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DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Aldeyra Therapeutics, Inc.
Annual Report on Form 10-K
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2022
Table of Contents
Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Various statements throughout this report are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, included in this report regarding our strategy, future operations, future financial position, future revenues, projected costs, prospects, plans and objectives of management are forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties and are based on information currently available to our management. Words such as, but not limited to, “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “contemplates,” “predict,” “project,” “target,” “likely,” “potential,” “continue,” “ongoing,” “design,” “might,” “objective,” “will,” “would,” “should,” “could,” or the negative of these terms and similar expressions or words, identify forward-looking statements. These statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on assumptions and subject to risks and uncertainties. Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The events and circumstances reflected in our forward-looking statements may not occur and actual results could differ materially from those projected in our forward-looking statements. Meaningful factors which could cause actual results to differ include, but are not limited to:
All written and verbal forward-looking statements attributable to us or any person acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. We caution investors not to rely too heavily on the forward-looking statements we make or that are made on our behalf. We undertake no obligation, and specifically decline any obligation, to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You are advised, however, to consult any further disclosures we make on related subjects in any annual, quarterly or current reports that we may file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
We encourage you to read the discussion and analysis of our financial condition and our financial statements contained in this annual report on Form 10-K. We also encourage you to read Item 1A of Part 1 of this annual report on Form 10-K, entitled “Risk Factors,” which contains a more complete discussion of the risks and uncertainties associated with our business. In addition to the risks described above and in Item 1A of this report, other unknown or unpredictable factors also could affect our results. Therefore, the information in this report should be read together with other reports and documents that we file with the SEC from time to time, including Forms 10-Q, 8-K and 10-K, which may supplement, modify, supersede or update those risk factors. There can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by us will be realized or, even if substantially realized, that our results will lead to the expected consequences to, or effects on, us. Therefore, no assurance can be given that the outcomes stated in such forward-looking statements and estimates will be achieved.
As used in this annual report on Form 10-K, the terms “Aldeyra,” “Registrant,” “the Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our” mean Aldeyra Therapeutics, Inc., together with its wholly-owned subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.
INDUSTRY AND MARKET DATA
We obtained the industry, market and certain other data used throughout this annual report on Form 10-K from our own internal estimates and research, as well as from industry and general publications, surveys and studies conducted by third parties. Internal estimates are derived from publicly-available information released by industry analysts and third-party sources, our internal research, and our industry experience, and are based on assumptions made by us based on such data and our knowledge of our industry and market, which we believe to be reasonable. In addition, while we believe the industry, market, and other data included in this annual report on Form 10-K are reliable and based on reasonable assumptions, such data involves risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various factors, including those discussed in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors”. These and other factors could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in the estimates made by independent parties and by us.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
We are a biotechnology company devoted to discovering innovative therapies designed to treat immune-mediated diseases. We are developing a novel pharmaceutical platform targeting a class of pro-inflammatory mediators known as RASP (reactive aldehyde species) that exacerbate diseases characterized by inflammation. Our RASP modulator product pipeline includes ADX‑629, a novel orally administered RASP modulator in clinical development for atopic dermatitis, idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, moderate alcohol-associated hepatitis, chronic cough, and Sjögren-Larsson Syndrome. Our preclinical RASP platform includes ADX-246, ADX-248, and other drug candidates in development for geographic atrophy and systemic inflammatory diseases. The validity of the RASP platform is supported by reproxalap, our first-in-class product candidate under New Drug Application (NDA) review by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of dry eye disease. Reproxalap has demonstrated broad-based, rapid-onset activity and consistent safety across a number of Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials. We have additional product candidates in development, including ADX‑2191, which is under NDA review by the FDA for the treatment of a rare but fatal cancer known as primary vitreoretinal lymphoma. ADX‑2191 is also in clinical development for the treatment of proliferative vitreoretinopathy and retinitis pigmentosa, two rare retinal diseases characterized by inflammation and vision loss. ADX‑2191 has received Orphan Drug Designation for all three retinal diseases currently under development.
Our pipeline, as of the date of filing this annual report on Form 10‑K is illustrated below.
Product Candidate Development Pipeline
All of our development plans and timelines are subject to adjustment depending on recruitment rate, regulatory review, preclinical and clinical results, funding, and other factors that could delay the initiation, completion, or reporting of clinical trials. As we continue to execute on our strategy of expanding our product candidate pipeline, we may license or acquire new immune-modulating approaches with novel therapeutic potential. In January 2019, we acquired from Helio Vision, Inc. and thereby obtained rights to ADX-2191.
Immune-mediated diseases are conditions that result from an imbalance of inhibitory and stimulatory factors that regulate the immune system. Immunological dysregulation can lead to a broad array of conditions that include autoimmune disease, allergy, immunoproliferative disease, and cancer. Many ocular, cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological, and musculoskeletal diseases, affecting more than 100 million patients in the United States and hundreds of millions of patients worldwide, are at least partially immune-mediated. An estimated 7% of western society suffers from some form of immune-mediated disease, and incidence has been increasing. Given the complexity of immune dysregulation, which involves many mediators and signaling pathways, rarely is any single therapeutic approach effective, and today most immune-mediated diseases are generally considered to be inadequately treated. As such, we believe that immune-mediated diseases represent considerable unmet medical need, and that demand for novel immune-modulating therapies is high. Consistent with large patient populations and high therapeutic demand, the current market for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases is considerable, representing an excess of $40 billion worldwide.
We have no products approved for sale in the United States or elsewhere. We will not receive any revenue from any product candidates that we develop until we obtain regulatory approval. We intend to commercialize our products, if approved for sale, directly or through collaborations. Although we may receive commercial revenue in the future, we have to date primarily funded our operations through the sale of our common stock, convertible preferred stock, convertible promissory notes, warrants, and borrowings under debt facilities. We will need to raise additional capital in the form of debt or equity or through partnerships to fund additional development of our product candidates, and we may in-license, acquire, or invest in complementary businesses or products. In addition, contingent on capital resources, we may augment, diminish, or otherwise modify the clinical development plan described herein.
Since our incorporation, we have devoted substantially all of our resources to the preclinical and clinical development of our product candidates. We have begun to incur commercialization expenses related to reproxalap and ADX-2191, including building a commercial infrastructure and expect to incur additional commercialization expenses in advance of potentially receiving marketing approval for reproxalap and ADX-2191. If we do obtain marketing approval for reproxalap, ADX-2191 or any other product candidate that we develop, we expect to incur significant additional commercialization expenses related to product sales, marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Our ability to generate revenues, if any, largely depends upon our ability, alone or with others, to complete development of and obtain regulatory approvals for our product candidates, and to successfully manufacture, market, and sell our products. The results of our operations will vary significantly from year-to-year and quarter-to-quarter, and depend on a number of factors, including risks related to our business and industry, risks relating to intellectual property and other legal matters, risks related to our common stock, and other risks that are detailed in the section of this annual report on Form 10‑K entitled “Risk Factors”.
The Science Supporting Our Product Candidates
RASP: Mediators of Inflammatory Diseases
In response to infection, injury, endogenous and exogenous chemical triggers, heat, and other stimuli, pro-inflammatory RASP (reactive aldehyde species) are generated through a variety of metabolic processes, including alcohol oxidation, enzymatic and non-enzymatic lipid oxidation, and polyamine and sphingosine metabolism. RASP appear to effect inflammation signaling via covalent binding to thiol (sulfur-containing) and amine (nitrogen-containing) residues on proteins, including receptors and enzymes. RASP-protein adducts directly influence the function of proteins, leading to activation of intracellular inflammatory factors, including NF‑κB, an important mediator in the inflammatory response, and inflammasomes. In addition, RASP adducts bind to Scavenger Receptor A, which also initiates pro-inflammatory signaling and leads to the formation of antibodies against the adducted protein, at least in part explaining the presence of host-directed antibodies in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Levels of RASP are generally observed to be elevated in ocular and systemic inflammatory disease, including the diseases represented in our RASP modulator pipeline, and thus represent therapeutic targets for immune modulation.
Because of the inherent toxicity of RASP, most, if not all, living organisms contain enzymes, such as aldehyde reductases and aldehyde dehydrogenases, that convert RASP into non-toxic molecules. Genetic mutations in the RASP-metabolizing enzymes cause disease. In Sjögren-Larsson Syndrome, for example, mutations in fatty aldehyde dehydrogenase are responsible for skin, neurological, and retinal disease.
Aside from the potentiation of inflammation, there is no generally accepted biological role of high levels of RASP. Some physiologic molecules have RASP forms, including retinaldehyde (a form of Vitamin A) and pyridoxal and pyridoxal phosphate (forms of Vitamin B6), but the activity of physiological RASP is highly restricted by chaperone and other proteins that prevent reaction with other molecules, including our RASP modulators. Thus, pharmacotherapeutic RASP modulation is expected not to adversely affect normal physiologic processes. Consistent with the lack of accessibility of physiologic RASP, our most advanced RASP modulator, reproxalap, which has been administered as an ophthalmic solution to approximately 2,300 patients across a number of completed clinical trials for up to 12 months, has been observed to be generally well tolerated and has not been associated with any serious adverse events. Similarly, our most advanced orally administered RASP modulator, ADX‑629, which has been administered to more than 100 patients across a number of Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials for up to 90 days, has been observed to be generally well tolerated and has not been associated with any serious adverse events.
The RASP Modulator Platform
Because RASP affect many proteins simultaneously, the RASP modulator platform represents a unique and novel pharmacologic approach that, unlike almost all drugs in use today, is not designed to directly inhibit or activate a particular protein but instead targets a family of small molecules that in turn affect the activity and structure of many proteins at once. RASP modulation, therefore, has the potential to down-regulate pro-inflammatory systems or groups of proteins, and may lead to multiple beneficial clinical effects while avoiding toxicity associated with single-target inhibition or activation.
We are currently developing ADX‑629, ADX‑246, ADX‑248, and other novel RASP modulators for the treatment of immune-mediated disease. RASP modulators are novel small molecules designed specifically to bind, and thereby allow for the degradation of, RASP. The validity of the RASP platform is supported by reproxalap, our first-in-class product candidate for the treatment of dry eye disease, which has demonstrated broad-based, rapid-onset activity and consistent safety across a number of Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials and is under NDA review by the FDA. In in vitro and animal studies, reproxalap does not appear to affect most cellular components, including most receptors, enzymes, ion channels, or other proteins. Reproxalap has been shown to outcompete cellular constituents to covalently bind and trap RASP. Reproxalap-RASP adducts appear to be rapidly degraded in cellular environments, after which neither reproxalap nor RASP are detectable. Outside of biological systems, reproxalap-RASP adducts have shown to be remarkably non-reactive and stable, suggesting that reproxalap-RASP binding may be effectively irreversible. By forming covalent drug-RASP adducts that are then degraded, reproxalap and other RASP modulators have the potential to substantially lower RASP levels.
We believe that we are the first biotechnology company to demonstrate the beneficial effects of RASP modulation in a variety of animal models relating to immune-mediated disease, suggesting that RASP modulators may have potent anti-inflammatory effects that persist hours after administration at a variety of different doses relevant to clinical testing.
Thus, we believe that the mechanism of action of RASP modulation is potentially multifactorial – lowering inflammation, reducing healing time, diminishing scarring, and mitigating inflammatory pain – and may ameliorate inflammatory disease and deter disease progression in different ways simultaneously, consistent with a systems-based pharmacologic approach.
In addition to the development of ADX‑629, ADX‑246, and ADX‑248, we intend to continue the discovery and development of other novel RASP modulators, and we intend to continue to develop intellectual property around the molecules derived from our RASP modulator platform.
The Potential of ADX‑2191 to Treat Primary Vitreoretinal Lymphoma, Prevent Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy, and Treat Retinitis Pigmentosa
ADX-2191 is a novel intravitreal formulation of methotrexate, a dihydrofolate reductase inhibitor that has been administered intravenously for decades to treat cancer and inflammatory diseases. Initially as an intravenous medication and subsequently as an intraocular injection, serial administration of methotrexate is the standard of care for the treatment of primary vitreoretinal lymphoma, also known as ocular lymphoma, a rare but often fatal cancer that originates in the eye. The goal of methotrexate therapy in ocular lymphoma is to prevent metastasis to the central nervous system, which can be difficult to treat and is ultimately fatal. ADX‑2191 is a concentrated formulation of methotrexate that requires a small injection volume, thereby reducing injection site reflux and ensuing corneal toxicity relative to off-label ocular injections of methotrexate.
Proliferative vitreoretinopathy is a disease that occurs in a subset of patients with retinal detachments, and is characterized by excessive replication and pro-inflammatory activity of retinal cells, at least a portion of which synthesize collagen, the principal component of scar tissue. Retinal scarring can lead to impairment of vision, including blindness, as well as increased probability of subsequent retinal detachments. The anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory properties of methotrexate are well described. In preclinical studies of primary cell cultures from proliferative vitreoretinopathy patients, methotrexate reduced pathological cell proliferation and scar-like collagen deposition. Thus, the observed clinical activity of ADX‑2191 in proliferative vitreoretinopathy, described below, is believed to be the result of down-regulation of aberrant retinal cell proliferation and activity, thereby leading to reduced retinal scarring. ADX‑2191 is denser than the vitreous, the fluid in the back of the eye, allowing for the concentration of methotrexate in the vicinity of retina.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of rare genetic eye diseases characterized by retinal cell death and loss of vision, for which there is no treatment. In vivo preclinical research has identified the activity of methotrexate in inducing misfolded rhodopsin (a visual cycle protein) clearance, suggesting the potential of ADX‑2191 to treat genetic forms of retinitis pigmentosa that are characterized by misfolded rhodopsin.
Clinical Trial Results and Development Plans
Prior to applying for marketing approval, our product candidates must satisfy regulatory authority requirements for safety and efficacy, including pivotal Phase 3 clinical assessment. Our material clinical results have been previously disclosed elsewhere in detail, and we encourage review of all of our clinical trial disclosures in addition to this annual report on Form 10‑K. All of our development plans and timelines are subject to adjustment depending on recruitment rate, regulatory review, preclinical and clinical results, funding, and other factors that could delay the initiation, completion, or reporting of clinical trials. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinical site availability, staffing, patient recruitment, and patient retention have been negatively affected and the timelines to complete our clinical trials may be delayed.
Systemic RASP Modulation for the Treatment of Immune-Mediated Diseases
ADX‑629 is a novel, orally administered RASP modulator in Phase 2 clinical development for the treatment of systemic immune-mediated diseases. In a Phase 1 clinical trial of ADX‑629, no treatment-related adverse events were observed at any dose tested, and target engagement was evidenced by statistically lower levels of the RASP malondialdehyde in drug-treated subjects relative to controls (Figure 1). Additionally, following ingestion of a controlled high-fat meal, free fatty acids were statistically lower and HDL statistically higher in drug-treated subjects relative to placebo-treated subjects. The lipid results in the Phase 1 clinical trial suggested that ADX‑629 diminished the inflammatory response that typically occurs following ingestion of a high-fat meal.
Figure 1: Phase 1 Clinical Trial of ADX-629
MDA = malondialdehyde; SEM = standard error of the mean; HDL= high-density lipoprotein; LDL = low-density lipoprotein;
FFA = free fatty acids
In 2022, we announced results from Phase 2a clinical trials of ADX‑629 in patients with psoriasis, atopic asthma, COVID-19, or alcohol intoxication, all of which suggested preliminary pharmacodynamic activity of ADX‑629. The Phase 2a trials were performed as part of a systematic strategy to assess activity in different types of immunological diseases, including autoimmune disease, allergic inflammation, infectious disease, and toxin-induced inflammation. Across all Phase 2a clinical trials, in patients treated with ADX‑629, no safety concerns were evident from adverse events and there were no treatment-related serious adverse events observed.
Figure 2: Phase 2a Clinical Trials of ADX‑629 Psoriasis, Asthma, and COVID‑19
SEM = standard error of the mean; NIAID = National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases;
LOCF = Last Observation Carried Forward
Autoimmune Disease: Psoriasis
Following treatment of 10 moderate psoriasis patients with ADX‑629 for 12 weeks, psoriasis area and severity index (PASI) scores were statistically significantly decreased (P=0.0008 vs. baseline at Week 12), and peak PASI 50% and PASI 75% responder percentages were 57% (P=0.001) and 25% (P=0.051), respectively. Investigator global assessment scores decreased over the duration of treatment (P=0.01 vs. baseline at Week 12). Lesional pan-gene expression analysis suggested a trend toward normalization of global gene expression patterns; by Week 12 no gene expression pathways in lesional tissue were dysregulated compared to non-lesional skin. Plasma levels of the commonly described pro-inflammatory RASP malondialdehyde were reduced relative to baseline as soon as four weeks after initiation of treatment (P=0.02).
Allergic Inflammation: Asthma
In a placebo-controlled crossover trial of eight mild asthma patients treated for seven days, asthma symptom scores and sputum eosinophil cell counts were numerically reduced following treatment with ADX‑629 relative to treatment with placebo. Compared to placebo treatment, treatment with ADX‑629 led to statistically significant reductions in plasma levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-5 (P=0.02) and TNFα (P<0.0001), and numerical reductions in symptoms and in plasma levels of malondialdehyde.
Infectious Disease: COVID-19
Following treatment of 11 mild to moderate COVID-19 patients with ADX‑629 or placebo for four weeks, change from baseline in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Score (1=death, 8=no activity limitation) was numerically higher in ADX‑629-treated patients (n=7) than in placebo-treated patients (n=4) over all days assessed. Consistent with the clinical findings, relative to placebo-treated patients, reductions in plasma levels of the cytokines CXCL9 (P=0.0008), IFNγ (P=0.02), and TNFα (P=0.07) were observed in patients treated with ADX‑629.
Toxin-Induced Inflammation: Alcohol Intoxication
In a crossover trial of 23 healthy volunteers, where each subject received ADX‑629 or placebo prior to ethanol ingestion, ADX‑629 was statistically superior to placebo in improving Romberg test balance time (P=0.02); reducing facial flushing (P=0.0007); and lowering levels of the RASP acetaldehyde (P=0.03), total cholesterol (P=0.02), and LDL (P=0.047).
ADX‑629 is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials for atopic dermatitis, chronic cough, idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, and Sjögren-Larsson Syndrome. In addition, a Phase 2 clinical trial of ADX‑629 in moderate alcohol-associated hepatitis is expected to be initiated in 2023. Clinical trials of the RASP modulators ADX‑246 in systemic immune-mediated disease and ADX‑248 in geographic atrophy are expected to be initiated in the second half of 2023 or early 2024 pending completion of the FDA's Investigational New Drug (IND) requirements.
Dry Eye Disease
Reproxalap is a first-in-class, topically administered RASP modulator for the treatment of anterior segment ocular inflammation, and is currently under NDA review at the FDA for the treatment of dry eye disease. The NDA, which has been assigned a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) date of November 23, 2023, submission is supported by safety and efficacy data from five adequate and well-controlled clinical trials encompassing data for ocular dryness symptom score, ocular redness, Schirmer test (an objective measure of tear production), and Schirmer test ≥10 mm responder analysis (a measure of tear production that is correlated with symptomatic improvement) (Figure 3). The regulatory package includes activity ranging from within minutes of drug administration to up to 12 weeks of treatment (RENEW, Formulation Phase 2), crossover and parallel-group clinical trial designs, and assessment in dry eye chamber challenge (Phase 2 Dry Eye Chamber Trial, Crossover Trial, TRANQUILITY-2) and natural environment settings (RENEW, Formulation Phase 2). We believe that the NDA package for reproxalap, in aggregate, is the most comprehensive regulatory package ever submitted for a dry eye disease drug candidate.
Figure 3: Pivotal Trial Results for Reproxalap in Dry Eye Disease
The NDA submission includes a combination of primary, secondary, multiplicity-adjusted, and nominal P-value endpoints. Adequate and well-controlled Phase 2 or Phase 3 clinical trials can be submitted as pivotal. SEM = standard error of the mean.
In 12-week clinical trials, improvement in symptoms relative to vehicle was observed as soon as one week. In dry eye chamber trials, improvement in dry eye signs, including redness and the Schirmer test tear production assessment, was observed within minutes of dosing. The Schirmer test ≥10 mm responder analysis is correlated with symptomatic improvement, suggesting that a symptomatic benefit may be observed within minutes of dosing. Across all assessed symptoms, rapid symptomatic benefit was observed within dry eye chamber in the Crossover Trial (Figure 4), during which reproxalap or vehicle was administered prior to and 45 minutes after chamber entry.
Figure 4: Symptom Results from the Crossover Dry Eye Chamber Trial of Reproxalap in Dry Eye Disease
Topical ocular reproxalap has been studied in more than 2,300 patients with no observed clinically significant safety concerns; mild and transient instillation site irritation is the most commonly reported adverse event in clinical trials.
Allergic conjunctivitis is an anterior segment ocular inflammatory disease characterized by ocular itching and redness, and is often associated with dry eye disease. We estimate there to be 66 million patients with allergic conjunctivitis in the United States. In a number of Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials in allergic conjunctivitis, reproxalap demonstrated consistent statistically significant and clinically relevant activity in improving ocular itching and redness. Thus, we believe reproxalap could offer differentiated efficacy relative to existing dry eye disease medications with regard to the potential treatment of the signs and symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.
In 2021, we announced that the randomized, double-masked, vehicle-controlled allergen chamber Phase 3 INVIGORATE Trial of topically administered reproxalap in patients with allergic conjunctivitis (Figure 5) achieved the primary endpoint (patient-reported ocular itching score after the second dose of test article) and all secondary endpoints (investigator-assessed ocular redness score and patient-reported ocular tearing score).
Figure 5: Phase 3 INVIGORATE Trial Results for Reproxalap in Allergic Conjunctivitis
In 2022, we initiated the randomized, double-masked, vehicle-controlled allergen chamber Phase 3 INVIGORATE-2 Trial of reproxalap in patients with allergic conjunctivitis. Pending positive results from INVIGORATE-2, an allergic conjunctivitis safety trial, and regulatory input, we believe that we will have met NDA requirements for allergic conjunctivitis, although we expect that the NDA submission for allergic conjunctivitis would occur after marketing approval in dry eye disease.
Topical ocular reproxalap has been studied in more than 2,300 patients with no observed clinically significant safety concerns; mild and transient instillation site irritation is the most commonly reported adverse event in clinical trials.
Primary Vitreoretinal Lymphoma
There is no approved treatment for primary vitreoretinal lymphoma. Given that intravitreal methotrexate, the active ingredient of ADX‑2191, is the standard of care for the treatment of primary vitreoretinal lymphoma, and based on Pre-IND and Pre-NDA Type B meetings with the FDA, we submitted an NDA for ADX-2191 for the treatment of primary vitreoretinal lymphoma in the fourth quarter of 2022. The NDA submission, which received Priority Review designation and has been assigned a PDUFA date of June 21, 2023, is comprised in part of safety and efficacy evidence of methotrexate from the scientific literature, and safety data from our Phase 3 GUARD Trial in proliferative vitreoretinopathy, described below. The clinical efficacy literature search identified 32 published clinical trials encompassing a total of 406 treated eyes from 258 patients. The efficacy of intravitreal methotrexate for the treatment of primary vitreoretinal lymphoma has been demonstrated by clearance of lymphomatous cells from the vitreous, improvement in vision, clearance of retinal and subretinal lymphomatous infiltration, clearance or reduction in the number and/or size of lesions, decrease in cytokines, increase in overall survival, and increase in progression-free survival.
Proliferative vitreoretinopathy is a rare inflammatory disorder of the retina that leads to severe retinal scarring and blindness in a subset of patients with retinal detachments, and is the leading cause of failure of retinal reattachment surgery. Standard of care treatment for proliferative vitreoretinopathy results in subsequent retinal detachment surgical rates that approach 40%. In a single-arm, open-label, investigator-sponsored Phase 1b clinical trial performed at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, only approximately 20% of patients with proliferative vitreoretinopathy treated with multiple injections of ADX‑2191 required subsequent surgery for retinal detachment (Figure 6).
Figure 6: Phase 1b Investigator-Sponsored Clinical Trial of ADX‑2191 in Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy
PVR= Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy
In October 2022, we announced results of Part 1 of the GUARD Trial, a two-part, multi-center Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of intravitreal injections of ADX‑2191 versus standard-of-care for the prevention of proliferative vitreoretinopathy. The primary endpoint of GUARD Part 1, retinal detachment rate over six months following initiation of therapy relative to historical detachment rates, was achieved: relative to historical control, statistically significant reduction (P=0.024) in retinal detachment over six months was observed following serial intravitreal injection of ADX‑2191. Although not statistically powered for secondary or exploratory endpoints, the results of the GUARD Trial demonstrated numerical superiority of ADX‑2191 over routine surgical care in reducing the dichotomous endpoints of retinal detachment rate over six months, hypotony (low intraocular pressure), complete retinal attachment by six months, macular attachment by six months, and epiretinal membrane formation (overall P=0.047) (Figure 7). Visual acuity was similar between ADX‑2191 treatment and routine surgical care groups. Central macular thickness was numerically lower in ADX‑2191-treated patients.
Figure 7: Dichotomous Secondary Endpoints in the Phase 3 GUARD Trial of ADX‑2191 in Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy
OCT= optical coherence tomography; Ci= confidence interval
No safety signals were observed in the GUARD Trial, and ADX‑2191 was well tolerated; there were no observed treatment-emergent serious adverse events. The most common adverse event associated with ADX‑2191 treatment was punctate keratitis, a well-known side effect of intravitreal methotrexate, which was most commonly mild in severity. Across all other treatment-emergent adverse events occurring in at least 10% of patients in either treatment arm, relative to patients treated with routine surgical care, ADX-2191-treated patients had numerically fewer side effects, including pain, cystoid macular edema, corneal edema, macular fibrosis, corneal epithelial defects, anterior uveitis, ocular hypertension, and post-operative inflammation (overall P=0.001) (Figure 8).
Figure 8: All Treatment-Emergent Adverse Events Affecting at Least 10% of Patients in Either Treatment Group in the Phase 3 GUARD Trial of ADX‑2191 in Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy
OCT= optical coherence tomography; Ci= confidence interval
The Markets for Our Product Candidates
Immune-Mediated Systemic Diseases
Immune-mediated systemic diseases, such as autoimmune disease, are generally chronic conditions characterized by excessive and misdirected inflammatory responses. In aggregate, autoimmune diseases and related systemic inflammatory disorders afflicts in excess of 100 million individuals in the United States. In 2021, the top selling drugs for autoimmune conditions alone accounted for approximately $28 billion in sales.
Given the complex pathophysiology of systemic immune-mediated disorders, many of which are caused by a variety of pro-inflammatory mediators, therapy often requires combinations of drugs with distinct mechanisms of action. As such, we believe novel product candidates for immune-mediated diseases are in high demand.
Our RASP modulator platform represents a potential novel therapeutic approach for a variety of common systemic immune-mediated conditions. We are not aware of any other company actively developing therapeutics that target RASP. Because RASP appear to be involved in the generation and potentiation of inflammation in general, we believe the potential therapeutic applicability of RASP modulators is broad. In 2022, we announced results from Phase 2a clinical trials of ADX‑629, a first-in-class orally administered RASP modulator, in patients with COVID-19, atopic asthma, psoriasis, or alcohol intoxication, all of which suggested preliminary pharmacodynamic activity of ADX-629. The Phase 2 clinical trials followed a successful Phase 1 clinical trial of ADX‑629, in which ADX‑629 was well-tolerated; no treatment-related adverse events were observed; and, following ingestion of a fatty meal, levels of cholesterol and fatty acids were lower during ADX‑629 treatment than with placebo.
Dry Eye Disease
The validity of the RASP platform is supported by reproxalap, our first-in-class product candidate for the treatment of dry eye disease, which has demonstrated broad-based, rapid-onset activity and consistent safety across a number of Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials and is under NDA review by the FDA. Dry eye disease is an immune-mediated disease, the symptoms of which - ocular pain, dryness, burning, and stinging - are chronic and persistently disturbing, impacting quality of life and leading to loss of work and substantial economic burden. Dry eye disease is one of the most common diseases treated by ophthalmologists and optometrists, and healthcare providers and patients regard therapy as inadequate in a substantial number of cases.
There are approximately 18 million dry eye disease patients diagnosed in the United States, but only three topical ocular drugs are approved for dry eye disease treatment, cyclosporine (0.05% as Restasis®, 0.05% generic cyclosporine, or 0.09% as CequaTM), lifitegrast (5% as Xiidra®), and loteprednol (0.25% as Eysuvis®). The activity of cyclosporine and lifitegrast has been observed to be minimal or lacking in the majority of patients, and weeks or months of treatment may be required to achieve even modest clinical benefit; over 60% of patients discontinue treatment within 12 months of initiation. Loteprednol, a generically available corticosteroid, is indicated only for short-term treatment (up to two weeks) due to corticosteroid-associated toxicity, which includes increases in intraocular pressure that may lead to glaucoma, the development of cataracts, ocular infection, and other ocular morbidities. Thus, there is considerable demand for a novel topical ocular drug that can be used chronically but that acts quickly.
By modulating RASP, which are elevated in a variety of inflammatory diseases, reproxalap represents a novel mechanism for diminishing ocular inflammation. In a number of Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials in dry eye disease, reproxalap demonstrated consistent statistically significant and clinically relevant activity across a variety of symptoms and signs, occurring as early as within minutes of dosing. Given the broad activity and rapid onset of action observed in clinical trials, we believe that reproxalap may have a commercially differentiated product profile versus currently approved drugs for dry eye disease.
Based on the late-stage clinical trial results to date, discussed below, we believe reproxalap could offer differentiated efficacy relative to existing dry eye disease medications, particularly with regard to early onset of action and breadth of activity. The potential size of the dry eye disease market is substantial. We estimate there to be 39 million patients with dry eye disease in the United States, of which approximately 18 million are diagnosed. Assuming approximately one-half of diagnosed patients are candidates for prescription medication, and assuming
approximately four months of therapy per year, the potential total addressable market for reproxalap therapy in dry eye disease is greater than $23 billion in the United States.
Many patients with dry eye disease also manifest symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, another common inflammatory disease that affects the front of the eye and is characterized by ocular itching and redness. Distinguishing between dry eye disease and allergic conjunctivitis can be challenging for healthcare providers. Approximately half of dry eye patients complain of itching, which is generally considered the result of allergy, and approximately half of allergic conjunctivitis patients complain of dryness, which is generally considered the result of dry eye disease. There are currently no FDA-approved products that are indicated for the chronic treatment of both dry eye disease and allergic conjunctivitis. Neither cyclosporine nor lifitegrast have been approved for use in patients with allergic conjunctivitis, and antihistamines, which are commonly used in allergic conjunctivitis, are known to exacerbate ocular dryness. In a number of Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials in allergic conjunctivitis, reproxalap demonstrated consistent statistically significant and clinically relevant activity in improving ocular itching and redness. Thus, we believe reproxalap could offer differentiated efficacy relative to existing dry eye disease medications with regard to the potential treatment of the signs and symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.
Primary Vitreoretinal Lymphoma, Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy, and Retinitis Pigmentosa
Primary vitreoretinal lymphoma is a rare, aggressive, high-grade cancer that arises in the vitreous and retina. An estimated 300-600 people in the United States are diagnosed annually and the median survival for newly diagnosed patients is less than five years. Although there is no approved treatment, the off-label standard of care is up to 25 serial ocular injections of methotrexate, the active ingredient of ADX‑2191. ADX‑2191 is a concentrated formulation of methotrexate that requires a small injection volume, thereby reducing injection site reflux and ensuing corneal toxicity relative to off-label ocular injections of methotrexate. ADX‑2191, which is under NDA review by the FDA, has received Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA for the treatment of primary vitreoretinal lymphoma.
Proliferative vitreoretinopathy is a rare inflammatory disorder of the retina that leads to severe retinal scarring and blindness in a subset of patients with retinal detachments, and is the leading cause of failure of retinal reattachment surgery. Over 50% of proliferative vitreoretinopathy cases result in severe uncorrectable vision loss (visual acuity of 20/320 or worse), and 76% of proliferative vitreoretinopathy patients suffer from at least moderate uncorrectable vision loss. Proliferative vitreoretinopathy occurs after up to 10% of surgeries for retinal detachment and 50% or more of surgeries for open globe injury. Based on the prevalence of primary retinal detachment, in addition to retinal detachment that occurs as a result of trauma, we estimate that there are, in aggregate, approximately 4,000 treatable cases of proliferative vitreoretinopathy in the United States per year. By inhibiting cell growth and thereby diminishing scar formation, ADX‑2191 has the potential to be the first FDA-approved drug for prevention of proliferative vitreoretinopathy. ADX‑2191 has received Orphan Drug Designation and Fast-Track Designation from the FDA for the prevention of proliferative vitreoretinopathy, and ADX‑2191 has been designated an Orphan Medicinal Product by the European Commission for the treatment of retinal detachment. A growing amount of scientific literature supports the use of methotrexate for the prevention of proliferative vitreoretinopathy. Unlike off-label ocular injections of methotrexate, ADX‑2191 is denser than the vitreous, the fluid in the back of the eye, allowing for the concentration of methotrexate in the vicinity of retina.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of rare genetic eye diseases characterized by retinal cell death and loss of vision, for which there is no treatment. In vivo preclinical research has identified the activity of methotrexate in inducing misfolded rhodopsin clearance, suggesting the potential of ADX‑2191 to treat genetic forms of retinitis pigmentosa that are characterized by misfolded rhodopsin. The prevalence of retinitis pigmentosa is more than one million people worldwide, and mutations leading to rhodopsin misfolding account for approximately one-third of cases. ADX‑2191 has received Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa.
The Competitive Landscape of Our Product Candidates
The pharmaceutical industry is characterized by intense competition and rapid innovation. Our potential competitors include large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, specialty pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, government agencies, and research institutions. We believe that the key competitive factors
that will affect the development and potential commercial success of our product candidates are efficacy, safety, tolerability, and the ability to reduce the dependence on, or the dose of, other drug products.
Many of our potential competitors have substantially greater financial, technical, and human resources than we do and significantly greater experience in the discovery and development of product candidates, obtaining FDA and other regulatory approvals of products, and the commercialization of those products. Accordingly, our competitors may be more successful than we may be in obtaining regulatory approval for products and achieving widespread market acceptance. Our competitors’ products may be more effective, or more effectively marketed and sold, than any product that we may commercialize, and may render our product candidates obsolete or non-competitive before we can recover the expenses of developing and commercializing any of our product candidates. Further, competitors with numerous approved products may be able to negotiate pricing and reimbursement that is more favorable than that which we may be able to achieve. We anticipate that we will face intense and increasing competition as new products enter the market and advanced technologies become available. In addition, the development of new treatment methods for the diseases we are targeting could render our products non-competitive or obsolete.
While our product candidates may manifest efficacy, tolerability, or safety advantages, many marketed therapies are generic or may be priced considerably lower than the pricing we anticipate for our product candidates. Pricing, in addition to healthcare plan coverage, prior authorization requirements, step edits, co-pay amounts, and related factors, may discourage the initial or prolonged use of our product candidates. Further, the recent growth of Pharmacy Benefit Managers has diminished the profitability of drug commercialization for smaller companies, and may hamper our ability to support our operations or compete effectively in the marketplace following regulatory approval, if any.
RASP Modulator Platform
A number of academic groups have published on the concept of reducing RASP levels, primarily by using compounds with amines (certain nitrogen-containing molecules) that react with RASP through a chemical process known as the Schiff base reaction. Various RASP-binding amines have been described, particularly carnosine (a naturally occurring dipeptide), which has other potential mechanisms of action unrelated to RASP. At least one group has published on the use of certain nitrogen-containing marketed products to temporarily bind the RASP retinaldehyde as a potential therapy for retinal disease. Schiff base reactions have also been mentioned as possible explanations for a portion of the activity of aminoguanidine, pyridoxamine, and possibly other non-proprietary amine-containing compounds that have been tested in clinical trials for diabetic nephropathy. However, the Schiff base reaction is reversible, and generally the substrates (precursors) and products of the reaction exist in equilibrium such that, at any point in time, the RASP substrate may be bound or unbound. In this way, Schiff base reactions alone represent temporary RASP binding, and likely lead to the relocation of RASP rather than the elimination or long-term modulation of RASP. We believe that our RASP modulator product candidates that we have discovered are differentiated from the above approaches in that the chemical structures of our product candidates are novel, and the reaction with RASP has been observed to be essentially irreversible in vivo, which, we believe, may result in a more effective means of modulating RASP levels.
Other Immune-Modulating Pharmacotherapies
A myriad of new treatments have been or are being developed to treat inflammatory diseases, and have been used, or in theory could be used, for the treatment of the diseases that our product candidates are intended to target. Immune-modulating products include cytokine inhibitors, immune cell receptor inhibitors, complement inhibitors, phosphodiesterase inhibitors, and Janus kinase inhibitors. Companies that currently market such therapies include Abbvie, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, UCB Inc. and UCB S.A., Amgen, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Eli Lilly and Company, Novartis AG, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Roche, Sanofi, Takeda, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, and Pfizer, Inc. Currently marketed products may manifest efficacy and safety advantages over our product candidates, and may be used to treat the diseases for which we are developing our product candidates.
Methotrexate, the active drug substance of ADX‑2191, is generically available and has been used as a chemotherapeutic and immune modulating agent, and other formulations or application methods of methotrexate could be developed for the treatment of retinal diseases. Though not approved by the FDA for the treatment of
retinal disease, intraocular injection of intravenous methotrexate formulations is the de facto standard of care for primary vitreoretinal lymphoma, and off-label methotrexate is now commonly administered for the treatment of proliferative vitreoretinopathy. The off-label intraocular injection of intravenous methotrexate for retinal diseases is an example of a practice known as compounding. The disadvantages of compounding are significant, and include a risk of microbial contamination that can lead to severe ocular infection resulting in vision loss or surgical removal of the eye. Unlike compounded intravenous formulations, ADX‑2191 is specifically formulated for intraocular injection such that pH, viscosity, and tonicity have been designed to be compatible with the vitreous humor, the fluid in the back of the eye. Further, ADX‑2191 is a concentrated formulation of methotrexate that requires a small injection volume, thereby reducing injection site reflux and ensuing corneal toxicity relative to off-label ocular injections of methotrexate. Unlike off-label ocular injections of methotrexate, ADX‑2191 is denser than the vitreous, the fluid in the back of the eye, allowing for the concentration of methotrexate in the vicinity of retina.
Competitive Pharmaceuticals by Indication
We believe the primary competitors by indication with respect to our current programs in late stage-clinical testing are as follows:
Competitive Pharmaceuticals for Reproxalap and ADX‑2191
Dry Eye Disease
Topical immunomodulators, such as cyclosporine (0.05% as Restasis® 0.09% as CequaTM or 0.1% as CyclASol®) and lifitegrast (5% as Xiidra®); topical corticosteroids, such as loteprednol (0.25% as EysuvisTM); an intranasal spray, such as varenicline (0.03mg as TyrvayaTM), a lipid layer stabilizer, such as perfluorohexyloctane (100% as NOV03®), and other generic steroids; and artificial tear solutions
Primary Vitreoretinal Lymphoma, Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy
Off-label ocular injection of intravenous methotrexate
We believe that there is significant unmet medical need for the diseases that we intend to target. If proven to be safe and effective, we believe that our product candidates could be used in place of, or in addition to, current therapies. Currently available therapies for the treatment of dry eye disease are generally considered by physicians and patients to be inadequate, may require weeks or months of treatment to achieve even moderate clinical benefit, and have not demonstrated clinical activity in allergic conjunctivitis, a common comorbidity. There is no approved therapy for primary vitreoretinal lymphoma or proliferative vitreoretinopathy.
Many drugs are in development for dry eye disease or related indications. In addition, generic versions of Restasis® became available in the United States in 2022. The competitive products for allergic conjunctivitis, which may be generic or sold over-the-counter, include topical antihistamines and corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and mast cell stabilizers. We believe that there are currently no drugs in development for primary vitreoretinal lymphoma or proliferative vitreoretinopathy. Many drugs, gene therapies, and cell therapies are in development for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa. For the diseases we intend to study, there may be other developmental therapies of which we are not aware.
Our ability to compete successfully will depend in part on our ability to utilize our drug development expertise to identify, develop, secure rights to, and obtain regulatory approvals for promising pharmaceutical products before others are able to develop competitive products. Our ability to compete successfully will also depend on our ability to attract and retain skilled and experienced personnel. Additionally, our ability to compete may be diminished by insurers and other third-party payors, which often encourage the use of cheaper, non-innovative, or generic products.
Intellectual Property and Proprietary Rights
In the United States and abroad, we are building an intellectual property portfolio for reproxalap and other RASP modulators and for therapeutic methods of use of methotrexate for the treatment of retinal disease. We currently seek, and intend to continue to seek, patent protection in the United States and internationally for our product candidates, methods of use, and processes for manufacture, and for other technologies, where appropriate. Our current policy is to actively seek to protect our proprietary position by, among other things, filing patent applications in the United States and abroad relating to proprietary technologies that are important to the development of our business. We also rely on, and will continue to rely on, trade secrets, know-how, continuing technological innovation and in-licensing opportunities to develop and maintain our proprietary position. We cannot be sure that patents will be granted with respect to any of our pending patent applications or with respect to any patent applications filed by us in the future, nor can we be sure that any of our existing patents or any patents that may be granted to us in the future will be commercially useful in protecting our technology.
Our success will depend significantly on our ability to obtain and maintain patent and other proprietary protection for the technologies that we consider important to our business, our ability to defend our patents, and our ability to preserve the confidentiality of our trade secrets and operate our business without infringing the patents and proprietary rights of third parties.
Our patent portfolio currently includes patents and patent applications covering the composition, formulation, and uses of reproxalap, ADX‑629, ADX‑246, ADX‑248, and other novel compounds. As of December 31, 2022, we owned twenty-five United States patents and twenty pending United States non-provisional patent applications, as well as numerous foreign counterparts to these patents and patent applications, relating to reproxalap and other RASP modulators. Additionally, we retain an exclusive license to certain patents covering the formulation of ADX-2191 and uses thereof in preventing and treating retinal indications including proliferative vitreoretinal disease and primary vitreoretinal lymphoma. As of December 31, 2022, our patent applications included one pending U.S. provisional application, four pending U.S. non-provisional patent applications, and approximately seven pending foreign counterparts to these patent applications, relating to ADX-2191.
We expect the issued reproxalap composition of matter patent in the United States, if the appropriate maintenance, renewal, annuity or other governmental fees are paid, to expire in 2028. It is possible that the term of the composition of matter patent in the United States may be extended up to five additional years under the provisions of the Hatch-Waxman Act. We expect the foreign reproxalap composition of matter patents, if the appropriate maintenance, renewal, annuity or other governmental fees are paid, to expire in 2026. We expect other patent applications in the portfolio, if issued, and if the appropriate maintenance, renewal, annuity or other governmental fees are paid, to expire from 2026 to 2034. Reproxalap composition of matter patents have been issued in Australia, Canada, China, Europe (validated in approximately 14 member countries), Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia and South Korea. Reproxalap composition of matter patent claims are pending in Brazil.
Licenses and Agreements
We are developing ADX‑2191 pursuant to an Exclusive License Agreement with Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) originally entered into in July 2016 between MEEI and Helio Vision, Inc., as amended, (MEEI Agreement). We assumed the MEEI Agreement in connection with our 2019 acquisition of Helio Vision.
Pursuant and subject to the MEEI Agreement, we obtained an exclusive, worldwide license from MEEI to develop and commercialize ADX-2191 under certain patents and patent applications, and other licenses to intellectual property (MEEI Patent Rights). We have agreed to use our commercially reasonable efforts to develop ADX-2191 and to meet certain specified effort and achievement benchmarks by certain dates.
In consideration for the rights licensed under the MEEI Agreement, Helio Vision issued MEEI a number of shares of its preferred stock and Helio Vision agreed to pay non-creditable non-refundable license maintenance fees to MEEI of $15,000 on each of the second and third anniversary of the MEEI Agreement, $25,000 on each of the fourth and fifth anniversary of the MEEI Agreement and $35,000 on the sixth and each subsequent anniversary of the MEEI Agreement during the term of such agreement. In addition, Helio Vision was obligated to make future sales-dependent milestone payments to MEEI of up to the low seven figures in the aggregate, as well as royalty payments to MEEI at a rate which, as a percentage of net sales, is in the low single digits for products that incorporate or use the MEEI Patent Rights in the United States and as a percentage in the low single digits for products that incorporate or use the MEEI Patent Rights outside the United States. We are also obligated under the MEEI Agreement to pay MEEI a percentage of certain sublicense revenue that we receive in connection with entering into any sublicensing arrangements with any third parties, at a percentage rate which tiers downward from low-double digits to mid-single digits based on the date of the sublicense. Following our acquisition of Helio Vision, we became obligated to make any future payments owed under the MEEI Agreement. There is no additional equity consideration issuable under the MEEI Agreement.
The MEEI Agreement will remain in effect until the expiration date of the last to expire patent licensed under the MEEI Agreement. We may terminate the MEEI Agreement with timely written notice to MEEI. MEEI has the right to terminate the MEEI Agreement if we, subject to certain specified cure periods, cease all business operations with respect to licensed products, fail to pay amounts due under the MEEI Agreement, fail to comply with certain due diligence obligations, default in our obligation to maintain insurance, one of our officers is convicted of a felony relating to the manufacture, use, sale or importation of licensed products, we materially breach any provisions of the MEEI Agreement or in the event of our insolvency or bankruptcy.
In the event of an early termination of the MEEI Agreement, all rights licensed and developed by us under the MEEI Agreement may revert back to MEEI. We have agreed to indemnify MEEI for certain claims that may arise under the MEEI Agreement.
Other Intellectual Property Rights
Our marks ALDEYRA THERAPEUTICS and our logo are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Confidential Information and Inventions Assignment Agreements
We currently require and will continue to require each of our employees and consultants to execute confidentiality agreements upon the commencement of such individual’s employment, consulting, or collaborative relationships with us. These agreements provide that all confidential information developed or made known during the course of the relationship with us be kept confidential and not disclosed to third parties except in specific circumstances. In the case of employees, the agreements provide that all inventions resulting from such individual’s work performed for us, utilizing our property or relating to our business and conceived or completed by the individual during employment shall be our exclusive property to the extent permitted by applicable law. Our consulting agreements also provide for assignment to us of any intellectual property resulting from services performed by a consultant for us.
Sales and Marketing
In light of our stage of development, we have not yet fully established a commercial organization or distribution capabilities. We have retained worldwide commercial rights for our product candidates. If our product candidates receive marketing approval, we plan to commercialize them in the United States with our own focused sales organization, a third-party sales force, or a combination of the two. We have begun to establish our commercial infrastructure, but do not expect to establish a complete sales force until approximately three months preceding marketing approval for our product candidates in the United States.
We do not own or operate manufacturing facilities for the production of our product candidates, nor do we have plans to develop our own manufacturing operations in the foreseeable future. We currently depend on third-party contract manufacturers for all of our required raw materials, drug substance and finished drug product for our preclinical research and clinical trials. We have no immediate plans to purchase, erect, or otherwise create any manufacturing facilities to be owned by us for any of these purposes, and intend to continue to depend on third-party contract manufacturers for the foreseeable future. We do not have any current contractual relationships for the manufacture of commercial supplies of our product candidates. If our product candidates are approved by any regulatory agency, we intend to enter into agreements with third-party contract manufacturers for the commercial production at such time. We may utilize third-party consultants to manage our manufacturing contractors. We believe that the active pharmaceutical ingredient and other materials needed for the formulation of our product candidates are relatively easy to manufacture, and that multiple suppliers and formulators could be employed for this purpose. Further, we believe the raw materials needed for manufacture of our product candidates, as well as other components of our formulations, are generally readily available currently from multiple sources.
As of December 31, 2022, we had 15 full-time employees and had engaged a number of consultants. We expect that a number of consultants previously engaged in development of our product candidates will participate in ongoing clinical and manufacturing activities. None of our employees is represented by a labor union. We have not experienced any work stoppages, and we consider our relations with our employees to be good.
We recognize that attracting, motivating, and retaining talent at all levels is vital to our continued success. Our employees are a significant asset and we aim to create an equitable, inclusive, and empowering environment in which our employees can grow and advance their careers, with the overall goal of developing, expanding and retaining our workforce to support our current pipeline and future business goals. By focusing on employee retention and engagement, we also improve our ability to successfully commercialize our products following approval, if any, support our clinical trials, our pipeline, our platform technologies, business and operations, and also protect the long-term interests of our stockholders. Our success also depends on our ability to attract, engage and retain a diverse group of employees. Our efforts to recruit and retain a diverse and passionate workforce include providing competitive compensation and benefits packages and ensuring we listen to our employees.
We value innovation, passion, data-driven decision making, persistence and honesty, and are building a diverse environment where we believe that our employees thrive and are inspired to contribute to the development of novel therapies. We recognize and appreciate the importance of creating an environment where all team members feel valued, included, and empowered to do their best work and to bring great ideas to the table. We recognize that each team member’s unique experiences, perspectives, and viewpoints add value to our ability to develop and deliver innovative diagnostic products and make a meaningful impact on patient care. We aim to foster and maintain a work culture that treats all employees fairly and with respect, promotes inclusivity, and provides equal opportunities for the professional growth and advancement based on merit. Our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or other characteristics protected by law.
Our human capital resources objectives include, as applicable, identifying, recruiting, retaining, motivating, and integrating our existing and future employees. The principal purpose of our incentive plans is to increase shareholder value by attracting, retaining, and motivating employees, consultants, and directors through grants of stock-based compensation awards and payments of cash-based performance bonus awards. We are committed to providing a competitive and comprehensive benefits package to our employees. Our benefits package is designed to meet the individual health and wellness needs of our employees. We plan to continue to refine our efforts related to optimizing our use of human capital as we grow, including improvements in the way we hire, develop, motivate, and retain employees.
FDA Approval Process
In the United States, pharmaceutical products are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA. The Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and other federal and state statutes and regulations, govern, among other things, the research, development, testing, manufacture, storage, recordkeeping, approval, labeling, promotion and marketing, distribution, post-approval monitoring and reporting, sampling, and import and export of pharmaceutical products. Failure to comply with applicable FDA or other requirements may subject a company to a variety of administrative or judicial sanctions, such as the FDA’s refusal to approve pending applications, a clinical hold, warning letters, recall or seizure of products, partial or total suspension of production, withdrawal of the product from the market, injunctions, fines, civil penalties or criminal prosecution.
FDA approval is required before any new drug, new dosage form, new therapeutic use, or new route of administration of a previously approved product, can be marketed in the United States. The process required by the FDA before a new drug product may be marketed in the United States generally involves:
The preclinical and clinical testing and approval process requires substantial time, effort, and financial resources. Preclinical tests include laboratory evaluation of product chemistry, formulation, manufacturing and control procedures, and stability, as well as animal studies to assess the toxicity and other safety characteristics of the product. The results of preclinical tests, together with manufacturing information, analytical data, and a proposed clinical trial protocol and other information, are submitted as part of an IND to the FDA. Preclinical testing may continue even after the IND is submitted. The IND becomes effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless the FDA, within the 30-day time period, raises concerns or questions and places the clinical trial on a partial or complete clinical hold. In such a case, the IND sponsor and the FDA must resolve any outstanding concerns before the clinical trial can begin. As a result, our submission of an IND may not result in FDA authorization to commence a clinical trial. A separate submission to an existing IND must also be made for each successive clinical trial conducted during product development. Even if the IND becomes effective and the trial proceeds without initial FDA objection, the FDA may stop the trial at a later time if, among other reasons, the potential for unacceptable safety risks arises.
Further, an independent IRB, covering each site proposing to conduct the clinical trial must review and approve the plan for any clinical trial and informed consent information for subjects before the trial commences at that site and it must monitor the study until completed. The FDA, the IRB, or the sponsor may suspend a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the subjects or patients are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk or for failure to comply with the FDA’s or IRB’s requirements. Other conditions may also be imposed.
Clinical trials involve the administration of the investigational new product to human subjects under the supervision of qualified investigators in accordance with GCP requirements, which include the requirement that all research subjects provide informed consent in writing for participation in the clinical trial. Sponsors of clinical trials generally must register and report, at the NIH-maintained website ClinicalTrials.gov, key parameters and results of certain clinical trials. For purposes of an NDA submission and approval, human clinical trials are typically conducted in the following sequential phases, which may overlap or be combined:
The results of product development, preclinical studies and clinical trials are submitted to the FDA as part of an NDA. NDAs must also contain extensive information relating to the product’s pharmacology, chemistry, manufacturing and controls, and proposed labeling, among other things.
For some products, the FDA may require a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) which could include measures imposed by the FDA such as prescribing restrictions, requirements for post-marketing studies, and
reporting or certain restrictions on distribution and use. Under federal law, the submission of most NDAs is additionally subject to a substantial application user fee, and the manufacturer and/or sponsor under an approved NDA are also subject to prescription drug program fees. In accordance with the FDAs guidance, the agency has 60 days from receipt of an NDA to determine whether the application will be accepted for filing to permit substantive review. The FDA may request additional information rather than accept an NDA for filing. In this event, the NDA must be resubmitted with the additional information and is subject to payment of additional user fees. The resubmitted application is also subject to review before the FDA accepts it for filing.
The FDA has various programs, including fast track designation, breakthrough therapy designation, accelerated approval, and priority review, which are intended to expedite or simplify the process for the development and FDA review of drugs that are intended for the treatment of serious or life threatening diseases or conditions and demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs. The purpose of these programs is to provide important new drugs to patients earlier than under standard FDA review procedures.
Under the fast track program, the sponsor of a new product candidate may request that the FDA designate the product candidate for a specific indication as a fast track drug concurrent with, or after, the filing of the IND for the product candidate. 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 patients with 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 it will provide a therapy where none exists or provide a therapy that may be potentially superior to existing therapy based on efficacy or safety factors. In September 2019, ADX-2191 received fast track designation from the FDA for the prevention of proliferative vitreoretinopathy. Fast track designation provides additional opportunities for interaction with the FDA’s review team and may allow for rolling review of NDA components before the completed application is submitted, if the sponsor provides a schedule for the submission of the sections of the NDA, the FDA agrees to accept sections of the NDA and determines that the schedule is acceptable, and the sponsor pays any required user fees upon submission of the first section of the NDA. However, the FDA’s time period goal for reviewing an application does not begin until the last section of the NDA is submitted. The FDA may decide to rescind the fast track designation if it determines that the qualifying criteria no longer apply.
In addition, a sponsor can request breakthrough therapy designation for a drug if it is intended, alone or in combination with one or more other drugs, to treat patients with 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 intensive guidance from the FDA on an efficient drug development program, organizational commitment to the development and review of the product including involvement of senior managers, and, like fast track products, are also eligible for rolling review of the NDA. Both fast track and breakthrough product candidates may be eligible for accelerated approval and/or priority review, if relevant criteria are met.
Once the submission has been accepted for filing, the FDA begins an in-depth substantive review. Under the PDUFA, the FDA agrees to specific performance goals for NDA review time through a two-tiered classification system, Standard Review and Priority Review. Standard Review NDAs have a goal of being completed within a ten-month timeframe after acceptance of filing. A Priority Review designation is given to products that offer major advances in treatment or provide a treatment where no adequate therapy exists. The goal for completing a Priority Review is six months after acceptance of filing.
It is likely that our product candidates will be granted a Standard Review, with the exception of ADX-2191 which was designated by the FDA as Priority Review for the treatment of primary vitreoretinal lymphoma, and may also be designated Priority Review for other indications. The review process may be extended by the FDA for three additional months to consider certain information or obtain clarification regarding information already provided in the submission. The FDA may refer applications for novel products or products which present difficult questions of safety or efficacy to an advisory committee for review, evaluation, and recommendation as to whether the
application should be approved and under what conditions. The FDA is not bound by the recommendation of an advisory committee, but it considers such recommendations carefully when making decisions. In addition, for combination products, the FDA’s review may include the participation of both the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. The participation of multiple distinct groups within the FDA has the potential to complicate or prolong review of the application. If the product is deemed a combination product, additional supporting studies may be required, and may delay an NDA submission.
Before approving an NDA, the FDA may inspect our offices and the facility or facilities where the drug substance or drug product is manufactured. The FDA will not approve an application unless it determines that the manufacturing processes and facilities are in compliance with cGMP. FDA may also inspect sponsor facilities to determine if nonclinical and clinical studies were conducted in compliance with applicable regulations and guidelines.
After the FDA evaluates the NDA and, in some cases, the related manufacturing facilities, it may issue an approval letter or a Complete Response Letter (CRL) to indicate that the review cycle for an application is complete and that the application is not ready for approval. CRLs generally outline the deficiencies in the submission and may require substantial additional testing or information in order for the FDA to reconsider the application. Even with submission of this additional information, the FDA ultimately may decide that the application does not satisfy the regulatory criteria for approval. If and when the deficiencies have been addressed to the FDA’s satisfaction, the FDA may issue an approval letter. An approval letter authorizes commercial marketing of the product with specific prescribing information for specific indications.
Once issued, the FDA may withdraw product approval if ongoing regulatory requirements are not met or if potential adverse safety findings are identified after the product reaches the market. In addition, the FDA may require post-approval testing, including Phase 4 studies, and surveillance programs to monitor the effect of approved products which have been commercialized, and the FDA has the power to prevent or limit further marketing of a product based on the results of these post-marketing programs.
Products may be promoted only for the approved labeled indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved label, and, even if the FDA approves a product, it may limit the approved indications for use for the product or impose other conditions, including labeling or distribution restrictions or other risk-management mechanisms, such as a Black Box Warning, which highlights a specific warning. Further, if there are any modifications to the product, including changes in indications, labeling, or manufacturing processes or facilities, a company may be required to submit and obtain FDA approval of a new or supplemental NDA, which may require the company to develop additional data or conduct additional preclinical studies and clinical trials.
Once an NDA is approved, a product will be subject to pervasive and continuing regulation by the FDA, including, among other things, requirements relating to product/facility listing, recordkeeping, periodic reporting, product sampling and distribution, advertising and promotion and reporting of adverse experiences with the product.
In addition, drug manufacturers and other entities involved in the manufacture and distribution of approved drugs are required to register their establishments with the FDA and state agencies, and are subject to periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA and state agencies for compliance with cGMP requirements. Changes to the manufacturing process are strictly regulated and may require prior FDA approval before being implemented. FDA regulations may also require investigation and correction of any deviations from cGMP and may impose reporting and documentation requirements upon us and any third-party manufacturers. Accordingly, manufacturers must continue to expend time, money, and effort in the area of production and quality control to maintain cGMP compliance.
Once an approval is granted, the FDA may withdraw the approval if compliance with regulatory requirements and standards is not maintained or if problems occur after the product reaches the market. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with a product, including adverse events of unanticipated seriousness, severity or
frequency, or with manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in, among other things:
The FDA strictly regulates marketing, labeling, advertising and promotion of products that are placed on the market. The FDA does not regulate the practice of medicine. Physicians may prescribe for off-label uses; manufacturers may only promote for the approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved label. The FDA and other agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off label uses, and a company that is found to have improperly promoted off label uses may be subject to significant liability, both at the federal and state levels.
The Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 gave the FDA the authority to require a REMS from manufacturers to ensure that the benefits of a drug or biological product outweigh its risks. In determining whether a REMS is necessary, FDA must consider the size of the population likely to use the drug, the seriousness of the disease or condition to be treated, the expected benefit of the drug, the duration of treatment, the seriousness of known or potential adverse events, and whether the drug is a new molecular entity. If the FDA determines a REMS is necessary, the drug sponsor must agree to the REMS plan at the time of approval. A REMS may be required to include various elements, such as a medication guide or patient package insert, a communication plan to educate health care providers of the drug’s risks, limitations on who may prescribe or dispense the drug, or other measures that the FDA deems necessary to assure the safe use of the drug. In addition, the REMS must include a timetable to assess the strategy at 18 months, three years, and seven years after the strategy’s approval. The FDA may also impose a REMS requirement on a drug already on the market if the FDA determines, based on new safety information, that a REMS is necessary to ensure that the drug’s benefits outweigh its risks.
The United States and some foreign jurisdictions are considering or have enacted a number of legislative and regulatory proposals to change the healthcare system in ways that could affect our ability to sell our products profitably. Among policy makers and payors in the United States and elsewhere, there is significant interest in promoting changes in healthcare systems with the stated goals of containing healthcare costs, improving quality or expanding access. In the United States, the biopharmaceutical industry has been a particular focus of these efforts and has been significantly affected by federal and state legislative initiatives, including those designed to limit the pricing, coverage, and reimbursement of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical products, especially under government-funded health care programs, and increased governmental control of drug pricing.
By way of example, in March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, or collectively the ACA, was signed into law, intended to broaden access to health insurance, reduce or constrain the growth of healthcare spending, enhance remedies against fraud and abuse, add transparency requirements for the healthcare and health insurance industries, impose taxes and fees on the healthcare industry and impose additional health policy reforms.
There have been executive, judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the ACA. For example, on June 17, 2021 the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge on procedural grounds that argued the ACA is unconstitutional in its entirety because the “individual mandate” was repealed by Congress. Thus, the ACA will
remain in effect in its current form.
Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the ACA. For example, through the process created by the Budget Control Act of 2011, there are automatic reductions of Medicare payments to providers up to 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect in April 2013 and, following passage of the BBA and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will remain in effect until 2031 unless additional Congressional action is taken. However, COVID-19 relief support legislation suspended the 2% Medicare sequester from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2022. Under current legislation the actual reduction in Medicare payments will vary from 1% in 2022 to up to 4% in the final fiscal year of this sequester. In January 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was signed into law, which, among other things, further reduced Medicare payments to several types of providers, including hospitals, imaging centers and cancer treatment centers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years.
The heightened governmental scrutiny in the United States of pharmaceutical pricing practices in light of the rising cost of prescription drugs and biologics, also has resulted in executive orders, congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to product pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for products. For example, in July 2021, the Biden administration released an executive order, “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” with multiple provisions aimed at prescription drugs. In response to Biden’s executive order, on September 9, 2021, HHS released a Comprehensive Plan for Addressing High Drug Prices that outlines principles for drug pricing reform and sets out a variety of potential legislative policies that Congress could pursue as well as potential administrative actions HHS can take to advance these principles. No legislation or administrative actions have been finalized to implement these principles. Additionally, on March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law, which eliminates the statutory Medicaid drug rebate cap, currently set at 100% of a drug’s average manufacturer price, for single source and innovator multiple source drugs, beginning January 1, 2024. Further, on August 16, 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, or IRA, was signed into law. Among other things, the IRA requires manufacturers of certain drugs to engage in price negotiations with Medicare (beginning in 2026), imposes rebates under Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D to penalize price increases that outpace inflation (first due in 2023), and replaces the Part D coverage gap discount program with a new discounting program (beginning in 2025). The IRA permits the Secretary of the Department of HHS to implement many of these provisions through guidance, as opposed to regulation, for the initial years. For that and other reasons, it is currently unclear how the IRA will be effectuated.
At the state level, individual states in the United States have increasingly passed legislation and implemented regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. Some third-party payors also require pre-approval of coverage for new or innovative devices or therapies before they will reimburse healthcare providers that use such therapies.
We expect that these initiatives, as well as other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, as well as the trend toward managed healthcare and increasing influence of managed care organizations, may result in more rigorous coverage criteria and lower reimbursement, and in additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any approved product. It is also possible that additional governmental action is taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government-funded programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors. The implementation of current and future cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may adversely affect our operations and prevent us from being able to generate revenue, attain profitability or commercialize our product candidate.
Orphan Drug Designation
The FDA may grant orphan drug designation to a drug intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is defined as a disease or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the United States or more than 200,000 individuals where there is no reasonable expectation that the product development cost will be recovered from product sales in the United States. Orphan drug designation must be requested before submitting an NDA and does not convey any advantage in, or shorten the duration of, the regulatory review or approval process. ADX‑2191 has received orphan designation for the prevention of proliferative vitreoretinopathy, and for the treatment of primary vitreoretinal lymphoma and retinitis pigmentosa.
If an orphan drug-designated product subsequently receives the first FDA approval for the disease specified in the orphan drug designation, the sponsor will be entitled to seven years of product marketing exclusivity, which means that the FDA may not approve any other applications to market the same drug for the same indication, except in very limited and rare circumstances, for seven years. Orphan drug exclusivity does not prevent the FDA from approving a different drug or biologic for the same disease or condition, or the same drug or biologic for a different disease or condition. Among the other benefits of Orphan Drug Designation are tax credits for certain research and a waiver of the NDA application fee. If a competitor obtains approval of the same drug, as defined by the Orphan Drug Act, before we do or if our product candidate is determined to be contained within the competitor’s product for the same indication or disease, the competitor’s exclusivity could block the approval of our product candidate in the designated orphan indication for seven years, unless superior safety or efficacy of our drug is demonstrated.
A designated orphan drug may not receive orphan drug exclusivity if it is approved for a use that is broader than the indication for which it received orphan designation. In addition, exclusive marketing rights in the United States may be lost if the FDA later determines that the request for designation was materially defective or if the manufacturer is unable to assure sufficient quantities of the product to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition.
Patent Term Restoration and Marketing Exclusivity
Depending upon the timing, duration, and specifics of FDA approval of the use of our drug candidates, some of our United States patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Act. The Hatch-Waxman Act permits a patent restoration term of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. However, patent term restoration cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the product’s approval date. The patent term restoration period is generally one-half the time between the effective date of an IND, and the submission date of an NDA, plus the time between the submission date of an NDA and the approval of that application. Only one patent applicable to an approved drug is eligible for the extension and the application for extension must be made prior to expiration of the patent. The United States Patent and Trademark Office, in consultation with the FDA, reviews and approves the application for any patent term extension or restoration. In the future, we intend to apply for restorations of patent term for some of our currently owned or licensed patents to add patent life beyond the current expiration date, depending on the expected length of clinical trials and other factors involved in the submission of the relevant NDA.
Market exclusivity provisions under the FDCA also can delay the submission or the approval of certain applications. The FDCA provides a five-year period of non-patent marketing exclusivity within the United States to the first applicant to gain approval of an NDA for a new chemical entity. A drug is a new chemical entity if the FDA has not previously approved any other new drug containing the same active moiety, which is the molecule responsible for the action of the drug substance. During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not accept for review an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) or a 505(b)(2) NDA submitted by another company for another version of such drug where the applicant does not own or have a legal right of reference to all the data required for approval. However, an application may be submitted after four years if it contains a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement. The FDCA also provides three years of marketing exclusivity for a 505(b)(1) NDA, 505(b)(2) NDA, or supplement to an approved NDA if new clinical investigations other than bioavailability studies (e.g., investigations that support new indications, dosages, or strengths of an existing drug) were conducted or sponsored by the applicant and are deemed by the FDA to be essential to the approval of the application. The three-year exclusivity covers only the conditions associated with the new clinical investigations and does not prohibit the FDA
from approving ANDAs for drugs containing the original active agent. Five-year and three-year exclusivity will not delay the submission or approval of a full 505(b)(1) NDA.
We and our third-party manufacturers must comply with applicable FDA regulations relating to FDA’s cGMP regulations and, if applicable, quality system regulation requirements for medical devices. The cGMP regulations include requirements relating to, among other things, organization of personnel, buildings and facilities, equipment, control of components and drug product containers and closures, production and process controls, packaging and labeling controls, holding and distribution, laboratory controls, records and reports, and returned or salvaged products. The manufacturing facilities for our products must meet cGMP requirements to the satisfaction of the FDA and may be subject to a pre-approval inspection before we can use them to manufacture our products. We and our third-party manufacturers are also subject to periodic unannounced inspections of facilities by the FDA and other authorities, including procedures and operations used in the testing and manufacture of our products to assess our compliance with applicable regulations. Failure to comply with statutory and regulatory requirements subjects a manufacturer to possible legal or regulatory action, including, among other things, warning letters, voluntary corrective action, the seizure of products, injunctions, consent decrees placing significant restrictions on or suspending manufacturing operations and civil and criminal penalties.
Other Regulatory Requirements
We are also subject to various laws and regulations regarding laboratory practices, the experimental use of animals, and the use and disposal of hazardous or potentially hazardous substances in connection with our research. In each of these areas, as above, the FDA has broad regulatory and enforcement powers, including, among other things, the ability to levy fines and civil penalties, suspend or delay issuance of approvals, seize or recall products, and withdraw approvals, any one or more of which could have an adverse effect on our ability to operate our business and generate revenues. Compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations is expensive, and current or future environmental regulations may impair our research, development and production efforts, which could harm our business, operating results and financial condition. There are evolving legal requirements and other statutory and regulatory regimes that will continue to affect our business.
Research and Development Expenses
Substantially all of our research and development expenses incurred to date have been related to the development of reproxalap and our other product candidates. Our research and development expenses totaled $47.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2022 and $44.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2021.
We anticipate that we will incur additional research and development expenses in the future as we evaluate and possibly pursue the development of our product candidates for additional indications, or develop additional product candidates.
We recognize research and development expenses as they are incurred. Our research and development expenses consist primarily of:
We expense both internal and external development costs as they are incurred.
We expect that a large percentage of our research and development expenses in the future will be incurred in support of our current and future non-clinical, preclinical and clinical development programs. These expenditures are subject to numerous uncertainties in terms of both their timing and total cost to completion. We expect to continue to develop stable formulations of our product candidates, test such formulations in preclinical studies for toxicology, safety and efficacy and to conduct clinical trials for each product candidate. We anticipate funding clinical trials for our product candidates ourselves, but we may engage collaboration partners at certain stages of clinical development. As we obtain results from clinical trials, we may elect to discontinue or delay clinical trials for certain product candidates or programs in order to focus our resources on more promising product candidates or programs. Completion of clinical trials by us or our future collaborators may take several years or more, the length of time generally varying with the type, complexity, novelty and intended use of a product candidate. The costs of clinical trials may vary significantly over the life of a project owing to but not limited to the following:
Our expenses related to clinical trials are based on estimates of the services received and efforts expended pursuant to contracts with multiple research institutions and contract research organizations that conduct and manage clinical trials on our behalf. The financial terms of these agreements are subject to negotiation and vary from contract to contract and may result in uneven payment flows. Generally, these agreements set forth the scope of work to be performed at a fixed fee or unit price. Payments under the contracts depend on factors such as the successful enrollment of patients or the completion of clinical trial milestones. Expenses related to clinical trials generally are accrued based on contracted amounts applied to the level of patient enrollment and activity according to the protocol. If timelines or contracts are modified based upon changes in the clinical trial protocol or scope of work to be performed, we modify our estimates of accrued expenses accordingly on a prospective basis.
None of our product candidates have received FDA or foreign regulatory marketing approval. In order to grant marketing approval, a health authority such as the FDA or foreign regulatory agencies must conclude that clinical and preclinical data establish the safety and efficacy of our product candidates with an appropriate benefit to risk profile relevant to a particular indication, and that the product can be manufactured under cGMP in a reproducible manner to deliver the product’s intended performance in terms of its stability, quality, purity and potency. Until our submission is reviewed by a health authority, there is no way to predict the outcome of their review. Even if the clinical studies meet their predetermined primary endpoints, and a registration dossier is accepted for filing, a health authority could still determine that an appropriate benefit to risk relationship does not exist for the indication that we are seeking.
We cannot forecast with any degree of certainty which of our product candidates will be subject to future collaborations or how such arrangements would affect our development plan or capital requirements.
As a result of the uncertainties discussed above, we are unable to determine the duration and completion costs of our development projects or when and to what extent we will receive cash inflows from the commercialization and sale of an approved product candidate.
We were incorporated in the state of Delaware on August 13, 2004 as Neuron Systems, Inc. On December 20, 2012, we changed our name to Aldexa Therapeutics, Inc. and on March 17, 2014, we changed our name to Aldeyra Therapeutics, Inc. Our principal executive offices are located at 131 Hartwell Avenue, Suite 320, Lexington, Massachusetts 02421. Our telephone number is (781) 761-4904. Our website address is www.aldeyra.com. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this annual report on Form 10-K, and you should not consider information contained on our website to be part of this annual report on Form 10-K or in deciding whether to purchase shares of our common stock. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, are available free of charge on the Investors portion of our website at http://ir.aldeyra.com/ as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
Our business is subject to numerous risks. You should carefully consider the risks described below together with the other information set forth in this annual report on Form 10-K, which could materially affect our business, financial condition, and future results. The risks described below are not the only risks facing our company. Risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial also may materially adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, and operating results.
Summary of Risks Related to our Business
Below is a summary of the principal factors that make an investment in our common stock speculative or risky. This summary does not address all of the risks that we face. Additional discussion of the risks summarized in this risk factor summary, and other risks that we face, can be found below and should be carefully considered, together with other information in this annual report on Form 10-K and our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission before making investment decisions regarding our common stock.
Risks Related to the Potential Development and Commercialization of Reproxalap, ADX-2191 and our Product Candidates
Our business is dependent in large part on the successful commercialization of two product candidates, reproxalap and ADX-2191. If we are unable to successfully obtain marketing approvals for reproxalap or ADX-2191, or experience significant delays in doing so, or if, after obtaining marketing approvals, we fail to successfully commercialize these product candidates, our business will be materially harmed.
We are dependent in large part on regulatory approval and successful commercialization of reproxalap and ADX-2191 for our future business success. There is a significant risk that we will fail to successfully obtain marketing approval and/or commercialize reproxalap and/or ADX-2191. Of the large number of drugs in development in the pharmaceutical industry, only a small percentage result in the submission of an NDA to the FDA, and even fewer are approved for commercialization.
Prior to and following potential NDA approval, we will invest a significant portion of our time and financial resources on the commercialization of reproxalap and ADX-2191. We cannot accurately predict when or if either of these product candidates will receive marketing approval. Our ability to generate product revenues will depend on our obtaining marketing approval for, and commercializing one or both of, reproxalap and ADX-2191. The future regulatory and commercial success of reproxalap, ADX-2191 and our other product candidates is subject to a number of risks, including the following:
Furthermore, even if we do receive regulatory approval to market reproxalap, ADX-2191, or any of our other product candidates, any such approval may be subject to limitations on the indicated uses for which we may market the product. Accordingly, even if we are able to obtain the requisite financing to commercialize our product candidates or continue to fund our development programs, we cannot assure that reproxalap and/or ADX-2191 will be successfully commercialized, or our other product candidates will be successfully developed or commercialized. If we are unable to obtain regulatory approval for or, if approved, we or any of our future partners are unable to successfully commercialize reproxalap and/or ADX-2191, and our other product candidates, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to continue our business.
To generate revenue, we will depend on FDA approval and successful commercialization of our product candidates, reproxalap and ADX-2191. If we are unable to successfully obtain FDA approval, or FDA approval is delayed or limited, our ability to generate revenue will be significantly delayed.
Our ability to generate revenue will depend on the successful development, regulatory approval and commercialization of reproxalap and ADX-2191. We submitted an NDA for reproxalap for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in December 2022. In February 2023, the FDA accepted the reproxalap NDA for filing and set a PDUFA date of November 23, 2023. We submitted an NDA for ADX-2191 for the treatment of primary vitreoretinal lymphoma in December 2022. In March 2023, we announced that the FDA accepted the ADX-2191 NDA for filing with priority review and set a PDUFA date of June 21, 2023. However, the FDA’s decision to accept the NDAs for filing and set PDUFA dates does not indicate that it has made any decision regarding approval nor does it guarantee approval by such dates, if at all. The FDA has substantial discretion in the approval process and may disagree with our interpretation of or the sufficiency of the data from our clinical trials. Clinical trial results frequently are susceptible to varying interpretations and regulatory authorities may disagree on what are appropriate methods for analyzing data, which may delay, limit or prevent regulatory approvals. The FDA could also require that we conduct additional studies or clinical trials and submit the results of those studies or clinical trials before the application will be reconsidered, which would require us to expend more resources than we planned or that are available to us, and could substantially delay any approval of our application. If marketing approval for reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates is delayed, limited or denied, our ability to market the product candidate, and our ability to generate product sales, would be adversely affected. Such a delay could occur because a competitor product is approved before our product and secures patent protection, market exclusivity, or both, and thereby precludes our product approval for a number of years. It is also possible that additional studies or clinical trials may not suffice to make our application approvable. There can be no assurance that NDAs accepted for filing by the FDA will be approved in a timely manner or at all.
If we fail to develop and commercialize other product candidates, we may be unable to grow our business.
As part of our growth strategy, we plan to evaluate the development and commercialization of other therapies related to immune-mediated diseases. We will evaluate internal opportunities from our compound libraries, and also may choose to continue to in-license or acquire other product candidates, as well as commercial products, to treat patients suffering from immune-mediated disorders with high unmet medical needs and limited treatment options. These other product candidates will require additional, time-consuming development efforts prior to commercial
sale, including preclinical studies, clinical trials, and approval by the FDA and/or applicable foreign regulatory authorities. In-licensed product candidates may have been unsuccessfully developed by others in indications similar to those that we may pursue. All product candidates are prone to the risks of failure that are inherent in pharmaceutical product development, including the possibility that the product candidate will not be shown to be sufficiently safe and/or effective for approval by regulatory authorities. In addition, we cannot assure you that any such products that are approved will be manufactured or produced economically, adequately priced, successfully commercialized, or widely accepted in the marketplace or be more effective than other commercially available alternatives.
Any termination or suspension of, or delays in the commencement or completion of, our clinical trials could result in increased costs to us, delay or limit our ability to generate revenue, and adversely affect our commercial prospects.
Delays in the commencement or completion of our ongoing or planned clinical trials for our product candidates could significantly affect our product development costs and timeline. We do not know whether future trials will begin on time or be completed on schedule, if at all. The commencement and completion of clinical trials can be delayed for a number of reasons, including delays related to:
Product development costs will increase if we have delays in testing or approval of our product candidates or if we need to perform more, larger, or longer clinical trials than planned. Additionally, changes in regulatory requirements and policies may occur and we or our partners may need to amend clinical trial protocols to reflect these changes. Amendments may require us to resubmit our clinical trial protocols to IRBs for reexamination, which may impact the costs, timing, or successful completion of a clinical trial. If we experience delays in completion of, or if we, the FDA, or other regulatory authorities, the IRB, other reviewing entities, or any of our clinical trial sites suspend or terminate any of our clinical trials, the commercial prospects for a product candidate may be harmed and our ability to generate product revenues, if any, will be delayed. In addition, many of the factors that cause, or lead to, termination or suspension of, or a delay in the commencement or completion of, clinical trials may also ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of a product candidate. Further, if one or more clinical trials are delayed, our competitors may be able to bring products to market before we do, and the commercial viability of our product candidates could be significantly reduced.
Reproxalap, ADX-2191, and our other product candidates are subject to extensive regulation, compliance with which is costly and time consuming, and such regulation may cause unanticipated delays, or prevent the receipt of the required approvals to commercialize our product candidates.
The clinical development, manufacturing, labeling, storage, record-keeping, advertising, promotion, import, export, marketing, and distribution of our product candidates are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA in the United States and by comparable authorities in foreign markets. In the United States, we are not permitted to market our product candidates until we receive regulatory approval from the FDA. The process of obtaining regulatory approval is expensive and time-consuming, and can vary substantially based upon the type, complexity, and novelty of the products involved, as well as the target indication, and patient population. Approval policies or regulations may change, and the FDA has substantial discretion in the drug approval process, including the ability to delay, limit, or deny approval of a product candidate for many reasons. Despite the time and expense invested in clinical development of product candidates, regulatory approval, and subsequent commercial success is uncertain and not guaranteed.
Reproxalap, ADX-2191, and our other product candidates, and the activities associated with development and commercialization, including testing, manufacture, safety, efficacy, recordkeeping, labeling, storage, approval, advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution, are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA and other regulatory agencies in the United States and by comparable authorities in other jurisdictions.
Our ongoing research and development activities and planned clinical development and commercialization for our product candidates may be delayed, modified, or ceased for a variety of reasons, including:
The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities can delay, limit, or deny approval of a product candidate for many reasons, including but not limited to:
With respect to foreign markets, approval procedures vary among countries and, in addition to the aforementioned risks, can involve additional product testing, administrative review periods, and agreements with pricing authorities. In addition, events raising questions about the safety of certain marketed pharmaceuticals may result in increased cautiousness by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities in reviewing new drugs based on safety, efficacy, or other regulatory considerations and may result in significant delays in obtaining regulatory approvals. Any delay in obtaining, or inability to obtain, applicable regulatory approvals would prevent us or any of our future development partners from commercializing our product candidates. Moreover, we cannot
predict healthcare reform initiatives, including potential reductions in federal funding or insurance coverage, that may be adopted in the future and whether or not any such reforms would have an adverse effect on our business and our ability to obtain regulatory approval for our current or future product candidates. There are evolving legal requirements that will continue to affect our business.
Because the Company has no experience in commercializing pharmaceutical products, there is a limited amount of information about us upon which to evaluate our product candidates and business prospects.
We have not yet demonstrated an ability to successfully overcome many of the pre-commercial and commercial risks and uncertainties frequently encountered by companies in new and rapidly evolving fields, particularly in the biopharmaceutical area. For example, to execute our business plan we will need to successfully:
If we are unsuccessful in accomplishing these objectives, we may not be able to develop product candidates, raise capital, expand our business, or continue our operations. Further, even if we are successful in clinical trials of product candidates, we may choose to place further development or commercialization on hold given perceived marketing challenges or the relative differences in commercial attractiveness within our portfolio.
The results of preclinical studies and earlier clinical trials are not always predictive of future results. Any product candidate we or any of our future development partners advance into clinical trials may not have favorable results in later clinical trials, if any, or receive regulatory approval.
Drug development has inherent risk. We or any of our future development partners will be required to demonstrate through adequate and well-controlled clinical trials that our product candidates are safe and effective, with a favorable benefit-risk profile, for use in their target indications before we can seek regulatory approvals for their commercial sale. Drug development is a long, expensive, and uncertain process, and delay or failure can occur at any stage of development, including after commencement of any of our clinical trials. Any negative results or perceived negative results in clinical trials for one indication may have an adverse effect on our ability to develop and potentially commercialize reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates for the treatment of another indication. In addition, as product candidates proceed through development, the trial designs may often be different and may need to evolve and change from phase to phase or within the same phase or same trial, as is the case for adaptive trials; the vehicles or controls may be modified from trial to trial; and the product formulations or manufacturing process may differ due to the need to test product candidate samples that can be manufactured on a commercial scale. Success in run-in cohorts, earlier clinical trials, or clinical trials focused on a different indication does not mean that later clinical trials will be successful because product candidates in later-stage clinical trials may fail to demonstrate sufficient safety or efficacy despite having progressed through other phases of clinical testing. In
addition, discussions with regulatory bodies, such as the FDA, may lead to changes in trial designs or programs. Companies frequently suffer significant setbacks in advanced clinical trials, even after run-in cohorts or earlier clinical trials have shown promising results. For example, the results of the TRANQUILITY Trial did not reflect the results of the TRANQUILITY run-in cohort. Moreover, only a small percentage of drugs under development result in the submission of an NDA to the FDA and even fewer are approved for commercialization.
Because we are developing novel product candidates for the treatment of diseases in a manner which there is little clinical drug development experience and, in some cases, are designing adaptive trials or using new endpoints or methodologies, the regulatory pathways for approval are not well defined, and, as a result, there is greater risk that our clinical trials will not result in our desired outcomes or require additional trials.
Our clinical focus is on the development of new products for immune-mediated diseases. We performed an adaptive trial in proliferative vitreoretinopathy, the GUARD trial, and may do so with other indications in the future. In an adaptive trial, the initial parts of the trial are not designed to be pivotal or definitive. Rather, the initial parts of adaptive trials are expected to provide data to guide subsequent parts of the trial, which could require design changes, including but not limited to, different endpoints. In addition, following the initial parts of adaptive trials, we may, among other things, decide to continue to the subsequent parts of the trial, conclude the trial based on its success or failure in such initial parts, or discuss the trial results and regulatory pathway with regulatory authorities prior to determining next steps with respect to the trial and development program. As such, the likelihood of success in our late-stage clinical programs cannot necessarily be predicted.
We could also face challenges in designing clinical trials and obtaining regulatory approval of our product candidates due to the lack of historical clinical trial experience for novel classes of therapeutics. Thus, it is difficult to determine whether regulatory agencies will be receptive to the approval of our product candidates, and to predict the time and costs associated with obtaining regulatory approvals. The clinical trial requirements of the FDA and other regulatory agencies and the criteria regulators use to determine the safety and efficacy of a product candidate vary substantially according to the type, complexity, novelty, and intended use and market of the potential products. The regulatory approval process for novel product candidates such as ours can be more expensive and require more time and trial data than for other, better known, or more extensively studied classes of product candidates. In addition, it is possible that, as regulatory bodies gain more familiarity with our type of product candidates by reviewing competitor candidates, those agencies could impose new conditions on our product candidates that we did not expect. Any inability to design clinical trials with protocols, methodology, and endpoints acceptable to applicable regulatory authorities, and to obtain regulatory approvals for our product candidates, would have an adverse impact on our business, prospects, financial condition, and results of operations.
Because some of our product candidates are, to our knowledge, new chemical entities, it is difficult to predict the time and cost of development and our ability to successfully complete clinical development of these product candidates and obtain the necessary regulatory approvals for commercialization.
Some of our product candidates are, to our knowledge, new chemical entities, and unexpected problems related to new technologies may arise that can cause us to delay, suspend, or terminate our development efforts. As a result, short and long-term safety, as well as prospects for efficacy, are not fully understood and are difficult to predict. Regulatory approvals of new product candidates can be more expensive and take longer than approvals for well-characterized or more extensively studied pharmaceutical product candidates. Following discussions with the FDA and experts in the field, we may determine that it is not cost effective for us to develop one or more of our products in certain indications or we may decide to cease development in that area or seek a strategic partner.
We may not be able to qualify for or obtain various designations from regulators that would have the potential to expedite the review process of one or more of our product candidates, and even if we do receive one or more of such designations there is no guarantee that they will ultimately expedite the process, or aid in our obtaining marketing approval or provide market exclusivity.
There exist several designations that we can apply for from the FDA and other regulators that would provide us with various combinations of the potential for expedited regulatory review, certain financial incentives as well as the potential for post-approval exclusivity for a period of time. These designations include but are not limited to orphan drug designation, breakthrough therapy designation, accelerated approval, fast track status, and priority
review for our product candidates. We may seek one or more of these designations for our current and future product candidates. In April 2018, ADX-2191 received orphan drug designation from the FDA for the prevention of proliferative vitreoretinopathy and, in June 2020, ADX-2191 was designated an orphan medicinal product by the European Commission for the treatment of retinal detachment. In September 2019, ADX-2191 received fast track designation from the FDA for the prevention of proliferative vitreoretinopathy. There can be no assurance that any of our other product candidates will qualify for any of these designations. There can also be no assurance that any of our product candidates, that do qualify for these designations, will be granted such designations or that the FDA will not revoke such a designation it grants at a later date. Further, there can be no assurance that any of our product candidates that are granted such designations will ever benefit from such designations or that the FDA would not withdraw such designations once granted. Were we to receive a designation that promised a period of market exclusivity, such as orphan drug exclusivity, such exclusivity may not effectively protect the product from competition because different drugs can be approved for the same condition. Further, with respect to orphan drug status, even after an orphan drug is approved, the FDA can subsequently approve the same drug for the same condition if the FDA concludes that the later drug is clinically superior if it is shown to be safer, more effective, or makes a major contribution to patient care.
To preserve trial integrity, clinical data from the initial parts of adaptive clinical trials may not be disclosed.
Adaptive clinical trials are often performed such that the initial parts of the trial are used to determine sample size and endpoints for subsequent, possibly pivotal parts of the trial. Results from the initial parts of adaptive trials are therefore not designed to be pivotal or definitive, and, in some cases, detailed trial data may not be disclosed so as not to positively or negatively bias investigators or patients involved in subsequent parts of the trial.
We are performing an adaptive trial in proliferative vitreoretinopathy. For the reasons stated above, detailed results from the initial part of the GUARD trial were not disclosed until the completion of subsequent parts of the trials, or until the entire adaptive trial was completed. Further, the initial parts of adaptive trials may be performed in part to assess biomarkers or surrogate markers that may require substantial time to generate, analyze, and interpret. Thus, disclosure of clinical results from the initial parts of adaptive trials may also be delayed due to the time required for biomarker or surrogate marker assessment.
We may find it difficult to enroll patients in our clinical trials or identify patients during commercialization (if our products are approved by regulatory agencies) for product candidates addressing orphan or rare diseases.
As part of our business strategy, we have and continue to evaluate the development and commercialization of product candidates for the treatment of orphan and other rare diseases, including proliferative vitreoretinopathy and retinitis pigmentosa. We may not be able to initiate or continue clinical trials if we are unable to locate a sufficient number of eligible patients willing and able to participate in the clinical trials required by the FDA or other non-United States regulatory agencies. In addition, if others develop products for the treatment of similar diseases, we would potentially compete with them for the enrollment in rare patient populations, which may adversely impact the rate of patient enrollment in and the timely completion of our current and planned clinical trials. Any negative results or perceived negative results in clinical trials of our product candidates may make it difficult or impossible to recruit or retain patients in other clinical trials of the same product candidate. Insufficient patient enrollment may be a function of other factors, including the size and nature of the patient population, the nature of the protocol, the proximity of patients to clinical sites, the timing and magnitude of disease symptom presentation, the availability of effective treatments for the relevant disease, and the eligibility criteria for the clinical trial. Our inability to identify and enroll a sufficient number of eligible patients for any of our current or future clinical trials would result in significant delays or may require us to abandon one or more clinical trials or development program. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has and may have an impact on our ability to enroll and retain patients in our clinical trials. For instance, patient enrollment in our GUARD trial of ADX-2191 and our 12-month safety trial of reproxalap were negatively impacted as a result of limited clinical trial staffing at trial sites and some patients electing to delay surgery. Delays in patient enrollment in the future as a result of these and other factors may result in increased costs or may affect the timing or outcome of our clinical trials, which could prevent us from completing these trials and adversely affect our ability to advance the development of our product candidates. For instance, in rare diseases such as proliferative vitreoretinopathy, lack of availability of, or difficulty recruiting or retaining a sufficient number of, patients may make it difficult or cost-prohibitive to sufficiently power our clinical trials, which may not enable us to
continue development and seek regulatory approval for the applicable product candidate. Further, if our products are approved by regulatory agencies, we may not be able to identify sufficient number of patients to generate significant revenues.
Any product candidate we or any of our future development partners advance into clinical trials may cause unacceptable adverse events or have other properties that may delay or prevent its regulatory approval or commercialization or limit its commercial potential.
Unacceptable adverse events caused by any of our product candidates that we or others advance into clinical trials could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay, or halt clinical trials, or impose a clinical hold, potentially resulting in the denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or other regulatory authorities for any or all targeted indications and markets. This in turn could prevent us from completing development or commercializing the affected product candidate and generating revenue from its sale.
We continue to develop our product candidates for the treatment of the indications for which we intend to seek approval, and we currently do not know the full extent of adverse events that will be observed in subjects that receive any of our product candidates. If any of our product candidates cause unacceptable adverse events in clinical trials, which may be larger or longer than those previously conducted, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval or commercialize such product candidate.
Even if we obtain marketing approval for reproxalap, ADX-2191, or any other product candidate, it could be subject to restrictions or withdrawal from the market and we may be subject to penalties if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or if we experience unanticipated problems with our product candidates, when and if any are approved.
Even if United States regulatory approval is obtained, the FDA may still impose significant restrictions on a product’s indicated uses or marketing or impose ongoing requirements for potentially costly and time-consuming post-approval studies or clinical trials, post-market surveillance, or other potential additional clinical trials. Following approval, if any, of reproxalap, ADX-2191, or any other product candidate, such candidate will also be subject to ongoing FDA requirements governing the labeling, packaging, storage, distribution, safety surveillance, advertising, promotion, recordkeeping, and reporting of safety and other post-market information. In addition, manufacturers of drug products and their facilities are subject to continual review and periodic inspections by the FDA and other regulatory authorities for compliance with cGMP requirements, including those relating to quality control, quality assurance, and corresponding maintenance of records and documents. If we or a regulatory agency discovers previously unknown problems with a product, such as adverse events of unanticipated seriousness, severity, or frequency, or problems with the facility where the product is manufactured, a regulatory agency may impose restrictions on that product, the manufacturing facility or us, including requesting recall or withdrawal of the product from the market or suspension of manufacturing.
If we or the manufacturing facilities for reproxalap, ADX-2191, or any other product candidate that may receive regulatory approval, if any, fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, a regulatory agency may:
The occurrence of any event or penalty described above may inhibit our ability to commercialize our product candidates and generate revenue.
The FDA has the authority to require a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) plan as part of an NDA or after approval, which may impose further requirements or restrictions on the distribution or use of an approved drug, such as limiting prescribing to certain physicians or medical centers that have undergone specialized training, limiting treatment to patients who meet certain safe-use criteria, and requiring treated patients to enroll in a registry.
In addition, if reproxalap, ADX-2191, or any of our other product candidates is approved, our product labeling, advertising, and promotion would be subject to regulatory requirements and continuing regulatory review. The FDA strictly regulates the promotional claims that may be made about prescription products. In particular, a product may not be promoted for uses that are not approved by the FDA as reflected in the product’s approved labeling. If we receive marketing approval for a product candidate, physicians may nevertheless prescribe it to patients in a manner that is inconsistent with the approved label. If we are found to have promoted such off-label uses, we may become subject to significant liability. The FDA and other agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses, and a company that is found to have improperly promoted off-label uses may be subject to significant sanctions. The federal government has levied large civil and criminal fines against companies for alleged improper promotion and has enjoined several companies from engaging in off-label promotion. The government has also entered into consent decrees and Corporate Integrity Agreements under which specified promotional conduct is changed or curtailed.
Even if we receive regulatory approval for reproxalap, ADX-2191, or any other product candidate, we still may not be able to successfully commercialize, and the revenue that we generate from its sales, if any, could be limited.
Even if our product candidates receive regulatory approval, they may not gain market acceptance among physicians, patients, healthcare payors, or the medical community. Coverage and reimbursement of our product candidates by third-party payors, including government payors, is also generally necessary for commercial success. In addition, we may not be able to secure advantageous contracts with payors or price our products at the expected level or at levels that make successful commercialization viable. The pricing of our products will be subject to numerous factors, many of which are outside of our control, including the pricing of similar products. The degree of market acceptance of our product candidates will depend on a number of factors, including but not limited to:
In addition, because the active ingredient of ADX-2191 (methotrexate) is a generic drug, a generic manufacturer may be able to develop and market a competitive intravitreal formulation of methotrexate following expiration of commercial exclusivity mandated via certain orphan drug designations. Generic drug competition would have a material and adverse effect on the commercial potential of ADX-2191. Further, our ability to successfully commercialize ADX-2191, if approved, depends on a number of additional factors, including but not limited to, the level of enforcement by the FDA to ensure that compounded copies of commercially available FDA-approved products manufactured by compounding pharmacies, including compounded copies of ADX-2191, that may be in violation of the federal Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) and other relevant provisions of the United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), are not produced and dispensed to patients.
Moreover, we cannot predict what healthcare reform initiatives may be adopted in the future. Further federal and state legislative and regulatory developments are likely, and we expect that ongoing initiatives in the United States will increase pressure on drug pricing. Such reforms could have an adverse effect on the pricing of and anticipated revenues from our current or future product candidates for which we may obtain regulatory approval and may affect our overall financial condition and ability to develop drug candidates.
If any product candidate is approved but does not achieve an adequate level of acceptance by physicians, hospitals, healthcare payors, or patients, we may not generate sufficient revenue from that product candidate and may not become or remain profitable. Our efforts to educate the medical community and third-party payors on the benefits of reproxalap, ADX-2191, or any of our other product candidates may require significant resources and may never be successful. In addition, our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidate will depend on our ability to manufacture our products, differentiate our products from competing products and defend the intellectual property of our products. Competitors with numerous approved products may be able to negotiate pricing and reimbursement that is substantially more advantageous than that which we will be able to negotiate.
Additionally, if any of our competitors’ products are approved and are unable to gain market acceptance for any reason, there could be a market perception that products like reproxalap and ADX-2191 are not able to adequately meet an unmet medical need. If we are unable to demonstrate to physicians, hospitals, third-party payors, and patients that our products are better alternatives, we may not be able to gain market acceptance for our products at the levels we anticipate and our business may be materially harmed as a result.
If the market opportunities for reproxalap, ADX-2191, and our other product candidates are smaller than we believe they are and, if we are not able to successfully identify patients and achieve significant market share, our revenues may be adversely affected and our business may suffer.
We focus our research and product development on treatments for immune-mediated diseases. Our estimated addressable markets and market opportunities for our drug candidates are based on a variety of inputs, including data published by third parties, our own market insights and internal market intelligence, and internally generated data and assumptions. We have not independently verified any third-party information and cannot be assured of its accuracy or completeness. Our projections of both the number of people who have these diseases, as well as the subset of people with these diseases who have the potential to benefit from treatment with our product candidates, are based on estimates. These estimates have been derived from a variety of sources, including scientific literature, surveys of clinics, or market research, and may prove to be incorrect. Further, new studies may change the estimated incidence or prevalence of these diseases. The number of patients may turn out to be lower or more difficult to identify than expected. In addition, our product candidates may not achieve commercial success due to market conditions or regulatory challenges.
Any of these factors may negatively affect our ability to generate revenues from sales of our product and our ability to achieve and maintain profitability, and as a consequence, our business may suffer. In addition, these inaccuracies or errors may cause us to misallocate capital and other critical business resources, which could harm our business.
Reimbursement may be limited or unavailable in certain market segments for our product candidates, which could make it difficult for us to sell our product candidates profitably.
Market acceptance and sales of our product candidates will depend significantly on the availability of adequate insurance coverage and reimbursement from third-party payors for any of our product candidates and may be affected by existing and future health care reform measures. Government authorities and third-party payors, such as private health insurers and health maintenance organizations, decide which drugs they will pay for and establish reimbursement levels. The reimbursement levels may be significantly less than the currently anticipated pricing of our product candidates. As a result of negative trends in the general economy in the United States or other jurisdictions in which we may do business, these organizations may be unable to satisfy their reimbursement obligations or may delay payment. Reimbursement by a third-party payor may depend upon a number of factors including the third-party payor’s determination that use of a product candidate is:
Obtaining coverage and reimbursement approval for a product candidate from a government or other third-party payor is a time-consuming and costly process that could require us to provide supporting scientific, clinical, and cost effectiveness data for the use of the applicable product candidate to the payor. We may not be able to provide data sufficient to gain acceptance with respect to coverage and reimbursement. We cannot be sure that coverage or adequate reimbursement will be available for any of our product candidates. Further, we cannot be sure that reimbursement amounts will not reduce the demand for, or the price of, our product candidates. If reimbursement is not available or is available only in limited levels, we may not be able to commercialize certain of our product candidates profitably, or at all, even if approved. In recent years, through legislative and regulatory actions, the federal government has made substantial changes to the United States healthcare system, including changes to the methods for, and amounts of, Medicare reimbursement. Many members of the United States Congress have attempted to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), but they have been unsuccessful in doing so as of the date of the filing of this report. We cannot predict the ultimate form or timing of any repeal or replacement of PPACA or the effect such repeal or replacement would have on our business. Regardless of the impact of repeal or replacement of PPACA on us, the government has shown significant interest in pursuing healthcare reform and reducing healthcare costs. These reforms could significantly reduce payments from Medicare and Medicaid over the next ten years. Reforms or other changes to these payment systems, including modifications to the conditions on qualification for payment, bundling of payments, or the imposition of enrollment limitations on new providers, may change the availability, methods, and rates of reimbursements from Medicare, private insurers, and other third-party payers for our current and future product candidates, if any, for which we are able to obtain regulatory approval. Some of these changes and proposed changes could result in reduced reimbursement rates for such product candidates, if approved, which would adversely affect our business strategy, operations, and financial results.
As a result of legislative proposals and the trend toward managed health care in the United States, third-party payors are increasingly attempting to contain health care costs by limiting both coverage and the level of reimbursement of new drugs. Payors may also refuse to provide coverage of approved product candidates for medical indications other than those for which the FDA has granted market approvals. As a result, significant uncertainty exists as to whether and how much third-party payors will reimburse patients for use of newly approved drugs, which in turn could lower drug pricing. We expect to experience pricing pressures in connection with the sale of our product candidates due to the trend toward managed health care, the increasing influence of health
maintenance organizations, larger companies contracting with payors to diminish reimbursement for competitive products, and additional legislative proposals as well as country, regional, or local healthcare budget limitations.
We are subject to a multitude of manufacturing risks, any of which could substantially increase our costs and limit supply of our products.
The process of manufacturing our products is complex, highly regulated, and subject to several risks, including:
In order to conduct clinical trials of our drug candidates, we will need to manufacture them in large quantities. Quality issues may arise during scale-up activities. Our reliance on a limited number of Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMOs), the complexity of drug manufacturing and the difficulty of scaling up a manufacturing process could cause the delay of clinical trials, regulatory submissions, required approvals or commercialization of our drug candidates, and cause us to incur higher costs and prevent us from commercializing our drug candidates successfully. Furthermore, if our CMOs fail to deliver the required commercial quality and quantities of materials on a timely basis and at commercially reasonable prices, and we are unable to secure one or more replacement CMOs capable of production in a timely manner at a substantially equivalent cost, then testing and clinical trials of that drug candidate may be delayed or infeasible, and regulatory approval or commercial launch of any resulting product may be delayed or not obtained, which could significantly harm our business. In addition, failure of CMOs to comply with regulatory and quality requirements could delay manufacturing or the review of our marketing applications.
Any adverse developments affecting manufacturing operations for our products, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or responses taken thereto, may result in shipment delays; inventory shortages; lot failures; product withdrawals, recalls, approvals; or other interruptions in the supply of our products. We may also have to
account for inventory write-offs and incur other charges and expenses for products that fail to meet specifications, undertake costly remediation efforts, or seek more costly manufacturing alternatives.
Issues with product quality could have a material adverse effect upon our business, subject us to regulatory actions and cause a loss of customer confidence in us or our products.
Our success depends upon the quality of our products. Quality controls, assurance, and management plays an essential role in meeting customer requirements, preventing defects, improving our product candidates and services, and assuring the safety and efficacy of our product candidates. Our future success depends on our ability to maintain and continuously improve our quality management program. A quality or safety issue may result in adverse inspection reports, warning letters, product recalls or seizures, monetary sanctions, injunctions to halt manufacture and distribution of products, civil or criminal sanctions, costly litigation, refusal of a government to grant approvals and licenses, restrictions on operations, or withdrawal of existing approvals and licenses. An inability to address a quality or safety issue in an effective and timely manner may also cause negative publicity, a loss of customer confidence in us or our future products, which may result in difficulty in successfully launching product candidates and the loss of sales, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
If our competitors develop treatments for the target indications of our product candidates that are approved more quickly than ours, marketed more successfully, or demonstrated to be safer or more effective than our product candidates, our commercial opportunity will be reduced or eliminated.
We operate in highly competitive segments of the biotechnology market. We face competition from many different sources, including commercial pharmaceutical and biotechnology enterprises, academic institutions, government agencies, and private and public research institutions. Our product candidates, if successfully developed and approved, will compete with established therapies (including generic and over-the-counter drugs) as well as with new treatments that may be introduced by our competitors. With the exception of proliferative vitreoretinopathy, primary vitreoretinal lymphoma, and retinitis pigmentosa, there are a variety of approved drugs and drug candidates in development for the indications that we intend to test. Current treatments that are used in the United States for dry eye disease include over the counter artificial tears, Restasis®, Xiidra®, CequaTM, Eysuvis®, and TyrvayaTM . In February 2022, the FDA approved the first generic version of Restasis®, which is now available for sale in the U.S. Many of our competitors have significantly greater financial, product candidate development, manufacturing, and marketing resources than we do. Large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have extensive experience in clinical testing and obtaining regulatory approval for drugs. In addition, universities and private and public research institutes could be in direct competition with us. We also may compete with these organizations to recruit management, scientists, and commercial and clinical development personnel. We will also face competition from these third parties in establishing clinical trial sites, registering subjects for clinical trials, and in identifying and in-licensing new product candidates. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies.
New developments, including the development of other pharmaceutical technologies and methods of treating disease, occur in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries at a rapid pace. Developments by competitors may render our product candidates obsolete or noncompetitive. Other parties may discover and patent treatment approaches and compositions that are similar to or different from ours. Competition in drug development is intense. We anticipate that we will face intense and increasing competition as new treatments enter the market and advanced technologies become available.
Our future success depends on our ability to demonstrate and maintain a competitive advantage with respect to the design, development, and commercialization of reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates. Inflammatory diseases may be treated with general immune suppressing therapies, including corticosteroids, some of which are generic. Our potential competitors in inflammatory diseases may be developing novel immune modulating therapies that may be safer or more effective than our product candidates.
If we are unable to successfully establish and maintain sales, distribution, and marketing capabilities or enter into agreements with third parties to market, sell, and distribute our product candidates, we may be unable to generate any revenues.
We have only recently begun to establish a sales or marketing infrastructure and have no experience as a Company in the sale, marketing or distribution of biopharmaceutical products. If reproxalap, ADX-2191, or any of our other product candidates ultimately receives regulatory approval, we may not be able to effectively market and distribute the product candidate. We will have to invest significant amounts of financial and management resources to develop and maintain internal sales, distribution, and marketing capabilities, some of which will be committed prior to any confirmation that reproxalap, ADX-2191, or any of our other product candidates will be approved.
We currently expect that we may build our own sales and marketing organization to support the commercialization in the United States of product candidates for which we receive marketing approval. In advance of receiving marketing approval for reproxalap and ADX-2191, we have begun to build our commercial infrastructure. There are risks involved with establishing our own sales and marketing capabilities. For example, recruiting and training a sales force is expensive and time-consuming and could delay any product launch. If the commercial launch of reproxalap, ADX-2191 or any product candidate for which we establish a commercial infrastructure is delayed or does not occur for any reason, including if we do not receive marketing approval on the timeframe we expect, we would have incurred these commercialization expenses prematurely or unnecessarily. These efforts may be costly, and our investment would be lost if we cannot retain or reposition our sales and marketing personnel.
If we are unable to establish our own sales and marketing capabilities and enter into arrangements with third parties to perform these services, our revenue from product sales and our profitability, if any, are likely to be lower than if we ourselves were to market and sell any products that we develop. In addition, we may not be successful in entering into arrangements with third parties to market and sell our drug candidates or may be unable to do so on terms that are acceptable to us. Any of these third parties may fail to devote the necessary resources and attention to sell and market our products effectively. If we do not establish sales and marketing capabilities successfully, either on our own or in collaboration with third parties, we will not be successful in commercializing our drug candidates.
If the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities approve generic versions of any of our product candidates that receive marketing approval, or such authorities do not grant our product candidates appropriate periods of data or market exclusivity before approving generic versions of our product candidates, the sales of our product candidates could be adversely affected.
Once an NDA is approved, the drug covered thereby becomes a “reference-listed drug” in the FDA’s publication, “Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations.” Manufacturers may seek marketing approval of generic versions of reference-listed drugs through submission of abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) in the United States. In support of an ANDA, a generic manufacturer need not conduct clinical trials demonstrating safety and efficacy. Rather, the applicant generally must show that its drug is pharmaceutically equivalent to the reference listed drug, in that it has the same active ingredient(s), dosage form, strength, route of administration and conditions of use or labeling as the reference-listed drug, and that the generic version is bioequivalent to the reference-listed drug, meaning it is absorbed in the body at the same rate and to the same extent. Generic drugs may be significantly less costly to bring to market than the reference-listed drug and companies that produce generic drugs are generally able to offer drug products at lower prices. Thus, following the introduction of a generic drug, a significant percentage of the sales of any branded product or reference-listed drug is typically lost to the generic drug.
The FDA may not approve an ANDA for a generic drug until any applicable period of non-patent exclusivity for the reference-listed drug has expired. The FDCA provides a period of five years of non-patent exclusivity for a new drug containing a new chemical entity. During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not accept for review an ANDA or a 505(b)(2) NDA submitted by another company for another version of such product candidate where the applicant does not own or have a legal right of reference to all the data required for approval. However, an application may be submitted after four years if it contains a certification of patent invalidity, enforceability or non-infringement. The FDCA also provides three years of marketing exclusivity for a 505(b)(1) NDA, 505(b)(2) NDA or supplement to an approved NDA if new clinical investigations other than bioavailability studies (e.g., investigations
that support new indications, dosages, or strengths of an existing drug) were conducted or sponsored by the applicant and are deemed by the FDA to be essential to the approval of the application. This three-year exclusivity covers only the conditions associated with the new clinical investigations and does not prohibit the FDA from approving competitor products for product candidates containing the original active agent for other conditions of use. Five-year and three-year exclusivity will not delay the submission or approval of a full 505(b)(1) NDA. Manufacturers may seek to launch these generic drugs following the expiration of the marketing exclusivity period, even if we still have patent protection for our drug.
In the EU and the UK, innovative medicinal products are authorized based on a full marketing authorization application (as opposed to an application for marketing authorization that relies on data in the marketing authorization dossier for another, previously approved medicinal product). Applications for marketing authorization for innovative medicinal products must contain the results of pharmaceutical tests, preclinical tests, and clinical trials conducted with the medicinal product for which marketing authorization is sought (and where applicable the result of the pediatric studies unless a waiver or a deferral has been obtained - as described further below). In the EU, these applications must be made pursuant to either Directive 2001/83/EC (for the decentralized procedure or the mutual recognition procedure) or Regulation 726/2004 (for the centralized procedure). In the UK, there are various procedures available under the new regulatory legal framework to pharmaceutical products, including the possibility of a recognized assessment conducted by the European authorities under certain circumstance or by applying directly to the UK regulatory authority (MHRA).
Where an applicant for a marketing authorization submits a full dossier containing its own pharmaceutical, pre-clinical tests and clinical trials data, and where the application does not fall within the "global marketing authorization" of an existing medicinal product, the applicant is entitled to eight years of regulatory data protection upon grant of the marketing authorization (the period starts to run from the first marketing authorization in the EU/ European Economic Area (EEA)). During this period, applicants for approval of generics or biosimilars cannot rely on data contained in the marketing authorization dossier submitted for the already authorized, or reference, medicinal product to support their application. After the expiration of the eight-year period of regulatory data protection, the reference medicinal product benefits from a further two-year period of marketing protection. During these two years of marketing protection, no generic or biosimilar medicinal product that relies upon the reference medicinal product’s dossier may be placed on the EU market, but a generic or biosimilar marketing authorization application can be submitted to the competent regulatory authorities in the EU Member States during this time. The two-year period of marketing protection can further be extended by one year if, during the first eight years of the grant of the first marketing authorization, the marketing authorization holder obtains an authorization for one or more new therapeutic indications which, during the scientific evaluation prior to their authorization, are held to bring a significant clinical benefit in comparison with existing therapies. However, even if a compound is considered to be a new active substance and the innovator is able to gain the period of regulatory data protection and marketing protection, provided that no other IP or regulatory exclusivities applied, another unrelated company could also apply for a marketing authorization and market another competing medicinal product for the same therapeutic indication if such company obtained its own marketing authorization based on a separate marketing authorization application based on a full self-standing scientific data package supporting the application. The period of regulatory data protection and marketing protection applies in the UK (running from the date of the first authorization in Great Britain).
In the EU, pursuant to Regulation 1901/2006, and in the UK pursuant to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (as amended), marketing authorization applications must include pediatric data based on pediatric investigation plans agreed with the EMA if the MAA concerns (i) a new active substance, or (ii) a new indication, pharmacological form, or route of administration (where the product is protected by a supplementary protection certificate or a patent qualifying for a supplementary certificate). Applicants may obtain waivers or deferrals to these requirements in certain circumstances (for example a waiver may be obtained if the condition only occurs in adult populations). Where required, pediatric studies must cover all sub-sets of the pediatric population for both existing and new indications, pharmacological forms and route of administrations. Limited further exclusions apply, including in relation to generic or biosimilar applications. Certain rewards may be available for completion of pediatric studies. For example, where MAAs include the results of all studies conducted in compliance with an agreed pediatric investigation plan, the holder of the patent or supplementary protection certificate may be entitled to a six-month extension to the supplementary protection certificate.
In order to obtain orphan designation in the EEA, the product must fulfill certain challenging criteria. Under Article 3 of Regulation (EC) 141/2000, a medicinal product may be designated as an orphan medicinal product if it meets the following criteria: (1) is intended for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of a life-threatening or chronically debilitating condition; and (2) either the prevalence of such condition must not be more than five in 10,000 persons in the EU when the application is made, or without the benefits derived from orphan status, it must be unlikely that the marketing of the medicine would generate sufficient return in the EU to justify the investment needed for its development; and (3) there exists no satisfactory method of diagnosis, prevention or treatment of such condition authorized for marketing in the EU or if such a method exists, the product will be of significant benefit to those affected by the condition, as defined in Regulation (EC) 847/2000.
Products receiving orphan designation in the EU may receive 10 years of orphan market exclusivity, which can be further extended by two years if pediatric studies have been conducted in accordance with an agreed pediatric investigational plan. Applications must first satisfy the orphan designation criteria and apply for orphan designation before making the application for marketing authorization. The applicant must then successfully maintain the orphan designation at the time of the marketing authorization application in order to qualify for 10 years of orphan market exclusivity. During this 10-year period, the competent authorities of the EU Member States and European Commission may not accept applications or grant marketing authorization for other similar medicinal products for the same orphan therapeutic indication. The protection afforded by orphan market exclusivity in the EU may, in some circumstances, be circumvented by competitor products which are demonstrated not to be "similar" or which are authorized for different therapeutic indications. There may be a risk that products may be prescribed "off-label" for the orphan therapeutic indication by healthcare professions in some EU Member States.
There are also three exceptions to the orphan market exclusivity principle. Marketing authorization may be granted to a similar medicinal product for the same orphan therapeutic indication if:
An orphan product can also obtain an additional two years of orphan market exclusivity in the EU if the marketing authorization application contains the results of all pediatric studies conducted in accordance with and agreed pediatric investigation plan. The 10-year market exclusivity may be reduced to six years if, at the end of the fifth year, it is established that the product no longer meets the criteria for orphan designation; for example, if the product is sufficiently profitable not to justify maintenance of market exclusivity.
The UK’s regulatory legal framework provides for similar periods of protection, namely regulatory data protection, marketing protection and market exclusivity.
It is important to note that the regulatory protection afforded to medicinal product such as data exclusivity, marketing protection, market exclusivity for orphan indications, and pediatric extension are currently under review at EU level. It is expected that the protection currently afforded in the EU will be reduced in the years to come.
Competition that our product candidates may face from generic versions of our product candidates could materially and adversely impact our future revenue, profitability and cash flows and substantially limit our ability to obtain a return on the investments we have made in those product candidates. Our future revenues, profitability, and cash flows could also be materially and adversely affected and our ability to obtain a return on the investments we have made in those product candidates may be substantially limited if our product candidates, if and when approved, are not afforded the appropriate periods of non-patent exclusivity.
The FDA’s ability to review and approve new products may be hindered by a variety of factors, including budget and funding levels; ability to hire and retain key personnel; and statutory, regulatory, and policy changes.
The ability of the FDA to review and approve new products can be affected by a variety of factors, including budget and funding levels; ability to hire and retain key personnel; and statutory, regulatory, and policy changes. Average review times at the agency have fluctuated in recent years as a result. In addition, government funding of other government agencies that fund research and development activities is subject to the political process, which is inherently fluid and unpredictable.
The ability of the FDA and other government agencies to properly administer their functions is highly dependent on the levels of government funding and the ability to fill key leadership appointments, among various factors. Delays in filling or replacing key positions could significantly impact the ability of the FDA and other agencies to fulfill their functions, and could greatly impact healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry.
In December 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law, and was designed to advance medical innovation and empower the FDA with the authority to directly hire positions related to drug and device development and review. In the past, the FDA was often unable to offer key leadership candidates (including scientists) competitive compensation packages as compared to those offered by private industry. The 21st Century Cures Act was designed to streamline the agency’s hiring process and enable the FDA to compete for leadership talent by expanding the narrow ranges that are provided in the existing compensation structures.
Disruptions at the FDA and other governmental agencies may also slow the time necessary for new drugs to be reviewed and/or approved by necessary government agencies, which would adversely affect our operating results and business.
Failure to obtain regulatory approval in foreign jurisdictions would prevent us from marketing and commercializing our products abroad and may limit our ability to generate revenue from product sales.
We intend to market and commercialize our product candidates internationally. To market and sell our drug candidates in jurisdictions outside the United States, we must obtain separate marketing approvals and comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements. The approval procedure varies among countries and can involve additional testing. The time required to obtain approval may differ substantially from that required to obtain FDA approval. The regulatory approval process outside the United States generally includes all of the risks associated with obtaining FDA approval. In addition, in many countries outside the United States, we must secure product reimbursement approvals before regulatory authorities will approve the product for sale in that country. Failure to obtain foreign regulatory approvals on a timely basis or non-compliance with foreign regulatory requirements could result in significant delays, difficulties, and costs for us and could delay or prevent the introduction of our drug candidates in certain countries. Approval by the FDA does not ensure approval by regulatory authorities in other countries or jurisdictions, and approval by one regulatory authority outside the United States does not ensure approval by regulatory authorities in other countries or jurisdictions or by the FDA. We may not be able to file for marketing approvals and may not receive necessary approvals to commercialize our products in any jurisdiction, which would materially impair our ability to generate revenue.
The UK's exit from the EU continues to create political and economic uncertainty, particularly in the UK and the EU. The UK is now being treated as a "third country" by the EU and new UK legislation has taken effect. This means that some regulatory activities, such as batch testing and Qualified Person certification conducted in Great Britain is no longer recognized in the EU. However, the UK and EU have concluded a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which has been approved by the UK Parliament, European Council and European Parliament and has limited the disruption to the supply of medicines, particularly by enabling tariff and quota-free trade between the UK and the EU (provided that the rules of origin requirements are met), and has streamlined some issues, for example by enabling mutual recognition of cGMP inspections and certificates. The regulatory framework for medicines that existed before the end of the transition period has also effectively been preserved in UK domestic legislation as "retained EU law." By retaining a snapshot of EU legislation at its core, the UK has prevented substantial divergence to the regulation of medicines (although divergence has appeared in some areas). However, some changes to the UK legislation have been immediately necessary, including the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP), pursuant to which, the EU pharmaceutical legal framework acquis continues to apply in
Northern Ireland (subject to periodic consent of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly), and only products compliant with EU law can be placed in the Northern Ireland market - adding an extra layer of regulatory complexity. As companies now need to comply with a separate UK regulatory legal framework in order to commercialize medicinal products in Great Britain (namely, England, Wales and Scotland, as EU law continues to apply in Northern Ireland). The UK government is currently trying to renegotiate fundamental aspects of the NIP so this is an unpredictable area for companies in the near future. The TCA allows for future deviation from the current regulatory framework and it is not known if and/or when any deviations may occur, which may have an impact on development, manufacture, marketing authorization, commercial sales and distribution of pharmaceutical products. It is also important to note that obtaining a marketing authorization is not sufficient to gain effective access to the market in the EU and in the UK; companies still need to agree to a reimbursement price for the products and in some jurisdictions, such as the UK and Germany, a further positive recommendation from health technology on cost-effectiveness is required for the products to be actually prescribed and reimbursed by the respective national health systems (see below). If we fail to comply with the regulatory requirements in international markets and thus receive applicable marketing approvals, our target market will be reduced, our ability to realize the full market potential of our drug candidates will be harmed and our business will be adversely affected. We may not obtain foreign regulatory approvals on a timely basis, if at all. Our failure to obtain approval of any of our drug candidates by regulatory authorities in another country may significantly diminish the commercial prospects of that drug candidate and our business prospects could decline.
Risks Related to our Financial Position and Capital Requirements
We have incurred significant operating losses since inception and we expect to incur significant losses over the next several years. We may never become profitable or, if achieved, be able to sustain profitability.
We have incurred significant operating losses since we were founded in 2004 and expect to incur significant losses for the next several years as we continue our clinical trial, development programs, and commercial activities for reproxalap, ADX-2191, and our other product candidates. Net loss for the year ended December 31, 2022 and 2021 was approximately $62.0 million and $57.8 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2022, we had total stockholders’ equity of $151.0 million and an accumulated deficit of $356.7 million. Losses have resulted principally from costs incurred in our clinical trials, research and development programs and from general and administrative expenses. In the future, we intend to continue to conduct research and development, clinical testing, regulatory compliance activities, pre-commercial activities, and, if reproxalap, ADX-2191, or any of our other product candidates is approved, commercialization efforts, including sales and marketing activities, that, together with anticipated general and administrative expenses, will likely result in our incurring further significant losses for the next several years. Our net losses may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year.
We anticipate that our expenses will increase substantially as compared to prior periods as we prepare for commercialization of reproxalap and ADX-2191, as a result of increased headcount, including management personnel to support our clinical, manufacturing and commercialization activities, expanded infrastructure, increased legal, compliance, accounting and investor and public relations expenses associated with being a public company and increased insurance premiums, among other factors. Our license agreement with Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, or MEEI, under which we license certain of our patent rights and a significant portion of the technology for ADX-2191, imposes royalty and other financial obligations on us, and we may enter into additional licensing and funding arrangements with third parties that may impose milestone payment, royalty, insurance and other obligations on us.
Our expenses will also increase if and as we:
Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with pharmaceutical product development, we are unable to accurately predict the timing or amount of increased expenses or when, or if, we will be able to achieve profitability. Our expenses will increase from what we anticipate if:
Our ability to become and remain profitable depends on our ability to generate revenue. We currently generate no revenue from sales, and we may never be able to commercialize reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates. We do not currently have the required approvals to market any of our product candidates and we may never receive them. We do not expect to generate revenue that is sufficient to achieve profitability unless and until we obtain marketing approval for and commercialize one or more of our product candidates. We do not expect to commercialize reproxalap and ADX-2191 or any of our other product candidates before late 2023, if ever. Achieving profitability will require us to be successful in a range of challenging activities, including:
We may never succeed in these activities and may never generate revenue that is sufficient to achieve profitability. Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with developing and commercializing our product candidates, we are unable to predict the extent of any future losses or when we will become profitable, if at
all. Even if we do achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain or increase profitability on a quarterly or annual basis. Our failure to become and remain profitable would decrease the value of our company and could impair our ability to raise capital, expand our business, maintain our research and development efforts, diversify our product offerings or even continue our operations.
We will require substantial additional financing, and a failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed on acceptable terms, or at all, could force us to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development, other operations or commercialization efforts.
The development and commercialization of biopharmaceutical products is capital intensive. We expect to devote substantial financial resources to our ongoing and planned activities, particularly as we seek marketing approval and prepare for commercialization of reproxalap and ADX-2191, and continue the development of our product candidates through preclinical and clinical development, including multiple ongoing and planned clinical trials for our product candidates. We expect our expenses to increase in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we commercialize reproxalap and ADX-2191, if approved, and we continue the research and development of, and, if successful, seek marketing approval for, our product candidates.
We have begun to incur commercialization expenses related to reproxalap and ADX-2191, including beginning to build a commercial infrastructure and expect to incur additional commercialization expenses in advance of potentially receiving marketing approval for reproxalap and ADX-2191. If we do obtain marketing approval for reproxalap, ADX-2191 or any other product candidate that we develop, we expect to incur significant additional commercialization expenses related to product sales, marketing, distribution and manufacturing. We may also need to raise additional funds sooner if we choose to pursue additional indications for our product candidates or otherwise expand more rapidly than we presently anticipate. Furthermore, we expect to continue to incur additional costs associated with operating as a public company. Accordingly, we will need to obtain substantial additional funding in connection with our continuing operations. If we are unable to raise capital when needed on attractive terms, if at all, we will be forced to delay, reduce, or eliminate certain of our clinical development plans, research and development programs or future commercialization efforts. In addition, there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain such financing on commercially reasonable terms or at all. The development process for our product candidates is highly uncertain, and we cannot estimate with certainty the actual amounts necessary to successfully complete the development, regulatory approval, and commercialization of our product candidates. Our operating plans may change as a result of many factors currently unknown to us, and we may need to seek additional funds sooner than expected, through public or private equity, debt financings, or other sources. The amount and timing of any expenditure needed to implement our development and commercialization programs will depend on numerous factors, including:
Some of these factors are outside of our control. Our existing capital resources are not sufficient to enable us to fund the commercialization of reproxalap and ADX-2191 and completion of our clinical trials and remaining development through commercial introduction for our product candidates. We expect that we will need to raise substantial additional funds in the near future.
We have not sold any products, and we do not expect to sell or derive revenue from any product sales for the foreseeable future. We may seek additional funding through collaboration agreements and public or private financings, including debt financings. The state of the global economy and market instability has made the business climate volatile and more costly. Uncertain economic conditions, uncertainty as to the general direction of the macroeconomic environment, and the price of our common stock, are beyond our control and may make any necessary debt or equity financing more difficult, more costly, and more dilutive. For example, the capital and credit markets may be adversely affected by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the possibility of a wider European or global conflict, and global sanctions imposed in response thereto. A severe or prolonged economic downturn, such as a global financial crisis, could affect our ability to raise additional capital. Additional funding may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. In addition, the terms of any financing may adversely affect the holdings or the rights of our stockholders or be excessively dilutive. In addition, the issuance of additional shares by us, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of our shares to decline.
If we are unable to obtain funding on a timely basis, we may be required to significantly curtail, delay, reduce or discontinue our establishment of sales and marketing capabilities or other activities that may be necessary to commercialize our product candidates or curtail, delay, or discontinue one or more of our preclinical studies, clinical trials or other research or development programs. We may also be unable to expand our operations or otherwise capitalize on our business opportunities, may need to restructure our organization, or may be required to relinquish rights to our product candidates or other technologies, or otherwise agree to terms unfavorable to us. Any of these occurrences could materially affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our quarterly operating results may fluctuate significantly.
We expect our operating results to be subject to quarterly fluctuations. Our net loss and other operating results will be affected by numerous factors, including:
If our quarterly operating results fall below the expectations of investors or securities analysts, the price of our common stock could decline substantially. Furthermore, any quarterly fluctuations in our operating results may, in turn, cause the price of our stock to fluctuate substantially. We believe that quarterly comparisons of our financial results are not necessarily meaningful and should not be relied upon as an indication of our future performance.
Raising additional capital may cause dilution to stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to its technologies or product candidates.
Until such time, if ever, as we can generate substantial product revenues, we expect to finance our cash needs through a combination of equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations, strategic alliances, licensing arrangements, and marketing and distribution arrangements. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, your ownership interest will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a common stockholder. Debt financing and preferred equity financing, if available, may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting its ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures, or declaring dividends.
If we raise additional funds through collaborations, strategic alliances, licensing arrangements or marketing and distribution arrangements, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, future revenue streams, research programs, or product candidates, or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. If we are unable to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce, or terminate its product development or future commercialization efforts or grant rights to develop and market products or product candidates that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market on our own.
We may allocate our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities in ways that you and other stockholders may not approve.
Our management has broad discretion in the application of our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities. Because of the number and variability of factors that will determine our use of our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities, management’s ultimate use of cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities may vary substantially from the currently intended use. Our management might not apply our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities in ways that ultimately increase the value of your investment. We expect to use our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities to: fund our planned clinical trials of a number of product candidates; continue to fund the NDA approval process for reproxalap and ADX-2191, including conducting any additional clinical trials or other activities that the FDA may require for approval of reproxalap or ADX-2191; fund an initial commercialization and launch of reproxalap and ADX-2191, if approved; develop other molecules that relate to immune-mediated disease; pursue regulatory approval for our product candidates; service our debt obligations; and provide working capital and capital for other general corporate purposes. The failure by our management to apply these funds effectively could harm our business. We may invest our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities in short-term, investment-grade, interest-bearing securities. These investments may not yield a favorable return to our stockholders. If we do not invest or apply our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities in ways that enhance stockholder value, we may fail to achieve expected financial results, which could cause our stock price to decline.
The terms of our secured debt facility require us to meet certain operating covenants and place restrictions on our operating and financial flexibility. If we raise additional capital through debt financing, the terms of any new debt could further restrict our ability to operate our business.
In March 2019, we entered into a credit facility with Hercules Capital, which was subsequently amended in April 2021 and December 2022, that is secured by a lien covering all of our assets, other than our intellectual property. The loan agreement contains customary affirmative and negative covenants and events of default. Affirmative covenants include, among others, covenants requiring us to maintain our legal existence and governmental approvals, deliver certain financial reports, and maintain insurance coverage. Negative covenants
include, among others: restrictions on transferring any part of our business or intellectual property; incurring additional indebtedness; engaging in mergers or acquisitions; paying dividends or making other distributions; making investments; and creating other liens on our assets, in each case subject to customary exceptions. If we raise any additional debt financing, the terms of such additional debt could further restrict our operating and financial flexibility. These restrictions may include, among other things, limitations on borrowing and specific restrictions on the use of our assets, as well as prohibitions on our ability to create liens, pay dividends, redeem capital stock, or make investments. If we default under the terms of the Hercules Credit Facility or any future debt facility, the lender may accelerate all of our repayment obligations and take control of our pledged assets, potentially requiring us to renegotiate our agreement on terms less favorable to us or to immediately cease operations. Further, if we are liquidated, the lender’s right to repayment would be senior to the rights of the holders of our common stock. The lender could declare a default upon the occurrence of any event that they interpret as a material adverse effect as defined under the loan agreement. Any declaration by the lender of an event of default could significantly harm our business and prospects and could cause the price of our common stock to decline. If we raise any additional debt financing, the terms of such additional debt could further restrict our operating and financial flexibility.
Our ability to use net operating loss carryforwards and tax credit carryforwards to offset future taxable income may be limited as a result of transactions involving our common stock.
In general, under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, a corporation that undergoes an “ownership change” is subject to limitations on its ability to utilize its pre-change net operating losses (NOLs) and certain other tax assets (tax attributes) to offset future taxable income. In general, an ownership change occurs if the aggregate stock ownership of certain stockholders increases by more than 50 percentage points over such stockholders’ lowest percentage ownership during the testing period (generally three years). Transactions involving our common stock within the testing period, even those outside our control, such as purchases or sales by investors, could result in an ownership change. A limitation on our ability to utilize some or all of our NOLs or credits could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows. We believe, prior to December 31, 2021 that four ownership changes occurred since inception. Management believes that its aggregate Section 382 limitation (including the additional limitation for recognized "built-in gains") is sufficient so that no current impairment of its pre-ownership change tax attributes is required. There were no ownership changes in 2022. Any future ownership changes, including those resulting from our recent or future financing activities, may cause our existing tax attributes to have additional limitations. However, subject to annual limitations, Federal NOLs generated in years 2018 and beyond will have an indefinite carryforward period and will not expire. Future changes in federal and state tax laws pertaining to NOL carryforwards may also cause limitations or restrictions from us claiming such NOLs. If the NOL carryforwards become unavailable to us or are fully utilized, our future taxable income will not be shielded from federal and state income taxation absent certain U.S. federal and state tax credits, and the funds otherwise available for general corporate purposes would be reduced.
Governments may impose price controls, which may adversely affect our future profitability.
We intend to seek approval to market our product candidates in both the United States and in foreign jurisdictions. If we obtain approval in the United States, we will be subject to the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which, among other things, will allow Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate the selling price of certain drugs and biologics that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimburses under Medicare Part B and Part D. If we obtain approval in one or more foreign jurisdictions, we will be subject to rules and regulations in those jurisdictions relating to our product candidates. In some foreign countries, particularly in the EU, the pricing of prescription pharmaceuticals is subject to governmental control. In these countries, pricing negotiations with governmental authorities can take considerable time after the receipt of marketing approval for a product candidate. To obtain reimbursement or pricing approval in some countries, we, or our collaborators, may be required to conduct a clinical trial that compares the cost-effectiveness of our drug to other available therapies. Furthermore, in some European countries, the authorities conduct a Health Technology Appraisal to assess the cost-effectiveness of the product, which may significantly impact effective access to the
market. If reimbursement of our future products is unavailable or limited in scope or amount, or if pricing is set at unsatisfactory levels, we may be unable to achieve or sustain profitability.
Business disruptions could seriously harm our future revenues and financial condition and increase our costs and expenses.
Our operations could be subject to business disruptions such as earthquakes, power shortages, telecommunications failures, water shortages, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, fires, extreme weather conditions, public health epidemics (including the COVID-19 pandemic), regional or larger scale conflicts or geo-political actions, war or other military conflict, including an escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, trade policies, sanctions, treaties and tariffs and other natural or man-made disasters or other 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 reproxalap, ADX-2191, and our other product candidates. Our ability to obtain clinical and commercial supplies of reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates could be disrupted, if the operations of these suppliers are affected by these business disruptions.
We are in a period of economic uncertainty and capital markets disruption, which has been significantly impacted by geopolitical instability due to the ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic. Our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be materially adversely affected by the negative impact on the global economy and capital markets resulting from the conflict in Ukraine or any other geopolitical tensions or the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. and global markets are experiencing volatility and disruption following the escalation of geopolitical tensions and the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In February 2022, a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops began. Although the length and impact of the ongoing military conflict is highly unpredictable, the conflict in Ukraine has led to market disruptions, including significant volatility in commodity prices, credit, and capital markets, as well as supply chain disruptions.
Additionally, various of Russia’s actions have led to sanctions and other penalties being levied by the U.S., the European Union, and other countries, as well as other public and private actors and companies, against Russia and certain other geographic areas, including agreement to remove certain Russian financial institutions from the SWIFT payment system and restrictions on imports of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal. Additional potential sanctions and penalties have also been proposed and/or threatened. Russian military actions and the resulting sanctions could further adversely affect the global economy and financial markets and lead to instability and lack of liquidity in capital markets, potentially making it more difficult for us to obtain additional funds.
The global spread of COVID-19, and variants thereof, has created significant volatility, uncertainty, and economic disruption. Our business has been and will continue to be adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, we have experienced operational interruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and we may also incur additional costs to remedy damages caused by business disruptions, including clinical trial delays or interruptions. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our business, operations, and financial results will depend on numerous evolving factors that we may not be able to accurately predict, including: the duration and scope of the pandemic; governmental, business and individuals’ actions that have been and continue to be taken in response to the pandemic; the impact of the pandemic on economic activity and actions taken in response; the effect on our ongoing or planned clinical trials; and any closures of our offices or clinical trial facilities.
Any of the above-mentioned factors could affect our business, prospects, financial condition, and operating results. The extent and duration of the military action, sanctions, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, and resulting market disruptions are impossible to predict, but could be substantial. Any such disruptions may also magnify the impact of other risks described in this annual report.
If we engage in an acquisition, reorganization, or business combination, we will incur a variety of risks that could adversely affect our business operations or our stockholders.
From time to time, we have entered into, and we will continue to consider in the future, strategic business initiatives intended to further the development of our business. These initiatives may include acquiring businesses, technologies, or products, or entering into a business combination with another company. For example, in January 2019 we acquired Helio Vision, Inc. and obtained the rights to ADX-2191, a vitreous-compatible methotrexate formulation for intraocular injection, for the treatment of primary vitreoretinal lymphoma and prevention of proliferative vitreoretinopathy. Any acquisitions we undertake or have recently completed will likely be accompanied by business risks which may include, among other things:
These factors could harm our business, results of operations, or financial condition.
In addition to the risks commonly encountered in the acquisition of a business or assets as described above, we may also experience risks relating to the challenges and costs of closing a transaction. The risks described above may be exacerbated as a result of managing multiple acquisitions at once.
Risks Related to our Reliance on Third Parties
We rely and will continue to rely on outsourcing arrangements for many of our activities, including clinical development, commercial readiness preparations, and supply of reproxalap, ADX-2191, and our other product candidates.
As of December 31, 2022, we had only 15 full-time employees and, as a result, we rely, and expect to continue to rely, on outsourcing arrangements for a significant portion of our activities, including clinical research, data collection and analysis, manufacturing, commercial readiness preparations, financial reporting and accounting, and human resources, as well as for certain functions required of publicly traded companies. We may have limited control over third parties and we cannot guarantee that any third-party will perform its obligations in an effective and timely manner.
In addition, during challenging and uncertain economic environments, in tight credit markets and during public health epidemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the political uncertainty involving Russia and Ukraine, there may be a disruption or delay in the performance of our third-party contractors, suppliers, or partners. If such third parties are unable to satisfy their commitments to us, our business and results of operations would be adversely affected.
We rely on third parties to conduct our clinical trials. If any third-party does not meet our deadlines or otherwise conduct the trials as required and in accordance with regulations, our clinical development programs could be delayed or unsuccessful and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or successfully commercialize our product candidates when expected, or at all.
We do not have the ability to conduct all aspects of our preclinical testing or clinical trials ourselves. We are dependent on third parties to conduct the clinical trials for our product candidates and, therefore, the timing of the initiation and completion of these trials is controlled by such third parties and may occur on substantially different timing from our estimates. Specifically, we use CROs to conduct our clinical trials and we also rely on medical institutions, clinical investigators, and consultants to conduct our trials in accordance with our clinical protocols and regulatory requirements. Our CROs, investigators, and other third parties play a significant role in the conduct of these trials and subsequent collection and analysis of data.
There is no guarantee that CROs, investigators, or other third parties on which we rely for administration and conduct of our clinical trials will devote adequate time and resources to such trials or perform as contractually required. If any of these third parties fails to meet expected deadlines, fails to adhere to our clinical protocols, or otherwise performs in a substandard manner, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed, or terminated. If any of our clinical trial sites terminates for any reason, we may experience the loss of follow-up information on subjects enrolled in our ongoing clinical trials unless we are able to transfer those subjects to another qualified clinical trial site. In addition, principal investigators for our clinical trials may serve as scientific advisors or consultants to us from time to time, and may receive cash or equity compensation in connection with such services. The COVID-19 pandemic or any worsening of the global business and economic environment may have the effect of heightening or exacerbating these risks.
Some of our product candidates may be studied in clinical trials co-sponsored by organizations or agencies other than us, or in investigator-initiated clinical trials, which means we have minimal or no control over the conduct of such trials.
We currently anticipate that part of our strategy for pursuing the wide range of indications potentially addressed by our product candidates will involve investigator-initiated clinical trials. Investigator-initiated clinical trials pose similar risks as those set forth elsewhere in this “Risk Factor” section relating to our internal clinical trials. While investigator-initiated trials may provide us with clinical data that can inform our future development strategy, we generally have less control over the conduct and design of the trials. Because we are not the sponsors of investigator-initiated trials, we do not control the protocols, administration, or conduct of the trials, including follow-up with patients and ongoing collection of data after treatment. As a result, we are subject to risks associated with the way investigator-initiated trials are conducted. In particular, we may be named in lawsuits that would lead to increased costs associated with legal defense. Additional risks include difficulties or delays in communicating with investigators or administrators, procedural delays and other timing issues, and difficulties or differences in interpreting data. Third-party investigators may design clinical trials with clinical endpoints that are more difficult to achieve, or in other ways that increase the risk of negative clinical trial results compared to clinical trials that we may design on our own. Negative results in investigator-initiated clinical trials could have a material adverse effect on our prospects and the perception of our product candidates. As a result, our lack of control over the conduct and timing of, and communications with the FDA regarding, investigator-sponsored trials expose us to additional risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside our control, and the occurrence of which could adversely affect the commercial prospects for our product candidates.
We rely completely on third parties to supply drug substance and manufacture drug product for our clinical trials and preclinical studies. We intend to rely on other third parties to produce commercial supplies of product candidates, and our dependence on third parties could adversely impact our business.
We are completely dependent on third-party suppliers of the drug substance and drug product for our product candidates. If third-party suppliers do not supply sufficient quantities of materials to us on a timely basis and in accordance with applicable specifications and other regulatory requirements, there could be a significant interruption of our supplies, which would adversely affect clinical development and commercialization. Furthermore, if any of our contract manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our specifications within
regulatory requirements, we will not be able to secure and/or maintain regulatory approval, if any, for our product candidates.
We also rely on our contract manufacturers to purchase from third-party suppliers the materials necessary to produce our product candidates for our anticipated clinical trials. We do not have any control over the process or timing of the acquisition of raw materials by our contract manufacturers. Moreover, we currently do not have agreements in place for the commercial production of these raw materials. Any significant delay in the supply of a product candidate or the raw material components thereof for an ongoing clinical trial, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, could considerably delay completion of that clinical trial, product candidate testing, and potential regulatory approval of that product candidate.
We do not expect to have the resources or capacity to commercially manufacture any of our proposed product candidates if approved and will likely continue to be dependent on third-party manufacturers. Our dependence on third parties to manufacture and supply clinical trial materials and any approved product candidates may adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize our product candidates on a timely basis.
We may not be successful in establishing and maintaining development, commercial, or other strategic partnerships, which could adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize product candidates.
We have in the past chosen, and may in the future choose, to enter into development or other strategic partnerships, including collaborations with major biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies. We face significant competition in seeking appropriate partners and the negotiation process is time consuming and complex. Moreover, we may not be successful in our efforts to establish other development partnerships or other alternative arrangements for any of our product candidates or programs because our research and development pipeline may be insufficient, our product candidates or programs may be deemed to be at too early a stage of development for collaborative effort, and/or third parties may not view our product candidates or programs as having the requisite commercial or technical potential. Even if we are successful in our efforts to establish development or commercial partnerships, the terms that we agree upon may not be favorable to us and we may not be able to maintain such partnerships if, for example, development or approval of a product candidate is delayed or sales of an approved product candidate are below expectations. Any delay in entering into development partnership agreements related to our product candidates could delay the development and commercialization of our product candidates and reduce competitiveness, if approved.
Moreover, if we fail to maintain partnerships related to our product candidates:
We may not realize the benefits of our current or future strategic alliances.
We have in the past, and may in the future, form strategic alliances, create joint ventures or collaborations, or enter into licensing arrangements with third parties that we believe will complement or augment our existing business, including the continued development or commercialization of reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates. Strategic alliances may require us to incur non-recurring and other charges, increase our near- and long-term expenditures, issue securities that dilute our existing stockholders, or disrupt our management and business. In addition, we face significant competition in seeking appropriate strategic partners, and the negotiation process is time-consuming and complex. Moreover, we may not be successful in our efforts to establish a strategic partnership or other alternative arrangements for reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates because third parties may view the risk of development failure as too significant or the commercial opportunity for our product candidate
as too limited. We cannot be certain that, following a strategic transaction or license, we will achieve the revenues or specific net income that justifies such transaction.
Our internal computer systems, or those of our development partners, third-party clinical research organizations, or other contractors or consultants, may fail or suffer security breaches, which could result in a material disruption of our product development programs.
Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems and those of our current and any future CROs and other contractors, consultants, and collaborators are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, unauthorized access, natural disasters, terrorism, war or other military conflict, including an escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and telecommunication and electrical failures. While to our knowledge 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 development programs and our business operations. For example, the loss of clinical trial data from completed or future clinical trials could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. Likewise, we rely on third parties to manufacture our product candidates and conduct clinical trials, and similar events relating to their computer systems could also have a material adverse effect on our business. To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of, or damage to, our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability and the further development and commercialization of our product candidate could be delayed.
We rely on email and other messaging services in connection with our operations. We may be targeted by parties using fraudulent spoofing and phishing emails to misappropriate passwords, payment information, or other personal information, or to introduce viruses through Trojan horse programs or otherwise through our networks, computers, smartphones, tablets, or other devices. Despite our efforts to mitigate the effectiveness of such malicious email campaigns through a variety of control and non-electronic checks, spoofing and phishing may damage our business and increase our costs. These risks may be heightened during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, should any of our employees voluntarily choose to work remotely. In addition, due to the political uncertainty involving Russia and Ukraine, there is an increased likelihood that escalation of tensions could result in cyberattacks that could either directly or indirectly impact our operations. Any of these events or circumstances could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.
Risks Relating to Our Intellectual Property
Our success depends on our and our licensors' ability to protect our intellectual property and our proprietary technologies.
Our commercial success depends in part on our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection and trade secret protection for our product candidates, proprietary technologies, and the use of our product candidates or proprietary technologies as well as our ability to operate without infringing upon the proprietary rights of others. There can be no assurance that our patent applications or those of our licensors will result in additional patents being issued or that issued patents will afford sufficient protection against competitors with similar technology, nor can there be any assurance that the patents issued will not be infringed, designed around, or invalidated by third parties. Even issued patents may later be found unenforceable or may be modified or revoked in proceedings instituted by third parties before various patent offices or in courts. The degree of future protection for our proprietary rights is uncertain. Only limited protection may be available and may not adequately protect our rights or permit us to gain or keep any competitive advantage. This failure to properly protect the intellectual property rights relating to these product candidates could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Composition-of-matter patents on the active pharmaceutical ingredient are generally considered to be the strongest form of intellectual property protection for pharmaceutical products, as such patents provide protection without regard to any method of use. While we have issued composition-of-matter patents in the United States and other countries for reproxalap, and other product candidates, we cannot be certain that the claims in our patent applications covering composition-of-matter of early stage candidates will be considered patentable by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and courts in the United States or by the patent offices and courts in foreign countries, nor can we be certain that the claims in our issued composition-of-matter patents will not be found
invalid or unenforceable if challenged. Method-of-use patents protect the use of a product for the specified method. This type of patent does not prevent a competitor from making and marketing a product that is identical to our product for an indication that is outside the scope of the patented method. Moreover, even if competitors do not actively promote their product for our targeted indications, physicians may prescribe these products off-label. Although off-label prescriptions may infringe or contribute to the infringement of method-of-use patents, the practice is common and such infringement is difficult to prevent or prosecute. In addition, there are possibly treatment compositions and methods that we have not conceived of or attempted to patent, and other parties may discover and patent approaches and compositions that are similar to or different from ours.
The patent application process is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, and there can be no assurance that we or any of our future development partners will be successful in protecting our product candidates by obtaining and defending patents. These risks and uncertainties include the following:
In addition, we rely on the protection of our trade secrets and proprietary know-how. Although we have taken steps to protect our trade secrets and unpatented know-how, including entering into confidentiality agreements with third parties, and confidential information and inventions agreements with employees, consultants, and advisors, third parties may still obtain this information or may come upon this or similar information independently. If any of these events occurs or if we otherwise lose protection for our trade secrets or proprietary know-how, the value of our trade secrets or proprietary know-how may be greatly reduced.
Claims by third parties that we infringe their proprietary rights may result in liability for damages or prevent or delay our developmental and commercialization efforts.
The biotechnology industry has been characterized by frequent litigation regarding patent and other intellectual property rights. Because patent applications are maintained in secrecy until the application is published, we may be unaware of third-party patents that may be infringed by commercialization of reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates. In addition, identification of third-party patent rights that may be relevant to our technology is difficult because patent searching is imperfect due to differences in terminology among patents, incomplete databases, and the difficulty in assessing the meaning of patent claims. Any claims of patent infringement asserted by third parties would be time consuming and could likely:
Although no third-party has asserted a claim of patent infringement against us, others may hold proprietary rights that could prevent reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates from being marketed. Any patent-related legal action against us claiming damages and seeking to enjoin commercial activities relating to our product candidate or processes could subject us to potential liability for damages and require us to obtain a license to continue to manufacture or market reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates. We cannot predict whether we would prevail in any such actions or that any license required under any of these patents would be made available on commercially acceptable terms, if at all. In addition, we cannot be sure that we could redesign our product candidate or processes to avoid infringement, if necessary. Accordingly, an adverse determination in a judicial or administrative proceeding, or the failure to obtain necessary licenses, could prevent us from developing and commercializing reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates, which could harm our business, financial condition, and operating results.
Any such claims against us could also be deemed to constitute an event of default under the loan and security agreement. In the case of a continuing event of default under the loan, Hercules could, among other remedies, elect to declare all amounts outstanding to be immediately due and payable and terminate all commitments to extend further credit. In the event we do not or are not able to repay the obligations at the time a default occurred, Hercules may elect to commence and prosecute bankruptcy and/or other insolvency proceedings, or proceed against the collateral granted to Hercules under the loan.
Our issued patents could be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged in court.
If we or any of our future development partners were to initiate legal proceedings against a third-party to enforce a patent covering one of our product candidates, or one of our future product candidates, the defendant could counterclaim that our patent is invalid and/or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity and/or unenforceability are commonplace. Grounds for a validity challenge could be an alleged failure to meet any of several statutory requirements, including lack of novelty, obviousness, or non-enablement. Grounds for an unenforceability assertion could be an allegation that someone connected with prosecution of the patent withheld relevant information from the USPTO, or made a misleading statement during prosecution. Third parties may also raise similar claims before the USPTO, even outside the context of litigation. The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability is unpredictable. With respect to validity, for example, we cannot be certain that there is no invalidating prior art, of which we and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution. If a defendant were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity and/or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on such product candidate. Such a loss of patent protection would have a material adverse impact on our business.
We may fail to comply with any of our obligations under existing or future agreements pursuant to which we license rights or technology, which could result in the loss of rights or technology that are material to our business.
We are a party to technology licenses, including an in-license agreement for ADX-2191 (in-license program), and we may enter into additional licenses in the future. Such licenses do, and may in the future, impose commercial, contingent payment, royalty, insurance, indemnification, and other obligations on us. If we fail to comply with these obligations, the licensor may have the right to terminate the license, in which event we could lose valuable rights under our collaboration agreements and our ability to develop product candidates could be impaired. Additionally, should such a license agreement be terminated for any reason, there may be a limited number of replacement licensors, and a significant amount of time may be required to transition to a replacement licensor.
Our rights to develop and commercialize our in-license program are each subject in part to the terms and conditions of a third-party license, pursuant to which we have acquired exclusive rights and other intellectual property. Our rights with respect to the intellectual property to develop and commercialize the in-license program may terminate, in whole or in part, if we fail to meet certain milestones contained in each of our license agreements relating to their development and commercialization. We may also lose our rights to develop and commercialize either in-license agreement if we fail to pay required milestones or royalties. In the event of an early termination of our license agreement, all rights licensed and developed by us under this agreement may be extinguished, which may have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
We may be subject to claims that we have wrongfully hired an employee from a competitor or that we or our employees, consultants, or agents have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged confidential information or trade secrets of their former employers.
As is common in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, we engage the services of consultants to assist us in the development of our product candidates. Many of these consultants and our employees were previously employed at, or may have previously provided or may be currently providing consulting services to, other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies including our competitors or potential competitors. We may become subject to claims that our company or an employee, consultant, or agent inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed trade secrets or other information proprietary to their former employers or their former or current clients. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. Even if we are successful in defending against these claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to our management team.
If we do not obtain protection under the Hatch-Waxman Amendments by extending the patent terms and obtaining data exclusivity for our product candidate, our business may be materially harmed.
Depending upon the timing, duration, and specifics of FDA marketing approval of reproxalap, ADX-2191, or other product candidates, one or more of our United States patents may be eligible for limited patent term restoration under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Amendments. The Hatch-Waxman Amendments permit a patent restoration term of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. However, we may not be granted an extension because of, for example, failing to apply within applicable deadlines, failing to apply prior to expiration of relevant patents, or otherwise failing to satisfy applicable requirements. Moreover, the applicable time period or the scope of patent protection afforded could be less than we request. If we are unable to obtain patent term extension or restoration or the term of any such extension is less than we request, our competitors may obtain approval of competing products following our patent expiration, and our revenue could be reduced, possibly materially.
If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, then we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our business may be adversely affected.
If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, then we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest, and our business may be adversely affected. Our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names may be challenged, infringed, circumvented, or declared generic or determined to be infringing on other marks. We may not be able to protect our rights to these trademarks and trade names, which we need to build name recognition among potential partners or customers in our markets of interest. At times, competitors may adopt trade names or trademarks similar to ours, thereby impeding our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to market confusion. In addition, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other registered trademarks or trademarks that incorporate variations of our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names. Over the long term, if we are unable to establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, then we may not be able to compete effectively, and our business may be adversely affected. Our efforts to enforce or protect our proprietary rights related to trademarks, trade secrets, domain names, copyrights, or other intellectual property may be ineffective and could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources, and could adversely impact our financial condition or results of operations.
Changes in United States patent law could diminish the value of patents in general, thereby impairing our ability to protect our product candidates.
As is the case with other biotechnology companies, our success is heavily dependent on intellectual property, particularly patents. Obtaining and enforcing patents in the biopharmaceutical industry involves technological and legal complexity. Therefore, obtaining and enforcing biotechnology patents is costly, time consuming, and inherently uncertain. In addition, Congress may pass patent reform legislation. The Supreme Court has ruled on several patent cases in recent years, either narrowing the scope of patent protection available or weakening the rights of patent owners. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, this combination of events has created uncertainty with respect to the value of patents, once obtained. Depending on decisions by the United States Congress, the federal courts, and the USPTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that would weaken our ability to obtain new patents, or to enforce our existing patents and patents we might obtain in the future.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.
While we have issued composition-of-matter patents covering reproxalap and certain of our other product candidates in the United States and other countries, filing, prosecuting, and defending patents on reproxalap and our other product candidates in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive, and our intellectual property rights in some countries outside the United States may be less extensive and of significantly shorter duration than those in the United States. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as federal and state laws in the United States. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the United States, or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in and into the United States or other jurisdictions. Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own products, and, further, may export otherwise infringing products to territories where we have patent protection, but where enforcement is not as strong as that in the United States. These products may compete with our product candidates, and our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing.
Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property protection, particularly those relating to pharmaceuticals, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents or marketing of competing products in violation of our proprietary rights generally. Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly, could put our patent applications at risk of not issuing, and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate, and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop or license.
Risks Related to Employee Matters and Managing Growth
We are highly dependent on the services of our senior management team and certain key consultants.
As a company with a limited number of personnel, we are highly dependent on the development, regulatory, commercial, and financial expertise of our senior management team comprised of: Todd C. Brady, M.D., Ph.D., our President and Chief Executive Officer, and Stephen G. Machatha, Ph.D., our Chief Development Officer, and Bruce Greenberg, our Interim Chief Financial Officer, as well as certain other employees. In addition, we rely on the services of a number of key consultants, including IP, pharmacokinetic, chemistry, toxicology, drug development, and commercialization consultants. Effective May 2022, our board of directors appointed our current Vice President and Controller, Bruce Greenberg as Interim Chief Financial Officer until a permanent successor can be named. Leadership transitions can be inherently difficult to manage, and an inadequate transition to a permanent Chief Financial Officer may cause disruption within our company. In addition, if we are unable to identify a qualified candidate to become the permanent Chief Financial Officer in a timely manner, our ability to meet operational goals
and strategic plans could be adversely impacted. The loss of such individuals or the services of future members of our management team could delay or prevent the further development and commercialization of our product candidates and, if we are not successful in finding suitable replacements, could harm our business.
If we fail to attract and retain senior management and key commercial personnel, we may be unable to successfully develop or commercialize our product candidates.
We will need to expand and effectively manage our managerial, operational, financial, and other resources in order to successfully pursue our clinical development and commercialization efforts. Our success also depends on our continued ability to attract, retain, and motivate highly qualified management and scientific personnel, and we may not be able to do so in the future due to intense competition among biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, universities, and research organizations for qualified personnel. If we are unable to attract and retain the necessary personnel, we may experience significant impediments to our ability to implement our business strategy.
We expect to expand our management team, including by identifying a permanent Chief Financial Officer. Our future performance will depend, in part, on our ability to successfully integrate newly hired executive officers into our management team and our ability to develop an effective working relationship among senior management. Our failure to integrate these individuals and create effective working relationships among them and other members of management could result in inefficiencies in the development and commercialization of our product candidates, adversely affecting future regulatory approvals, sales of our product candidates, and results of our operations.
In order to commercialize our product candidates, we will need to substantially grow the size of our organization. We may encounter difficulties in managing our growth and expanding our operations successfully.
As of December 31, 2022, we only had 15 full-time employees. Accordingly, we will need to grow our organization to continue development and pursue the potential commercialization of reproxalap, ADX-2191, and our other product candidates, as well as function as a public company. As we seek to advance reproxalap, ADX-2191, and other product candidates towards potential commercialization, increase the number of ongoing product development programs, and advance our future product candidates through preclinical studies and clinical trials, we will need to expand our financial, development, regulatory, manufacturing, marketing, and sales capabilities, or contract with third parties to provide these capabilities for us. As our operations expand, we expect that we will need to manage additional relationships with various strategic partners, suppliers, and other third parties. Future growth will impose significant added responsibilities on members of management and require us to retain additional internal capabilities. Our future financial performance and our ability to commercialize our product candidates and to compete effectively will depend, in part, on our ability to manage any future growth effectively. To that end, we must be able to manage our development efforts and clinical trials effectively and hire, train, and integrate additional management, clinical and regulatory, financial, administrative and sales, and marketing personnel. We may not be able to accomplish these tasks, and our failure to so accomplish could prevent us from successfully growing our company.
Risks Related to Other Legal or Regulatory Matters
Our business is subject to political, economic, legal, and social risks, which could adversely affect our business.
There are significant regulatory, economic and legal barriers in markets in the United States and outside the United States that we must overcome. We may be subject to the burden of complying with a wide variety of national and local laws, including multiple and possibly overlapping and conflicting laws. We also may experience difficulties adapting to new cultures, business customs, and legal systems. Any sales and operations would be subject to political, economic, and social uncertainties including, among others:
Changes in United States social, political, regulatory, and economic conditions or in laws and policies governing foreign trade, manufacturing, development, and investment, and any negative sentiments towards the United States as a result of such changes, could adversely affect our business. Concerns over economic recession, the COVID-19 pandemic, interest rate increases and inflation, supply chain delays and disruptions, policy priorities of the U.S. presidential administration, trade wars, unemployment, or prolonged government shutdown may contribute to increased volatility and diminished expectations for the economy and markets. Additionally, concern over geopolitical issues may also contribute to prolonged market volatility and instability. For example, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could lead to disruption, instability, and volatility in global markets and industries. The U.S. government and other governments in jurisdictions have imposed severe economic sanctions and export controls against Russia and Russian interests, have removed Russia from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication payment (SWIFT) system, and have threatened additional sanctions and controls. The impact of these measures, as well as potential responses to them by Russia, is unknown.
Any changes related to these and other factors could adversely affect any business operations that we conduct outside the United States.
Security breaches , cyberattacks, loss of data, and other disruptions impacting our information technology systems or those of our third-party collaborators, service providers, contractors or consultants could compromise the privacy, security, integrity or confidentiality of sensitive information related to our business or prevent us from accessing critical information and expose us to adverse consequences, including but not limited to regulatory investigations or actions, litigation, and significant fines and penalties, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and reputation.
In the ordinary course of our business, we and our current or future third-party collaborators, service providers, contractors, and consultants collect, may store and transmit sensitive data, including legally protected health information, personal data (also referred to as personal information or personally identifiable information under certain data privacy laws) about patients and employees, intellectual property, and our proprietary business and financial information (collectively, sensitive information). We manage and maintain data, including sensitive information, utilizing a combination of on-site systems, managed data center systems, and cloud-based data center systems. We face a number of risks related to our protection of, and our third-party collaborators’, service providers’, contractors’, and consultants’ protection of, this sensitive information, including loss of access, inappropriate disclosure and inappropriate or unauthorized access, as well as risks associated with our ability to identify and audit such events.
The secure processing, storage, maintenance, and transmission of sensitive information is vital to our operations and business strategy, and we devote significant resources to protecting such information. Although we take measures to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access or disclosure, our information technology and infrastructure, and those of our third-party collaborators, service providers, contractors, and consultants, may be vulnerable to breakdown or other damage or interruption from service interruptions, system malfunctions, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunications and electrical failures, as well as from cyberattacks by malicious third parties (including the deployment of harmful malware, ransomware, denial-of-service attacks, social engineering, and other means to affect service reliability and threaten the confidentiality, integrity and availability of
information) or viruses or otherwise breached due to employee or third-party error, malfeasance, or other activities. These risks may be heightened during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, if any of our employees work remotely.
While we are not aware of any such attack, breach or system failure, we cannot guarantee that our data protection efforts and our investment in information technology, or those of our third-party collaborators, service providers, contractors, and consultants will prevent significant breakdowns, data leakages, and breaches in the relevant systems or other cyber incidents. If such event were to occur and cause interruptions in our operations, our networks could be compromised and the sensitive information we store on those networks could be accessed by unauthorized parties, publicly disclosed, lost, or stolen. Any such unauthorized access, disclosure or other loss of information, or the perception that any of these has occurred, could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability under federal, state, and international laws that protect the privacy of personal data, including but not limited to private lawsuits or class actions under the California Consumer Privacy Act, as amended by the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (CPRA), and regulatory penalties, which could result in significant legal or financial exposure. In addition, we may be subject to state laws requiring notification of affected individuals and state regulators in the event of a breach of personal data, which is a broader class of information than the health information protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Unauthorized access, loss, or dissemination of sensitive information could also disrupt our ability to conduct research and development activities; collect, process, and prepare company financial information; provide information about our product candidates and other patient and physician education or outreach efforts through our website; manage the administrative aspects of our business; or prevent damage to our reputation, any of which could adversely affect our business.
We are subject to stringent and evolving U.S. and foreign laws, regulations, rules, contractual obligations, policies, and other obligations related to data privacy and security. Our actual or perceived failure to comply with such obligations could lead to regulatory investigations or actions; litigation; significant fines and penalties; disruptions of our business operations; reputational harm; loss of revenue or profits; loss of customers or sales; and other adverse business consequences.
In the ordinary course of our business, we process, generate, use, transfer, disclose, make accessible, protect, secure, dispose of, transmit, and share (collectively, process) personal data (also referred to as personal information or personally identifiable information under certain data privacy laws) and other sensitive information, including proprietary and confidential business data, trade secrets, intellectual property, sensitive third-party data, and patient information. Our data processing activities may subject us to numerous data privacy and security obligations, such as various federal, state, and foreign laws, regulations, guidance, industry standards, external and internal privacy and security policies, contracts, and other obligations that govern the processing of personal data by us and on our behalf. We strive to comply with applicable data privacy and security obligations to the extent possible. However, it is possible that these obligations may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another and may conflict with other rules and/or our practices. Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with applicable privacy and data security laws and regulations, our privacy policies, or our privacy-related obligations to third parties, or any compromise of security that results in the unauthorized access, release or transfer of personal data or other sensitive information, may result in governmental enforcement actions and fines or orders requiring that we change our practices, private litigation (including class action lawsuits), or public statements against us by consumer advocacy groups or others and could cause a loss of trust in us, which could result in significant legal or financial exposure and reputational damage that could potentially have an adverse effect on our business.
In the United States, federal, state, and local governments have enacted numerous data privacy and security laws, including data breach notification laws, personal data privacy laws, and consumer protection laws (e.g., Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act). For example, HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), imposes specific requirements relating to the privacy, security, and transmission of individually identifiable health information. In addition, we may be subject to various state data privacy and security laws and regulations, including the California Consumer Privacy Act, as amended by the CPRA, which, among other things, requires covered “businesses” to provide specific disclosures to California consumers concerning the collection, sale, and sharing of their personal data, and gives such consumers the right to opt-out of certain sales of personal information. The CPRA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for certain security breaches that may increase the likelihood of, and the risks associated with, security breach litigation. Additionally, the CPRA created a new state agency to oversee implementation and
enforcement efforts, potentially resulting in further uncertainty and requiring us to incur additional costs and expenses in an effort to comply. Many of the CPRA’s provisions became effective on January 1, 2023. Further, Virginia enacted its own comprehensive state privacy law, the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA), which also went into effect on January 1, 2023. Three additional comprehensive state privacy laws will go into effect later in 2023: the Colorado Privacy Act (CPA) and Connecticut Data Privacy Act (CTDPA), will both go into effect on July 1, 2023, and the Utah Consumer Privacy Act (UCPA) will go into effect on December 31, 2023. The CPRA, VCDPA, CPA, CTDPA, and UCPA may, to the extent they apply, increase our compliance costs and potential liability, particularly in the event of a data breach, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, including how we process personal data, our financial condition, and the results of our operations. These laws have also prompted a number of proposals for new federal and state privacy legislation that, if passed, could increase our potential liability, increase our compliance costs, and adversely affect our business.
Recent developments in Europe have created compliance uncertainty regarding the processing of personal data from Europe. For example, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR), the United Kingdom’s GDPR (UK GDPR), and the Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection extend the geographical scope of European data protection laws to non-European entities and impose strict requirements for processing personal data. For example, under the EU GDPR and/or the UK GDPR, government regulators may impose temporary or definitive bans on data processing, as well as possible fines of up to 4% of global annual turnover for the preceding financial year or €20 million, whichever is higher, for the most serious infringements. This exposes us to two parallel sets of regulations, each of which potentially authorizes similar fines and other potentially divergent enforcement actions for certain violations. Further, individuals or consumer protection organizations authorized at law to represent their interests may initiate litigation related to the processing of individuals’ personal data.
In the ordinary course of our business, we may transfer personal data from Europe and other jurisdictions to the United States or other countries. The EU GDPR and UK GDPR prohibit the transfer of personal data to countries outside of the EEA, or the UK including the United States, that have not been deemed adequate by the European Commission or by the UK data protection regulator, respectively. Switzerland has adopted similar restrictions. Although there are legal mechanisms that allow for the transfer of personal data from the EEA, UK, and Switzerland to the United States, these mechanisms are subject to legal challenges, and there is no assurance that we can satisfy or rely on these measures to lawfully transfer personal data to the United States. For example, recent legal developments in the EU have created complexity and uncertainty regarding such transfers and data protection authorities from the different EU Member States may interpret the EU GDPR differently. Additionally, guidance on implementation and compliance practices are often updated or otherwise revised, which adds to the complexity of processing personal data in the EU. These transfer mechanisms have also been subject to various legal challenges. In particular, on July 16, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union, in the case of Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland Limited, Maximillian Schrems (Case C-311/18) (Schrems II), invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Program for transfers of personal data from the EU to the U.S., and added further uncertainty and complexity to the use of standard contractual clauses as a compliance mechanism for transfers of personal data outside the EU.
If there is no lawful manner for us to transfer personal data from the EEA, UK, or Switzerland to the United States, or if the requirements for a legally-compliant transfer are too onerous, we could face significant adverse consequences, including the interruption or degradation of our operations, the need to relocate part or all of our business or data processing activities to other jurisdictions at significant expense, increased exposure to regulatory actions, substantial fines and penalties, the inability to transfer data and work with partners, vendors and other third-parties, which could limit our ability to conduct clinical trial activities in Europe or elsewhere, and injunctions against our processing or transferring of personal data necessary to operate our business.
In addition to the EU, UK, and Switzerland, a growing number of other global jurisdictions are considering or have passed legislation implementing data protection requirements or requiring local storage and processing of data or similar requirements that could increase the cost and complexity of our business. Some of these laws, such as the General Data Protection Law in Brazil, or the Act on the Protection of Personal Information in Japan, impose similar obligations as those under the EU GDPR and UK GDPR. Others, such as those in Russia, India, and China, could potentially impose more stringent obligations, including data localization requirements. If we are unable to meet these evolving legal requirements or if we violate or are perceived to violate any laws, regulations, or other obligations relating to privacy, data protection, or information security, we may experience harm to our reputation
and become subject to investigations, claims, and other remedies, which could expose us to significant fines, penalties, and other damages, all of which would harm our business.
Current and future legislation may increase the difficulty and cost for us to obtain regulatory and marketing approval of and commercialize our product candidates, and may affect the prices we may obtain.
In the United States and some foreign jurisdictions, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding healthcare systems that could prevent or delay marketing approval for our product candidates, restrict or regulate post-approval activities, and affect our ability to profitably sell any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. The pharmaceutical industry has been a particular focus of these efforts and has been significantly affected by legislative initiatives. Current laws, as well as other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, may result in more rigorous coverage criteria and in additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any FDA approved product.
Healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, may result in reductions in Medicare and other healthcare funding, more rigorous coverage criteria, new payment methodologies, and additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any approved product and/or the level of reimbursement physicians receive for administering any approved product we might bring to market. Reductions in reimbursement levels may negatively impact the prices we receive or the frequency with which our products are prescribed or administered. Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors.
To date, there have been several recent U.S. congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted state and federal legislation and regulation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient support programs, reduce the costs of drugs under Medicare, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drug products. For example, included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 were several drug price reporting and transparency measures, such as a new requirement for certain Medicare plans to develop tools to display Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit information in real time and for group and health insurance issuers to report information on pharmacy benefit and drug costs to the Secretaries of the HHS, the Department of Labor, and the Treasury. Additionally, both Congress and the Biden administration have each indicated willingness to continue to seek new legislative and/or administrative measures to address prescription drug costs. For example, on July 9, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order to promote competition in the U.S. economy that included several initiatives addressing prescription drugs. Among other provisions, the Executive Order stated that the Biden administration will “support aggressive legislative reforms that would lower prescription drug prices, including by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, by imposing inflation caps, and through other related reforms.” In response to the Executive Order, on September 9, 2021, the HHS issued a Comprehensive Plan for Addressing High Drug Prices that identified potential legislative policies and administrative tools that Congress and the agency can pursue in order to make drug prices more affordable and equitable, improve and promote competition throughout the prescription drug industry, and foster scientific innovation. Congress has also continued to conduct inquiries into the prescription drug industry’s pricing practices.
These initiatives recently culminated in the enactment of the IRA, in August 2022, which, among other things, will allow HHS to negotiate the selling price of certain drugs and biologics that CMS reimburses under Medicare Part B and Part D, although this will only apply to high-expenditure single-source drugs that have been approved for at least 7 years (11 years for biologics). The negotiated prices, which will first become effective in 2026, will be capped at a statutory ceiling price representing a significant discount from average prices to wholesalers and direct purchasers. The law will also, beginning in October 2023, penalize drug manufacturers that increase prices of Medicare Part B and Part D drugs at a rate greater than the rate of inflation. In addition, the law eliminates the “donut hole” under Medicare Part D beginning in 2025 by significantly lowering the beneficiary maximum out-of-pocket cost through a newly established manufacturer discount program. The IRA also extends enhanced subsidies for individuals purchasing health insurance coverage in ACA marketplaces through plan year 2025. The IRA permits the Secretary of HHS to implement many of these provisions through guidance, as opposed to regulation, for the initial years. Manufacturers that fail to comply with the IRA may be subject to various penalties, including civil monetary penalties. These provisions will take effect progressively starting in 2023, although they may be subject to
legal challenges. Thus, it is unclear how the IRA will be implemented, but will likely have a significant impact on our business and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.
At the state level, individual states are increasingly aggressive in passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing. These include legislation and regulations regarding price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, legislative action designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. In addition, regional health care authorities and individual hospitals are increasingly using bidding procedures to determine what pharmaceutical products and which suppliers will be included in their prescription drug and other health care programs. These measures could reduce the ultimate demand for our products, if approved, or put pressure on our product pricing.
Legislative and regulatory proposals have also been made to expand post-approval requirements and restrict sales and promotional activities for pharmaceutical products. We cannot be sure whether additional legislative changes will be enacted, or whether the FDA regulations, guidance, or interpretations will be changed, or what the impact of such changes on the potential approval and marketing approvals of our drug candidates, if any, may be. Increased scrutiny by the U.S. Congress of the FDA’s approval process may significantly delay or prevent marketing approval, as well as subject us to more stringent product labeling and post-marketing testing and other requirements.
The continuing efforts of the government, insurance companies, managed care organizations, and other payors of healthcare services to contain or reduce costs of health care may adversely affect:
Our operations and relationships with actual and potential customers, providers and third-party payors will be subject to applicable anti-kickback, fraud and abuse, and other healthcare laws and regulations, which could expose us to penalties including criminal sanctions, civil penalties, exclusions from government programs, contractual damages, and reputational harm, and could diminish our future profits and earnings.
Our arrangements with third-party payors, physicians, and other potential customers will subject us to broadly applicable fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations that may constrain the business or financial arrangements and relationships through which we market, sell and distribute any drug candidates for which we obtain marketing approval.
Applicable U.S. federal and state healthcare laws and regulations include the following:
Efforts to ensure that our business arrangements with third parties will comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations will involve substantial costs. It is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices may not comply with current or future statutes, regulations, or case law involving applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of these laws or any other governmental regulations that may apply to us, we may be subject to significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties; damages; fines; imprisonment; exclusion of drug candidates from government-funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid; disgorgement; contractual damages; reputational harm; diminished profits and future earnings; and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations. If any physicians or other healthcare providers or entities with whom we expect to do business are found not to be in compliance with applicable laws, they may also be subject to criminal, civil, or administrative sanctions, including exclusions from government-funded healthcare programs. Although effective compliance programs can mitigate the risk of investigation and prosecution for violations of these laws, these risks cannot be entirely eliminated. Any action for an alleged or suspected violation can cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert management’s attention from the operation of the business, even if such action is successfully defended.
Providing benefits or advantages to induce or reward improper performance generally to induce or encourage the prescription, recommendation, endorsement, purchase, supply, order, or use of medicinal products is prohibited in the EU. The provision of benefits or advantages to induce or reward improper performance is governed by the national anti-bribery laws of EU Member States, and in respect of the U.K., the Bribery Act 2010. Infringement of these laws may result in substantial fines and imprisonment. EU Directive 2001/83/EC, which is the EU Directive governing medicinal products for human use, provides that, where medicinal products are being promoted to healthcare professionals, no gifts, pecuniary advantages, or benefits in kind may be supplied, offered or promised to such individuals unless they are inexpensive and relevant to the practice of medicine or pharmacy. This provision was transposed into the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 and as such remains applicable in the UK.
Payments made to physicians in certain EU Member States must be publicly disclosed. In addition, agreements with healthcare professionals must often be the subject of prior notification and approval by the healthcare professional’s employer, his or her competent professional organization, and/or the regulatory authorities of individual EU Member States. These requirements are set out in national laws, industry codes, or professional codes of conduct, applicable in the EU Member States and in the UK. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in reputational risk, public reprimands, administrative penalties, fines, or imprisonment.
If we market products in a manner that violates healthcare fraud and abuse laws, or if we violate government price reporting laws, we may be subject to civil or criminal penalties.
In addition to FDA restrictions on the marketing of pharmaceutical products, several other types of state and federal healthcare fraud and abuse laws have been applied in recent years to restrict certain marketing practices in the pharmaceutical industry. These laws include false claims statutes and anti-kickback statutes. Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of the safe harbors, it is possible that some of our business activities could be subject to challenge under one or more of these laws.
Federal false claims laws prohibit any person from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false claim for payment to the federal government or knowingly making, or causing to be made, a false statement to get a false claim paid. The federal healthcare program anti-kickback statute prohibits, among other things, knowingly and willfully offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving remuneration to induce, or in return for, purchasing, leasing, ordering, or arranging for the purchase, lease, or order of any healthcare item or service reimbursable under Medicare, Medicaid, or other federally financed healthcare programs. This statute has been interpreted to apply to arrangements between pharmaceutical manufacturers on the one hand, and prescribers, purchasers, and formula managers on the other. Although there are several statutory exemptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting
certain common activities 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. Our practices may not in all cases meet all of the criteria for safe harbor protection from anti-kickback liability.
Over the past few years, several pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies have been prosecuted under these laws for a variety of alleged promotional and marketing activities, such as: allegedly providing free trips, free goods, sham consulting fees and grants, and other monetary benefits to prescribers; reporting to pricing services inflated average wholesale prices that were then used by federal programs to set reimbursement rates; engaging in off-label promotion that caused claims to be submitted to Medicaid for non-covered, off-label uses; and submitting inflated best price information to the Medicaid Rebate Program to reduce liability for Medicaid rebates. Most states also have statutes or regulations similar to the federal anti-kickback law and false claims laws, which apply to items and services reimbursed under Medicaid and other state programs, or, in several states, apply regardless of the payor. Sanctions under these federal and state laws may include civil monetary penalties, exclusion of a manufacturer’s products from reimbursement under government programs, criminal fines, and imprisonment.
Inadequate funding for the FDA, the SEC, and other government agencies could hinder their ability to hire and retain key leadership and other personnel, prevent new products and services from being developed or commercialized in a timely manner, or otherwise prevent those agencies from performing normal business functions on which the operation of our business may rely, which could negatively impact our business.
The ability of the FDA to review and approve new products can be affected by a variety of factors, including government budget and funding levels; ability to hire and retain key personnel and accept the payment of user fees; and statutory, regulatory, and policy changes. Average review times at the agency have fluctuated in recent years as a result. In addition, government funding of the SEC and other government agencies on which our operations may rely, including those that fund research and development activities, is subject to the political process, which is inherently fluid and unpredictable.
Disruptions at the FDA and other agencies, including as a result of or in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, may also slow the time necessary for new drugs to be reviewed and/or approved by necessary government agencies, which would adversely affect our business. For example, over the last several years, the U.S. government has shut down several times and certain regulatory agencies, such as the FDA and the SEC, have had to furlough critical FDA, SEC, and other government employees and stop critical activities. If a prolonged government shutdown occurs, it could significantly impact the ability of the FDA to timely review and process our regulatory submissions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business. Further, in our operations as a public company, future government shutdowns could impact our ability to access the public markets and obtain necessary capital in order to properly capitalize and continue our operations.
If product liability lawsuits are brought against us, we may incur substantial liabilities and may be required to limit commercialization of reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates.
We face an inherent risk of product liability as a result of the clinical testing of our product candidates and will face an even greater risk if we commercialize our product candidates. For example, we may be sued if reproxalap, ADX-2191, or our other product candidates allegedly cause injury or are found to be otherwise unsuitable during product testing, manufacturing, marketing, or sale. Any such product liability claims may include allegations of defects in manufacturing, defects in design, a failure to warn of dangers inherent in the product candidate, negligence, strict liability, and a breach of warranties. Claims could also be asserted under state consumer protection acts.
If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims, we may incur substantial liabilities or be required to limit commercialization of our product candidates. Even successful defense would require significant financial and management resources. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in: