of the U.S., which we refer to, together with the U.S. License Agreement, as the PM License Agreements. Under the PM License Agreements, we have worldwide exclusive rights to the PMUSA and PMPSA proprietary capillary aerosol technology, which is a key component of our ADS, for use in a drug/device combination product with pulmonary surfactants (alone or in combination with other pharmaceutical compounds) for all respiratory diseases and conditions. In addition, under the U.S. License Agreement, our license to use the capillary aerosol technology includes certain non-surfactant drugs to treat certain designated pediatric and adult respiratory indications in hospitals and other health care institutions. See also, – Patents and Proprietary Rights – Aerosol Delivery System (ADS) Patent Rights.

 

Under the PM License Agreements, we are obligated to pay royalties at a rate equal to a low single-digit percent of sales of products sold in the Exclusive Field (as defined in the PM License Agreements) in the territories. In connection with exclusive undertakings of PMUSA and PMPSA not to exploit the aerosol technology for all licensed uses, we are obligated to pay royalties on all product sales, including sales of certain aerosol devices that are not based on the licensed aerosol technology; provided, however, that no royalties are payable to the extent that we exercise our right to terminate the license with respect to a specific indication. We also have been required to pay minimum royalties quarterly but are entitled to reduce future quarterly royalties above the quarterly minimums in the amount of the true-up payments we make to satisfy minimum royalties for prior quarters. Our license rights extend to innovations to the aerosol technology that are made under the PM License Agreements.

 

In addition to customary termination provisions for breach of the agreements, we may terminate the PM License Agreements, in whole or in part, upon advance written notice to the licensor. In addition, either party to each PM License Agreement may terminate upon a material breach by the other party (subject to a specified cure period). Our license under each PM License Agreement, unless terminated earlier, will expire as to each licensed product, on a country-by-country basis, upon the latest to occur of: the date on which the sale of such licensed product ceases to be covered by a valid patent claim in such country; the date a generic form of the product is introduced in such country; or the tenth anniversary of the first commercial sale of such licensed product.

 

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Battelle Collaboration Agreement

 

In October 2014, we entered into a Collaboration Agreement with Battelle, or the Battelle Collaboration Agreement, for the development of our new ADS for use in our phase 3 program. We had previously worked with Battelle, which has expertise in developing and integrating aerosol devices using innovative and advanced technologies, in connection with development of our phase 2 ADS used in the AEROSURF phase 2b clinical trial. Under the Battelle Collaboration Agreement, we and Battelle shared the costs of development for a three-stage development plan that included planning, executing the project plan and testing and completing verification and documentation of a new phase 3 ADS, putting us in a position to manufacture a new phase 3 ADS for use in the remaining AEROSURF development activities, including a potential phase 3 clinical program, and, if approved, initial commercial activities. We retained final decision-making authority over all matters related to the design, registration, manufacture, packaging, marketing, distribution and sale of the phase 3 ADS. We and Battelle shared the costs of the project plan equally. Battelle agreed to bear the cost of any cost overruns associated with the project plan and we agreed to bear the cost of any increase in cost resulting from changes in the scope of the product requirements. We also agreed that, if Battelle successfully completed the project plan in a timely manner, we would pay Battelle royalties equal to a low single-digit percentage of the worldwide net sales and license royalties on sales of AEROSURF for the treatment of RDS in premature infants, up to an initial aggregate limit of $25.0 million, which under a payment restructuring agreement (discussed below), was increased to $35.0 million. The Battelle Collaboration Agreement will end at the time we fulfill our payment obligations to Battelle, unless sooner terminated by a party as provided therein.

 

In December 2018, we entered into a payment restructuring agreement with Battelle, or the Battelle Payment Restructuring Agreement, in which we agreed, among other things, as follows: (i) the outstanding amounts then due to Battelle, or the Battelle Payables, under a Research and Development Services Agreement dated as of June 22, 2012, or the RDSA, and the Battelle Collaboration Agreement would continue to accrue interest at a rate of 6% per annum; (ii) AEROSURF development activities thereafter would be performed under the RDSA; (iii) Battelle would participate in a December 2018 private placement offering and exchange $1.0 million of the debt for shares of our common stock; and (iv) upon the closing of the December 2018 private placement, we paid Battelle cash in the amount of $1.0 million and thereafter initiated payments totaling an aggregate $1.25 million in 2019. In addition, we agreed to make two milestone payments to Battelle as follows: (i) upon enrollment of the first patient in the next AEROSURF clinical study, or the First Milestone, an amount equal to one half of the then-outstanding Battelle Payables, including unpaid interest, and (ii) upon completion of the device technology transfer for the new ADS to Mack, or the Second Milestone, an amount equal to the then-outstanding Battelle Payables, including unpaid interest. If any amounts of the Battelle Payables remained unpaid by December 31, 2019, then all unpaid Battelle Payables would be due on January 7, 2020. Neither milestone was achieved as of December 31, 2019. On March 30, 2020, we and Battelle entered into an amendment to the Battelle Payment Restructuring Agreement such that the First Milestone and Second Milestone payments would be payable no later than April 15, 2020 and September 1, 2020, respectively. In April 2020, we made the First Milestone payment of $0.8 million to Battelle and announced enrollment of the first patient into the AEROSURF phase 2 bridging study. In September 2020, we made the final Second Milestone payment of $0.8 million to Battelle.

 

Laboratorios del Dr. Esteve, S.A. Strategic Alliance

 

We have a strategic alliance with Laboratorios del Dr. Esteve, S.A., or Esteve, for the development, marketing and sales of a portfolio of potential KL4 surfactant products in Andorra, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, or, collectively, the Territory. Under the alliance, Esteve will pay us a transfer price on sales of our KL4 surfactant products. We are responsible for the manufacture and supply of all covered products and Esteve will be responsible for all sales and marketing in the Territory. Esteve is obligated to make stipulated cash payments to us upon our achievement of certain milestones, primarily upon receipt of marketing regulatory approvals for the covered products. In addition, Esteve has agreed to contribute to phase 3 clinical trials for the covered products by conducting and funding development performed in the Territory. As part of a 2004 restructuring, Esteve returned certain countries to us, referred to as the Former Esteve Territories, and we agreed to pay Esteve 10% of any cash up front and milestone fees (up to a maximum aggregate of $20.0 million) that we receive in connection with any strategic collaborations for the development and/or commercialization of certain of our KL4 surfactant products in the Former Esteve Territories. In addition, with respect to our aerosolized KL4 surfactant, Esteve will pay us $0.5 million upon the initial filing for regulatory approval with the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, and $0.5 million upon receipt of regulatory approval. Esteve will also contribute up to $3 million to support a phase 3 clinical trial in the Territory. The alliance will terminate as to each covered product, on a country-by-country basis, upon the latest to occur of: the expiration of the last patent claim related to a covered product in such country; the first commercial sale in such country of the first-to-appear generic formulation of the covered product, and the tenth anniversary of the first sale of the covered product in such country. In addition to customary termination provisions for breach of the agreement by a party, the alliance agreement may be terminated by Esteve on 60 days’ prior written notice, up to the date of receipt of the first marketing regulatory approval, or, on up to six months’ written notice, if the first marketing regulatory approval has issued. We may terminate the alliance agreement in the event that Esteve acquires a competitive product (as defined in the agreement).

 

Johnson & Johnson License Agreement

 

Our precision-engineered KL4 surfactant technology was invented at The Scripps Research Institute, or Scripps, and was exclusively licensed to and further developed by Johnson & Johnson, or J&J. Pursuant to a license agreement, dated October 28th 1996, with J&J and its wholly owned subsidiary, Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation (the J&J license), we obtained an exclusive, worldwide license and sublicense to a series of over 30 patents and patent filings (worldwide), or the J&J Patents. All J&J Patents have expired. Under the license agreement, we are obligated to pay the licensors fees of up to $3.0 million in the aggregate upon our achievement of certain milestones, primarily upon receipt of marketing regulatory approvals for certain designated products. We have made milestone payments totaling $1.0 million to date. In addition, the agreement provides that we are required to pay royalties at different rates based on the type of revenue and country, in amounts in the range of a high single-digit percent of net sales (as defined in the license agreement) of licensed products sold by us or sublicensees, or, if greater, a percentage of royalty income from sublicensees in the low double digits. The license agreement provides that the license will expire, on a country-by-country basis, upon the payment of royalties for all licensed products for ten years beginning on the date of the first commercial sale of the first licensed product in such country. Thereafter, the license agreement provides that royalties shall be paid in respect of a licensed product until the expiration of the last licensed patent containing a valid claim covering the licensed product in such country. For countries in the EU in which royalties are paid only by virtue of licensed know-how, royalties shall be payable commencing from the date of first commercial sale of the first licensed product in such country and ending on the earlier of (i) the date on which the licensed know-how becomes public or (ii) the tenth anniversary of the first commercial sale of the first licensed product in any country of the EU. In addition to customary termination provisions for breach of the agreement by a party, we may terminate the agreement, as to countries other than the U.S. and Western Europe territories (as defined in the agreement), on a country-by-country basis, on six months’ prior written notice; and as to the entire agreement, on 60 days’ prior written notice.

 

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Intellectual Property

 

We continue to invest in maintaining and enforcing our potential competitive position through a number of means: (i) by protecting our exclusive rights in our cardiovascular agents including istaroxime, rostafuroxin and SERCA2a activators, (ii) by protecting our exclusive rights in our lyophilized KL4 surfactant, ADS and aerosol-conducting airway connector technologies through patents that we own or exclusively license, (iii) by seeking regulatory exclusivities, including potential Orphan Drug and new drug product exclusivities, and (iv) through protecting our trade secrets and proprietary methodologies that support our manufacturing and analytical processes.

 

Patents and Proprietary Rights

 

In addition to the inventions covered by the patents and patent applications described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we have been active in identifying and seeking to identify new inventions eligible for patent protection. We have filed and plan to file patent and provisional patent applications to protect our innovations relating to our current and potential future product candidates, including for composition of matter, new dosage forms, formulations, methods of manufacture, methods of use and related processes. We intend to file for patent protection for select inventions, in such markets that we deem material to our patent strategy, as well as for other new inventions that we may identify.

 

CVie Therapeutics Patents and CVie/Windtree Therapeutics Patent Applications

 

Together with our subsidiary, CVie Therapeutics Limited, we hold a patent portfolio of six patent families that include patents and patent applications directed to compounds, pharmaceutical formulations, methods of manufacturing, methods of delivery, and/or treatment methods using istaroxime, rostafuroxin, their metabolites and/or derivatives, as well as SERCA2a activators, for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and related conditions. We plan to continue these patent activities and focus on new follow-on compounds, dosage forms, formulations, and treatment methods related to AHF and persistent hypertension. To benefit from potential non-patent exclusivity within the U.S., we believe that we may qualify istaroxime as a new chemical entity entitled to market exclusivity for a period of years. See the section titled “- Government Regulation - Drug Products - The Hatch-Waxman Act - Market Exclusivity.”

 

 

Istaroxime-Related Patent Applications

 

 

 

In November 2019, international patent application PCT/US2019/060961 was filed, directed to methods of treating AHF through an extended istaroxime dosing regimen, as well as to metabolites of istaroxime having SERCA2a stimulating activity. The international application entered the national phase in China on December 31, 2019 (Application No. 201980003356.1). The international application is eligible to enter the national phase in other PCT contracting states until September 5, 2021 and October 5, 2021. This patent family will expire on or about November 12, 2039.

 

 

New Compounds for Treatment of Heart Failure and Related Conditions

 

 

 

Two patent application families have resulted from research under the 2019 Agreement with Bicocca. Pursuant to that agreement, those patent families have been or are obligated to be assigned to CVie (or to us).

 

 

 

In July 2018, the parties to the 2019 Agreement filed European Application No. EP18185753.3, directed to 17ß-heterocyclyl-digitalis like compounds and their use for the treatment of heart failure and related conditions. International application PCT/EP2019/069283, based on the European application, was filed in July 2019. Patents granted on this family of applications will expire on or about July 17, 2039.

 

 

 

In October 2019, the parties to the 2019 Agreement filed European Application No. 19202257.2, directed to androstane derivatives with activity as pure or predominantly pure stimulators of SERCA2a for the treatment of heart failure and related conditions. International application PCT/EP2020/078253 and Taiwan Application No. 109134997, both based on the European application, were filed in October 2020. Patents granted on this family of applications will expire on or about October 8, 2040.

 

 

Rostafuroxin-Related Patents

 

 

 

In June 2008, international patent application PCT/EP2008/056928 was filed, directed to rostafuroxin derivatives useful for the prevention or treatment of restenosis after angioplasty or endarterectomy, as well as diseases resulting from organ fibrosis. The international application entered into the national phase in the U.S., European Patent Office, or EPO, and several other foreign jurisdictions. In this patent family, multiple foreign counterparts are pending or granted. U.S. Patent Application No. 12/602,827 was abandoned following an unsuccessful appeal of a decision of the U.S. Patent Office examiner. European Patent No. 2160190B1 will expire on June 4, 2028.

 

 

 

In March 2010, international patent application PCT/EP2010/053571 was filed, directed to rostafuroxin derivatives for the treatment of proteinuria, glomerulosclerosis, and renal failure. The international patent application entered into the national phase in the EPO (EP10709529.1, now European Patent No. 2411015B1), U.S., and multiple other foreign nations. U.S. Patent Application No. 13/258,728 was abandoned on June 2, 2016 in favor of child application U.S. 14/931,083, now U.S. Patent No. 9,868,757. U.S. Patent No. 9,868,757 and European Patent No. 2411015B1 will expire on March 18, 2030.

 

 

 

In October 2010, international patent application PCT/EP2010/065589 was filed, covering methods of rostafuroxin administration for the treatment or prevention of cardiovascular conditions in individuals with various single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, associated with improved therapeutic response to rostafuroxin administration. The international patent application entered into the national phase in the EPO (EP10807525.0, now European Patent No. 2490694B1), U.S. (U.S. 13/502,518, now U.S. Patent No. 9,408,854), and multiple other foreign nations. U.S. Patent No. 9,408,854 and European Patent No. 2490694B1 will expire on October 18, 2030.

 

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Our KL4 -Related Patents and Patent Rights

 

We have been active in seeking patent protection for our innovations relating to new dosage forms, formulations and methods of manufacturing and delivering synthetic peptide containing pulmonary surfactants. Our patent activities have focused particularly on improved dosage forms and delivery of aerosolized pulmonary surfactant.

 

In January 2006, we filed U.S. and international patent applications (U.S. 11/326,885 which is now U.S. Patent No. 7,541,331 issued on June 2, 2009 and PCT/US06/000308), directed to a surfactant treatment regimen for BPD. U.S. Patent No. 7,541,331 will expire on January 6, 2026.

 

In September 2007, we filed U.S. and international patent applications (U.S. 11/901,866 which is now U.S. Patent No. 8,221,772 and PCT US/2007/020260), directed to surfactant compositions and methods of promoting mucus clearance and treating pulmonary disorders such as cystic fibrosis. U.S. Patent No. 8,221,772 will expire on September 19, 2027.

 

In March 2013, we filed international patent applications (PCT/US13/34364 and PCT/US13/34464, which entered national phase and commenced expedited examination in the U.S. and EPO) directed to lyophilized pulmonary surfactant and methods of manufacture. In this patent family, two U.S. Patents Nos. 8,748,396 and 8,748,397, were issued on June 10, 2014, European patent 2723323B1 granted on September 23, 2015, U.S. Patent No. 9,554,999, issued on January 31, 2017 and multiple foreign counterparts are pending or granted. U.S. Patents Nos. 8,748,396; 8,748,397 and 9,554,999 and European Patent No. 2723323B1 will expire on March 28, 2033.

 

Aerosol Delivery System (ADS) Patent Rights

 

Pursuant to the PM Licenses Agreements, we have worldwide exclusive rights to the proprietary capillary aerosol technology incorporated into the ADS for use in a drug/device combination product. The ADS is the medical device component of our AEROSURF product candidate. We completed design verification of the new ADS for use in the remaining AEROSURF development activities, including a phase 2b bridging study to be conducted in China, potentially a phase 3 clinical program and, if approved, initial commercial activities.

 

Our ADS technology and our new ADS are protected by a portfolio of issued patents and pending patent applications covering various components of the system. While certain of the earlier patents on the technology have expired, there remain over 150 in-force patents worldwide that protect, among other things, core elements of the ADS technology and the new ADS. These patents and applications will expire on dates ranging from 2021 to 2039. As an illustrative example, important components of our new ADS technology are covered by a patent family represented by US Patent No. 9,713,687, expiring on February 10, 2035, and European Patent No. 2887984B1, expiring on August 21, 2033. In addition, several key components of our new ADS are covered by recently issued U.S. Patent No. 10,874,818, which expires on January 22, 2039.

 

Aerosol-Conducting Airway Connector Technology Patents and Patent Rights

 

In March 2009, we filed an international patent application (PCT US/2009/037409) directed to aerosol-conducting airway connectors and improvements of an ADS using AFECTAIR®. The claims of this application are directed to a novel ventilation circuit adaptor (an aerosol-conducting airway connector) and related aerosol circuitry that are intended to (i) increase the efficiency of aerosol delivery to the patient by allowing more efficient delivery of aerosols to the patient, and (ii) reduce drug compound dilution and wastage and result in more precise aerosol dosing. In this patent family, U.S. Patent No. 8,701,658 was issued on April 22, 2014, European patent No. 2265309 was granted on December 16, 2015, U.S. Patent No. 9,352,114 was issued on May 31, 2016, U.S. Patent No. 9,592,361 was issued on March 14, 2017 and several foreign patents have issued during 2011 through 2017. U.S. Patent No. 8,701,658 and U.S. Patent No. 9,352,114 will expire on March 17, 2029. U.S. Patent No. 9,592,361 will expire on September 9, 2033. European Patent No. 2265309 will expire on March 17, 2029.

 

Trademarks

 

AEROSURF®, AFECTAIR®, SURFAXIN®, SURFAXIN LS™, WINDTREE THERAPEUTICS® (logo), WINDTREE™ and WINDTREE THERAPEUTICS™ are our material registered and common law trademarks.

 

Trade Secrets

 

In addition to our patent exclusivities, we rely on trade secrets to protect and maintain our competitive position. We take measures to protect and maintain our trade secrets and know-how licensed to us or developed by us by entering in confidentiality agreements with third parties. Our trade secrets and know-how include information related to manufacturing processes for our drug products and devices, analytical methods and procedures, research and development activities, provisional patent applications, as well as certain information provided to the FDA that was not made public which relates to our regulatory activities and clinical trials.

 

Other Regulatory Designations

 

Orphan Drug and Orphan Medicinal Product Designations

 

The FDA has granted Orphan Drug designation for (i) our KL4 surfactant (lucinactant) for the treatment of RDS in premature infants, (ii) our KL4 surfactant for the prevention and treatment of BPD in premature infants, (iii) our KL4 surfactant for the treatment of ARDS in adults, and (iv) our KL4 surfactant for the treatment of CF. See the section titled - Government Regulation - Drug Products - Orphan Drugs.

 

The European Commission, or EC, grants Orphan Medicinal Product designation for pharmaceutical products for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of a life-threatening or chronically debilitating condition affecting no more than 5 in 10,000 people which provides for exclusive marketing rights for indications in Europe for 10 years (subject to revision after six years) following marketing approval by the EMA. In addition, the designation would enable us to receive regulatory assistance in the further development process, and to access reduced regulatory fees throughout its marketing life. The EC has granted Orphan Medicinal Product designation for (i) our KL4 surfactant for the prevention of RDS in premature neonates of less than 32 weeks gestational age, (ii) our KL4 surfactant for the treatment of RDS in premature neonates of less than 37 weeks gestational age, (iii) our KL4 surfactant for the treatment of ALI (which in this circumstance encompasses ARDS), and (iv) our KL4 surfactant for the treatment of CF. In submitting the requests to the EMA for Orphan Medicinal Product designations, instead of listing the drug product under the USAN name (lucinactant) as we have in the U.S., we were required to submit our requests under the names of the four APIs in our KL4 surfactant (lucinactant) as follows: sinapultide (KL4), dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine, palmitoyl-oleoyl phosphatidylglycerol and palmitic acid.

 

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Fast Track Designations

 

The FDA has granted Fast Track designation for (i) istaroxime for the treatment of AHF, (ii) AEROSURF for the treatment of RDS in premature neonates, and (iii) SURFAXIN® for the prevention and treatment of BPD in premature neonates and the treatment of ARDS in adults. We believe that other of our products may qualify for Fast Track or breakthrough therapy designation or other expedited programs. These designations and programs are intended to facilitate and expedite development and review of a New Drug Application, or NDA, to address unmet medical needs in the treatment of serious or life-threatening conditions. See the section titled - Government Regulation - Drug Products - Fast Track Designation.

 

Competition

 

The biotechnology industry is a highly competitive industry. As we work to gain marketing authorization for our product candidates, in some therapeutic areas, competition from numerous existing pharmaceutical companies and other companies entering our fields is expected to be intense and expected to increase. In fact, our future competitors are competing with us currently to secure access to development resources, including clinical sites and their patients to advance development programs. We expect that those companies that are successful at being the first to introduce new products and technologies to the market may gain significant advantages over their competitors in the establishment of a customer base and track record for the performance of their products and technologies. Moreover, there are also existing therapies that may compete with the products we are developing. Therefore, as a development stage biotechnology company, our competitors are comprised of other biotechnology firms and pharmaceutical companies that have existing products or are developing products for our primary markets -- respiratory and cardiovascular indications.

 

Government Regulation

 

In the U.S., drug products, medical devices, and drug/medical device combination products are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or the FDC Act, and other federal and state statutes and regulations, govern, among other things, the research, development, testing, manufacture, storage, recordkeeping, approval, clearance, labeling, promotion, advertising and marketing, distribution, post-approval monitoring and reporting, sampling, and import and export of drug products, medical devices, and drug/medical device combination products. Failure to comply with applicable U.S. requirements may subject a company to a variety of administrative or judicial sanctions, such as FDA refusal to approve or clear pending new submissions to market drugs or devices warning or untitled letters, product recalls, product seizures, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunctions, fines, civil penalties, and criminal prosecution. Drug products, medical devices, and drug/medical device combination products must receive all relevant regulatory approvals or clearances before they may be marketed in the U.S. Drug products, medical devices, and drug/medical device combination products are subject to extensive regulation, including premarket review and marketing authorization, by similar agencies in other countries.

 

Drug Products

 

Pharmaceutical product development for a new product or certain changes to an approved product in the U.S. typically involves preclinical laboratory and animal tests, the submission to the FDA of an IND application, or IND, which must become effective before clinical testing may commence, and adequate and well-controlled clinical trials to establish the safety and effectiveness of the drug for each indication for which the FDA approval is sought. Satisfaction of the FDA pre-market approval requirements typically takes many years and the actual time required may vary substantially based upon the type, complexity, and novelty of the product or disease.

 

Preclinical tests include laboratory evaluation of product chemistry, formulation, and toxicity, as well as animal trials to assess the characteristics and potential safety and efficacy of the product. The conduct of the preclinical tests must comply with federal regulations and requirements, including good laboratory practices. The results of preclinical testing are submitted to the FDA as part of an IND along with other information, including information about product chemistry, manufacturing and controls, and a proposed clinical trial protocol. Long-term preclinical tests, such as animal tests of reproductive toxicity and carcinogenicity, may continue after the IND is submitted.

 

A 30-day waiting period after the submission of each IND is required prior to the commencement of clinical testing in humans. If the FDA has neither commented on nor questioned the IND within this 30-day period, the clinical trial proposed in the IND may begin.

 

Clinical trials involve the administration of the IND to volunteers or patients under the supervision of a qualified investigator. Clinical trials must be conducted: (i) in compliance with federal regulations; (ii) in compliance with good clinical practices, or GCPs, an international standard meant to protect the rights and health of patients and to define the roles of clinical trial sponsors, administrators, and monitors; as well as (iii) under protocols detailing the objectives of the trial, the parameters to be used in monitoring safety, and the effectiveness criteria to be evaluated. Each protocol involving testing on U.S. patients and subsequent protocol amendments must be submitted to the FDA as part of the IND.

 

The FDA may order the temporary, or permanent, discontinuation of a clinical trial at any time, or impose other sanctions, if it believes that the clinical trial either is not being conducted in accordance with the FDA requirements or presents an unacceptable risk to the clinical trial patients. The study protocol and informed consent information for patients in clinical trials must also be submitted to an institutional review board, or IRB, for approval. An IRB may also require the clinical trial at the site to be halted, either temporarily or permanently, for failure to comply with the IRB’s requirements, or may impose other conditions.

 

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Clinical trials to support NDAs for marketing approval are typically conducted in three sequential phases, but the phases may overlap. In phase 1, the initial introduction of the drug into human subjects or patients, the drug is tested to assess metabolism, pharmacokinetics, pharmacological actions, side effects associated with increasing doses, and, if possible, early evidence on effectiveness. Phase 2 usually involves trials in a limited patient population to determine the effectiveness of the drug for a particular indication, dosage tolerance, and optimum dosage, and to identify common adverse effects and safety risks. If a compound demonstrates evidence of effectiveness and an acceptable safety profile in phase 2 evaluations, phase 3 trials are undertaken to obtain the additional information about clinical efficacy and safety in a larger number of patients, typically at geographically dispersed clinical trial sites, to permit the FDA to evaluate the overall benefit- risk relationship of the drug and to provide adequate information for the labeling of the drug. In most cases the FDA requires two adequate and well-controlled phase 3 clinical trials to demonstrate the efficacy of the drug. A single phase 3 trial with other confirmatory evidence may be sufficient in rare instances where the study is a large multicenter trial demonstrating internal consistency and a statistically very persuasive finding of a clinically meaningful effect on mortality, irreversible morbidity or prevention of a disease with a potentially serious outcome and confirmation of the result in a second trial would be practically or ethically impossible. Data from clinical trials conducted outside the U.S. may be accepted by the FDA subject to certain conditions. For example, the clinical trial must be conducted in accordance with GCPs and the FDA must be able to validate the data from the clinical trial through an onsite inspection if it deems such inspection necessary. Where data from foreign clinical trials are intended to serve as the sole basis for marketing approval in the U.S., the FDA will not approve the application on the basis of foreign data alone unless those data are considered applicable to the U.S. patient population and U.S. medical practice, the clinical trials were performed by clinical investigators of recognized competence, and the data is considered valid without the need for an onsite inspection by the FDA or, if the FDA considers such an inspection to be necessary, the FDA is able to validate the data through an onsite inspection or other appropriate means.

 

The manufacturer of an investigational drug in a phase 2 or 3 clinical trial for a serious or life-threatening disease is required to make available, such as by posting on its website, its policy on evaluating and responding to requests for expanded access to such investigational drug.

 

After completion of the required clinical testing, an NDA is prepared and submitted to the FDA. The FDA approval of the NDA is required before marketing of the product may begin in the U.S. The NDA must include the results of all preclinical, clinical, and other testing and a compilation of data relating to the product’s pharmacology, chemistry, manufacture, and controls. The cost of preparing and submitting an NDA is substantial. The submission of most NDAs is additionally subject to a substantial application user fee, currently exceeding $2,875,000 for fiscal year 2021, and the applicant under an approved new drug application is also subject to an annual program fee, currently exceeding $336,000 per product for fiscal year 2021. These fees are typically increased annually.

 

The FDA has 60 days from its receipt of an NDA to determine whether the application will be filed based on the agency’s threshold determination that it is sufficiently complete to permit substantive review. If the NDA submission is filed, the FDA reviews the NDA to determine, among other things, whether the proposed product is safe and effective for its intended use. The FDA has agreed to certain performance goals in the review of NDAs. Most such applications for standard review drug products are reviewed within ten to twelve months; most applications for priority review drugs are reviewed in six to eight months. Priority review can be applied to drugs that the FDA determines offer major advances in treatment or provide a treatment where no adequate therapy exists. The review process for both standard and priority review may be extended by the FDA for three additional months to consider certain late-submitted information, or information intended to clarify information already provided in the submission.

 

The FDA may also refer applications for novel drug products, or drug products that present difficult questions of safety or efficacy, to an advisory committee - typically a panel that includes clinicians and other experts - for review, evaluation, and a recommendation as to whether the application should be approved. The FDA is not bound by the recommendation of an advisory committee, but it generally follows such recommendations. Before approving an NDA, the FDA will typically inspect one or more clinical sites to assure compliance with GCP. Additionally, the FDA will inspect the facility or the facilities at which the drug is manufactured. The FDA will not approve the product unless compliance with current good manufacturing practices, or cGMPs, is satisfactory and the NDA contains data that provide substantial evidence that the drug is safe and effective in the indication studied.

 

After the FDA evaluates the NDA and the manufacturing facilities, it issues either an approval letter or a complete response letter. A complete response letter generally outlines the deficiencies in the submission and may require substantial additional testing, or information, in order for the FDA to reconsider the application. If, or when, those deficiencies have been addressed to the FDA’s satisfaction in a resubmission of the NDA, the FDA will issue an approval letter. The FDA has committed to reviewing such resubmissions in two or six months depending on the type of information included.

 

An approval letter authorizes commercial marketing of the drug with specific prescribing information for specific indications. As a condition of NDA approval, the FDA may require a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, to help ensure that the benefits of the drug outweigh the potential risks. REMS can include medication guides, communication plans for healthcare professionals, and elements to assure safe use, or ETASU. ETASU can include, but are not limited to, special training or certification for prescribing or dispensing, dispensing only under certain circumstances, special monitoring, and the use of patient registries. The requirement for a REMS can materially affect the potential market and profitability of the drug. Moreover, product approval may require substantial post-approval testing and surveillance to monitor the drug’s safety or efficacy. Once granted, product approvals may be withdrawn if compliance with regulatory standards is not maintained or problems are identified following initial marketing.

 

Changes to some of the conditions established in an approved application, including changes in indications, labeling, or manufacturing processes or facilities, require submission and the FDA approval of a new NDA or NDA supplement before the change can be implemented. An NDA supplement for a new indication typically requires clinical data similar to that in the original application, and the FDA uses the same procedures and actions in reviewing NDA supplements as it does in reviewing NDAs.

 

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Emergency Use Authorization

 

The FDA has the authority to grant an Emergency Use Authorization, or EUA, to allow unapproved medical products to be used in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives. When issuing an EUA, the FDA imposes conditions of authorization, with which the company must comply. Such conditions include, but may not be limited to, compliance with labeling, distribution of materials designed to ensure proper use, reporting obligations, and restrictions on advertising and promotion. The EUA is only effective for the duration of the public health emergency, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The FDA may revoke or terminate the EUA sooner if, for example, the company fails to comply with the conditions of authorization of the EUA or the drug is determined to be less effective or safe than it was initially believed to be.

 

Orphan Drugs

 

Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may grant Orphan Drug designation to drugs intended to treat a rare disease or condition - generally a disease or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the U.S. Orphan drug designation must be requested before submitting an NDA. After the FDA grants Orphan Drug designation, the generic identity of the drug and its potential orphan use are disclosed publicly by the FDA. Orphan drug designation does not convey any advantage in, or shorten the duration of, the regulatory review and approval process. The first NDA applicant to receive FDA approval for a particular active moiety to treat a particular disease with FDA Orphan Drug designation is entitled to a seven- year exclusive marketing period in the U.S. for that product, for that indication. During the seven-year exclusivity period, the FDA may not approve any other applications to market the same drug for the same disease, except in limited circumstances, such as a showing of clinical superiority to the product with Orphan Drug exclusivity by means of greater effectiveness, greater safety, or providing a major contribution to patient care. Orphan drug exclusivity does not prevent the FDA from approving a different drug for the same disease or condition, or the same drug for a different disease or condition. Among the other benefits of Orphan Drug designation are tax credits for certain research and a waiver of the NDA application user fee.

 

Fast Track Designation

 

The FDA is required to facilitate the development, and expedite the review, of drugs that are intended for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening disease and which demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs for the condition. Under the Fast Track program, the sponsor of a new drug candidate may request that the FDA designate the drug candidate for a specific indication as a Fast Track drug concurrent with, or after, the filing of the IND for the drug candidate. The FDA must determine if the drug candidate qualifies for Fast Track designation within 60 days of receipt of the sponsors request.

 

Under the Fast Track program, sponsors have the opportunity to engage in more frequent interactions with the FDA. In addition, the FDA may initiate review of sections of a Fast Track drugs NDA before the application is complete. This rolling review is available if the applicant provides, and the FDA approves, a schedule for the submission of the remaining information and the applicant pays applicable user fees. However, the FDAs time period goal for reviewing an application does not begin until the last section of the NDA is submitted. Additionally, the Fast Track designation may be withdrawn by the FDA if the FDA believes that the designation is no longer supported by data emerging in the clinical trial process.

 

Breakthrough Therapy Designation

 

FDA is also required to expedite the development and review of the application for approval of drugs that are intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition where preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints. Under the breakthrough therapy program, the sponsor of a new drug candidate may request that FDA designate the drug candidate for a specific indication as a breakthrough therapy concurrent with, or after, the filing of the IND for the drug candidate. FDA must determine if the drug candidate qualifies for breakthrough therapy designation within 60 days of receipt of the sponsors request.

 

The Hatch-Waxman Act

 

Orange Book Listing

 

In seeking approval for a drug through an NDA, applicants are required to list with the FDA each patent with claims covering the applicants product or method of using the product. Upon approval of a drug, each of the patents listed in the application for the drug is then published in the FDAs Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations, commonly known as the Orange Book. Drugs listed in the Orange Book can, in turn, be cited by potential generic competitors in support of approval of an abbreviated new drug application, or ANDA. An ANDA provides for marketing of a drug product that has the same active ingredients in the same strengths and dosage form as the listed drug and has been shown to be bioequivalent to the listed drug. Other than the requirement for bioequivalence testing, ANDA applicants are not required to conduct, or submit results of, preclinical or clinical tests to prove the safety or effectiveness of their drug product. Drugs approved in this way are commonly referred to as generic equivalents to the listed drug, and can often be substituted by pharmacists under prescriptions written for the original listed drug.

 

The ANDA applicant is required to certify to the FDA concerning any patents listed for the approved product in the FDAs Orange Book. Specifically, the applicant must certify that: (i) the required patent information has not been filed; (ii) the listed patent has expired; (iii) the listed patent has not expired, but will expire on a particular date and approval is sought after patent expiration; or (iv) the listed patent is invalid or will not be infringed by the new product. The ANDA applicant may also elect to submit a Section VIII statement certifying that its proposed ANDA labeling does not contain (or carves out) any language regarding the patented method-of-use rather than certify to a listed method-of-use patent. If the applicant does not challenge the listed patents, the ANDA application will not be approved until all the listed patents claiming the referenced product have expired.

 

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A certification that the new product will not infringe the already approved products listed patents, or that such patents are invalid, is called a Paragraph IV certification. If the ANDA applicant has provided a Paragraph IV certification to the FDA, the applicant must also send notice of the Paragraph IV certification to the NDA and patent holders once the ANDA has been received by the FDA. The NDA and patent holders may then initiate a patent infringement lawsuit in response to the notice of the Paragraph IV certification. The filing of a patent infringement lawsuit within 45 days of the receipt of a Paragraph IV certification automatically prevents the FDA from approving the ANDA until the earlier of 30 months, expiration of the patent, settlement of the lawsuit, or a decision in the infringement case that is favorable to the ANDA applicant.

 

An applicant submitting an NDA under Section 505(b)(2) of the FDC Act, which permits the filing of an NDA where at least some of the information required for approval comes from studies not conducted by, or for, the applicant and for which the applicant has not obtained a right of reference, is required to certify to the FDA regarding any patents listed in the Orange Book for the approved product it references to the same extent that an ANDA applicant would.

 

Market Exclusivity

 

Market exclusivity provisions under the FDC Act also can delay the submission or the approval of certain applications. The FDC Act provides a five-year period of non-patent exclusivity within the U.S. to the first applicant to gain approval of an NDA for a new chemical entity, or NCE. A drug is entitled to NCE exclusivity if it contains a drug substance no active moiety of which has been previously approved by the FDA. During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not receive for review an ANDA or file a 505(b)(2) NDA submitted by another company for another version of such drug 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 Paragraph IV certification. The FDC Act also provides three years of market exclusivity for an NDA, 505(b)(2) 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, for new indications, dosages or strengths of an existing drug. This three-year exclusivity covers only the conditions for use associated with the new clinical investigations and does not prohibit the FDA from approving ANDAs for drugs for the original conditions of use, such as the originally approved indication. Five-year and three-year exclusivity will not delay the submission or approval of a full NDA; however, an applicant submitting a full NDA would be required to conduct or obtain a right of reference to all the non-clinical studies and adequate and well- controlled clinical trials necessary to demonstrate safety and effectiveness.

 

Patent Term Extension

 

After NDA approval, the owner of a relevant drug patent may apply for up to five years of patent term extension. Only one patent may be extended for each regulatory review period, which is composed of two parts: a testing phase, and an approval phase. The allowable patent term extension is calculated as half of the drugs testing phase - the time between the day the IND becomes effective and NDA submission - and all of the review phase - the time between NDA submission and approval - up to a maximum of five years. The time can be shortened if the FDA determines that the applicant did not pursue approval with due diligence. The total remaining patent term after the extension may not exceed 14 years.

 

For patents that might expire during the application phase, the patent owner may request an interim patent extension. An interim patent term extension increases the patent term by one year and may be renewed up to four times. For each interim patent term extension granted, the post-approval patent term extension is reduced by one year. The director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, must determine that approval of the drug covered by the patent for which a patent extension is being sought is likely. Interim patent term extensions are not available for a drug for which an NDA has not been submitted.

 

Post-Approval Requirements

 

Once an NDA is approved, a product will be subject to certain post-approval requirements. For instance, the FDA closely regulates the post-approval marketing and promotion of drugs, including standards and regulations for direct-to- consumer advertising, off-label promotion, industry-sponsored scientific and educational activities and promotional activities involving the internet. Drugs may be marketed only for the approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved labeling.

 

Adverse event reporting and submission of periodic reports is required following FDA approval of an NDA. The FDA also may require post-marketing testing, known as phase 4 testing, REMS, and surveillance to monitor the effects of an approved product, or the FDA may place conditions on an approval that could restrict the distribution or use of the product. In addition, quality-control, drug manufacture, packaging, and labeling procedures must continue to conform to cGMPs, after approval. Drug manufacturers and certain of their subcontractors are required to register their establishments with the FDA and certain state agencies. Registration with the FDA subjects entities to periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA, during which the agency inspects manufacturing facilities to assess compliance with cGMPs. Accordingly, manufacturers must continue to expend time, money, and effort in the areas of production and quality-control to maintain compliance with cGMPs. Regulatory authorities may withdraw product approvals or request product recalls if a company fails to comply with regulatory standards, if it encounters problems following initial marketing, or if previously unrecognized problems are subsequently discovered. In addition, prescription drug manufacturers in the U.S. must comply with applicable provisions of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act and provide and receive product tracing information, maintain appropriate licenses, ensure they only work with other properly licensed entities, and have procedures in place to identify and properly handle suspect and illegitimate products.

 

Pediatric Information

 

Under the Pediatric Research Equity Act, or PREA, NDAs or supplements to NDAs must contain data to assess the safety and effectiveness of the drug for the claimed indications in all relevant pediatric subpopulations and to support dosing and administration for each pediatric subpopulation for which the drug is safe and effective. The FDA may grant full or partial waivers, or deferrals, for submission of data. Unless otherwise required by regulation, PREA does not apply to any drug for an indication for which orphan designation has been granted except a product with a new active ingredient that is a molecularly targeted cancer product intended for the treatment of an adult cancer and directed at a molecular target determined by the FDA to be substantially relevant to the growth or progression of a pediatric cancer that is subject to an NDA or Biologics License Application, or BLA, submitted on or after August 18, 2020.

 

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The Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act, or BPCA, provides NDA holders a six-month extension of any exclusivity—patent or non-patent—for a drug if certain conditions are met. Conditions for exclusivity include the FDAs determination that information relating to the use of a new drug in the pediatric population may produce health benefits in that population, the FDA making a written request for pediatric studies, and the applicant agreeing to perform, and reporting on, the requested studies within the statutory timeframe. Applications under the BPCA are treated as priority applications, with all of the benefits that designation confers.

 

Disclosure of Clinical Trial Information

 

Sponsors of clinical trials of FDA-regulated products are required to register and disclose certain clinical trial information. Information related to the product, patient population, phase of investigation, trial sites and investigators, and other aspects of the clinical trial is then made public as part of the registration. Sponsors are also obligated to discuss the results of their clinical trials after completion. Disclosure of the results of these trials can be delayed in certain circumstances for up to two years after the date of completion of the trial. Competitors may use this publicly available information to gain knowledge regarding the progress of development programs.

 

Medical Device Products

 

A medical device is an instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar or related article, including any component part, or accessory which is: (i) recognized in the official National Formulary, or the US Pharmacopoeia, or any supplement to them; (ii) intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, in man or other animals; or (iii) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals, and which does not achieve any of its primary intended purposes through chemical action within or on the body of man or other animals and which is not dependent upon being metabolized for the achievement of any of its primary intended purposes.

 

The FDC Act classifies medical devices into one of three categories based on the risks associated with the device and the level of control necessary to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness. Class I devices are deemed to be low risk and are subject to the fewest regulatory controls. Class III devices are generally the highest risk devices and are subject to the highest level of regulatory control to provide reasonable assurance of the devices safety and effectiveness. Class III devices must typically be approved by the FDA before they are marketed.

 

Generally, establishments that manufacture and/or distribute devices, including manufacturers, contract manufacturers, sterilizers, repackagers and relabelers, specification developers, reprocessors of single-use devices, remanufacturers, initial importers, manufacturers of accessories and components sold directly to the end user, and U.S. manufacturers of export-only devices, are required to register their establishments with the FDA and provide the FDA a list of the devices that they handle at their facilities.

 

Pre-market Authorization and Notification

 

While most Class I and some Class II devices can be marketed without prior FDA authorization, most medical devices can be legally sold within the U.S. only if the FDA has: (i) approved a premarket approval application, or PMA, prior to marketing, generally applicable to Class III devices; or (ii) cleared the device in response to a premarket notification, or 510(k) submission, generally applicable to Class I and II devices. Some devices that have been classified as Class III are regulated pursuant to the 510(k) requirements because the FDA has not yet called for PMAs for these devices. Other less common regulatory pathways to market for certain devices include the de novo classification process, the humanitarian device exception, or HDE, or a product development protocol, or PDP.

 

The 510(k) Clearance Process

 

Under the 510(k) process, the manufacturer must submit to the FDA a premarket notification, demonstrating that the device is substantially equivalent, as defined in the statute, to a legally marketed predicate device.

 

A predicate device is a legally marketed device that is not subject to premarket approval, i.e., a device that was legally marketed prior to May 28, 1976, often referred to as a preamendments device, and for which a PMA is not required, a device that has been reclassified from Class III to Class II or I, or a device that was previously found substantially equivalent through the 510(k) process. To be substantially equivalent, the proposed device must have the same intended use as the predicate device, and either have the same technological characteristics as the predicate device or have different technological characteristics and not raise different questions of safety or effectiveness than the predicate device. Clinical data is sometimes required to support substantial equivalence.

 

After a 510(k) premarket notification is submitted, the FDA determines whether to accept it for substantive review. If it lacks necessary information for substantive review, the FDA will refuse to accept the 510(k) notification. If it is accepted for filing, the FDA begins a substantive review. By statute, the FDA has a performance goal to complete its review of 95% of 510(k) submissions within 90 days of receipt. As a practical matter, clearance often takes longer, because the FDA can request additional date and information, which pauses the review clock for up to 180 days, and clearance is never assured. Although many 510(k) premarket notifications are cleared without clinical data, the FDA may require further information, including clinical data, to make a determination regarding substantial equivalence. If the FDA agrees that the device is substantially equivalent, it will grant clearance to commercially market the device.

 

If the FDA determines that the device is not substantially equivalent to a predicate device, or if the device is automatically classified into Class III, the device sponsor must then fulfill the much more rigorous premarketing requirements of the PMA approval process, or seek reclassification of the device through the de novo process. A manufacturer can also submit a petition for direct de novo review if the manufacturer is unable to identify an appropriate predicate device and the new device or new use of the device presents a moderate or low risk.

 

After a device receives 510(k) clearance, any modification that could significantly affect its safety or effectiveness, or that would constitute a new or major change in its intended use, will require a new 510(k) clearance or, depending on the modification, could require a PMA application or de novo classification. The FDA requires each manufacturer to determine whether the proposed change requires submission of a 510(k) or a PMA in the first instance, but the FDA can review any such decision and disagree with a manufacturers determination. Many minor modifications are accomplished by a letter-to- file in which the manufacturer documents the change in an internal letter-to-file. The letter-to-file is in lieu of submitting a new 510(k) to obtain clearance for such change. The FDA can always review these letters to file in an inspection. If the FDA disagrees with a manufacturers determination regarding whether a new premarket submission is required for the modification of an existing device, the FDA can require the manufacturer to cease marketing and/or recall the modified device until 510(k) clearance or approval of a PMA application is obtained. In addition, in these circumstances, the FDA can impose significant regulatory fines or penalties for failure to submit the requisite PMA application(s).

 

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The PMA Approval Process

 

Following receipt of a PMA application, the FDA conducts an administrative review to determine whether the application is sufficiently complete to permit a substantive review. If it is not, the agency will refuse to file the PMA. If it is, the FDA will accept the application for filing and begin the review. The FDA, by statute and by regulation, has a performance goal to review 90% of PMA applications within 180 days, if advisory committee input is not required, and within 320 days, if advisory committee input is required, although the review of an application more often occurs over a significantly longer period of time. During this review period, the FDA may request additional information or clarification of information already provided, and the FDA may issue a major deficiency letter to the applicant, requesting the applicants response to deficiencies communicated by the FDA. The FDA considers a PMA or PMA supplement to have been voluntarily withdrawn if an applicant fails to respond to an FDA request for information (i.e., major deficiency letter) within a total of 360 days. Before approving or denying a PMA, an FDA advisory committee may review the PMA at a public meeting and provide the FDA with the committees recommendation on whether the FDA should approve the submission, approve it with specific conditions, or not approve it. The FDA is not bound by the recommendations of an advisory committee, but it considers such recommendations carefully when making decisions.

 

Prior to approval of a PMA, the FDA may conduct inspections of the clinical trial data and clinical trial sites, as well as inspections of the manufacturing facility and processes. Overall, the FDA review of a PMA application generally takes between one and three years, but may take significantly longer. The FDA can delay, limit or deny approval of a PMA application for many reasons, including:

 

 

the device may not be shown safe or effective to the FDAs satisfaction;

 

 

the data from preclinical studies and/or clinical trials may be found unreliable or insufficient to support approval;

 

 

the manufacturing process or facilities may not meet applicable requirements; and

 

 

changes in FDA approval policies or adoption of new regulations may require additional data.

 

If the FDA evaluation of a PMA is favorable, the FDA will issue either an approval letter, or an approvable letter, the latter of which usually contains a number of conditions that must be met in order to secure final approval of the PMA. When and if those conditions have been fulfilled to the satisfaction of the FDA, the agency will issue a PMA approval letter authorizing commercial marketing of the device, subject to the conditions of approval and the limitations established in the approval letter. If the FDAs evaluation of a PMA application or manufacturing facilities is not favorable, the FDA will deny approval of the PMA or issue a not approvable letter. The FDA also may determine that additional tests or clinical trials are necessary, in which case the PMA approval may be delayed for several months or years while the trials are conducted and data is submitted in an amendment to the PMA, or the PMA is withdrawn and resubmitted when the data are available. The PMA process can be expensive, uncertain and lengthy and a number of devices for which the FDA approval has been sought by other companies have never been approved by the FDA for marketing.

 

New PMA applications or PMA supplements are required for modification to the manufacturing process, equipment or facility, quality control procedures, sterilization, packaging, expiration date, labeling, device specifications, ingredients, materials or design of a device that has been approved through the PMA process. PMA supplements often require submission of the same type of information as an initial PMA application, except that the supplement is limited to information needed to support any changes from the device covered by the approved PMA application and may or may not require as extensive technical or clinical data or the convening of an advisory panel, depending on the nature of the proposed change. In approving a PMA application, as a condition of approval, the FDA may also require some form of post-approval study or post-market surveillance, whereby the applicant conducts a follow-up study or follows certain patient groups for a number of years and makes periodic reports to the FDA on the clinical status of those patients when necessary to protect the public health or to provide additional or longer term safety and effectiveness data for the device. The FDA may also require post-market surveillance for certain devices cleared under a 510(k) notification, such as implants or life-supporting or life- sustaining devices used outside a device user facility. The FDA may also approve a PMA application with other post-approval conditions intended to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the device, such as, among other things, restrictions on labeling, promotion, sale, distribution and use.

 

Exempt Devices

 

If a manufacturers device falls into a generic category of Class I or Class II devices that the FDA has exempted by regulation, a premarket notification is not required before marketing the device in the U.S. Manufacturers of such devices are required to register their establishments and list the proprietary device name and the generic category or classification regulation into which the device fits. Some 510(k)-exempt devices are also exempt from Quality System Regulation, or QSR, requirements.

 

Post-market Requirements

 

After a device is placed on the market, numerous regulatory requirements apply. These include: the QSR, labeling regulations, the FDAs general prohibition against promoting products for unapproved or off-label uses, the Medical Device Reporting regulation (which requires that manufacturers report to the FDA if their device may have caused or contributed to a death or serious injury or malfunctioned in a way that would likely cause or contribute to a death or serious injury if it were to recur), and the Reports of Corrections and Removals regulation (which requires manufacturers to report recalls and field actions to the FDA if initiated to reduce a risk to health posed by the device or to remedy a violation of the FDC Act).

 

The FDA enforces these requirements by inspection and market surveillance. If the FDA finds a violation, it can institute a wide variety of enforcement actions, ranging from a public warning letter to more severe sanctions such as: fines, injunctions, and civil penalties; recall or seizure of products; operating restrictions, partial suspension or total shutdown of production; refusing requests for 510(k) clearance or PMA approval of new products; withdrawing 510(k) clearance or PMA approvals already granted; and criminal prosecution.

 

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Combination Products

 

A combination product is a product comprised of (i) two or more regulated components, i.e., drug/medical device, biologic/medical device, drug/biologic, or drug/medical device/biologic, that are physically, chemically, or otherwise combined or mixed and produced as a single entity; (ii) two or more separate products packaged together in a single package or as a unit and comprised of drug and device products, device and biological products, or biological and drug products; (iii) a drug, device, or biological product packaged separately that according to its investigational plan or proposed labeling is intended for use only with an approved individually specified drug, device, or biological product where both are required to achieve the intended use, indication, or effect and where, upon approval of the proposed product, the labeling of the approved product would need to be changed, i.e., to reflect a change in intended use, dosage form, strength, route of administration, or significant change in dose; or (iv) any investigational drug, device, or biological product packaged separately that according to its proposed labeling is for use only with another individually specified investigational drug, device, or biological product where both are required to achieve the intended use, indication, or effect.

 

The FDA is divided into various branches, or Centers, by product type. Different Centers typically review drug, biologic, or device applications. In order to review an application for a combination product, the FDA must decide which Center should be responsible for the review. FDA regulations require that the FDA determine the combination products primary mode of action, or PMOA, which is the single mode of a combination product that provides the most important therapeutic action of the combination product. The Center that regulates that portion of the product that generates the PMOA becomes the lead evaluator. If there are two independent modes of action, neither of which is subordinate to the other, the FDA makes a determination as to which Center to assign the product based on consistency with other combination products raising similar types of safety and effectiveness questions or to the Center with the most expertise in evaluating the most significant safety and effectiveness questions raised by the combination product. When evaluating an application, a lead Center may consult other Centers but still retain complete reviewing authority, or it may collaborate with another Center, by which the Center assigns review of a specific section of the application to another Center, delegating its review authority for that section. Typically, the FDA requires a single marketing application submitted to the Center selected to be the lead evaluator, although the agency has the discretion to require separate applications to more than one Center. One reason to submit multiple evaluations is if the applicant wishes to receive some benefit that accrues only from approval under a particular type of application, like new drug product exclusivity. If multiple applications are submitted, each may be evaluated by a different lead Center.

 

Regulation Outside the U.S.

 

In addition to regulations in the U.S., we are subject to a variety of regulations in other jurisdictions governing clinical studies, commercial sales, and distribution of our products. Most countries outside the U.S. require that clinical trial applications be submitted to and approved by the local regulatory authority for each clinical study. In addition, whether or not we obtain FDA approval for a product, we must obtain approval of a product by the comparable regulatory authorities of countries outside the U.S. before we can commence clinical studies or marketing of the product in those countries. The approval process varies from country to country, and the time may be longer or shorter than that required for FDA approval.

 

To obtain regulatory approval of an Orphan Drug under EU regulatory systems, we are mandated to submit marketing authorization applications, or MAAs, in centralized procedure. The centralized procedure, which came into operation in 1995, allows applicants to obtain a marketing authorization that is valid throughout the EU. It is compulsory for medicinal products manufactured using biotechnological processes, for orphan medicinal products and for human products containing a new active substance which was not authorized in the Community before May 20, 2004 (date of entry into force of Regulation (EC) No 726/2004) and which are intended for the treatment of AIDS, cancer, neurodegenerative disorder or diabetes. The centralized procedure is optional for any other products containing new active substances not authorized in the Community before May 20, 2004 or for products which constitute a significant therapeutic, scientific or technical innovation or for which a Community authorization is in the interests of patients at Community level. When a company wishes to place on the market a medicinal product that is eligible for the centralized procedure, it sends an application directly to the EMA, to be assessed by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, or CHMP. The procedure results in an EC decision, which is valid in all EU Member States. Centrally-authorized products may be marketed in all EU Member States.

 

In centralized procedure, full copies of the MAA are sent to a rapporteur and a co-rapporteur designated by the competent EMA scientific committee. They coordinate the EMAs assessment of the medicinal product and prepare draft reports. Once the draft reports are prepared (other experts might be called upon for this purpose), they are sent to the CHMP, whose comments or objections are communicated to the applicant. The rapporteur is therefore the privileged interlocutor of the applicant and continues to play this role, even after the MAA has been granted. The rapporteur and co-rapporteur then assess the applicants replies, submit them for discussion to the CHMP and, taking into account the conclusions of this debate, prepare a final assessment report. Once the evaluation is completed, the CHMP gives a favorable or unfavorable opinion as to whether to grant the authorization. When the opinion is favorable, it shall include the draft summary of the products characteristics, the package leaflet and the texts proposed for the various packaging materials. The time limit for the evaluation procedure is 210 days. The EMA then has fifteen days to forward its opinion to the EC. This is the start of the second phase of the procedure: the decision-making process.

 

The EMA sends to the EC its opinion and assessment report, together with annexes containing: the SmPC (Annex 1); the particulars of the Marketing Authorisation Holder, or MAH, responsible for batch release, the particulars of the manufacturer of the active substance and the conditions of the marketing authorization (Annex 2); and the labeling and the package leaflet (Annex 3). The annexes are translated into the 22 other official languages of the EU. During the decision-making process, the EC services verify that the marketing authorization complies with EU law. The EC has fifteen days to prepare a draft decision. The medicinal product is assigned a Community registration number, which will be placed on its packaging if the marketing authorization is granted. During this period, various EC directorates general are consulted on the draft marketing authorization decision. The draft decision is then sent to the Standing Committee on Medicinal Products for Human Use (EU Member States have one representative each in both of these committees) for their opinions.

 

The centralized procedure, which is compulsory for medicines produced by certain biotechnological processes and optional for those which are highly innovative, provides for the grant of a single marketing authorization that is valid for all EU member states. The decentralized procedure provides for approval by one or more other, or concerned, member states of an assessment of an application performed by one member state, known as the reference member state. Under this procedure, an applicant submits an application, or dossier, and related materials including a draft summary of product characteristics, and draft labeling and package leaflet, to the reference member state and concerned member states. The reference member state prepares a draft assessment and drafts of the related materials within 120 days after receipt of a valid application. Within 90 days of receiving the reference member states assessment report, each concerned member state must decide whether to approve the assessment report and related materials. If a member state cannot approve the assessment report and related materials on the grounds of potential serious risk to the public health, the disputed points may eventually be referred to the EC, whose decision is binding on all member states.

 

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Applications from persons or companies seeking orphan medicinal product designation for products they intend to develop for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of life-threatening or very serious conditions that affect not more than 5 in 10,000 persons in the EU are reviewed by the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products, or COMP. In addition, Orphan Drug designation can be granted if the drug is intended for a life threatening, seriously debilitating, or serious and chronic condition in the EU and that without incentives it is unlikely that sales of the drug in the EU would be sufficient to justify developing the drug. Orphan drug designation is only available if there is no other satisfactory method approved in the EU of diagnosing, preventing, or treating the condition, or if such a method exists, the proposed Orphan Drug will be of significant benefit to patients. Orphan drug designation provides opportunities for fee reductions for protocol assistance and access to the centralized regulatory procedures before and during the first year after marketing approval, which reductions are not limited to the first year after marketing approval for small and medium enterprises. In addition, if a product which has an Orphan Drug designation subsequently receives EMA marketing approval for the indication for which it has such designation, the product is entitled to Orphan Drug exclusivity, which means the EMA may not approve any other application to market the same drug for the same indication for a period of 10 years. The exclusivity period may be reduced to six years if the designation criteria are no longer met, including where it is shown that the product is sufficiently profitable not to justify maintenance of market exclusivity. Competitors may receive marketing approval of different drugs or biologics for the indications for which the orphan product has exclusivity. In order to do so, however, they must demonstrate that the new drugs or biologics provide a significant benefit over the existing orphan product. This demonstration of significant benefit may be done at the time of initial approval or in post-approval studies, depending on the type of marketing authorization granted.

 

A pediatric investigation plan, or PIP, is a development plan aimed at ensuring that the necessary data are obtained to support the authorization of a medicine for children, through studies in children. All applications for marketing authorization for new medicines have to include the results of studies as described in an agreed PIP, unless the medicine is exempt because of a deferral or waiver. This requirement also applies when a marketing-authorization holder wants to add a new indication, pharmaceutical form, or route of administration for a medicine that is already authorized and covered by intellectual property rights. Several rewards and incentives for the development of pediatric medicines for children are available in the EU. Medicines authorized across the EU with the results of studies from a PIP included in the product information are eligible for an extension of their supplementary protection certificate by six months. This is the case even when the studies’ results are negative. For orphan medicines, the incentive is an additional two years of market exclusivity. Scientific advice and protocol assistance at the EMA are free of charge for questions relating to the development of pediatric medicines. Medicines developed specifically for children that are already authorized but are not protected by a patent or supplementary protection certificate are eligible for a pediatric-use marketing authorization, or PUMA. If a PUMA is granted, the product will benefit from 10 years of market protection as an incentive.

 

The European Union Medical Devices Directive, or MDD, sets out the basic regulatory framework for medical devices in the EU. This directive has been separately enacted in more detail in the national legislation of the individual member states of the EU. The system of regulating medical devices operates by way of a certification for each medical device. Each certificated device is marked with CE mark which shows that the device has a Certificat de Conformité. There are national bodies known as Competent Authorities in each member state which oversee the implementation of the MDD within their jurisdiction. The means for achieving the requirements for CE mark varies according to the nature of the device. Devices are classified in accordance with their perceived risks, similarly to the U.S. system. The class of a product determines the requirements to be fulfilled before CE mark can be placed on a product, known as a conformity assessment. Conformity assessments for our products are carried out as required by the MDD. Each member state can appoint Notified Bodies within its jurisdiction. If a Notified Body of one member state has issued a Certificat de Conformité, the device can be sold throughout the EU without further conformance tests being required in other member states. In April 2017, changes were made to the legal framework for the regulation of medical devices in the EU, including in vitro diagnostics. The changes were prompted by divergent interpretations of the current directives and to address issues concerning product quality and performance. A three-year transitional period for application of the new framework was extended in April 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the extension, the new regulations for medical devices, Regulation (EU) 2017/745 on Medical Devices, referred to as the MDR, will fully apply beginning in May 2021. The new regulations for in vitro diagnostics, Regulation (EU) 2017/746 on In-Vitro Diagnostic Devices, referred to as the IVDR, will fully apply beginning in May 2022.

 

In a referendum held in the United Kingdom, or UK, on June 23, 2016, a majority of those voting voted for the UK to leave the EU, commonly referred to as Brexit. The effective date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU was January 31, 2020. A transition period, which ended December 31, 2020, maintained access to the EU single market and to the global trade deals negotiated by the EU on behalf of its members. Over the past year, the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has issued additional guidance on numerous occasions to address how drugs and devices are to be regulated in the UK post-Brexit. However, the ultimate impact of the leave is not clear as there is still some legal and practical uncertainty surrounding the regulation of drugs and devices in the UK and how such regulation may diverge with regulation in the EU.

 

International Approvals

 

Drug products, medical devices, and drug/medical device combination products are subject to extensive regulation, including premarket review and marketing authorization, by similar agencies in other countries. Regulatory requirements and approval processes are similar in approach to that of the U.S. but are not harmonized. International regulators are independent and not bound by the findings of the FDA and there is a risk that foreign regulators will not accept clinical trial design/results or may require additional data or other information not requested by the FDA. In addition, international regulators may require different manufacturing practices than the FDAs cGMPs.

 

Reimbursement

 

Potential sales of any of our product candidates, if approved, will depend, at least in part, on the extent to which such products will be covered by third-party payors, such as government health care programs, commercial insurance and managed healthcare organizations. These third-party payors are increasingly limiting coverage and/or reducing reimbursements for medical products and services. A third-party payors decision to provide coverage for a drug product does not imply that an adequate reimbursement rate will be approved. Further, one payors determination to provide coverage for a drug product does not assure that other payors will also provide coverage for the drug product. In addition, the U.S. government, state legislatures and foreign governments have continued implementing cost-containment programs, including price controls, restrictions on reimbursement and requirements for substitution of generic products. 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 future revenues and results of operations. Decreases in third-party reimbursement or a decision by a third-party payor to not cover a product candidate, if approved, or any future approved products could reduce physician usage of our products, and have a material adverse effect on our sales, results of operations and financial condition.

 

In the U.S., the Medicare Part D program provides a voluntary outpatient drug benefit to Medicare beneficiaries for certain products. We do not know whether our product candidates, if approved, will be eligible for coverage under Medicare Part D, but individual Medicare Part D plans offer coverage subject to various factors such as those described above. Furthermore, private payors often follow Medicare coverage policies and payment limitations in setting their own coverage policies.

 

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Anti-Kickback, False Claims Laws and Other Regulations

 

In addition to the FDA restrictions on marketing of pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and combination products, several other types of state and federal laws have been applied to restrict certain marketing practices in the medical product industry in recent years. These laws include anti-kickback statutes, false claims statutes, and other statutes pertaining to health care fraud and abuse. The federal healthcare program anti-kickback statute prohibits, among other things, knowingly and willfully offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration to induce, or in return for, purchasing, leasing, ordering or arranging for the purchase, lease or order of any healthcare item or service reimbursable under Medicare, Medicaid, or other federally financed healthcare programs. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA, amended the intent element of the federal statute so that a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it. This statute has been interpreted to apply to arrangements between pharmaceutical manufacturers on the one hand and prescribers, purchasers, and formulary managers on the other. Violations of the anti-kickback statute are punishable by imprisonment, criminal fines, civil monetary penalties, and exclusion from participation in federal healthcare programs. Although there are a number of statutory exemptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting certain common activities from prosecution or other regulatory sanctions, the exemptions and safe harbors are drawn narrowly, and practices that involve remuneration intended to induce prescribing, purchases, or recommendations may be subject to scrutiny if they do not qualify for an exemption or safe harbor.

 

Federal false claims laws prohibit any person from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false claim for payment to the federal government, or knowingly making, or causing to be made, a false statement to have a false claim paid. This includes claims made to programs where the federal government reimburses, such as Medicaid, as well as programs where the federal government is a direct purchaser, such as when it purchases off the Federal Supply Schedule. Recently, several pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies have been prosecuted under these laws for allegedly inflating drug prices they report to pricing services, which in turn were used by the government to set Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates, and for allegedly providing free product to customers with the expectation that the customers would bill federal programs for the product. In addition, certain marketing practices, including off-label promotion, may also violate false claims laws. Additionally, PPACA amended the healthcare program anti-kickback statute such that a violation can serve as a basis for liability under the federal false claims law. The majority of states also have statutes or regulations similar to the federal anti-kickback law and false claims laws, which apply to items and services reimbursed under Medicaid and other state programs, or, in several states, apply regardless of the payor.

 

The U.S. federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, created additional 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 or making any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services. HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, or HITECH, and their implementing regulations, impose obligations on certain types of individuals and entities regarding the electronic exchange of information in common healthcare transactions, as well as standards relating to the privacy and security of individually identifiable health information.

 

Other federal statutes pertaining to healthcare fraud and abuse include the civil monetary penalties statute, which prohibits the offer or payment of remuneration to a Medicaid or Medicare beneficiary that the offeror/payor knows or should know is likely to influence the beneficiary to order a receive a reimbursable item or service from a particular supplier, and the healthcare fraud statute, which prohibits knowingly and willfully executing or attempting to execute a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or obtain by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises any money or property owned by or under the control of any healthcare benefit program in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items, or services.

 

Additionally, to the extent that our product is sold in a foreign country, we may be subject to similar foreign laws.

 

Privacy and Security laws

 

HIPAA, as amended by HITECH, and their respective implementing regulations, impose privacy, security transmission and breach reporting obligations with respect to individually identifiable health information, including protected health information, or PHI, upon entities subject to the law, such as health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and certain healthcare providers, and their respective business associates that perform services on their behalf that involve individually identifiable health information, including PHI. HITECH also created new tiers of civil monetary penalties, amended HIPAA to make civil and criminal penalties directly applicable to business associates, and gave state attorneys general new authority to file civil actions for damages or injunctions in federal courts to enforce the HIPAA laws and seek attorneys’ fees and costs associated with pursuing federal civil actions. Although we are not directly subject to HIPAA, other than potentially with respect to providing certain employee benefits, we could be subject to criminal penalties if we knowingly obtain or disclose individually identifiable health information maintained by a HIPAA covered entity in a manner that is not authorized or permitted by HIPAA.

 

Many states have laws that protect the privacy and security of sensitive and personal information, including health information, to which we are subject. For example, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, which creates individual privacy rights for California consumers and increases the privacy and security obligations of entities handling certain personal data. The CCPA became effective on January 1, 2020. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that is expected to increase data breach litigation.

 

Federal and state laws that govern the privacy and security of health information or personally identifiable information in certain circumstances, including state health information privacy and data breach notification laws which govern the collection, use, disclosure, and protection of health-related and other personal information, many of which differ from each other in significant ways, may require us to undertake compliance efforts that could be costly and time consuming or subject us to liability for a failure to comply.

 

Other Federal and State Regulatory Requirements

 

Manufacturers of prescription drugs are required to collect and report information on certain payments or transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals, as well as investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. The reports must be submitted on an annual basis and the reported data are posted in searchable form on a public website on an annual basis. Failure to submit required information may result in civil monetary penalties. Effective January 1, 2022, transfers of value to physician assistants, nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse-midwives will also be required.

 

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In addition, several states now require prescription drug companies to report certain expenses relating to the marketing and promotion of drug products and to report gifts and payments to individual healthcare practitioners in these states. Other states prohibit various marketing-related activities, such as the provision of certain kinds of gifts or meals. Still other states require the posting of information relating to clinical studies and their outcomes. Some states require the reporting of certain pricing information, including information pertaining to and justifying price increases, or prohibit prescription drug price gouging. In addition, states such as California, Connecticut, Nevada and Massachusetts require pharmaceutical companies to implement compliance programs and/or marketing codes. Additional jurisdictions, such as the City of Chicago and the District of Columbia, require pharmaceutical sales representatives to be licensed and meet continuing education requirements. Several additional states are considering similar proposals. Compliance with these laws is difficult and time-consuming, and companies that do not comply with these state laws face civil penalties.

 

Healthcare Reform

 

The U.S. and many foreign jurisdictions have enacted or proposed legislative and regulatory changes affecting the healthcare system. The U.S. government, state legislatures and foreign governments also have shown significant interest in implementing cost-containment programs to limit the growth of government-paid healthcare costs, including price controls, restrictions on reimbursement and requirements for substitution of generic products for branded prescription drugs.

 

In recent years, Congress has considered reductions in Medicare reimbursement levels for drugs administered by physicians. CMS, the agency that administers the Medicare and Medicaid programs, also has authority to revise reimbursement rates and to implement coverage restrictions for some drugs. Cost reduction initiatives and changes in coverage implemented through legislation or regulation could decrease utilization of and reimbursement for any approved products. While Medicare regulations apply only to drug benefits for Medicare beneficiaries, private payers often follow Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement rates. Therefore, any reduction in reimbursement that results from federal legislation or regulation may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payers.

 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, or collectively the Affordable Care Act, substantially changed the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers, and significantly impacts the pharmaceutical industry. The Affordable Care Act is intended to broaden access to health insurance, reduce or constrain the growth of healthcare spending, enhance remedies against healthcare fraud and abuse, add new transparency requirements for healthcare and health insurance industries, impose new taxes and fees on pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, and impose additional health policy reforms. Among other things, the Affordable Care Act expanded manufacturers' rebate liability under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program by increasing the minimum Medicaid rebate for both branded and generic drugs, expanded the 340B program, and revised the definition of AMP, which could increase the amount of Medicaid drug rebates manufacturers are required to pay to states. The legislation also extended Medicaid drug rebates, previously due only on fee-for-service Medicaid utilization, to include the utilization of Medicaid managed care organizations as well and created an alternative rebate formula for certain new formulations of certain existing products that is intended to increase the amount of rebates due on those drugs. On February 1, 2016, CMS issued final regulations to implement the changes to the Medicaid Drug Rebate program under the Affordable Care Act. These regulations became effective on April 1, 2016. Since that time, there have been significant ongoing efforts to modify or eliminate the Affordable Care Act.

 

On January 20, 2017, former President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to exercise existing authorities to reduce burdens associated with the Affordable Care Act pending further action by Congress. In October 2017, he signed an Executive Order which directed federal agencies to modify how the Affordable Care Act is implemented. The Tax Act, enacted on December 22, 2017, repealed the shared responsibility payment for individuals who fail to maintain minimum essential coverage under section 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, commonly referred to as the individual mandate.

 

Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted since passage of the Affordable Care Act. The Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, created the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to recommend proposals in spending reductions to Congress. The Joint Select Committee did not achieve its targeted deficit reduction of an amount greater than $1.2 trillion for the fiscal years 2012 through 2021, triggering the legislations automatic reductions to several government programs. These reductions included aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to healthcare providers of up to 2.0% per fiscal year, which went into effect in April 2013. Subsequent litigation extended the 2% reduction, on average, to 2030 unless additional Congressional action is taken. However, pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, the 2% Medicare sequester reductions have been suspended from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 2, 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act was signed into law, which, among other things, reduced Medicare payments to several types of providers, including hospitals, imaging centers and cancer treatment centers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years.

 

Further legislative and regulatory changes under the Affordable Care Act remain possible, although the new Administration under President Biden has signaled that it plans to build on the Affordable Care Act and expand the number of people who are eligible for subsidies under it. President Biden indicated that he intends to use executive orders to undo changes to the Affordable Care Act made by the Trump administration and would advocate for legislation to build on the Affordable Care Act. It is unknown what form any such changes or any law would take, and how or whether it may affect our business in the future. We expect that changes or additions to the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare and Medicaid programs, changes allowing the federal government to directly negotiate drug prices and changes stemming from other healthcare reform measures, especially with regard to healthcare access, financing or other legislation in individual states, could have a material adverse effect on the healthcare industry.

 

The Affordable Care Act has been subject to challenges in the courts. On December 14, 2018, a Texas U.S. District Court Judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional in its entirety because the individual mandate was repealed by Congress. On December 18, 2019, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and remanded the case to the Texas District Court to reconsider its earlier invalidation of the entire Affordable Care Act. An appeal was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court which heard oral arguments in the case on November 10, 2020. A ruling is expected in 2021.

 

The Affordable Care Act requires pharmaceutical manufacturers of branded prescription drugs to pay a branded prescription drug fee to the federal government. Each individual pharmaceutical manufacturer pays a prorated share of the branded prescription drug fee, based on the dollar value of its branded prescription drug sales to certain federal programs identified in the law. Furthermore, the law requires manufacturers to provide a 50% discount off the negotiated price of prescriptions filled by beneficiaries in the Medicare Part D coverage gap, referred to as the donut hole. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, or the BBA, among other things, amended the Affordable Care Act , effective January 1, 2019, to close the coverage gap in most Medicare drug plans by increasing from 50% to 70% the point-of-sale discount that is owed by pharmaceutical manufacturers who participate in Medicare Part D.

 

The Affordable Care Act also expanded the Public Health Services 340B drug pricing program. As noted above, the 340B drug pricing program requires participating manufacturers to agree to charge statutorily-defined covered entities no more than the 340B ceiling price for the manufacturers covered outpatient drugs. The Affordable Care Act expanded the 340B program to include additional types of covered entities: certain free-standing cancer hospitals, critical access hospitals, rural referral centers and sole community hospitals, each as defined by the Affordable Care Act. Because the 340B ceiling price is determined based on AMP and Medicaid drug rebate data, revisions to the Medicaid rebate formula and AMP definition could cause the required 340B discounts to increase.

 

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Payment methodologies may be subject to changes in healthcare legislation and regulatory initiatives as well. For example, CMS may develop new payment and delivery models, such as bundled payment models. Recently, there has been heightened governmental scrutiny over the manner in which manufacturers set prices for their marketed products. Such scrutiny has resulted in several recent U.S. Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, reduce the cost of drugs under Medicare, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for pharmaceutical products.

 

At the state level, legislatures have increasingly passed legislation and implemented regulations designed to control pharmaceutical product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing.

 

We expect that additional federal, state and foreign healthcare reform measures will be adopted in the future, any of which could limit the amounts that federal and state governments will pay for healthcare products and services, which could result in limited coverage and reimbursement and reduced demand for our products, once approved, or additional pricing pressures.

 

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

 

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, prohibits U.S. businesses and their representatives from offering to pay, paying, promising to pay or authorizing the payment of money or anything of value to a foreign official in order to influence any act or decision of the foreign official in his or her official capacity or to secure any other improper advantage in order to obtain or retain business. The FCPA also obligates companies whose securities are listed in the U.S. to comply with accounting provisions requiring us to maintain books and records, which in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the corporation, including international subsidiaries, if any, and to devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements. The scope of the FCPA includes interactions with certain healthcare professionals in many countries.

 

International laws

 

In Europe, and throughout the world, other countries have enacted anti-bribery laws and/or regulations similar to the FCPA. Violations of any of these antibribery laws, or allegations of such violations, could have a negative impact on our business, results of operations and reputation. There are also international privacy laws that impose restrictions on the access, use, including the EUs General Data Protection Regulation, and disclosure of health information. All of these laws may impact our business. Our failure to comply with these privacy laws or significant changes in the laws restricting our ability to obtain required patient information could significantly impact our business and our future business plans.

 

CVie Acquisition

 

In December 2018, we acquired CVie Investments Limited, or CVie Investments, an exempted company with limited liability incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands, which we refer to herein as the CVie Acquisition. Since the CVie Acquisition, we have operated CVie Investments and its wholly owned subsidiary, CVie Therapeutics Limited, a Taiwan corporation organized under the laws of the Republic of China, as a subsidiary focused on the development of drug product candidates for cardiovascular diseases.

 

In connection with the CVie Acquisition, our Board declared a dividend to the holders of record of outstanding shares of our common stock, and holders of certain warrants to purchase common stock, in each case that were outstanding on December 20, 2018, of 0.6148 AEROSURF Warrant, for each share of common stock held by a shareholder or each warrant held by a warrant holder, as applicable, on the record date, or the AEROSURF Warrants. Each AEROSURF Warrant has a term of five years and provides for automatic exercise into one share of common stock, without any exercise price, upon our public announcement of the dosing of the first human subject enrolled in our phase 3 clinical trial for AEROSURF. We expect to distribute upon exercise of the AEROSURF Warrants an aggregate of 987,722 shares of common stock. We anticipate that the automatic exercise of the AEROSURF Warrants will occur upon enrollment of the first patient in an AEROSURF phase 3 clinical trial conducted by either ourselves or a licensee.

 

Employees and Human Capital Resources

 

As of March 29, 2021, we have 31 full-time employees, 26 of whom are based in the U.S. Our employees are skilled in drug and device development, including clinical trial design, clinical operations in support of our clinical trials and related activities, corporate administration, finance and business development. None of our employees are represented by a labor union or covered by collective bargaining agreements, and we believe our relationship with our employees is good. We also work with independent professional advisors and consultants to support our program development activities, particularly in the areas of drug product development, regulatory, compliance, and international clinical operations.

 

We believe our human capital resources are fundamental to our success; as such, our corporate objectives include recruiting, retaining, incentivizing and integrating existing and new employees, advisors and consultants for the common purpose of increasing stockholder value and promoting the success of our company. Our compensation and equity incentive programs are designed to attract, retain and reward personnel through cash-based compensation and granting of stock-based awards intended to motivate such individuals to perform to the best of their abilities and advance our corporate objectives. We endeavor to provide competitive benefits that will reward and retain our employees. Our compensation program includes competitive salary and annual bonus programs, comprehensive healthcare benefits for employees and dependent family members, paid time off, paid holidays, family medical leave and flexible work schedules. We sponsor a 401(k) plan and automatically enroll all employees when eligible and generally provide a discretionary matching corporate contribution. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented significant changes that we determined were in the best interest of our employees and our company, and which complied with government regulations. This included initially providing all employees the option of working from home, while implementing additional workplace safety measures for employees working on site.

 

Corporate Information

 

We were incorporated in Delaware on November 6, 1992. Our principal executive offices are located at 2600 Kelly Road, Suite 100, Warrington, Pennsylvania, 18976, and our telephone number is 215-488-9300. Our website address is www.windtreetx.com. The information contained in, or accessible through, our website does not constitute part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We have included our website address as an inactive textual reference only.

 

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Available Information

 

We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy or stockholder information statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC. The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, certain and other information that we may file electronically with the SEC (http://www.sec.gov). We maintain our corporate website at http://www.windtreetx.com. Our website and the information contained therein or connected thereto are not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS.

 

You should carefully consider the following risks and uncertainties when reading this Annual Report on Form 10-K. If any of the following risks actually occurs, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. In that event, the trading price of our common stock could decline. Although we believe that we have identified and discussed below the key risk factors affecting our business, there may be additional risks and uncertainties that are not presently known or that are not currently believed to be significant that may adversely affect our performance or financial condition.

 

Note: Information concerning the shares of our common stock and related share prices in these risk factors has been adjusted to reflect the 1-for-3 reverse split of our common stock that was made effective on April 29, 2020.

 

Risks Related to Our Financial Condition

 

We have incurred significant operating losses since inception, we expect to incur operating losses in the future, and we may not be able to achieve or sustain profitability.

 

We have incurred operating losses since our incorporation on November 6, 1992. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we had operating losses of $30.3 million and $24.9 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $717.7 million. To date, we have financed our operations primarily through private placements and public offerings of our common and preferred stock and borrowings from investors and financial institutions.

 

We expect to continue to incur significant research and clinical development, regulatory and other expenses as we (i) continue to develop our product candidates; (ii) seek regulatory clearances or approvals for our planned or future product candidates; (iii) conduct clinical trials on our existing and planned or future product candidates; and (iv) manufacture, market and sell any product candidates for which we may obtain regulatory approval. As a result, we expect to continue to incur operating losses for the foreseeable future and may never achieve profitability. Even if we do achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain or increase profitability on an ongoing basis. If we do not achieve or sustain profitability, it will be more difficult for us to finance our business and accomplish our strategic objectives, either of which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and may cause the market price of our common stock to decline.

 

We will require substantial additional financing to achieve our goals, and a failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed on acceptable terms, or at all, could force us to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development programs, or other operations.

 

The development of biopharmaceutical product candidates is capital-intensive. We expect our expenses to increase in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we conduct our ongoing and planned clinical trials under our key clinical development programs, continue research and development and potentially initiate clinical trials under our other development programs and seek regulatory approval for our current product candidates and any future product candidates we may develop. In addition, as our product candidates progress through development and toward commercialization, we may need to make milestone payments to licensors and other third parties from whom we have in-licensed or acquired our product candidates. Furthermore, if and to the extent we seek to acquire or in-license additional product candidates in the future, we may be required to make significant upfront payments, milestone payments, and/or licensing payments. If we obtain regulatory approval for any of our product candidates, we also expect to incur significant commercialization expenses related to product manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution. Because the outcome of any clinical trial or preclinical study is highly uncertain, we cannot reasonably estimate the actual amounts necessary to successfully complete the development and commercialization of our product candidates. Accordingly, we will need to obtain substantial additional funding in connection with our continuing operations. Moreover, a small group of investors that hold a significant portion of our issued and outstanding common stock may be in a position to influence the terms of a funding transaction, potentially making it more difficult to reach agreement on terms that are acceptable to investors participating in the financing, in a timely manner, if at all. If we are unable to raise sufficient capital to fund our activities when needed and on acceptable terms, we could be forced to delay, reduce or eliminate our research and development programs or, if our product candidates are approved, any future commercialization efforts.

 

We believe that our existing cash and cash equivalents are sufficient to fund operations through at least the next 12 months. We currently do not have sufficient capital to initiate our planned phase 2 clinical trial of istaroxime for the treatment of AHF. We are exploring capital from public and private equity offerings and potential strategic opportunities to fund the initiation of this clinical trial, and plan to initiate the clinical trial after obtaining adequate funding.

 

We have based estimates included in our operating plan on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could use our capital resources sooner than we currently expect. Our operating plans and other demands on our cash resources may change as a result of many factors currently unknown to us, and we may need to seek additional funds sooner than planned, through public or private equity or debt financings or other capital sources, including potentially collaborations, licenses and other similar arrangements. In addition, we may seek additional capital due to favorable market conditions or strategic considerations even if we believe we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans. Attempting to secure additional financing may divert our management from our day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our ability to develop our product candidates.

 

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

 

 

the type, number, scope, progress, expansions, results, costs and timing of, our clinical trials and preclinical studies of our product candidates which we are pursuing or may choose to pursue in the future;

 

 

the costs and timing of manufacturing for our product candidates, including commercial manufacturing if any product candidate is approved;

 

 

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

 

 

the costs of obtaining, maintaining and enforcing our patents and other intellectual property rights;

 

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the timing and amount of the milestone or other payments we must make to the licensors and other third parties from whom we have in-licensed or acquired our product candidates;

 

 

the costs and timing of establishing or securing sales and marketing capabilities if any product candidate is approved;

 

 

the costs, terms and timing of establishing and maintaining collaborations, licenses and other similar arrangements;

 

 

costs associated with any products or technologies that we may in-license or acquire; and

 

 

our ability to achieve sufficient market acceptance, coverage and adequate reimbursement from payors and adequate market share and revenue for any approved products.

 

Conducting clinical trials and preclinical studies is a time consuming, expensive and uncertain process that takes years to complete, and we may never generate the necessary data or results required to obtain regulatory approval and achieve product sales. In addition, our product candidates, if approved, may not achieve commercial success.

 

Accordingly, we will need to continue to rely on additional financing to achieve our business objectives. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us at any time on acceptable terms, or at all.

 

Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies or product candidates.

 

Until we can generate substantial product revenues to support our operations, we expect to finance our cash needs through equity offerings, debt financings or other capital sources, including potentially collaborations, licenses and other strategic transactions. This may include equity sales pursuant to an at-the-market offering agreement which allows us to offer and sell, from time to time at our sole discretion, up to a maximum of $10.0 million of shares of our common stock under an at-the-market program, or the ATM Program. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, our stockholders’ ownership interests will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect their rights as common stockholders. Debt financing and preferred equity financing, if available, may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends.

 

If we raise funds through future collaborations, licenses and other similar arrangements, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our future revenue streams, research programs or product candidates or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us and/or that may reduce the value of our common stock.

 

Our existing and future debt obligations could impair our liquidity and financial condition, and if we are unable to meet our debt obligations, including with respect to any collateral requirements, the lenders could foreclose on our assets or seek a judgment against us and execute against our assets.

 

As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately $2.4 million in loans payable under a credit facility with O-Bank Co., Ltd., or O-Bank, in Taiwan that we assumed in our December 2018 acquisition of CVie Investments Limited, or the CVie Acquisition and which expired on September 11, 2019 and was scheduled to mature in March 2020, or the O-Bank Facility. In March 2020, the O-Bank Facility was amended to extend the maturity date to March 2022, among other things. Our borrowings under the O-Bank Facility are secured by a cash account provided by Lees Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited, or Lees. In November 2020, Lee’s committed to maintain the required level of pledged bank deposits with O-Bank through the date of full repayment of the O-Bank Facility.

 

Our debt obligations:

 

 

could impair our liquidity;

 

 

could make it more difficult for us to satisfy our other obligations;

 

 

require us to dedicate cash flow to debt service payments, which would reduce the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures and other corporate requirements;

 

 

could impose restrictions on our ability to incur other indebtedness, grant liens on our assets, and could impede our obtaining additional financing in the future for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions and general corporate purposes;

 

 

could impose restrictions on us with respect to our ability to license our products in the United States, or U.S., and other markets around the world;

 

 

could adversely affect our ability to enter into strategic transactions, public or private equity offerings, and similar agreements, or require us to obtain the consent to enter into such transactions;

 

 

could make us more vulnerable in the event of a downturn in our business prospects and could limit our flexibility to plan for, or react to, changes in our licensing markets; and

 

 

could place us at a competitive disadvantage when compared to our competitors.

 

Should we fail to pay our obligations, fail to comply with any covenants contained in any related agreements, including the collateral maintenance agreement under the O-Bank Facility, or if Lees withdraws its pledge of collateral to secure the O-Bank Facility, we could be in default regarding that indebtedness and the lender could accelerate payment of the outstanding indebtedness. Moreover, in the future, to secure our obligations under any loans, we may be required to grant to the lender a security interest in some or substantially all of our assets.

 

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Due to the significant resources required to develop each of our product candidates, we must prioritize development of certain product candidates and/or certain disease indications. We may be delayed in advancing a product candidate if our plan does not include sufficient funding to execute a clinical program. If we expend our limited resources on candidates or indications that do not yield a successful product and fail to capitalize on other product candidates or indications that may be more profitable or for which there is a greater likelihood of success, such failure could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.

 

We are currently focused on developing product candidates to address unmet medical needs in acute cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. We seek to allocate our limited capital among our programs in an efficient manner and to advance our cardiovascular product candidate. However, due to the significant resources required to advance the development of our product candidates, we also must focus on specific diseases and disease pathways and decide which product candidates to pursue and the amount of resources to allocate to each such product candidate.

 

Our ability to advance a product candidate depends on our ability to secure the additional capital required to execute each phase of product development. In developing our plan, we were aware of the size and projected costs of our planned phase 2b clinical trial in istaroxime to improve cardiac functions in patients with AHF and determined to allocate our limited resources to other programs. Such decisions concerning the allocation of research and development funds towards, or away from, particular product candidates or therapeutic areas may not lead to the development of any viable commercial product and may divert resources away from better opportunities. Similarly, any decision to delay, terminate or engage with third parties in respect of certain programs may subsequently also prove to be suboptimal and could cause us to miss valuable opportunities. In that event, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. As a result, we may fail to capitalize on viable commercial products or profitable market opportunities, be required to forego or delay pursuit of opportunities with other product candidates or other diseases and disease pathways that may later prove to have greater commercial potential than those we choose to pursue, or relinquish valuable rights to such product candidates through collaboration, licensing or other royalty arrangements in cases in which it would have been advantageous for us to invest additional resources to retain development and commercialization rights.

 

We have a significant amount of intangible assets, including goodwill, recorded on our consolidated balance sheets which may lead to potentially significant impairment charges.

 

We review long-lived assets, including intangible assets and goodwill, for impairment whenever events or changes in estimates and circumstances indicate that the related carrying amounts may not be recoverable based on the existence of certain triggering events. Intangible assets and goodwill are also subject to an impairment assessment at least annually. The amount of identifiable intangible assets and goodwill in our consolidated balance sheets has increased significantly because of the acquisition of CVie Therapeutics Ltd., or CVie Therapeutics, in December 2018. The identifiable intangible assets resulting from the CVie Therapeutics acquisition relate to in-process research and development of istaroxime and rostafuroxin, which as of December 31, 2020, are $22.3 million and $54.8 million, respectively. At December 31, 2020, intangible assets and goodwill recorded on our consolidated balance sheets was $77.1 million and $15.7 million, respectively.

 

If long-lived assets are determined to be impaired in the future, we would be required to record a potentially significant write-off, which would have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

 

If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal control over financial reporting, our ability to produce accurate and timely financial statements could be impaired, investors may lose confidence in our financial reporting and the trading price of our common stock may decline.

 

Pursuant to Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley, we are required to furnish a report by our management on our internal control over financial reporting. We cannot assure you that there will not be material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting in the future. Any failure to maintain internal control over financial reporting could severely inhibit our ability to accurately report our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. If our financial statements are not accurate, investors may not have a complete understanding of our operations. If we do not file our financial statements on a timely basis as required by the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, we could face severe consequences. If we are unable to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, the market price of our common stock could decline, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by Nasdaq, the SEC or other regulatory authorities. Moreover, responding to such investigations, are likely to consume a significant amount of our management resources and cause us to incur significant legal and accounting expense. Failure to remedy any material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, or to maintain effective control systems, could also restrict our future access to the capital markets. This could result in an adverse reaction in the financial markets due to a loss of confidence in the reliability of our financial statements.

 

Risks Related to our Development Activities and Regulatory Approval of our Product Candidates

 

We have limited experience with the development of therapies targeted to the treatment of early cardiogenic shock and COVID-19-related acute lung injury and may not succeed in our efforts to gain approval of our product candidates and establish a profitable business.
 

Although our team has significant experience with designing and conducting clinical trials, and has access to data, preclinical work and research conducted by our predecessor concerning istaroxime and expertise in the development of cardiovascular product candidates generally and the treatment of AHF in particular, we have limited experience in conducting clinical trials through to regulatory approval for the treatment of early cardiogenic shock. In addition, while we believe that our KL4 surfactant may have the potential to be an effective intervention for influenza-induced acute lung injury, or ALI, and have previously conducted preclinical studies assessing the utility of KL4 surfactant in the treatment of influenza-induced ALI and, in 2009, conducted a clinical trial assessing our KL4 surfactant in young children after exposure to serious respiratory infections such as influenza (including the type A serotype referred to as H1N1) or respiratory syncytial virus, we do not have experience in conducting clinical trials through to regulatory approval of a product candidate for patients with COVID-19 associated lung injury. We also have not produced any prior clinical or preclinical data in these indications. We are proceeding to study both of these product candidates based on our professional assessment of our product candidates in related but different indications. In part because of this lack of precedent, we are subject to development risks associated with studying new indications and cannot be certain that these trials will be completed on time, if at all.

 

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Clinical development involves a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome, and results of preclinical studies and early clinical trials are not necessarily predictive of future results. In addition, our assumptions about why certain of our product candidates are worthy of future development and potential approval are based on data primarily collected by other companies. Our product candidates may not have favorable results in later clinical trials, if any, or receive regulatory approval on a timely basis, if at all.

 

Clinical drug development is expensive and can take many years to complete, and its outcome is inherently uncertain. We cannot guarantee that any clinical trials will be conducted as planned or completed on schedule, if at all, and failure can occur at any time during the preclinical study or clinical trial process as a result of inadequate study design, inadequate performance of a drug, inadequate adherence by patients or investigators to clinical trial protocols, or other factors. For example, we are conducting a toxicology study as part of the preclinical program for istaroxime to be included in a required regulatory submission and to potentially support a longer dosing period for the treatment of AHF. Unanticipated findings from this toxicology study in certain circumstances could potentially negatively impact the ongoing clinical program for istaroxime. In addition, there is not currently data available to show the impact of istaroxime on early cardiogenic shock and any studies we may perform to evaluate the impacts of our KL4 surfactant on COVID-19 is highly uncertain. For AEROSURF, we previously had to implement design changes to our Aerosol Delivery System, or ADS, to potentially mitigate the risks of device-related treatment interruptions experienced in the phase 2 ADS used in the AEROSURF phase 2b clinical trial. Despite promising preclinical or clinical results, any product candidate can unexpectedly fail at any stage of preclinical or clinical development. The historical failure rate for product candidates in our industry is high.

 

New drugs in later stages of clinical trials may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy traits despite having progressed through earlier clinical trials. As a result, data we obtain from our phase 2 clinical trials may not accurately predict phase 3 trial results, whether due to differences in sample size, study arms, duration, endpoints, other factors, or, in the case of AEROSURF, changed features of the new ADS used. If any of our product candidates should fail to perform as designed in their respective phase 3 clinical programs, such failures could adversely affect the results of our clinical development program despite promising results in earlier trials. If clinical trials for any of our product candidates fail to demonstrate safety or efficacy to the satisfaction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, or the equivalent regulatory authorities in other countries, the FDA or the equivalent regulatory authorities in other countries will not approve that drug and we would not be able to commercialize it, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects. Moreover, if we are required to cease development activities on any of our recently acquired product candidates due to adverse clinical results or otherwise, it could result in impairment of related intangible assets and goodwill on our consolidated balance sheets.

 

Even if later stage clinical trials are successful, regulatory authorities may question the trial design or sufficiency for approval of the endpoints we select for our clinical trials or add new requirements, such as the completion of additional studies, as conditions for obtaining approval or obtaining an indication. For the foregoing reasons, we cannot be certain that our ongoing and planned clinical trials and preclinical studies will be successful. Any safety concerns observed in any one of our clinical trials in our targeted indications could limit the prospects for regulatory approval of our product candidates in those and other indications, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, and result in significant additional costs and expenses, require additional time and have an adverse effect on our business, including our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Delays in clinical trials are common and have many causes, and any delay could result in increased costs to us and jeopardize or delay our ability to obtain regulatory approval and commence product sales or allow for competition to emerge.

 

We may experience delays in clinical trials of our product candidates, or the time required to complete clinical trials for our product candidates may be longer than anticipated. Our planned clinical trials may not begin on time, have an effective design, enroll a sufficient number of patients, or be completed on schedule, if at all. Our clinical trials can be delayed for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to:

 

 

delays associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent in a novel strain of coronavirus, or COVID-19, which will impact our healthcare systems and our trial sites ability to conduct trials to varied degrees and times. COVID-19 creates risk of interrupting availability of necessary clinical supplies, local regulatory reviews, hospital ethics committee reviews, professional staff, site monitors and other necessary travel;

 

 

our inability to raise funding necessary to initiate or continue a trial;

 

 

delays in obtaining regulatory approval to commence a trial or reaching a consensus with regulatory authorities on trial design;

 

 

delays in reaching an agreement with the FDA or the equivalent foreign regulatory authorities in other countries on final trial design or the scope of the development program;

 

 

inability to develop studies that are acceptable in all markets of interest;

 

 

inability to come to an agreement on clinical trial design or execution factors with potential development partners;

 

 

imposition of a clinical hold following an inspection of our clinical trial operations or trial sites by the FDA or the equivalent regulatory authorities in other countries;

 

 

failures or delays in reaching agreement on acceptable terms with prospective contract research organizations, or CROs, and clinical trial sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and trial sites;

 

 

delays in obtaining contracts with clinical sites and required institutional review board, or IRB, approval at each site;

 

 

IRBs refusing to approve, suspending or terminating the trial at an investigational site, precluding enrollment of additional subjects, or withdrawing their approval of the trial;

 

 

competition with other studies for study patients;

 

 

changes to clinical trial protocol;

 

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delays in recruiting suitable patients to participate in a trial;

 

 

subjects choosing an alternative treatment for the indication for which we are developing our product candidates, or participating in competing clinical trials;

 

 

delays in having subjects complete participation in a trial or return for post-treatment follow-up;

 

 

clinical sites deviating from trial protocol or dropping out of a trial to the detriment of enrollment;

 

 

subjects experiencing severe or unexpected adverse events;

 

 

occurrence of serious adverse events in trials of the same class of agents conducted by other companies;

 

 

selection of clinical endpoints that require prolonged periods of clinical observation or analysis of the resulting data;

 

 

third-party clinical investigators losing the licenses or permits necessary to perform our clinical trials, not performing our clinical trials on our anticipated schedule or consistent with the clinical trial protocol, good clinical practices, or GCPs, or other regulatory requirements;

 

 

third-party contractors not performing data collection or analysis in a timely or accurate manner;

 

 

third-party contractors becoming debarred or suspended or otherwise penalized by the FDA or other government or regulatory authorities for violations of regulatory requirements, in which case we may need to find a substitute contractor, and we may not be able to use some or all of the data produced by such contractors in support of our marketing applications;

 

 

manufacturing sufficient quantities of product candidate or obtaining sufficient quantities of combination therapies for use in clinical trials or changes in the manufacturing process that may be necessary or desired;

 

 

time required to add new clinical sites; or

 

 

delays by our contract manufacturers to produce and deliver a sufficient supply of clinical trial materials or being ordered by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities to temporarily or permanently shut down due to violations of current good manufacturing practices, or cGMP, regulations or other applicable requirements, or infections or cross-contaminations of product candidates in the manufacturing process.

 

In addition, we may not reach agreement with the FDA, or a foreign regulator on the extent of our phase 3 programs, the design of any one or more of the clinical trials necessary for approval, or we may be unable to reach agreement on a single design that would permit us to conduct a common pivotal phase 3 clinical development program in all markets of interest. For example, we may not be able to design a study that is acceptable to both the FDA and European Medicines Agency, or EMA, regulators, which would cause us to limit the scope of our geographical activities or greatly increase our investment. Even if we complete the clinical trial within our anticipated time, if our results are inconclusive or non-compelling or otherwise insufficient to support a strategic or financing transaction, we potentially could be forced to limit or cease our development activities, which would have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may negatively impact our ability to develop our product candidates.

 

In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus, or COVID-19, was identified in Wuhan, China and in March 2020 was declared to be a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 have intensified at times to manage surges in the infection rate and deaths and many countries have implemented severe travel restrictions, social distancing and delays or cancellations of elective surgeries at different times. Notwithstanding the introduction of effective vaccines, COVID-19 is expected to continue affecting our ability and the ability of our employees, contractors, suppliers, and other partners to conduct normal business activities for an indefinite period of time, including due to shutdowns that may be requested or mandated by governmental authorities.

 

The continued spread of COVID-19 globally has adversely impacted and may continue to impact our operations. We have initiated several clinical trials and plan in the near future to initiate an additional clinical trial for istaroxime in the EU and other worldwide locations impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Our ongoing clinical trials have suffered delays and interruptions and our decision to cease enrollment in the AEROSURF clinical trial was partially due to such delays and escalating expenses. Our ongoing efforts to conduct these trials could be materially delayed in the future by governmental restrictions and enrollment difficulties as hospitals reduce and divert staffing, divert resources to patients suffering from the infectious disease and limit hospital access for nonpatients.

 

Similarly, there is a risk that clinical supplies of our products may be significantly delayed or may become unavailable as a result of COVID-19 and the resulting impact on our suppliers labor forces and operations, including as a result of governmental restrictions on business operations and the movement of people and goods in an effort to curtail the spread of the virus. There can be no assurance that we would be able to timely implement any mitigation plans. Disruptions in our supply chain, whether as a result of restricted travel, quarantine requirements or otherwise, could negatively impact clinical supplies of our products, which could materially adversely impact our clinical trial and development timelines.

 

The continued spread of COVID-19, including potential new variants, has also led to periodic disruption and volatility in the global capital markets, which could increase our cost of capital and adversely affect our ability to access the capital markets in the future. It is possible that the continued spread of COVID-19 could cause an economic slowdown or recession or cause other unpredictable events, each of which could adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition.

 

The extent to which COVID-19 impacts our financial results going forward will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, the rise of variants, which may be more contagious and potentially more lethal, and the actions recommended to contain the outbreak or treat its impact, among others. Moreover, the COVID-19 outbreak has had indeterminable adverse effects on general commercial activity and the world economy, and our business and results of operations could be adversely affected to the extent that COVID-19 or any other pandemic harms the global economy generally.

 
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Use of our product candidates could be associated with side effects, adverse events or other properties or safety risks, which could delay or preclude approval, cause us to suspend or discontinue clinical trials, abandon a product candidate, limit the commercial profile of an approved label or result in other significant negative consequences that could severely harm our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition.

 

As is the case with pharmaceuticals generally, there may be adverse events in patients treated with our product candidates. Results of our clinical trials could reveal a high and unacceptable severity and prevalence of side effects or unexpected characteristics. Undesirable side effects caused by our product candidates could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials and could result in a more restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. Adverse events could 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.

 

Moreover, if our product candidates are associated with undesirable side effects in clinical trials or have characteristics that are unexpected, we may elect to abandon their development or limit their development to more narrow uses or subpopulations in which the undesirable side effects or other characteristics are less prevalent, less severe or more acceptable from a risk-benefit perspective, which may limit the commercial expectations for the product candidate if approved. We may also be required to modify our study plans based on findings in our ongoing clinical trials. Many compounds that initially show promise in early-stage testing have later been found to cause side effects that prevented further development of the compound. In addition, regulatory authorities may draw different conclusions or require additional testing to confirm these determinations.

 

It is possible that as we test our product candidates in larger, longer and more extensive clinical trials, or as the use of these product candidates becomes more widespread if they receive regulatory approval, illnesses, injuries, discomforts and other adverse events that were observed in earlier trials, as well as conditions that did not occur or went undetected in previous trials, will be reported by subjects. If such side effects become known later in development or upon approval, if any, such findings may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly.

 

In addition, if one or more of our product candidates receives marketing approval, and we or others later identify undesirable side effects caused by such products, a number of potentially significant negative consequences could result, including:

 

 

regulatory authorities may withdraw, suspend or limit approvals of such product;

 

 

we may be required to recall a product or change the way such product is administered to patients;

 

 

regulatory authorities may require additional warnings on the label, such as a black box warning or a contraindication;

 

 

we may be required to implement a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, or create a medication guide outlining the risks of such side effects for distribution to patients;

 

 

we may be required to change the way a product is distributed or administered, conduct additional clinical trials or change the labeling of a product or be required to conduct additional post-marketing studies or surveillance;

 

 

we could be sued and held liable for harm caused to patients;

 

 

sales of the product may decrease significantly, or the product could become less competitive; and

 

 

our reputation may suffer.

 

Any of these events could prevent us from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of the particular product candidate, if approved, and could significantly harm our business, results of operations and prospects.

 

Our product candidates are subject to extensive regulation and compliance, which is costly and time consuming, and such regulation may cause unanticipated delays or prevent the receipt of the required approvals to commercialize our product candidates.

 

The clinical development, manufacturing, labeling, storage, record-keeping, advertising, promotion, import, export, marketing and distribution of our product candidates are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA in the U.S. and by comparable foreign regulatory authorities in foreign markets. In the U.S., the process of obtaining regulatory approval is expensive, often takes many years following the commencement of clinical trials and can vary substantially based upon the type, complexity and novelty of the product candidates involved, as well as the target indications and patient population. Approval policies or regulations may change, and the FDA has substantial discretion in the drug approval process, including the ability to delay, limit or deny approval of a product candidate for many reasons. Despite the time and expense invested in clinical development of product candidates, regulatory approval is never guaranteed. We are not permitted to market any of our product candidates in the U.S. until we receive approval of a New Drug Application, or NDA, from the FDA.

 

Prior to obtaining approval to commercialize a product candidate in the U.S. or abroad, we must demonstrate with substantial evidence from adequate and well-controlled clinical trials, and to the satisfaction of the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, that such product candidates are safe and effective for their intended uses.

 

Even if we believe the nonclinical or clinical data for our product candidates are promising, such data may not be sufficient to support approval by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities. The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, as the case may be, may also require us to conduct additional preclinical studies or clinical trials for our product candidates either prior to or post-approval, or may object to elements of our clinical development program.

 

The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities can delay, limit or deny approval of a product candidate for many reasons, including:

 

 

such authorities may disagree with the design or implementation of our clinical trials;

 

 

negative or ambiguous results from our clinical trials or results may not meet the level of statistical significance required by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory agencies for approval;

 

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such authorities may disagree with our interpretation of data from preclinical studies or clinical trials;

 

 

such authorities may not agree that the data collected from clinical trials of our product candidates are acceptable or sufficient to support approval;

 

 

serious and unexpected adverse events may be experienced by participants in our clinical trials or by individuals using drugs similar to our product candidates;

 

 

the population studied in the clinical trial may not be sufficiently broad or representative to assure safety in the full population for which we seek approval;

 

 

such authorities may not accept clinical data from trials which are conducted at clinical facilities or in countries where the standard of care or patient characteristics are potentially different from that of the U.S.;

 

 

we may be unable to demonstrate that a product candidates clinical and other benefits outweigh its safety risks or the safety data base may not be large enough;

 

 

such authorities may not accept the submission of an NDA or other submission to obtain regulatory approval in the U.S. or elsewhere, and such authorities may impose requirements for additional preclinical studies or clinical trials;

 

 

such authorities may disagree regarding the formulation, labeling and/or the specifications of our product candidates;

 

 

approval may be granted only for indications that are significantly more limited than what we apply for and/or with other significant restrictions on distribution and use;

 

 

such authorities may find deficiencies in the manufacturing processes or facilities of our third-party manufacturers with which we contract for clinical and, if approved, commercial supplies; or the approval policies;

 

 

regulations of such authorities may significantly change in a manner rendering our or any of our potential future collaborators clinical data insufficient for approval; or

 

 

such authorities may not accept a submission due to, among other reasons, the content or formatting of the submission.

 

We may conduct clinical development in the U.S., Canada, the European Union, or EU, Latin America, and Asia Pacific regions and sell our products in the U.S. and potentially in other major markets. To accomplish this objective, we must obtain and maintain regulatory approvals and comply with regulatory requirements in each jurisdiction. To avoid the significant expense and lengthy time required to complete multiple regional clinical development programs, we expect to meet with relevant regulatory authorities. While we would prefer to design a single, global clinical development program that would satisfy the regulators in all of our target markets, there can be no assurance that our efforts will be successful. If we are unable to reach agreement with the various regulatory authorities, we may not be able to pursue regulatory approval of our products in all of our selected markets.

 

With respect to foreign markets, approval procedures vary among countries and, in addition to the foregoing risks, may involve additional product testing, administrative review periods and agreements with pricing authorities. In addition, events raising questions about the safety of certain marketed pharmaceuticals may result in increased cautiousness by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities in reviewing new drugs based on safety, efficacy or other regulatory considerations and may result in significant delays in obtaining regulatory approvals. Any delay in obtaining, or inability to obtain, applicable regulatory approvals would prevent us or any of our potential future collaborators from commercializing our product candidates. In addition, delays associated with COVID-19 may impact local regulatory reviews occurring in a timely manner and result in delays for trial and site initiations.

 

Of the large number of drugs in development, only a small percentage successfully complete the FDA or foreign regulatory approval processes and are commercialized. The lengthy approval process as well as the unpredictability of future clinical trial results may result in our failing to obtain regulatory approval to market our product candidates, which would significantly harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

 

If our competitors develop and receive FDA approval for treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, our commercial opportunity with respect to our development of KL4 surfactant for the treatment of lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome caused by COVID-19 may be reduced or eliminated.

 

On October 22, 2020, FDA approved remdesivir for use in adult and certain pediatric patients for the treatment of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization. Baricitinib has also been approved for use with remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19. Several neutralizing antibodies have been approved to prevent progression in the early stages of infection. Three vaccines have been authorized by the FDA with efficacy rates ranging from 66% to 90%. There are numerous other companies working on therapies to treat COVID-19 and/or vaccines to prevent or treat COVID-19. If additional competing therapies are approved, and/or a safe, efficacious, accessible preventative vaccine is approved, such approval could have a material adverse impact on our ability to commercialize KL4 surfactant as a therapy for COVID-19-related lung injury and ARDS. The speed at which all parties are acting to create and test many treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 is unusual and evolving or changing plans or priorities within the FDA and other branches of the U.S. government involved in the fight against the pandemic, including changes based on new knowledge of COVID-19, new COVID-19 variants and how the disease affects the human body, may significantly affect the regulatory timeline for KL4 surfactant. In addition, there are numerous clinical trial programs in progress for COVID-19 therapies which are all competing for largely the same patient population for enrollment. This problem is exacerbated by changing rates of infection and spread, which make it challenging to ensure there are sufficient centers for our Phase 2 clinical trial in areas with sufficient potential patient populations. Results from clinical testing may raise new questions and require us to redesign proposed clinical trials. Many of our competitors and potential competitors have substantially greater scientific, research, and product development capabilities, as well as greater financial, marketing, sales and human resources capabilities than we do. In addition, many specialized biotechnology firms have formed collaborations with large, established companies to support the research, development and commercialization of products that may be competitive with ours.

 

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Because we have multiple product candidates in our clinical pipeline, we may expend our limited resources to pursue a particular product candidate and fail to capitalize on other product candidates or indications that may be more profitable or for which there is a greater likelihood of success.

 

Because we have limited financial and managerial resources, we may focus on specific product candidates, indications and development programs at any time. We also may plan to conduct several clinical trials for multiple product candidates in parallel over the next several years, which may make our decision as to the product candidates on which we will focus more difficult. As a result, we may forgo or delay pursuit of opportunities with other product candidates that could have had greater commercial potential. Our resource allocation decisions may cause us to fail to capitalize on viable commercial products or profitable market opportunities. Our spending on current and future research and development programs and product candidates for specific indications may not yield any commercially viable products. If we do not accurately evaluate the commercial potential or target market for a particular product candidate, we may relinquish valuable rights to that product candidate through future collaborations, license agreements and other similar arrangements in cases in which it would have been more advantageous for us to retain sole development and commercialization rights to such product candidate. For example, following a decision by our licensee in Asia to terminate a funding agreement for AEROSURF clinical development in the EU, we recently ceased our development activities for AEROSURF. To support the further development of AEROSURF, we are pursuing one or more licensing agreements, collaboration arrangements or other strategic opportunities. This decision was driven by our desire to focus on acute cardiovascular and other KL4 surfactant programs, primarily treatment of lung injury in patients with COVID-19.

 

Additionally, we may pursue additional in-licenses or acquisitions of development-stage assets or programs, which entails additional risk to us. Identifying, selecting and acquiring promising product candidates requires substantial technical, financial and human resources expertise. Efforts to do so may not result in the actual acquisition or license of a particular product candidate, potentially resulting in a diversion of our managements time and the expenditure of our resources with no resulting benefit. If we are unable to identify programs that ultimately result in approved products, we may spend material amounts of our capital, management and other resources evaluating, acquiring and developing products that ultimately do not provide a return on our investment.

 

Even though some of our product candidates have Fast Track designation, the FDA may not approve them at all or any sooner than other product candidates that do not have Fast Track designation.

 

We have received Fast Track designation from the FDA for istaroxime for the treatment of acute heart failure, or AHF, and for AEROSURF for the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome, or RDS, in premature infants. Fast Track designation does not ensure that we will receive marketing approval or that approval will be granted within any particular timeframe. We may not experience a faster development, regulatory review or approval process with Fast Track designation compared to conventional FDA procedures. Additionally, the FDA may withdraw Fast Track designation, for reasons such as it comes to believe a drug candidate no longer adequately addresses an unmet medical need. Fast Track designation alone does not guarantee qualification for the FDAs priority review procedures. If we seek Fast Track designation for other product candidates, we may not receive such a designation from the FDA.

 

Although we may pursue expedited regulatory programs for a product candidate or an indication, it may not qualify for expedited development or, if it does qualify for expedited development, it may not actually lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process.

 

Although we have received Fast Track designation for certain of our product candidates, we believe there may be an opportunity to expedite the development of other product candidates or indications through one or more of the FDAs expedited programs, such as fast track, breakthrough therapy or priority review, we cannot be assured that any of our product candidates or indications will qualify for such programs.

 

For example, a drug may be eligible for designation as a breakthrough therapy if the drug is intended, alone or in combination with one or more other drugs, to treat a serious or life-threatening condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints. Although breakthrough therapy designation or access to any other expedited program may expedite the development or approval process, it does not change the standards for approval. If we apply for breakthrough therapy designation or any other expedited program for our product candidates, the FDA may determine that our proposed target indication or other aspects of our clinical development plans do not qualify for such expedited program. Even if we are successful in obtaining a breakthrough therapy designation or access to any other expedited program, we may not experience faster development timelines or achieve faster review or approval compared to conventional FDA procedures. Access to an expedited program may also be withdrawn by the FDA if it believes that the designation is no longer supported by data from our clinical development program. Additionally, qualification for any expedited program does not ensure that we will ultimately obtain regulatory approval for such product candidate.

 

In addition, we believe that istaroxime may fulfill an unmet medical need in early cardiogenic shock based on the profile observed in prior phase 2 clinical studies in AHF, in which istaroxime increased systolic blood pressure, or SBP, suggesting that istaroxime could potentially contribute to the clinical improvement of select patients in cardiogenic shock due to heart failure. If our ongoing clinical study is successful, we believe there may be opportunities for an expedited regulatory pathway and review of istaroxime for the treatment of early cardiogenic shock. Based on precedent, we believe that approval for early cardiogenic shock potentially could be based on blood pressure changes alone (assuming comparable mortality compared to control patients at 30 days).

 

We may not be able to obtain or maintain Orphan Drug exclusivity for our product candidates.

 

Regulatory authorities in some jurisdictions, including the U.S. and Europe, may designate drugs for relatively small patient populations as Orphan Drugs. In the U.S., Orphan Drug designation entitles a party to financial incentives such as tax advantages and user-fee waivers. In addition, if a product candidate that has Orphan Drug designation subsequently receives the first FDA approval for the disease for which it has such designation, the product is entitled to Orphan Drug exclusivity, which means that the FDA may not approve any other applications, including an NDA, to market the same drug for the same indication for seven years, except in limited circumstances, including if the FDA concludes that the later drug is clinically superior to the approved drug. A drug is clinically superior if it is safer, more effective, or makes a major contribution to patient care. The FDA has granted Orphan Drug designation for our (i) KL4 surfactant (lucinactant) for the treatment of RDS in premature infants, (ii) our KL4 surfactant for the prevention and treatment of BPD in premature infants, (iii) our KL4 surfactant for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome in adults, and (iv) our KL4 surfactant for the treatment of cystic fibrosis.

 

If we obtain Orphan Drug exclusivity, we may lose such exclusivity if the FDA or the European Commission, or EC, determines that the request for designation was materially defective or if we are unable to assure sufficient quantity of the drug to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition. Moreover, Orphan Drug exclusivity may not effectively protect our product candidates from competition because different drugs can be approved for the same condition. Even after an Orphan Drug is approved, the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority can subsequently approve the same drug for the same condition if such regulatory authority concludes that the later drug is clinically superior if it is shown to be safer, more effective or makes a major contribution to patient care. 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.

 

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Interim, topline and preliminary data from our clinical trials that we announce or publish from time to time may change as more patient data become available and are subject to audit and verification procedures that could result in material changes in the final data.

 

From time to time, we may publicly disclose preliminary or topline or data from our clinical studies, which is based on a preliminary analysis of then-available data, and the results and related findings and conclusions are subject to change following a more comprehensive review of the data related to the particular study or trial. We also make assumptions, estimations, calculations and conclusions as part of our analyses of data, and we may not have received or had the opportunity to fully and carefully evaluate all data. As a result, the topline results that we report may differ from future results of the same studies, or different conclusions or considerations may qualify such results, once additional data have been received and fully evaluated. Topline data also remain subject to audit and verification procedures that may result in the final data being materially different from the preliminary data we previously published. As a result, topline data should be viewed with caution until the final data are available. From time to time, we may also disclose interim data from our clinical studies. Interim data from clinical trials that we may complete are subject to the risk that one or more of the clinical outcomes may materially change as patient enrollment continues and more patient data become available. Adverse differences between preliminary or interim data and final data could significantly harm our business prospects.

 

Even if we receive regulatory approval for any product candidates, we will be subject to ongoing regulatory obligations and continued regulatory review, which may result in significant additional expense. Additionally, our product candidates, if approved, could be subject to labeling and other restrictions on marketing or withdrawal from the market, and we may be subject to penalties if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or if we experience unanticipated problems with our product candidates, when and if any of them are approved.

 

Following potential approval of any our product candidates, the FDA may impose significant restrictions on a products indicated uses or other aspects of the directions for use or marketing or impose ongoing requirements for potentially costly and time-consuming post-approval studies, post-market surveillance or clinical trials to monitor the safety and efficacy of the product. The FDA may also require a REMS as a condition of approval of our product candidates, which could include requirements for a medication guide, physician communication plans or additional elements to ensure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools. In addition, if the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority approves our product candidates, the manufacturing processes, labeling, packaging, distribution, adverse event reporting, storage, advertising, promotion, import, export and recordkeeping for our products will be subject to extensive and ongoing regulatory requirements. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration, as well as continued compliance with cGMPs and GCP requirements for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with our products, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or with our third-party manufacturers or manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in, among other things:

 

 

restrictions on the marketing or manufacturing of our products, withdrawal of the product from the market or voluntary or mandatory product recalls;

 

 

restrictions on product distribution or use, or requirements to conduct post-marketing studies or clinical trials;

 

 

fines, restitutions, disgorgement of profits or revenues, warning letters, untitled letters or holds on clinical trials;

 

 

refusal by the FDA to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications filed by us or suspension or revocation of approvals;

 

 

product seizure or detention, or refusal to permit the import or export of our products; and

 

 

injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.

 

The occurrence of any event or penalty described above may inhibit our ability to commercialize our product candidates and generate revenue and could require us to expend significant time and resources in response and could generate negative publicity.

 

In addition, if any of our product candidates is approved, our product labeling, advertising and promotion will be subject to regulatory requirements and continuing regulatory review. The FDA strictly regulates the promotional claims that may be made about drug products. In particular, a product may not be promoted for uses that are not approved by the FDA as reflected in the products approved labeling. If we receive marketing approval for a product candidate, physicians may nevertheless prescribe it to their patients in a manner that is inconsistent with the approved label. If we are found to have promoted such off-label uses, we may become subject to significant liability.

 

The FDAs and other regulatory authorities policies may change and additional government regulations may be enacted that could prevent, limit or delay regulatory approval of our product candidates. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any marketing approval that we may have obtained and we may not achieve or sustain profitability.

 

We are currently conducting, and may in the future conduct, certain of our clinical trials for our product candidates at clinical sites located in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. If the FDA and other foreign equivalents raise concerns about certain of the clinical sites based on location and regulatory environment, they may not accept data from such trials, in which case our development plans will be delayed, which could materially harm our business.

 

We are currently conducting and expect in the future to conduct one or more of our clinical trials for our product candidates at clinical sites located in the U.S. and outside of the U.S., including EU and China. Although the FDA may accept data from clinical trials conducted outside the U.S., acceptance of this data may be subject to certain conditions imposed by the FDA. For example, the FDA requires the clinical trial to have been conducted in accordance with GCPs, and the FDA must be able to validate the data from the clinical trial through an onsite inspection if it deems such inspection necessary. Where data from foreign clinical trials are intended to serve as the sole basis for marketing approval in the U.S., the FDA will not approve the application on the basis of foreign data alone unless those data are considered applicable to the U.S. patient population and U.S. medical practice, the clinical trials were performed by clinical investigators of recognized competence, and the data is considered valid without the need for an onsite inspection by the FDA or, if the FDA considers such an inspection to be necessary, the FDA is able to validate the data through an onsite inspection or other appropriate means. There can be no assurance the FDA will accept data from clinical trials conducted outside of the U.S. If the FDA does not accept data from our clinical trials of our product candidates, it would likely result in the need for additional clinical trials, which would be costly and time consuming and delay or permanently halt our development of our product candidates.

 

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If we fail to obtain and maintain regulatory approval in foreign jurisdictions, our market opportunities will be limited.

 

In order to market our product candidates in the EU or other foreign jurisdictions, we must obtain and maintain separate regulatory approvals and comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements. The approval procedure varies from country to country and can involve additional testing. The time required to obtain approval abroad may be longer than the time required to obtain FDA clearance or approval. Foreign regulatory approval processes include many of the risks associated with obtaining FDA clearance or approval and we may not obtain foreign regulatory approvals on a timely basis, if at all. FDA clearance or approval does not ensure approval by regulatory authorities in other countries, and approval by one foreign regulatory authority does not ensure approval by regulatory authorities in other foreign countries. However, the failure to obtain clearance or approval in one jurisdiction may have a negative impact on our ability to obtain clearance or approval elsewhere. If we do not obtain or maintain necessary approvals to commercialize our products in markets outside the U.S., it would negatively affect our overall market penetration.

 

If the FDA or other applicable regulatory authorities approve generic products with claims that compete with our product candidates, it could reduce our sales of our product candidates if approved.

 

In the U.S., after an NDA is approved, the product covered thereby becomes a listed drug which can, in turn, be cited by potential competitors in support of approval of an abbreviated NDA, or ANDA. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or the FDC Act, FDA regulations and other applicable regulations and policies provide incentives to manufacturers to create modified, non-infringing versions of a drug to facilitate the approval of an ANDA or other application for generic substitutes. These manufacturers might only be required to conduct a relatively inexpensive study to show that their product has the same active ingredients, dosage form, strength, route of administration, and conditions of use, or product labeling, as our product candidates and that the generic product is absorbed in the body at the same rate and to the same extent as, or is bioequivalent to, our product candidates. These generic equivalents would be significantly less costly than ours to bring to market and companies that produce generic equivalents are generally able to offer their products at lower prices. Thus, after the introduction of a generic competitor, a significant percentage of the sales of any branded product are typically lost to the generic product. Accordingly, competition from generic equivalents to our product candidates would substantially limit our ability to generate revenues and therefore to obtain a return on the investments we have made in our product candidates.

 

Even if we receive regulatory approval for any of our product candidates, we may not be able to successfully commercialize the product and the revenue that we generate from its sales, if any, may be limited.

 

If approved for marketing, the commercial success of our product candidates will depend upon the acceptance of each product by the medical community, including physicians, patients and health care payors. The degree of market acceptance for any of our product candidates will depend on a number of factors, including:

 

 

demonstration of clinical safety and efficacy;

 

 

efficacy of our product candidates compared to competing products;

 

 

relative convenience, dosing burden and ease of administration;

 

 

the prevalence and severity of any adverse effects;

 

 

the willingness of physicians to prescribe our product candidates, and the target patient population to try new therapies;

 

 

our ability to obtain and maintain sufficient third-party coverage or reimbursement from government health care programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, global government payors, private health insurers and other third-party payors or to receive the necessary pricing approvals from government bodies regulating the pricing and usage of therapeutics;

 

 

the willingness of patients to pay out-of-pocket in the absence of third-party coverage or reimbursement or government pricing approvals;

 

 

government health care payor imposed mandatory pricing discounting and reductions;

 

 

delays in achieving hospital formulary acceptance or limitations of use that are more restrictive than the approved label;

 

 

the introduction of any new products that may in the future become available targeting indications for which our product candidates may be approved;

 

 

new procedures or therapies that may reduce the incidences of any of the indications in which our product candidates may show utility;

 

 

pricing and cost-effectiveness;

 

 

the inclusion or omission of our product candidates in applicable therapeutic guidelines;

 

 

the effectiveness of our own or any future collaborators sales and marketing strategies; and

 

 

limitations or warnings contained in approved labeling from regulatory authorities.

 

If any of our product candidates are approved, but do not achieve an adequate level of acceptance by physicians, health care payors, and patients, we may not generate sufficient revenue and we may not be able to achieve or sustain profitability. Our efforts to educate the medical community and third-party payors on the benefits of our product candidates may require significant resources and may never be successful.

 

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In addition, even if we obtain regulatory approvals, the timing or scope of any approvals may prohibit or reduce our ability to commercialize our product candidates successfully. For example, if the approval process takes too long, we may miss market opportunities and give other companies the ability to develop competing products or establish market dominance. Any regulatory approval we ultimately obtain may be limited or subject to restrictions or post-approval commitments that render our product candidates not commercially viable. For example, regulatory authorities may approve any of our product candidates for fewer or more limited indications than we request, may grant approval contingent on the performance of costly post-marketing clinical trials, or may approve any of our product candidates with a label that does not include the labeling claims necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization for that indication. Further, the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may place conditions on approvals or require risk management plans or a REMS to assure the safe use of the drug. Any of these limitations on approval or marketing could restrict the commercial promotion, distribution, prescription or dispensing of our product candidates. Moreover, product approvals may be withdrawn for non-compliance with regulatory standards or if problems occur following the initial marketing of the product. Any of the foregoing scenarios could materially harm the commercial success of our product candidates.

 

The FDA and other regulatory agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off- label uses. If we are found or alleged to have improperly promoted any of our products, if approved, off-label uses, we may become subject to significant liability.

 

The FDA and other regulatory agencies strictly regulate the promotional claims that may be made about prescription products, as our product candidates would be, if approved. In general, a product may not be promoted for uses that are not approved by the FDA or in ways that may not be consistent with the products approved labeling. If we are found to have promoted such off-label uses, we may become subject to significant liability. The federal government has levied large civil and criminal fines against companies for alleged improper promotion and has enjoined several companies from engaging in off-label promotion. The FDA and other regulatory agencies have also requested that companies enter into consent decrees or permanent injunctions under which specified promotional conduct is changed or curtailed. If we cannot successfully manage the promotion of our product candidates, if approved, we could become subject to significant liability, which would materially adversely affect our business and financial condition.

 

We currently have no sales and marketing organization. If we are unable to establish satisfactory sales and marketing capabilities or secure a sales and marketing partner, we may not successfully commercialize any of our product candidates.

 

We may not be able to enter into collaboration agreements on terms acceptable to us or at all. In addition, even if we enter into such relationships, we may have limited or no control over the sales, marketing and distribution activities of these third parties. Our future revenues may depend heavily on the success of the efforts of these third parties. If we elect to establish a sales and marketing infrastructure, we may not realize a positive return on this investment. In addition, we will have to compete with established and well-funded pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to recruit, hire, train and retain sales and marketing personnel. Factors that may inhibit our efforts to commercialize our product candidates without strategic partners or licensees include:

 

 

the inability of sales personnel to obtain access to or educate and appropriately persuade adequate numbers of physicians to prescribe any of our product candidates;

 

 

inability to obtain a competitive share of voice and frequency of meeting with physicians against multiple, larger competitors;

 

 

unforeseen costs and expenses associated with creating an independent sales and marketing organization; and

 

 

inability to control or influence partner sales and marketing personnel or their prioritization of promotion of our products.

 

Failure of our new ADS to perform as intended in clinical trials, including the planned AEROSURF phase 2 bridging study to be conducted by our licensee and potentially phase 3 development activities expected to be conducted by our licensee, would have a material adverse effect on our efforts to develop our aerosolized KL4 surfactant products, including AEROSURF, and our business strategy.

 

Our development activities are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation:

 

 

the new ADS may not achieve acceptable levels of efficiency, consistent performance, reliability and, when taken together with the cost of our KL4 surfactant, may not be cost appropriate for commercial activities;

 

 

we will require access to sophisticated engineering capabilities. We have in the past advanced device development using our own medical device engineering staff and we have worked with Battelle Memorial Institute, or Battelle, on certain development initiatives. We currently have a Vice President of Medical Device Development, who is executing a technology transfer of our device manufacturing process from Battelle to Mack Molding Company, or Mack, which we expect to complete in the second quarter of 2021. We expect to manufacture with Mack a sufficient number of ADS to support our remaining development activities. We also may transfer our manufacturing capabilities to current and potential future licensees or other strategic counterparties. If as we advance our plans, we or our licensees are unable to identify design engineers and medical device experts to support the continued development efforts, including, potentially, for commercial use and later versions of the new ADS, it would have a material adverse effect on our business strategy and impair our ability and that of our licensees to commercialize or develop AEROSURF or other aerosolized KL4 surfactant products;

 

 

the ADS may perform to specifications in the bench setting and internal tests, however, in clinical settings with multiple operators, we may experience unanticipated issues with performance that could have a negative effect on trial outcomes; and

 

 

even if the ADS performs adequately in clinical settings, we or our licensees may identify additional development improvements that our licensees may wish to incorporate into the new ADS before phase‑3 and commercialization.

 

The realization of any of the foregoing risks would have a material adverse effect on our AEROSURF development programs and our business.

 

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The successful commercialization of our product candidates, if approved, will depend in part on the extent to which governmental authorities and health insurers establish coverage, adequate reimbursement levels and favorable pricing policies. Failure to obtain or maintain coverage and adequate reimbursement for our products could limit our ability to market those products and decrease our ability to generate revenue.

 

The availability of coverage and the adequacy of reimbursement by governmental healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, private health insurers and other third-party payors are essential for most patients to be able to afford prescription medications such as our product candidates, if approved. Our ability to achieve coverage and acceptable levels of reimbursement for our products by third-party payors will have an effect on our ability to successfully commercialize our products. Even if we obtain coverage for a given product by a third-party payor, the resulting reimbursement payment rates may not be adequate or may require co-payments that patients find unacceptably high. We cannot be sure that coverage and reimbursement in the U.S., the EU or elsewhere will be available for any product that we may develop, and any reimbursement that may become available may be decreased or eliminated in the future.

 

Third-party payors increasingly are challenging prices charged for pharmaceutical products and services, and many third-party payors may refuse to provide coverage and reimbursement for particular drugs when an equivalent generic drug or a less expensive therapy is available. It is possible that a third-party payor may consider our products as substitutable and only offer to reimburse patients for the less expensive product. Even if we are successful in demonstrating improved efficacy or improved convenience of administration with our products, pricing of existing drugs may limit the amount we will be able to charge for our products. These payors may deny or revoke the reimbursement status of a given product or establish prices for new or existing marketed products at levels that are too low to enable us to realize an appropriate return on our investment in product development. If reimbursement is not available or is available only at limited levels, we may not be able to successfully commercialize our products and may not be able to obtain a satisfactory financial return on products that we may develop.

 

There is significant uncertainty related to third-party payor coverage and reimbursement of newly approved products. In the U.S., third-party payors, including private and governmental payors, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs, play an important role in determining the extent to which new drugs will be covered. Some third-party payors may require pre-approval of coverage for new or innovative devices or drug therapies before they will reimburse healthcare providers who use such therapies. It is difficult to predict at this time what third-party payors will decide with respect to the coverage and reimbursement for our products.

 

Obtaining and maintaining reimbursement status is time consuming, costly and uncertain. The Medicare and Medicaid programs increasingly are used as models for how private payors and other governmental payors develop their coverage and reimbursement policies for drugs. However, no uniform policy for coverage and reimbursement for products exists among third-party payors in the U.S. Therefore, coverage and reimbursement for products can differ significantly from payor to payor. As a result, the coverage determination process is often a time consuming and costly process that will require us to provide scientific and clinical support for the use of our products to each payor separately, with no assurance that coverage and adequate reimbursement will be applied consistently or obtained in the first instance. Furthermore, rules and regulations regarding reimbursement change frequently, in some cases at short notice, and we believe that changes in these rules and regulations are likely.

 

Outside the U.S., international operations are generally subject to extensive governmental price controls and other market regulations, and we believe the increasing emphasis on cost-containment initiatives in Europe and other countries has and will continue to put pressure on the pricing and usage of our products. In many countries, the prices of medical products are subject to varying price control mechanisms as part of national health systems. Additional foreign price controls, discounts or other changes in pricing regulation could restrict the amount that we are able to charge for our products. Accordingly, in markets outside the U.S., the reimbursement for our products may be reduced and experience continual mandatory price reductions compared with the U.S. and may be insufficient to generate commercially reasonable revenue and profits.

 

Moreover, increasing efforts by governmental and third-party payors in the U.S. and abroad to cap or reduce healthcare costs may cause such organizations to limit both coverage and the level of reimbursement for newly approved products and, as a result, they may not cover or provide adequate payment for our products. We expect to experience pricing pressures in connection with the sale of any of our products due to the trend toward managed healthcare, the increasing influence of health maintenance organizations and additional legislative changes. The downward pressure on healthcare costs in general, particularly prescription drugs and surgical procedures and other treatments, has become very intense. As a result, increasingly high barriers are being erected to the entry of new products.

 

Risks Related to Our Reliance on Third Parties

 

We rely on third parties to conduct many of our preclinical studies and clinical trials. Any failure by a third party to conduct the clinical trials according to GCPs and other requirements and in a timely manner may delay or prevent our ability to seek or obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates.

 

We are dependent on third parties to conduct our clinical trials and preclinical studies and preclinical studies for our other development programs. Specifically, we have used and relied on, and intend to continue to use and rely on, medical institutions, clinical investigators, CROs and consultants to conduct our clinical trials in accordance with our clinical protocols and regulatory requirements. These CROs, investigators and other third parties play a significant role in the conduct and timing of these trials and subsequent collection and analysis of data. While we have agreements governing the activities of our third-party contractors, we have limited influence over their actual performance. Nevertheless, we are responsible for ensuring that each of our clinical trials is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol and legal, regulatory and scientific standards, and our reliance on the CROs and other third parties does not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities. We and any third-party that we rely upon are required to comply with GCP requirements, which are regulations and guidelines enforced by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities for all of our product candidates in clinical development. Regulatory authorities enforce these GCPs through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators and trial sites. If we or any third-party that we rely on or trial sites fail to comply with applicable GCPs or to provide adequate data with respect to such trials, 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. In addition, our clinical trials must be conducted with product produced under cGMP and/or Quality System Regulation, or QSR requirements. Our failure to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process.

 

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There is no guarantee that any such CROs, investigators or other third parties will devote adequate time and resources to such trials or perform as contractually required. If any of these third parties fail to meet expected deadlines, adhere to our clinical protocols or meet regulatory requirements, or otherwise performs in a substandard manner, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated. In addition, many of the third parties with whom we contract may also have relationships with other commercial entities, including our competitors, for whom they may also be conducting clinical trials or other drug development activities that could harm our competitive position. In addition, principal investigators for our clinical trials may serve as scientific advisors or consultants to us from time to time and may receive cash or equity compensation in connection with such services. If these relationships and any related compensation result in perceived or actual conflicts of interest, or the FDA concludes that the financial relationship may have affected the interpretation of the study, the integrity of the data generated at the applicable clinical trial site may be questioned and the utility of the clinical trial itself may be jeopardized, which could result in the delay or rejection by the FDA of any NDA we submit. Any such delay or rejection could prevent us from commercializing our product candidates.

 

If any of our relationships with these third parties terminate, we may not be able to enter into arrangements with alternative third parties or do so on commercially reasonable terms. Switching or adding additional CROs, investigators and other third parties involves additional costs and requires management time and focus. In addition, there is a natural transition period when a new CRO commences work. As a result, delays occur, which can materially impact our ability to meet our desired clinical development timelines. Though we carefully manage our relationships with our CROs, investigators and other third parties, there can be no assurance that we will not encounter challenges or delays in the future or that these delays or challenges will not have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and prospects.

 

We currently do not have back-up facilities for our contract manufacturing organizations, or CMOs, our suppliers of active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs, our third-party analytical testing and other materials. If the parties we depend on for supplying our APIs and materials, as well as analytical testing and manufacturing-related services do not supply these products and services in a timely manner, it may delay or impair our ability to execute our development plans for our current and potential pipeline products. Such delays could adversely impact our operations and financial condition.

 

In most cases, we are dependent upon a single supplier to provide all of our requirements for each of our APIs. We rely on a single CMO to manufacture each of our drug products that meets appropriate content, quality and stability standards for use in preclinical programs and clinical trials. In most cases, we submit purchase orders to each CMO and supplier as needed and do not have contractual commitments to manufacture for us in the future. If we do not maintain these manufacturing and service relationships that are important to us and are not able to identify replacement suppliers, vendors and laboratories, our ability to obtain regulatory approval for our products could be impaired or delayed and our costs could substantially increase. For example, we are currently discussing with our CMO the expiration and wind down of our AEROSURF drug product manufacturing agreement and we are seeking to develop a new process for the manufacture of our API KL4. These CMOs have indicated a willingness to continue manufacturing on an interim basis, if needed, to build drug product and API inventory to support any future development efforts, but there can be no guarantee that they will remain willing or able to do so and thus are working with others as a replacement CMO.

 

We may be unable to identify additional manufacturers with whom we might establish appropriate arrangements on acceptable terms, if at all, because the number of potential CMOs is limited. Even if we are able to find replacement manufacturers, suppliers, vendors and service providers when needed, we may not be able to enter into agreements with them on terms and conditions favorable to us or there could be a substantial delay before such manufacturer, vendor or supplier, or a related new facility is properly qualified and registered with the FDA or other foreign regulatory authorities. A new manufacturer currently not qualified with the FDA would have to be educated in, or develop substantially equivalent processes for, production of our approved products after receipt of FDA approval. To qualify and receive regulatory approval for a new manufacturer could take as long as two years. The process of changing a supplier could have an adverse impact on our current clinical development programs if supplies of drug substances or materials on hand are insufficient to satisfy demand. Such delays could have a material adverse effect on our development activities and our business.

 

We plan to rely on third parties, some of which are located outside the U.S., to manufacture our drug product candidates and manufacture and assemble our medical devices, which exposes us to risks that may affect our ability to maintain supplies of our clinical materials, and subject us to uncertainty associated with the international political climate, and could potentially delay our research and development activities, as well as eventual regulatory approval and commercialization of our drug product candidates.

 

Our manufacturing strategy involves manufacturing our drug products, APIs and our ADS using CMOs. We do not own or operate manufacturing facilities and have no plans to build our own clinical or commercial scale manufacturing capabilities. We rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties for the manufacture of our product candidates and related raw materials for clinical and preclinical development, as well as for commercial manufacture if any of our product candidates receive marketing approval. The facilities used by third-party manufacturers to manufacture our product candidates must be approved by the FDA pursuant to inspections that will be conducted after we submit an NDA to the FDA. We do not control the manufacturing process of, and are completely dependent on, third-party manufacturers for compliance with cGMP requirements for manufacture of drug products and QSR requirements for the manufacture of medical devices and other government regulations and corresponding international standards. If these third-party manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our specifications and the strict regulatory requirements of the FDA or others, including requirements related to the manufacturing of high potency compounds, they will not be able to secure and/or maintain regulatory approval for their manufacturing facilities.

 

For example, we have in the past manufactured our clinical drug supply of lyophilized KL4 surfactant and our ADS for AEROSURF in the U.S. We expect that Lees will manufacture KL4 surfactant drug product at an affiliate of Lees in Hefei, China. Istaroxime and rostafuroxin are currently manufactured by affiliates of Lees in China. The APIs for istaroxime, rostafuroxin and KL4 surfactant are manufactured in China, China, and the U.S., respectively. If the FDA is unable to inspect the manufacturing sites in China or if it is able to inspect these sites but finds them deficient in any way, to secure marketing approval for our products in the U.S., and potentially other markets, we may be required to designate a different manufacturer for each of our drug product candidates. A technology transfer of a manufacturing process from one CMO to another can be time consuming and expensive and there can be no assurance that such a transfer will be successful or that a new manufacturer will be able to manufacture our drug products successfully. Moreover, a technology transfer from one country to another may be subject to changing international legal and regulatory requirements in a potential difficult political climate. In addition, we have limited control over the ability of third-party manufacturers to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel and the third-party manufacturers may fail to manufacture our product according to our schedule or at all. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority does not approve these facilities for the manufacture of our product candidates or if it withdraws any such approval in the future, we may need to find alternative manufacturing facilities, which would significantly impact our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval for or market our product candidates, if approved. 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, seizures or recalls of product candidates or products, operating restrictions and criminal prosecutions, any of which could significantly and adversely affect supplies of our products. In addition, any performance failure on the part of our existing or future manufacturers could delay clinical development or marketing approval, and any related remedial measures may be costly or time consuming to implement. We do not currently have arrangements in place for redundant supply or a second source for all required raw materials used in the manufacture of our product candidates. If our current third-party manufacturers cannot perform as agreed, we may be required to replace such manufacturers and we may be unable to replace them on a timely basis or at all.

 

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A third partys failure to execute on our manufacturing requirements, technology transfers of our manufacturing and our planned future reliance on CMOs exposes us, among other things, to the following risks:

 

 

an inability to initiate or continue clinical trials of istaroxime or KL4 surfactant or any future product candidates under development;

 

 

subjecting third-party manufacturing facilities or our manufacturing facilities to additional inspections by regulatory authorities;

 

 

we may implement a plan to execute a technology transfer of our manufacturing process to a CMO and, after investing significant time and resources, learn that the CMO we chose is unable to successfully complete the technology transfer and thereafter manufacture our products in accordance with our plan;

 

 

CMOs might be unable to manufacture our products in the volume and to our specifications to meet our clinical and commercial needs, or we may have difficulty scheduling the production of drug product and devices in a timely manner to meet our timing requirements;

 

 

if we desire to make our drug products and/or devices available outside the U.S. for clinical or commercial purposes, our CMOs would become subject to, and may not be able to comply with, corresponding manufacturing and quality system regulations or standards of the various foreign regulators having jurisdiction over our activities abroad. Such failures (such as in-country quality testing) could result in not only a loss of approved supply to that country, but a total loss of a lot (or lots) of materials globally and could restrict our ability to execute our business strategies;

 

 

we may have difficulty implementing changes or necessary modifications to our manufacturing processes that may be required by the FDA or foreign regulator or our CMO, if, for example, such changes would burden our CMO or otherwise disrupt operations, or our CMO could impose significant financial terms to implement any such change that could adversely affect our business. We may fail to adequately develop new manufacturing processes. Failure to achieve such required changes or modifications could delay or prevent our gaining regulatory approval for our product candidates or prevent us from continuing to market our approved products, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operations;

 

 

we may fail to adequately scale manufacturing to achieve our objectives for cost of goods and profit margins;

 

 

we may be subject to disputes arising with respect to the ownership of rights to any technology developed with third parties; and

 

 

we may be subject to the misappropriation of our proprietary information, including our trade secrets and know-how.

 

Each of the foregoing risks and others could delay our development programs and, if approved, commercial manufacturing plans, limit our ability to maintain continuity of supply for our approved products, delay or impair the approval, if any, of our product candidates by the FDA, or result in higher costs or deprive us of potential product revenues.

 

In addition, our product candidates and any products that we may develop may compete with other product candidates and products 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.

 

Our current and anticipated future dependence upon others for the manufacture of our product candidates or products may adversely affect our future profit margin and our ability to commercialize any products that receive marketing approval on a timely and competitive basis.

 

Our ability to manufacture our product candidates depends upon receiving adequate supplies and related services, which may be difficult or uneconomical to procure.

 

Supply chain or manufacturing interruptions could negatively impact our operations and financial performance. In connection with our drug product manufacturing activities, for certain of our product candidates, we own certain specialized manufacturing equipment installed at our CMO. However, we do not have fully redundant systems and equipment to respond promptly in the event of a significant loss at a CMOs manufacturing operations. Under certain conditions, we may be unable to produce our drug product and medical devices at the required volumes or to appropriate standards, if at all. The supply of any of our manufacturing materials may be interrupted because of supply shortages, poor vendor performance or other events outside our control, which may require us, among other things, to identify alternate vendors, which could involve a lengthy process, and result in increased expenses.

 

Risks Related to our Business and Operations

 

Our operating results may fluctuate significantly, which makes our future operating results difficult to predict and could cause our operating results to fall below expectations or any guidance we may provide.

 

Our quarterly and annual operating results may fluctuate significantly, which makes it difficult for us to predict our future operating results.

 

These fluctuations may occur due to a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control, including, but not limited to:

 

 

the timing and cost of, and level of investment in, research, development, including manufacturing development regulatory approval and commercialization activities relating to our product candidates, which may change from period to period;

 

 

the timing and success or failure of preclinical studies or clinical trials for our product candidates or competing product candidates, or any other change in the competitive landscape of our industry, including consolidation among our competitors or partners;

 

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the level of investment funding we are able to achieve and apply to our development operations;

 

 

the cost of manufacturing our product candidates, which may vary depending on the quantity of production and the terms of our agreements with third-party manufacturers;

 

 

the timing and amount of the milestone or other payments we must make to the licensors and other third parties from whom we have in-licensed our acquired our product candidates;

 

 

expenditures that we may incur to acquire, develop or commercialize additional product candidates and technologies;

 

 

our allocation of resources and ability to raise additional capital;

 

 

future changes in requirements to achieve regulatory approval;

 

 

future accounting pronouncements or changes in our accounting policies.

 

 

the capital markets stability and openness to investing;

 

 

delays associated with COVID-19 which will impact our healthcare systems and our trial sites ability to conduct trials to varied degrees and times;

 

 

coverage and reimbursement policies with respect to our product candidates, if approved, and potential future drugs that compete with our products; and

 

 

the level of demand for any approved products, which may vary significantly.

 

The cumulative effects of these factors could result in large fluctuations and unpredictability in our quarterly and annual operating results. As a result, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful. Investors should not rely on our past results as an indication of our future performance.

 

This variability and unpredictability could also result in our failing to meet the expectations of industry or financial analysts or investors for any period. If our revenue or operating results fall below the expectations of analysts or investors or below any forecasts we may provide to the market, or if the forecasts we provide to the market are below the expectations of analysts or investors, the price of our common stock could decline substantially. Such a stock price decline could occur even when we have met any previously publicly stated revenue or earnings guidance we may provide.

 

We are continually evaluating our business strategy and may modify this strategy to respond to developments in our business and other factors, and any such modification, if not successful, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We plan to continually evaluate our business strategy and will modify our plans as necessary to achieve our objectives. In 2020, we modified our business strategy to preserve our limited capital and focus primarily on acute cardiovascular and KL4 surfactant for the treatment of lung injury in patients with COVID-19 and other similar indications. As part of our shift in priorities, our licensee in Asia is expected to continue the further development of AEROSURF for the treatment of RDS in China pursuant to the terms of our Asia License Agreement. For markets outside of Asia, including the U.S., we plan in the short term to seek one or more licensing transactions, collaboration arrangements or other strategic opportunities to support the development of AEROSURF and our lyophilized KL4 surfactant, including the U.S. If for any reason, our licensee in Asia does not proceed with development of AEROSURF, or if for any reason, we are unable to transfer the financial burden of AEROSURF to strategic partners or licensees in markets outside of Asia, we may determine that it is in our best interest to terminate some or all AEROSURF activity and cease some or all development activities in all markets. Such action could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Similarly, our strategy currently contemplates that we will seek to out-license rostafuroxin and invest the proceeds in our other core programs. If we are not successful in our efforts, we may be forced to accept a significant write down of our rostafuroxin asset on our balance sheet and reassess our strategy. This action also could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The execution of a clinical program is complex and involves the cooperation of many individuals and entities, including third parties that we may not be able to control, and require the coordination of a number of components, any one of which could experience delays or unforeseen events or circumstances that may require the development of alternative strategies. If we encounter such events or circumstances, if we believe that certain changes would be in our best interest, we will consider adjusting our strategy and planning. If we conclude that an alternative approach may improve our ability to achieve our objectives, we will consider adopting such other approach. Similarly, if a third party were to share observations or make recommendations concerning the focus, sequence or approach of any or all of our research and development programs, we may consider taking such recommendations into account in our planning process and future activities.

 

There can be no assurance, whether or not we alter our strategy or plans, that we will be successful, or that we will secure regulatory approval for our product candidates and execute any product launches effectively and on time, if at all, in all markets that we may identify. Our ability to discover and/or develop new product candidates depends in part on our internal research capabilities and whether we have the resources required to conduct a development program or to acquire new product candidates. Our limited resources may not be sufficient to discover and develop or to acquire new product candidates. To support our efforts to develop our product candidates and, if approved, commercialize our products in the world markets, including the U.S., we continue to evaluate potential licensing transactions, collaboration arrangements and other strategic transactions. However, there can be no assurance that our efforts will be successful or that, even if we identify and enter into any strategic transactions, that such transactions will be successfully implemented, if at all, within our expected time frames.

 

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We plan to continue evaluating our business strategy and may modify our strategy again in the future. To respond to changing circumstances, we may expand or alter our research and development activities from time to time and allocate resources to work on development of different products or may pace, delay or halt the development of potential product development programs. As a result of changes in our strategy, we may also change or refocus our existing drug development and manufacturing activities or our plans for commercialization of our products, if approved. These decisions could require changes in our facilities and personnel and restructuring various financial arrangements. There can be no assurances that any product development or other changes that we implement will be successful or that, after implementation of any such changes, that we will not refocus our efforts on new or different objectives.

 

Our industry is highly competitive, and we have less capital and resources than many of our competitors, which may give them an advantage in developing and marketing products similar to ours or make our products obsolete.

 

Our industry is highly competitive and subject to rapid technological innovation and evolving industry standards. We compete with numerous existing companies in many ways. We need to successfully introduce new products to achieve our strategic business objectives. If we cannot successfully introduce new products, adapt to changing technologies or anticipate changes in our current and potential customers requirements, our products may become obsolete and our business could suffer.

 

Many of our competitors companies have substantially greater research and development, manufacturing, marketing, financial, and technology personnel and managerial resources than we have. In addition, many of these competitors, either alone or with their collaborative partners, have significantly greater experience than we do in developing products, preclinical testing and human clinical trials management, obtaining FDA approval and other regulatory approvals, and manufacturing and marketing products. Accordingly, our competitors may succeed in receiving FDA or foreign regulatory approval or commercializing products and obtaining patent protection before us. Our competitors may successfully secure regulatory exclusivities in various markets, which could have the effect of barring us or limiting our ability to market our products in such markets. In addition, developments by our competitors may render our drug product candidates obsolete or noncompetitive.

 

We also face, and will continue to face, competition from colleges, universities, governmental agencies and other public and private research organizations. These competitive forces frequently and aggressively seek patent protection and licensing arrangements to collect royalties for technologies that they develop. Some of these technologies may compete directly with the technologies that we are developing. These institutions will also compete with us in recruiting highly qualified scientific personnel.

 

The political and healthcare policy environment is becoming more challenging for pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers and may adversely affect our business.

 

Political, economic and regulatory influences globally are subjecting the healthcare industry to potential fundamental challenges that could substantially affect our business and results of operations. Government and private sector initiatives to limit the growth of healthcare costs, including price regulation, competitive pricing, coverage and payment policies, comparative effectiveness of therapies, technology assessments and managed-care arrangements, are continuing to arise in many countries where we potentially may seek to do business, including the U.S. There is increasing pressure on pricing, reimbursement and demands for value-based data to gain access to patients and healthcare funds globally. This may increase the costs of development, risks of commercialization and overall value of the opportunity. We also cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of government regulation that may arise from future legislation, administrative, judicial, or executive action, either in the U.S. or abroad. In addition, we rely on CMOs located in China to manufacture drug product and APIs for us, such that the supply lines for our drug product, and APIs may be affected by trade and political considerations.

 

Given the increasing uncertainty in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries as well as increased regulatory scrutiny on foreign investment, capital investment in our industry and our ability to attract capital investment is becoming more challenging. This trend, if continued, may restrict or impair our ability to gain necessary funding for continued development and, if approved, commercialization of our products.

 

We depend upon key employees and consultants in a competitive market for skilled personnel. If we or our strategic partners or collaborators are unable to attract and retain key personnel, it could adversely affect our ability to develop and market our products.

 

We have assembled a team of qualified personnel to advance the development programs for our product candidates. We have competed and will continue to compete for qualified individuals with numerous biopharmaceutical companies, universities and other research institutions. Competition for such individuals is significant and attracting and retaining qualified personnel will be critical to our success, and any failure to do so successfully may have a material adverse effect on us.

 

We are highly dependent upon the members of our executive management team and our directors, as well as our consultants and collaborating scientists. Many of these individuals have been involved with us for many years, have played integral roles in our progress and we believe that they continue to provide value to us. We have over the last few years lost long-term members of our executive team and certain professional, scientific and management personnel, due to retirement, shifts in our focus and other causes. The loss of such personnel potentially exposes us to a lack of ready recall and knowledge of past corporate events, risks previously identified and related learnings. As such, loss of any of our remaining key personnel may further increase the associated risk and may have a material adverse effect on aspects of our business and clinical development and regulatory programs. The loss of services from any of our executives could significantly adversely affect our ability to develop and market our products and obtain necessary regulatory approvals. Further, we do not maintain key man life insurance.

 

Our future success also will depend on the continued service of our key professional, scientific and management personnel and our ability to recruit and retain additional personnel. While we attempt to provide competitive compensation packages to attract and retain key personnel at all levels in our organization, many of our competitors have greater resources and more experience than we do, making it difficult for us to compete successfully for key personnel. We may experience intense competition for qualified personnel and the existence of non-competition agreements between prospective employees and their former employers may prevent us from hiring those individuals or subject us to lawsuits brought by their former employers.

 

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If our business development activities are unsuccessful, our business could suffer, and our financial performance could be adversely affected.

 

As part of our long-term growth strategy, we engage in business development activities intended to identify strategic opportunities, including potential strategic alliances, joint development opportunities, acquisitions, technology licensing arrangements and other similar opportunities. Such opportunities may result in substantial investments in our business. Our success in developing products or expanding into new markets from such activities will depend on a number of factors, including our ability to find suitable opportunities for investment, alliance or acquisition; whether we are able to complete an investment, alliance or acquisition on terms that are satisfactory to us; the strength of our underlying technology, products and our ability to execute our business strategies; any intellectual property and litigation related to these products or technology; and our ability to successfully integrate the investment, alliance or acquisition into our existing operations, including to fund our share of any in-process research and development projects. If we are unsuccessful in our business development activities, we may be unable to secure needed capital and expertise to support our development programs and our financial condition could be adversely affected.

 

We may seek to enter into licensing transactions, collaboration arrangements, and other similar transactions and strategic opportunities, and may not be successful in doing so, and even if we are, we may not realize the benefits of such relationships.

 

We may seek to enter into licensing transactions, collaboration arrangements, and other similar transactions and strategic opportunities for the development or commercialization of our product candidates, or to secure the capital required to develop or commercialize a product candidate or address manufacturing constraints. We may not be successful in our efforts to establish such collaborations for our product candidates because our research and development pipeline may be insufficient, our product candidates may be deemed to be at too early of a stage of development for collaborative effort or third parties may not view our product candidates as having the requisite potential to demonstrate safety and efficacy or significant commercial opportunity. In addition, we face significant competition in seeking appropriate strategic partners, and the negotiation process can be time consuming and complex. Further, any future collaboration agreements may restrict us from entering into additional agreements with potential collaborators. We cannot be certain that, following a strategic transaction or licensing agreement, we will achieve an economic benefit that justifies such transaction.

 

Even if we are successful in our efforts to establish such collaborations, the terms that we agree upon may not be favorable to us, and we may not be able to maintain such collaborations if, for example, development or approval of a product candidate is delayed, the safety of a product candidate is questioned or sales of an approved product candidate are unsatisfactory.

 

In addition, any potential future collaborations may be terminable by our strategic partners, and we may not be able to adequately protect our rights under these agreements. Furthermore, strategic partners may negotiate for certain rights to control decisions regarding the development and commercialization of our product candidates, if approved, and may not conduct those activities in the same manner as we do. Any termination of collaborations we enter into in the future, or any delay in entering into collaborations related to our product candidates, could delay the development and commercialization of our product candidates and reduce their competitiveness if they reach the market, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We could be adversely affected by any interruption to our ability to conduct business at our current location.

 

We do not have redundant facilities. We perform substantially all of our research and development and back office activity in a small number of locations, including our headquarters in Warrington, Pennsylvania, research laboratories at Universita degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, a university in Milan, Italy, which are made available to us under a collaboration agreement with the university, and a research laboratory at Chang Gung University in Taiwan under a separate collaboration agreement. We also depend upon third-party manufacturers and laboratories to manufacture our drug products, APIs and our ADS and perform important API and drug product release testing and stability work.

 

Our facilities, equipment and inventory would be costly to replace and could require substantial lead time to repair or replace. Our facilities and those of our third-party manufacturers and laboratories may be harmed or rendered inoperable by natural or man-made disasters, including, but not limited to, tornadoes, flooding, fire and power outages, which may render it difficult or impossible for us to perform our research, development and commercialization activities for some period of time. The inability to perform those activities, combined with the time it may take to rebuild our inventory of finished product, may result in the loss of customers or harm to our reputation. With respect to the analytical laboratory at our headquarters facility, any interruption in release and ongoing stability testing could have an adverse impact on our inventories needed to support our ongoing clinical activities and, if approved, commercial activities. Although we have insurance for damage to our property and the disruption of our business, this insurance may not be sufficient to cover all of our potential losses and this insurance may not continue to be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all.

 

The failure to prevail in litigation or the costs of litigation, including securities class actions, product liability claims and patent infringement claims, could harm our financial performance and business operations.

 

We are potentially susceptible to litigation. For example, as a public company, we may be subject to claims asserting violations of securities laws. Even if such actions are found to be without merit, the potential impact of such actions, which generally seek unquantifiable damages and attorneys fees and expenses, is uncertain. There can be no assurance that an adverse result in any future proceeding would not have a potentially material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

Our business activities, including development, manufacture and, if our product candidates are approved, marketing of our drug products and drug/medical device combination products also exposes us to liability risks. Using our drug product candidates or medical devices, including in clinical trials, may expose us to product liability claims. Even if approved, our products may be subject to claims resulting from unintended effects that result in injury or death. Product liability claims alleging inadequate disclosure and warnings in our package inserts and medical device disclosures also may arise.

 

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We presently carry comprehensive general liability, property damage, product liability, workers compensation, health benefits and other insurance coverage in amounts that we believe to be adequate for the protection of our assets and operations and customary for companies in our industry of comparable size and level of activity. However, our insurance policies contain various deductibles, limitations and exclusions from coverage, and in any event might not fully cover any potential claims. There can be no assurance that the insurance coverage we maintain is sufficient or will be available in adequate amounts or at a reasonable cost. A successful claim brought against us in excess of available insurance or not covered by indemnification agreements, or any claim that results in significant adverse publicity against us, could have an adverse effect on our business and our reputation.

 

Product liability claims may be brought by individuals or by groups seeking to represent a class. The outcome of litigation, particularly class action lawsuits, is difficult to assess or quantify. Plaintiffs in these types of lawsuits often seek recovery of very large or indeterminate amounts, and the magnitude of the potential loss relating to such lawsuits may remain unknown for substantial periods of time.

 

We face a potential risk of product liability as a result of the clinical testing of our product candidates and will face an even greater risk if we commercialize any of our product candidates or any other future product. For example, we may be sued if any product we develop, including any of our product candidates, or any materials that we use in our products allegedly causes injury or is found to be otherwise unsuitable during product testing, manufacturing, marketing or sale. Any such product liability claims may include allegations of defects in manufacturing, defects in design, a failure to warn of dangers inherent in the product, negligence, strict liability and a breach of warranties. In the U.S., claims could also be asserted under state consumer protection acts. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims, we may incur substantial liabilities or be required to limit commercialization of our product candidates. Even successful defense would require significant financial and management resources. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:

 

 

decreased demand for any of our product candidates or any future products that we may develop;

 

 

injury to our reputation;

 

 

withdrawal of clinical trial participants;

 

 

costs to defend the related litigation;

 

 

a diversion of managements time, attention and our resources;

 

 

substantial monetary awards to trial participants or patients;

 

 

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

 

 

the inability to commercialize some or all of our product candidates; and

 

 

a decline in the value of our stock.

 

There can be no assurance that the insurance coverage we maintain is sufficient or will be available in adequate amounts or at a reasonable cost. A successful claim brought against us in excess of available insurance or not covered by indemnification agreements, or any claim that results in significant adverse publicity against us, could have an adverse effect on our business and our reputation.

 

We may be required to obtain additional product liability insurance coverage. However, such insurance is expensive and may not be available when we need it. In the future, we may not be able to obtain adequate insurance, with acceptable limits and retentions, at an acceptable cost. Any product, general liability or product liability claim, even if such claim is within the limits of our insurance coverage or meritless and/or unsuccessful, could adversely affect the availability or cost of insurance generally and our cash available for other purposes, such as research and development. In addition, such claims could result in:

 

 

uninsured expenses related to defense or payment of substantial monetary awards to claimants;

 

 

a decrease in demand for our drug product candidates;

 

 

damage to our reputation; and

 

 

an inability to complete clinical trial programs or to commercialize our drug product candidates, if approved.

 

Risks Related to Government Regulation

 

Our activities are subject to various and complex laws and regulations, and we are susceptible to a changing regulatory environment. Violations or allegations of violations of these laws may result in large civil and criminal penalties, debarment from participating in government programs, diversion of management time, attention and resources and may otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our products and our operations are regulated by numerous government agencies, both inside and outside the U.S. Our drug product candidates and medical devices must undergo lengthy and rigorous testing and other extensive, costly and time-consuming procedures mandated by the FDA and foreign regulatory authorities. Our facilities and those of our third-party providers must pass inspection and/or be approved or licensed prior to production and remain subject to inspection at any time thereafter. Failure to comply with the requirements of the FDA or other regulatory authorities could result in warning or untitled letters, product recalls or seizures, monetary sanctions, injunctions to halt the manufacture and distribution of our products, civil or criminal sanctions, refusal of a government to grant approvals or licenses, restrictions on operations or withdrawal of existing approvals and licenses. Any of these actions could damage our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our sales.

 

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If our products are approved for commercial sale, we will be required to comply with not only the requirements of applicable regulators, but also will become subject to various laws regulating the sales, marketing, and distribution of healthcare-related products. The sales and marketing of products and relationships that pharmaceutical and medical device companies have with healthcare providers are under increasing scrutiny by federal, state and foreign government agencies. The FDA and other federal regulators have increased their enforcement activities with respect to the Anti-Kickback Statute, False Claims Act, off-label promotion of products, and other healthcare related laws, antitrust and other competition laws. Foreign governments have also increased their scrutiny of pharmaceutical companies sales and marketing activities and relationships with healthcare providers.

 

Of particular importance, federal and state anti-kickback laws make it illegal for a prescription drug manufacturer to solicit, offer, receive, or pay any remuneration in exchange for, or to induce, the referral of business, including the purchase or prescription of a particular drug. These laws can be complicated, are subject to frequent change and may be violated unknowingly. In addition, a number of states require that companies implement compliance programs or comply with industry ethics codes, adopt spending limits, and report to state governments any gifts, compensation, and other remuneration provided to physicians. Sanctions under these laws may include civil monetary penalties, exclusion of a manufacturers products from reimbursement under government programs (including Medicare and Medicaid), criminal fines, and imprisonment. Companies that have chosen to settle these alleged violations have typically paid multi-million-dollar fines to the government and agreed to abide by corporate integrity agreements, which often include significant and costly burdens.

 

There has been a recent trend of increased federal and state regulation of payments and transfers of value provided to healthcare professionals and entities. For example, the Physician Payment Sunshine Act imposes annual reporting requirements on certain manufacturers of drugs, medical devices, biologics and medical supplies with respect to payments and other transfers of value provided by them, directly or indirectly, to physicians and teaching hospitals, as well as with respect to certain ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their family members. A manufacturers failure to submit timely, accurately and completely the required information regarding all payments, transfers of value or ownership or investment interests may result in civil monetary penalties. Certain states also mandate implementation of commercial compliance programs, impose restrictions on medical device manufacturers marketing practices, and require the tracking and reporting of gifts, compensation and other remuneration to healthcare professionals and entities under certain circumstances.

 

We are continually evaluating our compliance programs, including policies, training and various forms of monitoring, designed to address the requirements outlined above. However, no compliance program can mitigate risk in its entirety. Violations or allegations of violations of these laws may result in large civil and criminal penalties, debarment from participating in government programs, diversion of management time, attention and resources and may otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Failure in our information technology systems could disrupt our operations and cause the loss of confidential information and business opportunities.

 

In the ordinary course of our business, we and our third-party contractors maintain sensitive data on our and their respective networks, including our intellectual property and proprietary or confidential business information relating to our business and that of our clinical trial participants and business partners and electronically stored work product, including clinical data, analyses, research, communications and other materials necessary to gain regulatory approval of our product candidates. The secure maintenance of this sensitive information is critical to our business and reputation. Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems and those of our third-party contractors are vulnerable to damage from cyber-attacks, computer viruses, unauthorized access, unintended loss, human error, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures. For information stored with our third-party contractors, we rely upon, and the integrity and confidentiality of such information is dependent upon, the risk mitigation and data preservation efforts such third-party contractors have in place. Our and our third-party contractors’ respective network and storage applications and policies may not be sufficient to protect our sensitive business information and may be subject to loss, unauthorized access by hackers or breached due to operator error, malfeasance or other system disruptions. It is often difficult to anticipate or immediately detect such incidents and the damage caused by such incidents. Such incidents could compromise our intellectual property, expose sensitive business information, result in loss of data necessary to secure regulatory approval of our product candidates, cause interruptions in our operations, result in a material disruption of our operations, or require substantial expenditures of resources to remedy.

 

We face risks related to our collection and use of data, which could result in investigations, inquiries, litigation, fines, legislative and regulatory action and negative press about our privacy and data protection practices.

 

Our business processes personal data, including some data related to health. When conducting clinical trials, we face risks associated with collecting trial participants data, especially health data, in a manner consistent with applicable laws and regulations. We also face risks inherent in handling large volumes of data and in protecting the security of such data. We could be subject to attacks on our systems by outside parties or fraudulent or inappropriate behavior by our service providers or employees. Third parties may also gain access to users accounts using stolen or inferred credentials, computer malware, viruses, spamming, phishing attacks or other means, and may use such access to obtain users personal data or prevent use of their accounts. Data breaches could subject us to individual or consumer class action litigation and governmental investigations and proceedings by federal, state and local regulatory entities in the U.S. and by international regulatory entities, resulting in exposure to material civil and/or criminal liability. Further, our general liability insurance and corporate risk program may not cover all potential claims to which we are exposed and may not be adequate to indemnify us for all liability that may be imposed.

 

Our business requires that we and our third-party service providers collect and store sensitive data, including legally protected health information, personally identifiable information about patients, credit card information, and our proprietary business and financial information. As a covered entity, we must comply with the HIPAA privacy and security regulations, which may increase our operational costs. Furthermore, the privacy and security regulations provide for significant fines and other penalties for wrongful use or disclosure of protected health information, or PHI, including potential civil and criminal fines and penalties. We face a number of risks relative to our protection of, and our service providers protection of, this critical information, including loss of access, fraudulent modifications, inappropriate disclosure and inappropriate access, as well as risks associated with our ability to identify and audit such events. The secure processing, storage, maintenance and transmission of this critical information is vital to our operations and business strategy, and we devote significant resources to protecting such information. Although we take measures to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access or disclosure, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or viruses or otherwise breached due to employee error, malfeasance or other activities. If such event would occur and cause interruptions in our operations, our networks would be compromised and the information we store on those networks could be accessed by unauthorized parties, publicly disclosed, modified without our knowledge, lost or stolen.

 

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Additionally, we share PHI with third-party contractors who are contractually obligated to safeguard and maintain the confidentiality of PHI. Unauthorized persons may be able to gain access to PHI stored in such third-party contractors computer networks. Any wrongful use or disclosure of PHI by us or our third-party contractors, including disclosure due to data theft or unauthorized access to our or our third-party contractors computer networks, could subject us to fines or penalties that could adversely affect our business and results of operations. Although the HIPAA statute and regulations do not expressly provide for a private right of damages, we also could incur damages under state laws to private parties for the wrongful use or disclosure of confidential health information or other private personal information by us or our third-party contractors. Unauthorized access, loss, modification or dissemination could disrupt our operations, including our ability to process tests, provide test results, bill payers or patients, process claims, provide customer assistance services, conduct research and development activities, collect, process and prepare company financial information, provide information about our solution and other patient and physician education and outreach efforts through our website, manage the administrative aspects of our business and damage our reputation, any of which could adversely affect our business. In addition, the interpretation and application of consumer, health-related and data protection laws in the U.S. are often uncertain, contradictory and in flux. It is possible that these laws may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our practices. Complying with these various laws could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices, systems and compliance procedures in a manner adverse to our business.

 

As our operations and business grow, we may become subject to or affected by new or additional data protection laws and regulations and face increased scrutiny or attention from regulatory authorities, including various domestic and international privacy and security regulations. The legislative and regulatory landscape for privacy and data protection continues to evolve. In the U.S., certain states may adopt privacy and security laws and regulations that may be more stringent than applicable federal law. For example, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, which took effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA creates individual privacy rights for California consumers and increases the privacy and security obligations of entities handling certain personal data. We may also be subject to data protection laws and regulations of other jurisdictions, such as the EUs General Data Protection Regulation, which provides data subjects with certain rights and requires organizations to adopt technical and organizational safeguards to protect personal data. In the event that we are subject to or affected by privacy and data protection laws, including the CCPA, the EUs General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, and other domestic or international privacy and data protection laws, we may expend significant resources to comply with such laws, and any liability from failure to comply with the requirements of these laws could adversely affect our financial condition.

 

Additionally, we are subject to laws and regulations regarding cross-border transfers of personal data, including laws relating to transfer of personal data outside of the European Economic Area, or EEA and Switzerland. We rely on transfer mechanisms permitted under these laws, including EU Standard Contract Clauses. If we cannot rely on existing mechanisms for transferring personal data from the EEA, the United Kingdom, Switzerland or other jurisdictions, we could be prevented from transferring personal data of patients or employees in those regions, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and prospects.

 

Healthcare reform measures in the U.S., as well as the general tightening of drug reimbursement pathways and levels of reimbursement globally, are expected to add additional pressure to achieve financial expectations for our product candidates, if approved.

 

The U.S. and many foreign jurisdictions have enacted or proposed legislative and regulatory changes affecting the healthcare system that may affect our ability to profitably sell our product and product candidates, if approved. The U.S. government, state legislatures and foreign governments also have shown significant interest in implementing cost-containment programs to limit the growth of government-paid healthcare costs, including price controls, restrictions on reimbursement and requirements for substitution of generic products for branded prescription drugs.

 

The Affordable Care Act was intended to broaden access to health insurance, reduce or constrain the growth of healthcare spending, enhance remedies against fraud and abuse, add transparency requirements for the healthcare and health insurance industries, impose new taxes and fees on the health industry and impose additional health policy reforms.

 

There have been significant ongoing judicial, administrative, executive and legislative efforts to modify or eliminate the Affordable Care Act. For example, the Tax Act enacted on December 22, 2017, repealed the shared responsibility payment for individuals who fail to maintain minimum essential coverage under section 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code, commonly referred to as the individual mandate. The Trump administration issued executive orders which sought to reduce burdens associated with the Affordable Care Act and modified how it was implemented. Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted since passage of the Affordable Care Act. The Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, created the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to recommend proposals in spending reductions to Congress. The Joint Select Committee did not achieve its targeted deficit reduction of an amount greater than $1.2 trillion for the fiscal years 2012 through 2021, triggering the legislations automatic reductions to several government programs. These reductions included aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to healthcare providers of up to 2.0% per fiscal year, which went into effect in April 2013. Subsequent litigation extended the 2% reduction, on average, to 2030 unless additional Congressional action is taken. However, pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, the 2% Medicare sequester reductions have been suspended from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 2, 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act was signed into law, which, among other things, reduced Medicare payments to several types of providers, including hospitals, imaging centers and cancer treatment centers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years.

 

The Affordable Care Act has also been subject to challenges in the courts. On December 14, 2018, a Texas U.S. District Court Judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional in its entirety because the individual mandate was repealed by Congress. On December 18, 2019, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and remanded the case to the Texas District Court to reconsider its earlier invalidation of the entire Affordable Care Act. An appeal was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court which heard oral arguments in the case on November 10, 2020. A ruling is expected in 2021.

 

Further changes to and under the Affordable Care Act remain possible, although the new Biden administration has signaled that it plans to build on the Affordable Care Act and expand the number of people who are eligible for subsidies under it. President Biden indicated that he intends to use executive orders to undo changes to the Affordable Care Act made by the Trump administration and would advocate for legislation to build on the Affordable Care Act. It is unknown what form any such changes or any law proposed to replace the Affordable Care Act would take, and how or whether it may affect our business in the future. We expect that changes to the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare and Medicaid programs, changes allowing the federal government to directly negotiate drug prices and changes stemming from other healthcare reform measures, especially with regard to healthcare access, financing or other legislation in individual states, could have a material adverse effect on the healthcare industry.

 

Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid, or other government programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payers. The implementation of cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may prevent us from being able to generate revenue, attain and maintain profitability of our product and product candidates, if approved.

 

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Our international operations subject us to additional regulatory oversight in foreign jurisdictions, as well as economic, social, and political uncertainties, which could cause a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, and operating results.

 

We are subject to certain risks associated with having assets and operations located in Taiwan and a representative office in Italy. Our activity in Taiwan and Italy are subject to regulatory agencies, such as the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration and the Italian Ministry of Health. Our operations in foreign jurisdictions are conducted by CVie Therapeutics Ltd., Taiwan, and may be adversely affected by general economic conditions and economic and fiscal policy, including changes in exchange rates and controls, interest rates and taxation policies, and increased government regulation, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, and operating results.

 

If product liability lawsuits are brought against us, we may incur substantial liabilities and may be required to limit commercialization of our products.

 

We face an inherent risk of product liability as a result of the clinical trials of our product candidates and will face an even greater risk if we commercialize our product candidates. For example, we may be sued if our product candidates allegedly cause injury or are found to be otherwise unsuitable during product testing, manufacturing, marketing or sale. Any such product liability claims may include allegations of defects in manufacturing, defects in design, a failure to warn of dangers inherent in the product candidate, negligence, strict liability and a breach of warranties. Claims may be brought against us by clinical trial participants, patients or others using, administering or selling products that may be approved in the future. Claims could also be asserted under state consumer protection acts.

 

If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims, we may incur substantial liabilities or be required to limit or cease the commercialization of our products. Even a successful defense would require significant financial and management resources. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:

 

 

decreased demand for our products;

 

 

injury to our reputation and significant negative media attention;

 

 

withdrawal of clinical trial participants;

 

 

costs to defend the related litigation;

 

 

a diversion of managements time, attention and our resources;

 

 

substantial monetary awards to trial participants or patients;

 

 

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

 

 

significant negative financial impact;

 

 

the inability to commercialize our product candidates; and

 

 

a decline in our stock price.

 

We currently hold product liability insurance coverage at a level we believe to be consistent with our activities. We may need to increase our insurance coverage as we expand our clinical trials or if we commence commercialization of our product candidates. Insurance coverage is increasingly expensive.

 

Our inability to obtain and retain sufficient product liability insurance at an acceptable cost to protect against potential product liability claims could prevent or inhibit the commercialization of our product candidates. Although we maintain such insurance, any claim that may be brought against us could result in a court judgment or settlement in an amount that is not covered, in whole or in part, by our insurance or that is in excess of the limits of our insurance coverage. Our insurance policies will also have various exclusions, and we may be subject to a product liability claim for which we have no coverage. We may have to pay any amounts awarded by a court or negotiated in a settlement that exceed our coverage limitations or that are not covered by our insurance, and we may not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient capital to pay such amounts.

 

Our employees and independent contractors, including principal investigators, CROs, consultants and vendors, may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with regulatory standards and requirements.

 

We are exposed to the risk that our employees and independent contractors, including principal investigators, CROs, consultants and vendors may engage in misconduct or other illegal activity. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional, reckless and/or negligent conduct or disclosure of unauthorized activities to us that violate: (i) the laws and regulations of the FDA and other similar regulatory requirements, including those laws that require the reporting of true, complete and accurate information to such authorities, (ii) manufacturing standards, including cGMP requirements, (iii) federal and state data privacy, security, fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations in the U.S. and abroad or (iv) laws that require the true, complete and accurate reporting of financial information or data. Activities subject to these laws also involve the improper use or misrepresentation of information obtained in the course of clinical trials, the creation of fraudulent data in our preclinical studies or clinical trials, or illegal misappropriation of drug product, which could result in regulatory sanctions and cause serious harm to our reputation. 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 be in compliance with such laws or regulations. In addition, we are subject to the risk that a person or government could allege such fraud or other misconduct, even if none occurred. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business and financial results, including, without limitation, the imposition of significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, monetary fines, disgorgements, possible exclusion from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs, individual imprisonment, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, additional reporting requirements and oversight if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or similar agreement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, and curtailment of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our results of operations.

 

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We are subject to anti-bribery, anti-corruption, and anti-money laundering laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, in which violations of these laws could result in substantial penalties and prosecution.

 

We are exposed to trade and economic sanctions and other restrictions imposed by the U.S. and other governments and organizations. The U.S. Departments of Justice, Commerce, State and Treasury and other federal agencies and authorities have a broad range of civil and criminal penalties they may seek to impose against corporations and individuals for violations of economic sanctions laws, export control laws, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or the FCPA, and other federal statutes and regulations, including those established by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. The Department of Justice, or DOJ, also has increased its focus on the enforcement of the FCPA, particularly as it relates to the conduct of pharmaceutical companies.

 

In addition, the U.K. Bribery Act of 2010, or the Bribery Act, prohibits both domestic and international bribery, as well as bribery across both private and public sectors. An organization that fails to prevent bribery by anyone associated with the organization can be charged under the Bribery Act unless the organization can establish the defense of having implemented adequate procedures to prevent bribery. Under these laws and regulations, as well as other anti-corruption laws, anti-money laundering laws, export control laws, customs laws, sanctions laws and other laws governing our operations, various government agencies may require export licenses, may seek to impose modifications to business practices, including cessation of business activities in sanctioned countries or with sanctioned persons or entities and modifications to compliance programs, which may increase compliance costs, and may subject us to fines, penalties and other sanctions. A violation of these laws or regulations would negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We and any of our third-party manufacturers or suppliers may use potent chemical agents and hazardous materials, and any claims relating to improper handling, storage or disposal of these materials could be time consuming or costly.

 

We and any of our third-party manufacturers or suppliers will use biological materials, potent chemical agents and may use hazardous materials, including chemicals and biological agents and compounds that could be dangerous to human health and safety of the environment. Our operations and the operations of our third-party manufacturers and suppliers also produce hazardous waste products. Federal, state and local laws and regulations govern the use, generation, manufacture, storage, handling and disposal of these materials and wastes. Compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations may be expensive, and current or future environmental laws and regulations may impair our product development efforts. In addition, we cannot eliminate the risk of accidental injury or contamination from these materials or wastes. We carry a limited amount of specific biological or hazardous waste insurance coverage, and our property, casualty and general liability insurance policies offer limited coverage for damages and fines arising from biological or hazardous waste exposure or contamination. In the event of contamination or injury, we could be held liable for damages or be penalized with fines in an amount exceeding our resources, and our clinical trials or regulatory approvals could be suspended.

 

Although we maintain workers compensation insurance for certain costs and expenses we may incur due to injuries to our employees resulting from the use of hazardous materials or other work-related injuries, this insurance may not provide adequate coverage against potential liabilities.

 

We maintain a limited amount of insurance for toxic tort claims that may be asserted against us in connection with our storage or disposal of biologic, hazardous or radioactive materials.

 

In addition, we may incur substantial costs in order to comply with current or future environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, which have tended to become more stringent over time. These current or future laws and regulations may impair our research, development or production efforts. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations also may result in substantial fines, penalties or other sanctions or liabilities, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

 

Risks Related to Intellectual Property Matters

 

If we cannot protect our intellectual property, others could use our technology in competitive products. Even if we obtain patents to protect our products, those patents may not be sufficiently broad or they may expire and others could then compete with us.

 

The patent position of biotechnology companies is highly uncertain and involves complex legal and factual questions for which important legal principles are unresolved. To date, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, has not adopted a consistent policy regarding the breadth of claims that is accorded in biotechnology patents or the degree of protection that these types of patents afford. As a result, there are risks that we may not secure proprietary rights to products or processes that appear to be patentable.

 

The parties who licensed technologies to us and we have filed various U.S. and foreign patent applications with respect to the products and technologies under our development, and the USPTO and foreign patent offices have issued patents with respect to our products and technologies. These patent applications include international applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Our pending patent applications, as well as those we may file in the future or those we may license from third parties, may not result in the USPTO or foreign patent office issuing patents. In addition, if patent rights covering our products are not sufficiently broad, they may not provide us with sufficient proprietary protection or competitive advantages against competitors with similar products and technologies. For example, the core composition of matter patents covering istaroxime have expired. As such, istaroxime relies on data and market exclusivity, as well as method-of-use patents, which may offer a lesser scope of protection than the original core patents. Furthermore, even if the USPTO or foreign patent offices were to issue patents to us or our licensors, others may challenge the patents or circumvent the patents, or the patent office or the courts may invalidate the patents. Thus, any patents we own or license from third parties may not provide us any protection against competitors.

 

The patents that we own or in-license have a limited life. Certain of the patents related to lyophilized KL4 surfactant have issued in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere and will expire in March 2033. For our aerosolized KL4 surfactant, we hold worldwide exclusive licenses to our proprietary ADS technology for use with pulmonary surfactants alone or in combination with other products for all respiratory diseases and in the U.S. to other (non-surfactant) drugs to treat certain pediatric and adult respiratory indications in hospitals and other health care institutions. The ADS patents have expired or will expire on various dates beginning in 2021 and ending as late as 2039. Patents related to our cardiovascular drug products issued in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere have expired or will expire on various dates between 2028 and 2030.

 

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Intellectual property rights of third parties could limit our ability to develop and market our products.

 

Our success also depends upon our ability to operate our business without infringing the patents or violating the proprietary rights of others. Patent applications in most jurisdictions are not published until 18 months after filing. In certain cases, the USPTO keeps U.S. patent applications confidential for the entire time the applications are pending. As a result, we cannot determine in advance what inventions third parties may claim in their pending patent applications. We may need to defend or enforce our patent and license rights or to determine the scope and validity of the proprietary rights of others through legal proceedings, which would be costly, unpredictable and time consuming. Even in proceedings where the outcome is favorable to us, they would likely divert substantial resources, including management time, from our other activities. Moreover, any adverse determination could subject us to significant liability or require us to seek licenses that third parties might not grant to us or might only grant at rates that diminish or deplete the profitability of our products. An adverse determination could also require us to alter our products or processes or cease altogether any product sales or related research and development activities.

 

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

 

We may need to obtain licenses from third parties to advance our research or allow commercialization of our product candidates, and we cannot provide any assurances that third-party patents do not exist which might be enforced against our product candidates in the absence of such a license. The licensing and acquisition of third-party intellectual property rights is a competitive practice and companies that may be more established, or have greater resources than we do, may also be pursuing strategies to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights that we may consider necessary or attractive in order to commercialize our product candidates. We may fail to obtain any of these licenses on commercially reasonable terms, if at all. Even if we are able to obtain a license, it may be non-exclusive, thereby giving our competitors access to the same technologies licensed to us. In that event, we may be required to expend significant time and resources to develop or license replacement technology. If we are unable to do so, we may be unable to develop or commercialize the affected product candidates, which could materially harm our business and the third parties owning such intellectual property rights could seek either an injunction prohibiting our sales, or, with respect to our sales, an obligation on our part to pay royalties and/or other forms of compensation. Licensing of intellectual property is of critical importance to our business and involves complex legal, business and scientific issues. If disputes over intellectual property that we have licensed prevent or impair our ability to maintain our current licensing arrangements on acceptable terms, we may not be able to successfully develop and commercialize the affected product candidates, which would have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

We rely on agreements containing obligations regarding intellectual property, confidentiality and noncompetition provisions that could be breached and may be difficult to enforce.

 

Although we take what we believe to be reasonable steps to protect our intellectual property, including the use of agreements relating to the non-disclosure of our confidential and proprietary information and trade secrets to third parties, as well as agreements that provide for disclosure and assignment to us of all rights to the ideas, developments, improvements, discoveries and inventions of our employees, consultants, advisors and research collaborators while we employ them, such agreements can be difficult and costly to enforce. We generally seek to enter into these types of agreements with consultants, advisors and research collaborators; however, to the extent that such parties apply or independently develop intellectual property in connection with any of our projects, disputes may arise concerning allocation of the related proprietary rights. Such disputes often involve significant expense and yield unpredictable results.

 

Moreover, although all employees enter into agreements with us that include non-compete covenants, and our senior executive officers have agreements that include broader non-competition covenants and provide for severance payments that are contingent upon the applicable employees refraining from competition with us, such non-compete provisions can be difficult and costly to monitor and enforce, such that, if any should resign, we may not be successful in enforcing our noncompetition agreements with them.

 

Despite the protective measures we employ, we still face the risk that:

 

 

agreements may be breached;

 

 

agreements may not provide adequate remedies for the applicable type of breach;

 

 

our trade secrets or proprietary know-how may otherwise become known;

 

 

our competitors may independently develop similar technology; or

 

 

our competitors may independently discover our proprietary information and trade secrets.

 

Patents covering our product candidates could be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged in court or before administrative bodies in the U.S. or abroad.

 

Although an issued patent is presumed valid and enforceable, its issuance is not conclusive as to its validity or its enforceability and it may not provide us with adequate proprietary protection or competitive advantages against competitors with similar product candidates. Competitors could attempt to replicate the competitive advantages we derive from our development efforts, willfully infringe our intellectual property rights, design around the relevant patents, or develop and obtain patent protection for more effective technologies, designs or methods. We may be unable to prevent the unauthorized disclosure or use of our technical knowledge or trade secrets by consultants, suppliers, vendors, former employees and current employees. The laws of some non-U.S. countries do not protect our proprietary rights to the same extent as the laws of the U.S., and we may encounter significant problems in protecting our proprietary rights in these countries.

 

In addition, proceedings to enforce or defend our patents, or patents to which we have ownership rights through licensing agreements, could put those patents at risk of being invalidated, held unenforceable or interpreted narrowly. Such proceedings could also provoke third parties to assert claims against us, including that some or all of the claims in one or more of those patents are invalid or otherwise unenforceable. If any of the patents covering our product candidates are invalidated or found unenforceable, or if a court found that valid, enforceable patents held by third parties covered one or more of our product candidates, our competitive position could be harmed or we could be required to incur significant expenses to enforce or defend our rights.

 

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Third parties may assert ownership or commercial rights to inventions we develop.

 

Third parties may in the future make claims challenging the inventorship or ownership of our intellectual property. In addition, we may face claims by third parties that our agreements with employees, contractors or consultants obligating them to assign intellectual property to us are ineffective or in conflict with prior or competing contractual obligations of assignment, which could result in ownership disputes regarding intellectual property we have developed or will develop and interfere with our ability to capture the commercial value of such intellectual property. Litigation may be necessary to resolve an ownership dispute, and if we are not successful, we may be precluded from using certain intellectual property or may lose our exclusive rights in such intellectual property. Either outcome could harm our business and competitive position.

 

Litigation or other proceedings or third-party claims of intellectual property infringement could require us to spend significant time and money and could prevent us from selling our product candidates or affect our stock price.

 

Our commercial success will depend in part on not infringing the patents or violating other proprietary rights of others. Significant litigation regarding patent rights occurs in our industry. Our competitors may have applied for or obtained, or may in the future apply for and obtain, patents that will prevent, limit or otherwise interfere with our ability to make, use and sell our product candidates. We do not always conduct independent reviews of patents issued to third parties. In addition, patent applications in the U.S. and elsewhere can be pending for many years before issuance, or unintentionally abandoned patents or applications can be revived, so there may be applications of others now pending or recently revived patents of which we are unaware. Patent applications in the U.S., the EU and elsewhere are published approximately 18 months after the earliest filing for which priority is claimed, with such earliest filing date being commonly referred to as the priority date. These applications may later result in issued patents, or the revival of previously abandoned patents, that will prevent, limit or otherwise interfere with our ability to develop and market our product candidates. Third parties may assert claims that we are employing their proprietary technology without authorization, including claims from competitors or from nonpracticing entities that have no relevant product revenue and against whom our own patent portfolio may have no deterrent effect.

 

As we attempt to commercialize our product candidates in their current or updated forms, launch new product candidates and enter new markets, we expect competitors may claim that one or more of our product candidates infringe their intellectual property rights as a strategy to impede our commercialization and entry into new markets. The large number of patents, the rapid rate of new patent applications and issuances, the complexities of the technologies involved, and the uncertainty of litigation may increase the risk of business resources and managements attention being diverted to patent litigation. We may in the future receive, letters or other threats or claims from third parties inviting us to take licenses under, or alleging that we infringe, their patents.

 

Moreover, we may become party to adversarial proceedings regarding our or third-party patent portfolios. Such proceedings could include supplemental examination or contested post-grant proceedings such as review, reexamination, inter parties review, interference or derivation proceedings before the USPTO and challenges in U.S. District Courts. Patents may be subjected to opposition, post-grant review or comparable proceedings lodged in various foreign, both national and regional, patent offices. The legal threshold for initiating litigation or contested proceedings may be low, so that even lawsuits or proceedings with a low probability of success might be initiated. Litigation and contested proceedings can also be expensive and time-consuming, and our adversaries in these proceedings may have the ability to dedicate substantially greater resources to prosecuting these legal actions than we can. We may also occasionally use these proceedings to challenge the patent rights of others. We cannot be certain that any particular challenge will be successful in limiting or eliminating the challenged patent rights of the third party.

 

Any lawsuits resulting from such allegations could subject us to significant liability for damages and/ or invalidate our proprietary rights. Any potential intellectual property litigation also could force us to do one or more of the following:

 

 

stop making, selling or using product candidates or technologies that allegedly infringe the asserted intellectual property;

 

 

lose the opportunity to license our technology to others or to collect royalty payments;

 

 

incur significant legal expenses, including, in some cases, the attorneys fees and costs of litigation to the party whose intellectual property rights we may be found to be infringing;

 

 

pay substantial damages (possibly treble damages) or royalties to the party whose intellectual property rights on which we may be found to be infringing;

 

 

redesign product candidates that contain the allegedly infringing intellectual property; and

 

 

attempt to obtain a license to the relevant intellectual property from third parties, which may not be available on reasonable terms or at all.

 

Any litigation or claim against us, even those without merit, may cause us to incur substantial costs, and could place a significant strain on our financial resources, divert the attention of management from our business and harm our reputation. If we are found to infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties, we could be required to pay substantial damages (which may be increased up to three times of awarded damages) and/or substantial royalties and could be prevented from selling our product candidates unless we obtain a license or are able to redesign our product candidates to avoid infringement. Any such license may not be available on reasonable terms, if at all, and there can be no assurance that we would be able to redesign our product candidates in a technically feasible way that would not infringe the intellectual property rights of others. We could encounter delays while we attempt to develop alternative methods or product candidates. If we fail to obtain any required licenses or make any necessary changes to our product candidates or technologies, we may be unable to commercialize one or more of our product candidates.

 

Even if we were ultimately to prevail, any of these events could require us to divert substantial financial and management resources that we would otherwise be able to devote to our business. Intellectual property litigation, regardless of its outcome, may cause negative publicity, or prohibit us from manufacturing, importing, marketing or otherwise commercializing our product candidates, services and technology. In addition, if the breadth or strength of protection provided by the patents and patent applications we own or in-license is threatened, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to license, develop or commercialize current or future product candidates. 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. There could also be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments, and if securities analysts or investors view these announcements in a negative light, the price of our common stock could be adversely affected.

 

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

 

We also rely upon copyright and trade secret protection, as well as non-disclosure agreements and invention assignment agreements with our employees, consultants and third parties, to protect our confidential and proprietary information.

 

In addition to contractual measures, we try to protect the confidential nature of our proprietary information using commonly accepted physical and technological security measures. Such measures may not provide adequate protection for our proprietary information. Our security measures may not prevent an employee or consultant from misappropriating our trade secrets and providing them to a competitor, and recourse we take against such misconduct may not provide an adequate remedy to protect our interests fully. Unauthorized parties may also attempt to copy or reverse engineer certain aspects of our product candidates that we consider proprietary. Enforcing a claim that a party illegally disclosed or misappropriated a trade secret can be difficult, expensive and time-consuming, and the outcome of any such claim is unpredictable. Trade secret violations are often a matter of state law, and the criteria for protection of trade secrets can vary among different jurisdictions. In addition, trade secrets may be independently developed or reverse engineered by others in a manner that could prevent legal recourse by us. If any of our confidential or proprietary information, such as our trade secrets, were to be disclosed or misappropriated, or if any such information was independently developed by a competitor, our business and competitive position could be harmed.

 

We may be unable to enforce our intellectual property rights throughout the world.

 

Filing, prosecuting and defending patents covering our product candidates in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive, and the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the U.S. Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in certain foreign jurisdictions. This could make it difficult for us to stop infringement of our foreign patents, if obtained, or the misappropriation of our other intellectual property rights. For example, some foreign countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner must grant licenses to third parties. In addition, some countries limit the enforceability of patents against third parties, including government agencies or government contractors. In these countries, patents may provide limited or no benefit. Patent protection must ultimately be sought on a country-by-country basis, which is an expensive and time-consuming process with uncertain outcomes. Accordingly, we may choose not to seek patent protection in certain countries, and we will not have the benefit of patent protection in such countries. Additionally, in the event that our trademarks are successfully challenged, we could be forced to rebrand our product candidates, which could result in loss of brand recognition and could require us to devote resources to advertising and marketing new brands. Our competitors may infringe our trademarks, and we may not have adequate resources to enforce our trademarks.

 

Proceedings to enforce our patent or trademark rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business. Accordingly, our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights in such countries may be inadequate.

 

Third parties may assert that our employees or consultants have wrongfully used or disclosed confidential information or misappropriated trade secrets.

 

In the future, we may employ individuals who previously worked with other companies, including our competitors. Although we try to ensure that our employees and consultants do not use the proprietary information or know-how of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that we or our employees, consultants or independent contractors have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed intellectual property or personal data, including trade secrets or other proprietary information, of a former employer or other third party. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. If we fail in defending any such claims or settling those claims, in addition to paying monetary damages or a settlement payment, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management and other employees.

 

Changes in U.S. patent laws may limit our ability to obtain, defend and/or enforce our patents.

 

In 2011, the U.S. enacted and later implemented wide ranging patent reform legislation. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on several patent cases since that time, either narrowing the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances or weakening the rights of patent owners in certain situations. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, this combination of events has created uncertainty with respect to the value of patents, once obtained. Depending on actions by the U.S. Congress, the U.S. federal courts, and the USPTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that could weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce patents that we have licensed or that we might obtain in the future. Similarly, changes in patent law and regulations in other countries or jurisdictions, changes in the governmental bodies that enforce them or changes in how the relevant governmental authority enforces patent laws or regulations may weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce patents that we have licensed or that we may obtain in the future.

 

Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.

 

The USPTO and other 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 and annuity fees on any issued patent are due to be paid to the USPTO and other patent agencies over the lifetime of the patent. While an inadvertent failure to make payment of such fees or to comply with such provisions can in many cases be cured by additional payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules, there are situations in which non-compliance with such provisions will result in the abandonment or lapse of the patent or patent application, and the partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. Non-compliance events that could result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application include failure to respond to official actions within prescribed time limits, non-payment of fees and failure to properly legalize and submit formal documents within prescribed time limits. If we or our licensors fail to maintain the patents and patent applications covering our product or if we or our licensors otherwise allow our patents or patent applications to be abandoned or lapse, it can create opportunities for competitors to enter the market, which would hurt our competitive position and could impair our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates.

 

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We may be unable to obtain a patent term extension in the U.S. under the Hatch-Waxman Act and in foreign countries under similar legislation.

 

In the U.S., a patent that covers a drug product or medical device approved by the FDA may be eligible for a term extension designed to restore the period of the patent term that is lost during the premarket regulatory review process conducted by the FDA. Depending upon the timing, duration and conditions of FDA marketing approval of our product candidates, it is possible, though unlikely, that one or more 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, or the Hatch-Waxman Act, which permits a patent term extension of up to five years for a patent covering an approved product as compensation for effective patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. A patent term extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval, and only claims covering such approved drug product, a method for using it or a method for manufacturing it may be extended, and only one patent may be extended. In the EU, it is possible, though unlikely, that our product candidates may be eligible for term extensions based on similar legislation. However, in either jurisdiction, if we were eligible to apply for patent term extension, we may not receive an extension if we fail to apply within applicable deadlines, fail to apply prior to expiration of relevant patents or otherwise fail to satisfy applicable requirements. Even if we are granted such extension, the duration of such extension may be less than our request. If we are unable to obtain a patent term extension, or if the term of any such extension is less than our request, the period during which we can enforce our patent rights for that product will be in effect shortened and our competitors may obtain approval to market competing products sooner. The resulting reduction of years of revenue from applicable product candidates could be substantial.

 

Intellectual property rights do not necessarily address all potential threats.

 

The degree of future protection afforded by our intellectual property rights is uncertain because intellectual property rights have limitations and may not adequately protect our business or permit us to maintain our competitive advantage. For example:

 

 

others may be able to make products that are similar to our product candidates or utilize similar technology but that are not covered by the claims of our patents or that incorporate certain technology in our product candidates that is in the public domain;

 

 

we, or our future licensors or collaborators, might not have been the first to make the inventions covered by the applicable issued patent or pending patent application that we own now or may own or license in the future;

 

 

we, or our future licensors or collaborators, might not have been the first to file patent applications covering certain of our or their inventions;

 

 

we may not be able to successfully commercialize our product candidates before our relevant patents we may have, or to which we have ownership rights through licensing agreements, expire;

 

 

others may independently develop similar or alternative technologies or duplicate any of our technologies without infringing our intellectual property rights;

 

 

it is possible that our current or future pending patent applications will not lead to issued patents;

 

 

issued patents that we hold rights to may be held invalid or unenforceable, including as a result of legal challenges by our competitors or other third parties;

 

 

our competitors or other third parties might conduct research and development activities in countries where we do not have patent rights and then use the information learned from such activities to develop competitive products for sale in our major commercial markets;

 

 

we may not develop additional proprietary technologies that are patentable;

 

 

the patents of others may harm our business; and

 

 

we may choose not to file a patent in order to maintain certain trade secrets or know-how, and a third party may subsequently file a patent covering such intellectual property.

 

Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Risks Related to the Ownership of our Securities

 

The market price of our common stock may be highly volatile, and investors may not be able to resell their shares at or above the price at which they purchase them.

 

The market price of our common stock, like that of many other development stage pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies, has been and is likely to be volatile. In addition to general economic, political and market conditions, the price and trading volume of our stock could fluctuate widely in response to many factors, including:

 

 

our ability to execute our ongoing and planned clinical trials on a timely basis consistent with timelines established;

 

 

results of our clinical trials and preclinical studies, and the results of trials of our competitors or those of other companies in our market sector;

 

 

regulatory approval of our product candidates, or limitations to specific label indications or patient populations for its use, or changes or delays in the regulatory review process;

 

 

regulatory developments in the U.S. and foreign countries;

 

 

changes in the structure of healthcare payment systems, especially in light of current reforms to the U.S. healthcare system;

 

51

 

 

the scope of protection we are able to establish and maintain for intellectual property rights covering our product candidates, along with any product modifications and improvements;

 

 

the success or failure of our efforts to acquire, license or develop additional product candidates;

 

 

innovations or new products developed by us or our competitors;

 

 

announcements by us or our competitors of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments;

 

 

manufacturing, supply or distribution delays or shortages;

 

 

any changes to our relationship with any manufacturers, suppliers, licensors, future collaborators or other strategic partners;

 

 

our expectations regarding the potential market size and the size of the patient populations for our product candidates;

 

 

the implementation of our business model and strategic plans for our business and technology;

 

 

achievement of expected product sales and profitability;

 

 

variations in our financial results or those of companies that are perceived to be similar to us;

 

 

market conditions in the biopharmaceutical sector and issuance of securities analysts’ reports or recommendations;

 

 

trading volume of our common stock;

 

 

an inability to obtain additional funding;

 

 

sales of our stock by insiders and stockholders;

 

 

general economic, industry and market conditions other events or factors, many of which are beyond our control;

 

 

our commercialization, marketing and manufacturing prospects and capabilities;

 

 

additions or departures of key personnel; and

 

 

intellectual property, product liability or other litigation against us.

 

In addition, the stock markets in general, and the markets for biopharmaceutical and biotechnology stocks in particular, have experienced extreme volatility that may have been unrelated to the operating performance of the issuer. These broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the market price or liquidity of our common stock. In the past, when the market price of a stock has been volatile, holders of that stock have sometimes instituted securities class action litigation against the issuer. If any of our stockholders were to bring such a lawsuit against us, we could incur substantial costs defending the lawsuit and the attention of our management would be diverted from the operation of our business.

 

The sale and issuance of our common stock or rights to purchase our common stock, stock incentive plans and upon the exercise of outstanding securities exercisable for shares of our common stock, including our AEROSURF warrants, which are exercisable in the future for no consideration, could result in substantial additional dilution of our stockholders, cause our stock price to fall and adversely affect our ability to raise capital.

 

We will require additional capital to continue to execute our business plan and advance our research and development efforts. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the issuance of additional equity securities and through the exercise of outstanding warrants, our stockholders may experience substantial dilution. We may sell shares of preferred stock or common stock in one or more transactions at prices that may be at a discount to the then-current market value of our common stock and on such other terms and conditions as we may determine from time to time. Any such transaction could result in substantial dilution of our existing stockholders. If we sell shares of our common stock in more than one transaction, stockholders who purchase our common stock may be materially diluted by subsequent sales. Such sales could also cause a drop in the market price of our common stock. The issuance of shares of our common stock in connection with a public or private financing, in connection with our compensation programs, and upon exercise of outstanding warrants will have a dilutive impact on our other stockholders and the issuance, or even potential issuance, of such shares could have a negative effect on the market price of our common stock.

 

The exercise of stock options and other securities could also cause our stockholders to experience substantial dilution. Moreover, holders of our stock options and warrants are likely to exercise them, if ever, at a time when we otherwise could obtain a price for the sale of our securities that is higher than the exercise price per security of the options or warrants. Such exercises, or the possibility of such exercises, may impede our efforts to obtain additional financing through the sale of additional securities or make such financing more costly. It may also reduce the price of our common stock.

 

For example, in connection with the CVie Acquisition, our Board declared a dividend to the holders of record of outstanding shares of our common stock and holders of certain warrants to purchase common stock, in each case that were outstanding on December 20, 2018, of 0.6148 AEROSURF Warrant, for each share of common stock held by a shareholder or each warrant held by a warrant holder, as applicable, on the record date, or the AEROSURF Warrants. Each AEROSURF Warrant has a term of five years and provides for automatic exercise into one share of common stock, without any exercise price, upon our public announcement of the dosing of the first human subject enrolled in our phase 3 clinical trial for AEROSURF. We expect to distribute upon exercise of the AEROSURF Warrants an aggregate of 987,722 shares of common stock. We anticipate that the automatic exercise of the AEROSURF Warrants will occur upon enrollment of the first patient in an AEROSURF phase 3 clinical trial conducted by either ourselves or a licensee.

 

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A small group of our investors, including Lees, may be able to exercise significant influence over our business strategy and operations.

 

As of March 29, 2021, Lees beneficially owns directly and through its affiliates, approximately 18% of our issued and outstanding shares of common stock and fund affiliates of our Chairman, James Huang, own directly and through affiliates approximately 10% of our issued and outstanding common stock. These investors could exercise their voting power in a coordinated fashion with a limited number of other investors to approve any matter requiring stockholder approval by written consent without a stockholder meeting. As a result, there is a risk that these investors could exert significant influence over the timing, scope, size or ultimate terms of our financing transactions and the process by which such corporate actions are permitted to proceed, or cause corporate actions to be approved even if their interests conflict with the interests of our other stockholders. This concentration of voting power could have the effect of deterring or preventing institutional investors interested in us or a change of control that might be beneficial to our other stockholders.

 

In addition, affiliates of Lees in China serve as CMOs for istaroxime, rostafuroxin and potentially lyophilized KL4 surfactant. As such, we are highly dependent upon their performance to maintain our operational timelines and achieve planned milestones, and as a result, they may be in a position to exert leverage over our planning processes.

 

Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market. We can provide no assurance that we will be able to comply with the continued listing requirements over time and that our common stock will continue to be listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market.

 

In May 2020, we successfully listed our common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market. However, we can give no assurance that we will be able to satisfy the continued listing requirements of Nasdaq in the future, including but not limited to the corporate governance requirements and the minimum closing bid price requirement or the minimum equity requirement. If we fail to maintain compliance with the continued listing requirements, Nasdaq may take steps to delist our common stock. If such delisting should occur, it would likely have a negative effect on the price of our common stock and would impair an investors ability to sell or purchase our common stock when desired. In the event of a delisting, we can provide no assurance that any action taken by us to restore compliance with listing requirements would allow our common stock to become listed again, stabilize the market price or improve the liquidity of our common stock, prevent our common stock from dropping below the Nasdaq minimum bid price requirement or prevent future non-compliance with Nasdaqs listing requirements.

 

Provisions of our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation, or Certificate of Incorporation, our Amended and Restated By-Laws, or By-Laws, and Delaware law could deter a change of our management and thereby discourage or delay offers to acquire us.

 

Provisions of our Certificate of Incorporation, our By-Laws and Delaware law may make it more difficult for someone to acquire control of us or for our stockholders to remove existing management and might discourage a third party from offering to acquire us, even if a change of control or in management would be beneficial to our stockholders. Such provisions may make it costlier for a potential acquirer to engage in a business combination transaction with us. Provisions that have the effect of discouraging, delaying or preventing a change of control could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our common stock and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock.

 

Our Certificate of Incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the exclusive forum for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders ability to file in a different judicial forum to resolve disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.

 

Our Certificate of Incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, any action asserting a breach of fiduciary duty, any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to the Delaware General Corporation Law, our Certificate of Incorporation or our By-Laws, or any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine; provided, that, this provision would not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Securities Act and the Exchange Act. These choice of forum provisions may limit a stockholders ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and other employees.

 

We do not intend to pay dividends on our common stock so any returns will be limited to the value of our stock.

 

We currently anticipate that we will retain future earnings for the development, operation and expansion of our business and do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends for the foreseeable future. Any return to stockholders will therefore be limited to the appreciation of their stock.

 

We are a smaller reporting company, and the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to smaller reporting companies may make our common stock less attractive to investors.

 

We are a smaller reporting company as defined in the Exchange Act and have elected to take advantage of certain of the scaled disclosures available to smaller reporting companies, which include, among other things, audited financial statements and Management Discussion and Analysis for two years instead of three years, an update of the general development of the business for such period that is material to an understanding of the company, simplified executive compensation disclosures, and exemption from the provisions of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requiring that an independent registered accounting firm provide an attestation report on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting. We cannot predict whether investors will find our common stock less attractive because of our reliance on any of these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile.

 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

 

None.

 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES.

 

We maintain our principal executive offices at 2600 Kelly Road, Suite 100, Warrington, Pennsylvania 18976-3622. Our premises include corporate administration, research and drug and device development, clinical operations, regulatory affairs, and quality, as well as our analytical and technical support laboratory, which conducts release testing of APIs and supportive research for our lyophilized and aerosolized KL4 surfactant. We also have maintained a medical device development laboratory that has been used to conduct development activities and testing for our ADS technologies.

 

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We also maintain a location in Taipei, Taiwan consisting of approximately 1,317 square feet of office space, where we oversee certain manufacturing development and preclinical activities occurring at a university in Taiwan related to our cardiovascular drug product candidates. We also have access to research laboratories in Milan, Italy under our collaboration agreement with Universita degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca. We believe our current facilities are adequate for our needs in 2021.

 

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

 

We are not aware of any pending legal actions that would, if determined adversely to us, have a material adverse effect on our business and operations.

 

We may be subject to other legal proceedings and claims in the ordinary course of business. We cannot predict the results of any such disputes, and despite the potential outcomes, the existence thereof may have an adverse material impact on us due to diversion of management time and attention as well as the financial costs related to resolving such disputes.

 

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

 

Not applicable.

 

PART II

 

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANTS COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.

 

Market Information

 

Our common stock is quoted on The Nasdaq Capital Market, or Nasdaq, operated by The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC under the symbol WINT.

 

Holders of Our Common Stock

 

As of March 29, 2021, we had 53 holders of record of shares of our common stock, and there were 26,257,065 shares of our common stock issued and outstanding.

 

Dividend Policy

 

We have not paid any dividends and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future and we intend to retain all of our earnings, if any, to finance our growth and operations and to fund the expansion of our business. Payment of any dividends will be made in the discretion of our Board of Directors, or the Board, after our taking into account various factors, including our financial condition, operating results, current and anticipated cash needs and plans for expansion.

 

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

 

During the period covered by this Annual Report on Form 10-K, there were no sales by us of unregistered securities that were not previously reported by us in a Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or Current Report on Form 8-K.

 

Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

 

Information about our equity compensation plans is incorporated herein by reference to Part III, Item 12 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Share Repurchase

 

We did not purchase any of our registered equity securities during the period covered by this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 7. MANAGEMENTS DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or set forth elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business and related financing activities, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. You should review the Forward-Looking Statements and Risk Factors sections of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis or elsewhere in the Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Managements discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations, or MD&A, is provided as a supplement to the accompanying consolidated financial statements and footnotes to help provide an understanding of our financial condition, the changes in our financial condition and our results of operations. This item should be read in connection with our Consolidated Financial Statements for the year ending December 31, 2020 and notes thereto, or Notes, included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. See, Item 8 — Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.

 

Note: Information concerning the shares of our common stock and related share prices in this MD&A has been adjusted to reflect the 1-for-3 reverse split of our common stock that was made effective on April 29, 2020. (See, Item 8 – Notes to consolidated financial statements – Note 2 - Basis of Presentation).

 

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OVERVIEW

 

We are a clinical-stage, biopharmaceutical and medical device company focused on the development of novel therapeutics intended to address significant unmet medical needs in important acute care markets. Our development programs are primarily focused in the treatment of acute cardiovascular and acute pulmonary diseases. Our lead acute cardiovascular product candidate, istaroxime, is a first-in-class, dual-acting agent being developed to improve cardiac function in patients with acute heart failure, or AHF, with a potentially differentiated safety profile from existing treatments. Istaroxime demonstrated significant improvement in both diastolic and systolic aspects of cardiac function and was generally well tolerated in two phase 2 clinical trials. Istaroxime has been granted Fast Track designation for the treatment of AHF by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. Based on the profile observed in the phase 2 clinical studies in AHF, where istaroxime significantly improved cardiac function and systolic blood pressure in heart failure patients, we initiated a small clinical study to evaluate istaroxime for the treatment of early cardiogenic shock, a severe form of heart failure characterized by very low blood pressure and hypo-perfusion to critical organs. We believe that istaroxime may fulfill an unmet need in early cardiogenic shock. In addition, our drug product candidates include rostafuroxin, a novel medicine for the treatment of hypertension in patients with a specific genetic profile, for which we are pursuing potential out-licensing transactions or other strategic opportunities and not advancing on our own. Our cardiovascular portfolio also includes early exploratory research programs to evaluate potential preclinical product candidates for development, including oral and intravenous sarco (endo) plasmic reticulum Ca2+ -ATPase 2a, or SERCA2a, activator heart failure compounds.

 

Our lead pulmonary product candidate is our proprietary lyophilized KL4 surfactant (lucinactant), which we believe may potentially support a product pipeline, alone or in combination with our proprietary Aerosol Delivery System, or ADS, technology, to address a broad range of serious respiratory conditions in children and adults. We are developing KL4 surfactant to be delivered either as a liquid instillate or noninvasively as an aerosol. In September 2020, the FDA accepted our investigational new drug, or IND, application for a small phase 2 pilot study to assess the ability of our KL4 surfactant liquid instillate to impact key respiratory parameters in the treatment of lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, resulting from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent in novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, infections. We dosed the first patient in this clinical trial in January 2021 and plan to enroll up to 20 patients with COVID-19 and ARDS who are on mechanical ventilation, with results expected mid-2021. Our aerosolized product candidate, AEROSURF® (lucinactant for inhalation), is a novel drug/medical device combination product for noninvasive delivery of aerosolized KL4 surfactant using our ADS technology for the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome, or RDS, in premature infants. Our licensee in Asia, Lee’s Pharmaceutical (HK) Ltd., or Lee’s (HK), has agreed to fund and conduct a phase 2b clinical bridging study for AEROSURF in Asia, referred to as the phase 2b bridging study, under the terms of our License, Development and Commercialization Agreement between us and Lee’s (HK) dated as of June 12, 2017, as amended, or the Asia License Agreement. Accordingly, we have suspended our AEROSURF clinical activities and ceased enrollment in the phase 2b bridging study being conducted in the European Union, or EU. To support the future development of AEROSURF and our lyophilized KL4 surfactant liquid instillate in markets outside of Asia, including the United States, or U.S., we are pursuing one or more licensing transactions, collaboration arrangements or other strategic opportunities.

 

Our ability to advance our development programs is dependent upon our ability to secure additional capital in both the near and long-term, through public or private equity offerings; through potential strategic opportunities, including licensing agreements, drug product development and marketing collaboration arrangements, pharmaceutical research cooperation arrangements or other similar transactions in geographic markets outside of Asia, including the U.S.; and/or through potential grants and other funding commitments from U.S. government agencies, in each case, if available. We have engaged with potential counterparties in various markets and will continue to pursue non-dilutive sources of capital as well as potential private and public offerings. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be able to identify and enter into public or private securities offerings on acceptable terms and in amounts sufficient to meet our needs, or qualify for non-dilutive funding opportunities under any grant programs sponsored by U.S. government agencies, private foundations and/or leading academic institutions, or identify and enter into any strategic transactions that will provide the additional capital that we will require. If none of these alternatives is available, or if available, we are unable to raise sufficient capital through such transactions, we potentially could be forced to limit or cease our development activities, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We have incurred operating losses since our incorporation on November 6, 1992. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we had operating losses of $30.3 million and $24.9 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $717.7 million. To date, we have financed our operations primarily through private placements and public offerings of our common and preferred stock and borrowings from investors and financial institutions.

 

We expect to continue to incur significant research and clinical development, regulatory and other expenses as we (i) continue to develop our product candidates; (ii) seek regulatory clearances or approvals for our product candidates; (iii) conduct clinical trials on our product candidates; and (iv) manufacture, market and sell any product candidates for which we may obtain regulatory approval.

 

As a result, we will need additional financing to support our continuing operations. Until such time that we can generate substantial product revenues, if ever, we expect to finance our operations through public or private equity offerings; through potential strategic opportunities, including licensing agreements, drug product development and marketing collaboration arrangements, pharmaceutical research cooperation arrangements or other similar transactions in geographic markets outside of Asia, including the U.S.; and/or through potential grants and other funding commitments from U.S. government agencies, in each case, if available. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be able to identify and enter into public or private securities offerings on acceptable terms and in amounts sufficient to meet our needs, or qualify for non-dilutive funding opportunities under any grant programs sponsored by U.S. government agencies, private foundations and/or leading academic institutions, or identify and enter into any strategic transactions that will provide the additional capital that we will require. If none of these alternatives is available, or if available, we are unable to raise sufficient capital through such transactions, we potentially could be forced to limit or cease our development activities, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

Comparison of Years Ended December 31, 2020 and 2019

 

Net Loss and Operating Loss

 

The operating loss for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 was $30.3 million and $24.9 million, respectively. The increase in operating loss from 2019 to 2020 was due to a $5.2 million increase in operating expenses and a $0.2 million decrease in revenue.

 

The net loss for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 was $32.6 million, or $2.08 basic net loss per common share, and $27.5 million, or $2.51 basic net loss per common share, respectively. Included in the net loss is (i) $1.1 million in non-cash expense related to the modification of certain warrants in 2020; (ii) a net loss on debt extinguishment of $1.8 million in 2019; (iii) $1.2 million and $0.5 million in foreign currency losses in 2020 and 2019, respectively; and (iv) interest expense of $0.1 million and $0.5 million for 2020 and 2019, respectively.

 

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Research and Development Expenses

 

Our research and development expenses are charged to operations as incurred and we incur both direct and indirect expenses for each of our programs. We track direct research and development expenses by preclinical and clinical programs, which include third-party costs such as contract research organization, consulting and clinical trial costs. We do not allocate indirect research and development expenses, which include product development and manufacturing expenses and clinical, medical and regulatory operations expenses, to specific programs. We also account for research and development and report annually by major expense category as follows: (i) contracted services; (ii) salaries and benefits; (iii) stock-based compensation; (iv) raw materials, aerosol devices and supplies; (v) royalties; (vi) rents and utilities; (vii) depreciation; (viii) travel; and (ix) other. We expect to increase our investment in research and development in order to advance our product candidates through additional clinical trials. As a result, we expect that our research and development expenses will increase throughout the foreseeable future as we pursue clinical development of istaroxime, KL4 surfactant and our other current and future product candidates. At this time, we cannot reasonably estimate or know the nature, timing and estimated costs of the efforts that will be necessary to complete the development of our product candidates. We are also unable to predict when, if ever, material net cash inflows will commence from sales of our product candidates.

 

Research and development expenses for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 are as follows:

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

(in thousands)

 

2020

   

2019

 
                 

Istaroxime - early cardiogenic shock

  $ 1,813     $ -  

KL4 surfactant

    1,583       1,217  

Istaroxime - AHF

    966       498  

Preclinical studies

    42       192  

Total direct preclinical and clinical programs

    4,404       1,907  
                 

Product development and manufacturing

    4,474       4,248  

Clinical, medical and regulatory operations

    6,495       6,532  

Total research and development expenses

  $ 15,373     $ 12,687  

 

Research and development expenses include non-cash charges associated with stock-based compensation and depreciation of $2.2 million and $2.1 million for 2020 and 2019, respectively.

 

Direct Preclinical and Clinical Programs

 

Direct preclinical and clinical programs include: (i) development activities, toxicology studies and other preclinical studies; and (ii) activities associated with conducting clinical trials, including contract research organization costs, patient enrollment costs, clinical site costs, clinical device and drug supply costs, and related external costs, such as consultant fees and expenses.

 

Direct preclinical and clinical development programs expenses increased $2.5 million from 2019 to 2020 due to (i) the initiation of a phase 2 clinical trial of istaroxime for early cardiogenic shock in September 2020; (ii) our continued development of istaroxime for AHF; and (iii) costs related to the development of our lyophilized KL4 surfactant.

 

Product Development and Manufacturing

 

Product development and manufacturing includes (i) manufacturing operations, both in-house and with contract manufacturing organizations, or CMOs, validation activities, quality assurance and analytical chemistry capabilities that support the manufacture of our drug products used in research and development activities, and our medical devices, including our ADS, (ii) design and development activities related to our ADS for use in our AEROSURF clinical development program; and (iii) pharmaceutical and manufacturing development activities of our drug product candidates including development of istaroxime, lyophilized KL4 surfactant, and rostafuroxin. These costs include employee expenses, facility-related costs, depreciation, costs of drug substances (including raw materials), supplies, quality control and assurance activities, analytical services, and expert consultants and outside services to support pharmaceutical and device development activities.

 

Product development and manufacturing expenses increased $0.2 million from 2019 to 2020 due to a $0.4 million purchase of raw materials during the second quarter of 2020, partially offset by a decrease in analytical testing costs related to our AEROSURF clinical development program.

 

Clinical, Medical and Regulatory Operations

 

Clinical, medical and regulatory operations include (i) medical, scientific, preclinical and clinical, regulatory, data management and biostatistics activities in support of our research and development programs; and (ii) medical affairs activities to provide scientific and medical education support for our KL4 surfactant and aerosol delivery systems under development. These costs include personnel, expert consultants, outside services to support regulatory and data management, symposiums at key medical meetings, facilities-related costs, and other costs for the management of clinical trials.

 

Clinical, medical and regulatory operations expenses were consistent from 2019 to 2020 and were comprised of (i) an increase of $0.2 million in non-cash stock compensation expense; (ii) an increase of $0.2 in employee-related incentive bonus expense; offset by (iii) a decrease of $0.4 million in personnel costs.

 

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Research and Development Expense by Major Expense Category

 

We also account for our research and development expense by major expense category as shown in the following table:

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

(in thousands)

 

2020

   

2019

 
                 

Contracted services

  $ 5,737     $ 3,373  

Salaries and benefits

    4,768       4,741  

Stock-based compensation

    2,098       1,932  

Raw materials, aerosol devices and supplies

    915       664  

Royalties

    800       800  

Rents and utilities

    503       471  

Depreciation

    145       170  

Travel

    28       213  

Other

    379       323  
    $ 15,373     $ 12,687  

 

Contracted services include third-party costs of preclinical studies, clinical trial activities, certain components of our manufacturing operations, quality control and analytical stability and release testing of our drug products, consulting services, aerosol device design and engineering services, etc. The increase of $2.4 million from 2019 to 2020 is due to an increase in contracted research and clinical trials expense in 2020.

 

The increase in raw materials, aerosol devices and supplies of $0.3 million from 2019 to 2020 is due to costs associated with our small pilot study of our proprietary KL4 surfactant for the treatment of lung injury resulting from COVID-19 including a $0.3 million increase in raw materials in 2020.

 

Royalties represent minimum royalties due under our licensing agreements with Philip Morris USA Inc. and Philip Morris Products S.A. for our ADS technology.

 

Other consists primarily of ongoing research and development costs such as insurance, taxes, education and training, and software licenses.

 

Research and Development Projects

 

A substantial portion of our cumulative losses to date relate to investments in our research and development projects, for which we incurred $28.1 million in expenses for the two-year period ended December 31, 2020. Due to the significant risks and uncertainties inherent in the clinical development and regulatory approval processes, the nature, timing and costs of the efforts necessary to complete individual projects in development are not reasonably estimable. With every phase of a development project, there are unknowns that may significantly affect cost projections and timelines. In view of the number and nature of these factors, many of which are outside our control, the success, timing of completion and ultimate cost of development of any of our product candidates are highly uncertain and cannot be estimated with any degree of certainty. In addition to the risks and uncertainties affecting our research and development projects discussed in this MD&A (see, “Item 1A. Risk Factors”), other risks could arise that we may not foresee that could affect our ability to estimate projections and timelines.

 

Ultimately, if we do not successfully develop and gain marketing approval for our drug product candidates, in the U.S. or elsewhere, we will not be able to commercialize, or generate any revenues from the sale of our products and the value of our company and our financial condition and results of operations will be substantially harmed.

 

General and Administrative Expenses

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

(in thousands)

 

2020

   

2019

 
                 

General and administrative expenses

  $ 14,944     $ 12,404  

 

General and administrative expenses consist of costs for executive management, business development, intellectual property, finance and accounting, legal, human resources, information technology, facility, and other administrative costs.

 

General and administrative expenses include non-cash charges associated with stock-based compensation of $3.6 million and $4.8 million, respectively, for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. General and administrative expenses increased $2.5 million from 2019 to 2020 due to (i) an increase of $2.6 million in professional fees, taxes and insurance; (ii) severance costs of $0.9 million; and (iii) an increase in personnel costs of $0.2 million; partially offset by (iv) a decrease of $1.2 million in non-cash, stock compensation expense.

 

Other (Expense) Income, Net

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

(in thousands)

 

2020

   

2019

 
                 

Net loss on debt extinguishment

  $ -     $ (1,794 )

Interest income

    122       153  

Interest expense

    (125 )     (495 )

Other (expense), net

    (2,246 )     (446 )

Total other (expense), net

  $ (2,249 )   $ (2,582 )

 

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Net Loss on Debt Extinguishment

 

In December 2019, as part of a private placement financing, or the December 2019 Private Placement Financing, we converted $2.95 million of existing loans payable obligations to LPH II Investments Ltd., a Cayman Islands company, or LPH II, an affiliate of Lees (HK), on the same terms as the investors of the December 2019 Private Placement Financing. The conversions of the loans payable are treated as extinguishments of debt and we recorded a loss on debt extinguishment of approximately $1.8 million, resulting from the difference between the fair value of the common stock and warrants issued and the carrying value of the obligations.

 

Interest Income

 

Interest income relates to income on our money market account and U.S. Treasury notes.

 

Interest expense

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

(in thousands)

 

2020

   

2019

 
                 

Cash interest expense

  $ 122     $ 332  

Non-cash amortization of debt discounts

    3       163  

Total interest expense

  $ 125     $ 495  

 

Cash interest expense in 2020 and 2019 consists of interest expense associated with the collaboration and device development payables and with the loans payable. The decrease of $0.2 million in cash interest expense from 2019 to 2020 is related to the repayment of $2.1 million in loans payable during the year ended December 31, 2019 and the repayment of $2.4 million in loans payable during 2020. Non-cash amortization of debt discounts related to a discount on Battelle Payables related to a restructuring agreement and was fully amortized during 2020.

 

Other (expense), net

 

Other (expense), net in 2020 primarily consists of $1.2 million in losses on foreign currency translation and $1.1 million in non-cash expense related to the modification of certain warrants. Other (expense), net in 2019 primarily consists of $0.5 million in losses on foreign currency translation.

 

LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

 

As of December 31, 2020, we had cash and cash equivalents of $16.9 million and current liabilities of $6.1 million.

 

On March 25, 2021, we completed a registered public offering of 9,230,500 shares of our common stock and warrants to purchase 9,230,500 shares of our common stock, at a combined price of $3.25 resulting in net proceeds of $27.3 million (see, Note 20 - Subsequent Event).

 

We also have an At-The-Market Offering Agreement with Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc., or Ladenburg, pursuant to which we may offer and sell, from time to time at our sole discretion, up to a maximum of $10.0 million of shares of our common stock through Ladenburg as agent and/or principal through an at-the-market program, or the ATM Program. In February 2021, we sold 105,083 shares of our common stock under the ATM Program resulting in aggregate gross and net proceeds to us of approximately $0.6 million (see, Note 12 - Stockholders’ Equity).

 

We are subject to risks common to companies in the biotechnology industry, including but not limited to, the need for additional capital, risks of failure of preclinical and clinical studies, the need to obtain marketing approval and reimbursement for any drug product candidate that we may identify and develop, the need to successfully commercialize and gain market acceptance of our product candidates, dependence on key personnel, protection of proprietary technology, compliance with government regulations, development of technological innovations by competitors, and risks associated with our international locations and activities abroad, including but not limited to having foreign suppliers, manufacturers and clinical sites in support of our development activities.

 

We have incurred net losses since inception. Our net loss was $32.6 million and $27.5 million, respectively, for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. We expect to continue to incur operating losses for at least the next several years. As of December 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $717.7 million. Our future success is dependent on our ability to identify and develop our product candidates, and ultimately upon our ability to attain profitable operations. We have devoted substantially all of our financial resources and efforts to research and development and general and administrative expense to support such research and development. Net losses and negative cash flows have had, and will continue to have, an adverse effect on our stockholders’ equity and working capital, and accordingly, our ability to execute our future operating plans.

 

We believe that our cash and cash equivalents as of the filing date of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 are sufficient to fund operations through at least the next 12 months. In the future, we will need to raise additional capital to continue funding our development activities and operations. We plan to obtain funding through a combination of public or private equity offerings, or strategic transactions including collaborations, licensing arrangements or other strategic partnerships. There is inherent uncertainty associated with these fundraising activities, and thus they are not considered probable.

 

Our funding requirements are based on estimates that are subject to risks and uncertainties and may change as a result of many factors currently unknown. Although management continues to pursue the plans described above, there is no assurance that we will be successful in obtaining sufficient funding on terms acceptable to us to fund continuing operations, if at all, including as a result of market volatility following the COVID-19 pandemic. Until such time as we can generate substantial product revenues, if ever, we expect to finance our cash needs through a combination of equity offerings, strategic partnerships and licensing arrangements. The terms of any future financing may adversely affect the holdings or the rights of our existing stockholders.

 

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Cash Flows

 

Cash flows for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019

 

Net cash outflows for 2020 consist of $25.3 million net cash used in operating activities, $0.3 million of net cash used in investing activities, and $20.0 million of net cash provided by financing activities.

 

Operating Activities

 

Net cash used in operating activities was $25.3 million and $24.7 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The increase in net cash used in operating activities from 2019 to 2020 is attributable to (i) a $5.2 million increase in operating expenses; and (ii) a $1.2 million increase in payments related to our collaboration and device development payable with Battelle Memorial Institute as a result of contractual milestone payments during the year ended December 31, 2020; partially offset by (iii) costs related to the CVie Acquisition, costs from the December 2018 private placement financing and the payment of pre-existing obligations with the proceeds of the December 2018 private placement financing during the year ended December 31, 2019. 

 

Investing Activities

 

Net cash used in investing activities was $0.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 and the net cash provided by investing activities was $13.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The net cash used in investing activities in 2020 is due to $0.3 million in purchases of property and equipment. The net cash provided by investing activities in 2019 is due to the sale of $14.0 million of marketable securities, partially offset by $0.2 million in purchases of property and equipment.

 

Financing Activities

 

Net cash provided by financing activities was $20.0 million and $21.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, summarized as follows:

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

(in thousands)

 

2020

   

2019

 
                 
Proceeds from issuance of common stock and warrants, net of issuance costs   $ 20,246     $ -  
Proceeds from research and development funding arrangement     2,800       -  
Proceeds from exercise of common stock warrants     141       -  
Proceeds from Payroll Protection Program loan     547       -  
Principal payments on Payroll Protection Program loan     (547 )     -  

Principal payments on loans payable

    (3,229 )     (2,063 )

Proceeds from private placement issuance of securities, net of expenses

    -       22,982  

Proceeds from loan payable, net of expenses

    -       1,000  

Payments for taxes related to net share settlements of restricted stock units

    -       (151 )
Net cash provided by financing activities   $ 19,958     $ 21,768  

 

The following sections provide a more detailed discussion of our available financing facilities.

 

Financings Pursuant to Common Stock Offerings

 

Historically, we have funded, and expect that we will continue to fund, our business operations through various sources, including financings in the form of common stock offerings. In September 2020, we filed with the SEC a "shelf" registration statement on Form S-3 (No. 333-248874), or the Universal Shelf, that was declared effective on September 29, 2020, for the proposed offering from time to time of up to $75.0 million of our securities, including common stock, preferred stock, debt securities, warrants, units, subscription rights, or any combination of the foregoing, on terms and conditions that will be determined at the time of an offering. As of December 31, 2020, approximately $75.0 million remained available under the Universal Shelf. The Universal Shelf will expire upon the earlier to occur of (i) the sale of $75.0 million of our securities or (ii) September 29, 2023.

 

At-The-Market Program
 

On September 17, 2020, we entered into an At-The-Market Offering Agreement with Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc., or Ladenburg, pursuant to which we may offer and sell, from time to time at our sole discretion, up to a maximum of $10.0 million of shares of our common stock through Ladenburg as agent and/or principal under the ATM Program. When we issue sales notices to Ladenburg, we designate the maximum amount of shares to be sold by Ladenburg daily and the minimum price per share at which shares may be sold. Ladenburg may sell shares by any method permitted by law deemed to be an “at-the-market offering” as defined in Rule 415(a)(4) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or in privately negotiated transactions.

 

As of December 31, 2020, we had not sold any shares under the ATM Program. In February 2021, we sold 105,083 shares of our common stock under the ATM Program resulting in aggregate gross and net proceeds to us of approximately $0.6 million (see, Note 12 - Stockholders’ Equity).

 

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March 2021 Public Offering
 

On March 23, 2021, we entered into an underwriting agreement with Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. as representative for the several underwriters named therein, relating to the public offering, or the Offering, of 9,230,500 shares of our common stock, or the Common Stock, and warrants to purchase 9,230,500 shares of our Common Stock, or the Warrants. The shares of Common Stock and Warrants were sold together as a fixed combination, consisting of one share of Common Stock and a Warrant to purchase one share of Common Stock, but are immediately separable and were issued separately in the offering. Each Warrant is exercisable to purchase one share of Common Stock at a price of $3.60 per share and expires five years from the date of issuance. The Company does not plan to apply to list the Warrants on The Nasdaq Capital Market, any other national securities exchange or any other nationally recognized trading system.

 

The closing of the Offering occurred on March 25, 2021. The combined price to the public in the Offering for each share of Common Stock and accompanying Warrant was $3.25 resulting in gross proceeds of $30.0 million. After deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, and excluding the proceeds, if any, from the exercise of the Warrants issued pursuant to this Offering, the net proceeds to the Company are expected to be approximately $27.3 million.

 

May 2020 Public Offering

 

On May 20, 2020, we entered into an underwriting agreement, or the Underwriting Agreement, with Ladenburg as representative for the several underwriters named therein, or collectively, the Underwriters, relating to the May 2020 Offering for an aggregate of 2,758,620 units with each unit consisting of one share of our common stock and a Warrant. The Warrants are immediately exercisable for shares of common stock at a price of $7.975 per share and expire five years from the date of issuance. The shares of common stock and the Warrants were immediately separable and were issued separately in the May 2020 Offering.

 

In addition, we granted the Underwriters a 45-day option, or the Overallotment Option, to purchase up to 413,793 additional shares of common stock and/or Warrants to purchase up to 413,793 additional shares of common stock, which such Overallotment Option was exercised in full.

 

The closing of the May 2020 Offering occurred on May 22, 2020, inclusive of the Overallotment Option. The offering price to the public was $7.25 per unit. After deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses of $2.8 million payable by us, and excluding the proceeds, if any, from the exercise of the Warrants issued pursuant to this May 2020 Offering, the net proceeds to us were approximately $20.2 million.

 

December 2019 Private Placement Financing

 

On December 6, 2019, we completed the December 2019 Private Placement Financing with select institutional investors, in which we issued and sold an aggregate of 2,916,666 shares of common stock at a price per share of $9.06, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $26.4 million. Included in the purchase price, LPH II converted $2.95 million of existing debt obligations on the same terms as the other select institutional investors. In connection with this offering, we issued warrants, or the Series I Warrants, to purchase up to an aggregate of 1,458,334 shares of common stock at an exercise price equal to $12.09 per share, which are exercisable on the six-month anniversary of date of issuance and through the five-year anniversary of the date of issuance. The Series I Warrants (i) may be exercised for cash or on a cashless basis if there is no effective registration statement registering the resale of the warrant shares, (ii) may not be exercised to the extent that following such exercise, the holder would beneficially own more than 4.99% (or such other percent as designated by each holder not to exceed 19.99%) of our outstanding shares of common stock, and (iii) contain customary provisions that adjust the exercise price and the number of shares of common stock into which the Series I Warrants are exercisable in the event of a corporate transaction. Our Registration Statement on Form S-1, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, on January 21, 2020, registered the 2,916,666 shares of common stock sold and 1,458,334 shares of common stock underlying the Series I Warrants.

 

Loans Payable

 

Current Portion

 

Loan Payable to Bank Direct Capital Finance

 

In June 2020, we entered into an insurance premium financing and security agreement with Bank Direct Capital Finance, or Bank Direct. Under the agreement, we financed $1.1 million of certain premiums at a 4.26% annual interest rate. Payments of approximately $117,000 are due monthly from July 2020 through March 2021. As of December 31, 2020, the outstanding principal of the loan was $0.4 million. The balance of the loan was repaid during the first quarter of 2021.

 

In May 2019, we entered into an insurance premium financing and security agreement with Bank Direct. Under the agreement, we have financed $0.7 million of certain premiums at a 5.35% annual interest rate. As of December 31, 2019, the outstanding principal of the loan was $0.2 million. The balance of the loan was repaid during the first quarter of 2020.

 

2019 LPH II Loans

 

On October 24, 2019, we entered into a loan agreement with LPH II. Under the loan agreement, LPH II agreed to lend us $1.0 million, or the 2019 Loan, to support our operations while we sought to complete a strategic transaction (as defined in the loan agreement). The 2019 Loan, which was funded in a single installment by wire transfer on October 28, 2019, accrued interest at a rate of 6% per annum and matured upon the closing date of the December 2019 Private Placement Financing, which qualified as the strategic transaction under terms defined in the loan agreement. We repaid the 2019 Loan and related accrued interest in full upon consummation of the December 2019 Private Placement Financing.

 

2018 LPH II Loans

 

From April 24, 2018 to November 16, 2018, our subsidiary, CVie Therapeutics Limited, entered into four separate agreements to borrow an aggregate of approximately $3.5 million from LPH II on the following dates and in the following amounts $0.5 million in April 2018, or the April 2018 Loan; $0.3 million in September 2018, or the September 2018 Loan; $0.15 million in October 2018, or the October 2018 Loan; and $2.5 million in November 2018, or the November 2018 Loan. The April 2018 Loan, the September 2018 Loan, the October 2018 Loan and the September 2018 Loan were subsequently assigned to LPH II. The terms of the loan agreements were identical with interest, payable in cash upon maturity, at a rate of 4% per annum and maturing one year from the effective date of the respective loan agreement.

 

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During the quarter ended March 31, 2019, we made payments of $0.45 million against the April 2018 Loan and paid the remaining $50,000 balance plus accrued interest in April 2019. In December 2019, as part of the December 2019 Private Placement Financing, we converted the remaining $2.95 million related to the September 2018 Loan, October 2018 Loan, and November 2018 Loan on the same terms as the Investors of the December 2019 Private Placement Financing. In connection with the conversion of the LPH II debt, we issued: 325,607 shares of common stock based at $9.06 per share and Series I Warrants to purchase 162,804 shares of common stock, at an exercise price equal to $12.09 per share. The Series I Warrants are exercisable at any time after the six-month anniversary of the date of issuance and through the 5-year anniversary of the date of issuance. The conversion of the loan payable to LPH II is treated as an extinguishment of debt and does not represent a capital transaction as the December 2019 Private Placement Financing included third-party investors and all investors received identical terms. We recorded a loss on extinguishment of debt of approximately $1.8 million. The loss was calculated as the difference between the aggregate fair value of the common stock and Series I Warrants on December 6, 2019 and the carrying value of the debt liabilities. The accrued interest of $127,000 was paid in December 2019 and as of December 31, 2019 there are no remaining amounts outstanding.

 

Non-Current Portion

 

O-Bank Co., Ltd. Credit Facility

 

In September 2016, CVie Therapeutics Limited entered into a 12-month revolving credit facility of approximately $2.9 million with O-Bank Co., Ltd., or O-Bank, to finance operating activities, or the O-Bank Facility. The O-Bank Facility was later renewed and increased to approximately $5.8 million in September 2017. The O-Bank Facility is guaranteed by Lees Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited, or Lees, which pledged bank deposits in the amount of 110% of the actual borrowing amount. Interest, payable in cash on a monthly basis, was determined based on 90-day Taipei Interbank Offer Rate, or TAIBOR, plus 0.91%. The O-Bank Facility expired on September 11, 2019 and the loans were set to mature six months after the expiration date, on March 11, 2020. In March 2020, the O-Bank Facility was amended, among other things, to extend the maturity date to March 2022, to decrease the total amount of the O-Bank Facility to approximately $5.0 million, to change the applicable interest rate to the TAIBOR plus 1.17% and to adjust the term to 24-month non-revolving.

 

In the second quarter of 2020, we were informed by Lees of their desire to reduce the amount of pledged bank deposits with O-Bank by 50%. To remain in compliance with the terms of the O-Bank Facility, we repaid approximately $2.3 million of the outstanding principal in August 2020. In November 2020, Lees committed to maintain the required level of pledged bank deposits with O-Bank through the date of full repayment of the O-Bank Facility.

 

As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, the outstanding principal of the O-Bank Facility was approximately $2.4 million and $4.6 million, respectively.

 

Restructured Debt Liability

 

On October 27, 2017, we and Deerfield Management Company, L.P., or Deerfield, entered into the Exchange and Termination Agreement pursuant to which (i) promissory notes evidencing a loan with affiliates of Deerfield Management Company L.P., or the Deerfield Loan, in the aggregate principal amount of $25.0 million and (ii) warrants to purchase up to 8,333 shares of our common stock at an exercise price of $2,360.40 per share held by Deerfield were cancelled in consideration for (i) a cash payment in the aggregate amount of $2.5 million, (ii) 23,703 shares of common stock, representing 2% of fully-diluted shares outstanding (as defined in the Exchange and Termination Agreement) on the closing date, and (iii) the right to receive certain milestone payments based on achievement of specified AEROSURF development and commercial milestones, which, if achieved, could potentially total up to $15.0 million. In addition, a related security agreement, pursuant to which Deerfield held a security interest in substantially all of our assets, was terminated. We established a $15.0 million long-term liability for the contingent milestone payments potentially due to Deerfield under the Exchange and Termination Agreement. SeeNote 4 to the Audited Consolidated Financial Statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The liability has been recorded at the full value of the contingent milestones and will continue to be carried at full value until the milestones are achieved and paid or the milestones are not achieved and the liability is written off as a gain on debt restructuring.

 

As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, the restructured debt liability balance was $15.0 million.

 

OFF-BALANCE SHEET ARRANGEMENTS

 

We did not have any material off-balance sheet arrangements at December 31, 2020 or 2019 or during the periods then ended.

 

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES

 

The preceding discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations are based upon our Consolidated Financial Statements, which have been prepared in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP. Preparing financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. Estimates are based on our historical operations, our future business plans and projected financial results, the terms of existing contracts, our observance of trends in the industry, and information available from other outside sources, as appropriate. These estimates and assumptions are affected by the application of our accounting policies. Critical accounting policies and practices are both important to the portrayal of a companys financial condition and results of operations, and require managements most difficult, subjective or complex judgments, often as a result of the need to make estimates about the effects of matters that are inherently uncertain. Actual results could differ from such estimates due to changes in economic factors or other conditions that are outside the control of management. A summary of our significant accounting policies is described in Note 5 of the Audited Consolidated Financial Statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Of those policies, we believe that the following accounting policy is critical to aid our stockholders in fully understanding and evaluating our reported financial results.

 

Intangible Assets and Goodwill

 

We record acquired identified intangibles, which includes intangible assets (such as goodwill and other intangibles), based on estimated fair value. The acquired in-process research and development, or IPR&D, assets are considered indefinite-lived intangible assets until completion or abandonment of the associated research and development efforts. IPR&D is not amortized but reviewed for impairment at least annually, or when events or changes in the business environment indicate that the carrying value may be impaired.

 

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Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed in a business combination and is not amortized. It is reviewed for impairment at least annually or when events or changes in the business environment indicate that its carrying value may be impaired.

 

The following table represents identifiable intangible assets and goodwill as of December 31, 2020 and 2019:

 

   

December 31,

 

(in thousands)

 

2020

   

2019

 
                 

Rostafuroxin drug candidate

  $ 54,750     $ 54,750  

Istaroxime drug candidate

    22,340       22,340  

Intangible assets

  $ 77,090     $ 77,090  
                 

Goodwill

  $ 15,682     $ 15,682  

 

When testing our goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets for impairment, we can elect to perform a qualitative assessment to determine if it is more likely than not that the fair values of our reporting unit and indefinite-lived intangible assets are less than the respective carrying values. Such qualitative factors can include, among others, industry and market conditions, overall financial performance, and relevant entity-specific events. If we conclude based on our qualitative assessment that it is more likely than not that the fair value of our reporting unit or indefinite-lived intangible assets are less than their respective carrying values, we perform a quantitative assessment. When conducting our annual impairment test of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets as of December 1, 2020, we elected to perform a quantitative assessment.