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DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the definitive proxy statement for the registrant’s 2023 annual meeting of stockholders to be filed within 120 days after the end of the period covered by this annual report on Form 10-K are incorporated by reference into Part III of this annual report on Form 10-K.
ONCONOVA THERAPEUTICS, INC.
INDEX TO REPORT ON FORM 10-K
All common stock, equity, share and per share amounts have been retroactively adjusted to reflect a one-for-fifteen reverse stock split which was effective May 20, 2021.
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AND INDUSTRY DATA
This Annual Report on Form 10-K (Annual Report) includes forward-looking statements. We may, in some cases, use terms such as “believes,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “may,” “could,” “might,” “will,” “should,” “approximately” or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements appear in a number of places throughout this Annual Report and include statements regarding our intentions, beliefs, projections, outlook, analyses or current expectations concerning, among other things, our ongoing and planned preclinical development and clinical trials, the timing of and our ability to make regulatory filings and obtain and maintain regulatory approvals for our product candidates, protection of our intellectual property portfolio, the degree of clinical utility of our products, particularly in specific patient populations, our ability to develop commercial and manufacturing functions, expectations regarding clinical trial data, our results of operations, cash needs, financial condition, liquidity, prospects, growth and strategies, the industry in which we operate and the trends that may affect the industry or us.
By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties because they relate to events, competitive dynamics and industry change, and depend on the economic circumstances that may or may not occur in the future or may occur on longer or shorter timelines than anticipated. Although we believe that we have a reasonable basis for each forward-looking statement contained in this Annual Report, we caution you that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and that our actual results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and the development of the industry in which we operate may differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report.
You should also read carefully the factors described in the “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report and elsewhere to better understand the risks and uncertainties inherent in our business and underlying any forward-looking statements. As a result of these factors, actual results could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements in this report and you should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. These factors include, without limitations, the risks related to:
|●||our need for additional financing for our future clinical trials and other operations, and our ability to obtain sufficient funds on acceptable terms when needed, and our plans and future needs to scale back operations if adequate financing is not obtained;|
|●||our ability to continue as a going concern;|
|●||our estimates regarding expenses, future revenues, capital requirements and needs for additional financing;|
|●||the success and timing of our preclinical studies and clinical trials, including site initiation and patient enrollment, and regulatory approval of protocols for future clinical trials;|
|●||our ability to enter into, maintain and perform collaboration agreements with other pharmaceutical companies, for funding and commercialization of our clinical drug product candidates or preclinical compounds, and our ability to achieve certain milestones under those agreements;|
|●||the difficulties in obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of our product candidates, and the labeling under any approval we may obtain;|
|●||our plans and ability to develop, manufacture and commercialize our product candidates;|
|●||our failure to recruit or retain key scientific or management personnel or to retain our executive officers;|
|●||the size and growth of the potential markets for our product candidates and our ability to serve those markets;|
|●||regulatory developments in the United States and foreign countries;|
|●||the rate and degree of market acceptance of any of our product candidates;|
|●||obtaining and maintaining intellectual property protection for our product candidates and our proprietary technology;|
|●||the successful development of our commercialization capabilities, including sales and marketing capabilities;|
|●||recently enacted and future legislation and regulation regarding the healthcare system;|
|●||the success of competing therapies and products that are or may become available;|
|●||our ability to maintain the listing of our securities on a national securities exchange;|
|●||the potential for third party disputes and litigation;|
|●||the performance of third parties, including contract research organizations (CROs) and third-party manufacturers; and|
|●||the impact of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, to global economy and capital markets, and to our business and our financial results.|
Any forward-looking statements that we make in this Annual Report speak only as of the date of such statement, and we undertake no obligation to update such statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Annual Report or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Onconova Therapeutics, Inc., sometimes referred to as “we” or the “Company,” is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel products for patients with cancer. We have proprietary molecularly targeted agents designed to disrupt specific cellular pathways that are important for cancer cell proliferation. We believe that the product candidates in our pipeline have the potential to be efficacious in a variety of cancers with unmet medical need. We have the following two clinical-stage programs: 1. narazaciclib (ON 123300), a multi-targeted kinase inhibitor in solid tumors and hematological malignancies as a single agent or in combination with other anti-cancer therapies; and 2. rigosertib administered alone or in combination for the treatment of various cancers. We are currently evaluating potential compounds for in-licensing opportunities.
Product Candidates / Compounds
Narazaciclib (ON 123300) — Differentiated Multi-Kinase Inhibitor Targeting CDK4/6
Pursuant to a license agreement with Temple University dated January 1, 1999 as amended March 21, 2013, we licensed compounds including our product candidate narazaciclib from Temple University. Narazaciclib is a multi-targeted kinase inhibitor targeting multiple cyclin-dependent kinases, (CDK's), AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) related protein kinase 5 (ARK5), and colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) at low nM concentrations as well as other tyrosine kinases believed to drive tumor cell proliferation, survival and metastasis. As an apoptotic and antiproliferative agent, narazaciclib modulates the levels and activities of regulatory proteins of the cell cycle, including cyclin D1 and inhibits retinoblastoma (Rb) protein binding. Narazaciclib inhibits cancer cell growth and suppresses deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis by preventing CDK-mediated G1-S phase transition, followed by tumor cell death by induction of mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. We believe, based on data from preclinical studies, that narazaciclib has the potential to overcome the limitations of the current generation of approved cyclin dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitors. The below table depicts the half-maximal in vitro inhibitory concentration (IC50) of narazaciclib palbociclib, ribociclib and abemaciclib. IC50 is a quantitative measure indicating the concentration of each drug needed to inhibit, in vitro, these listed kinases by 50%. We believe our CDK inhibitor is differentiated from other agents in the market or in development due to its multi-targeted kinase inhibition profile.
ARK 5/NUAK 1
Source: Reaction Biology 2021
In addition to CDK 4/6, narazaciclib also inhibits ARK5 (NUAK1) with high potency with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 4.95 nM (Report EPR-123300-001 and Reddy 2014) while palbociclib, ribociclib, and abemaciclib do not. The equilibrium dissociation constant (Kd) value of narazaciclib binding to ARK5 was found to be 19 nM, while a known NUAK1 specific inhibitor (HTH-015-01) was 790 nM. In addition, using a cellular based assay that measures kinase activity in intact cells, NanoBret technology, it was determined that narazaciclib inhibited ARK5
with an IC50 value of 30 nM, while 2 published inhibitors, HTH-015-01 and WZ4003, had IC50 values of >10,000 nM. ARK5 (also known as NUAK1) is a member of the AMPK catalytic subunit family and functions as a key regulator of cellular energy homeo-stasis (Lui 2012). ARK5 has been shown to be important in a number of cancer cell regulated survival pathways such as regulating AKT dependent cell survival, cell metabolism through c-MYC activity, tumor cell survival under oxidative stress and tumor cell migration (Faisal, 2020, Lui, 2012, Port, 2018). The combination of CDK and ARK5 inhibitors in the same molecular entity is proposed to have a differentiated effect on cancer cells by simultaneously inhibiting both cell cycle (cytostatic) and cellular metabolism (cytotoxic) pathways through CDK and ARK5, respectively.
Narazaciclib also inhibits CSF1R with IC50 values between 0.7 to 10 nM (Unpublished data and Reddy 2014). The Kd value of narazaciclib binding to CSF1R was determined to be 0.7 nM. The ability of narazaciclib to bind and inhibit CSF1R at low nanomolar values, in both in vitro and cell-based assays suggests that this compound may have an impact in cancers with a dependence on CSF1R signaling.
In certain in vitro models, the kinase inhibitory profile of narazaciclib had high activity against CDK4, CDK6, ARK5, CSF1R, PDGFRß and PI3K-δ, all of which are associated with the growth, survival and metastasis of human tumor cells (Reddy, 2014). In an in vitro investigation of narazaciclib against a broad spectrum of human tumor cell lines, narazaciclib displayed potent antiproliferative activity, with 50% growth inhibitory concentrations (GI50) ranging from 0.02 µM to 1.5 µM. In these in vitro models, narazaciclib exhibited a broad range of activity against a wide spectrum of cell lines of both hematological origin (lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma) as well as solid tumors derived from multiple organ sites. Studies on drug-resistant human tumor cell lines suggested that narazaciclib is not a multidrug resistance gene (mdr1) substrate and may be active against drug-resistant tumor cell lines (IBv.1 2020; Reddy, 2014). The activity of narazaciclib does not appear to be affected by the overexpression of MDR-1 and induced apoptosis in both ibrutinib-sensitive and ibrutinib-resistant patient derived cells (Divakar, 2016). The ability of narazaciclib to inhibit the CDK4/6/RB1 pathway has also been shown in pre-clinical testing of mantle cell lymphoma (Divakar, 2016), multiple myeloma (Perumal, 2016), various breast cancer subtypes (Reddy 2014) and colorectal cancer (IBv.2 2022).
The effectiveness of first-generation non-selective CDK inhibitors (Selicilib/roscovitine and Alvocidib/ flavopiridol) in early trials was limited due to toxicities (Blachly 2013). Second-generation compounds (palbociclib and ribociclib) specifically inhibit CDK4 and 6, thereby inhibiting retinoblastoma (RB) protein phosphorylation. Abemaciclib is a multi-targeted kinase CDK4/6 inhibitor with low nano molar activity against CDK4/6. The second generation CDK4/6 inhibitors have substantially improved clinical outcomes for patients with hormonal-receptor (HR) positive metastatic breast cancer (Hortobagyi 2018, Sledge 2017, Finn 2016). Several CDK4/6 inhibitors (palbociclib, ribociclib and abemaciclib) have been approved and are now standard of care either alone (abemaciclib) or in combination with anti-estrogen therapy for patients with HR-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer. Another CDK4/6 inhibitor has recently been approved, trilaciclib, in the supportive care space, for the prevention of myelosuppression following chemotherapy.
In December 2017, we entered into a license and collaboration agreement with HanX Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (HanX), a company focused on development of novel oncology products, for the manufacturing, clinical development, registration and commercialization in China of narazaciclib. Under the terms of the agreement, we received an upfront payment, and will receive regulatory and commercial milestone payments, as well as royalties on any future Chinese sales if the drug is approved. The key feature of the 2017 collaboration was that HanX provided all funding required for the Chinese Investigational New Drug Application (IND) thereby enabling the studies necessary in order to seek IND approval by the National Medical Products Administration (the Chinese FDA). In the fourth quarter of 2019, HanX filed an IND with the Chinese FDA which was approved on January 6, 2020. We and HanX also intended for these studies underlying the Chinese IND approval, to meet the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for IND approval. Accordingly, such studies were used by us for an IND filing with the US FDA. In September 2020, a Phase 1 Study with narazaciclib in cancer patients was initiated in China. We maintain global rights to the manufacturing, clinical development and commercialization of narazaciclib outside of China.
In partnership with HanX, a Phase 1 dose escalation study (Study HX301-I-01) for patients with advanced relapsed/refractory cancer has been initiated in China at three sites and the first patient was enrolled on September 15, 2020. In this study HX301 (narazaciclib) is dosed every day for 21 days followed by 7 days off therapy in each 28 -day
cycle. In China, the first five dose cohorts have been completed. The fifth cohort is at 200 mg per day on a three weeks-on followed by a one week-off schedule.
Our IND submission to the US FDA was submitted in November 2020 and the FDA Study May Proceed letter was issued in December 2020. Enrollment into the complementary US phase 1 study (Study 19-01) with narazaciclib commenced in May 2021. The study will assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of narazaciclib administered orally at increasing doses starting at 40 mg daily for consecutive 28-day cycles in patients with relapsed/refractory advanced cancer. Enrollment in the fifth dose cohort (200 mg orally each day) of the Phase 1 solid tumor study of narazaciclib is complete with one dose limiting toxicity (DLT) observed. The sixth dose cohort is currently ongoing. In study 19-01 in the US narazaciclib is dosed on a continuous daily schedule.
Collectively, once completed, these two Phase 1 studies are expected to provide preliminary safety data and the recommended Phase 2 dose and schedule for narazaciclib as a single agent.
Retinoblastoma (Rb) protein is a master regulator of cell division and is critical to several cellular processes including senescence, self-renewal, replication and apoptosis (Engel, 2015). It is believed that loss or inactivation of Rb leads to malignant cell formation and occurs in the pathogenesis of some cancers. In a preclinical Rb positive xenograft model for breast cancer, narazaciclib activity was shown to be similar to palbociclib (Pfizer’s Ibrance ®). Moreover, based on the same preclinical model, narazaciclib may have the potential advantage of reduced neutropenia when compared to palbociclib. Whereas both compounds resulted in decreased RBC and platelet counts in this preclinical model system, palbociclib was found to have a more prominent and statistically significant (P< 0.01) inhibitory effect on neutrophil counts when compared to narazaciclib. These results would need to be replicated in clinical trials.
In vitro studies compared the growth inhibitory activity of narazaciclib and palbociclib in breast cancer RB null cell lines, which demonstrated resistance to palbociclib while maintaining sensitivity towards narazaciclib (IBv.2 2022). Studies using mantle cell lymphoma cells indicated that narazaciclib was able to induce cell death via induction of apoptosis by inhibiting the AKT/PI3K/mTOR pathway while palbociclib treatment was only able to induce cell cycle arrest due to the inhibition of CDK4/6 (Divakar, 2016). Narazaciclib treatment was associated with the presence of several apoptotic markers (PARP, caspase 3, caspase 7 and caspase 9) and narazaciclib (but not palbociclib) led to the generation of apoptotic cells. Overall, apoptosis following narazaciclib exposure has been observed in the following cell lines: breast cancer (IBv.2 2022, Reddy, 2014), mantle cell lymphoma (Divakar, 2016), multiple myeloma (Perumal, 2016) and colorectal cancer (IBv.2 2022).
In addition to CDK4/6 and PI3 Kinase pathways, narazaciclib inhibits several other kinases in vitro including ARK5 (NUAK1) (IC50 of 4.95 nM) (IBv.2 2022, Reddy, 2014) while palbociclib does not. ARK5 is a member of the AMPK family and is thought to function as a key regulator of cellular energy homeo-stasis (Liu, 2012) and is important in a number of cancer cell survival pathways. Overexpression of ARK5 is associated with poor prognosis in hepatocellular cancer (Cui, 2013), ovarian cancer (Phippen, 2016), colorectal cancer (Port, 2018) and glioblastoma (Lu, 2013). ARK5 is involved in the increased invasiveness, migration and metastatic potential of breast cancer cells (Chang, 2012), colorectal cancer (Kusakai, 2004), gastric cancer (Chen, 2017), and multiple myeloma (Suzuki et al., 2005). Narazaciclib inhibits ARK5 which may result in down regulation of the mTOR/MYC/RB1 pathways leading to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.
Because ARK5 activity is now recognized as a component in promoting cancer cell migration and invasion (Kusaki, 2004) the effect of narazaciclib treatment may have an impact on cell migration and metastasis. In certain in vitro models, narazaciclib was able to inhibit the percent migration of U87 cells in a concentration- dependent manner. The time and concentrations that were tested did not result in cell death but did inhibit cell division at the higher concentrations (IBv.2 2022). The ability of narazaciclib to inhibit cell migration was compared to palbociclib using a wound healing model. Triple negative cancer cell migration was inhibited for 72 hours in the presence of narazaciclib but not in the presence of palbociclib (IBv.2 2022).
The pathogenesis and progression of a number of cancers, including breast and multiple myeloma, is linked to C-Myc (Li, 2003) which was dependent on ARK5 activity (Liu, 2012) and calcium dependent metabolism (Monteverde, 2018). The inhibition of ARK5 has been shown to be lethal in MYC overexpressing tumors (Liu, 2012, Perumal, 2016)
and targeting ARK5 in the inhibitory profile of narazaciclib has the potential to overcome the emergence of resistance to CDK4/6 inhibitors due to the loss of retinoblastoma function and C-Myc overexpression. Preclinical studies with tumor cell lines suggest that several malignancies including HR-positive breast cancer, colorectal carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, mantle cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma, may be clinically responsive to narazaciclib exposure (Reddy, 2014, Divakar, 2016, Perumal, 2016). Furthermore, narazaciclib has been tested in four murine xenograft models (breast cancer, colorectal cancer, mantle cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma) and was found to have on-target activity and be non-toxic to the animals (Reddy, 2014; Divakar, 2016; Perumal, 2016; and IBv.2 2022).
CSF1R is in the class III kinase receptors that include c-Kit, platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) alpha, and FLT3. CSF1R has 2 high affinity binding ligands, colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1), also known as macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and interleukin 34 (IL-34). CSF-1 is important for the differentiation and proliferation of myeloid progenitor cells into macrophages, monocytes, dendritic cells, and osteoclasts. Macrophages play an important role in the pathogenesis of not only tumor growth but multiple other diseases such as inflammatory diseases and bone metabolism. High levels of CSF-1 are critical for the recruitment of tumor associated macrophages (TAMs), predominantly the immunosuppressive phenotype (M2). They are the main inflammatory immune cells in the tumor microenvironment and are involved in tumor immunosuppression, angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis.
Overexpression of CSF-1 or CSF1R is associated with tumor aggressiveness and poor prognosis. Inhibiting the signaling pathway of CSF1R provides a method to reduce the number of M2 macrophages/TAMs within the tumor microenvironment and thus improve anti-tumor immunological therapy. Recent studies have found that CSF-1/CSF1R axis blockade can improve the efficiency of immune checkpoint inhibitors, especially programmed death-ligand 1 inhibitors.
Cancer cells can lose RB function through mutation and become resistant or insensitive to palbociclib. Generally, second generation agents have not been shown to be suitable for single agent therapy and must typically be used in combination with hormonal therapy in the treatment of HR+/HER2- mBC. In addition, the rate of disease progression that occurs, especially in patients with visceral disease (Hortobagyi 2018), may benefit from the novel inhibitory effects of narazaciclib. This hypothesis needs to be proven in a clinical trial.
Unfortunately, several mechanisms of acquired resistance are emerging with the approved CDK4/6 inhibitors leading to progression in patients with HR+/HER2- mBC (Spring, 2019; Knudsen, 2020). Therefore, the unmet medical need supports development of the next (third) generation CDK4/6 inhibitors in advanced HR+/HER- mBC. The inhibitory effect of narazaciclib may provide a therapeutic strategy to optimize efficacy of CDK 4/6 inhibition and reduce the emergence of resistance and/or provide clinical benefit for patients with progression on palbociclib, ribociclib and/or abemaciclib.
We believe narazaciclib has a favorable kinase inhibitory profile in comparison to the approved CDK4/6 inhibitors (palbociclib, ribociclib, and abemaciclib) and may result in both tumorigenic and safety benefits (Perumal, 2016, Divakar, 2016).
Based on data from continuous dosing studies in rats and monkeys the safety profile of narazaciclib is anticipated to be better than the approved CDK4/6 inhibitors with myelosuppression and gastrointestinal toxicity being most common. Management of these adverse events is expected to follow that used for the approved CDK 4/6 inhibitors. We believe that the proposed mechanism of action of narazaciclib, the unmet medical need of the advanced cancers potentially targeted by narazaciclib and the anticipated safety profile of narazaciclib as seen in pre-clinical studies, support conducting clinical studies.
Clinical development of narazaciclib for breast cancer as well as other solid tumors and hematological malignancies in clinical trials is warranted based on the preclinical in vitro studies as well as the xenograft models. Onconova plans to advance testing whether narazaciclib will demonstrate activity and/or safety in patients with advanced malignancies.
As previously mentioned, CDK 4/6 inhibitors have been added to aromatase inhibitors and SERDs to enhance anti-tumor activities in HR+, HER2- metastatic breast cancer. Mirza and colleagues presented the results of the randomized
phase 2 study NSGO-PALEO / ENGOT-EN3 trial at ESMO 2020 and reported that palbociclib and letrozole yielded meaningful PFS benefit in women with ER+ recurrent endometrial cancer (Mirza et al. 2020).
Endometrial carcinoma (EC) is the most common gynecological malignancy (American Cancer Society 2021). Endometrioid endometrial carcinoma (EEC), the most common subtype of EC, accounts for approximately 75% of cases. In the US, approximately 65,950 new endometrial cancers and uterine sarcomas and approximately 12,550 deaths are expected in 2022, and the incidence and mortality have been increasing (American Cancer Society 2022). Low-grade (Grade 1 or 2) EECs (LGEECs) have ≥95% (Grade 1) or 50% to 94% (Grade 2) cancer tissue forming glands. Treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy, and/or systemic therapy. Systemic therapy is typically chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy, and typical regimens include paclitaxel/carboplatin with letrozole maintenance; paclitaxel/carboplatin/bevacizumab with bevacizumab maintenance; or letrozole, anastrozole, or exemestane (NCCN 2022). Overall, five-year disease-free survival and five-year survival are high, 81.7% and 83.1%, respectively (Gottwald 2010), but for recurrent or metastatic disease morbidity and mortality are high.
In the NSGO-PALEO / ENGOT-EN3 trial presented by Mirza at ESMO 2020 participants were randomized to letrozole 2.5 mg orally D1-28 with either palbociclib 125 mg or placebo orally d1–21 in a 28-d cycle until disease progression. PFS was significantly improved with letrozole and palbociclib compared to the placebo arm (median PFS 8.3 vs. 3.0 months, HR 0.56, 95% CI 0.32 to 0.98, p=0.04). Disease control rate at 24 weeks was also improved (63.6% vs. 37.8%). This data has been reinforced by phase 2 data presented with ribociclib and letrozole as well as abemaciclib and letrozole in this patient population.
Onconova will initiate a multi-center Phase 1/2a trial evaluating its multi-kinase inhibitor, narazaciclib, in combination with letrozole as a second- or third-line therapy for the treatment of recurrent metastatic low-grade endometrioid endometrial cancer (LGEEC) in 1Q23. Both narazaciclib and letrozole will be administered orally with a continuous daily dosing schedule in the trial, which will begin with a Phase 1 dose escalation phase before moving to a Phase 2 expansion cohort designed to enroll approximately 30 patients.
Oral Rigosertib and PD-1 Combination in KRAS-Mutated Cancers
We are currently supporting an investigator-initiated study (IIS) that is exploring the use of oral rigosertib for cancers driven by mutated K-Ras genes, a Phase 1/2a study of rigosertib in combination with a PD-1 inhibitor (nivolumab) for patients with check point inhibitor (CPI) resistant K-Ras mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The NSCLC study is open and continues to enroll patients. The objectives of this study are to identify the recommended Phase 2 dose (RP2D) of the combination for future studies and characterize the safety profile of the combination treatment. To date, one patient with a dose limiting toxicity of hyponatremia has been observed. Continued dose escalation is being considered as we believe the maximum tolerated dose has not been reached. Interim data presented at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) meeting in September 2022 showed an early and encouraging signal of efficacy in the trial’s extensively pre-treated population, with one complete response, two partial responses, and one instance of stable disease achieved in fourteen evaluable patients. These responses were achieved in patients with three distinct KRAS mutations who had failed prior checkpoint inhibitor therapy, thereby confirming rigosertib’s KRAS-agnostic mechanism of action and potential to synergize with anti-PD-1 agents. We anticipate reporting additional data from this trial in 1H23, which will be key to informing our next steps in this program. We believe this supports further investigation of rigosertib in combination with CPI in KRAS mutated NSCLC.
On June 17, 2021, we announced a publication in Molecular Cancer (Yan, C., Saleh, N., Yang, J. et al. Novel induction of CD40 expression by tumor cells with RAS/RAF/PI3K pathway inhibition augments response to checkpoint blockade. Mol Cancer 20, 85; 2021) which demonstrated that rigosertib synergistically combined with a CPI improved tumor growth inhibition and survival in a murine melanoma model that did not respond to a CPI alone. It was postulated that rigosertib’s anti-cancer activity was due to its ability to reverse immunosuppressive tumor microenvironments. We believe this pre-clinical data support the clinical evaluation of rigosertib in combination with a CPI in metastatic melanoma that has progressed on CPI therapy. An IIS at Vanderbilt University evaluating oral rigosertib in combination with pembrolizumab in patients with CPI resistant advanced/metastatic melanoma will open for enrollment in March 2023.
Rigosertib as monotherapy
RDEB is an ultra-rare condition with high unmet medical need caused by a lack of type VII collagen protein expression. Type VII collagen protein is responsible for anchoring the skin’s inner layer to its outer layer, and its absence leads to extreme skin fragility and chronic wound formation in RDEB patients. Over time, many of these patients develop squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) that typically arise in areas of chronic skin wounding and inflammation. Preclinical investigations demonstrated overexpression of polo like kinase 1 (PLK1) in RDEB-associated SCC tumor cells. These tumors show a highly aggressive, early metastasizing course, making them the primary cause of death for these patients, with a cumulative risk of death of 70% and 78.7% by age 45 and 55, respectively (Mellerio, 2016), (Fine, 2016). These neoplasms show limited response rates of mostly short duration to conventional chemo- and radiotherapy as well as targeted therapy with epidermal growth factor and tyrosine kinase inhibitors (Mellerio, 2016), (Stratigos, 2020).
Based on rigosertib’s activity as a potent PLK-1 pathway inhibitor (Antanasova, 2019), a Phase 2 open label IIS with rigosertib monotherapy in patients with advanced/metastatic squamous cell carcinoma associated with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB-SCC) is enrolling patients. As we disclosed in December 2021 early preliminary data from this study were presented at the Austrian Society of Dermatology and Venerology Annual Conference 2021, which took place from November 25 – 27, 2021 and more recently at the World Congress on Rare Skin Diseases which took place in Paris, from June 7-9, 2022.
Data from the recent presentations are from a patient with a history of multiple, unresectable cutaneous SCCs (cSCC) that were unresponsive to prior treatments including cemiplimab. Results showed that intravenously administered rigosertib had an acceptable safety profile and that the patient experienced sustained clinical and histological complete remission of all lesions without signs of metastatic disease following 13 treatment cycles. The patient remains in complete remission and on drug. Another patient was recently enrolled, a patient with RDEB and multiple cSCCs and metastatic disease involving the lymph nodes whose prior treatments included surgical excision, systemic targeted therapy (cetuximab) and immunotherapy (pembrolizumab). At baseline, the patient had extensive, unresectable cSCC involving the left elbow region as well nodal disease noted on PET-CT scan. After 4 cycles of oral rigosertib starting at 560 mg PO BID, there was reportedly complete clinical remission of all cSCC lesions. The patient has tolerated oral rigosertib and remains on therapy.
Although the trial’s currently available safety and efficacy data are from only two patients, the investigators believe they represent a very encouraging finding that warrants further study. In addition, the investigators, and we, believe the data generated in preclinical models that suggest rigosertib’s activity against PLK1 have now been preliminarily supported in the clinic and suggest that rigosertib may play a role in other more common cancers driven by PLK1.
Rare Disease Program in “RASopathies”
Based on the mechanism of action data published in the journal Cell in 2016, we initiated a collaborative development program focusing on a group of rare diseases with a well- defined molecular basis in expression or defects involving the Ras effector pathways. Since RASopathies are rare congenital diseases affecting young children, we embarked on a multifaceted collaborative program involving patient advocacy, government and academic organizations. RASopathies are usually caused by germline mutations in genes that alter the RAS subfamily and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) that control signal transduction and are among the most common genetic syndromes. Together, this group of diseases can impact more than 1 in 1,000 individuals, according to RASopathies.Net.
The NCI has conducted preclinical studies with cell lines from two pediatric solid tumors (rhabdomyosarcoma and neuroblastoma), including xenograft models. For both tumor cell lines, in vitro rigosertib exposure was associated with reduced cell viability associated with destabilization of microtubules, mitotic arrest and apoptosis. In a rhabdomyosarcoma xenograft model, rigosertib treatment delayed time to tumor progression and prolonged survival in the animals treated with rigosertib. (Kowalczyk, 2020).
Preclinical studies with rigosertib are also being conducted in cardiomyopathies which are seen in children with RASopathies.
Research and Development
Since commencing operations, we have dedicated a significant portion of our resources to the development of our clinical-stage product candidates, particularly rigosertib and more recently narazacicib. We incurred research and development expenses of $11.4 million and $7.3 million during the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. We anticipate that a significant portion of our operating expenses will continue to be related to research and development.
Collaboration and License Agreements
HanX Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (narazaciclib Agreement)
In December 2017, we entered into a license and collaboration agreement with HanX, a company focused on development of novel oncology products, for the further development, registration and commercialization in Greater China of narazaciclib. We believe narazaciclib has the potential to overcome limitations of current generation CDK 4/6 inhibitors. Under the terms of the agreement, we received an upfront payment, and will receive regulatory and commercial milestone payments, as well as royalties on Chinese sales. The key feature of the collaboration is that HanX provides all funding required for Chinese IND enabling studies performed for Chinese health authority IND approval. The Chinese IND was approved in January 2020. We and HanX also intended for these studies to comply with the FDA standards. Accordingly, such studies were used by us for an IND filing with the FDA in November 2020. The FDA Study May Proceed letter was received in December 2020. Drug product for the US study was manufactured in North America and stability data was submitted as part of the IND. We maintain global rights to narazaciclib outside of China.
SymBio Pharmaceuticals Limited
In July 2011, we entered into a license agreement with SymBio Pharmaceuticals Limited (Symbio), as subsequently amended, granting SymBio an exclusive, royalty-bearing license for the development and commercialization of rigosertib in Japan and Korea. Under the SymBio license agreement, SymBio is obligated to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop and obtain market approval for rigosertib inside the licensed territory and we have similar obligations outside of the licensed territory. We have also entered into an agreement with SymBio providing for the Company to supply SymBio with development-stage product. Under the SymBio license agreement, we also agreed to supply commercial product to SymBio under specified terms that will be included in a commercial supply agreement to be negotiated prior to the first commercial sale of rigosertib. The supply of development-stage product and the supply of commercial product will be at our cost plus a defined profit margin. We have additionally granted SymBio a right of first negotiation to license or obtain the rights to develop and commercialize compounds having a chemical structure similar to rigosertib in the licensed territory.
Under the terms of the SymBio license agreement, we received an upfront payment of $7,500,000. In addition, we could receive regulatory, development and sales-based milestone payments as well as royalty payments at percentage rates ranging from the mid-teens to 20% based on net sales of rigosertib by SymBio.
Royalties will be payable under the SymBio agreement on a country- by-country basis in the licensed territory, until the later of the expiration of marketing exclusivity in those countries, a specified period of time after first commercial sale of rigosertib in such country, or the expiration of all valid claims of the licensed patents covering rigosertib or the manufacture or use of rigosertib in such country. If no valid claim exists covering the composition of matter of rigosertib or the use of or treatment with rigosertib in a particular country before the expiration of the royalty term, and specified competing products achieve a specified market share percentage in such country, SymBio’s obligation to pay us royalties will continue at a reduced royalty rate until the end of the royalty term. In addition, the applicable royalties payable to us may be reduced if SymBio is required to pay royalties to third-parties for licenses to intellectual property rights necessary to develop, use, manufacture or commercialize rigosertib in the licensed territory. The license agreement with SymBio will remain in effect until the expiration of the royalty term. However, the SymBio license agreement may be terminated earlier due to the uncured material breach or bankruptcy of a party, or force majeure. If SymBio terminates the license agreement in these circumstances, its licenses to rigosertib will survive, subject to SymBio’s milestone and royalty obligations, which SymBio may elect to defer and offset against any damages that may be determined to be due
from us. In addition, we may terminate the license agreement in the event that SymBio brings a challenge against it in relation to the licensed patents, and SymBio may terminate the license agreement without cause by providing us with written notice a specified period of time in advance of termination. The upfront payment is being recognized ratably through December 2037, the expected term of the agreement. We recognize revenues related to the supply agreement with SymBio when control of the product is transferred to Symbio. Revenues related to the supply agreement were $0 and $0 for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively.
Pint International SA
In March 2018, we entered into a License, Development and Commercialization Agreement (the Pint License Agreement) with Pint International SA (which, together with its affiliate Pint Pharma GmbH, are collectively referred to as Pint). Under the terms of the Pint License Agreement, we granted Pint an exclusive, royalty-bearing license, with the right to sublicense, under certain Company patent rights and know-how to develop and commercialize any pharmaceutical product (the Pint Licensed Product) containing rigosertib in all uses of rigosertib or the Product in humans in Latin American countries (the Pint Territory, including Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, British Guiana, Suriname, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela).
Pint agreed to make an upfront equity investment and a subsequent equity investment in our common stock. In addition, we could receive regulatory, development and sales-based milestone payments as well as tiered, double-digit royalties based on aggregate net sales in the Pint Territory. Pint and the Company have also agreed to enter into a supply agreement providing for Pint purchasing rigosertib and the Pint Licensed Product from the Company within 90 days of FDA approval of a New Drug Application (NDA) for the Pint Licensed Product.
Under the terms of the Pint Securities Purchase Agreement, Pint agreed to make an upfront equity investment in the Company at a specified premium to the Company’s share price. Pursuant to the Pint Securities Purchase Agreement, closing of the upfront equity investment occurred on April 4, 2018 and Pint purchased 54,463 shares of common stock for $1,250,000. The total amount of the premium was $319,000 and this amount was allocated to the license.
Pint may terminate the Pint License Agreement in whole (but not in part) at any time upon 45 days’ prior written notice. The Pint License Agreement also contains customary provisions for termination by either party in the event of breach of the Pint License Agreement by the other party, subject to a cure period, or bankruptcy of the other party.
Knight Therapeutics, Inc.
In November 2019, we entered into a Distribution, License and Supply Agreement (the Knight License Agreement) with Knight Therapeutics Inc. (Knight). Under the terms of the License Agreement, we granted Knight (i) a non-exclusive, royalty-bearing license, with the right to sublicense, under certain Company patent rights and know-how to develop and manufacture any product (the Knight Licensed Product) containing rigosertib for Canada (and Israel should Knight exercise its option) (the Knight Territory) and in human uses (the Knight Licensed Field), and (ii) an exclusive, royalty-bearing license, with the right to sublicense, under certain Company patent rights and know-how to commercialize the Knight Licensed Product in the Knight Territory and in the Knight Licensed Field.
Knight has also agreed to obtain from us all of Knight’s requirements of the Knight Licensed Products for the Knight Territory, and we have agreed to supply Knight with all of its requirements of the Knight Licensed Products. We may, at our discretion, use the services of a contract manufacturer to manufacture and package the Knight Licensed Products.
In addition, we have granted Knight an exclusive right of first refusal with respect to all or any part of the Knight Territory, to store, market, promote, sell, offer for sale and/or distribute any ROFR Products. As used in the Knight License Agreement, “ROFR Products” means all products other than the Knight Licensed Product that are owned, licensed, or controlled by us as of the effective date of the Knight License Agreement and all improvements thereto.
We are eligible to receive clinical, regulatory, and sale-based milestone payments as well as tiered, double-digit royalties based on net sales in the Knight Territory.
The License Agreement is for a term of 15 years from the launch on a country by country basis in the Territory and contains customary provisions for termination by either party in the event of breach of the License Agreement by the other party (subject to a cure period), bankruptcy of the other party, or challenges to the patents by any sublicensee or assignee.
Specialised Therapeutics Asia Pte. Ltd.
In December 2019, we entered into a Distribution, License and Supply Agreement (the STA License Agreement) with Specialised Therapeutics Asia Pte. Ltd. (STA). Under the terms of the License Agreement, we granted STA (i) a non-exclusive, royalty-bearing license, with the right to sublicense, under certain Company patent rights and know-how to develop and manufacture any product (the STA Licensed Product) containing rigosertib for Australia and New Zealand (the STA Territory) and in human uses (the STA Licensed Field), and (ii) an exclusive, royalty-bearing license, with the right to sublicense, under certain Company patent rights and know-how to commercialize the STA Licensed Product in the STA Territory and in the STA Licensed Field.
STA has also agreed to obtain from us all of its requirements of the STA Licensed Products for the STA Territory, and we have agreed to supply STA with all of its requirements of the STA Licensed Products. We may, at our discretion, use the services of a contract manufacturer to manufacture and package the STA Licensed Products.
We are eligible to receive clinical, regulatory, and sale-based milestone payments as well as tiered, double-digit royalties based on net sales in the STA Territory.
The STA License Agreement is for a term of 15 years from the launch on a country by country basis in the STA Territory and contains customary provisions for termination by either party in the event of breach of the STA License Agreement by the other party (subject to a cure period), bankruptcy of the other party, or challenges to the patents by any sublicensee or assignee.
Patents and Proprietary Rights
Our intellectual property is derived through our internal research, licensing agreements with Temple University, or Temple, and licensing research agreements with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, or Mount Sinai.
License Agreement with Temple University
In January 1999, we entered into a license agreement with Temple as subsequently amended, to obtain an exclusive, world-wide license to certain Temple patents and technical information to make, have made, use, sell, offer for sale and import several classes of novel compounds.
Under the terms of the license agreement, we paid Temple a non-refundable up-front payment, and are required to pay annual license maintenance fees, as well as a low single-digit percentage of net sales as a royalty. In addition, we agreed to pay Temple 25% of any consideration received from any sublicensee of the licensed Temple patents and technical information, which does not include any royalties on sales, funds received for research and development or proceeds from any equity or debt investment.
The license agreement with Temple can be terminated by mutual agreement or due to the material breach or bankruptcy of either party. We may terminate the license agreement for any reason by giving Temple prior written notice.
As of March 2023, we owned or exclusively licensed issued patents and pending patent applications covering composition of matter, formulation and various indications for method-of-use for narazaciclib filed worldwide, including in the United States. The U.S. composition-of-matter patent for narazaciclib expires in 2031. We have recently filed new patent applications covering methods of treatment in target indications that are projected to extend to 2043 before any possible patent term extensions. Patent term extensions may be available, depending on various provisions in the law.
As of March 2023, we owned or exclusively licensed issued patents and pending patent applications covering composition-of-matter, process, formulation and various indications for method-of-use for rigosertib filed worldwide, including in the United States. The U.S. composition-of-matter patent for rigosertib, which we in-licensed pursuant to the license agreement with Temple, currently expires in 2026. A U.S. method of treatment patent for rigosertib, which we also in-licensed from Temple, expires in 2025. A patent covering the use of rigosertib in combination with anticancer agents including azacitidine is issued and will expire in 2028. The novel formulation patent for rigosertib expires in 2037. We have recently filed new patent applications covering methods of treatment in target indications that are projected to extend to 2044 before any possible patent term extensions. Patent term extensions may be available, depending on various provisions in the law.
As with other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, our ability to maintain and solidify a proprietary position for our product candidates will depend upon our success in obtaining effective patent claims and enforcing those claims once granted.
Our commercial success will depend in part upon not infringing upon the proprietary rights of third parties. It is uncertain whether the issuance of any third-party patent would require us to alter our development or commercial strategies, or our product candidates or processes, obtain licenses or cease certain activities. The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are characterized by extensive litigation regarding patents and other intellectual property rights. If a third party commences a patent infringement action against us, or our collaborators, it could consume significant financial and management resources, regardless of the merit of the claims or the outcome of the litigation.
The term of a patent that covers an FDA-approved drug may be eligible for additional patent term extension, which provides patent term restoration to account for the patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. The Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, or the Hatch-Waxman Act, permits a patent term extension of up to five years beyond the expiration of the patent. The length of the patent term extension is determined based upon the time from the IND effective date to the NDA submission date, and the time from NDA submission date and the eventual application approval, as further described below. Patent extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval and only one patent applicable to an approved drug may be extended. Similar provisions are available in Europe and other foreign jurisdictions to extend the term of a patent that covers an approved drug. In the future, if and when our pharmaceutical products receive FDA approval, we expect to apply for patent term extensions on patents covering those products.
Furthermore, we may be able to obtain extension of patent term by adjustment of the said term under the provisions of 35 U.S.C. § 154 if the issue of an original patent is delayed due to the failure of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For example, we have received adjustments of 1,139 days extension to the patent term for the rigosertib composition of matter patent (US 7,598,232), 1,155 days extension for the patent covering the process for making rigosertib (US 8,143,453) and 751 days extension for rigosertib formulation patent (US 8,063,109) under the provisions of 35 U.S.C. §154.
In addition to patents, we rely upon unpatented trade secrets, know-how and continuing technological innovation to develop and maintain a competitive position. We seek to protect our proprietary information, in part, through confidentiality agreements with our employees, collaborators, contractors and consultants, and invention assignment
agreements with our employees. We also have agreements requiring assignment of inventions with selected consultants and collaborators. The confidentiality agreements are designed to protect our proprietary information and, in the case of agreements or clauses requiring invention assignment, to grant us ownership of technologies that are developed through a relationship with a third party.
The pharmaceutical industry is highly competitive and subject to rapid and significant technological change. While we believe that our development experience and scientific knowledge provide us with competitive advantages, we face competition from both large and small pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. There are a number of pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, public and private universities and research organizations actively engaged in the research and development of products that may compete with our products. Many of these companies are multinational pharmaceutical or biotechnology organizations, which are pursuing the development of, or are currently marketing, pharmaceuticals that target the key oncology indications or cellular pathways on which we are focused.
It is probable that the increasing incidence and prevalence of cancer will lead to many more companies seeking to develop products and therapies for the treatment of unmet needs in oncology. Many of our competitors have significantly greater financial, technical and human resources than we have. Many of our competitors also have a significant advantage with respect to experience in the discovery and development of product candidates, as well as obtaining FDA and other regulatory approvals of products and the commercialization of those products. We anticipate intense and increasing competition as new drugs enter the market and as more advanced technologies become available. Our success will be based in part on our ability to identify, develop and manage a portfolio of drugs that are safer and more effective than competing products in the treatment of cancer patients.
There are several ongoing clinical trials aimed at expanding the use of approved chemotherapeutic and immunomodulatory agents in the diseases we are studying, as well as several new clinical programs testing novel technologies. Companies with marketed CDK 4/6 inhibitors in the HR+/ HER2- metastatic breast cancer space include Pfizer (palbociclib), Novartis (ribociclib) and Eli Lilly (abemacicilib). Onconova will be studying narazaciclib and letrozole in advanced low-grade endometrioid endometrial cancer, as well as combinations with narazaciclib in CDK 4/6i refractory HR+/ HER2- metastatic breast cancer and other potential indications.
Our product candidates are synthetic small molecules. Manufacturing activities must comply with FDA current good manufacturing practices (cGMP), regulations commensurate with the product candidates’ stage of development. We conduct our manufacturing activities under individual purchase orders with third-party contract manufacturers (CMOs). We have quality agreements in place with our key CMOs. We have also established an internal quality management organization, which audits and qualifies CMOs in the United States and abroad.
We believe that the manufacturing processes for the active pharmaceutical ingredient and finished drug products for our products are being developed to adequately support future development and commercial demands. If manufacturing challenges occur, they are thoroughly reviewed and, as may be required, reported to health authorities to determine whether the product can be used for clinical trials.
The FDA regulates and inspects or conducts remote regulatory assessments of equipment, facilities and processes used in manufacturing pharmaceutical products prior to approval. If we or CMOs fail to comply with applicable cGMP requirements and conditions of product approval, the FDA may seek sanctions, including fines, civil penalties, injunctions, suspension of manufacturing operations, operating restrictions, withdrawal of FDA approval, refusal to approve applications, seizure or recall of products and criminal prosecution. Although we periodically monitor the FDA compliance of our third-party CMOs, we cannot be certain that our present or future third-party CMOs will consistently comply with cGMP and other applicable FDA regulatory requirements.
We do not currently have an organization for the sales, marketing and distribution of pharmaceutical products. We may rely on licensing and co-promotion agreements with strategic partners for the commercialization of our products in the United States and other territories. If we choose to build a commercial infrastructure to support marketing in the United States, such commercial infrastructure could be expected to include a targeted, oncology sales force supported by sales management, internal sales support, an internal marketing group and distribution support. To develop the appropriate commercial infrastructure internally, we would have to invest significant financial and management resources.
As a pharmaceutical company that operates in the United States, we are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA, and other federal, state, and local regulatory agencies. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FDC Act), and its implementing regulations set forth, among other things, requirements for the research, testing, development, manufacture, quality control, safety, effectiveness, approval, labeling, storage, record keeping, reporting, distribution, import, export, advertising, marketing, and promotion of our products. The FDA also has issued a growing body of guidance documents that provide the agency’s interpretation of regulatory requirements.
Although the discussion below focuses on regulation in the United States, we and/or our partners anticipate seeking approval for, and marketing of, our products in other countries. Generally, our activities in other countries will be subject to regulation that is similar in nature and scope as that imposed in the United States, although there can be important differences. Additionally, some significant aspects of approval and regulation in Europe are addressed in a centralized way through the EMA, but country-specific regulation remains essential in many respects and enforcement is generally through EU member state authorities. The process of obtaining regulatory marketing approvals and the subsequent compliance with appropriate federal, state, local and foreign statutes and regulations require the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources and may not be successful. In addition, approval in the United States does not automatically result in approval in the European Union or elsewhere.
United States Government Regulation
The FDA is the main regulatory body that controls pharmaceuticals in the United States, and its regulatory authority is based in the FDC Act. Pharmaceutical products are also subject to other federal, state and local statutes. A failure to comply explicitly with any requirements during the product development, approval, or post-approval periods, may lead to administrative or judicial sanctions. These sanctions could include the imposition by the FDA or an institutional review board (IRB), or Independent Ethics Committee (IEC) of a hold on clinical trials, refusal to approve pending marketing applications or supplements, withdrawal of approval, warning letters, untitled letters, cyber letters, product recalls, product seizures or detention, prohibition on importing or exporting, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunctions, fines, civil penalties, adverse publicity, disgorgement, restitution, FDA debarment, debarment from government contracting or refusal of future orders under existing contracts, exclusion from Federal healthcare programs, corporate integrity agreements, consent decrees, or criminal prosecution.
The steps required before a new drug may be marketed in the United States generally include:
|●||Completion of preclinical or nonclinical laboratory tests, animal studies and formulation studies in compliance with the FDA’s good laboratory practice (GLP), regulations and other applicable laws and regulations;|
|●||Submission to the FDA of an IND to support human clinical testing;|
|●||Approval by an IRB at each clinical site or centrally before each trial may be initiated;|
|●||Performance of adequate and well-controlled clinical trials in accordance with federal regulations and with current good clinical practices (GCPs) to establish the safety and efficacy of the investigational drug product for each targeted indication;|
|●||Submission of an NDA to the FDA;|
|●||Satisfactory completion of an FDA Advisory Committee review, if applicable;|
|●||Satisfactory completion of an FDA inspection of the manufacturing facilities at which the investigational product is produced to assess compliance with cGMPs, and to assure that the facilities, methods and controls are adequate, as well as satisfactory completion of FDA inspections of selected clinical trial sites to ensure that clinical trials were conducted in accordance with GCPs; and|
|●||FDA review and approval of the NDA.|
Preclinical and Clinical Trials
The testing and approval process of product candidates requires substantial time, effort, and financial resources. Satisfaction of 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. Product development typically begins with preclinical or nonclinical studies. Preclinical studies include laboratory evaluation of chemistry, pharmacology, toxicity, and product formulation, as well as animal studies to assess potential safety and efficacy. Such studies must generally be conducted in accordance with the FDA’s GLPs.
Prior to commencing the first clinical trial with a product candidate, an IND sponsor must submit the results of the preclinical tests and preclinical literature, together with manufacturing information, analytical data, any available clinical data or literature, and proposed clinical study protocols among other things, to the FDA as part of an IND. An IND is a request for authorization from the FDA to administer an investigational drug product to humans. This authorization is required before interstate shipping and administration of any new drug product to humans that is not the subject of an approved NDA. A 30-day waiting period after the submission of each IND is required prior to the commencement of clinical testing in humans. During its review, the FDA may determine that study subjects would be exposed to an unacceptable level of risk of harm or injury, and may raise questions or issues related to one or more components of the IND, resulting in the IND being placed on clinical hold. 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 investigational drug to patients under the supervision of qualified investigators following 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. Clinical trials are conducted under protocols that detail the parameters to be used in monitoring safety, and the efficacy 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. Under newly enacted legislation, diversity plans will also be required. The informed written consent of each participating subject is required. Special clinical trial ethical considerations also must be taken into account if a study involves children. The clinical investigation of an investigational drug is generally divided into three phases. Although the phases are usually conducted sequentially, they may overlap or be combined. The three phases of an investigation are as follows:
|●||Phase 1. Phase 1 includes the initial introduction of an investigational drug into humans. Phase 1 clinical trials may be conducted in patients with the target disease or condition or healthy volunteers. These studies are designed to evaluate the safety, metabolism, pharmacokinetics and pharmacologic actions of the investigational drug in humans, the side effects associated with increasing doses, and if possible, to gain early evidence on effectiveness. During Phase 1 clinical trials, sufficient information about the investigational product’s pharmacokinetics and pharmacological effects may be obtained to permit the design of Phase 2 clinical trials. The total number of participants included in Phase 1 clinical trials varies, but is generally in the range of 20 to 80.|
|●||Phase 2. Phase 2 includes the controlled clinical trials conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the investigational product for a particular indication(s) in patients with the disease or condition under study, to determine dosage tolerance and optimal dosage, and to identify possible adverse side effects and safety risks associated with the drug. Phase 2 clinical trials are typically well-controlled, closely monitored, and conducted in a limited patient population, usually involving no more than several hundred participants.|
|●||Phase 3. Phase 3 clinical trials are controlled clinical trials conducted in an expanded patient population at geographically dispersed clinical trial sites. They are performed after preliminary evidence suggesting effectiveness of the investigational product has been obtained, and are intended to further evaluate dosage, clinical effectiveness and safety, to establish the overall benefit-risk relationship of the product, and to provide an adequate basis for product approval. Phase 3 clinical trials usually involve several hundred to several thousand participants. In most cases, the FDA requires two adequate and well controlled Phase 3 clinical trials to demonstrate the efficacy of the drug.|
Additional kinds of data may also help support an NDA, such as patient experience data and real world evidence. Real world evidence may be used to assist in clinical trial design or support an NDA for already approved products.
The decision to terminate development of an investigational drug product may be made by either a health authority body, such as the FDA or IRB/independent ethics committees (IECs), or by a company for various reasons. An IRB approves the initiation of a clinical trial and supervises the conduct of the trial to ensure that the risks to human subjects are reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits and that there are adequate human subject protections in place. 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 FDA requirements or presents an unacceptable risk to the clinical trial patients. In some cases, clinical trials are overseen by an independent group of qualified experts organized by the trial sponsor. This group provides guidance on whether or not a trial may or should move forward at designated check points. These decisions are based on the limited access to data from the ongoing trial. The suspension or termination of development can occur during any phase of clinical trials if it is determined that the participants or patients are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk, if the product candidate does not show sufficient evidence of efficacy, if the development program does not comply with applicable regulatory requirements, or due to changing sponsor business objectives.
In addition, there are various reporting requirements that clinical trial sponsors and investigators must comply with during the course of a clinical trial. For instance, there are requirements for the registration of ongoing clinical trials of drugs on public registries and the disclosure of certain information pertaining to the trials as well as clinical trial results after completion. Sponsors must also make annual reports to the FDA concerning the progress of their clinical trial programs as well as more frequent reports for certain serious adverse events. Sponsors must submit a protocol for each clinical trial, and any subsequent protocol amendments to the FDA and the applicable IRBs. IRBs must also receive information concerning unanticipated problems involving risks to subjects. Investigators must further provide certain information to the clinical trial sponsors to allow the sponsors to make certain financial disclosures to the FDA. Moreover, under the 21st Century Cures Act, manufacturers or distributors of investigational drugs for the diagnosis, monitoring, or treatment of one or more serious diseases or conditions must have a publicly available policy concerning expanded access to investigational drugs.
Further, the manufacture of investigational drugs for the conduct of human clinical trials is subject to cGMP requirements. Investigational drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients imported into the United States are also subject to regulation by the FDA relating to their labeling and distribution. Further, the export of investigational drug products outside of the United States is subject to regulatory requirements of the receiving country as well as U.S. export requirements under the FDC Act.
Concurrent with clinical trials, companies usually complete additional animal studies and must also develop additional information about the chemistry and physical characteristics of the product candidate as well as finalize a process for manufacturing the product in commercial quantities in accordance with cGMP requirements. The manufacturing process must be capable of consistently producing quality batches of the product candidate and, among other things, must develop methods for testing the identity, strength, quality, potency, and purity of the final product. Additionally, appropriate packaging must be selected and tested, and stability studies must be conducted to demonstrate that the product candidate does not undergo unacceptable deterioration over its shelf life.
Assuming successful completion of all required testing in accordance with all applicable regulatory requirements, detailed investigational drug product information is submitted to the FDA in the form of an NDA to request market approval for the product in specified indications.
New Drug Applications
In order to obtain approval to market a drug in the United States, a marketing application must be submitted to the FDA that provides data establishing the safety and effectiveness of the drug product for the proposed indication. The application includes all relevant data available from pertinent preclinical and clinical trials, including negative or ambiguous results as well as positive findings, together with detailed information relating to the product’s chemistry, manufacturing, controls and proposed labeling, among other things. Data can come from company-sponsored clinical trials intended to test the safety and effectiveness of a product, or from a number of alternative sources, including studies initiated by investigators. To support marketing approval, the data submitted must be sufficient in quality and quantity to establish the safety and effectiveness of the investigational drug product to the satisfaction of the FDA.
In most cases, the NDA must be accompanied by a substantial user fee; there may be some instances in which the user fee is waived. The FDA will initially review the NDA for completeness before it accepts the NDA for filing. The FDA has 60 days from its receipt of an NDA to determine whether the application will be accepted for filing based on the agency’s threshold determination that it is sufficiently complete to permit substantive review. After the NDA submission is accepted for filing, the FDA begins an in-depth review. The FDA has agreed to certain performance goals in the review of NDAs. For new molecular entities, or NMEs, the FDA has the goal of completing its review within 10 months of the application’s acceptance for filing. This, however, is just a goal, and the review time may take longer. For instance, the FDA can extend this review by three months to consider certain late-submitted information or information intended to clarify information already provided in the submission.
The FDA reviews the NDA to determine, among other things, whether the proposed product is safe and effective for its intended use, and whether the product is being manufactured in accordance with cGMP. The FDA may refer applications for novel drug products which 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 and under what conditions. For drugs for which no active ingredient (including any ester or salt of active ingredients) has previously been approved by the FDA, the FDA must refer the drug to an advisory committee or provide in an action letter, a summary of the reasons why the FDA did not refer the product candidate to an advisory committee. Product candidates may also be referred to advisory committees for other reasons. The FDA is not bound by the recommendations of an advisory committee, but it considers such recommendations carefully when making decisions.
Before approving an NDA, the FDA will inspect or conduct a remote regulatory assessment of the facilities at which the product is manufactured. The FDA will not approve the product unless it determines that the manufacturing processes and facilities are in compliance with cGMP requirements and adequate to assure consistent production of the product within required specifications. Additionally, before approving an NDA, the FDA will typically inspect or conduct a remote regulatory assessment of one or more clinical sites to assure compliance with GCP. 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 indicates that the review cycle of the application is complete and the application is not ready for approval. 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, including additional clinical trials. If a complete response letter is issued, the applicant may either: resubmit the NDA, addressing all of the deficiencies identified in the letter; withdraw the application; or request an opportunity for a hearing. 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. Notwithstanding the submission of any requested additional information, the FDA ultimately may decide that the application does not satisfy the regulatory criteria for approval.
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, clinical trials, 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 if 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 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, including the imposition of user fees for certain supplements.
Advertising and Promotion
The FDA and other federal regulatory agencies closely regulate the marketing and promotion of drugs through, among other things, standards and regulations for direct-to-consumer advertising, communications regarding unapproved uses, industry-sponsored scientific and educational activities, and promotional activities involving the Internet. A product cannot be commercially promoted before it is approved. After approval, product promotion can include only those claims relating to safety and effectiveness that are consistent with the labeling approved by the FDA. Healthcare providers are permitted to prescribe drugs for “off-label” uses — that is, uses not approved by the FDA and therefore not described in the drug’s labeling — because the FDA does not regulate the practice of medicine. All statements regarding products must be consistent with the FDA approved label, must be truthful and non-misleading, and must be adequately substantiated with a fair balance between product benefit claims and risks, among other requirements. This means, for example, that we cannot make claims about the superiority of or otherwise compare our products to other treatments without substantiation, which typically are head-to-head clinical studies However, FDA regulations impose stringent restrictions on manufacturers’ communications regarding off-label uses. Broadly speaking, a manufacturer may not promote a drug for off-label use, but may engage in non-promotional, balanced communication regarding off-label use under specified conditions. Failure to comply with applicable FDA requirements and restrictions in this area may subject a company to adverse publicity and enforcement action by the FDA, the Department of Justice (the DOJ), or the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as state authorities. This could subject a company to a range of penalties that could have a significant commercial impact, including civil and criminal fines and agreements that materially restrict the manner in which a company promotes or distributes drug products.
After regulatory approval of a drug is obtained, a company is required to comply with a number of post-approval requirements. For example, as a condition of approval of an NDA, the FDA may require post-marketing testing, including Phase 4 clinical trials, and surveillance to further assess and monitor the product’s safety and effectiveness after commercialization. Regulatory approval of oncology products often requires that patients in clinical trials be followed for long periods to determine the overall survival benefit of the drug. In addition, as a holder of an approved NDA, a company would be required to report adverse reactions and production problems to the FDA, to provide updated safety and efficacy information, and to comply with requirements concerning advertising and promotional labeling for any of its products. Further, under the Drug Quality and Security Act, manufacturers, repackagers, wholesale distributors, dispensers, and third-party logistics providers have obligations concerning the tracking and tracing of drug products, as well as the investigation and reporting of suspect and illegitimate products. Also, quality control and manufacturing procedures must continue to conform to cGMP after approval to assure and preserve the long-term stability of the drug product. Manufacturing facilities must be registered with FDA and marketed drug products must be listed. Sponsors are also subject to annual program fees, though there may be some exemptions. The FDA periodically inspects or conducts remote regulatory assessments of manufacturing facilities to assess compliance with cGMP, which imposes extensive procedural and substantive record keeping requirements. In addition, changes to the manufacturing process are strictly regulated, and, depending on the significance of the change, may require prior FDA approval before being implemented. FDA regulations also require investigation and correction of any deviations from cGMP and impose reporting and documentation requirements upon a company and any third-party manufacturers that a company may decide to use. Accordingly, manufacturers must continue to expend time, money and effort in the area of production and quality control to maintain compliance with cGMP and other aspects of regulatory compliance.
We rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties for the production of clinical and commercial quantities of our product candidates. Future FDA and state inspections may identify compliance issues at our facilities or at the facilities of our contract manufacturers that may disrupt production or distribution, or require substantial resources to correct. In addition, discovery of previously unknown problems with a product or the failure to comply with applicable requirements may result in restrictions on a product, manufacturer or holder of an approved NDA, including withdrawal or recall of the product from the market or other voluntary, FDA-initiated or judicial action that could delay or prohibit further marketing.
Newly discovered or developed safety or effectiveness data may require changes to a product’s approved labeling, including the addition of new warnings and contraindications, and also may require the implementation of other risk management measures, such as risk evaluation and mitigation strategies and phase 4 studies. Also, new government requirements, including those resulting from new legislation, may be established, or the FDA’s policies may change, which could delay or prevent regulatory approval of our products under development or result in additional post-approval requirements.
After a product is approved for commercial sale, in addition to marketing and promotion restrictions, manufacturers are subject to federal and state laws and regulations requiring them to report certain pricing data, transactions with medical professionals, and similar information. Manufacturers participating in federal health care programs are also required to provide statutorily mandated discounts and rebates.
FDA post-approval requirements are continually evolving. For example, in March 2020, the U.S. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which includes various provisions regarding FDA drug shortage and manufacturing volume reporting requirements, as well as provisions regarding supply chain security, such as risk management plan requirements, and the promotion of supply chain redundancy and domestic manufacturing. As part of the CARES Act implementation, the FDA recently issued a guidance on the reporting of the volume of drugs produced, which reporting will require additional administrative efforts by drug manufacturers. The executive branch has also taken steps to promote domestic manufacturing, and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, and the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, which were passed in 2022, included several changes to the FDC Act.
The Hatch-Waxman Amendments to the FDC Act
Orange Book Listing
In seeking approval for a drug through an NDA, applicants are required to list with the FDA each patent whose claims cover the applicant’s 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 FDA’s 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 competitors in support of approval of an abbreviated new drug application, or ANDA or 505(b)(2) application. In an effort to clarify which patents must be listed in the Orange Book, in January 2021, Congress passed the Orange Book Transparency Act of 2020, which largely codified the FDA’s existing practices into the FDCA.
An ANDA provides for marketing of a generic drug product that has the same active ingredients in the same strengths and dosage form as the listed drug and has been shown through bioequivalence testing to be therapeutically equivalent to the listed drug. Other than the requirement for bioequivalence testing, ANDA applicants are not required to conduct, or submit results of, pre-clinical 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. 505(b)(2) applications provide for marketing of a drug product that may have the same active ingredients as the listed drug and contain the same full safety and effectiveness data as an NDA, but at least some of the information comes from studies not conducted by or for the applicant. 505(b)(2) applicants may rely on published literature or the FDA’s prior finding of safety and effectiveness for an NDA approved drug product. The ANDA or 505(b)(2) applicant is required to certify to the FDA concerning any patents listed for the approved product referenced in the marketing application in the FDA’s 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 or 505(b)(2) applicant may also elect to submit a statement certifying that its proposed label does not contain (or carves out) any language regarding the patented method-of-use rather than certify to a listed method-of-use patent. If the applicant does not challenge or carve out the listed patents, the ANDA or 505(b)(2) application approval will not be made effective until all the listed patents claiming the referenced product have expired.
A certification that the new product will not infringe the already approved product’s listed patents, or that such patents are invalid, is called a Paragraph IV certification. If the ANDA or 505(b)(2) 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. 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 making an approval of the ANDA or 505(b)(2) application effective 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 or 505(b)(2) applicant, or such shorter or longer period as may be determined by a court.
The ANDA or 505(b)(2) application also will not be approved until any applicable non-patent exclusivity has expired.
Congress, the Administration, and administrative agencies have taken certain measures to increase drug competition and thus, decrease drug prices. For example, measures have been proposed and implemented to facilitate product importation. Congress also passed a bill requiring sponsors of NDA approved products to provide sufficient quantities of drug product on commercially reasonable market-based terms to entities developing generic and similar drug products. This bill also included provisions on shared and individual REMS for generic drug products.
Upon NDA approval of a new chemical entity, or NCE, which is a drug that contains no active moiety that has been approved by the FDA in any other NDA, that drug receives five years of marketing exclusivity during which the FDA cannot receive any ANDA or a 505(b)(2) application for the same active moiety. Certain changes to a drug, such as the addition of a new indication to the package insert, may be associated with a three-year period of exclusivity during which the FDA cannot approve an ANDA for a generic drug or a 505(b)(2) application that includes the change, if the applicant conducted clinical trials essential to the approval of the application, which are not bioavailability or bioequivalence studies. Such exclusivity in the EU under a broadly equivalent regime is 10 years.
An ANDA or a 505(b)(2) application may be submitted one year before NCE exclusivity expires if a Paragraph IV certification is filed.
Patent Term Extension
After NDA approval, owners of relevant drug patents may apply for up to a five-year patent extension of a single unexpired patent, that has not previously been extended. The allowable patent term extension is calculated as half of the drug’s testing phase — the time between IND application 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 patent term after the extension may not exceed 14 years from the date of approval. Similar extension rules apply in the EU.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), prohibits any U.S. individual or business from paying, offering, or authorizing payment or offering of anything of value, directly or indirectly, to any foreign official, political party or candidate for the purpose of influencing any act or decision of the foreign entity in order to assist the individual or business in obtaining or retaining business. The FCPA also obligates companies whose securities are listed in the United States to comply with accounting provisions requiring the company to maintain books and records that accurately and
fairly reflect all transactions of the corporation, including international subsidiaries, and to devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls for international operations.
Europe and Other International Government Regulation
In addition to regulations in the United States, we will be subject to a variety of regulations in other jurisdictions governing, among other things, clinical trials and any commercial sales and distribution of our products. Whether or not we obtain FDA approval for a product, we must obtain the requisite approvals from regulatory authorities in foreign countries prior to the commencement of clinical trials or marketing of the product in those countries. Some countries outside of the United States have a similar process that requires the submission of a clinical trial application, or CTA, much like the IND prior to the commencement of human clinical trials. In Europe, for example, a CTA must be submitted to each country’s national health authority and an IEC, much like the FDA and IRB, respectively. Once the CTA is approved in accordance with a country’s requirements, clinical trial development may proceed. With the Clinical Trials Regulation (EC) 536/2014 in force since January 31, 2022, it is now possible to make a single application for a cross-border trial within the EU through an EU clinical trial portal. With the departure of the United Kingdom (UK) from the EU, trials in the UK have to be approved through the portal and a separate application will need to be made to the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Additionally, in the EU there is an increasing move to transparency of trial summary reports and the above Clinical Trial Regulation will include a publicly accessible database of data and information submitted in accordance with this regulation. Companies submitting data will need to justify why it should be kept confidential.
To obtain regulatory approval to commercialize a new drug under European Union regulatory systems, we must submit a marketing authorization application, or MAA. The MAA is comparable to the NDA.
For other countries outside of the European Union, such as countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America or Asia, the requirements governing the conduct of clinical trials, product licensing, pricing and reimbursement vary from country to country. In all cases, again, the clinical trials are conducted in accordance with GCP and the applicable regulatory requirements and the ethical principles that have their origin in the Declaration of Helsinki.
Under certain circumstances, regulators may permit unapproved drugs to be used by patients outside of clinical trials. In the U.S., with FDA approval, manufacturers may provide investigational drugs to patients with serious or immediately life threatening diseases for which there are no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapies. To qualify for U.S. expanded access, the potential benefit must justify the potential risks and the potential risks must not be unreasonable. Providing the investigational drug must also not interfere with product development. There are additional qualifying criteria depending on the number of patients in the expanded access program, and the expanded access sponsor and investigator must comply with FDA’s regulations. U.S. law also permits treatment access to certain investigational drugs under the federal Right to Try law, which permits manufacturers to provide investigational drugs to patients with a life-threatening disease or condition, who have exhausted all approved treatment options, who cannot participate in a clinical trial of the drug, and who provides informed consent, provided that certain conditions are met. Certain reports must be submitted to FDA under the federal Right to Try law. There are also state level Right to Try statutes.
In the European Union, early access programs are authorized by EU legislation and, through national laws, EU member states have implemented regulatory requirements related to these programs. National competent authorities may authorize early access program use. In both the European Union and United States unapproved drug products may not be promoted or marketed.
During all phases of development (pre- and post-marketing), failure to comply with applicable regulatory requirements may result in administrative or judicial sanctions. These sanctions could include the imposition by the FDA or an institutional review board, or IRB, of a hold on clinical trials, refusal to approve pending marketing applications or
supplements, withdrawal of approval, warning letters, untitled letters, cyber letters, product recalls, product seizures or detention, prohibition on importing or exporting, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunctions, fines, civil penalties, adverse publicity, disgorgement, restitution, FDA debarment, debarment from government contracting or refusal of future orders under existing contracts, exclusion from Federal healthcare programs, corporate integrity agreements, consent decrees, or criminal prosecution. Any agency or judicial enforcement action could have a material adverse effect on us.
Other Special Regulatory Procedures
Orphan Drug Designation
The FDA may grant Orphan Drug Designation to drugs intended to treat a rare disease or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the United States, or, if the disease or condition affects more than 200,000 individuals in the United States, there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing and making the drug would be recovered from sales in the United States. Additionally, sponsors must present a plausible hypothesis for clinical superiority to obtain orphan designation if there is a product already approved by the FDA that is intended for the same indication and that is considered by the FDA to be the same as the already approved product. This hypothesis must be demonstrated to obtain orphan exclusivity. In the European Union, the EMA’s Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products, or COMP, grants Orphan Drug Designation to promote the development of products that are intended for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of life-threatening or chronically debilitating conditions affecting not more than five in 10,000 persons in the European Union. Additionally, designation is granted for products intended for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of a life-threatening, seriously debilitating or serious and chronic condition and when, without incentives, it is unlikely that sales of the drug in the European Union would be sufficient to justify the necessary investment in developing the drug.
In the United States, Orphan Drug Designation entitles a party to financial incentives, such as opportunities for grant funding towards clinical trial costs for certain kinds of studies, tax credits for certain research and user fee waivers under certain circumstances. Under the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress expanded the potential opportunities for grant funding to include additional kinds of studies. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, however, reduced the available tax credits for orphan products. In addition, if a product receives the first FDA approval for the indication for which it has orphan designation, the product is entitled to seven years of market exclusivity, which means the FDA may not approve any other application for the same drug for the same indication for a period of seven years, except in limited circumstances, such as a showing of clinical superiority over the product with orphan exclusivity. 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.
Notably, the exact scope of orphan drug exclusivity is currently in flux. A 2021 judicial decision, Catalyst Pharms., Inc. v. Becerra, challenged and reversed an FDA decision on the scope of orphan product exclusivity for the drug Firdapse. Under this decision, orphan drug exclusivity for Firdapse blocked approval of another company’s application for the same drug for the entire disease or condition that for which orphan drug designation was granted even though the approved product indication was narrower. This decision was contrary to FDA’s interpretation of the FDC Act, which took the position that orphan drug exclusivity only protected a product’s approved indication. In January 2023, the FDA published a notice in the Federal Register stating that it interprets the Catalyst Pharms., decision narrowly and intends to continue tying the scope of orphan drug exclusivity to the uses or indications that a drug is approved for. The scope of orphan drug exclusivity will likely be an evolving area.
In the European Union, Orphan Drug Designation also entitles a party to financial incentives such as reduction of fees or fee waivers and 10 years of market exclusivity is granted following drug approval. This period may be reduced to six years if the Orphan Drug Designation criteria are no longer met, including where it is shown that the product is sufficiently profitable not to justify maintenance of market exclusivity or where the holder of the marketing authorization for the original orphan medicinal product is unable to supply sufficient quantities of the medicinal product. As with the FDA, orphan drug exclusivity does not prevent the EMA from approving a second medicinal product where such second medicinal product, although similar to the orphan medicinal product already authorized, is safer, more effective or otherwise clinically superior.
Orphan drug designation must be requested before submission of an application for marketing approval. Orphan drug designation does not convey any advantage in, or shorten the duration of the regulatory review and approval process.
Priority Review (United States), Accelerated Review (European Union) and other Expedited Programs
The FDA has various programs, including Fast Track designation, accelerated approval, priority review and breakthrough designation, that are intended to expedite or simplify the process for the development and FDA review of certain drug products that are intended for the treatment of serious or life threatening diseases or conditions, and demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs or present a significant improvement over existing therapy. The purpose of these programs is to provide important new drugs to patients earlier than under standard FDA review procedures.
To be eligible for a Fast Track designation, the FDA must determine, based on the request of a sponsor, that a product is intended to treat a serious or life threatening disease or condition and demonstrates the potential to address an unmet medical need. The FDA will determine that a product will fill an unmet medical need if the product will provide a therapy where none exists or provide a therapy that may be potentially superior to existing therapy based on efficacy, safety, or public health factors. If Fast Track designation is obtained, drug sponsors may be eligible for more frequent development meetings and correspondence with the FDA. In addition, the FDA may initiate review of sections of an NDA before the application is complete. This “rolling review” is available if the applicant provides and the FDA approves a schedule for the remaining information.
Based on results of one or more Phase 3 clinical trials submitted in an NDA, upon the request of an applicant, a priority review designation may be granted to a product by the FDA, which sets the target date for FDA action on the application at six months from FDA filing, or eight months from the sponsor’s submission. Priority review is given to drugs intended to treat serious conditions and which, if approved would provide significant improvements in the safety or effectiveness of the treatment, diagnosis, or prevention of the serious condition. If criteria are not met for priority review, the standard FDA review period is 10 months from FDA filing, or 12 months from sponsor submission. Priority review designation does not change the scientific/medical standard for approval or the quality of evidence necessary to support approval.
Moreover, under the provisions of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, or FDASIA, enacted in 2012, a sponsor can request designation of a product candidate as a “breakthrough therapy.” A breakthrough therapy is defined as a drug that is intended, alone or in combination with one or more other drugs, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition, and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development. Drugs designated as breakthrough therapies are eligible for the Fast Track designation features as described above, intensive guidance on an efficient drug development program beginning as early as Phase 1 trials, and a commitment from the FDA to involve senior managers and experienced review staff in a proactive collaborative, cross-disciplinary review.
In addition, products for treating serious or life threatening conditions and that provide a meaningful advantage over available therapies may be eligible for accelerated approval and may be approved on the basis of adequate and well-controlled clinical trials establishing that the drug product has an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit, or on a clinical endpoint that can be measured earlier than irreversible morbidity or mortality, that is reasonably likely to predict an effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality or other clinical benefit, taking into account the severity, rarity, or prevalence of the condition and the availability or lack of alternative treatments. As a condition of approval, the FDA will require a sponsor of a drug receiving accelerated approval to perform post-marketing studies, including completion of Phase 4 clinical trials to demonstrate clinical benefit, and to verify and describe the predicted effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality or other clinical endpoints. By the date of approval of an accelerated approval product, the FDA must specify the conditions for the required post approval studies, including enrollment targets, the study protocol, milestones, and target completion dates. The FDA may also require that the confirmatory Phase 4 studies be commenced prior to the FDA granting a product accelerate approval. Reports on the progress of the required Phase 4 confirmatory studies must be submitted to the FDA every 180 days after approval. The
drug may be subject to accelerated withdrawal procedures if such studies do not verify the product’s clinical benefit or other evidence shows a lack of safety or efficacy pursuant to a streamlined process that is outlined in the FDC Act. Promotional materials for products approved via the accelerated approval pathway must be submitted to the FDA prior to initial distribution. Such products may also be subject to distribution or use restrictions, if the FDA determines that restrictions are needed to assure safe use. In recent years, the accelerated approval pathway has come under significant FDA and public scrutiny. Accordingly, depending on the results of our studies, the FDA may be more conservative in granting accelerated approval or, if granted, may be more apt to withdrawal approval if clinical benefit is not confirmed.
Even if a product qualifies for one or more of these programs, the FDA may later decide that the product no longer meets the conditions for qualification or decide that the time period for FDA review or approval will not be shortened. Sponsors availing themselves of these programs must also be prepared to potentially work on accelerated timelines with respect to other areas of product development, including manufacturing.
Under the Centralized Procedure in the European Union, the maximum timeframe for the evaluation of a marketing authorization application is 210 days (excluding clock stops, when additional written or oral information is to be provided by the applicant in response to questions asked by the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products of Human Use (CHMP)). On average, an approval is provided by the European Commission after approximately 15 months. Accelerated assessment might be granted by the CHMP in exceptional cases, when a medicinal product is expected to be of a major public health interest, defined by three cumulative criteria: the seriousness of the disease (e.g., heavy disabling or life-threatening diseases) to be treated; the absence or insufficiency of an appropriate alternative therapeutic approach; and anticipation of high therapeutic benefit. In this circumstance, EMA ensures that the opinion of the CHMP is given within 150 days. There is also a conditional marketing authorization which allows for the early approval of a medicine on the basis of less complete clinical data than normally required, if the medicine addresses an unmet medical need and targets a seriously debilitating or life-threatening disease, a rare disease or is intended for use in emergency situations in response to a public health threat. The benefit to public health must outweigh the risk due to the limited availability of clinical data at the time of marketing authorization.
The EMA has recently been conducting a pilot on ‘adaptive pathways’ — an iterative process building on existing regulatory processes involving gathering evidence through real-life use to supplement clinical trial data.
Under the Pediatric Research Equity Act (the PREA), NDAs or certain 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. Unless otherwise required by regulation, PREA does not apply to any drug for an indication for which orphan designation has been granted.
Also, under the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, sponsors submitting applications for product candidates intended for the treatment of adult cancer which are directed at molecular targets that the FDA determines to be substantially relevant to the growth or progression of pediatric cancer must submit, with the application, reports from molecularly targeted pediatric cancer investigations designed to yield clinically meaningful pediatric study data, using appropriate formulations, to inform potential pediatric labeling. The FDA may grant full or partial waivers, or deferrals, for submission of data under PREA and this requirement.
The Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act, or BPCA, provides NDA holders a six-month extension of any exclusivity — Orange Book listed patent or non-patent exclusivity — for a drug if certain conditions are met. Conditions for exclusivity include the FDA’s 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 required timeframe. The data do not need to show the product to be effective in the pediatric population studied; rather, if the clinical trial is deemed to fairly respond to the FDA’s request, the additional protection is granted. This is not a patent term extension, but it effectively extends the regulatory exclusivity period. Moreover, pediatric exclusivity attaches to all formulations, dosage forms, and indications for products with existing marketing exclusivity or Orange Book listed patent life that contain the same
active moiety as that which was studied. Applications under the BPCA for labeling changes receive priority review designation, with all of the benefits that designation confers.
In the European Union all applications for marketing authorization for new medicines have to include the results of studies as described in an agreed pediatric investigation plan, unless the medicine receives a deferral or waiver. Medicines authorized across the EU with the results of studies from a pediatric investigation plan 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.
Following approval of any product candidate, the product would be subject to a comprehensive system of laws and regulations on the state and federal level that govern how drug products are reimbursed , healthcare financing, and drug manufacturers’ relationships and interactions with healthcare professionals, including potential prescribers. These requirements include required fees, rebates, discounts and payment reductions, required price reporting and pricing transparency, caps on price increases, requirements around price negotiation, and requirements to enter into agreements with government agencies and certain healthcare entities that may result in significant limits on the prices we may charge for our products. Failure to comply with these laws, regulations, and/or restrictions could result in a loss of our ability to continue selling our drugs to the federal and state governments or receiving reimbursement for our drugs once approved. It could also result in enforcement actions.
The government is increasingly focused on measures to contain program costs for prescription drugs and there have been a number of U.S. Congressional inquiries, proposed bills, and enacted legislation focused on decreasing prescription drug spending and bringing more transparency to drug pricing. These efforts may result in a decrease in the amount of reimbursement we received for our drugs from Medicare or other government programs for our drugs, once approved, and any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare and other government programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors. These and any additional healthcare reform measures could further constrain our business or limit the amounts that federal and state governments will pay for healthcare products and services, which could result in additional pricing pressures. The implementation of cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may prevent us from being able to generate revenue, attain profitability, or commercialize our products. In addition, it is possible that there will be further legislation or regulation that could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Because of the significant governmental focus on drug prices, at this time we cannot determine how or if our product candidates will be reimbursed, following approval, or if any reimbursement levels will be sufficient to allow us to attain profitability. Changes in the law may result in additional downward pressure on coverage and the price that we receive for any approved product, or may require increased manufacturer rebates, and could seriously harm our business.
Different pricing and reimbursement schemes exist in other countries. In the European Community, governments influence the price of pharmaceutical products through their pricing and reimbursement rules and control of national health care systems that fund a large part of the cost of those products to consumers. Some jurisdictions operate positive and negative list systems under which products may only be marketed once a reimbursement price has been agreed. To obtain reimbursement or pricing approval, some of these countries may require the completion of clinical trials that compare the cost-effectiveness of a particular drug candidate to currently available therapies. Other member states allow companies to fix their own prices for medicines, but monitor and control company profits. The downward pressure on health care costs in general, particularly prescription drugs, has become very intense. As a result, increasingly high barriers are being erected to the entry of new products. In addition, in some countries, cross-border imports from low-priced markets exert a commercial pressure on pricing within a country. There can be no assurance that any country that has price controls or reimbursement limitations for dug products will allow favorable reimbursement and pricing arrangements of our products.
Other Healthcare Laws and Compliance Requirements
The federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits, among other things, knowingly and willfully offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration, directly or indirectly, to induce or in return for purchasing, leasing, ordering or arranging for the purchase, lease or order of any healthcare item or service reimbursable in whole or in part under Medicare, Medicaid or other federally financed healthcare programs. This statute has been interpreted to apply to arrangements between pharmaceutical manufacturers on one hand and prescribers, purchasers, and formulary managers on the other. Although there are a number of statutory exemptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting some business arrangements from prosecution, the exemptions and safe harbors are drawn narrowly and practices that involve remuneration intended to induce prescribing, purchasing or recommending may be subject to scrutiny if they do not qualify for an exemption or safe harbor, as well as if they do. With respect to the safe harbors, the Office of Inspector General of HHS recently promulgated two additional safe harbor regulations. One safe harbor regulation excludes from the definition of “remuneration” limited categories of manufacturer rebates or other price reductions to a plan sponsor under Medicare Part D or a Medicaid Managed Care Organization plan reflected in point-of sale reductions in price. The second safe harbor regulation excludes from the definition of “remuneration” PBM service fees paid by a manufacturer to a PBM. In addition, the Office of Inspector General of HHS revised the discount safe harbor regulation to exclude from the definition of “discount” a reduction in price by a manufacturer to plan sponsors under Medicare Part D either directly to the plan sponsor, or indirectly through a PBM. The effective date of the two new safe harbors and the revision to the discount safe harbor was delayed by court order until January 1, 2023. Recent legislation further delayed implementation of the new safe harbors and the revision to the discount safe harbor until January 1, 2032. Our practices may not in all cases meet all of the criteria for safe harbor protection from federal Anti-Kickback Statute liability. The reach of the Anti-Kickback Statute was broadened by the Affordable Care Act, which, among other things, amends the intent requirement of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. Pursuant to the statutory amendment, a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of this statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. In addition, the Affordable Care Act provides that the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a per se false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the civil False Claims Act (discussed below) or the civil monetary penalties statute, which imposes penalties against any person who is determined to have presented or caused to be presented a claim to a federal healthcare program that the person knows or should know is for an item or service that was not provided as claimed or is false or fraudulent.
The federal civil False Claims Act prohibits any person from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false claim for payment to the federal government, knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim to the federal government or avoiding, decreasing, or concealing an obligation to pay money to the federal government. A claim includes “any request or demand” for money or property presented to the U.S. government. The civil False Claims Act authorizes imposition of treble damages and a civil penalty for each false claim submitted, which, for pharmaceutical products, have frequently resulted in multi-million dollar penalties. Claims under the civil False Claims Act may be brought by the government or private parties on behalf of the government, called “qui tam” actions, which may proceed even if the government does not join as a party.
The civil False Claims Act has been used to assert liability on the basis of kickbacks and other improper referrals, improperly reported government pricing metrics such as Best Price or Average Manufacturer Price, improper use of Medicare provider or supplier numbers when detailing a provider of services, improper promotion of off-label uses not expressly approved by the FDA in a product’s label, and allegations as to misrepresentations with respect to products, contract requirements, and services rendered , in addition to other allegations. In addition, private payers have been filing follow-on lawsuits alleging fraudulent misrepresentation. Intent to deceive is not required to establish liability under the civil False Claims Act. Rather, a claim may be false for deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information provided or for acts in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of that information. If the government decides to intervene in a qui tam action and prevails in the lawsuit, the individual will share in the proceeds from any damages, penalties or settlement funds. If the government declines to intervene, the individual may pursue the case alone. The civil False Claims Act provides for treble damages and a civil penalty for each false claim, such as an invoice or pharmacy claim for reimbursement, which can aggregate into tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars. For these reasons, since 2004, False Claims Act lawsuits against biopharmaceutical companies have increased significantly in volume and breadth, leading to several substantial civil and criminal settlements, as much as $3.0 billion, regarding certain sales
practices and promoting off label uses. Civil False Claims Act liability may further be imposed for known Medicare or Medicaid overpayments, for example, overpayments caused by understated rebate amounts, that are not refunded within 60 days of identifying the overpayment, even if the overpayment was not caused by a false or fraudulent act.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) created new federal criminal statutes that prohibits, among other things, knowingly and willfully executing a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, including private third-party payors and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services. The Affordable Care Act amended the intent requirement of certain of these criminal statutes under HIPAA so that a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of the statute, or the specific intent to violate it, to have committed a violation. Further, the government may prosecute conduct constituting a false claim under the criminal False Claims Act. The criminal False Claims Act prohibits the making or presenting of a claim to the government knowing such claim to be false, fictitious, or fraudulent and, unlike the civil False Claims Act, requires proof of intent to submit a false claim. Also, many states have fraud and abuse statutes or regulations that are similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act that apply to items and services reimbursed under Medicaid and other state programs, or, in several states, apply regardless of the payor.
The Affordable Care Act further created new federal requirements for reporting, by applicable manufacturers of covered drugs, of information related to payments and other transfers of value made to or at the request of covered recipients, namely US-licensed physicians and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family. The categories of covered recipients later was expanded to include physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives and certified registered nurse anesthetists. Payments made to physicians and certain research institutions for clinical trials are included within the ambit of this law.
In addition, we may be subject to data privacy and security regulation by both the federal government and the states in which we conduct our business. HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, and their implementing regulations, impose requirements relating to the privacy, security, breach notification, and transmission of protected health information. HIPAA’s security and certain privacy standards are directly applicable to “business associates” — persons or organizations, other than a member of a covered entity’s workforce, that create, receive, maintain, or transmit protected health information on behalf of a covered entity for a function or activity regulated by HIPAA. HIPAA authorizes the imposition of civil and criminal penalties against covered entities and business associates. HIPAA permits state attorneys general to file civil actions for damages or injunctions in federal courts to enforce the HIPAA and seek attorneys’ fees and costs associated with pursuing federal civil actions. HIPAA also imposes requirements with respect to disclosures of protected health information for research purposes, such as clinical trials. In addition, state laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, govern the privacy and security of health information in specified circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and may not be preempted by HIPAA. In 2023, new state privacy laws will become effective in California, Colorado Connecticut, Utah, and Virginia, further complicating privacy compliance efforts. In addition, more onerous foreign data privacy provisions may apply. For instance, the EU General Data Protection Regulation imposes stricter rules on the processing of personal data than apply in the United States and its provisions exclude the export of data relating to identifiable individuals to most countries, including the United States, unless certain safeguards are in place.
In the United States, our activities are potentially subject to additional regulation by various federal, state and local authorities in addition to the FDA, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, other divisions of HHS (e.g., the Office of Inspector General), the DOJ and individual U.S. Attorney offices within the DOJ, and state and local governments. If a drug product is reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid, pricing and rebate programs must comply with, as applicable, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 as well as the Medicaid rebate requirements of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, or the OBRA, and the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992, each as amended. Among other things, the OBRA requires drug manufacturers to calculate and report complex pricing metrics used to determine rebates paid on prescription drugs to state Medicaid programs. Under the Veterans Health Care Act, or VHCA, drug companies are required to offer “covered drugs” (including all drugs approved under an NDA) at no more than a statutory ceiling price, calculated based on a manufacturer’s required price calculations, to four federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and DoD, the Public Health Service. Also
under the VHCA, manufacturers are required to offer drugs for sale at no more than a separate statutory ceiling price calculated by the manufacturer to Public Health Service designated entities in order to participate in other federal funding programs including Medicaid. Legislation subsequent to the VHCA has required that certain discounted prices under the VHCA also be offered for specified DoD purchases for its TRICARE program via a rebate system. Participation under the VHCA requires submission of pricing data and calculation of discounts and rebates pursuant to complex statutory formulas, as well as the entry into government procurement contracts governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of available statutory and regulatory exemptions, it is possible that some of our business activities could be subject to challenge under one or more of such laws. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of the federal and state laws described above or any other governmental regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including criminal and significant civil monetary penalties, damages, fines, imprisonment, exclusion from participation in government healthcare programs, injunctions, recall or seizure of products, total or partial suspension of production, denial or withdrawal of pre-marketing product approvals, private “qui tam” actions brought by individual whistleblowers in the name of the government, suspension or debarment prohibiting us from participating in federal procurement and non-procurement transactions, including government contracts, and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our results of operations. To the extent that any of our products are sold in a foreign country, we may be subject to similar foreign laws and regulations, which may include, for instance, applicable post-marketing requirements, including safety surveillance, anti-fraud and abuse laws, and implementation of corporate compliance programs and reporting of payments or transfers of value to healthcare professionals.
In order to distribute products commercially, we must comply with state laws that require the registration of manufacturers and wholesale distributors of pharmaceutical products in a state, including, in some states, manufacturers and distributors who ship products into the state even if such manufacturers or distributors have no place of business within the state. Several states have enacted legislation requiring pharmaceutical companies to, among other things, establish marketing compliance programs, file periodic reports with the state, make periodic public disclosures on sales, marketing, pricing, clinical trials and other activities, and/ or register their sales representatives, as well as to prohibit pharmacies and other healthcare entities from providing specified physician prescribing data to pharmaceutical companies for use in sales and marketing, and to prohibit other specified sales and marketing practices. Additionally, some states have enacted laws that cap increases in prices charged for drugs in that state. All of our activities are potentially subject to federal and state consumer protection and unfair competition laws.
In Europe, most countries have laws or (more commonly) codes of practice which broadly emulate US ‘sunshine laws’ and require companies to maintain and publish a record of transfers of value to healthcare professionals. These are in addition to national anti-corruption laws similar to the FCPA — for instance the UK Bribery Act 2010 which has a wider scope than the FCPA in many respects including in that it covers relevant decision makers in both the private and public sectors and applies both domestically and internationally.
We believe that our success is largely dependent upon our ability to attract and retain qualified employees. As of December 31, 2022, we had 17 employees (16 of which were full-time employees), in addition to several consultants or independent contractors working for us. We are not party to any collective bargaining arrangements and consider our relations with our employees to be good. Although we believe that the size of our current workforce is appropriate to achieve our objectives, we may hire additional employees with specialized expertise as we continue to grow our business. We believe that we have been successful to date in attracting skilled and experienced scientific and business professionals.
We strongly believe that our success depends, in part, on open and regular communication with employees to help foster a high performing and engaged workforce. To help ensure that employees fully understand the Company’s long-term strategy and annual goals and how their work contributes to the Company’s success, we utilize a variety of channels to facilitate open and direct communication, including monthly all-employee meetings and regular ongoing update communications.
Our compensation philosophy is to pay for performance, which supports the Company’s business strategies, and offer competitive compensation arrangements to attract and retain key individuals. The Company has established a Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors which considers the impact of our corporate performance in determining compensation for named executive officers, as well as each named executive officer’s individual performance, macroeconomic conditions generally, and data from peer group companies.
We were incorporated in Delaware in December 1998. Our principal executive offices are located at 12 Penns Trail, Newtown, PA 18940 and our telephone number is (267) 759-3680. Our website address is www.onconova.com. The information contained in, or that can be accessed through, our website is not part of this report.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
You should carefully consider the following risk factors together with the other information contained in this Annual Report, including our financial statements and the related notes appearing in this report. We cannot assure you that any of the events discussed in the risk factors below will not occur. If any of the following risks actually occur, they may materially harm our business and our financial condition and results of operations. In this event, the market price of our securities could decline and your investment could be lost. You should understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all such risks. Consequently, you should not consider the following to be a complete discussion of all potential risks or uncertainties.
Summary of Principal Risk Factors
|●||Our product development efforts may not be successful.|
|●||Our future success is dependent primarily on the regulatory approval and commercialization of our product candidates.|
|●||The results of preclinical testing or earlier clinical studies are not necessarily predictive of future results. Any product candidate we advance into clinical trials may not have favorable results in later-stage clinical trials or receive regulatory approval.|
|●||Clinical drug development involves a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome.|
|●||Our product candidates may cause undesirable side effects or have other properties that could delay or prevent their regulatory approval, limit the commercial profile of an approved label, or result in significant negative consequences following any marketing approval.|
|●||Failure to follow the FDA’s applicable regulatory requirements may result in enforcement action.|
|●||Changes in product candidate manufacturing or formulation may result in additional costs or delay.|
|●||Healthcare legislation, including potentially unfavorable pricing regulations or other healthcare reform initiatives, may increase the difficulty and cost for us to obtain marketing approval of and commercialize our product candidates and affect the prices we may obtain.|
|●||Our employees may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with regulatory standards and requirements, which could cause significant liability for us and harm our reputation.|
|●||We face substantial competition, which may result in others discovering, developing or commercializing products before or more successfully than we do.|
|●||If we breach our license agreements or fail to negotiate new agreements pertaining to our product candidates, we could lose the ability to continue the development and potential commercialization of these product candidates.|
|●||Product liability lawsuits against us could cause us to incur substantial liabilities and to limit commercialization of any products that we may develop.|
|●||We may engage in future business combinations or collaborations that could disrupt our business, cause dilution to our stockholders and harm our financial condition and operating results.|
|●||We depend on information technology and computer systems to operate our business; our business and operations would suffer in the event of any failures or interruptions of our computer system, such as a data breach or cybersecurity incident.|
|●||Climate change, environmental, social and governance and sustainability initiatives may result in regulatory or structural industry changes that could require significant operational changes and expenditures, reduce demand for the Company’s products and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.|
|●||Business disruptions could seriously harm our future revenues and financial condition and increase our costs and expenses.|
|●||Our future success depends on our ability to retain our executive officers and to attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel.|
|●||The COVID-19 pandemic could adversely impact our business, including our clinical trials, drug manufacturing and nonclinical activities.|
|●||Our recurring operating losses, negative cash flows from operations, and accumulated deficit raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern absent obtaining adequate new financings.|
|●||The report of our independent registered accounting firm on our audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 contains an explanatory paragraph relating to our ability to continue as a going concern.|
|●||We need to obtain additional funding to continue as a going concern; if we are unable to meet our needs for additional funding in the future, we will be required to limit, scale back or cease operations.|
|●||We have incurred significant losses since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur losses in the future.|
|●||We currently have no source of product revenue and may never become profitable.|
|●||We need to obtain additional funding to further develop our products in future clinical trials and through regulatory processes; if we are unable to meet our needs for additional funding in the future, we will be required to limit, scale back or cease operations.|
|●||Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our existing stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies or product candidates.|
|●||Adverse developments affecting financial institutions, companies in the financial services industry or the financial services industry generally, such as actual events or concerns involving liquidity, defaults or non-performance, could adversely affect our operations and liquidity.|
|●||Changes in United States and China relations, as well as relations with other countries, and/or regulations may adversely impact our business, our operating results, our ability to raise capital and the market price of our shares.|
|●||We rely on third parties to conduct our preclinical and clinical trials. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates.|
|●||If we lose our relationships with CROs, our drug development efforts could be delayed.|
|●||We have limited experience manufacturing our product candidates on a large clinical or commercial scale and have no manufacturing facility. We are dependent on third-party manufacturers for the manufacture of our product candidates for clinical trials as well as on third parties for our supply chain, and if we experience problems with any third parties, the manufacturing of our product candidates or products could be delayed.|
|●||We could be required to incur significant expenses to perfect our intellectual property rights, and our intellectual property rights may be inadequate to protect our competitive position. If we are unable to protect our intellectual property rights, our competitive position could be harmed.|
|●||We may become involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our intellectual property, which could be expensive, time consuming and unsuccessful.|
|●||Third parties may initiate legal proceedings alleging that we are infringing their intellectual property rights, the outcome of which would be uncertain and could harm our business.|
|●||We may be subject to claims that our employees have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged trade secrets of their former employers.|
|●||We may not comply with the Nasdaq continued listing requirements. If we are unable to comply with the continued listing requirements of the Nasdaq Capital Market, our Common Stock could be delisted, which could affect our Common Stock's market price and liquidity and reduce our ability to raise capital.|
|●||Our share price and the liquidity of our stock may be volatile and result in substantial losses to our stockholders.|
|●||We may be subject to securities litigation, which is expensive and could divert management attention.|
|●||Some provisions of our charter documents and Delaware law may have anti-takeover effects that could discourage an acquisition of us by others, even if an acquisition would be beneficial to our stockholders and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.|
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
Our product development efforts may not be successful.
The focus of our development efforts is currently on narazaciclib and oral rigosertib. Although, we believe that there are opportunities for us to develop narazaciclib, our novel multi kinase inhibitor targeting CDK4/6 as well as other tyrosine kinases, in indications such as endometrial cancer, metastatic breast cancer, mantle cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma, and oral rigosertib in RAS mutated cancers, clinical drug development is expensive, can take many years to complete, and its outcome is inherently uncertain. Even if our clinical development programs are successful, we may not be able to successfully commercialize any product. There can be no assurance that our focus on narazaciclib and oral rigosertib will be successful, and that we will be able to successfully develop a product candidate or, even if we do, that we will be able to successfully commercialize such candidate.
Our future success is dependent primarily on the regulatory approval and commercialization of our product candidates.
Before obtaining regulatory approvals for the commercial sale of any product candidate for a target indication, we must demonstrate with substantial evidence gathered in preclinical and well-controlled clinical studies and, with respect to approval in the United States, to the satisfaction of the FDA, that the product candidate is safe and effective for use for that target indication and that the manufacturing facilities, processes and controls are adequate. If we are unable to obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates in one or more jurisdictions, we may not be able to obtain sufficient funding or generate sufficient revenue to continue the development of our product candidates.
The results of preclinical testing or earlier clinical studies are not necessarily predictive of future results. Any product candidate we advance into clinical trials may not have favorable results in later-stage clinical trials or receive regulatory approval.
Encouraging results in preclinical testing and earlier clinical studies do not ensure that later clinical trials will generate adequate data to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of an investigational drug. Additionally, mechanisms of action, studies in small or single patient populations, and interim study results may not be predictive of later stage studies. The development of a product for one indication may further impact its development for other indications. By example, our phase III study of intravenous rigosertib for HR MDS did not meet its primary endpoints. It is possible that this may impact how regulators or others view the development of rigosertib for alternative indications. If later-stage clinical trials do not produce favorable results, our ability to achieve regulatory approval for any of our product candidates may be adversely impacted.
Clinical drug development involves a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome.
We may experience delays in our ongoing or future clinical trials and we do not know whether planned clinical trials will begin or enroll subjects on time, need to be redesigned or be completed on schedule, if at all. Regulatory authorities may also find that our development programs do not support product approval. There can be no assurance that the FDA, an IRB, or a comparable foreign regulatory authority will permit our clinical trials to commence and will not put clinical trials of any of our product candidates on clinical hold in the future. Study results may also cause us to
discontinue trials. Clinical trials may be delayed, suspended or prematurely terminated and development programs may not be successful for a variety of reasons, including:
|●||delay or failure in reaching identifying, contracting with, and retaining contract research organizations, or CROs, and clinical trial sites;|
|●||delay or failure in recruiting and enrolling suitable subjects to participate in a trial and/or retaining subjects;|
|●||failure to follow the study procedures or applicable regulatory requirements;|
|●||negative or ambiguous study results;|
|●||manufacturing or product quality issues;|
|●||the need to conduct additional development work, including clinical trials;|
|●||changes in governmental laws, regulations, policies, or administrative actions; and|
|●||regulatory authority disagreements regarding the design or implementation of our clinical trials.|
If we experience delays in the completion or termination of, any clinical trial of our product candidates, the commercial prospects of our product candidates will be harmed, and our ability to generate product revenues from any of these product candidates will be delayed. In addition, any delays in completing our clinical trials will increase our costs, slow down our product candidate development and approval process and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and generate revenues. In addition, many of the factors that could cause a delay in the commencement or completion of clinical trials may also ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of our product candidates.
Our product candidates may cause undesirable side effects or have other properties that could delay or prevent their regulatory approval, limit the commercial profile of an approved label, or result in significant negative consequences following any marketing approval.
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 other comparable foreign regulatory authority.
As a result of undesirable side effects or safety or toxicity issues that we may experience in our clinical trials, we may not receive approval to market any product candidates, which could prevent us from ever generating revenues or achieving profitability. Results of our trials could reveal an unacceptably high severity and prevalence of side effects. In such an event, our trials could be suspended or terminated and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities could order us to cease further development or deny approval of our product candidates for any or all targeted indications. These side effects could affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled subjects to complete the trial or result in potential product liability claims. They could also result in restrictive labeling for any approved products.
Failure to follow the FDA’s applicable regulatory requirements may result in enforcement action.
If we or our third party contractors are not able to follow the FDA’s regulatory requirements, we or they may face enforcement actions that may materially harm our business, including, but not limited to:
|●||warning letters or untitled letters or otherwise unacceptable inspectional findings;|
|●||injunctions, penalties, fines, or debarment;|
|●||suspension any ongoing clinical studies, clinical holds, or regulatory authority refusal to approve marketing applications;|
|●||restrictions on operations, product seizure or detention, refusal to permit the import or export of products, or product recalls; or|
Changes in product candidate manufacturing or formulation may result in additional costs or delay.
As product candidates are developed through preclinical studies to late-stage clinical trials towards approval and commercialization, it is common that various aspects of the development program, such as manufacturing methods and formulation, are altered along the way in an effort to optimize processes and results. During the course of a development program, sponsors may also change the contract manufacturers used to produce the product candidates. Such changes carry the risk that they will not achieve these intended objectives. Any of these changes could cause our product candidates to perform differently and affect the results of clinical trials. Such changes may also require additional testing, FDA notification, or FDA approval. This could delay completion of clinical trials; require the conduct of bridging clinical trials or studies, or the repetition of one or more clinical trials; increase clinical trial costs; delay approval of our product candidates; and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and generate revenue.
Healthcare legislation, including potentially unfavorable pricing regulations or other healthcare reform initiatives, may increase the difficulty and cost for us to obtain marketing approval of and commercialize our product candidates and affect the prices we may obtain.
The regulations that govern, among other things, marketing approvals, coverage, pricing and reimbursement for new drug products vary widely from country to country and our ability to commercialize any products will depend, in part, on the extent to which coverage and adequate reimbursement for our products is available. In the United States and some foreign jurisdictions, including the European Union, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding the healthcare system that could prevent or delay marketing approval of our product candidates, restrict or regulate post-approval activities, limit coverage and reimbursement or restrict the prices we may charge including through payments of increased manufacturer rebates and penalties, and affect our ability to successfully sell any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. Furthermore, in the United States private payors often follow Medicare coverage policies and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement rates. These and any additional healthcare reform measures in the United States, the European Union and other potentially significant markets could further constrain our business or limit the amounts that governments will pay for healthcare products and services, which could result in additional pricing pressures.
States, in the US, have also enacted laws requiring pharmaceutical companies to, among other things, establish marketing compliance programs, file periodic reports with the state, make periodic public disclosures on sales, marketing, pricing, clinical trials and other activities, cap or regulate price increases, negotiate or pay increased supplemental rebates and/or register their sales representatives, as well as to prohibit pharmacies and other healthcare entities from providing specified physician prescribing data to pharmaceutical companies for use in sales and marketing, and to prohibit other specified sales and marketing practices.
Some countries require approval of the sale price of a drug before it can be marketed. In many countries, the pricing review period begins after marketing or product licensing approval is granted. In some foreign markets, prescription pharmaceutical pricing remains subject to continuing governmental control even after initial approval is granted. As a result, we might obtain marketing approval for a product candidate in a particular country, but then be subject to price regulations that delay our commercial launch of the product, possibly for lengthy time periods, which could negatively impact the revenues we are able to generate from the sale of the product in that particular country.
Adverse pricing limitations may hinder our ability to recoup our investment in one or more product candidates even if our product candidates obtain marketing approval. We cannot be sure that timely coverage and adequate
reimbursement will be available for any product that we commercialize and, if reimbursement is available, what the level of coverage and reimbursement will be.
Our employees may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with regulatory standards and requirements, which could cause significant liability for us and harm our reputation.
We are exposed to the risk of employee fraud or other misconduct, including intentional failures to comply with FDA regulations or similar regulations of comparable foreign regulatory authorities, provide accurate information to the FDA, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, comply with manufacturing standards we have established, comply with federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations and similar laws and regulations established and enforced by comparable foreign regulatory authorities, comply with the FDA’s laws and regulations, report financial information or data accurately or disclose unauthorized activities to us. Employee misconduct could also involve the improper use of information obtained in the course of clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions and serious harm to our reputation. We have adopted a code of conduct for our directors, officers and employees, but it is not always possible to identify and deter employee misconduct, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to be in compliance with such laws or regulations. 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 results of operations, including the imposition of significant fines or other sanctions.
We face substantial competition, which may result in others discovering, developing or commercializing products before or more successfully than we do.
The development and commercialization of new drug products is highly competitive. We face competition with respect to our current product candidates and will face competition with respect to any product candidates that we may seek to develop or commercialize in the future, from major pharmaceutical companies, specialty pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies worldwide. There are a number of large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that currently market and sell products or are pursuing the development of products for the treatment of certain disease indications for which we are developing our product candidates. For example, large pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Novartis, Eli Lilly successfully market commercialized CDK 4/6 inhibitors palbociclib, ribociclib and abemaciclib and have done so for a number of years. More recently, G1 Therapeutics secured FDA approval of the CDK 4/6 triaciclib for the prevention of myelosuppression following chemotherapy.
The approved CDK 4/6 inhibitor drugs palbociclib, ribociclib and abemaciclib are well established therapies or products and are widely accepted by physicians, patients and third-party payors. By the time narazaciclib possibly is approved in the future, insurers and other third-party payors may also encourage the use of generic products. This may make it difficult for us to achieve market acceptance at desired levels in a timely manner to ensure viability of our business.
More established companies may have a competitive advantage over us due to their greater size, cash flows and institutional experience. Compared to us, many of our competitors may have significantly greater financial, technical and human resources.
If we breach our license agreements or fail to negotiate new agreements pertaining to our product candidates, we could lose the ability to continue the development and potential commercialization of these product candidates.
If we fail to meet our obligations under our current license agreements or if we fail to negotiate future license agreements, our rights under the licenses could be terminated, and upon the effective date of such termination, our right to use the licensed technology would terminate. While we would expect to exercise all rights and remedies available to us, including attempting to cure any breach by us, and otherwise seek to preserve our rights under the patents and other technology licensed to us, we may not be able to do so in a timely manner, at an acceptable cost or at all. Any uncured, material breach under the license agreement could result in our loss of exclusive rights and may lead to a complete termination of our product development and any commercialization efforts for the applicable product candidates.
Product liability lawsuits against us could cause us to incur substantial liabilities and to limit commercialization of any products that we may develop.
We face an inherent risk of product liability exposure related to the testing of our product candidates in human clinical trials and will face an even greater risk if we commercially sell any products that we may develop. Product liability claims may be brought against us by subjects enrolled in our clinical trials, and patients, healthcare providers or others using, administering or selling our products in third party studies, expanded access programs, or commercially, if we receive product approval. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against claims that our product candidates or products caused injuries, the clinical development and commercialization of our product candidates could be adversely affected or terminated and we could incur substantial liabilities.
We may engage in future business combinations or collaborations that could disrupt our business, cause dilution to our stockholders and harm our financial condition and operating results.
While we currently have no specific plans to acquire any other specific businesses, we may, in the future, make acquisitions of, or investments in, or otherwise engage in business combinations or collaborations with companies that we believe have products or capabilities that are a strategic or commercial fit with our current product candidates and business or otherwise offer opportunities for our company. In connection with these acquisitions or investments, we may: issue stock that would dilute our existing stockholders’ percentage of ownership; incur debt and assume liabilities; and incur amortization expenses related to intangible assets or incur large and immediate write-offs.
We may not be able to complete any future business combination or collaborations on favorable terms, if at all. If we do complete a business combination or collaboration, we cannot assure you that it will ultimately strengthen our competitive position or that it will be viewed positively by customers, financial markets or investors. Furthermore, future business combinations could pose numerous additional risks to our operations, including: problems integrating the businesses, products or technologies; increases to our expenses; the failure to discover undisclosed liabilities of an acquired asset or transaction partner; diversion of management’s attention from their day-to-day responsibilities; and harm to our operating results or financial condition.
We may not be able to complete any collaboration or business combination or effectively integrate the operations, products or personnel gained through any such business combination.
We depend on information technology and computer systems to operate our business; our business and operations would suffer in the event of any failures or interruptions of our computer system, such as a data breach or cybersecurity incident.
Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems, and those of third parties on which we rely, are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, unauthorized access, natural disasters, fire, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures. Cybersecurity attacks are evolving and include, but are not limited to, malicious software, attempts to gain unauthorized access to data and other electronic security breaches that could lead to disruptions in systems, misappropriation of our confidential or otherwise protected information, corruption of data. While we have not experienced any such material system failure, accident or security breach to date, if such an event were to occur and cause interruptions in our operations, it could result in a material disruption of our drug development programs. For example, the loss of clinical trial data from completed, ongoing or planned clinical trials could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. To the extent that any disruption or security breach results in a loss of or damage to our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability or damage to our reputation, and the further development of our product candidates could be delayed.
Likewise, data privacy or security breaches by employees or others may pose a risk that sensitive data, including our intellectual property, trade secrets or personal information of our employees, patients or other business partners may be exposed to unauthorized persons or to the public. There can be no assurance that our efforts, or the efforts of our partners and vendors, will prevent service interruptions, or identify breaches in our systems, that could adversely affect our business and operations and/or result in the loss of critical or sensitive information, which could result in financial, legal,
business or reputational harm to us. In addition, our liability insurance may not be sufficient in type or amount to cover us against claims related to security breaches, cyberattacks and other related breaches.
Climate change, environmental, social and governance and sustainability initiatives may result in regulatory or structural industry changes that could require significant operational changes and expenditures, reduce demand for the Company’s products and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Climate change, environmental, social and governance (ESG) and sustainability are a growing global movement. Continuing political and social attention to these issues has resulted in both existing and pending international agreements and national, regional and local legislation, regulatory measures, reporting obligations and policy changes. Also, there is increasing societal pressure in some of the areas where we operate, to limit greenhouse gas emissions as well as other global initiatives. These agreements and measures may require, or could result in future legislation, regulatory measures or policy changes that would require operational changes or increase expenses.
Furthermore, increasing attention to climate change, ESG and sustainability has resulted in governmental investigations, and public and private litigation, which could increase our costs or otherwise adversely affect our business or results of operations. In addition, organizations that provide information to investors on corporate governance and related matters have developed ratings processes for evaluating companies on their approach to ESG matters. Such ratings are used by some investors to inform their investment and voting decisions. Unfavorable ESG ratings may lead to increased negative investor sentiment toward us, which could have a negative impact on the price of our securities and our access to and costs of capital.
Any or all of these ESG and sustainability initiatives may result in significant operational changes and expenditures, cause us reputational harm, and could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Business disruptions could seriously harm our future revenues and financial condition and increase our costs and expenses.
Our operations could be subject to earthquakes, power shortages, telecommunications failures, water shortages, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, fires, extreme weather conditions, medical epidemics and other natural or manmade disasters or business interruptions, for which we are predominantly self-insured. The occurrence of any of these business disruptions could seriously harm our operations and financial condition and increase our costs and expenses. We rely on third-party manufacturers to produce our product candidates. Our ability to obtain clinical supplies of product candidates could be disrupted if the operations of these suppliers are affected by a man-made or natural disaster or other business interruption. The ultimate impact on us, our significant suppliers and our general infrastructure of being consolidated in certain geographical areas is unknown, but our operations and financial condition could suffer in the event of a major earthquake, fire or other natural disaster.
Our future success depends on our ability to retain our executive officers and to attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel.
We are highly dependent upon Steven Fruchtman, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Guerin, C.P.A., Chief Operating and Chief Financial Officer, and Mark Gelder, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, and our other executive officers. Although we have employment agreements with the persons named above, these agreements are at-will and do not prevent such persons from terminating their employment with us at any time. We do not maintain "key person" insurance for any of our executives or other employees. The loss of the services of any of these persons could impede the achievement of our research, development and commercialization objectives.
The COVID-19 pandemic could adversely impact our business, including our clinical trials, drug manufacturing and nonclinical activities.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the globe, we may experience disruptions that could severely impact our business, clinical trials, drug manufacturing and nonclinical activities. These potential disruptions may include but
are not limited to delays or difficulties in clinical site initiation and patient recruitment, patient withdrawals, postponement of planned clinical or preclinical studies, redirection of site resources from studies, study modification, suspension, or termination, the introduction of remote study procedures and modified informed consent procedures, study site changes, direct delivery of investigational products to patient homes requiring state licensing, study deviations or noncompliance, diversion of healthcare resources away from the conduct of clinical trials, including the diversion of hospitals serving as our clinical trial sites and hospital staff supporting the conduct of our clinical trials, delays in receiving approval from local regulatory authorities to initiate our planned clinical trials, delays in obtaining supplies of our product candidate or other materials that may be necessary for the conduct of our development program, delays in obtaining necessary inspections from the FDA or other regulatory authorities, changing laws and regulations in responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and changes or delays in site monitoring. The foregoing may require that we consult with relevant review and ethics committees, IRBs, and the FDA. The foregoing may also impact the integrity of our study data. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may also increase the need for clinical trial patient monitoring and regulatory reporting of adverse effects.
Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Capital Needs
Our recurring operating losses, negative cash flows from operations, and accumulated deficit raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern absent obtaining adequate new financings.
Management has concluded that substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern for the next twelve months from the date of the financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. As of December 31, 2022, we had cash and cash equivalents of $38.8 million and current liabilities of $8.0 million. We believe that we have sufficient resources available to support our development activities and business operations and satisfy our obligations into the first quarter of 2024. We do not have sufficient cash and cash equivalents as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to support our operations for at least the 12 months following the date that the financial statements are issued.
We will require substantial additional financing to fund our ongoing clinical trials and operations, and to continue to execute our strategy. To alleviate the conditions that raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern, we plan to explore various dilutive and non-dilutive sources of funding, including equity financings, strategic alliances, business development and other sources. The future success of the Company is dependent upon our ability to obtain additional funding. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be successful in obtaining such funding in sufficient amounts, on terms acceptable to us, or at all. The failure to obtain sufficient capital on acceptable terms when needed would have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition. Accordingly, we have concluded that substantial doubt exists with respect to our ability to continue as a going concern within one year after the date that these financial statements are issued.
The report of our independent registered accounting firm on our audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022 contains an explanatory paragraph relating to our ability to continue as a going concern.
The auditor’s opinion on our audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2022 includes an explanatory paragraph stating that we have incurred recurring losses from operations that raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern for the next twelve months from the date of the financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. While we believe that we will be able to raise the capital we need to continue our operations, there can be no assurances that we will be successful in these efforts or will be able to resolve our liquidity issues or eliminate our operating losses. If we are unable to obtain sufficient funding, we would need to significantly reduce our operating plans and curtail some or all of our development efforts. Accordingly, our business, prospects, financial condition, and results of operations will be materially and adversely affected, and we may be unable to continue as a going concern. If we seek additional financing to fund our business activities in the future and there remains substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern, investors or other financing sources may be unwilling to provide additional funding on commercially reasonable terms or at all.
We need to obtain additional funding to continue as a going concern; if we are unable to meet our needs for additional funding in the future, we will be required to limit, scale back or cease operations.
Our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2022 have been prepared assuming we will continue to operate as a going concern. However, due to our ongoing operating losses and our accumulated deficit, management has concluded that there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern for the next twelve months from the date of the financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Because we continue to experience net operating losses, our ability to continue as a going concern is subject to our ability to successfully raise sufficient additional capital, through future financings or through strategic and collaborative arrangements. If we are unable to obtain additional funding, we may not be able to continue as a going concern.
We do not have the funding resources necessary to carry out all of our proposed operating activities. We will need to obtain additional financing in the future in order to fully fund rigosertib or any other product candidates through the regulatory approval process. Accordingly, we may delay or pause our planned clinical trials, until we secure adequate additional funding. If we seek to proceed with a clinical trial without additional funding, we may receive questions or comments from the FDA, fail to obtain IRB approval, or find it more difficult to enroll patients in the trial. We have scaled down our operations in order to reduce spending on general and administrative functions, research and development, and other clinical trials, but by themselves, those measures may not be sufficient to address our funding needs.
Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including:
|●||timing and success of our clinical trials;|
|●||continued progress of and increased spending related to our research and development activities;|
|●||conditions in the capital markets and the biopharmaceutical industry, particularly with respect to raising capital or entering into strategic arrangements;|
|●||progress with preclinical experiments and clinical trials, including regulatory approvals necessary for advancement and continuation of our development programs;|
|●||changes in regulatory requirements and guidance of the FDA and other regulatory authorities, which may require additional clinical trials to evaluate safety and/or efficacy, and thus have significant impacts on our timelines, cost projections, and financial requirements;|
|●||ongoing general and administrative expenses related to our reporting obligations under the Exchange Act;|
|●||cost, timing, and results of regulatory reviews and approvals;|
|●||costs of any legal proceedings, claims, lawsuits and investigations;|
|●||success, timing, and financial consequences of any existing or future collaborative, licensing and other arrangements that we may establish, including potential granting of licenses to one or more of our programs in various territories, or otherwise monetizing one or more of our programs;|
|●||cost of filing, prosecuting, defending and enforcing any patent claims and other intellectual property rights;|
|●||costs of commercializing any of our product candidates;|
|●||technological and market developments;|
|●||compliance with Nasdaq's continued listing requirements;|
|●||cost of manufacturing development; and|
|●||timing and volume of sales of products for which we obtain marketing approval.|
These factors could result in variations from our projected operating and liquidity requirements. Additional funds may not be available when needed, or, if available, we may not be able to obtain such funds on terms acceptable to us. If adequate funds are unavailable, we may be required, among other things, to:
|●||delay, reduce the scope of or eliminate one or more of our research or development programs;|
|●||license rights to technologies, product candidates or products at an earlier stage or for indications or territories than otherwise would be desirable, or on terms that are less favorable to us than might otherwise be available;|
|●||obtain funds through arrangements that may require us to relinquish rights to product candidates or products that we would otherwise seek to develop or commercialize by ourselves; or|
|●||further reduce or cease operations.|
We have incurred significant losses since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur losses in the future.
We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. Investment in biopharmaceutical product development is highly speculative because it entails substantial upfront capital expenditures and significant risk that a product candidate could fail to gain regulatory approval or become commercially viable. We do not have any products approved by regulatory authorities for marketing and have not generated any revenue from product sales to date, and we continue to incur significant research, development and other expenses related to our ongoing operations. As a result, we are not profitable and have incurred losses in every reporting period since our inception in 1998. For the years ended December 31, 2022, and 2021, we reported net losses of $19.0 million and $16.2 million, respectively, and we had an accumulated deficit of $463.7 million at December 31, 2022.
We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and operating losses for the foreseeable future. These losses may increase as we continue the research and development of, and seek regulatory approvals for, our product candidates, and potentially begin to commercialize any products that may achieve regulatory approval. We may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other unknown factors that may adversely affect our business. The size of our future net losses will depend, in part, on the rate of future growth of our expenses and our ability to generate revenues. If any of our product candidates fail in clinical trials or do not gain regulatory approval, or if approved, fail to achieve market acceptance, we may never become profitable. Even if we achieve profitability in the future, we may not be able to sustain profitability in subsequent periods.
We currently have no source of product revenue and may never become profitable.
To date, we have not generated any revenues from commercial product sales. Our ability to generate revenue from product sales and achieve profitability will depend upon our ability to successfully commercialize products, including any of our current product candidates, or other product candidates that we may in-license or acquire in the future. Even if we are able to successfully achieve regulatory approval for these product candidates, we do not know when any of these products will generate revenue from product sales for us, if at all.
In addition, because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with product development, including that our product candidates may not advance through development or achieve the endpoints of applicable clinical trials, we are unable to predict the timing or amount of increased expenses, or when or if we will be able to achieve or maintain profitability. Even if we are able to complete the development and regulatory process for any product candidates, we anticipate incurring significant costs associated with commercializing these products. Even if we are able to generate revenues from the sale of our products, we may not become profitable and may need to obtain additional funding to
continue operations. If we fail to become profitable or are unable to sustain profitability on a continuing basis, then we may be unable to continue our operations at planned levels and be forced to reduce or suspend our operations.
We need to obtain additional funding to further develop our products in future clinical trials and through regulatory processes; if we are unable to meet our needs for additional funding in the future, we will be required to limit, scale back or cease operations.
Our ability to successfully raise sufficient additional capital, through future financings or through strategic and collaborative arrangements will be necessary to carry out all of our proposed future operating activities. We will need to obtain additional financing in the future in order to fully fund product candidates through the regulatory approval process.
Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, which could result in variations from our projected operating and liquidity requirements. Additional funds may not be available when needed, or, if available, we may not be able to obtain such funds on terms acceptable to us. If adequate funds are unavailable, we may be required, among other things, to: delay, reduce the scope of or eliminate one or more of our research or development programs; license rights to technologies, product candidates or products at an earlier stage or for indications or territories than otherwise would be desirable, or on terms that are less favorable to us than might otherwise be available; obtain funds through arrangements that may require us to relinquish rights to product candidates or products that we would otherwise seek to develop or commercialize by ourselves; or further reduce or cease operations.
Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our existing stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies or product candidates.
Until we can generate substantial revenue from product sales, if ever, we expect to seek additional capital through a combination of private and public equity offerings, debt financings, strategic collaborations and alliances and licensing arrangements. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, the ownership interests of existing stockholders will be diluted, and the terms may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect the rights of existing stockholders. Debt financing, if available, may involve agreements that include restrictive covenants limiting our ability to take important actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends. If we raise additional funds through strategic collaborations and alliances or licensing arrangements with third parties, which may include existing collaboration partners, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies or product candidates, or grant licenses on terms that are not favorable to us. If we are unable to raise additional funds through equity or debt financing when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development or commercialization efforts or grant rights to develop and market product candidates or formulations that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves.
Adverse developments affecting financial institutions, companies in the financial services industry or the financial services industry generally, such as actual events or concerns involving liquidity, defaults or non-performance, could adversely affect our operations and liquidity.
Actual events involving limited liquidity, defaults, non-performance or other adverse developments that affect financial institutions or other companies in the financial services industry or the financial services industry generally, or concerns or rumors about any events of these kinds, have in the past and may in the future lead to market-wide liquidity problems. For example, on March 10, 2023, Silicon Valley Bank, (SVB), was closed by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or the FDIC, as receiver. As of March 10, 2023, we had nearly all of our cash and cash equivalent balances in segregated custodial accounts held by U.S. Bank for which SVB Asset Management is the advisor. Although a statement by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the FDIC stated that all depositors of SVB would have access to all of their money after only one business day following the date of closure and we and other depositors with SVB received such access on March 13, 2023, uncertainty and liquidity concerns in the broader financial services industry remain. There is no guarantee that the U.S. Department of Treasury, FDIC and Federal Reserve Board will provide access to uninsured funds in the future in the event of the closure of other banks or financial institutions in a timely fashion or at all.
Changes in United States and China relations, as well as relations with other countries, and/or regulations may adversely impact our business, our operating results, our ability to raise capital and the market price of our shares.
The US government, including the SEC, has made statements and taken certain actions that led to changes to US and international relations, and will impact companies with connections to the United States or China, including imposing several rounds of tariffs affecting certain products manufactured in China, imposing certain sanctions and restrictions in relation to China and issuing statements indicating enhanced review of companies with significant China-based operations. It is unknown whether and to what extent new legislation, executive orders, tariffs, laws or regulations will be adopted, or the effect that any such actions would have on companies with significant connections to the U.S. or to China, our industry or on us. Any unfavorable government policies on cross-border relations and/or international trade, including increased scrutiny on companies with significant China-based operations, capital controls or tariffs, may affect our ability to raise capital and the market price of our shares.
If any new legislation, executive orders, tariffs, laws and/or regulations are implemented, if existing trade agreements are renegotiated or if the U.S. or Chinese governments take retaliatory actions due to the recent U.S.-China tension, such changes could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, our ability to raise capital and the market price of our shares.
Risks Related to Our Dependence on Third Parties
We rely on third parties to conduct our preclinical and clinical trials. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates.
We have relied upon and plan to continue to rely upon third-party CROs to monitor and manage data for our ongoing preclinical and clinical programs, as well as clinical trial sites for the conduct of our clinical trials. There is no guarantee that we will be able to maintain the relationships with these third parties, that we will be able to enter into additional relationships, or that we will be able to find replacement sites or CROs should any of our agreements terminate. We rely on these parties for execution of our preclinical and clinical trials, and we control only some aspects of their activities. Nevertheless, we are responsible for ensuring that each of our studies is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol and legal, regulatory and scientific standards, and our reliance on the CROs and sites does not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities. We also rely on third parties to assist in conducting our preclinical studies in accordance with Good Laboratory Practices, or GLP, and the Animal Welfare Act requirements. We, our clinical trial sites, and our CROs are required to comply with federal regulations and current GCPs, which are international standards meant to protect the rights and health of patients that are enforced by the FDA, the Competent Authorities of the Member States of the European Economic Area and comparable foreign regulatory authorities for all of our products in clinical development. Regulatory authorities enforce GCP through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators and trial sites. If we or any of our sites or CROs fail to comply with applicable GCP, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our marketing applications. We or they may also face regulatory enforcement. We cannot assure you that upon inspection by a given regulatory authority, such regulatory authority will determine that any of our clinical trials comply with GCP requirements. In addition, our clinical trials must be conducted with product produced under cGMP requirements. Failure to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat preclinical and clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process. We may also face liability and/or regulatory enforcement action should any of the third parties that we rely upon fail to comply with legal and/or regulatory requirements.
Our CROs and the employees at clinical sites are not our employees, and except for remedies available to us under our agreements with such CROs and sites, we cannot control whether or not they devote sufficient time and resources to our ongoing clinical, nonclinical and preclinical programs. If CROs or sites do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or obligations or meet expected deadlines or if the quality or accuracy of the clinical data they obtain is compromised due to the failure to adhere to our clinical protocols, regulatory requirements or for other reasons, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or
successfully commercialize our product candidates. As a result, our results of operations and the commercial prospects for our product candidates would be harmed, our costs could increase and our ability to generate revenues could be delayed.
Because we have relied on third parties, our internal capacity to perform these functions is limited. Outsourcing these functions involves risk that third parties may not perform to our standards, may not produce results in a timely manner or may fail to perform at all. In addition, the use of third-party service providers requires us to disclose our proprietary information to these parties, which could increase the risk that this information will be misappropriated. We currently have a small number of employees, which limits the internal resources we have available to identify and monitor our third-party providers. To the extent we are unable to identify and successfully manage the performance of third-party service providers in the future, our business may be adversely affected. Though we carefully manage our relationships with our CROs and clinical trial sites, 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.
If we lose our relationships with CROs, our drug development efforts could be delayed.
We rely on third-party vendors and CROs for preclinical studies and clinical trials related to our drug development efforts. Switching or adding additional CROs would involve additional cost and requires management time and focus. Our CROs have the right to terminate their agreements with us in the event of an uncured material breach. In addition, some of our CROs have an ability to terminate their respective agreements with us if it can be reasonably demonstrated that the safety of the subjects participating in our clinical trials warrants such termination, if we make a general assignment for the benefit of our creditors or if we are liquidated. We may also terminate a CRO for a number of reasons. Identifying, qualifying and managing performance of third-party service providers can be difficult, time consuming and cause delays in our development programs. In addition, there is a natural transition period when a new CRO commences work and the new CRO may not provide the same type or level of services as the original provider. If any of our relationships with our third-party CROs terminate, we may not be able to enter into arrangements with alternative CROs or to do so on commercially reasonable terms.
We have limited experience manufacturing our product candidates on a large clinical or commercial scale and have no manufacturing facility. We are dependent on third-party manufacturers for the manufacture of our product candidates for clinical trials as well as on third parties for our supply chain, and if we experience problems with any third parties, the manufacturing of our product candidates or products could be delayed.
We do not own or operate facilities for the manufacture of our product candidates. We currently have no plans to build our own clinical or commercial scale manufacturing capabilities. We currently rely on a single source CMO, for the chemical manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredient for each of our product candidates. To meet our projected needs for clinical supplies to support our activities through regulatory approval and commercial manufacturing, the CMOs with whom we currently work will need to increase the scale of production. We may need to identify additional CMOs for continued production of supply for our product candidates. In addition, regulatory authorities enforce cGMP through periodic inspections and remote regulatory assessments of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and drug product manufacturing sites, quality control contract laboratories and distribution centers. If we or our CMO fail to comply with applicable cGMP, the manufacturing data generated and subsequent API lots and drug product batches in our supply chain may be deemed unreliable. Clinical trials using the product candidate may also be deemed to be unreliable. As such, the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional API and drug product manufacturing before continuing clinical trials or approving our marketing applications, may require us to conduct additional studies, and any such deficient product we supply to any collaboration partner may subject us to certain obligations under relevant agreements. We or our contractors may also face enforcement actions. We have not yet qualified alternate suppliers in the event the current CMOs we utilize are unable to scale production, or if we otherwise experience any problems with them. By example, our third party manufacturers may not be able to obtain sufficient quantities of any necessary supplies such as due to changing trade policies or supply shortages. Although alternative third-party suppliers with the necessary manufacturing and regulatory expertise and facilities exist, as we have experienced with respect to our existing CMOs, it could be expensive and take a significant amount of time to arrange for alternative suppliers. If we are unable to arrange for alternative third-party manufacturing sources, or to do so
on commercially reasonable terms or in a timely manner, we may not be able to complete development of our product candidates, or market or distribute them.
Reliance on third-party manufacturers entails risks to which we would not be subject if we manufactured product candidates or products ourselves, including reliance on the third party for regulatory compliance and quality assurance, the possibility of breach of the manufacturing agreement by the third party because of factors beyond our control, including a failure to synthesize and manufacture our product candidates or any products we may eventually commercialize in accordance with our specifications, and the possibility of termination or nonrenewal of the agreement by the third party, based on its own business priorities, at a time that is costly or damaging to us. In addition, the FDA and other regulatory authorities require that our product candidates and any products that we may eventually commercialize be manufactured according to cGMP and similar foreign standards. Any failure by our third-party manufacturers to comply with cGMP or failure to scale up manufacturing processes, including any failure to deliver sufficient quantities of product candidates in a timely manner, could lead to a delay in, or failure to obtain, regulatory approval of any of our product candidates. In addition, such failure could be the basis for the FDA to issue a warning letter, withdraw approvals for product candidates previously granted to us, or take other regulatory or legal action, including recall or seizure of outside supplies of the product candidate, total or partial suspension of production, suspension of ongoing clinical trials, refusal to approve pending applications or supplemental applications, detention of product, refusal to permit the import or export of products, injunction, or imposing civil and criminal penalties. The manufacturing facilities that we use must also be approved by the FDA under a pre-approval inspection. If the facilities cannot pass these inspections, the FDA will not approve our marketing application. These manufacturing facilities will further be subject to continuing regulatory oversight and inspection, and, thus, they must continue to expend time and resources to maintain regulatory compliance.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
We could be required to incur significant expenses to perfect our intellectual property rights, and our intellectual property rights may be inadequate to protect our competitive position. If we are unable to protect our intellectual property rights, our competitive position could be harmed.
We depend on our ability to protect our proprietary technology. We rely on trade secret, patent, copyright and trademark laws, and confidentiality, licensing and other agreements with employees and third parties, all of which offer only limited protection. Our commercial success will depend in large part on our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection in the United States and other countries with respect to our proprietary technology and products. Where we have the right to do so under our license agreements, we seek to protect our proprietary position by filing patent applications in the United States and abroad related to our novel technologies and products that are important to our business. The patent positions of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies generally are highly uncertain, involve complex legal and factual questions and have in recent years been the subject of much litigation. As a result, the issuance, scope, validity, enforceability and commercial value of our patents, including those patent rights licensed to us by third parties, are highly uncertain.
The steps we have taken to protect our proprietary rights may not be adequate to preclude misappropriation of our proprietary information or infringement of our intellectual property rights, both inside and outside the United States. The rights already granted under any of our currently issued patents and those that may be granted under future issued patents may not provide us with the proprietary protection or competitive advantages we are seeking. If we are unable to obtain and maintain patent protection for our technology and products, or if the scope of the patent protection obtained is not sufficient, our competitors could develop and commercialize technology and products similar or superior to ours, and our ability to successfully commercialize our technology and products may be adversely affected.
With respect to patent rights, we do not know whether any of the pending patent applications for any of our licensed compounds will result in the issuance of patents that protect our technology or products, or if any of our issued patents will effectively prevent others from commercializing competitive technologies and products. Our pending applications cannot be enforced against third parties practicing the technology claimed in such applications unless and until a patent issues from such applications. Further, the examination process may require us or our licensor to narrow the claims for our pending patent applications, which may limit the scope of patent protection that may be obtained if these
applications issue. Because the issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its inventorship, scope, validity or enforceability, issued patents that we own or have licensed from third parties may be challenged in the courts or patent offices in the United States and abroad. Such challenges may result in the loss of patent protection, the narrowing of claims in such patents or the invalidity or unenforceability of such patents, which could limit our ability to stop others from using or commercializing similar or identical technology and products, or limit the duration of the patent protection for our technology and products. Protecting against the unauthorized use of our patented technology, trademarks and other intellectual property rights is expensive, difficult and may in some cases not be possible. In some cases, it may be difficult or impossible to detect third-party infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property rights, even in relation to issued patent claims, and proving any such infringement may be even more difficult.
Even if patents are granted that cover commercially-valuable compounds, we may decide to allow such patents to lapse, or if in-licensed, return the patents to the licensor. The effects of doing so are uncertain. In the case of returning granted patents to a licensor, we may encounter a scenario in which we need the patents in the future and are unable to obtain a new license to such patents on commercially-reasonable terms or at all. The licensor may license the returned patents to a competitor, who may then enforce the patents against us. In the first quarter of 2023, we returned a portion of the patents that we in-licensed from Temple University back to Temple. The long-term economic effects of doing so are uncertain.
We may become involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our intellectual property, which could be expensive, time consuming and unsuccessful.
Competitors may infringe our patents or misappropriate or otherwise violate our intellectual property rights. To counter infringement or unauthorized use, litigation may be necessary in the future to enforce or defend our intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets or to determine the validity and scope of our own intellectual property rights or the proprietary rights of others. This can be expensive and time consuming. Many of our current and potential competitors have the ability to dedicate substantially greater resources to defend their intellectual property rights than we can. Accordingly, despite our efforts, we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing upon or misappropriating our intellectual property. Litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of management resources. In addition, in an infringement proceeding, a court may decide that a patent owned by or licensed to us is invalid or unenforceable, or a court may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patents do not cover the technology in question. An adverse result in any litigation proceeding could put one or more of our patents at risk of being invalidated, held unenforceable or interpreted narrowly. Furthermore, 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.
Third parties may initiate legal proceedings alleging that we are infringing their intellectual property rights, the outcome of which would be uncertain and could harm our business.
Our commercial success depends upon our ability and the ability of our collaborators to develop, manufacture, market and sell our product candidates, and to use our proprietary technologies without infringing the proprietary rights of third parties. We may become party to, or threatened with, future adversarial proceedings or litigation regarding intellectual property rights with respect to our products and technology, including interference or derivation proceedings before the USPTO. Third parties may assert infringement claims against us based on existing patents or patents that may be granted in the future. If we are found to infringe a third party’s intellectual property rights, we could be required to obtain a license from such third party to continue developing and commercializing our products and technology. However, we may not be able to obtain any required license on commercially reasonable terms or 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. We could be forced, including by court order, to cease commercializing the infringing technology or product. In addition, in any such proceeding or litigation, we could be found liable for monetary damages. A finding of infringement could prevent us from commercializing our product candidates or force us to cease some of our business operations, which could materially harm our business. Any claims by third parties that we have misappropriated their confidential information or trade secrets could have a similar negative impact on our business.
We may be subject to claims that our employees have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged trade secrets of their former employers.
Many of our employees, including our senior management, were previously employed at other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Some of these employees, including each member of our senior management, executed proprietary rights, non-disclosure and non-competition agreements in connection with such previous employment. Although we try to ensure that our employees 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 these employees have used or disclosed intellectual property, including trade secrets or other proprietary information, of any such employee’s former employer.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock and Common Stock Warrants
We may not be able to comply with the Nasdaq continued listing requirements. If we are unable to regain compliance with the continued listing requirements of the Nasdaq Capital Market, our Common Stock could be delisted, which could affect our Common Stock's market price and liquidity and reduce our ability to raise capital.
We are required to meet certain qualitative and financial tests to maintain the listing of our securities on The Nasdaq Capital Market. As of March 27, 2023, we were not in compliance with the Nasdaq continued listing requirements related to minimum bid price.
On March 28, 2023, we received a letter from The Nasdaq Capital Market (“Nasdaq”) indicating that we failed to comply with the minimum bid price requirement of Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(a)(2). Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(a) (2) requires that companies listed on Nasdaq maintain a minimum closing bid price of at least $1.00 per share.
Under Nasdaq Listing Rule 5810(c)(3)(A), we have a 180 calendar day grace period, or until September 25, 2023, to regain compliance by meeting the continued listing standard. The continued listing standard will be met if the Company’s common stock has a minimum closing bid price of at least $1.00 per share for a minimum of ten consecutive business days during the 180 calendar day grace period.
If we are not in compliance by September 25, 2023, we may be afforded a second 180 calendar day period to regain compliance. To qualify, we would be required to meet the continued listing requirement for market value of publicly held shares and all other initial listing standards for The Nasdaq Capital Market, except for the minimum bid price requirement. In addition, we would be required to notify Nasdaq of our intention to cure the minimum bid price deficiency during the second compliance period, by effecting a reverse stock split, if necessary.
If we do not regain compliance within the allotted compliance period(s), including any extensions that may be granted by Nasdaq, Nasdaq will provide notice that the Company’s common stock will be subject to delisting. At that time, we may appeal the Nasdaq Staff’s determination to a Nasdaq Hearings Panel.
We intend to monitor the closing bid price of the Company’s common stock and consider our available options to resolve the noncompliance with the minimum bid price requirement.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to regain compliance with the minimum bid price requirement or will otherwise be in compliance with other Nasdaq listing criteria.
If we are unable to maintain compliance with the continued listing requirements of the Nasdaq Capital Market, our Common Stock could be delisted, making it could be more difficult to buy or sell our securities and to obtain accurate quotations, and the price of our securities could suffer a material decline. Delisting could also impair our ability to raise capital.
Our share price and the liquidity of our stock may be volatile and result in substantial losses to our stockholders.
The trading price of our common stock is highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. In addition, the stock market in general, and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in particular, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of these companies. Broad market and industry factors may negatively affect the market price of our common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance. The realization of any of these risks or any of a broad range of other risks could have a dramatic and material adverse impact on the market price of our common stock.
We may be subject to securities litigation, which is expensive and could divert management attention.
In the past companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their stock have been subject to securities class action litigation. We may be the target of this type of litigation in the future. Securities litigation against us could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention from other business concerns, which could seriously harm our business.
Some provisions of our charter documents and Delaware law may have anti-takeover effects that could discourage an acquisition of us by others, even if an acquisition would be beneficial to our stockholders and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.
Provisions in our Tenth Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation, as amended, or Certificate of Incorporation, and Amended and Restated Bylaws, as well as provisions of Delaware law, could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire us or increase the cost of acquiring us, even if doing so would benefit our stockholders, or remove our current management. These include provisions that will:
|●||permit our board of directors to issue up to 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock, with any rights, preferences and privileges as they may designate (as of February 28, 2023, we had no shares of preferred stock issued and outstanding);|
|●||provide that all vacancies on our board of directors, including as a result of newly created directorships, may, except as otherwise required by law, be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of directors then in office, even if less than a quorum;|
|●||require that any action to be taken by our stockholders must be effected at a duly called annual or special meeting of stockholders and not be taken by written consent;|
|●||provide that stockholders seeking to present proposals before a meeting of stockholders or to nominate candidates for election as directors at a meeting of stockholders must provide advance notice in writing, and also specify requirements as to the form and content of a stockholder’s notice;|
|●||not provide for cumulative voting rights, thereby allowing the holders of a majority of the shares of common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors to elect all of the directors standing for election; and|
|●||provide that special meetings of our stockholders may be called only by the board of directors or by such person or persons requested by a majority of the board of directors to call such meetings.|
These provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors, who are responsible for appointing the members of our management. Because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which may discourage, delay or prevent someone from acquiring us or merging with us whether or not it is desired by or beneficial to our stockholders. Under Delaware law, a corporation may not, in general, engage in a business combination with any holder of 15% or more of
its capital stock unless the holder has held the stock for three years or, among other things, the board of directors has approved the transaction. Any provision of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or amended and restated bylaws or Delaware law that has the effect of delaying or deterring a change in control could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our common stock, and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Our corporate headquarters is located in Newtown, Pennsylvania, where we lease short-term flexible office space. We believe that suitable additional or alternative space would be available on commercially reasonable terms if required in the future.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
We are not a party to any legal proceedings and we are not aware of any such proceedings contemplated by government authorities.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Our common stock is listed under the symbol ONTX on the Nasdaq Capital Market.
As of February 28, 2023, there were approximately 97 holders of record for shares of our common stock. This does not reflect beneficial stockholders who held their common stock in “street” or nominee name through brokerage firms.
Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans
Information regarding securities authorized for issuance under the Company’s equity compensation plans is contained in Part III, Item 11 of this Annual Report.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain all available funds and any future earnings to support our operations and finance the growth and development of our business. We do not intend to pay cash dividends on our common stock for the foreseeable future.
ITEM 6. RESERVED
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and other financial information included elsewhere in this Annual Report. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or set forth elsewhere in this Annual Report, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business and related financing, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. You should review the “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report 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.
We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel products for patients with cancer. We have proprietary molecularly targeted agents designed to disrupt specific cellular pathways that are important for cancer cell proliferation. We believe that the product candidates in our pipeline have the potential to be efficacious in a variety of cancers with unmet medical need. We have the following two clinical-stage programs: 1. narazaciclib (ON 123300), a multi-targeted kinase inhibitor in solid tumors and hematological malignancies as a single agent or in combination with other anti-cancer therapies; and 2. rigosertib administered alone or in combination for the treatment of various cancers. We are currently evaluating potential compounds for in-licensing opportunities.
We were incorporated in Delaware in December 1998 and commenced operations in January 1999. Our operations to date have included our organization and staffing, business planning, raising capital, in-licensing technology from research institutions, identifying potential product candidates, developing product candidates and building strategic alliances, as well as undertaking preclinical studies and clinical trials of our product candidates.
Since commencing operations, we have dedicated a significant portion of our resources to the development of our clinical-stage product candidates, particularly narazaciclib and rigosertib. We incurred research and development expenses of $11.4 million and $7.3 million during the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. We anticipate that a significant portion of our operating expenses will continue to be related to research and development as we continue to advance narazaciclib and our other programs.
In January 2021, we closed on an offering of common stock. We issued 1,303,408 shares of common stock and net proceeds were approximately $8.5 million. In February 2021, we closed on an offering of common stock. We issued 1,916,667 shares of common stock and net proceeds were approximately $26.7 million. In September 2021, we closed on an offering of common stock. We issued 5,000,000 shares of common stock and net proceeds were approximately $19.5 million.
In August 2021, we entered into an at-the-market equity distribution agreement for the sale of up to $25.0 million of common stock. Through September 30, 2021, we sold 109,523 shares under the agreement and net proceeds were approximately $0.5 million. There were no other sales during the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021.
Our net losses were $19.0 million and $16.2 million for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. As of December 31, 2022, we had an accumulated deficit of $463.7 million. We expect to incur significant expenses and operating losses for the foreseeable future as we continue the development and clinical trials of, and seek regulatory approval for, our product candidates, even if milestones under our license and collaboration agreements may be met.
As of December 31, 2022 we had $38.8 million in cash and cash equivalents. We believe that our cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to fund our ongoing trials and operations into the first quarter of 2024; however, based on current projections, we do not have sufficient cash and cash equivalents as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to support our operations for at least the 12 months following the date that the financial statements are issued. Accordingly, substantial doubt exists with respect to our ability to continue as a going concern within one year after the date that these financial statements are issued.
During the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, our revenues were derived exclusively from activities conducted in accordance with our collaboration arrangement with SymBio.
We have not generated any revenue from commercial product sales. In the future, if any of our product candidates currently under development are approved for commercial sale in the United States or other territories where we have retained commercialization rights, we may generate revenue from product sales, or alternatively, we may choose to select a collaborator to commercialize our product candidates in these markets.
We are recognizing the $7.5 million upfront payment received in 2011 under the SymBio collaboration agreement as revenue on a straight-line basis through December 2037, reflecting our estimate of when we will complete our obligations under the agreement. For the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, we recognized revenues of $226,000 and $226,000, respectively, under the SymBio collaboration agreement. In addition, we recognized revenues of $0 and $0 for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively, related to the supply agreement.
The following table summarizes our operating expenses for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021:
General and administrative
Research and development
Total operating expenses
General and Administrative Expenses
General and administrative expenses consist principally of salaries and related costs for executive and other administrative personnel, including stock-based compensation and travel expenses. Other general and administrative expenses include facility-related costs, communication expenses, insurance, board of directors expenses and professional fees for legal, patent review, consulting and accounting services.
We anticipate that our general and administrative expenses will remain consistent in the short-term, but would increase in the future with the continued research and development and potential commercialization of our product candidates. These increases will likely include increased costs for insurance, costs related to the hiring of additional personnel and payments to outside consultants among other expenses. Additionally, if and when we believe a regulatory approval of a product candidate appears likely, we anticipate an increase in payroll and expense as a result of our preparation for commercial operations, especially as it relates to the sales and marketing of our product candidates.
Research and Development Expenses
Our research and development expenses consist primarily of costs incurred for the development of our product candidates, which include:
|●||employee-related expenses, including salaries, benefits, travel and stock-based compensation expense;|
|●||expenses incurred under agreements with CROs and investigative sites that conduct our clinical trials and preclinical studies;|
|●||the cost of acquiring, developing and manufacturing clinical trial materials;|
|●||direct expenses for maintenance of research equipment, clinical trial insurance and other supplies; and|
|●||costs associated with preclinical activities and regulatory operations.|
Research and development costs are expensed as incurred. License fees and milestone payments we make related to in-licensed products and technology are expensed if it is determined that they have no alternative future use. We record costs for some development activities, such as clinical trials, based on an evaluation of the progress to completion of specific tasks using data such as patient enrollment, clinical site activations or information provided to us by our vendors.
Research and development activities are central to our business model. Product candidates in later stages of clinical development generally have higher development costs than those in earlier stages of clinical development, primarily due to the increased size and duration of later-stage clinical trials.
Our research and development expenses are related to narazaciclib, oral rigosertib, other candidates in our pipeline, and potentially in-licensed products. We do not currently utilize a formal time allocation system to capture expenses on a project-by-project basis because we are organized and record expense by functional department and our employees may allocate time to more than one development project. Accordingly, we do not allocate expenses to individual projects or
product candidates, although we do allocate some portion of our research and development expenses by functional area and by compound.
It is difficult to determine with certainty the duration and completion costs of our current or future preclinical programs and clinical trials of our product candidates, or if, when or to what extent we will generate revenues from the commercialization and sale of any of our product candidates that obtain regulatory approval. We may never succeed in achieving regulatory approval for any of our product candidates. The duration, costs and timing of clinical trials and development of our product candidates will depend on a variety of factors, including the uncertainties of future clinical and preclinical studies, uncertainties in clinical trial enrollment rate and significant and changing government regulation. In addition, the probability of success for each product candidate will depend on numerous factors, including competition, manufacturing capability and commercial viability. We will determine which programs to pursue and how much to fund each program in response to the scientific and clinical success of each product candidate, an assessment of each product candidate’s commercial potential and our available funds.
Interest Expense and Other Income, Net
Other income, net consists principally of interest income earned on cash and cash equivalent balances and foreign exchange gains and losses.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
This management’s discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations is based on our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with US generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities in our consolidated financial statements. On an ongoing basis, we evaluate our estimates and judgments. We base our estimates on historical experience, known trends and events and various other factors that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ materially from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.
We believe the following accounting policies may involve a higher degree of judgment and complexity in their application than our other accounting policies and represent the most critical judgments and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements. Our significant accounting policies are presented within Note 2 to our Financial Statements.
Clinical Trial Expense
As part of the process of preparing our consolidated financial statements, we are required to estimate our accrued expenses. Our clinical trial accrual process is designed to account for expenses resulting from our obligations under contracts with vendors, consultants and CROs and clinical site agreements in connection with conducting clinical trials. The financial terms of these contracts are subject to negotiations, which vary from contract to contract and may result in payment flows that do not match the periods over which materials or services are provided to us under such contracts. Our objective is to reflect the appropriate clinical trial expenses in our consolidated financial statements by matching the appropriate expenses with the period in which services are provided and efforts are expended. We account for these expenses according to the progress of the trial as measured by patient progression and the timing of various aspects of the trial. We determine accrual estimates through financial models that take into account discussion with applicable personnel and outside service providers as to the progress or state of completion of trials, or the services completed. During the course of a clinical trial, we adjust our clinical expense recognition if actual results differ from our estimates. We make estimates of our accrued expenses as of each balance sheet date in our consolidated financial statements based on the facts and circumstances known to us at that time. Our clinical trial accrual and prepaid assets are dependent, in part, upon the receipt of timely and accurate reporting from CROs and other third-party vendors. Although we do not expect our estimates to be materially different from amounts actually incurred, our understanding of the status and
timing of services performed relative to the actual status and timing of services performed may vary and may result in us reporting amounts that are too high or too low for any particular period.
We account for stock-based payments to employees and non-employees using an option pricing model for estimating fair value. Accordingly, stock-based compensation expense is measured based on the estimated fair value of the awards on the date of grant, net of forfeitures. Compensation expense is recognized for the portion that is ultimately expected to vest over the period during which the recipient renders the required services, using the straight-line single option method.
We record stock-based compensation expense as a component of research and development expenses or general and administrative expenses, depending on the function performed by the optionee. For the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, we allocated stock-based compensation as follows:
Year ended December 31,
General and administrative
Research and development
Fair Value Estimates
We estimate the fair value of share-based awards to employees and non-employees using the Black-Scholes option pricing model. The Black-Scholes model requires the input of highly complex and subjective assumptions, including (a) the expected stock price volatility, (b) the calculation of the expected term of the award, (c) the risk free interest rate and (d) expected dividends. Expected volatility is based on the historical volatility of the Company’s common stock. We estimate the expected life of our employee stock options using the “simplified” method, whereby, the expected life equals the arithmetic average of the vesting term and the original contractual term of the option. The risk-free interest rates for periods within the expected life of the option are based on the U.S. Treasury yield curve in effect during the period when the options were granted. We have never paid, and do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future.
We recorded deferred tax assets of $170.1 million as of December 31, 2022, which have been fully offset by a valuation allowance due to uncertainties surrounding our ability to realize these tax benefits. The deferred tax assets are primarily composed of federal and state tax net operating loss (NOL), carry forwards and research and development tax credit carry forwards. As of December 31, 2022, we had federal NOL carry forwards of $298.1 million, state NOL carry forwards of $257.8 million, federal research and development tax credit carry forwards of $89.7 million and state research and development tax credit carry forwards of $1.1 million available to reduce future taxable income, if any. Federal NOL carry forwards generated before 2018 will begin to expire at various dates starting in 2023. The state NOL carry forwards will begin to expire at various dates starting in 2025. In general, if we experience a greater than 50 percentage point aggregate change in ownership of specified significant stockholders over a three-year period, utilization of our pre-change US NOL, tax credit and other tax attribute carry forwards may be subject to an annual limitations under Sections 382 and 383 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code) and similar state laws. Such limitations may result in expiration of a portion of the NOL carry forwards before utilization and may be substantial. The amount of the annual limitation, if any, will be determined based on the value of the Company immediately prior to the ownership change. Subsequent ownership changes may further affect the limitation in future years. The Company believes such a change occurred and may impact available net operating losses and carry over research credits generated. The Company has not performed any detailed analysis as it expects these to expire before utilization and has provided for a full valuation allowance but will perform a Section 382 and 383 study if any tax attributes are to be utilized in a given year.
Results of Operations
Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2022 and 2021
Year ended December 31,
General and administrative
Research and development
Total operating expenses
Loss from operations
Change in fair value of warrant liability
Other income, net
Net loss before income taxes
Revenues for 2022 were consistent with 2021 and were due to the recognition of deferred revenue from our collaboration with SymBio.
General and administrative expenses
General and administrative expenses decreased by $1.0 million or 10.4%, to $8.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2022 from $9.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The decrease was attributable primarily to $1.2 million lower expenses for investor relations, proxy solicitation, and fees related to our shareholder meetings in the 2021 period which did not recur in the 2022 period, $0.1 million lower facilities related costs, $0.1 million lower insurance expenses and $0.1 million lower commercial consulting expenses in the 2022 period. These decreases were partially offset by $0.2 million higher personnel related costs and $0.2 higher professional and consulting fees during the 2022 period.
The details of our general and administrative expenses are:
Year Ended December 31,
Professional & consulting fees
Stock based compensation
Public company costs
Insurance & other
Research and development expenses
Research and development expenses increased by $4.1 million, or 56.3%, to $11.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2022 from $7.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. This increase was caused primarily by $2.0 million higher clinical and preclinical development expenses related to narazaciclib, by $1.5 million higher manufacturing costs related to narazaciclib drug substance and drug product, and also by $0.9 million higher personnel and stock compensation expense during the 2022 period. These increases were partially offset by a $0.3 million decrease in consulting expenses in the 2022 period.
The details of our research and development expenses are:
Year ended December 31,
Preclinical & clinical develop ent
Manufacturing, formulation & development
Stock based compensation
Change in fair value of warrant liability
The fair value of the warrant liability was reduced to $0 during the third quarter of 2021, following the expiration of the underlying tradable warrants. The change in the fair value of the warrant liability was an increase of $0.3 million during the year ended December 31, 2021 based on the change in market value of the tradable warrants in the 2021 period.
Other income, net
Other income, net, increased by $0.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2022 compared to the year ended December 31, 2021 due primarily to $0.6 million higher interest income in the 2022 period and $27,000 higher foreign currency exchange gain in the 2022 period.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Since our inception, we have incurred net losses and experienced negative cash flows from our operations. We incurred net losses of $19.0 million and $16.2 million for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. Our operating activities used $16.3 million and $19.5 million of net cash during the year ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. At December 31, 2022, we had an accumulated deficit of $463.7 million, working capital of $31.3 million, and cash and cash equivalents of $38.8 million. We believe that our cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to fund our ongoing trials and business operations into the first quarter of 2024; however, based on current projections, we do not have sufficient cash and cash equivalents as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to support our operations for at least the 12 months following the date that the financial statements are issued. These conditions raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern through the one-year period after the date that the financial statements are issued. Due to the inherent uncertainty involved in making estimates and the risks associated with the research, development, and commercialization of biotechnology products, we may have based this estimate on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and our operating plan may change as a result of many factors currently unknown to us.
We will require substantial additional financing to fund our ongoing clinical trials and operations, and to continue to execute our strategy. To alleviate the conditions that raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern, we plan to explore various dilutive and non-dilutive sources of funding, including equity financings, strategic alliances, business development and other sources. The future success of the Company is dependent upon our ability to obtain additional funding. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be successful in obtaining such funding in sufficient amounts, on terms acceptable to us, or at all. The failure to obtain sufficient capital on acceptable terms when needed would have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition. Accordingly, we have concluded that substantial doubt exists with respect to our ability to continue as a going concern within one year after the date that these financial statements are issued.
The accompanying financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis, which contemplates the realization of assets and satisfaction of liabilities in the normal course of business, and do not include any adjustments relating to recoverability and classification of recorded asset amounts or the amounts and classification of liabilities that might be necessary should we be unable to continue as a going concern.
The following table summarizes our cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2022 and 2021:
Year Ended December 31,
Net cash (used in) provided by:
Effect of foreign currency translation
Net (decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents
Net cash used in operating activities
Net cash used in operating activities was $16.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2022 and consisted primarily of a net loss of $19.0 million, including $1.2 million of noncash stock-based compensation and depreciation expense. Changes in operating assets and liabilities resulted in a net increase in cash of $1.5 million. Significant changes in operating assets and liabilities included an increase in accounts payable and accrued liabilities of $1.9 million as a result of the timing of clinical trial and other accruals, and receipt and payment of vendor invoices, and an increase of $0.2 million in prepaid expenses and other current assets. Deferred revenue decreased $0.2 million due to recognition of the unamortized portion of the upfront payment under our collaboration agreement with SymBio.
Net cash used in operating activities was $19.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 and consisted primarily of a net loss of $16.2 million, including a favorable change in fair value of warrant liability of $0.3 million and $0.6 million of noncash stock-based compensation and depreciation expense. Changes in operating assets and liabilities resulted in a net decrease in cash of $3.6 million. Significant changes in operating assets and liabilities included a decrease in accounts payable and accrued liabilities of $3.9 million as a result of the timing of clinical trial and other accruals, and receipt and payment of vendor invoices, and the reduction of prepaid expenses of $0.5 million primarily as a result of recognition of insurance expense. Deferred revenue decreased $0.2 million due to recognition of the unamortized portion of the upfront payment under our collaboration agreement with SymBio.
Net cash provided by financing activities
There was no net cash used in or provided by financing activities in the 2022 period. Net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2021 was $55.6 million, which resulted from the proceeds received from the sale of common stock in January, February, and September 2021 and through the at-the-market facility during August and September 2021. An additional $0.5 million was provided by the exercise of common stock warrants.
Material Cash Requirements
We have not achieved profitability since our inception and we expect to continue to incur net losses for the foreseeable future. We expect net cash expended in 2023 to be higher than 2022 due to clinical trials with narazaciclib and increased headcount in our clinical and regulatory groups. We also expect an increase in costs for potential in-licensing, the timing of which will be determined by the timing of any potential in-licensing. We enter into contracts in the normal course of business with third-party contract organizations for clinical trials, preclinical studies, manufacturing and other services and products for operating purposes. These contracts generally provide for termination following a certain period after notice and therefore we believe that, currently, our non-cancelable obligations under these agreements are not material. We believe that our cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to fund our ongoing trials and operations into the first quarter of 2024; however, based on current projections, we do not have sufficient cash and cash equivalents as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to support our operations for at least the 12 months following the date that the financial statements are issued. These conditions raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern through the one-year period after the date that the financial statements are issued.
We are exploring various sources of funding for continued development of narazaciclib and any potential in-licensed compounds as well as our ongoing operations. We expect to incur significant expenses and operating losses for the foreseeable future as we continue the development and clinical trials of, and seek regulatory approval for, our product candidates, even if milestones under our license and collaboration agreements may be met. If we obtain regulatory approval for any of our product candidates, we expect to incur significant NDA preparation and commercialization expenses. We do not currently have an organization for the sales, marketing and distribution of pharmaceutical products. We may rely on licensing and co-promotion agreements with strategic or collaborative partners for the commercialization of our products in the United States and other territories. If we choose to build a commercial infrastructure to support marketing in the United States for any of our product candidates that achieve regulatory approval, such commercial infrastructure could be expected to include a targeted, oncology sales force supported by sales management, internal sales support, an internal marketing group and distribution support. To develop the appropriate commercial infrastructure internally, we would have to invest financial and management resources, some of which would have to be deployed prior to having any certainty about marketing approval. Furthermore, we have and expect to continue to incur additional costs associated with operating as a public company.
Please see “Risk Factors” for additional risks associated with our substantial capital requirements.
We view our operations and manage our business in one segment, which is the identification and development of oncology therapeutics.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
In June 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued new guidance on the accounting for credit losses on financial instruments. The guidance was amended in November 2019. The new guidance introduces an expected loss model for estimating credit losses, replacing the incurred loss model. The new guidance also changes the impairment model for available-for-sale debt securities, requiring the use of an allowance to record estimated credit losses (and subsequent recoveries). The guidance is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2022, and interim periods within those years, for companies deemed to be smaller reporting companies as of November 15, 2019, with early adoption permitted. We will adopt the guidance as of January 1, 2023. The guidance is not expected to have a material effect on the Company.
ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
As a smaller reporting company, the Company is not required to provide the information otherwise required by this Item.
ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
The financial statements and supplementary data required by this item are listed in Item 15 — “Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules” of this Annual Report.
ITEM 9. CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
ITEM 9A. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES
Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures
Our management, with the participation of our President and Chief Executive Officer (our principal executive officer) and our Chief Financial Officer (our principal financial officer), evaluated the effectiveness of our disclosure
controls and procedures (as defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Exchange Act) as of December 31, 2022. Based upon this evaluation, our principal executive officer and principal financial officer concluded that, as of such date, disclosure controls and procedures were effective.
Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting. Management assessed the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2022. In making this assessment, management used the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) in Internal Control — Integrated Framework issued in 2013. Based upon the assessments, management has concluded that as of December 31, 2022 our internal control over financial reporting was effective to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements in accordance with GAAP.
This Annual Report does not include an attestation report of our registered public accounting firm regarding internal control over financial reporting. Management’s report was not subject to attestation by our registered public accounting firm pursuant to exemptions provided to issuers that are non-accelerated filers or qualify as an “emerging growth company,” as defined in Section 2(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, or the Securities Act, as modified by the JOBS Act.
Changes in Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
There has been no change in our internal control over financial reporting during the fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2022 that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.
ITEM 9B. OTHER INFORMATION
Notice of Delisting or Failure to Satisfy a Continuing Listing Rule or Standard; Transfer of Listing.
On March 28, 2023, the Company received a letter from The Nasdaq Capital Market (“Nasdaq”) indicating that the Company has failed to comply with the minimum bid price requirement of Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(a)(2). Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(a) (2) requires that companies listed on Nasdaq maintain a minimum closing bid price of at least $1.00 per share.
Under Nasdaq Listing Rule 5810(c)(3)(A), the Company has a 180 calendar day grace period, or until September 25, 2023, to regain compliance by meeting the continued listing standard. The continued listing standard will be met if the Company’s common stock has a minimum closing bid price of at least $1.00 per share for a minimum of ten consecutive business days during the 180 calendar day grace period.
If the Company is not in compliance by September 25, 2023, the Company may be afforded a second 180 calendar day period to regain compliance. To qualify, the Company would be required to meet the continued listing requirement for market value of publicly held shares and all other initial listing standards for The Nasdaq Capital Market, except for the minimum bid price requirement. In addition, the Company would be required to notify Nasdaq of its intention to cure the minimum bid price deficiency during the second compliance period, by effecting a reverse stock split, if necessary.
If the Company does not regain compliance within the allotted compliance period(s), including any extensions that may be granted by Nasdaq, Nasdaq will provide notice that the Company’s common stock will be subject to delisting. At that time, the Company may appeal the Nasdaq Staff’s determination to a Nasdaq Hearings Panel.
The Company intends to monitor the closing bid price of the Company’s common stock and consider its available options to resolve the noncompliance with the minimum bid price requirement.
There can be no assurance that the Company will be able to regain compliance with the minimum bid price requirement or will otherwise be in compliance with other Nasdaq listing criteria.
ITEM 10. DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
Information with respect to this item will be set forth in the Proxy Statement for the 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders (the Proxy Statement) under the headings “Election of Directors,” “Executive Officers,” “Section 16(a) Beneficial Ownership Reporting Compliance,” “Code of Ethics” and “Corporate Governance” and is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 11. EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
Information with respect to this item will be set forth in the Proxy Statement under the headings “Executive Compensation” and “Director Compensation,” and is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 12. SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS
Information with respect to this item will be set forth in the Proxy Statement under the headings “Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management” and “Executive Compensation,” and is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 13. CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE
Information with respect to this item will be set forth in the Proxy Statement under the headings “Certain Relationships and Related Party Transactions” and “Corporate Governance” and is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 14. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING FEES AND SERVICES
Information with respect to this item will be set forth in the Proxy Statement under the heading “Ratification of the Selection of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm,” and is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 15. EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES
(1) Financial Statements: See Index to Consolidated Financial Statements on page F-1.
Exhibits: See Exhibits Index on pages 60 to 64
ITEM 16. FORM 10-K SUMMARY
Information with respect to this item is not required and has been omitted at the Company’s option.
Certificate of Amendment to Tenth Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on May 31, 2016).
Certificate of Amendment to Tenth Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of Onconova Therapeutics, Inc., as amended (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on March 22, 2018).
Certificate of Amendment to Tenth Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of Onconova Therapeutics, Inc., as amended (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on June 8, 2018).
Certificate of Amendment to Tenth Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of Onconova Therapeutics, Inc., as amended (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on September 25, 2018).
Certificate of Amendment to the Tenth Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of Onconova Therapeutics, Inc., as amended (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on May 20, 2021).
Certificate of Amendment to the Tenth Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of Onconova Therapeutics, Inc., as amended (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.2 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on May 20, 2021).
Amended and Restated Bylaws of Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.2 to Pre-Effective Amendment No. 1 to the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on July 11, 2013).
Eighth Amended and Restated Stockholders’ Agreement, effective as of July 27, 2012, by and among Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and certain stockholders named therein (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.2 to Pre-Effective Amendment No. 1 to the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on July 11, 2013).
Amendment No. 1 to Eighth Amended and Restated Stockholders’ Agreement, effective as of July 9, 2013 (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.3 to Pre-Effective Amendment No. 1 the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on July 11, 2013).
Form of Warrant Certificate, issued pursuant to Warrant Agreement, dated as of July 27, 2016, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as Warrant Agent (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on August 15, 2016).
Warrant Agreement, dated as of July 27, 2016, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as Warrant Agent (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.2 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on August 15, 2016).
First Amendment to Underwriter Series A Convertible Preferred Stock Purchase Warrant, dated as of September 24, 2018 (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on November 14, 2018).
Form of Placement Agent Common Stock Purchase Warrant, issued as of September 25, 2019 (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on September 25, 2019).
Form of Placement Agent Common Stock Purchase Warrant, issued as of November 25, 2019 (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.3 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on November 26, 2019).
Form of Placement Agent Common Stock Purchase Warrant, issued as of December 10, 2019 (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.2 of the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on December 10, 2019).
Form of Placement Agent Common Stock Purchase Warrant, issued as of December 19, 2019 (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.2 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on December 19, 2019).
Description of the Company’s Securities Registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.22 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on March 27, 2020).
License Agreement, effective as of July 5, 2011, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and SymBio Pharmaceuticals Limited (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.2 to Pre-Effective Amendment No. 2 the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on July 18, 2013).
First Amendment to License Agreement, effective as of September 2, 2011, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and SymBio Pharmaceuticals Limited (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.3 to the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on June 14, 2013).
License Agreement, effective as of January 1, 1999, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Temple University — Of The Commonwealth System of Higher Education (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.4 to the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on June 14, 2013).
Amendment to License Agreement, effective as of September 1, 2000, by and between Temple University — Of The Commonwealth System of Higher Education and Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.5 to the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on June 14, 2013).
Amendment #1 to Exclusive License Agreement, effective as of March 21, 2013, by and between Temple University — Of The Commonwealth System of Higher Education and Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.6 to the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on June 14, 2013).
Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. 2007 Equity Compensation Plan, and forms of agreement thereunder (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.13 to Pre-Effective Amendment No. 1 the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on July 11, 2013).
Consulting Agreement, effective as of January 1, 2012, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and E. Premkumar Reddy, Ph.D., including Consultant Agreement Renewal, dated February 27, 2013 (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.23 to the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on June 14, 2013).
Form of Indemnification Agreement entered into by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and each director and executive officer (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.24 to Pre-Effective Amendment No. 1 the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on July 11, 2013).
Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. 2013 Equity Compensation Plan, and forms of agreement thereunder (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.25 to Pre-Effective Amendment No. 1 the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on July 11, 2013).
Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. 2013 Performance Bonus Plan (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.26 to Pre-Effective Amendment No. 1 the Company’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 filed on July 11, 2013).
Employment Agreement, effective as of July 1, 2015, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Mark Guerin (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.2 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on February 17, 2016).
Amended and Restated Employment Agreement, effective as of July 1, 2015, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Steven M. Fruchtman, M.D. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.5 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on August 13, 2015).
License, Development and Commercialization Agreement, dated as of March 2, 2018, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Pint International SA (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on May 15, 2018).
Securities Purchase Agreement, dated as of March 2, 2018, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Pint Pharma GmbH (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.2 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on May 15, 2018).
Amended and Restated Employment Agreement, effective as of June 19, 2018, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Steven M. Fruchtman, M.D. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.2 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on August 14, 2018).
Amendment to Employment Agreement, dated as of March 18, 2021, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Steven M. Fruchtman, M.D. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.15.2 to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on March 18, 2021).
Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. 2018 Omnibus Incentive Compensation Plan, as approved by the stockholders (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on June 29, 2018).
Form of Nonqualified Stock Option Award Agreement under the Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. 2018 Omnibus Incentive Compensation Plan (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on July 30, 2018).
Employment Agreement, effective as of November 5, 2018, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Richard C. Woodman, M.D. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.2 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on November 14, 2018).
License and Collaboration Agreement, effective as of May 10, 2019, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and HanX Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on August 14, 2019).
Securities Purchase Agreement, effective as of May 10, 2019, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and HanX Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.2 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on August 14, 2019).
Securities Purchase Agreement, effective as of May 10, 2019, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Abundant New Investments Ltd. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.3 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on August 14, 2019).
Form of Securities Purchase Agreement, effective as of September 23, 2019, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and each purchase identified on the signature pages thereto (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on September 25, 2019).
Distribution, License and Supply Agreement, effective as of November 20, 2019, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Knight Therapeutics, Inc. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on November 21, 2019).
Form of Securities Purchase Agreement, effective as of November 21, 2019, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and each purchaser identified on the signature pages thereto (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on November 26, 2019).
Form of Securities Purchase Agreement, effective as of December 6, 2019, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and each purchaser identified on the signature pages thereto (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on December 10, 2019).
Distribution, License and Supply Agreement, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Specialised Therapeutics Asia Pte. Ltd., effective as of December 18, 2019 (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on December 19, 2019).
Form of Securities Purchase Agreement, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and each purchaser identified on the signature pages thereto, effective as of December 17, 2019 (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on December 19, 2019).
Form of Securities Purchase Agreement, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and each purchaser identified on the signature pages thereto, effective as of December 31, 2019 (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on January 3, 2020).
Form of Purchase Agreement, dated as of January 7, 2021, by and among Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and the investors party thereto (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on January 8, 2021).
Underwriting Agreement, dated February 10, 2021, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Guggenheim Securities, LLC (Incorporated by reference as Exhibit 1.1 to the Company’s Current Report of Form 8-K filed on February 12, 2021).
Employment Agreement, dated June 14, 2021, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Mark Stephen Gelder, M.D. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on August 16, 2021).
Employment Agreement, dated March 9, 2021, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Abraham N. Oler (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.2 to the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on August 16, 2021).
Equity Distribution Agreement, dated as of August 20, 2021, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Piper Sandler & Co. (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 1.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on August 20, 2021).
Underwriting Agreement, dated September 23, 2021, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Guggenheim Securities, LLC (Incorporated by reference as Exhibit 1.1 to the Company’s Current Report of Form 8-K filed on September 24, 2021).
Amendment to Employment Agreement, effective as of June 10, 2022, by and between Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. and Mark Guerin (Incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on June 13, 2022).
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XBRL Taxonomy Extension Calculation Linkbase Document
XBRL Taxonomy Extension Calculation Linkbase Document
XBRL Taxonomy Extension Labels Linkbase Document
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Indicates management contract or compensatory plan.
Confidential treatment has been requested with respect to certain portions of this exhibit. Omitted portions have been filed separately with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Portions of the exhibit have been omitted.
Pursuant to the requirements of Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.
Date: March 30, 2023
Onconova Therapeutics, Inc.
/s/ STEVEN M. FRUCHTMAN, M.D.
Steven M. Fruchtman
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, this report has been signed below by the following persons on behalf of the registrant and in the capacities and on the dates indicated:
/s/ STEVEN M. FRUCHTMAN, M.D.
Director, President and Chief Executive Officer
March 30, 2023
Steven M. Fruchtman, M.D.
/s/ MARK GUERIN
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer (Principal Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer)
March 30, 2023
/s/ JAMES J. MARINO
Chairman, Board of Directors
March 30, 2023
James J. Marino
/s/ Peter Atadja PH.D.
March 30, 2023
Peter Atadja, Ph.D.
/s/ Trafford Clarke, PH.D.
March 30, 2023
Trafford Clarke, Ph.D.
/s/ JEROME E. GROOPMAN, M.D.
March 30, 2023
Jerome E. Groopman, M.D.
/s/ VIREN MEHTA, PH.D.
March 30, 2023
J Viren Mehta, Ph.D.
/s/ MARY TERESA SHOEMAKER
March 30, 2023
Mary Teresa Shoemaker
/s/ JACK E. STOVER
March 30, 2023
Jack E. Stover
ONCONOVA THERAPEUTICS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Index to Consolidated Financial Statements
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm (PCAOB ID:
All common stock, equity, share and per share amounts have been retroactively adjusted to reflect a one-for-fifteen reverse stock split which was effective May 20, 2021.
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Shareholders and the Board of Directors of Onconova Therapeutics, Inc.
Opinion on the Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. (the Company) as of December 31, 2022 and 2021, the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive loss, stockholders’ equity and cash flows for the years then ended, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company at December 31, 2022 and 2021, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the years then ended, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
The Company's Ability to Continue as a Going Concern
The accompanying consolidated financial statements have been prepared assuming that the Company will continue as a going concern. As discussed in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company has suffered recurring losses from operations and has stated that substantial doubt exists about the Company's ability to continue as a going concern. Management's evaluation of the events and conditions and management's plans regarding these matters are also described in Note 1. The consolidated financial statements do not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of this uncertainty.
Basis for Opinion
These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.
Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Critical Audit Matter
The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective or complex judgments. The communication of the critical audit matter does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.
Clinical Trial Expense Accruals
Description of the Matter
As described in Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company records accruals for estimated costs of research and development activities that include contract services for clinical trials. At December 31, 2022, the Company recorded accrued expenses for clinical trial accruals, which are included in accrued expenses and other current liabilities on the consolidated balance sheet. Clinical trial activities performed by third parties are accrued based upon estimates of the proportion of work completed over the life of the individual clinical trial in accordance with agreements established with contract research organizations, clinical trial sites and other third parties.
Auditing management's clinical trial expense accruals is especially challenging because of the judgment applied by management to determine the progress or stage of completion of the activities under the Company's research and development agreements and the cost and extent of work performed during the reporting period for services not yet billed by contracted third-party vendors. The testing of the Company's accrued clinical trial expense models also involves a significant level of effort to test the high volume of data from third parties.
How We Addressed the Matter in Our Audit
To test the clinical trial expense accruals, our audit procedures included, among others, testing the completeness and accuracy of the underlying data used in the estimates and evaluating the significant assumptions including, but not limited to, patient enrollment and costs per patient/visit, that are used by management to estimate the recorded accruals. To assess the reasonableness of the significant assumptions, we corroborated the progress of clinical trials with the Company’s clinical personnel and confirmed progress directly with third parties. We also tested subsequent invoicing received from such third parties and inspected the Company’s contracts with third parties to assess the impact to the accrual through the balance sheet date and compared that to the Company’s estimates.
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2013.
March 30, 2023
ONCONOVA THERAPEUTICS, INC.
Consolidated Balance Sheets
Cash and cash equivalents
Prepaid expenses and other current assets
Total current assets
Property and equipment, net
Other non-current assets
Liabilities and stockholders’ equity
Accrued expenses and other current liabilities
Total current liabilities
Deferred revenue, non-current
Commitments and contingencies
Preferred stock, $
Common stock, $
Additional paid in capital
Accumulated other comprehensive loss
Total stockholders’ equity
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.
ONCONOVA THERAPEUTICS, INC.
Consolidated Statements of Operations
Years ended December 31,
General and administrative
Research and development
Total operating expenses
Loss from operations
Change in fair value of warrant liability
Other income, net
Net loss per share, basic and diluted
Basic and diluted weighted average shares outstanding
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.
ONCONOVA THERAPEUTICS, INC.
Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Loss
Years ended December 31,
Other comprehensive loss, net of tax:
Foreign currency translation adjustments, net
Other comprehensive loss, net of tax
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.
ONCONOVA THERAPEUTICS, INC.
Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity
Balance at December 31, 2020
Other comprehensive loss
Exercise of stock options
Shares issued in connection with reverse stock split
Issuance of common stock, net