Document
PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT (to Prospectus Dated May 20, 2021)
Filed Pursuant to Rule 424(b)(5)
Registration No. 333-256107
$75,000,000
https://cdn.kscope.io/a1dba0165133ee42040cc799e05fb754-image_0.jpg
Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc.
Common Stock
We have entered into a sales agreement, or the Sales Agreement, with Cowen and Company, LLC, or Cowen, relating to shares of our common stock, par value $0.001 per share, offered by this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. In accordance with the terms of such Sales Agreement, we may offer and sell shares of our common stock having an aggregate offering price of up to $75,000,000 from time to time through Cowen acting as our agent.

Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market, or Nasdaq, under the symbol “ALPN.” On July 1, 2021, the last reported sale price of our common stock on the Nasdaq Global Market was $8.80 per share.

Sales of our common stock, if any, under this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus will be made in sales deemed to be an “at-the-market" equity offering as defined in Rule 415(a)(4) promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act. Cowen is not required to sell any specific amount of securities, but will act as our sales agent using commercially reasonable efforts consistent with its normal trading and sales practices, on mutually agreed terms between Cowen and us. There is no arrangement for funds to be received in any escrow, trust or similar arrangement.

The compensation to Cowen for sales of common stock sold pursuant to the Sales Agreement will be up to 3.0% of the aggregate gross proceeds of any shares of common stock sold under the Sales Agreement. In connection with the sale of the common stock on our behalf, Cowen will be deemed to be an “underwriter” within the meaning of the Securities Act and the compensation of Cowen will be deemed to be underwriting commissions or discounts. We have also agreed to provide indemnification and contribution to Cowen with respect to certain liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. Please read “Risk Factors” beginning on page S-6 of this prospectus supplement, on page 4 of the accompanying prospectus and under similar headings in the documents that are incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus before investing in our securities.
Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

Cowen
The date of this prospectus supplement is July 2, 2021.



TABLE OF CONTENTS

Prospectus Supplement
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DILUTION
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Prospectus




ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

This document is in two parts. The first part is this prospectus supplement, including the information incorporated by reference herein, which describes the specific terms of this offering. The second part is the accompanying prospectus, including the information incorporated by reference therein, which provides more general information. Generally, when we refer to this prospectus supplement, we are referring to both parts of this document combined. Before you invest, you should carefully read this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and all information incorporated by reference herein and therein, as well as the additional information described under “Where You Can Find Additional Information” on page S-58 of this prospectus supplement. These documents contain information that you should consider when making your investment decision. This prospectus supplement may add, update or change information contained in the accompanying prospectus. To the extent that any statement that we make in this prospectus supplement is inconsistent with statements made in the accompanying prospectus or any information incorporated by reference therein, the statements made in this prospectus supplement will be deemed to modify or supersede those made in the accompanying prospectus and such information incorporated by reference therein.

Neither we nor Cowen and Company, LLC, or Cowen, have authorized anyone to provide you with information that is different from that contained in this prospectus supplement or in any free writing prospectus we may authorize to be delivered or made available to you. We take no responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. We are offering to sell, and seeking offers to buy, shares of our common stock only in jurisdictions where offers and sales are permitted. The distribution of this prospectus supplement and the offering of the common stock in certain jurisdictions may be restricted by law. Persons outside the United States who come into possession of this prospectus supplement must inform themselves about, and observe any restrictions relating to, the offering of the common stock and the distribution of this prospectus supplement outside the United States. This prospectus supplement does not constitute, and may not be used in connection with, an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities offered by this prospectus supplement by any person in any jurisdiction in which it is unlawful for such person to make such an offer or solicitation.

Unless the context indicates otherwise, as used in this prospectus supplement, the terms “Alpine,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc. and its subsidiaries. We use “SIP” “TIP,” the Alpine Logo and other marks as trademarks, trade dress and trade names in the United States and other countries. This prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and the information incorporated by reference herein and therein contain references to our trademarks as well as third-party trademarks. Solely for convenience, trademarks and trade names, including logos, artwork and other visual displays, may appear without the ® or TM symbols, but such references are not intended to indicate in any way that we will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights or the rights of the applicable licensor to these trademarks and trade names. We do not intend our use of third-party trade names or trademarks to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us by, any other entity.
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PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT SUMMARY
This summary highlights selected information about us, this offering and information appearing elsewhere in this prospectus supplement, in the accompanying prospectus and in the information incorporated by reference herein and therein. This summary is not complete and does not contain all the information that you should consider before making an investment decision. Before making an investment decision, to fully understand this offering and its consequences to you, you should carefully read this entire prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, including “Risk Factors beginning on page S-6 of this prospectus supplement, the financial statements and related notes and the other information incorporated by reference herein, including the periodic reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC.
Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc.

Overview
We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering and developing innovative, protein-based immunotherapies to treat cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Our approach includes a proprietary scientific platform that converts native immune system proteins into differentiated, multi-targeted therapeutics. We believe our strategies are capable of meaningfully modulating the human immune system and significantly improving outcomes in patients with serious diseases.

Autoimmune/Inflammatory Diseases

In June 2020, we entered into an Option and License Agreement with AbbVie Ireland Unlimited Company, or AbbVie, which grants AbbVie an exclusive option to take an exclusive license to ALPN-101, a dual Inducible T cell Costimulator, or ICOS, and CD28 antagonist intended for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. To date, we have received $60 million upfront and have achieved $45 million in pre-option exercise development milestones as part of the Option and License Agreement with AbbVie. Preclinical studies with ALPN-101 have demonstrated efficacy in models of systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, Sjögren’s syndrome, or SjS, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, uveitis, and graft versus host disease. We have evaluated ALPN-101 in a Phase 1 healthy volunteer study and have dosed the first patient in Synergy, a global, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 study of ALPN-101 in adults with moderate-to-severe SLE.

ALPN-303 is a dual B cell cytokine antagonist, being developed for the treatment of B cell mediated inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Engineered using our proprietary directed evolution platform, ALPN-303 is a potent inhibitor of the pleiotropic B cell cytokines B cell activating factor, or BAFF, and a proliferation inducing ligand, or APRIL, which may play key roles in certain autoimmune/inflammatory disease through their regulation of B cell development, differentiation, and survival. Data presented at the 2021 EULAR Virtual Meeting demonstrate that ALPN-303 inhibited the activity of the B cell cytokines APRIL and BAFF more potently than wild-type TACI-Fc counterparts, as well as an anti-BAFF antibody. In addition, ALPN-303 exhibited superior preclinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics than wild-type TACI-Fc counterparts, including superior serum exposure, suppression of T-dependent antibody production, and/or serum immunoglobulins in mice and/or cynomolgus monkeys. We are targeting completion of activities to support initiation of a Phase 1 healthy volunteer study with ALPN-303 in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Immuno-oncology

Our lead oncology program is ALPN-202, a conditional CD28 costimulator and dual checkpoint inhibitor intended for the treatment of cancer. Preclinical in vivo data have demonstrated monotherapy efficacy in tumor models superior to approved therapies. In June 2020, we initiated NEON-1, a Phase 1 dose escalation and expansion study in patients with advanced malignancies. Initial data from NEON-1 were presented at the 2021 ASCO Virtual Meeting demonstrating that ALPN-202 was well-tolerated as of the cutoff date with dose-dependent pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. In addition, although most enrolled participants had tumors considered classically non-responsive to immunotherapies, 61% (14 of 23 evaluable) appeared to derive clinical benefit. In June 2021, we announced a collaboration and supply agreement with Merck to evaluate the safety and efficacy of ALPN-202 in combination with Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab). The clinical trial, NEON-2, began dosing study participants in June 2021.

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Our scientific platform has also generated immune modulatory proteins with the potential of improving engineered cellular therapies such as chimeric antigen receptor T cells, T cell receptor-engineered T cells, and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. In May 2019, we signed a collaboration and license agreement with Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc, or Adaptimmune, to develop next-generation SPEAR™ T cell products which incorporate our secreted and transmembrane immunomodulatory protein (termed SIP™ and TIP™) technology. We intend to continue to leverage our existing pipeline and platform to actively explore and evaluate potential value-creating partnering opportunities.

Our goal is to discover and develop modern therapies to treat patients with serious conditions such as cancer and autoimmune/inflammatory diseases. To achieve our goals, we intend to:

aggressively move our lead autoimmune/inflammatory program ALPN-101 through clinical development as part of our Option and License Agreement with AbbVie, or the AbbVie Agreement, including conducting a Phase 2 study for the treatment of SLE;
aggressively move our second autoimmune/inflammatory program ALPN-303 through preclinical development and into clinical studies for the treatment of B cell mediated autoimmune/inflammatory diseases;
aggressively move our lead oncology program ALPN-202 through clinical development for the treatment of cancer; and
maximize the value of our pipeline and platform via potential partnering activities.

We generated revenue of $1.7 million, $9.3 million and $3.2 million in 2019, 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, respectively, while incurring net losses of $41.9 million, $27.9 million and $10.6 million in 2019, 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, respectively.

Risk Factor Summary

Our business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including those highlighted in the section of this prospectus supplement captioned “Risk Factors.” The following is a summary of the principal risks we face:

Our approach to the discovery and development of innovative therapeutic treatments based on our technology is unproven and may not result in marketable products.
Our therapeutic candidates are in early stages of development and may fail in development or suffer delays that materially and adversely affect their commercial viability.
Product development involves a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome, and results of earlier preclinical and clinical trials may not be predictive of future clinical trial results.
We face competition from entities that have developed or may develop therapeutic candidates for our target disease indications, including companies developing novel treatments and technology platforms based on modalities and technology similar to us. If these companies develop technologies or therapeutic candidates more rapidly than we do, or their technologies, including delivery technologies, are more effective, our ability to develop and successfully commercialize therapeutic candidates may be adversely affected.
To date, our revenue has been primarily derived from our collaboration agreements, and our success will be dependent, in part, on our collaborators’ efforts to develop our therapeutic candidates.
If third parties on which we depend to conduct our clinical or preclinical studies, or any future clinical trials, do not perform as expected, fail to satisfy regulatory or legal requirements, or miss expected deadlines, our development program could be delayed, which may result in materially adverse effects on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
We may not successfully engage in strategic transactions, including any additional collaborations we seek, which could adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize therapeutic candidates, impact our cash position, increase our expenses, and present significant distractions to our management.
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If any of our therapeutic candidates are approved for marketing and commercialization and we are unable to develop sales, marketing and distribution capabilities on our own or enter into agreements with third parties to perform these functions on acceptable terms, we may be unable to successfully commercialize any such future products.
The COVID-19 coronavirus could adversely impact our business, including our clinical trials.
Our business and operations could suffer in the event of system failures.
We will need to raise substantial additional funds to advance development of our therapeutic candidates, and we cannot guarantee we will have sufficient funds available in the future to develop and commercialize our current or future therapeutic candidates.
We are an early stage biopharmaceutical company with a history of losses, we expect to continue to incur significant loses for the foreseeable future, we may never achieve or maintain profitability, and we have a limited operating history that may make it difficult for investors to evaluate the potential success of our business.
If we are not able to obtain and enforce patent protection for our technology, including therapeutic candidates, therapeutic products, and platform technology, development of our therapeutic candidates and platform, and commercialization of our therapeutic products may be materially and adversely affected.
We may license patent rights from third-party owners or licensees. If such owners or licensees do not properly or successfully obtain, maintain or enforce the patents underlying such licenses, or if they retain or license to others any competing rights, our competitive position and business prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
We or our licensors, collaborators, or any future strategic partners may become subject to third party claims or litigation alleging infringement of patents or other proprietary rights or seeking to invalidate patents or other proprietary rights, and we may need to resort to litigation to protect or enforce our patents or other proprietary rights, all of which could be costly, time consuming, delay or prevent the development of our therapeutic candidates and commercialization of our therapeutic products, or put our patents and other proprietary rights at risk.
If we fail to comply with our obligations under any license, collaboration, or other agreements, we may be required to pay damages and could lose intellectual property rights necessary for developing and protecting our technology, including our platform technology, therapeutic candidates, and therapeutic products, or we could lose certain rights to grant sublicenses, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and business prospects.
We may be unable to obtain U.S. or foreign regulatory approval and, as a result, may be unable to commercialize our therapeutic candidates.
The healthcare industry is heavily regulated in the U.S. at the federal, state, and local levels, and our failure to comply with applicable requirements may subject us to penalties and negatively affect our financial condition.
Our stock price may be volatile, and an active, liquid, and orderly trading market may not develop for our common stock. As a result, stockholders may not be able to resell shares at or above their purchase price.
Our officers and directors, and their respective affiliates, have a controlling influence over our business affairs and may make business decisions with which stockholders disagree and which may adversely affect the value of their investment.
Corporate Information
In July 2017, Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc. completed its business combination with Nivalis Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly held company. In connection with the merger, Nivalis Therapeutics, Inc. changed its name to Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc. Nivalis Therapeutics, Inc. was incorporated in Delaware in March 2007. Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc. (prior to its business combination with Nivalis Therapeutics, Inc.) was incorporated in Delaware in December 2014.
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Our principal executive office is located at 188 East Blaine Street, Suite 200, Seattle, Washington, 98102. Our telephone number is (206) 788-4545. Our website is www.alpineimmunesciences.com. Information contained in, or that can be accessed through, our website is not a part of, and is not incorporated into, this prospectus supplement, and should not be considered to be part of this prospectus supplement.
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THE OFFERING
Common stock offered by usShares of common stock having an aggregate offering price up to $75,000,000.
Manner of offering
"At-the-market" offering that may be made from time to time through our sales agent, Cowen. See "Plan of Distribution" on page S-55 of this prospectus supplement.
Use of proceeds
We currently plan to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes and to advance the development of our product candidates. Please see "Use of Proceeds" on page S-52 of this prospectus supplement.
Dividend PolicyWe have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock or any other securities. We anticipate that we will retain all available funds and any future earnings, if any, for use in the operation of our business and do not anticipate paying cash dividends in the foreseeable future. In addition, our credit facility materially restricts, and future debt instruments we issue may materially restrict, our ability to pay dividends on our common stock. Payment of future cash dividends, if any, will be at the discretion of our board of directors after taking into account various factors, including our financial condition, operating results, current and anticipated cash needs, the requirements of current or then-existing debt instruments and other factors our board of directors deems relevant.
Risk Factors
Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. See "Risk Factors" beginning on page S-6 of this prospectus supplement for a discussion of the facts that you should read and consider before making an investment decision.
Nasdaq Global Market symbolALPN
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RISK FACTORS
Investors should carefully consider the risks described below, in the accompanying prospectus and in the information incorporated by reference herein and therein before making an investment decision. The risks described below, in the accompanying prospectus and in the information incorporated by reference herein and therein are not the only ones we face. If any of these risks actually occurs, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected. In such case, the trading price of our common stock could decline and you could lose all or part of your investment. Also carefully read “Forward-Looking Statements” on page S-50 of this prospectus supplement.
Risks Related to Our Pipeline and Product Development
Our approach to the discovery and development of innovative therapeutic treatments based on our technology is unproven and may not result in marketable products.
We plan to develop novel protein-based immunotherapies in part via our proprietary directed evolution platform for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune/inflammatory diseases. The potential to create therapies capable of working within and/or modulating an immune synapse, forcing a synapse to occur, or preventing a synapse from occurring is an important, novel attribute of the majority of our approaches. However, the scientific research forming the basis of our efforts to develop therapeutic candidates based on our platform is relatively new. Further, the scientific evidence to support the feasibility of developing therapeutic treatments based on our platform is both preliminary and limited.
Relatively few therapeutic candidates based on immunoglobulin superfamily, or IgSF, domains, or tumor necrosis factor receptor super family, or TNFRSF, domains, have been tested in humans. We may discover the therapeutic candidates developed using our scientific platform do not possess certain properties required for the therapeutic candidate to be effective. We currently have only limited data to suggest we can introduce these necessary therapeutic properties into variant Ig domain, or vIgD or variant TNF(R) domain, or vTD, based therapeutic candidates. In addition, vIgDs or vTDs may demonstrate different chemical and pharmacological properties in human subjects or patients than they do in laboratory studies. Even if our programs have successful results in animal studies, they may not demonstrate the same chemical and pharmacological properties in humans and may interact with human biological systems in unforeseen, ineffective, or harmful ways. While we continue to evaluate our vIgDs and vTDs preclinically and clinically, the risk profile in humans is still being fully assessed. Undesirable side effects that may be caused by our therapeutic candidates could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials and could result in a more restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or other comparable foreign authorities. Such side effects could also affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete clinical trials or result in potential product liability claims. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly. As a result, we may never succeed in developing a marketable therapeutic, we may not become profitable, and the value of our common stock may decline.
Further, we believe that the FDA has little prior experience with vIgDs or vTDs, which may increase the complexity, uncertainty, and length of the regulatory approval process for our therapeutic candidates. Our company and our current collaborators, or any future collaborators, may never receive approval to market and commercialize any therapeutic candidate. Even if our company or a collaborator obtains regulatory approval, the approval may be for disease indications or patient populations not as broad as we intended or desired or may require labeling, including significant use or distribution restrictions or safety warnings. Our company or a collaborator may be required to perform additional or unanticipated clinical trials to obtain approval or be subject to post-marketing testing requirements to maintain regulatory approval. If therapeutic candidates we develop using our scientific platform prove to be ineffective, unsafe, or commercially unviable, our entire platform and pipeline would have little, if any, value, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
The market may not be receptive to our therapeutic products based on a novel therapeutic modality, and we may not generate any future revenue from the sale or licensing of therapeutic products.
Even if approval is obtained for a therapeutic candidate, we may not generate or sustain revenue from sales of the therapeutic product due to factors such as whether the therapeutic product can be sold at a competitive price and
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otherwise accepted in the market. Therefore, any revenue from sales of the therapeutic product may not offset the costs of development. The therapeutic candidates we are developing are based on new technologies and therapeutic approaches. Market participants with significant influence over acceptance of new treatments, such as physicians and third-party payors, may not adopt a treatment based on our therapeutic products, and we may not be able to convince the medical community and third-party payors to accept and use, or to provide favorable coverage or reimbursement for, any therapeutic products developed by our company, our existing collaborator, or any future collaborators. Market acceptance of our therapeutic products will depend on, among other factors:
the timing of our receipt of any marketing and commercialization approvals;
the terms of any approvals and the countries in which approvals are obtained;
the safety and efficacy of our therapeutic products;
the prevalence and severity of any adverse side effects associated with our therapeutic products;
the prevalence and severity of any adverse side effects associated with therapeutics of the same type or class as our therapeutic products;
limitations or warnings contained in any labeling approved by the FDA or other regulatory authority;
relative convenience and ease of administration of our therapeutic products;
the willingness of patients to accept any new methods of administration;
the success of our physician education programs;
the availability of adequate government and third-party payor coverage and reimbursement;
the pricing of our products, particularly as compared to alternative treatments;
our ability to compliantly market and sell our products; and
availability of alternative effective treatments for the disease indications our therapeutic products are intended to treat and the relative risks, benefits, and costs of those treatments.
With our development focus, these risks may increase to the extent this field becomes more competitive or less favored in the commercial marketplace. Additional risks apply in relation to any disease indications we pursue which are classified as rare diseases and allow for orphan drug designation by regulatory agencies in major commercial markets, such as the United States, European Union, and Japan. Because of the small patient population for a rare disease, if pricing is not approved or accepted in the market at an appropriate level for an approved therapeutic product with orphan drug designation, such drug may not generate enough revenue to offset costs of development, manufacturing, marketing, and commercialization despite any benefits received from the orphan drug designation, such as market exclusivity, assistance in clinical trial design, or a reduction in user fees or tax credits related to development expense. Market size is also a variable in disease indications classified as rare. Our estimates regarding potential market size for any rare indication may be materially different from what we discover to exist at the time we commence commercialization, if any, for a therapeutic product, which could result in significant changes in our business plan and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
If a therapeutic product with orphan drug designation subsequently receives the first FDA approval for the indication for which it has such designation, the therapeutic product is entitled to orphan product exclusivity, which means the FDA may not approve any other applications to market the same therapeutic product for the same indication, except in very limited circumstances, for seven years. Orphan drug exclusivity, however, could also block the approval of one of our therapeutic products for seven years if a competitor obtains approval of the same therapeutic product as defined by the FDA or if our therapeutic product is determined to be within the same class as the competitor’s therapeutic product for the same indication or disease.
As in the United States, we may apply for designation of a therapeutic product as an orphan drug for the treatment of a specific indication in the European Union before the application for marketing authorization is made. Sponsors of orphan drugs in the European Union can enjoy economic and marketing benefits, including up to ten years of market exclusivity for the approved indication unless another applicant can show its therapeutic product is safer, more effective, or otherwise clinically superior to the orphan-designated therapeutic product. The respective orphan
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designation and exclusivity frameworks in the United States and in the European Union are subject to change, and any such changes may affect our ability to obtain EU or U.S. orphan designations in the future.
Our therapeutic candidates are in early stages of development and may fail in development or suffer delays that materially and adversely affect their commercial viability.
We have no products on the market and all of our therapeutic candidates are in early stages of development. Our ability to achieve and sustain profitability depends on obtaining regulatory approval and Institutional Review Board, or IRB, approval to conduct clinical trials at particular sites, obtaining regulatory approvals to market our therapeutic candidates and successfully commercializing our therapeutic candidates, either alone or with third parties, such as our collaborators. Before obtaining regulatory approval for the commercial distribution of our therapeutic candidates, we or a collaborator must conduct extensive preclinical tests and clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy in humans of our therapeutic candidates. Preclinical testing and clinical trials are expensive, difficult to design and implement, can take many years to complete, and are uncertain as to outcome. For example, we are currently advancing the development of ALPN-101, ALPN-202 and ALPN-303; however, even with the significant investment of time and funding to advance these product candidates, we cannot guarantee that our clinical and preclinical development efforts will be successful. The start or end of a clinical study is often delayed or halted due to delays in or failure to obtain regulatory approval to commence the study, delays in or failure to reach agreement on acceptable terms with prospective contract research organizations or clinical trial sites, delays in or failure to obtain IRB approval at each site, changing regulatory requirements, manufacturing challenges, clinical sites or contract research organizations deviating from the trial protocol or failing to comply with regulatory requirements or meet contractual obligations, slower than anticipated patient enrollment, changing standards of care, availability or prevalence of use of a comparative therapeutic or required prior therapy, clinical outcomes, failure of patients to complete the trial or return for post-treatment follow-up, or financial constraints. For instance, delays or difficulties in patient enrollment or difficulties in retaining trial participants can result in increased costs, longer development times, or termination of a clinical trial. Clinical trials of a new therapeutic candidate require the enrollment of a sufficient number of patients, which may include patients who are suffering from the disease the therapeutic candidate is intended to treat and who meet other eligibility criteria. Rates of patient enrollment are affected by many factors, including the size of the patient population, the eligibility criteria for the clinical trial, the age and condition of the patients, the stage and severity of disease, the nature of the protocol, the proximity of patients to clinical sites, and the availability of effective treatments or competing academic and other clinical trials for the relevant disease.
A therapeutic candidate can unexpectedly fail at any stage of preclinical and clinical development. The historical failure rate for therapeutic candidates is high due to scientific feasibility, safety, efficacy, changing standards of medical care, and other variables. The novelty of our platform may mean our failure rates are higher than historical norms. The results from preclinical testing or early clinical trials of a therapeutic candidate may not predict the outcome of later phase clinical trials of the therapeutic candidate, particularly in immuno-oncology and autoimmune/inflammatory disorders. We will have to conduct additional trials in our proposed indications to verify the results obtained to date in our preclinical and clinical studies and to support any future regulatory submissions. A number of companies in the biopharmaceutical industry have suffered significant setbacks in advanced clinical trials due to lack of efficacy or adverse safety profiles despite promising results in earlier, smaller clinical trials. Moreover, clinical data are often susceptible to varying interpretations and analyses. We do not know whether Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, or other clinical trials we may conduct will demonstrate consistent or adequate efficacy and safety with respect to the proposed indication for use sufficient to receive regulatory approval or market our therapeutic candidates.
We, the FDA, an IRB, an independent ethics committee, or other applicable regulatory authorities may suspend clinical trials of a therapeutic candidate at any time for various reasons, including a belief that subjects participating in such trials are being exposed to unacceptable health risks or adverse side effects. Similarly, an IRB or ethics committee may suspend a clinical trial at a particular trial site. We may not have the financial resources to continue development of, or to enter into collaborations for, a therapeutic candidate if we experience any problems or other unforeseen events delaying or preventing clinical development or regulatory approval of, or our ability to commercialize, therapeutic candidates, including:
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negative or inconclusive results from our clinical trials, or the clinical trials of others for therapeutic candidates similar to ours, leading to a decision or requirement to conduct additional preclinical testing or clinical trials or abandon a program;
serious and unexpected drug-related side effects experienced by participants in our clinical trials or by individuals using therapeutics similar to our therapeutic candidates;
serious drug-related side effects experienced in the past by individuals using therapeutics similar to our therapeutic candidates;
delays in submitting Investigational New Drug, or IND, applications or clinical trial applications, or comparable foreign applications, or delays or failure in obtaining the necessary approvals from regulators or IRBs to commence a clinical trial, or a suspension or termination of a clinical trial once commenced;
conditions imposed by the FDA or comparable foreign authorities, such as the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, regarding the scope or design of our clinical trials;
delays in enrolling research subjects in clinical trials;
high drop-out rates of research subjects;
inadequate supply or quality of therapeutic candidate or therapeutic candidate components, or materials or other supplies necessary for the conduct of our clinical trials, including those owned, manufactured, or provided by companies other than ours;
greater than anticipated clinical trial costs, including the cost of any approved drugs used in combination with our therapeutic candidates;
poor effectiveness of our therapeutic candidates during clinical trials;
unfavorable FDA or other regulatory agency inspection and review of a clinical trial site;
failure of our third-party contractors or investigators to comply with regulatory requirements or otherwise meet their contractual obligations in a timely manner, or at all;
delays and changes in regulatory requirements, policies, and guidelines, including the imposition of additional regulatory oversight around clinical testing generally or with respect to our technology in particular; or
varying interpretations of data by the FDA and similar foreign regulatory agencies.
Product development involves a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome, and results of earlier preclinical and clinical trials may not be predictive of future clinical trial results.
Clinical testing is expensive and generally takes many years to complete, and the outcome is inherently uncertain. Failure can occur at any time during the clinical trial process. The results of preclinical trials and early clinical trials of our product candidates may not be predictive of the results of larger, later-stage controlled clinical trials. Product candidates showing promising results in early-stage clinical trials may still suffer significant setbacks in subsequent clinical trials. We have evaluated ALPN-101 in a Phase 1 healthy volunteer trial and previously initiated a Phase 1b/2 study of ALPN-101 in patients with steroid-resistant or steroid-refractory active acute graft-versus-host disease, or SR-aGVHD. We terminated this Phase 1b/2 SR-aGVHD study in June 2020. The proposed Phase 2 study in SLE will materially increase our anticipated research and development spending. SLE is a challenging indication and a number of trials conducted by other companies have failed after significant investment of time and funding. We cannot predict whether our efforts in this indication will be successful. If we are unsuccessful, it is unlikely that AbbVie would exercise its option for ALPN-101 pursuant to our option and license agreement and, as a result, we would not receive the option payment pursuant to this agreement and we would not be eligible for future milestones and royalties. In addition, we have initiated our Phase 1 study of ALPN-202 and are conducting additional nonclinical studies and manufacturing activities for ALPN-303 to support initiation of a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers in the fourth quarter of 2021. We will have to conduct additional preclinical studies and human trials in our proposed indications to verify the results obtained to date and to support any regulatory submissions for further clinical development. A number of companies in
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the biopharmaceutical industry have suffered significant setbacks in advanced clinical trials due to lack of efficacy or adverse safety profiles despite promising results in earlier, smaller clinical trials. Moreover, clinical data are often susceptible to varying interpretations and analyses. We do not know whether Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, or other clinical trials we may conduct will demonstrate consistent or adequate efficacy and safety with respect to the proposed indication for use sufficient to receive regulatory approval or market our therapeutic candidates.
Additionally, disruptions at the FDA and other agencies may also slow the time necessary for new drugs to be reviewed by necessary government agencies, which would adversely affect our business. For example, over the last several years, the U.S. government has shut down multiple times and certain regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, have had to furlough critical FDA and other government employees. 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.
We face competition from entities that have developed or may develop therapeutic candidates for our target disease indications, including companies developing novel treatments and technology platforms based on modalities and technology similar to us. If these companies develop technologies or therapeutic candidates more rapidly than we do, or their technologies, including delivery technologies, are more effective, our ability to develop and successfully commercialize therapeutic candidates may be adversely affected.
We participate in the highly competitive sector of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals and in the subsector of immune modulation. This subsector has undergone tremendous technological advancement over the last decade due to advancements in understanding the role of the immune system across multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology and autoimmune/inflammatory disease. While we believe our novel technology platform, discovery programs, knowledge, experience, and scientific resources offer competitive advantages, we face competition from major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic institutions, governmental agencies, public and private research institutions, and others.

Any products we successfully develop and commercialize will face competition from currently approved therapies and new therapies potentially available in the future.

The availability of reimbursement from government and other third-party payors will also significantly affect the pricing and competitiveness of our products. Our competitors also may obtain FDA or other regulatory approval for their products more rapidly than we may obtain approval for our products, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market.

Many of the companies we compete against may have significantly greater financial resources and expertise in research and development, manufacturing, preclinical testing, conducting clinical trials, obtaining regulatory approvals, and marketing approved products. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies. These competitors also compete with us in recruiting and retaining qualified scientific and management personnel and establishing clinical trial sites and patient registration for clinical trials, as well as in acquiring technologies complementary to, or necessary for, our programs.

Specifically, our competitors include companies developing therapies with the same target(s) as ALPN-101, ALPN-202 and ALPN-303 as well as companies building novel platforms to generate multi-specific antibody or non-antibody-based targeting proteins.
ALPN-101 Program Competitors (ICOSL/CD28)
The competitors listed below have programs targeting either ICOS or CD28 (or one of their ligands) for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. To our knowledge, there are currently no competitors with a single molecule targeting ICOS and CD28 simultaneously.
an anti-BAFF, anti-ICOSL bispecific antibody being developed by Amgen, Inc. (rozibafusp alfa (AMG570/MEDI0700));
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an anti-CD28 monoclonal antibody fragment being developed by OSE ImmunoTherapeutics SA and Veloxis Pharmaceuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Asahi Kasei (FR104);
an anti-CD28 peptide being developed by AtoxBio, Inc. (reltecimod (AB-103));
an anti-CD28 monoclonal antibody being development by TheraMAB (TAB08); and
CTLA-4-Fc fusion proteins targeting CD80 and CD86 being marketed Bristol Myers Squibb (abatacept and belatacept).
ALPN-202 Program Competitors
There are numerous clinical trials for immuno-oncology products used as a single agent or in combination. One of the potentially novel attributes of the ALPN-202 program is that it has exhibited conditional CD28 costimulation and dual checkpoint inhibition in a single molecule interacting with multiple immune targets.

Examples of additional multi-target compounds for immuno-oncology are highlighted below. To our knowledge, there are currently no competitors with a single molecule capable of dual PD-L1/CTLA-4 antagonism and PD-L1-dependent CD28 agonism.
wild-type CD80-Fc being developed by Five Prime Therapeutics, which was purchased by Amgen Inc. (FPT155);
bispecific antibodies being developed by Regeneron targeting tumor specific antigens and CD28 (REGN5678 anti-PSMAxCD28, REGN5668 anti-MUC16xCD28, and REGN7075 anti-EGFRxCD28);
trispecific antibodies being developed by Sanofi (CD3xCD38xCD28) (SAR442257)and SAR443216 (CD3xCD28xHER2);
bifunctional fusion protein composed of monoclonal antibody against PD-L1 fused to the extracellular domain of human transforming growth factor-ß, or TGF-ß, receptor II being developed by EMD Serono, Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline plc (bintrafusp alfa, or M7824);
bifunctional fusion protein composed of PD-1 and OX40L developed by Shattuck Labs, Inc. (SL-279252);
bispecific fusion protein targeting 4-1BBL and PD-1 being developed by Shattuck Labs, Inc. (SL-279137);
bispecific fusion protein targeting 4-1BB and PD-L1 being developed by Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (PRS-344);
bispecific monoclonal antibody targeting 4-1BB and PD-L1 being developed by Genmab A/S and BioNTech SE (GEN1046);
trispecific monoclonal antibody/fusion targeting 4-1BB and PD-L1 being developed by Numab Therapeutics AG and CStone Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd (NM021);
bispecific monoclonal antibody targeting 4-1BB and PD-L1 being developed by Merus NV and Incyte Corporation (MCL-145);
bispecific antibody 4-1BB and PD-L1 being developed by Inhibrx, Inc. and Elpiscience Biopharma Ltd. (INBRX-105);
bispecific monoclonal antibody targeting 4-1BB and PD-L1 being developed by F-star Biotechnology Ltd. (FS-222);
bispecific fusion protein targeting 4-1BB and PD-L1 being developed by Kahr Medical Ltd., (DSP105);
bispecific monoclonal antibody/fusion protein targeting 4-1BB and PD-L1 being developed by ABL, Inc., and I-Mab Biopharma Co., Ltd. (ABL503);
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bispecific monoclonal antibody targeting PD-L1 and LAG-3 being developed by F-star Biotechnology Ltd. (FS118);
bispecific monoclonal antibodies being developed by Xencor, Inc. including XmAb20717 targeting CTLA-4 and PD-1, XmAb22841 targeting CTLA-4 and LAG-3, XmAb23104 targeting PD-1 and ICOS, and a CD28 bispecific antibody platform;
bispecific constructs called “DARTs” being developed by Macrogenics, Inc., including MGD013 targeting PD-1 and LAG-3 and MGD019 targeting PD-1 and CTLA-4;
bispecific monoclonal antibody being developed by Tesaro, Inc., which was purchased by GlaxoSmithKline plc, targeting PD-1 and LAG-3;
small molecule antagonists being developed by Aurigene Ltd and Curis, Inc., including CA-170 targeting PD-L1 and VISTA and CA-327 targeting PD-L1 and TIM-3;
various combinations of separate anti PD-1/L1 and anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibodies; and
various combinations of separate anti PD-1/L1 and costimulatory monoclonal antibodies such as OX-40, 4-1BB, and others.
ALPN-303 Program Competitors
The competitors listed below have programs targeting either the TACI, BCMA, or BAFF pathway for autoimmune disease.
Anti-BAFF antibody marketed by GSK plc (belimumab);
TACI-Fc being developed by Vera Therapeutics (atacicept);
TACI-Fc being developed by RemeGen Ltd. (telitacicept (RC18));
Anti-BAFFr IgG1 being developed by Novartis AG (Ianalumab (VAY736));
Anti-APRIL antibody being developed by Visterra, Inc. (VIS649);
an anti-BAFF, anti-ICOSL bispecific antibody being developed by Amgen, Inc. (rozibafusp alfa (AMG570/MEDI0700)); and
an anti-APRIL antibody being developed by Chinook Therapeutics, Inc. (BION-1301).
Novel Platform Competitors
Multifunctional therapeutic protein platforms potentially competitive with our platform include:
Amgen Inc. (BiTE®): fusion proteins consisting of two single-chain variable fragments to link T cells to tumors;
Macrogenics, Inc. (DART®): Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting and Trident technology platforms bind multiple targets with a single molecule;
Xencor, Inc. (XmAb Bispecific): Optimized Fc domains for improved potency, half-life and stability;
Zymeworks, Inc. (Azymetric™): Proprietary amino acid modifications to facilitate interaction of distinct heavy chains;
Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Anticalin®): Engineered proteins derived from natural lipocalins found in blood plasma;
Compass Therapeutics, LLC (Targeted Immunomodulation™, StitchMabs™): Antibody discovery targeting the tumor-immune synapse;
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Harpoon Therapeutics, Inc.: TriTAC™ (Tri-specific T cell Activating Construct) contain CD3 binding domain, half-life extension domain, and antigen-binding domain;
Shattuck Labs, Inc.: Agonist Redirected Antibody platform claimed to bind tumor-necrosis factor (“TNF”) and checkpoint targets;
Ablynx NV (Nanobody®), purchased by Sanofi Pharma, Inc.: Platform technology of single-domain, heavy-chain antibody fragments derived from camelidae (e.g., camels and llamas);
Regeneron, Inc.: VEGF Trap and VelociSuite® antibody technology platforms; and
Five Prime Therapeutics, Inc., purchased by Amgen Inc.: Proprietary protein library and rapid protein production and testing platform.
Additionally, there are a number of other therapies for autoimmune/inflammatory diseases or cancer approved or in development that are also competitive with our lead program and other programs in development. Many of the other therapies include other types of immunotherapies with different targets than our programs. Other potentially competitive therapies work in ways distinct from our development programs.
Many of our competitors have significantly greater financial, technical, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and supply resources or experience than we have. If we successfully obtain approval for any therapeutic candidate, we will face competition based on many different factors, including safety and effectiveness, ease with which our products can be administered and the extent to which patients accept relatively new routes of administration, timing and scope of regulatory approvals, availability and cost of manufacturing, marketing and sales capabilities, price, reimbursement coverage, and patent position of our products. Competing products could present superior treatment alternatives, including by being more effective, safer, less expensive, or marketed and sold more effectively than any products we may develop. Competitive products may make any products we develop obsolete or noncompetitive before we recover the expense of developing and commercializing our therapeutic candidates. Competitors could also recruit our employees, which could negatively impact our ability to execute our business plan.
We believe our development programs and platform have a particular mechanism of action, but this mechanism of action has not been proven conclusively.
Our scientific platform is novel, and the underlying science is not exhaustively understood nor conclusively proven. In particular, the interaction of vIgDs with the immune synapse, the ability of vIgDs to slow, stop, restart, or accelerate immune responses, and the ability of vIgD domains to interact with multiple counter structures is still largely theoretical. Graphical representations of proposed mechanisms of action of our therapies, the size, actual or relative, of our therapeutics, and how our therapeutics might interface with other cells within the human body, inside the immune synapse, or inside the disease and/or the tumor microenvironment are similarly theoretical and not yet conclusively proven. The lack of a proven mechanism of action may adversely affect our ability to raise sufficient capital, complete preclinical studies, adequately manufacture drug product, obtain regulatory clearance for clinical trials, gain marketing approval, or conclude collaborations, or interfere with our ability to market our product to patients and physicians or achieve reimbursement from payors.
Any inability to present our data in scientific journals or at scientific conferences could adversely impact our business and stock price.
We may from time to time submit data related to our research and development activities in peer-reviewed scientific publications or apply to present data related to our research and development activities at scientific or other conferences. We have no control over whether these submissions or applications are accepted. Even if accepted for a conference, we have no control over whether presentations at scientific conferences will be accepted for oral presentation, poster presentation, or abstract publication only. Even when accepted for publication, we have no control over the timing of the release of the publication. Rejection by publications, delays in publication, rejection for presentation, or a less-preferred format for a presentation may adversely impact our stock price, ability to raise capital, and business.
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Our business may be affected by adverse scientific publications or editorial or discussant opinions.
We may from time to time publish data related to our research and development activities in peer-reviewed scientific publications or present data related to our research and development activities at scientific or other conferences. Editorials or discussants unrelated to us may provide opinions on our presented data unfavorable to us. In addition, scientific publications or presentations may be made which are critical of our science or research or the field of immunotherapy in general. This may adversely affect our ability to raise necessary capital, complete clinical and preclinical studies, adequately manufacture drug product, obtain regulatory clearance for clinical trials, or approval for marketing, or interfere with our ability to market our product to patients and physicians or achieve reimbursement from payors.
Risks Related to Our Relationships with Third Parties
To date, our revenue has been primarily derived from our collaboration agreements, and our success will be dependent, in part, on our collaborators’ efforts to develop our therapeutic candidates.
Our success is dependent, in part, on our collaborators’ efforts to develop our therapeutic candidates and, historically, our revenue has been primarily derived from our agreements with collaborators. For example, in May 2019, we entered into a collaboration agreement with Adaptimmune to develop next-generation SPEAR T cell products and in June 2020, we entered into an option and license agreement with AbbVie, the AbbVie Agreement, for the development of ALPN-101. Pursuant to the terms of the AbbVie Agreement, we received an upfront payment of $60.0 million in cash and are eligible to receive up to $75.0 million in development milestones, an additional $75.0 million if AbbVie exercises its option with respect to ALPN-101 following our completion of certain development activities, additional development, commercial and sales-based milestones up to an aggregate of $655.0 million and royalties on any future net sales.
Pursuant to the AbbVie Agreement, we will conduct certain development activities under a development plan that provides for, among other things, the generation of a data package in order for AbbVie to evaluate exercising its exclusive option, including all activities reasonably necessary to complete our planned Phase 2 study of ALPN-101 in SLE. If we successfully complete these activities, AbbVie may not exercise its option, which would make achievement of future milestones and receipt of future royalties unattainable. If AbbVie exercises its option, our realization of additional milestones and royalty payments will depend upon the efforts of AbbVie. AbbVie will have discretion in determining and directing the efforts and resources for future development activities and, if approval is obtained, commercialization and marketing of the approved drug. AbbVie may not be effective in obtaining approvals for ALPN-101 or marketing or arranging for necessary supply, manufacturing, or distribution relationships for any approved products. AbbVie may also change its strategic focus or pursue alternative technologies in a manner resulting in reduced, delayed, or no additional payments to us. If AbbVie fails to develop, obtain regulatory approval for, or ultimately commercialize ALPN-101 or if AbbVie terminates the collaboration, our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, any dispute or litigation proceedings we may have with AbbVie in the future could delay development programs, create uncertainty as to ownership of intellectual property rights, distract management from other business activities and generate substantial expense.
Our collaborations may also result in reduced royalty revenues if we are unable to obtain and maintain patent protection, as well as if we are unable to obtain patent term extension, for therapeutic candidates or products developed under our agreements with collaborators. In the event of expiration or invalidation of patents covering a therapeutic candidate or product, for example, our collaborators may be entitled to a significant decrease in royalty revenues owed to us under the agreements. Invalidation of patents and failure to obtain patent term extension for one or more patents in our portfolio may occur as a result of factors beyond our control due to the complex legal and factual questions surrounding pharmaceutical and biotechnology patents. If we are unable to obtain and maintain patent protection, or if we unable to obtain patent term extension for therapeutic candidates or products developed under our agreements with collaborators, our revenue derived from our collaborators may be less than the full amount anticipated, and our business, financial condition, results of operations, and growth prospects could be materially harmed.
Continued advancement of our other product candidates and other development efforts depends, in part, upon the efforts of our current or future collaborators. If our collaborators do not dedicate sufficient resources to the development of product candidates that are the subject of our agreements, such product candidates may never be
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successful and we may be ineligible to receive additional milestone payments or royalties pursuant to the terms of our arrangements, which could have a material adverse impact on our financial results and operations. Even if we and our collaborators dedicate sufficient resources to our collaboration agreements, neither we nor our collaborators may be effective in obtaining approvals for any therapeutic candidates or, if approved, the successful commercialization of any approved products. Collaborators may change their strategic focus or pursue alternative technologies after entering into a collaboration agreement with us, which could result in reduced, delayed or no revenue to us. Disputes regarding collaboration agreements, including disputes pertaining to ownership of intellectual property, may also arise and if we and our collaborators are unable to resolve such disputes, litigation proceedings may occur, which could further delay development, distract management and generate substantial expenses, any of which could materially and negatively impact our business.
If third parties on which we depend to conduct our clinical or preclinical studies, or any future clinical trials, do not perform as expected, fail to satisfy regulatory or legal requirements, or miss expected deadlines, our development program could be delayed, which may result in materially adverse effects on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
We rely, in part, on third party clinical investigators, contract research organizations, or CROs, clinical data management organizations, and consultants to design, conduct, supervise, and monitor clinical trials and preclinical studies of our therapeutic candidates and may do the same for future clinical trials. Because we rely on third parties to conduct preclinical studies or clinical trials, we have less control over the timing, quality, compliance, and other aspects of preclinical studies and clinical trials than we would if we conducted all preclinical studies and clinical trials on our own. These investigators, CROs, and consultants are not our employees and we have limited control over the amount of time and resources they dedicate to our programs. These third parties may have contractual relationships with other entities, some of which may be our competitors, which may draw their time and resources away from our programs. The third parties with which we contract might not be diligent, careful, compliant, or timely in conducting our preclinical studies or clinical trials, resulting in the preclinical studies or clinical trials being delayed or unsuccessful. Further, if any of our relationships with third-party CROs terminate, we may not be able to enter into arrangements with alternative CROs or to do so on commercially reasonable terms.
If we cannot contract with acceptable third parties on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, or if these third parties do not carry out their expected duties, satisfy legal and regulatory requirements for the conduct of preclinical studies or clinical trials, or meet expected deadlines, our clinical development programs could be delayed and otherwise adversely affected. In all events, we are responsible for ensuring each of our preclinical studies and clinical trials is conducted in accordance with the general investigational plan and protocols for the trial and with legal, regulatory and scientific standards. The FDA and certain foreign regulatory authorities, such as the EMA, require preclinical studies to be conducted in accordance with applicable Good Laboratory Practices, or GLPs, and clinical trials to be conducted in accordance with applicable FDA regulations and Good Clinical Practices, or GCPs, including requirements for conducting, recording, and reporting the results of preclinical studies and clinical trials to assure data and reported results are credible and accurate and the rights, integrity, and confidentiality of clinical trial participants are protected. Our reliance on third parties we do not control does not relieve us of these responsibilities and requirements. If we or any of our CROs fail to comply with applicable GCPs, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA, the EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our marketing applications. We cannot assure you that upon inspection by a given regulatory authority, such regulatory authority will determine that any of our clinical trials comply with GCP regulations. In addition, our clinical trials must be conducted with product produced under current good manufacturing practice, or cGMP, regulations. Our failure to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process. Any such event could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
In addition, switching or adding additional CROs involves additional cost and requires management time and focus. There is also a natural transition period when a new CRO commences work. As a result, delays may occur, which could materially impact our ability to meet our desired clinical development timelines. There can be no assurance that we will not encounter such challenges or delays in the future or that these delays or challenges will not have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and prospects.
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Because we rely on third party manufacturing and supply partners, our supply of clinical trial materials may become limited or interrupted or may not be of satisfactory quantity or quality, and our dependence on these third parties may impair the advancement of our research and development programs.
We have established in-house recombinant protein generation capabilities for producing sufficient protein materials to enable a portion of our current preclinical studies. We rely on third party supply and manufacturing partners to supply the materials, components, and manufacturing services for a portion of preclinical studies and also rely on such third parties for all our clinical trial drug supplies. We do not own manufacturing facilities or supply sources for such components and materials for clinical trial supplies and our current manufacturing facilities are insufficient to supply such components and materials for all of our preclinical studies. Certain raw materials necessary for the manufacture of our therapeutic products, such as cell lines, are available from a single or limited number of source suppliers on a purchase order basis. There can be no assurance our supply of research and development, preclinical study, and clinical trial drugs and other materials will not be limited, interrupted, restricted in certain geographic regions, of satisfactory quality or quantity, or continue to be available at acceptable prices. In particular, any replacement of our therapeutic substance manufacturer could require significant effort and expertise and could result in significant delay of our preclinical or clinical activities because there may be a limited number of qualified replacements.
The manufacturing process for a therapeutic candidate is subject to FDA and foreign regulatory authority review, and the facilities used by our contract manufacturers to manufacture our therapeutic candidates must be approved by the FDA pursuant to inspections that will be conducted after we submit our marketing application(s) to the FDA. Suppliers and manufacturers must meet applicable manufacturing requirements and undergo rigorous facility and process validation tests required by regulatory authorities in order to comply with cGMP regulations or other regulatory standards. In the event any of our suppliers or manufacturers fails to comply with such requirements or to perform its obligations to us in relation to quality, timing, or otherwise, or if our supply of components or other materials becomes limited or interrupted for other reasons, we may experience shortages resulting in delayed shipments, supply constraints, and/or stock-outs of our products, be forced to manufacture the materials alone, for which we currently do not have the capabilities or resources, or enter into an agreement with another third party, which we may not be able to do on reasonable terms, if at all. In some cases, the technical skills or technology required to manufacture our therapeutic candidates may be unique or proprietary to the original manufacturer and we may have difficulty, or there may be contractual and intellectual property restrictions prohibiting us from, transferring such skills or technology to another third party and a feasible alternative may not exist. These factors may increase our reliance on such manufacturer or require us to obtain a license from such manufacturer in order to have another third party manufacture our therapeutic candidates. If we are required to change manufacturers for any reason, we will be required to verify the new manufacturer maintains facilities and procedures complying with quality standards and with all applicable regulations. The delays associated with the verification of a new manufacturer could negatively affect our ability to develop therapeutic candidates in a timely manner, within budget, or at all.
We expect to continue to rely on third party manufacturers if we receive regulatory approval for any therapeutic candidate. To the extent we have existing, or enter into future, manufacturing arrangements with third parties, we will depend on these third parties to perform their obligations in a timely manner consistent with contractual and regulatory requirements, including those related to quality control and assurance. If we are unable to obtain or maintain third-party manufacturing for therapeutic candidates, or to do so on commercially reasonable terms, we may not be able to develop and commercialize our therapeutic candidates successfully. Our, or a third party’s, failure to execute on our manufacturing requirements could adversely affect our business in a number of ways, including as a result of:
an inability to initiate or continue preclinical studies or clinical trials of therapeutic candidates under development;
delay in submitting regulatory applications, or receiving regulatory approvals, for therapeutic candidates;
the loss of the cooperation of a collaborator;
subjecting manufacturing facilities of our therapeutic candidates to additional inspections by regulatory authorities;
requirements to cease distribution or to recall batches of our therapeutic candidates; and
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in the event of approval to market and commercialize a therapeutic candidate, an inability to meet commercial demands for our products.
We may not successfully engage in strategic transactions, including any additional collaborations we seek, which could adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize therapeutic candidates, impact our cash position, increase our expenses, and present significant distractions to our management.
From time to time, we consider strategic transactions, such as collaborations, acquisitions of companies, asset purchases or divestitures, and out- or in-licensing of therapeutic candidates or technologies. In particular, we intend to evaluate and, if strategically attractive, seek to enter into additional collaborations, including with major biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies. The competition for collaborative partners is intense, and the negotiation process is time-consuming and complex. Any new collaboration may be on suboptimal terms for us and ultimately may not maximize value for our stockholders. In addition, we may be unable to maintain any new or existing collaboration if, for example, development or approval of a therapeutic candidate is delayed, sales of an approved therapeutic product do not meet expectations, or the collaborator terminates the collaboration. Any such collaboration, or other strategic transaction, may require us to incur non-recurring or other charges, increase our near- and long-term expenditures and pose significant integration or implementation challenges or disrupt our management or business.
These transactions would entail numerous operational and financial risks, including:
exposure to unknown liabilities;
disruption of our business and diversion of our management’s time and attention in order to manage a collaboration or develop acquired therapeutic candidates, or technologies;
incurrence of substantial debt or dilutive issuances of equity securities to pay transaction consideration or costs;
higher than expected collaboration, acquisition, or integration costs;
write-downs of assets, or incurring impairment charges or increased amortization expenses; and
difficulty and cost in facilitating the collaboration or combining the operations and personnel of any acquired business or impairment of relationships with key suppliers, manufacturers, or customers of any acquired business due to changes in management and ownership and the inability to retain key employees of any acquired business.
Accordingly, although there can be no assurance we will undertake or successfully complete any transactions of the nature described above, any transactions we do complete may be subject to the foregoing or other risks and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and prospects. Conversely, any failure to enter any collaboration or other strategic transaction beneficial to us could delay the development and potential commercialization of our therapeutic candidates and have a negative impact on the competitiveness of any therapeutic candidate reaching market.
Risks Related to Our Ability to Commercialize Product Candidates
If any of our therapeutic candidates are approved for marketing and commercialization and we are unable to develop sales, marketing and distribution capabilities on our own or enter into agreements with third parties to perform these functions on acceptable terms, we may be unable to successfully commercialize any such future products.
We currently have no sales, marketing, or distribution capabilities or experience. If any of our therapeutic candidates are approved, we will need to develop internal sales, marketing, and distribution capabilities to commercialize such products, which may be expensive and time-consuming, or enter into collaborations with third parties to perform these services. If we decide to market our products directly, we will need to commit significant financial, legal, and managerial resources to develop a marketing and sales force with technical expertise and supporting distribution, administration, and compliance capabilities. If we rely on third parties with such capabilities to market our approved products, or decide to co-promote products with collaborators, we will need to establish and maintain marketing and distribution arrangements with third parties, and there can be no assurance we will be able to enter into such
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arrangements on acceptable, compliant terms or at all. In entering into third-party marketing or distribution arrangements, any revenue we receive will depend upon the efforts of the third parties and there can be no assurance such third parties will establish adequate sales and distribution capabilities or be successful in gaining market acceptance of any approved therapeutic. If we are not successful in commercializing any therapeutic approved in the future, either on our own or through third parties, our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.
If we fail to comply with U.S. and foreign regulatory requirements, regulatory authorities could limit or withdraw any marketing or commercialization approvals we may receive and subject us to other penalties that could materially harm our business.
Our company, our therapeutic candidates, our suppliers, and our contract manufacturers, distributors, and contract testing laboratories are subject to extensive regulation by governmental authorities in the European Union, the United States, and other countries, with regulations differing from country to country.
Even if we receive marketing and commercialization approval of a therapeutic candidate, we and our third-party service providers will be subject to continuing regulatory requirements, including a broad array of regulations related to establishment registration and product listing, manufacturing processes, risk management measures, quality and pharmacovigilance systems, post-approval clinical studies, labeling and packaging, advertising and promotional activities, record keeping, distribution, adverse event reporting, import and export of pharmaceutical products, pricing, sales, and marketing, and fraud and abuse requirements.
We are required to submit safety and other post market information and reports, and are subject to continuing regulatory review, including in relation to adverse patient experiences with the product and clinical results reported after a product is made commercially available, both in the United States and in any foreign jurisdiction in which we seek regulatory approval. The FDA and certain foreign regulatory authorities, such as the EMA, have significant post-market authority, including the authority to require labeling changes based on new safety information and to require post-market studies or clinical trials to evaluate safety risks related to the use of a product or to require withdrawal of the product from the market.
The FDA also has the authority to require a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, or REMS, plan either before or after approval, which may impose further requirements or restrictions on the distribution or use of an approved therapeutic. The EMA now routinely requires risk management plans, or RMPs, as part of the marketing authorization application process, and such plans must be continually modified and updated throughout the lifetime of the product as new information becomes available. In addition, the relevant governmental authority of any EU member state can request an RMP whenever there is a concern about the risk/benefit balance of the product.
The manufacturers and manufacturing facilities we use to make a future product, if any, will also be subject to periodic review and inspection by the FDA and other regulatory agencies, including for continued compliance with cGMP requirements. The discovery of any new or previously unknown problems with our third-party manufacturers, manufacturing processes or facilities may result in restrictions on the product, manufacturers or facilities, including withdrawal of the product from the market. If we rely on third-party manufacturers, we will have limited control over compliance with applicable rules and regulations by such manufacturers.
If we or our collaborators, manufacturers, or service providers fail to comply with applicable continuing regulatory requirements in the U.S. or foreign jurisdictions in which we seek to market our products, we may be subject to, among other things, fines, warning and untitled letters, clinical holds, a requirement to conduct additional clinical trials, delay or refusal by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications, suspension, refusal to renew or withdrawal of regulatory approval, product recalls, seizures, or administrative detention of products, refusal to permit the import or export of products, operating restrictions, inability to participate in government programs including Medicare and Medicaid, and total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunction, restitution, disgorgement, debarment, civil penalties, and criminal prosecution.
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Imposed price controls may adversely affect our future profitability.
In most countries, the pricing of prescription drugs is subject to governmental control. In these countries, pricing negotiations with governmental authorities can take considerable time after receipt of marketing approval for a product. In addition, there can be considerable pressure by governments and other stakeholders on prices and reimbursement levels, including as part of cost containment measures. Political, economic, and regulatory developments may further complicate pricing and reimbursement negotiations, and pricing negotiations may continue after reimbursement has been obtained.
Reference pricing used by various EU member states and parallel distribution, or arbitrage between low-priced and high-priced member states, can further reduce prices. In some countries, we or our collaborators may be required to conduct a clinical trial or other studies comparing the cost-effectiveness of our therapeutic candidates to other available therapies in order to obtain or maintain reimbursement or pricing approval. Publication of discounts by third-party payors or authorities may lead to further pressure on the prices or reimbursement levels within the country of publication and other countries. If reimbursement of any product candidate approved for marketing is unavailable or limited in scope or amount, or if pricing is set at unsatisfactory levels, our business, financial condition, results of operations, or prospects could be adversely affected.
Risks Related to Our Personnel and Operations
We will need to raise substantial additional funds to advance development of our therapeutic candidates, and we cannot guarantee we will have sufficient funds available in the future to develop and commercialize our current or future therapeutic candidates.
We will need to raise substantial additional funds to expand our development, regulatory, manufacturing, marketing, and sales capabilities or contract with other organizations to provide these capabilities to us. We have used substantial funds to develop our therapeutic candidates and will require significant funds to conduct further research and development, preclinical testing, and clinical trials of our therapeutic candidates, to seek regulatory approvals for our therapeutic candidates, and to manufacture and market products, if any are approved for commercial sale. As of March 31, 2021, we had $115.4 million in cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, and investments. Based on our current operating plan, we believe our available cash and cash equivalents, and investments will be sufficient to fund our planned level of operations for at least the next 12 months. Our future capital requirements and the period for which we expect our existing resources to support our operations may vary significantly from what we expect. Our monthly spending levels vary based on new and ongoing development and corporate activities. Because the length of time and activities associated with successful development of our therapeutic candidates are highly uncertain, we are unable to estimate the actual funds we will require for development and any approved marketing and commercialization activities. To execute our business plan, we will need, among other things:
to obtain the human and financial resources necessary to develop, test, obtain regulatory approval for, manufacture, and market our therapeutic candidates;
to build and maintain a strong intellectual property portfolio and avoid infringing intellectual property of third parties;
to establish and maintain successful licenses, collaborations, and alliances;
to satisfy the requirements of clinical trial protocols, including patient enrollment;
to establish and demonstrate the clinical efficacy and safety of our therapeutic candidates;
to obtain regulatory approvals;
to manage our spending as costs and expenses increase due to preclinical studies, clinical trials, regulatory approvals, manufacturing scale-up, and commercialization;
to obtain additional capital to support and expand our operations; and
to market our products to achieve acceptance and use by the medical community in general.
If we are unable to obtain necessary funding on a timely basis or on acceptable terms, we may have to delay, reduce, or terminate our research and development programs, preclinical studies, or clinical trials, if any, limit strategic
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opportunities, or undergo reductions in our workforce or other corporate restructuring activities. We also could be required to seek funds through arrangements with collaborators or others requiring us to relinquish rights to some of our technologies or therapeutic candidates we would otherwise pursue on our own. We do not expect to realize revenue from product sales, or royalties in the foreseeable future, if at all. Our revenue sources are, and will remain, extremely limited unless and until our therapeutic candidates are clinically tested, approved for commercialization, and successfully marketed.
To date, we have financed our operations primarily through the sale of equity securities, debt, and payments received under our collaboration agreements, including the AbbVie Agreement. We will be required to seek additional funding in the future and intend to do so through a combination of public or private equity offerings, debt financings, credit and loan facilities, research collaborations, and license agreements. Our ability to raise additional funds from these or other sources will depend on financial, economic, and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. Additional funds may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all.
If we raise additional funds by issuing equity securities, our stockholders will suffer dilution, and the terms of any financing may adversely affect the rights of our stockholders. For example, in January 2019, we issued in a private placement 4,706,700 shares of common stock and warrants to purchase an additional 1,835,610 shares of common stock for gross proceeds of approximately $25.3 million. In July 2020, we issued in a private placement 5,139,610 shares of common stock, prefunded warrants to purchase 790,710 shares of common stock and warrants to purchase an additional 1,779,096 shares of common stock for gross proceeds of approximately $60.0 million.
In addition, as a condition to providing additional funds to us, future investors may demand, and may be granted, rights superior to those of existing stockholders. Debt financing, if available, may involve restrictive covenants limiting our flexibility in conducting future business activities, and, in the event of a liquidation or insolvency, debt holders would be repaid before holders of equity securities receive any distribution of corporate assets. Our failure to raise capital or enter into such other arrangements within a reasonable timeframe would have a negative impact on our financial condition, and we may have to delay, reduce, or terminate our research and development programs, preclinical or clinical trials, or undergo reductions in our workforce or other corporate restructuring activities.
We are an early stage biopharmaceutical company with a history of losses, we expect to continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future, we may never achieve or maintain profitability, and we have a limited operating history that may make it difficult for investors to evaluate the potential success of our business.
We are a clinical-stage immunotherapy company, with a limited operating history, focused on developing treatments for autoimmune/inflammatory diseases and cancer. Since inception, we have devoted our resources to developing novel protein-based immunotherapies primarily using our proprietary directed evolution platform, which converts native immune system proteins into potential differentiated, multi-targeted therapeutics designed to modulate the immune system. We have had significant operating losses since inception. For the three months ended March 31, 2021, our net loss was $10.6 million. Substantially all of our losses have resulted from expenses incurred in connection with our research programs and from general and administrative costs associated with our operations. Our technologies and therapeutic candidates are in early stages of development, and we are subject to the risks of failure inherent in the development of therapeutic candidates based on novel technologies.
We have historically generated revenue primarily from the receipt of research funding and upfront payments under our collaboration agreements, including the AbbVie Agreement. We have not generated, and do not expect to generate, any revenue from product sales for the foreseeable future, and we expect to continue to incur significant operating losses for the foreseeable future due to the cost of research and development, preclinical studies, clinical trials, and the regulatory approval process for therapeutic candidates. The amount of future losses is uncertain. Our ability to achieve profitability, if ever, will depend on, among other things, our or our existing collaborators, or any future collaborators, successfully developing therapeutic candidates, obtaining regulatory approvals to market and commercialize therapeutic candidates, manufacturing any approved products on commercially reasonable terms, establishing a sales and marketing organization or suitable third party alternatives for any approved product, and raising sufficient funds to finance business activities. If we or our existing collaborators, or any future collaborators, are unable to develop and commercialize one or more of our therapeutic candidates or if sales revenue from any therapeutic candidate receiving approval is insufficient, we will not achieve profitability, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
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Any inability to attract and retain qualified key management and technical personnel would impair our ability to implement our business plan.
Our success largely depends on the continued service of key management and other specialized personnel, including Mitchell H. Gold, M.D., our Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Stanford Peng, M.D., Ph.D., our President and Head of Research and Development, and Paul Rickey, our Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
The loss of one or more members of our management team or other key employees or advisors could delay our research and development programs and materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects. The relationships our key managers have cultivated within our industry make us particularly dependent upon their continued employment with us. We are dependent on the continued service of our technical personnel because of the highly technical nature of our therapeutic candidates and technologies, and the specialized nature of the regulatory approval process. Because our management team and key employees are not obligated to provide us with continued service, they could terminate their employment with us at any time without penalty. We do not maintain key person life insurance policies on any of our management team members or key employees. Our future success will depend in large part on our continued ability to attract and retain other highly qualified scientific, technical, and management personnel, as well as personnel with expertise in clinical testing, manufacturing, governmental regulation, and commercialization. We face competition for personnel from other companies, universities, public and private research institutions, government entities, and other organizations, including significant competition in the Seattle employment market.
As our therapeutic candidates advance into clinical trials, we may experience difficulties in managing our growth and expanding our operations.
We have limited experience in therapeutic development and very limited experience with clinical trials of therapeutic candidates. As our therapeutic candidates enter and advance through preclinical studies and clinical trials, we will need to expand our development, regulatory, and manufacturing capabilities or contract with other organizations to provide these capabilities for us. For example, as we prepare to initiate our Phase 2 study in SLE, we will need to hire additional personnel in clinical operations. We also must manage relationships with collaborators or partners, suppliers, and other organizations. Our ability to manage our operations and future growth will require us to continue to improve our operational, financial, and management controls, reporting systems, and procedures. We may not be able to implement improvements to our management information and control systems in an efficient or timely manner and may discover deficiencies in existing systems and controls.
Our business entails a significant risk of product liability and our inability to obtain sufficient insurance coverage could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, or prospects.
Our business exposes us to significant product liability risks inherent in the development, testing, manufacturing, and marketing of therapeutic treatments. Product liability claims could delay or prevent completion of our development programs. If we succeed in marketing products, such claims could result in an investigation by certain regulatory authorities, such as FDA or foreign regulatory authorities, of the safety and effectiveness of our products, our manufacturing processes and facilities, or our marketing programs and potentially a recall of our products or more serious enforcement action, limitations on the approved indications for which they may be used, or suspension or withdrawal of approvals. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may also result in decreased demand for our products, injury to our reputation, costs to defend the related litigation, a diversion of management’s time and our resources, substantial monetary awards to trial participants or patients, and a decline in our valuation. We currently have product liability insurance we believe is appropriate for our stage of development and may need to obtain higher levels of product liability insurance prior to marketing any therapeutic candidates. Any insurance we have or may obtain may not provide sufficient coverage against potential liabilities. Furthermore, clinical trial and product liability insurance is becoming increasingly expensive. As a result, we may be unable to obtain sufficient insurance at a reasonable cost to protect us against losses caused by product liability claims with a potentially material adverse effect on our business.
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Our employees may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with regulatory standards and requirements, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
We are exposed to the risk of employee fraud or other misconduct. Misconduct by employees could include, but is not limited to:
intentional failures to comply with FDA or U.S. health care laws and regulations, or applicable laws, regulations, guidance, or codes of conduct set by foreign governmental authorities or self-regulatory industry organizations;
a provision of inaccurate information to any governmental authorities such as FDA;
noncompliance with manufacturing standards we may establish;
noncompliance with federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations; and
a failure to report financial information or data accurately or a failure to disclose unauthorized activities to us.
In particular, sales, marketing and business arrangements in the healthcare industry are subject to extensive laws, regulations, guidance and codes of conduct intended to prevent fraud, kickbacks, self-dealing and other abusive practices. These laws, regulations, guidance statements, and codes of conduct may restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, sales commission, customer incentive program, health care professional, and other business arrangements.
Employee misconduct could also involve the improper use of information obtained in the course of clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions, including debarment or disqualification of those employees from participation in FDA regulated activities and serious harm to our reputation. This could include violations of provisions of the U.S. federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH, other U.S. federal and state law, and requirements of non-U.S. jurisdictions, including the European Union Data Protection Directive.
It is not always possible to identify and deter employee misconduct, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to be in compliance with such laws, regulations, guidance or codes of conduct. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending such actions or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of significant fines, exclusion from government programs, or other sanctions.
Our business involves the use of hazardous materials and we and our third-party manufacturers must comply with environmental laws and regulations, which may be expensive and restrict how we conduct business.
Our third-party manufacturers’ activities and our own activities involve the controlled storage, use and disposal of hazardous and flammable materials, including the components of our pharmaceutical product candidates, test samples and reagents, biological materials and other hazardous compounds. We and our manufacturers are subject to federal, state, local, and foreign laws and regulations governing the use, generation, manufacture, storage, handling, and disposal of these hazardous materials. Although we believe our safety procedures for handling and disposing of these materials and waste products comply with the standards prescribed by these laws and regulations, we cannot eliminate the risk of accidental injury or contamination from the use, storage, handling, or disposal of hazardous materials. In the event of an accident, state, or federal or other applicable authorities may curtail our use of these materials and/or interrupt our business operations. In addition, if an accident or environmental discharge occurs, or if we discover contamination caused by prior operations, including by prior owners and operators of properties we acquire, we could be liable for cleanup obligations, damages, and fines. If such unexpected costs are substantial, this could significantly harm our financial condition and results of operations.
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Compliance with governmental regulations regarding the treatment of animals used in research could increase our operating costs, which would adversely affect the commercialization of our technology.
The Animal Welfare Act, or AWA, is the federal law covering the treatment of certain animals used in research. Currently, the AWA imposes a wide variety of specific regulations governing the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of certain animals by producers and users of research animals, most notably relating to personnel, facilities, sanitation, cage size and feeding, watering, and shipping conditions. Third parties with whom we contract are subject to registration, inspections, and reporting requirements under the AWA. Furthermore, some states have their own regulations, including general anti-cruelty legislation, which establish certain standards in handling animals. Comparable rules, regulations, and or obligations exist in many foreign jurisdictions. If we or our contractors fail to comply with regulations concerning the treatment of animals used in research, we may be subject to fines and penalties and adverse publicity, and our operations could be adversely affected.
Our current operations are concentrated in one location and any events affecting this location may have material adverse consequences.
Our current operations are located in facilities situated in Seattle. Any unplanned event, such as flood, fire, explosion, earthquake, extreme weather condition, medical epidemics, power shortage, power outage, telecommunication failure, or other natural or man-made accidents or incidents resulting in our company being unable to fully utilize the facilities, may have a material adverse effect on our ability to operate our business, particularly on a daily basis, and have significant negative consequences on our financial and operating conditions. Loss of access to these facilities may result in increased costs, delays in the development of our therapeutic candidates, or interruption of our business operations. As part of our risk management policy, we maintain insurance coverage at levels we believe are appropriate for our business. However, in the event of an accident or incident at these facilities, we cannot assure you the amounts of insurance will be sufficient to satisfy any damages and losses or that the insurance covers all risks. If our facilities are unable to operate because of an accident or incident or for any other reason, even for a short period of time, any or all of our research and development programs may be harmed. Any business interruption may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations, and prospects.
Our business may be affected by litigation and government investigations.
We may from time to time receive inquiries and subpoenas and other types of information requests from government authorities and others and we may become subject to claims and other actions related to our business activities. While the ultimate outcome of investigations, inquiries, information requests, and legal proceedings is difficult to predict, defense of litigation claims can be expensive, time-consuming and distracting, and adverse resolutions or settlements of those matters may result in, among other things, modification of our business practices, costs, and significant payments, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Capital Needs
The investment of our cash, cash equivalents, and fixed income in marketable securities is subject to risks which may cause losses and affect the liquidity of these investments.
As of March 31, 2021, we had $115.4 million in cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, and investments. We expect to invest our excess cash in marketable securities. These investments are subject to general credit, liquidity, market and interest rate risks. We may realize losses in the fair value of these investments, an inability to access cash in these investments for a potentially meaningful period, or a complete loss of these investments, which would have a negative effect on our financial statements.
Our business may be materially affected by changes to fiscal and tax policies. Negative or unexpected tax consequences could adversely affect our results of operations.
New tax laws, statutes, rules, regulations or ordinances could be enacted at any time, which could adversely affect our business operations, and our business and financial performance. Further, existing tax laws, statutes, rules,
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regulations or ordinances could be interpreted, changed, modified or applied adversely to us. For example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, or TCJA, enacted in December 2017, as modified by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act, enacted in April 2020, significantly changed the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Such changes include a reduction in the corporate tax rate and limitations on certain corporate deductions and credits, among other changes. We have generally accounted for changes related to the TCJA in accordance with our understanding of the legislation and guidance available as of the date of this filing as described in more detail in our financial statements and will continue to monitor and assess the impact of the federal legislation on our business and the extent to which various states conform to the newly enacted federal tax law. In addition, adverse changes in the financial outlook of our operations or further changes in tax laws or regulations could lead to changes in our valuation allowances against deferred tax assets on our consolidated balance sheets, which could materially affect our results of operations.
Nivalis’ pre-merger net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes are likely subject to limitations. The pre-merger net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes of Alpine and of the combined organization may also be subject to limitations as a result of ownership changes resulting from the merger.
In general, a corporation that undergoes an “ownership change” is subject to limitations on its ability to utilize its pre-change net operating loss carryforwards, or NOL carryforwards, to offset future taxable income. In general, an ownership change occurs if the aggregate stock ownership of certain stockholders, generally stockholders beneficially owning five percent or more of a corporation’s common stock, applying certain look-through and aggregation rules, increases by more than 50 percentage points over such stockholders’ lowest percentage ownership during the testing period, generally three years. Nivalis may have experienced ownership changes in the past and may experience ownership changes in the future. In addition, the closing of the merger in 2017 likely resulted in an ownership change for Nivalis. It is likely that, due to the method by which limitations on the utilization of NOL carryforwards are calculated, we will not be able to utilize any of Nivalis’ NOL carryforwards and certain other tax attributes. It is also possible that Alpine’s NOL carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be subject to limitation as a result of ownership changes in the past and/or the closing of the merger. Consequently, even if we achieve profitability, we may not be able to utilize a material portion of Alpine’s, or any of Nivalis’ NOL carryforwards and certain other tax attributes, which could have a material adverse effect on cash flow and results of operations.
 Provisions of our debt instruments may restrict our ability to pursue our business strategies.
Our term loan agreement requires us, and any debt financing we may obtain in the future may require us, to comply with various covenants that limit our ability to, among other things: 
dispose of assets;
complete mergers or acquisitions;
incur indebtedness;
encumber assets;
pay dividends or make other distributions to holders of our capital stock;
make specified investments;
engage in any new line or business; and
engagement in certain transactions with our affiliates.
These restrictions could inhibit our ability to pursue our business strategies. If we default under our term loan agreement, including a material adverse change in our business, operations or condition (financial or otherwise), and such event of default is not cured or waived, the lenders could terminate commitments to lend and cause all amounts outstanding with respect to the debt to be due and payable immediately, which in turn could result in cross defaults under other debt instruments. Our assets and cash flow may not be sufficient to fully repay borrowings under our outstanding debt instruments if some or all of these instruments are accelerated upon a default. We may incur additional indebtedness in the future. The debt instruments governing such indebtedness could contain provisions that are as, or more, restrictive than our existing debt instruments. If we are unable to repay, refinance or restructure our indebtedness when payment is
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due, the lenders could proceed against the collateral granted to them to secure such indebtedness or force us into bankruptcy or liquidation.
Risks Related to COVID-19 and Other Health Epidemics
The COVID-19 coronavirus could adversely impact our business, including our clinical trials.
In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, was first reported. Since then, SARS-CoV-2 has spread globally, including countries in which we have planned or active clinical trial sites. We have experienced and will likely continue to experience disruptions that could severely impact our business and clinical trials, including:
delays or difficulties in enrolling patients in our clinical trials;
delays or difficulties in clinical site initiation, including difficulties in recruiting clinical site investigators and clinical site staff;
diversion of healthcare resources away from the conduct of clinical trials, including the diversion of hospitals serving as our clinical trial sites and hospital staff supporting the conduct of our clinical trials;
interruption of key clinical trial activities, such as clinical trial site monitoring, due to limitations on travel imposed or recommended by federal or state governments, employers and others;
limitations in employee resources that would otherwise be focused on the conduct of our clinical trials, including because of sickness of employees or their families or the desire of employees to avoid contact with large groups of people;
delays in receiving approval from local regulatory authorities and ethics committees to initiate our planned clinical trials;
delays in clinical sites receiving the supplies and materials needed to conduct our clinical trials;
interruption in global shipping that may affect the transport of clinical trial materials, such as investigational drug product used in our clinical trials;
changes in local regulations as part of a response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak which may require us to change the ways in which our clinical trials are conducted, which may result in unexpected costs, or to discontinue the clinical trials altogether;
delays in necessary interactions with local regulators, ethics committees and other important agencies and contractors due to limitations in employee resources or forced furlough of government employees; and
refusal of the FDA to accept data from clinical trials whose conduct has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, such as due to missing data.
The global outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to rapidly evolve. The extent to which the COVID-19 coronavirus may impact our business and clinical trials will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, such as the ultimate geographic spread of the disease, the duration of the outbreak, travel restrictions and social distancing in the United States and other countries, business closures or business disruptions and the effectiveness of actions taken in the United States and other countries to contain and treat the disease.
We face risks related to health epidemics and other outbreaks, which could significantly disrupt our operations and/or business.
Our business could be adversely impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak originating in China, or by other epidemics. Our supply chain for raw materials, drug substance or drug product is worldwide, including China, and accordingly could be subject to disruption. There may be restrictions on the export or shipment of raw materials, drug substance or drug product that could materially delay our business or clinical trials.
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Certain of our research and development efforts are also conducted globally, for example the NEON-1 clinical trial includes investigative sites in Australia. A health epidemic or other outbreak, including the current COVID-19 outbreak, may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. The extent to which the outbreak impacts our results will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the outbreak and the actions to contain the outbreak or treat its impact, among others.
Risks Related to Cybersecurity
Our business and operations could suffer in the event of system failures.
Computer system, network or telecommunications failures due to events such as damage from malware, unauthorized access, terrorism, war, or natural disasters could interrupt our internal or partner operations. For example, the loss of preclinical trial data, data from completed or ongoing clinical trials for our product candidates or other confidential information could result in delays in our regulatory filings and development efforts, significantly increase our costs and result in other adverse impacts to our business. To the extent that any disruption or cybersecurity breach was to result in a loss of or damage to our data, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability and other remediation costs, and the development of our product candidates could be delayed. While we have implemented security measures, our internal computer systems and the external systems and services used by our third-party CMOs, third-party CROs, or other contractors, consultants, directors and partners remain potentially vulnerable to damage from these events.
Our information technology systems could face serious disruptions adversely affecting our business.
Our information technology and other internal infrastructure systems, including corporate firewalls, servers, leased lines, and connection to the Internet, face the risk of systemic failure potentially disruptive to our operations. A significant disruption in the availability of our information technology and other internal infrastructure systems could cause interruptions in our collaborations with our partners and delays in our research and development work.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
If we are not able to obtain and enforce patent protection for our technology, including therapeutic candidates, therapeutic products, and platform technology, development of our therapeutic candidates and platform, and commercialization of our therapeutic products may be materially and adversely affected.
Our success depends in part on our ability to obtain and maintain patents and other forms of intellectual property rights, including in-licenses of intellectual property rights of others, for our technology, including platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products, methods used to manufacture our therapeutic candidates and products, and methods for treating patients using our therapeutic candidates and products, as well as our ability to preserve our trade secrets, to prevent third parties from infringing upon our proprietary rights, and to operate without infringing upon the proprietary rights of others. Our scientific platform and substantially all of our intellectual property have been developed internally. As of March 31, 2021, our patent portfolio consists of 41 granted patents and over 155 pending patent applications. We may not be able to apply for patents on certain aspects of our technology, including therapeutic candidates and products, in a timely fashion or at all. Any future patents we obtain may not be sufficiently broad to prevent others from using our technology or from developing competing therapeutics and technology. There is no guarantee that any of our pending patent applications will result in issued or granted patents, any of our issued or granted patents will not later be found to be invalid or unenforceable, or any issued or granted patents will include claims sufficiently broad to cover our technology, including platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products, or to provide meaningful protection from our competitors. Moreover, the patent position of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies can be highly uncertain because it involves complex legal and factual questions. We will be able to protect our proprietary rights from unauthorized use by third parties only to the extent our current and future technology, including platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products, are covered by valid and enforceable patents or are effectively maintained as trade secrets. If third parties disclose or misappropriate our proprietary rights, it may materially and adversely impact our competitive position in the market.
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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, and various foreign governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment, and other provisions during the patent process. There are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. In such an event, competitors might be able to enter the market earlier than would otherwise have been the case. Further, the standards applied by the USPTO and foreign patent offices in granting patents are not always applied uniformly or predictably. For example, there is no uniform worldwide policy regarding patentable subject matter or the scope of claims allowable in biotechnology and pharmaceutical patents. As such, we do not know the degree of future protection we will have on our technology, including platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products. While we will endeavor to try to protect our technology, including platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products, with intellectual property rights such as patents, as appropriate, the process of obtaining patents is time-consuming, expensive, and sometimes unpredictable, and we can provide no assurances our technology, including therapeutic candidates and products, will be adequately protected in the future against unauthorized uses or competing claims by third parties.
In addition, recent and future changes to the patent laws and to the rules of the USPTO or other foreign patent offices may have a significant impact on our ability to protect our technology, including therapeutic candidates and products, and enforce our intellectual property rights. For example, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act enacted in 2011 involves significant changes in patent legislation. In addition, we cannot assure that court rulings or interpretations of any court decision will not adversely impact our patents or patent applications. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, there also may be uncertainty with respect to the value of patents, once obtained. Depending on decisions by the U.S. Congress, the federal courts, the USPTO, or made in foreign jurisdictions, 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.
The issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its inventorship, scope, validity, or enforceability. Once granted, patents may remain open to opposition, interference, re-examination, post-grant review, inter partes review, nullification, or derivation action in court or before patent offices or similar proceedings before or after allowance or grant, during which time third parties can raise objections against such initial grant. In the course of such proceedings, which may continue for a protracted period of time, the patent owner may be compelled to limit the scope of the pending, allowed or granted claims thus attacked or may lose the allowed or granted claims altogether. Our patent risks include that:
others may, or may be able to, make, use, offer to sell, or sell compounds that are the same as or similar to our therapeutic candidates and products but that are not covered by the claims of the patents we own or license;
we or our licensors, collaborators, or any future collaborators may not be the first to file patent applications covering certain aspects of our technology, including therapeutic candidates and products;
others may independently develop similar or alternative technology or duplicate any of our technology without infringing our intellectual property rights;
a third party may challenge our patents and, if challenged, a court may not hold that our patents are valid, enforceable, or that a third party is infringing;
a third party may challenge our patents in various patent offices and, if challenged, we may be compelled to limit the scope of our pending, allowed or granted claims or lose the allowed or granted claims altogether;
any issued patents we own or have licensed may not provide us with any competitive advantages, or may be challenged by third parties;
we may not develop additional proprietary technologies that are patentable;
the patents of others could harm our business; and
our competitors could conduct research and development activities in countries where we do not or will not have enforceable patent rights and then use the information learned from such activities to develop competitive products for sale in major commercial markets where we do not or will not have enforceable patent rights.
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We may license patent rights from third-party owners or licensors. If such owners or licensors do not properly or successfully obtain, maintain or enforce the patents underlying such licenses, or if they retain or license to others any competing rights, our competitive position and business prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
We may rely upon intellectual property rights licensed from third parties to protect our technology, including platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products. To date, we have in-licensed some intellectual property on a non-exclusive basis relating to commercially-available cell lines involved in the manufacture of our vIgD programs; however, we may also license additional third-party intellectual property in the future, to protect our technology, including intellectual property relating to our platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products. Our success will depend in part on the ability of our licensors to obtain, maintain, and enforce patent protection for our licensed intellectual property, in particular those patents to which we have secured exclusive rights. Our licensors may elect not to prosecute, or may be unsuccessful in prosecuting, any patent applications licensed to us. Even if patents issue or are granted, our licensors may fail to maintain these patents, may determine not to pursue litigation against other companies infringing these patents, or may pursue litigation less aggressively than we would. Further, any licenses we enter into may be non-exclusive and we may not be able to obtain exclusive rights, which would potentially allow third parties to develop competing products or technology. Without protection for, or exclusive right to, any intellectual property we may license, other companies might be able to offer substantially identical or similar product(s) for sale, which could adversely affect our competitive business position and harm our business prospects. In addition, we may need to sublicense any rights we have under third-party licenses to current or future collaborators or any future strategic partners. Any impairment of these sublicensed rights could result in reduced revenue under or result in termination of an agreement by one or more of our collaborators or any future strategic partners.
Patent terms may be inadequate to protect our competitive position on our platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products for an adequate amount of time.
Patents have a limited lifespan. In the United States and abroad, if all maintenance fees/annuity fees are timely paid, the natural expiration of a patent is generally 20 years from its earliest non-provisional filing date. The protection a patent affords is limited. Even if patents covering our products are obtained, once the patent life has expired, we may be open to competition from competitive products. Given the amount of time required for the development, testing and regulatory review of new products, patents protecting such products might expire before or shortly after such products are commercialized. As a result, our owned and licensed patent portfolio may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing products similar or identical to ours.
We may be unable to protect our patent intellectual property rights throughout the world.
Obtaining a valid and enforceable issued or granted patent covering our technology, including therapeutic candidates and products, in the United States and worldwide can be extremely costly. In jurisdictions where we have not obtained patent protection, competitors may use our technology, including our platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products, to develop their own products, and further, may commercialize such products in those jurisdictions and export otherwise infringing products to territories where we have not obtained patent protection. In certain instances, a competitor may be able to export otherwise infringing products in territories where we will obtain patent protection. In jurisdictions outside the United States where we will obtain patent protection, it may be more difficult to enforce a patent as compared to the United States. Competitor products may compete with our future products in jurisdictions where we do not or will not have issued or granted patents or where our issued or granted patent claims or other intellectual property rights are not sufficient to prevent competitor activities in these jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, make it difficult to enforce patents and such countries may not recognize other types of intellectual property protection, particularly relating to biopharmaceuticals. This could make it difficult for us to prevent the infringement of our patents or marketing of competing products in violation of our proprietary rights generally in certain jurisdictions. Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial cost and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business.
We generally file a provisional patent application first (a priority filing) at the USPTO. An international application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, or PCT, is usually filed within twelve months after the priority filing, at times with a United States filing. Based on the PCT filing, national and regional patent applications may be filed in various international jurisdictions, such as in Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United States. We have so far not
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filed for patent protection in all national and regional jurisdictions where such protection may be available. In addition, we may decide to abandon national and regional patent applications before they are granted. Finally, the grant proceeding of each national or regional patent is an independent proceeding which may lead to situations in which applications might in some jurisdictions be refused by the relevant registration authorities, while granted by others. It is also quite common that, depending on the country, various scopes of patent protection may be granted on the same therapeutic candidate, product, or technology. The laws of some jurisdictions do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws in the United States, and many companies have encountered significant difficulties in protecting and defending such rights in such jurisdictions. If we or our licensors encounter difficulties in protecting, or are otherwise precluded from effectively protecting, the intellectual property rights important for our business in such jurisdictions, the value of these rights may be diminished, and we may face additional competition from others in those jurisdictions. Many countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner may be compelled to grant licenses to third parties. In addition, many countries limit the enforceability of patents against government agencies or government contractors. In these countries, the patent owner may have limited remedies, which could materially diminish the value of such patent. If we or any of our licensors are forced to grant a license to third parties with respect to any patents relevant to our business, our competitive position in the relevant jurisdiction may be impaired and our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.
We or our licensors, collaborators, or any future strategic partners may become subject to third party claims or litigation alleging infringement of patents or other proprietary rights or seeking to invalidate patents or other proprietary rights, and we may need to resort to litigation to protect or enforce our patents or other proprietary rights, all of which could be costly, time consuming, delay or prevent the development of our therapeutic candidates and commercialization of our therapeutic products, or put our patents and other proprietary rights at risk.
We or our licensors, licensees, collaborators, or any future strategic partners may be subject to third-party claims for infringement or misappropriation of patent or other proprietary rights. We are generally obligated under our license or collaboration agreements to indemnify and hold harmless our licensors, licensees, or collaborators for damages arising from intellectual property infringement by us. If we or our licensors, licensees, collaborators, or any future strategic partners are found to infringe a third-party patent or other intellectual property rights, we could be required to pay damages, potentially including treble damages, if we are found to have willfully infringed. In addition, we or our licensors, licensees, collaborators, or any future strategic partners may choose to seek, or be required to seek, a license from a third party, which may not be available on acceptable terms, if at all. Even if a license can be obtained on acceptable terms, the rights may be non-exclusive, which could give our competitors access to the same technology or intellectual property rights licensed to or from us. If we fail to obtain a required license, we or our licensee or collaborator, or any future licensee or collaborator, may be unable to effectively market therapeutic products based on our technology, which could limit our ability to generate revenue or achieve profitability and possibly prevent us from generating revenue sufficient to sustain our operations. In addition, we may find it necessary to pursue claims or initiate lawsuits to protect or enforce our patent or other intellectual property rights. The cost to us in defending or initiating any litigation or other proceeding relating to patent or other proprietary rights, even if resolved in our favor, could be substantial, and litigation would divert our management’s attention. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of complex patent litigation more effectively than we can because they have substantially greater resources. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of patent litigation or other proceedings could delay our research and development efforts and limit our ability to continue our operations.
Although we do not believe our technology infringes the intellectual property rights of others, we are aware of one or more patents or patent applications that may relate to our technology, and third parties may assert against our claims alleging infringement of their intellectual property rights regardless of whether their claims have merit. Infringement claims could harm our reputation, may result in the expenditure of significant resources to defend and resolve such claims, and could require us to pay monetary damages if we are found to have infringed the intellectual property rights of others.
If we were to initiate legal proceedings against a third party to enforce a patent covering our technology, including therapeutic candidates and products, the defendant could counterclaim that our patent is invalid or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity or unenforceability are commonplace. Grounds for a validity challenge could be an alleged failure to meet any of several statutory requirements, for example, patent ineligibility, lack of novelty, lack of written description, obviousness, or non-
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enablement. Grounds for an unenforceability assertion could be an allegation someone connected with prosecution of the patent withheld relevant information from the USPTO, or made a misleading statement, during prosecution. The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability during patent litigation is unpredictable. With respect to the validity question, for example, we cannot be certain 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 or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on our technology, including our platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products. Such a loss of patent protection could have a material adverse impact on our business. Patents and other intellectual property rights also will not protect our technology, including our platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products, if competitors design around our protected technology, including our platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products, without legally infringing our patents or other intellectual property rights.
It is also possible we have failed to identify relevant third-party patents or applications. For example, patent applications in the United States and elsewhere are published approximately 18 months after the earliest filing for which priority is claimed, with such earliest filing date being commonly referred to as the priority date. Therefore, patent applications covering our technology, including our platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products, could have been filed by others without our knowledge. Additionally, pending patent applications which have been published can, subject to certain limitations, be later amended in a manner that could cover our technology, including our platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products. Third party intellectual property rights holders may also actively bring infringement claims against us. We cannot guarantee we will be able to successfully settle or otherwise resolve such infringement claims. If we are unable to successfully settle future claims on terms acceptable to us, we may be required to engage in or continue costly, unpredictable, and time-consuming litigation and may be prevented from, or experience substantial delays in, marketing our technology, including therapeutic candidates and products. If we fail in any such dispute, in addition to being forced to pay damages, we may be temporarily or permanently prohibited from commercializing our technology, including a therapeutic product, held to be infringing. We might, if possible, also be forced to redesign therapeutic candidates or products so we no longer infringe the third-party intellectual property rights. Any of these events, even if we were ultimately to prevail, could require us to divert substantial financial and management resources we would otherwise be able to devote to our business.
If we fail to comply with our obligations under any license, collaboration, or other agreements, we may be required to pay damages and could lose intellectual property rights necessary for developing and protecting our technology, including our platform technology, therapeutic candidates, and therapeutic products, or we could lose certain rights to grant sublicenses, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and business prospects.
Our current licenses impose, and any future licenses we enter into are likely to impose, various development, commercialization, funding, milestone, royalty, diligence, sublicensing, insurance, patent prosecution and enforcement, and other obligations on us. If we breach any of these obligations, or use the intellectual property licensed to us in an unauthorized manner, we may be required to pay damages and the licensor may have the right to terminate the license, which could result in us being unable to develop, manufacture, and sell or offer to sell products covered by the licensed technology or enable a competitor to gain access to the licensed technology. Moreover, our licensors may own or control intellectual property that has not been licensed to us and, as a result, we may be subject to claims, regardless of their merit, that we are infringing or otherwise violating the licensor’s rights. In addition, while we cannot currently determine the amount of the royalty obligations we would be required to pay on future sales of licensed products, if any, the amounts may be significant. The amount of our future royalty obligations will depend on the technology and intellectual property we use in therapeutic products we successfully develop and commercialize, if any. Therefore, even if we successfully develop and commercialize therapeutic products, we may be unable to achieve or maintain profitability.
If we do not obtain patent term extension and data exclusivity for any therapeutic candidate or product we may develop, our business may be materially harmed.
Depending upon the timing, duration, and specifics of any FDA marketing approval of any therapeutic candidate or product we may develop, one or more of our or in-licensed U.S. patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984 (Hatch-Waxman Act). The
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Hatch-Waxman Act permits a patent term extension of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during the FDA regulatory review process. A patent term extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval, only one patent may be extended and only those claims covering the approved drug, a method for using it, or a method for manufacturing it may be extended. Similar extensions as compensation for patent term lost during regulatory review processes are also available in certain foreign countries and territories, such as in Europe under a Supplementary Patent Certificate. However, we may not be granted an extension in the United States and/or foreign countries and territories because of, for example, failing to exercise due diligence during the testing phase or regulatory review process, 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 the term of any such extension is shorter than what we request, our competitors may obtain approval of competing products following our patent expiration, and our business, financial condition, results of operations, and growth prospects could be materially harmed.
If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our trade secrets, our business and competitive position would be harmed.
In addition to seeking patent protection for certain aspects of our technology, including platform technology and therapeutic candidates and products, we also consider trade secrets, including confidential and unpatented know-how, important to the maintenance of our competitive position. We protect trade secrets and confidential and unpatented know-how, in part, by entering into non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with parties who have access to such knowledge, such as our employees, corporate collaborators, outside scientific collaborators, CROs, contract manufacturers, consultants, advisors, and other third parties. We also enter into confidentiality and invention or patent assignment agreements with our employees and consultants obligating them to maintain confidentiality and assign their inventions to us. Despite these efforts, any of these parties may breach the agreements and disclose our proprietary information, including our trade secrets, and we may not be able to obtain adequate remedies for such breaches. We also cannot guarantee that we have entered into such agreements with each party that may have or has had access to our trade secrets or proprietary technology and processes. Enforcing a claim that a party illegally disclosed or misappropriated a trade secret is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. In addition, some courts in the United States and certain foreign jurisdictions are less willing or unwilling to protect trade secrets. If any of our trade secrets were to be lawfully obtained or independently developed by a competitor, we would have no right to prevent them from using that technology or information to compete with us. If any of our trade secrets were to be disclosed to or independently developed by a competitor, our competitive position would be harmed.
We are also subject both in the United States and outside the United States to various regulatory schemes regarding requests for the information we provide to regulatory authorities, which may include, in whole or in part, trade secrets or confidential commercial information. While we are likely to be notified in advance of any disclosure of such information and would likely object to such disclosure, there can be no assurance our challenge to the request would be successful.
We may be in the future subject to claims we or our employees or consultants have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged trade secrets of our employees’ or consultants’ former employers or their clients. These claims may be costly to defend and if we do not successfully do so, we may be required to pay monetary damages, may be prohibited from using some of our research and development and may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel.
Many of our employees were previously employed at universities or biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our current and potential competitors. We may receive correspondence from other companies alleging the improper use or disclosure, and have received, and may in the future receive, correspondence from other companies regarding the use or disclosure, by certain of our employees who have previously been employed elsewhere in our industry, including with our competitors, of their former employer’s trade secrets or other proprietary information. Responding to these allegations can be costly and disruptive to our business, even when the allegations are without merit, and can be a distraction to management. We may be subject to claims in the future that our employees have, or we have, inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed trade secrets or other proprietary information of their former employers. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. If we fail in defending current or future claims, in addition to
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paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights, personnel, or the ability to use some of our research and development. A loss of intellectual property, key research personnel, or their work product could hamper our ability to commercialize, or prevent us from commercializing, our therapeutic candidates, which could severely harm our business. Even if we are successful in defending against these claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management.
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 materially and adversely affected.
Our trademarks or trade names may be challenged, infringed, circumvented, or declared generic or determined to be infringing on other marks. Any trademark litigation could be expensive. We may not be able to protect our rights to these trademarks and trade names or may be forced to stop using these names, which we need for name recognition by potential partners or customers in our markets of interest. If we are unable to establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, we may not be able to compete effectively, and our business may be materially and adversely affected.
Third parties may independently develop similar or superior technology.
There can be no assurance others will not independently develop, or have not already developed, similar or more advanced technologies than our technology or that others will not design around, or have not already designed around, aspects of our technology or our trade secrets developed therefrom. If third parties develop technology similar or superior to our technology, or they successfully design around our current or future technology, our competitive position, business prospects, and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
Breaches of our internal computer systems, or those of our contractors, vendors, or consultants, may place our patents or proprietary rights at risk.
The loss of clinical or preclinical data or data from any future clinical trial involving our technology, including therapeutic candidates and products, could result in delays in our development and regulatory filing efforts and significantly increase our costs. In addition, theft or other exposure of data may interfere with our ability to protect our intellectual property, including trade secrets, and other information critical to our operations. We have experienced in the past, and may experience in the future, unauthorized intrusions into our internal computer systems, including portions of our internal computer systems storing information related to our platform technology, therapeutic candidates and products, and we can provide no assurances that certain sensitive and proprietary information relating to one or more of our therapeutic candidates or products has not been, or will not in the future be, compromised. Although we have invested significant resources to enhance the security of our computer systems, there can be no assurances we will not experience additional unauthorized intrusions into our computer systems, or those of our CROs, vendors, contractors, and consultants, that we will successfully detect future unauthorized intrusions in a timely manner, or that future unauthorized intrusions will not result in material adverse effects on our financial condition, reputation, or business prospects. Payments related to the elimination of ransomware may materially affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Certain data breaches must also be reported to affected individuals and the government, and in some cases to the media, under provisions of HIPAA, as amended by HITECH, other U.S. federal and state law, and requirements of non-U.S. jurisdictions, including the European Union Data Protection Directive, and financial penalties may also apply.
Risks Related to Government Regulation
We may be unable to obtain U.S. or foreign regulatory approval and, as a result, may be unable to commercialize our therapeutic candidates.
Our therapeutic candidates are subject to extensive governmental regulations relating to, among other things, research, development, testing, manufacture, quality control, approval, labeling, packaging, promotion, storage, record-keeping, advertising, distribution, sampling, pricing, sales and marketing, safety, post-approval monitoring and reporting, and export and import of drugs. Rigorous preclinical testing and clinical trials and an extensive regulatory approval
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process are required to be completed successfully in the United States and in many foreign jurisdictions before a new therapeutic can be marketed. Satisfaction of these and other regulatory requirements is costly, time consuming, uncertain, and subject to unanticipated delays. We have not obtained regulatory approval for any therapeutic candidates, and it is possible none of the therapeutic candidates we may develop will obtain the regulatory approvals necessary for us or our collaborators to begin selling them.
We have very limited experience in conducting and managing the clinical trials necessary to obtain regulatory approvals, including approval by the FDA as well as foreign regulatory authorities, such as the EMA. The time required to obtain FDA and foreign regulatory approvals is unpredictable but typically takes many years following the commencement of clinical trials, depending upon the type, complexity, and novelty of the therapeutic candidate, and at the substantial discretion of the regulatory authorities. The standards the FDA and its foreign counterparts use when regulating us are not always applied predictably or uniformly and can change. Any analysis we perform of data from preclinical and clinical activities is subject to confirmation and interpretation by regulatory authorities, who could delay, limit, or prevent regulatory approval. We may also encounter unexpected delays or increased costs due to new government regulations, future legislation or administrative action, or from changes in the policy of FDA or foreign regulatory authorities during the period of product development, clinical trials, and regulatory review by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities. It is impossible to predict whether legislative changes will be enacted, or whether FDA or foreign, regulations, guidance, or interpretations will be changed, or what the impact of such changes, if any, may be.
Because the therapeutic candidates we are developing may represent a new class of therapeutics, we are not aware of any definitive policies, practices, or guidelines that the FDA or its foreign counterparts have established in relation to these drugs. While we believe the therapeutic candidates we are currently developing are regulated as new biological products under the Public Health Service Act, or PHSA, the FDA could decide to regulate them or other products we may develop as drugs under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or FDCA. The lack of policies, practices, or guidelines may hinder or slow review by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities of any regulatory filings we may submit. Moreover, the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities may respond to these submissions by defining requirements we may not have anticipated. Such responses could lead to significant delays in the clinical development of our therapeutic candidates.
Our therapeutic candidates could fail to receive regulatory approval for many reasons, including the following:
the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with the design or implementation of our clinical trials;
we may be unable to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities that a therapeutic candidate is safe and effective for its proposed indication;
the results of clinical trials may not meet the level of statistical significance required by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities for approval;
we may be unable to demonstrate that a therapeutic candidate’s clinical and other benefits outweigh its safety risks;
the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with our interpretation of data from preclinical studies or clinical trials;
the data collected from clinical trials of our therapeutic candidates may not be sufficient to support the submission of a Biologics License Application, or BLA, or other submission or to obtain regulatory approval in the United States, the European Union or elsewhere;
the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may fail to approve the manufacturing processes or facilities of third-party manufacturers with which we contract for clinical and commercial supplies; and
the approval policies or regulations of the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may significantly change in a manner rendering our clinical data insufficient for approval.
Any delay or failure in obtaining required approvals could have a material adverse effect on our ability to generate revenues from the particular therapeutic candidate for which we are seeking approval. The FDA, the EMA and other regulatory authorities have substantial discretion in the approval process, and in determining when or whether regulatory approval will be obtained for any of our therapeutic candidates. Even if we believe the data collected from
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preclinical and clinical trials of our therapeutic candidates are promising, such data may not be sufficient to support approval by the FDA, the EMA or any other regulatory authority. Furthermore, any regulatory approval to market a product may be subject to limitations on the approved uses for which we may market the product or in the product labeling or be subject to other restrictions. Regulatory authorities also may impose requirements for costly post-marketing studies or clinical trials and surveillance to monitor the safety or efficacy of the therapeutic. In addition, the FDA has the authority to require a REMS plan as part of the approval of a BLA or New Drug Application, or NDA, or after approval, which may impose further requirements or restrictions on the distribution or use of an approved drug or biologic, 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. These limitations and restrictions may limit the size of the market for the therapeutic and affect coverage and reimbursement by third-party payors.
We are also subject to numerous foreign regulatory requirements governing, among other things, the conduct of clinical trials, manufacturing, marketing authorization, pricing, and third-party reimbursement. The foreign regulatory approval process varies among countries and may include all of the risks associated with FDA approval described above as well as risks attributable to the satisfaction of local regulations in foreign jurisdictions. Moreover, the time required to obtain approval may differ from that required to obtain FDA approval. Approval by the FDA does not ensure approval by regulatory authorities outside the U.S. and vice versa.
If we fail to obtain orphan drug designation or obtain or maintain orphan drug exclusivity for certain of our products, our competitors may sell products to treat the same conditions and our revenue may be reduced.
Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may designate a product as an orphan drug if it is intended to treat a rare disease or condition, defined as a patient population of fewer than 200,000 in the United States, or a patient population greater than 200,000 in the United States where there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing the drug will be recovered from sales in the United States. In the United States, orphan drug designation entitles a party to financial incentives such as opportunities for grant funding towards clinical trial costs, tax advantages and user-fee waivers. In addition, if a therapeutic product with orphan drug designation subsequently receives the first FDA approval for the indication for which it has such designation, the therapeutic product is entitled to orphan product exclusivity, which means the FDA may not approve any other applications to market the same therapeutic product for the same indication for seven years, except in limited circumstances such as a showing of clinical superiority over the product with orphan exclusivity or where the manufacturer is unable to assure sufficient product quantity.
As in the United States, we may apply for designation of a therapeutic candidate as an orphan drug for the treatment of a specific indication in the European Union before the application for marketing authorization is made. In the European Union, the EMA’s Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products, grants orphan drug designation to promote the development of products that are intended for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of a life-threatening or chronically debilitating condition affecting not more than five in 10,000 persons in the European Union. Additionally, designation is granted for products intended for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of a life-threatening, seriously debilitating or serious and chronic condition when, without incentives, it is unlikely that sales of the drug in the European Union would be sufficient to justify the necessary investment in developing the drug or biological product or where there is no satisfactory method of diagnosis, prevention or treatment, or, if such a method exists, the medicine must be of significant benefit to those affected by the condition. Sponsors of orphan drugs in the European Union can enjoy economic and marketing benefits, including reduction of fees or fee waivers and up to ten years of market exclusivity for the approved indication unless another applicant can show its therapeutic product is safer, more effective, or otherwise clinically superior to the orphan-designated therapeutic product. This period may be reduced to six years if the orphan drug designation criteria are no longer met, including where it is shown that the product is sufficiently profitable not to justify maintenance of market exclusivity.
We may seek orphan drug designation from the FDA and the EMA for certain of our product candidates. However, we may never receive such designation. Even if we are able to obtain orphan designation, we may not be the first to obtain marketing approval for any particular orphan indication due to the uncertainties associated with developing pharmaceutical products. In addition, exclusive marketing rights in the United States may be limited if we seek approval for an indication broader than the orphan-designated indication or 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
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product to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition. Further, even if we obtain orphan drug exclusivity for a product, that exclusivity may not effectively protect the product from competition because different drugs with different active moieties can be approved for the same condition. Even after an orphan drug is approved, regulatory authorities may subsequently approve the same drug with the same active moiety for the same condition if they conclude that the later drug is safer, more effective, or makes a major contribution to patient care. Orphan drug designation neither shortens the development time or regulatory review time of a product candidate nor gives the product candidate any advantage in the regulatory review or approval process. In addition, orphan drug exclusivity could block the approval of one of our therapeutic candidates if a competitor obtains approval of the same therapeutic product as defined by the FDA before we do, or if our therapeutic candidate is determined to be within the same class as the competitor’s therapeutic product for the same indication or disease.
The respective orphan designation and exclusivity frameworks in the United States and in the European Union are subject to change, and any such changes may affect our ability to obtain EU or U.S. orphan designations in the future.
If we or our existing or future collaborators, manufacturers, or service providers fail to comply with healthcare laws and regulations, we or such other parties could be subject to enforcement actions, which could adversely affect our ability to develop, market, and sell our therapeutics and may harm our reputation.
Although we do not currently have any products on the market, once we begin commercializing our therapeutic candidates, if approved, we will be subject to additional healthcare statutory and regulatory requirements and enforcement by the federal, state, and foreign governments of the jurisdictions in which we conduct our business. Healthcare providers, physicians, and third-party payors play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of any therapeutic candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. Our future arrangements with third-party payors and customers may expose us to broadly applicable fraud, abuse, and other healthcare laws and regulations constraining the business or financial arrangements and relationships through which we market, sell, and distribute the therapeutic candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. Restrictions under applicable federal and state healthcare laws and regulations include the following:
the U.S. federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons from soliciting, receiving, offering, or providing remuneration, directly or indirectly, to induce either the referral of an individual for a healthcare item or service, or the purchasing or ordering of an item or service, for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under a federal healthcare program such as Medicare or Medicaid;
the U.S. federal False Claims Act, which imposes criminal and civil penalties, including through civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, against individuals or entities for knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, to the federal government, false or fraudulent claims for payment or making a false statement to avoid, decrease, or conceal an obligation to pay money to the federal government. In addition, the government may assert a claim including items and services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the False Claims Act;
state all-payor fraud laws, which impose criminal and civil liability for executing a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, or knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing, or covering up a material fact or making any materially false statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services; similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;
HIPAA, HITECH, and their implementing regulations, which impose obligations on certain covered entity healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses as well as their business associates performing certain services involving the use or disclosure of individually identifiable health information, including mandatory contractual terms, with respect to safeguarding the privacy, security, and transmission of individually identifiable health information, and require notification to affected individuals and regulatory authorities of certain breaches of security of individually identifiable health information;
the federal Physician Payment Sunshine Act and its implementing regulations, also referred to as “Open Payments,” require applicable manufacturers of pharmaceutical and biological drugs, among other covered medical products, reimbursable under Medicare, Medicaid, or Children’s Health Insurance Programs to
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track and report to the CMS certain payments and transfers of value, including but not limited to, consulting fees, travel reimbursements, and research grants made to covered recipients, including physicians, as defined by law, and teaching hospitals, as well as certain physicians’ and their immediate family members’ ownership and investment interests in the applicable manufacturer, with limited exceptions; effective January 1, 2022, for data reported to the CMS in 2022, such reporting obligations with respect to covered recipients will be extended to include payments and transfers of value made during the previous year to certain non-physician providers, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, among others; and
analogous state laws and regulations, such as, state anti-kickback and false claims laws potentially applicable to sales or marketing arrangements and claims involving healthcare items or services reimbursed by non-governmental third-party payors, including private insurers; and some state laws require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government in addition to requiring drug manufacturers to report information related to payments to physicians and other healthcare providers or marketing expenditures, and state laws governing the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and often are not preempted by HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts.
Ensuring our future business arrangements with third-parties comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations could involve substantial costs. If our operations are found to be in violation of any such requirements, we may be subject to penalties, including civil or criminal penalties, monetary damages, the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, or exclusion from participation in government contracting, healthcare reimbursement, or other government programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, any of which could adversely affect our financial results. 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 against us for an alleged or suspected violation could cause our company to incur significant legal expenses and could divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business, even if our defense is successful. In addition, achieving and sustaining compliance with applicable laws and regulations may be costly to us in terms of money, time, and resources.
If we or our current or future collaborators, manufacturers, or service providers fail to comply with applicable federal, state, or foreign laws or regulations, we could be subject to enforcement actions, which could affect our ability to develop, market, and sell our therapeutics successfully and could harm our reputation and lead to reduced acceptance of our therapeutics by the market. These enforcement actions include, among others:
adverse regulatory inspection findings;
warning or untitled letters;
voluntary product recalls with public notification or medical product safety alerts to healthcare professionals;
restrictions on, or prohibitions against, marketing our therapeutics;
restrictions on, or prohibitions against, importation or exportation of our therapeutics;
suspension of review or refusal to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications;
exclusion from participation in government-funded healthcare programs;
exclusion from eligibility for the award of government contracts for our therapeutics;
FDA debarment;
suspension or withdrawal of therapeutic approvals;
seizures or administrative detention of therapeutics;
injunctions; and
restitution, disgorgement of profits, or civil and criminal penalties and fines.
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Enacted and future legislation may increase the difficulty and cost for us to obtain marketing approval of our therapeutic candidates.
The policies of the FDA or similar regulatory authorities may change, and additional government regulations may be enacted that could prevent, limit or delay regulatory approval of our product candidates. For example, in 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act, or Cures Act, was signed into law. The Cures Act, among other things, is intended to modernize the regulation of drugs and biologics and spur innovation, but it is still being implemented and its ultimate implementation is unclear. If we or our collaborators are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we or our collaborators are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, our therapeutic candidates may not obtain or maintain regulatory approval, and we may not achieve or sustain profitability, which would adversely affect our business.
We cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of government regulation that may arise from future legislation or executive or administrative action, either in the United States or abroad. The FDA’s and other regulatory authorities’ policies may change, and additional government regulations may be enacted that could prevent, limit or delay regulatory approval of our product candidates. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any marketing approval that we may have obtained, and we may not achieve or sustain profitability. It is difficult to predict how current and future legislation, executive actions, and litigation, including the executive orders, will be implemented, and the extent to which they will impact our business, our clinical development, and the FDA’s and other agencies’ ability to exercise their regulatory authority, including FDA’s pre-approval inspections and timely review of any regulatory filings or applications we submit to the FDA. To the extent any legislative or executive actions impose constraints on FDA’s ability to engage in oversight and implementation activities in the normal course, our business may be negatively impacted.
Any therapeutics we develop may become subject to unfavorable pricing regulations, third-party coverage and reimbursement practices, or healthcare reform initiatives, thereby harming our business.
The regulations governing marketing approvals, pricing, coverage, and reimbursement for new drugs and biologics vary widely from country to country. Many countries require approval of the sale price of a drug before it can be marketed. In many countries, the pricing review period begins after marketing or product licensing approval is granted. In some foreign markets, prescription pharmaceutical pricing remains subject to continuing governmental control even after initial approval is granted. Although we intend to monitor these regulations, our programs are currently in the early stages of development and we will not be able to assess the impact of price regulations for a number of years. As a result, we might obtain regulatory approval for a product in a particular country but then be subject to price regulations delaying our commercial launch of the product and negatively impacting the revenues we are able to generate from the sale of the product in that country.
Our ability to commercialize any therapeutics successfully also will depend in part on the extent to which coverage and reimbursement for these products and related treatments will be available from government health administration authorities, private health insurers, and other organizations. However, there may be significant delays in obtaining coverage for newly-approved therapeutics. Moreover, eligibility for coverage does not necessarily signify a therapeutic will be reimbursed in all cases or at a rate covering our costs, including research, development, manufacture, sale, and distribution costs. Also, interim payments for new therapeutics, if applicable, may be insufficient to cover our costs and may not be made permanent. Thus, even if we succeed in bringing one or more therapeutics to the market, these products may not be considered cost-effective, and the amount reimbursed for any of them may be insufficient to allow us to sell them on a competitive basis. Because our programs are in the early stages of development, we are unable at this time to determine their cost effectiveness, coverage prospects, potential compendia listings, or the likely level or method of reimbursement, if covered. It is equally difficult for us to predict how Medicare coverage and reimbursement policies will be applied to our products in the future, and coverage and reimbursement under different federal healthcare programs are not always consistent. Medicare reimbursement rates may also reflect budgetary constraints placed on the Medicare program.
Third-party payors often rely upon Medicare coverage policies and payment limitations in setting their own reimbursement rates. These coverage policies and limitations may rely, in part, on compendia listings for approved therapeutics. Our inability to promptly obtain relevant compendia listings, coverage, and adequate reimbursement from
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both government-funded and private payors for new therapeutics we develop and for which we obtain regulatory approval could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, our ability to raise capital needed to commercialize products, and our financial condition.
We believe the efforts of governments and third-party payors to contain or reduce the cost of healthcare, and legislative and regulatory proposals to broaden the availability of healthcare, will continue to affect the business and financial condition of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies. A number of legislative and regulatory changes in the healthcare system in the United States and other major healthcare markets have been proposed, and such efforts have expanded substantially in recent years. These developments could, directly or indirectly, affect our ability to sell our products, if approved, at a favorable price. In addition, third-party payors who reimburse patients or healthcare providers, such as government and private insurance plans, are seeking greater upfront discounts, additional rebates, and other concessions to reduce the prices for therapeutics. If the price we are able to charge for any therapeutics we develop, or the reimbursement provided for such products, is inadequate, our return on investment could be adversely affected.
Pursuant to health reform legislation and related initiatives, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, are working with various healthcare providers to develop, refine, and implement Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs, and other innovative models of care for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, including the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative, the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, the Duals Demonstration, and other models. The continued development and expansion of ACOs and other innovative models of care will have an uncertain impact on any future reimbursement we may receive for approved therapeutics administered by such organizations.
In addition, in recent years, the U.S. Congress has enacted various laws seeking to reduce the federal debt level and contain healthcare expenditures. For example, as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, an annual 2% reduction to Medicare payments that took effect in 2013 and will remain in effect through 2030, with the exception of a temporary suspension implemented under various COVID-19 relief legislation from May 1, 2020 through the end of 2021, unless additional Congressional action is taken. These across-the-board spending cuts could adversely affect our future revenues, earnings, and cash flows.
There has been increasing legislative and enforcement interest in the United States with respect to specialty drug pricing practices. Specifically, there have been several recent U.S. Congressional inquiries and proposed federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, reduce the cost of prescription drugs under Medicare, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drugs. At the federal level, the Trump administration used several means to propose or implement drug pricing reform, including through federal budget proposals, executive orders and policy initiatives. For example, in 2020, HHS and CMS issued various rules that are expected to impact, among others, price reductions from pharmaceutical manufacturers to plan sponsors under Part D, fee arrangements between pharmacy benefit managers and manufacturers, manufacturer price reporting requirements under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, including regulations that affect manufacturer-sponsored patient assistance programs subject to pharmacy benefit manager accumulator programs and Best Price reporting related to certain value-based purchasing arrangements. Multiple lawsuits have been brought against the HHS challenging various aspects of the rules. In January 2021, the Biden administration issued a “regulatory freeze” memorandum that directs department and agency heads to review new or pending rules of the prior administration. It is possible that additional governmental action will be taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, effective January 1, 2024, the statutory cap on Medicaid Drug Rebate Program rebates that manufacturers pay to state Medicaid programs will be eliminated. Elimination of this cap may require pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay more in rebates than it receives on the sale of products, which could have a material impact on our business. Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government programs may result in a reduction in payments from private payors.
The implementation of cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may prevent us from being able to generate revenue, attain profitability or commercialize our product candidates. The impact of lawsuits as well as legislative, executive, and administrative actions of the Biden administration on us and the biopharmaceutical industry as a whole is unclear. We expect that additional state and federal healthcare reform measures will be adopted in the future, any of which could limit the amounts that federal and state governments will pay for healthcare products and services, which could result in reduced demand for our product candidates or additional pricing pressures.
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The healthcare industry is heavily regulated in the U.S. at the federal, state, and local levels, and our failure to comply with applicable requirements may subject us to penalties and negatively affect our financial condition.
As a healthcare company, our operations, clinical trial activities, and interactions with healthcare providers will be subject to extensive regulation in the United States, particularly if we receive FDA approval for any of our products in the future. For example, if we receive FDA approval for a therapeutic for which reimbursement is available under a federal healthcare program, it would be subject to a variety of federal laws and regulations, including those prohibiting the filing of false or improper claims for payment by federal healthcare programs, prohibiting unlawful inducements for the referral of business reimbursable by federal healthcare programs, and requiring disclosure of certain payments or other transfers of value made to U.S.-licensed physicians, as defined by law, and teaching hospitals. Effective January 1, 2022, for data reported to CMS in 2022, reporting obligations under the Sunshine Act with respect to covered recipients will be extended to include payments and transfers of value made during the previous year to certain non-physician providers, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, among others. If our past or present operations, or those of our contractors or agents who conduct business on our behalf, are found to be in violation of any of these laws, we could be subject to enforcement action, government investigation, civil and criminal penalties, which could hurt our business, operations, and financial condition. It is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct by parties we may contract with, including employees, contractors, collaborators, CROs, and suppliers, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent misconduct may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to comply with these laws or regulations. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of significant penalties, including civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, imprisonment, exclusion from participation in government funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, integrity oversight and reporting obligations, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations.
Similarly, some state laws prohibit, among other offenses, knowingly and willfully executing a scheme to defraud any health care benefit program, including private payors, or falsifying, concealing, or covering up a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for items or services under a health care benefit program. We may also be subject to the privacy and security provisions of HIPAA, as amended by HITECH, which restricts the use and disclosure of patient-identifiable health information, mandates the adoption of standards relating to the privacy and security of patient-identifiable health information, and requires the reporting of certain security breaches to healthcare provider customers with respect to such information. Additionally, many states have enacted similar laws imposing more stringent requirements on entities like us. Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could result in substantial penalties and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Complying with new regulatory requirements and changes in the laws and regulations will increase our compliance cost and exposure to potential liability.
Our ability to obtain services, reimbursement, or funding from the federal government may be impacted by possible reductions in federal spending.
The U.S. federal budget remains in flux and could, among other things, cut Medicare payments to providers. The Medicare program is frequently mentioned as a target for spending cuts. The full impact on our business of any future cuts in Medicare or other programs is uncertain. We cannot predict the extent of legislative, executive, and administrative actions of the Biden administration will have on us and the biopharmaceutical industry as a whole. If federal spending is reduced, anticipated budgetary shortfalls may also impact the ability of relevant agencies such as the FDA or the National Institutes of Health to continue to function at current levels. Amounts allocated to federal grants and contracts may be reduced or eliminated. These reductions may also impact the ability of relevant agencies to timely review and approve drug research and development, manufacturing, and marketing activities, which may delay our ability to develop, market, and sell any therapeutics we may develop.
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If any of our therapeutic candidates receives marketing approval and we or others later identify undesirable side effects caused by the therapeutic product, our ability to market and derive revenue from the therapeutic products could be compromised.
In the event any of our therapeutic candidates receive regulatory approval and we or others identify undesirable side effects, adverse events, or other problems caused by one of our therapeutics, any of the following adverse events could occur, which could result in the loss of significant revenue to us and materially and adversely affect our results of operations and business:
regulatory authorities may withdraw their approval of the product and require us to take the product off the market or seize the product;
we may need to recall the therapeutic or change the way the therapeutic is administered to patients;
additional restrictions may be imposed on the marketing and promotion of the particular therapeutic or the manufacturing processes for the therapeutic or any component thereof;
we may not be able to secure or maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement for our proprietary therapeutic products from government (including U.S. federal health care programs) and private payors;
we may lose or see adverse alterations to compendia listings or treatment protocols specified by accountable care organizations;
we may be subject to fines, restitution, or disgorgement of profits or revenues, injunctions, or the imposition of civil penalties or criminal prosecution;
regulatory authorities may require the addition of labeling statements, such as a “black box” warning, or equivalent, or a contraindication;
regulatory authorities may require us to implement a REMS plan, or to conduct post-marketing studies or clinical trials and surveillance to monitor the safety or efficacy of the product;
we may be required to create a Medication Guide outlining the risks of such side effects for distribution to patients;
we could be sued and held liable for harm caused to patients;
the therapeutic may become less competitive; and
our reputation may suffer.
Our therapeutic candidates for which we intend to seek approval as biologic products may face competition sooner than anticipated.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, includes a subtitle called the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009, or BPCIA, which created an abbreviated approval pathway for biological products that are biosimilar to or interchangeable with an FDA-licensed reference biological product. Under the BPCIA, an application for a biosimilar product may not be submitted to the FDA until four years following the date that the reference product was first licensed by the FDA. In addition, the approval of a biosimilar product may not be made effective by the FDA until 12 years from the date on which the reference product was first licensed. During this 12-year period of exclusivity, another company may still market a competing version of the reference product if the FDA approves a full BLA for the competing product containing the sponsor’s own preclinical data and data from adequate and well-controlled clinical trials to demonstrate the safety, purity and potency of their product. The law is complex and is still being interpreted and implemented by the FDA. As a result, its ultimate impact, implementation, and meaning are subject to uncertainty. While it is uncertain when such processes intended to implement BPCIA may be fully adopted by the FDA, any such processes could have a material adverse effect on the future commercial prospects for our biological products.
We believe that any of our therapeutic candidates approved as a biological product under a BLA should qualify for the 12-year period of exclusivity. However, there is a risk that this exclusivity could be shortened due to congressional action or otherwise, or that the FDA will not consider our therapeutic candidates to be reference products
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for competing products, potentially creating the opportunity for generic competition sooner than anticipated. Other aspects of the BPCIA, some of which may impact the BPCIA exclusivity provisions, have also been the subject of recent litigation. Moreover, the extent to which a biosimilar, once approved, will be substituted for any one of our reference products in a way that is similar to traditional generic substitution for non-biological products is not yet clear, and will depend on a number of marketplace and regulatory factors that are still developing.
Significant developments stemming from the United Kingdom’s recent withdrawal from the European Union could have a material adverse effect on us.
In June 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum and voted in favor of leaving the European Union, and in January 2020, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union, with a transitional period that lasted until December 31, 2020. A trade and cooperation agreement that outlines the future trading relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union was agreed in December 2020. The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and ongoing negotiations related to the United Kingdom’s future trade and other relationships with the European Union have created political and economic uncertainty, particularly in the United Kingdom and the European Union. Any business we conduct, now and in the future, in the United Kingdom, the European Union, and worldwide could be affected during this period of uncertainty, and perhaps longer, by the impact of the United Kingdom’s decision to withdraw from the European Union. There are many ways in which our business could be affected, only some of which we can identify as of the date of this filing.
The decision of the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union has caused and, along with events that could occur in the future as a consequence of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal, may continue to cause significant volatility in global financial markets, including in global currency and debt markets. This volatility could cause a slowdown in economic activity in the United Kingdom, Europe, or globally, which could adversely affect our operating results and growth prospects. In addition, our business could be negatively affected by new trade agreements or data transfer agreements between the United Kingdom and other countries, including the United States, and by the possible imposition of trade or other regulatory barriers in the United Kingdom.
It is currently unknown how regulations affecting clinical trials, the approval of our future products, and the sale of these products in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in Europe will be affected by the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. Uncertainty in the regulatory framework and future legislation can lead to disruption in the execution of international multi-center clinical trials, the monitoring of adverse events in through pharmacovigilance programs, and determination of marketing authorization across different jurisdictions. There could also be disruption to the supply and distribution as well as the import/export both of active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished product. Such a disruption could create supply difficulties for ongoing clinical trials and may damage the integrity of the pharmacovigilance database for the safety of new products. The cumulative effects of the disruption to the regulatory framework, uncertainty in future regulation, and changes to existing regulations may add considerably to the development lead time to marketing authorization and commercialization of products in the European Union and/or the United Kingdom and increase our costs. We cannot predict the impact of such changes and future regulation on our business or the results of our operations. Exposure to different and changing regulations in multiple foreign jurisdictions may increase our liabilities, expenses, costs, and other operational losses.
These possible negative impacts, and others resulting from the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, may adversely affect our operating results and growth prospects.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock
Our stock price may be volatile, and an active, liquid, and orderly trading market may not develop for our common stock. As a result, stockholders may not be able to resell shares at or above their purchase price.
Although our common stock is listed on Nasdaq, an active trading market for our common stock may not be sustained. The lack of an active market may impair the ability of our stockholders to sell their shares at the time they wish to sell them or at a price that they consider reasonable, which may reduce the fair market value of their shares. Further, an inactive market may also impair our ability to raise capital by selling our common stock should we determine additional funding is required.
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The market price of our common stock could be subject to significant fluctuations. Market prices for securities of early-stage pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and other life sciences companies have historically been particularly volatile. Some of the factors that may cause the market price of our common stock to fluctuate include:
our and our collaborators’ ability to obtain regulatory approvals for product candidates, and delays or failures to obtain such approvals;
the failure of any of our product candidates, if approved, to achieve commercial success;
issues in manufacturing our approved products, if any, or product candidates;
the results of current, and any future, preclinical or clinical trials of our product candidates;
our ability to achieve development milestones and receive associated milestone payments pursuant to the terms of our collaboration agreements;
the entry into, or termination of, key agreements, including key licensing, collaboration or acquisition agreements;
the initiation or material developments in, or conclusion of, litigation to enforce or defend any of our intellectual property rights or defend against the intellectual property rights of others;
announcements by commercial partners or competitors of new commercial products, clinical progress (or the lack thereof), significant contracts, commercial relationships, or capital commitments;
adverse publicity relating to our markets, including with respect to other products and potential products in such markets;
adverse publicity about our company, employees, therapeutic candidates, and/or therapeutic products in the media or on social media;
the impact of COVID-19 on our company or the economy generally;
the introduction of technological innovations or new therapies competing with our potential products;
the loss of key employees;
changes in estimates or recommendations by securities analysts, if any, who cover our common stock;
general and industry-specific economic conditions potentially affecting our research and development expenditures;
changes in the structure of health care payment systems;
unanticipated serious safety concerns related to the use of any of our product candidates;
failure to meet or exceed financial and development projections we may provide to the public;
failure to meet or exceed the financial and development projections of the investment community;
the perception of the pharmaceutical industry by the public, legislators, regulators, and the investment community;
adverse regulatory decisions;
disputes or other developments relating to proprietary rights, including patents, litigation matters, and our ability to obtain patent protection for our technologies;
commencement of, or our involvement in, litigation;
sales of our common stock by us or our stockholders in the future;
trading volume of our common stock;
period-to-period fluctuations in our financial results; and
the other factors described in this “Risk Factors” section.
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Moreover, the stock markets in general have experienced substantial volatility that has often been unrelated to the operating performance of individual companies or the biotechnology sector. These broad market fluctuations may also adversely affect the trading price of our common stock.
In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, stockholders have often instituted class action securities litigation against those companies. Such litigation, if instituted, could result in substantial costs and diversion of management attention and resources, which could significantly harm our business and reputation.
Our officers and directors, and their respective affiliates, have a controlling influence over our business affairs and may make business decisions with which stockholders disagree and which may adversely affect the value of their investment.
Our executive officers and directors together with their respective affiliates, beneficially own approximately 58% of our common stock as of March 31, 2021. As a result, if some of these persons or entities act together, they will have the ability to exercise significant influence over matters submitted to the stockholders for approval, including the election of directors, amendments to the certificate of incorporation and bylaws and the approval of any strategic transaction requiring the approval of the stockholders. These actions may be taken even if they are opposed by other stockholders. This concentration of ownership may also have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control of our company or discouraging others from making tender offers for our shares, which could prevent our stockholders from receiving a premium for their shares. Some of these persons or entities who make up our principal stockholders may have interests different from other stockholders. The significant concentration of stock ownership may adversely affect the trading price of our common stock due to investors’ perception that conflicts of interest may exist or arise.
Future sales, or the perception of future sales, of a substantial amount of our common stock could depress the trading price of our common stock.
Our stock price could decline as a result of sales of a large number of shares of our common stock or the perception that these sales could occur. These sales, or the possibility that these sales may occur, also might make it more difficult for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate.
For example, in connection with our July 2020 private placement, we entered into a registration rights agreement with the private placement investors that required us to prepare and file a resale registration statement, which was declared effective by the SEC on August 18, 2020 and permits the resale by the private placement investors of approximately 5.1 million shares of our common stock as well as approximately 2.6 million shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of prefunded warrants and warrants issued in the July 2020 private placement. The shares subject to outstanding options and warrants, of which options and warrants (including prefunded warrants) to purchase 2.6 million shares and 4.5 million shares, respectively, were exercisable as of March 31, 2021, and the shares reserved for future issuance under our equity incentive plans will become available for sale immediately upon the exercise of such options.
We also register the offer and sale of all shares of common stock that we may issue under our equity incentive plans. Once we register the offer and sale of shares for the holders of registration rights and option holders, they can be freely sold in the public market upon issuance, subject to any related lock-up agreements or applicable securities laws.
In addition, in the future, we may issue additional shares of common stock or other equity or debt securities convertible into common stock in connection with a financing, acquisition, litigation settlement, employee arrangements or otherwise. Any such future issuance could result in substantial dilution to our existing stockholders and could cause our stock price to decline.
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We have broad discretion over the use of the proceeds to us from our financing activities and may apply the proceeds to uses that do not improve our operating results or the value of your securities.
We have broad discretion over the use of proceeds to us from our financing activities and our stockholders rely solely on the judgment of our board of directors and management regarding the application of these proceeds. Our use of proceeds may not improve our operating results or increase the value of our common stock. Any failure to apply these proceeds effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, delay the development of our product candidates and cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware or Washington law could discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, limit attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management and may affect the trading price of our common stock.
Our corporate documents contain provisions that may delay or discourage transactions involving an actual or potential change in our control or change in our management, including transactions in which stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares, or transactions that our stockholders might otherwise deem to be in their best interests. Therefore, these provisions could adversely affect the price of our stock. Among other things, our certificate of incorporation and bylaws:
stagger the terms of our board of directors and require 66 and 2/3% stockholder voting to remove directors, who may only be removed for cause;
provide that the authorized number of directors may be changed only by resolution of the board of directors;
provide that all vacancies, including newly-created directorships, may, except as otherwise required by law, be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of directors then in office, even if less than a quorum;
authorize our board of directors to issue “blank check” preferred stock and to determine the rights and preferences of those shares, which may be senior to our common stock, without prior stockholder approval;
establish advance notice requirements for nominating directors and proposing matters to be voted on by stockholders at stockholders’ meetings;
prohibit our stockholders from calling a special meeting and prohibit stockholders from acting by written consent;
require 66 and 2/3% stockholder voting to effect certain amendments to our certificate of incorporation and bylaws; and
prohibit cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates.
In addition, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which generally prohibits a Delaware corporation from engaging in any of a broad range of business combinations with any “interested” stockholder for a period of three years following the date on which the stockholder became an “interested” stockholder. Likewise, because our principal executive offices are located in Washington, the anti-takeover provisions of the Washington Business Corporation Act may apply to us under certain circumstances now or in the future. These provisions prohibit a “target corporation” from engaging in any of a broad range of business combinations with any stockholder constituting an “acquiring person” for a period of five years following the date on which the stockholder became an “acquiring person.” These provisions could discourage, delay or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of our company. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for stockholders to elect directors of their choosing and cause us to take other corporate actions our stockholders desire.
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Claims for indemnification by our directors and officers may reduce our available funds to satisfy successful third-party claims against us and may reduce the amount of available cash.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that we will indemnify our directors to the fullest extent permitted by Delaware law.
In addition, as permitted by Section 145 of the DGCL, our amended and restated bylaws and our indemnification agreements that we have entered into with our directors and officers provide that:
We will indemnify our directors and officers for serving us in those capacities or for serving other business enterprises at our request, to the fullest extent permitted by Delaware law. Delaware law provides that a corporation may indemnify such person if such person acted in good faith and in a manner such person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the corporation and, with respect to any criminal proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe such person’s conduct was unlawful.
We may, in our discretion, indemnify other employees and agents in those circumstances where indemnification is permitted by applicable law.
We are required to advance expenses, as incurred, to our directors and officers in connection with defending a proceeding, except that such directors or officers shall undertake to repay such advances if it is ultimately determined that such person is not entitled to indemnification.
We will not be obligated pursuant to our amended and restated bylaws to indemnify any director or officer in connection with any proceeding (or part thereof) initiated by such person unless the proceeding was authorized in the specific case by our board of directors or such indemnification is required to be made pursuant to our amended and restated bylaws.
The rights conferred in our amended and restated bylaws are not exclusive, and we are authorized to enter into indemnification agreements with our directors, officers, employees and agents and to obtain insurance to indemnify such persons.
We may not retroactively amend our amended and restated bylaw provisions to reduce our indemnification obligations to our directors or officers.
As a result, if we are required to indemnify one or more of our directors or officers, it may reduce our available funds to satisfy successful third-party claims against us, may reduce the amount of available cash and may have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees or agents.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers, employees or agents to us or our stockholders, any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws or any action asserting a claim that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine, in each case subject to the Court of Chancery having personal jurisdiction over the indispensable parties named as defendants therein and the claim not being one which is vested in the exclusive jurisdiction of a court or forum other than the Court of Chancery or for which the Court of Chancery does not have subject matter jurisdiction. Any person purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in any shares of our common stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to this provision of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation. In addition, our amended and restated bylaws provide that the U.S. federal district courts will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act.
These choice of forum provision may limit our stockholders’ ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees or agents, which may discourage such lawsuits
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against us and our directors, officers, employees and agents even though an action, if successful, might benefit our stockholders. Stockholders who do bring a claim in the Court of Chancery could face additional litigation costs in pursuing any such claim, particularly if they do not reside in or near Delaware. The Court of Chancery may also reach different judgments or results than would other courts, including courts where a stockholder considering an action may be located or would otherwise choose to bring the action, and such judgments or results may be more favorable to us than to our stockholders. Alternatively, if a court were to find these choice of forum provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We do not expect to pay any dividends on our common stock for the foreseeable future.
We currently expect to retain all future earnings, if any, for future operations and expansion, and have no current plans to pay any cash dividends to holders of our common stock for the foreseeable future. Any decision to declare and pay dividends in the future will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on, among other things, our results of operations, financial condition, cash requirements, contractual restrictions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant. As a result, stockholders may not receive any return on an investment in our common stock unless stockholders sell our common stock for a price greater than that which they paid for it.
Nasdaq may delist our common stock from its exchange, which could limit investors’ ability to make transactions in our securities and subject us to additional trading restrictions.
Our common shares are listed on Nasdaq under the trading symbol “ALPN.” Our securities may fail to meet the continued listing requirements to be listed on Nasdaq. If Nasdaq delists our common shares from trading on its exchange, we could face significant material adverse consequences, including:
significant impairment of the liquidity for our common stock, which may substantially decrease the market price of our common stock;
a limited availability of market quotations for our securities;
a determination that our common stock qualifies as a “penny stock” which will require brokers trading in our common stock to adhere to more stringent rules and possibly resulting in a reduced level of trading activity in the secondary trading market for our common stock;
a limited amount of news and analyst coverage for our company; and
a decreased ability to issue additional securities or obtain additional financing in the future.
Risks Related to Our Financial Reporting and Disclosure
We are a smaller reporting company, and any decision on our part to comply only with reduced reporting and disclosure requirements applicable to such companies could make our common stock less attractive to investors.

We are a “smaller reporting company,” as defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. For as long as we continue to be a smaller reporting company, we may choose to take advantage of exemptions from various reporting requirements applicable to other public companies that are not smaller reporting companies, including, but not limited to, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements.
We will remain a smaller reporting company so long as, as of June 30 of the preceding year, (i) the market value of our common shares held by non-affiliates, or our public float, is less than $250 million; or (ii) we have annual revenues less than $100 million and either we have no public float or our public float is less than $700 million.
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If we take advantage of some or all of the reduced disclosure requirements available to smaller reporting companies, investors may find our common stock less attractive, which may result in a less active trading market for our common stock and greater stock price volatility. For so long as we are a smaller reporting company and not classified as an “accelerated filer” or “large accelerated filer” pursuant to SEC rules, we will continue to be exempt from the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404(b) of Sarbanes-Oxley.
If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, our ability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis could be impaired.
We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the rules and regulations of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. We must perform system and process evaluation and testing of our internal control over financial reporting to allow management to report on the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filing for that year, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
We may discover weaknesses in our system of internal financial and accounting controls and procedures that could result in a material misstatement of our financial statements. Our internal control over financial reporting will not prevent or detect all errors and all fraud. An internal control system, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the internal control system’s objectives will be met. Because of the inherent limitations in all internal control systems, no evaluation of internal controls can provide absolute assurance that misstatements due to error or fraud will not occur or that all internal control issues and instances of fraud will be detected.
If we are not able to comply with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or if we are unable to maintain proper and effective internal controls, we may not be able to produce timely and accurate financial statements. If that were to happen, the market price of our common stock could decline and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, the SEC, or other regulatory authorities.
Our disclosure controls and procedures may not prevent or detect all errors or acts of fraud.
Our disclosure controls and procedures are designed to reasonably ensure that information required to be disclosed by us in reports we file or submits under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to management and recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the rules and forms of the SEC. We believe that any disclosure controls and procedures as well as internal controls and procedures, no matter how well-conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are and will be met. These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision-making can be faulty and that breakdowns can occur because of simple error or mistake. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons, by collusion of two or more people or by an unauthorized override of the controls. Accordingly, because of the inherent limitations in our control system, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.
We will continue to incur costs and demands upon management as a result of complying with the laws and regulations affecting public companies.
We will incur significant legal, accounting, and other expenses associated with public company reporting requirements. We will also incur costs associated with corporate governance requirements, including requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as new rules implemented by the SEC and The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC. Although our status as a smaller reporting company may for a limited period of time somewhat lessen the cost of complying with these additional regulatory and other requirements, we nonetheless expect that these rules and regulations will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and to make some activities more time-consuming and costlier. Our executive officers and other personnel will need to devote substantial time to oversee our operations as a public company and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. These rules and regulations may also make it difficult and expensive for us to obtain directors and officer’s liability insurance. As a result, it may be more difficult for us to attract and retain
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qualified individuals to serve on our board of directors or as executive officers of our company, which may adversely affect investor confidence in us and could cause our business or stock price to suffer.
General Risk Factors
Changes in accounting rules and regulations, or interpretations thereof, could result in unfavorable accounting charges or require us to change our compensation policies.
Accounting methods and policies for biopharmaceutical companies, including policies governing revenue recognition, research and development and related expenses, and accounting for stock-based compensation, are subject to review, interpretation, and guidance from our auditors and relevant accounting authorities, including the SEC. Changes to accounting methods or policies, or interpretations thereof, may require us to reclassify, restate, or otherwise change or revise our financial statements.
If equity research analysts do not publish research or reports, or publish unfavorable research or reports, about us, our business or our market, our stock price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our common stock will be influenced by the research and reports that equity research analysts publish about us and our business. Equity research analysts may elect not to provide research coverage of our common stock or discontinue existing research coverage, and such lack of research coverage may adversely affect the market price of our common stock. We do not have any control over the analysts, or the content and opinions included in their reports. The price of our common stock could decline if one or more equity research analysts downgrade our stock or issue other unfavorable commentary or research. If one or more equity research analysts ceases coverage of us or fails to publish reports regularly, demand for our common stock could decrease, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.
Risks Related to this Offering
Management will have broad discretion as to the use of the proceeds from this offering, and may not use the proceeds effectively.

Because we have not designated the amount of net proceeds from this offering to be used for any particular purpose, we will have broad discretion to use the net proceeds to us from this offering, and investors will be relying solely on the judgment of our board of directors and management regarding the application of these proceeds. Although we expect to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, we have not allocated these net proceeds for specific purposes. Investors will not have the opportunity, as part of their investment decision, to assess whether the proceeds are being used appropriately. Our use of the proceeds may not improve our operating results or increase the value of the securities being offered hereby.

You may experience immediate and substantial dilution.

The offering price per share in this offering may exceed the net tangible book value per share of our common stock outstanding prior to this offering. Assuming that an aggregate of 8,522,727 shares of our common stock are sold at a price of $8.80 per share, the last reported sale price of our common stock on the Nasdaq Global Market on July 1, 2021, for aggregate gross proceeds of $75.0 million, and after deducting commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, you would experience immediate dilution of $4.92 per share. The exercise or settlement of outstanding stock options and warrants would result in further dilution of your investment. See the section titled “Dilution” below for a more detailed illustration of the dilution you may incur if you participate in this offering. Because the sales of the shares offered hereby will be made directly into the market or in negotiated transactions, the prices at which we sell these shares will vary and these variations may be significant. Purchasers of the shares we sell, as well as our existing stockholders, will experience significant dilution if we sell shares at prices significantly below the price at which they invested. In addition, to the extent we need to raise additional capital in the future and we issue additional shares of common stock or securities convertible or exchangeable for our common stock, our then existing stockholders may experience dilution and the new securities may have rights senior to those of our common stock offered in this offering.

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The actual number of shares we will issue under the Sales Agreement, at any one time or in total, is uncertain.

Subject to certain limitations in the Sales Agreement and compliance with applicable law, we have the discretion to deliver a placement notice to Cowen at any time throughout the term of the Sales Agreement. The number of shares that are sold by or to Cowen under the Sales Agreement will fluctuate based on the market price of the shares of common stock during the sales period and limits we set with Cowen. Because the price per share of each share sold will fluctuate based on the market price of our common stock during the sales period, it is not possible at this stage to predict the number of shares that will be ultimately issued.

The common stock offered hereby will be sold in “at the market offerings,” and investors who buy shares at different times will likely pay different prices.

Investors who purchase shares in this offering at different times will likely pay different prices, and so may experience different outcomes in their investment results. We will have discretion, subject to market demand, to vary the timing, prices, and numbers of shares sold, and there is no minimum or maximum sales price. Investors may experience a decline in the value of their shares as a result of share sales made at prices lower than the prices they paid.
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CAUTIONARY NOTES REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and the information incorporated by reference herein and therein may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, which are subject to the “safe harbor” created by those sections. Forward-looking statements are identified by words such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “will,” “may,” “seek,” “estimate,” “continue,” “could,” “would,” “project,” and other similar expressions, or the negative or plural of these words or expressions. You should read these statements carefully because they discuss future expectations, contain projections of future results of operations or financial condition, or state other “forward-looking” information. These statements relate to our future plans, objectives, expectations, intentions and financial performance and the assumptions that underlie these statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:
our ability to identify, develop and commercialize additional products or product candidates;
our estimates regarding our expenses, revenues, anticipated capital requirements and our needs for additional financing;
our ability to obtain funding for our operations;
the implementation of our business model and strategic plans for our business and technology;
the timing of the commencement, progress and receipt of data from any of our preclinical and clinical trials;
the expected results of any preclinical or clinical trial and the impact on the likelihood or timing of any regulatory approval;
the scope of protection we are able to establish and maintain for intellectual property rights covering our technology and product candidates;
the anticipated impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, research and clinical development plans and timelines and results of operations;
the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals;
the therapeutic benefits, effectiveness and safety of our product candidates;
the rate and degree of market acceptance and clinical utility of any future products;
our ability to maintain and establish collaborations;
our ability to achieve milestones in our current and any future collaborations;
our expectations regarding market risk, including interest rate changes;
our expectations regarding the sufficiency of our cash and cash equivalents to fund operations for at least the next 12 months;
our expected use of the net proceeds, if any, of any cash exercise of the warrants and prefunded warrants;

our expected use of proceeds from any sales under the Sales Agreement;
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developments relating to our competitors and our industry; and
our expectations regarding licensing, acquisitions and strategic operations.
All forward-looking statements are based on information available to us on the date of this prospectus supplement and we will not update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this prospectus supplement, except as required by law. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in this prospectus supplement. The forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus supplement, and other written and oral forward-looking statements made by us from time to time, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such a difference include, but are not limited to, those discussed under “Risk Factors” beginning on page S-6 of this prospectus supplement. Forward-looking statements are based on our management’s beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to our management. These statements, like all statements in this prospectus supplement, speak only as of their date, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements in light of future developments, except as required by law.
In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this prospectus supplement, and while we believe such information forms a reasonable basis for such statements, such information may be limited or incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely upon these statements.

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USE OF PROCEEDS
We cannot specify with certainty all of the particular uses for the net proceeds to be received from this offering. In addition, the amount, allocation and timing of our actual expenditures will depend upon numerous factors, including the amount and timing of the proceeds from the sale of shares offered by this prospectus supplement, the progress of our product candidate development and related activities. In addition, expenditures may also depend on the establishment of new collaborative arrangements with other partners, the availability of other financing and other factors. Accordingly, we will have broad discretion in using the net proceeds from this offering.

We currently plan to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes and to advance the development of our product candidates. Pending these uses, we plan to invest the net proceeds of this offering in short-term, interest-bearing, investment-grade instruments, certificates of deposit or direct or guaranteed obligations of the U.S. government.

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DILUTION

If you invest in our common stock, your interest will be diluted immediately to the extent of the difference between the public offering price per share of common stock you pay in this offering and the as adjusted net tangible book value per share of common stock after this offering. Net tangible book value per share of common stock represents our total tangible assets less total liabilities, divided by the number of shares of common stock outstanding.

As of March 31, 2021, our net tangible book value was $53.3 million, or $2.23 per share of common stock. After giving effect to the sale of 8,522,727 shares of common stock in the aggregate amount of $75.0 million at an assumed public offering price of $8.80 per share of common stock, the last reported sale price of our common stock on July 1, 2021 on the Nasdaq Global Market, and after deducting estimated commissions and estimated offering expenses, our as adjusted net tangible book value as of March 31, 2021 would have been approximately $125.7 million, or approximately $3.88 per share of common stock. This represents an immediate increase in the net tangible book value of $1.65 per share of common stock to existing stockholders and an immediate dilution of $4.92 per share of common stock to new investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering.

The following table illustrates this per common share dilution to the new investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering:

Assumed public offering price per share

$8.80 
Net tangible book value per share at March 31, 2021$2.23 
Increase in net tangible book value per share of common stock attributable to this offering1.65
As adjusted net tangible book value per share of common stock after this offering3.88
Dilution per share of common stock to new investors in this offering$4.92 

The table above assumes for illustrative purposes an aggregate of 8,522,727 of our shares of common stock are sold at a price of $8.80 per share, for aggregate gross proceeds of $75.0 million. The shares of common stock, if any, sold in this offering will be sold from time to time at various prices. An increase of $1.00 per share of common stock in the price at which the shares of common stock are sold from the assumed public offering price of $8.80 per share of common stock shown in the table above, assuming all of our shares of common stock in the aggregate amount of $75.0 million are sold at that price, would increase our as adjusted net tangible book value per share of common stock after the offering to $3.99 per share and would increase the dilution in net tangible book value per share of common stock to new investors in this offering to $5.81 per share, after deducting estimated commissions and estimated offering expenses. A decrease of $1.00 per share of common stock in the price at which the shares of common stock are sold from the assumed offering price of $8.80 per share shown in the table above, assuming all of our shares of common stock in the aggregate amount of $75.0 million are sold at that price, would decrease our as adjusted net tangible book value per share of common stock after the offering to $3.75 per share and would decrease the dilution in net tangible book value per share to new investors in this offering to $4.05 per share of common stock, after deducting estimated commissions and estimated offering expenses. This information is supplied for illustrative purposes only.

The foregoing table and calculations are based on 23,882,138 shares of common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021, which number excludes:

5,465,582 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of stock options to purchase shares of common stock as of March 31, 2021, at a weighted average exercise price of $7.20 per share;

1,835,610 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of warrants issued in January 2019 and outstanding as of March 31, 2021, at an exercise price of $12.74 per share;

1,779,096 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of warrants issued in July 2020 and outstanding as of March 31, 2021, at an exercise price of $12.74 per share;

790,710 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of pre-funded warrants issued in July 2020 and outstanding as of March 31, 2021, at an exercise price of $0.001 per share;

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54,213 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of other warrants outstanding as of March 31, 2021, at a weighted-average exercise price of $5.53 per share;

749,653 shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, as amended, as of March 31, 2021; and

45,211 shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our Employee Stock Purchase Plan, as amended, as of March 31, 2021.

To the extent the stock options, warrants or rights outstanding as of March 31, 2021 have been or are exercised, or other shares of common stock are issued, investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering could experience further dilution. In addition, we may choose to raise additional capital due to market conditions or strategic considerations, even if we believe we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans. To the extent that additional capital is raised through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, the issuance of these securities could result in further dilution to our stockholders.
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PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION
We have entered into the Sales Agreement with Cowen, under which we may issue and sell from time to time up to $75,000,000 of our common stock through or to Cowen as our sales agent. Sales of our common stock, if any, will be made at market prices by any method that is deemed to be an "at the market offering" as defined in Rule 415(a)(4) under the Securities Act. A copy of the Sales Agreement that we entered into with Cowen will be filed with the SEC as an exhibit to our Current Report on Form 8-K on July 2, 2021.

Cowen will offer our common stock subject to the terms and conditions of the Sales Agreement on a daily basis or as otherwise agreed upon by us and Cowen. We will designate the maximum amount of common stock to be sold through Cowen on a daily basis or otherwise determine such maximum amount together with Cowen. Subject to the terms and conditions of the Sales Agreement, Cowen will use its commercially reasonable efforts to sell on our behalf all of the shares of common stock requested to be sold by us. We may instruct Cowen not to sell common stock if the sales cannot be effected at or above the price designated by us in any such instruction. Cowen or we may suspend the offering of our common stock being made through Cowen under the Sales Agreement upon proper notice to the other party. Cowen and we each have the right, by giving written notice as specified in the Sales Agreement, to terminate the Sales Agreement in each party’s sole discretion at any time.

The aggregate compensation payable to Cowen as sales agent will be up to 3.0% of the gross sales price of the shares sold through it pursuant to the Sales Agreement. We have also agreed to reimburse Cowen up to $50,000 of Cowen’s actual outside legal expenses incurred by Cowen in connection with this offering, and for certain other expenses, including Cowen's FINRA counsel fees in an amount up to $10,000. We estimate that the total expenses of the offering payable by us, excluding commissions payable to Cowen under the Sales Agreement, will be approximately $330,000.

The remaining sales proceeds, after deducting any expenses payable by us and any transaction fees imposed by any governmental, regulatory, or self-regulatory organization in connection with the sales, will equal our net proceeds for the sale of such common stock.

Cowen will provide written confirmation to us following the close of trading on the Nasdaq Global Market on each day in which common stock is sold through it as sales agent under the Sales Agreement. Each confirmation will include the number of shares of common stock sold through it as sales agent on that day, the volume weighted average price of the shares sold, the percentage of the daily trading volume and the net proceeds to us.

We will report at least quarterly the number of shares of common stock sold through Cowen under the Sales Agreement, the net proceeds to us and the compensation paid by us to Cowen in connection with the sales of common stock.

Settlement for sales of common stock will occur, unless the parties agree otherwise, on the second business day that is also a trading day following the date on which any sales were made in return for payment of the net proceeds to us. There is no arrangement for funds to be received in an escrow, trust or similar arrangement.

In connection with the sales of our common stock on our behalf, Cowen will be deemed to be an “underwriter” within the meaning of the Securities Act, and the compensation paid to Cowen will be deemed to be underwriting commissions or discounts. We have agreed in the Sales Agreement to provide indemnification and contribution to Cowen against certain liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act. As sales agent, Cowen will not engage in any transactions that stabilize our common stock.

Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market and trades under the symbol “ALPN.” The transfer agent of our common stock is Broadridge Corporate Solutions.

Cowen and/or its affiliates have provided, and may in the future provide, various investment banking and other financial services for us for which services they have received and, may in the future receive, customary fees.
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LEGAL MATTERS
The validity of the common stock offered hereby will be passed upon for us by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation, Seattle, Washington. Certain matters will be passed upon for Cowen by Latham & Watkins LLP, Menlo Park, California.
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EXPERTS

Ernst & Young LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, has audited our consolidated financial statements included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, as set forth in their report, which is incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and elsewhere in the registration statement. Our financial statements are incorporated by reference in reliance on Ernst & Young LLP's report, given on their authority as experts in accounting and auditing.

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WHERE YOU CAN FIND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
This prospectus supplement does not include all of the information contained in the registration statement. You should refer to the registration statement and its exhibits for additional information. Whenever we make reference in this prospectus supplement to any of our contracts, agreements or other documents, the references are not necessarily complete and you should refer to the exhibits filed as part of the registration statement for copies of the actual contract, agreement or other document.
We file annual, quarterly and other reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC. Our SEC filings are available to the public over the Internet at the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, including any amendments to those reports, and other information that we file with or furnish to the SEC pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, can also be accessed free of charge from our website at http://www.alpineimmunesciences.com. These filings will be available as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. Information contained on our website is not part of this prospectus supplement.

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INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION BY REFERENCE
The SEC allows us to incorporate by reference into this prospectus supplement the information we file with it, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to another document we have filed separately with the SEC. You should read the information incorporated by reference herein because it is an important part of this prospectus supplement. We incorporate by reference the following information or documents that we have filed with the SEC (excluding those portions of any Form 8-K that are not deemed "filed" pursuant to the General Instructions of Form 8-K):
our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, as filed with the SEC on March 18, 2021;
our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended March 31, 2021, as filed with the SEC on May 13, 2021;
our Current Report on Form 8-K, as filed with the SEC on June 10, 2021; and
the description of our common stock contained in our Registration Statement on Form 8-A, as filed with the SEC on June 16, 2015 (File No. 001-37449), including any amendment or report filed for the purpose of updating such description.

In addition, we incorporate by reference in this prospectus supplement additional documents we may file with the SEC under Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14, or 15(d) of the Exchange Act after the date of this prospectus supplement and prior to the termination of this offering, but excluding any information deemed furnished and not filed with the SEC.

Any statements contained in a previously filed document incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement is deemed to be modified or superseded for purposes of this prospectus supplement to the extent that a statement contained in this prospectus supplement, or in a subsequently filed document also incorporated by reference herein, modifies or supersedes that statement.

This prospectus supplement may contain information that updates, modifies or is contrary to information in one or more of the documents incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement. You should rely only on the information incorporated by reference or provided in this prospectus supplement. Neither we nor Cowen have authorized anyone else to provide you with different information. You should not assume that the information in this prospectus supplement is accurate as of any date other than the date of this prospectus supplement or the date of the documents incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement.
We will provide to each person, including any beneficial owner, to whom this prospectus supplement is delivered, upon written or oral request, at no cost to the requester, a copy of any and all of the information that is incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement.
Requests for such documents should be directed to:
Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc.
Attn: Investor Relations
188 East Blaine Street, Suite 200
Seattle, Washington 98102
(206) 788-4545
The SEC maintains a website that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at http://www. sec.gov. You may also access the documents incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement through our website at www.alpineimmunesciences.com. Except for the specific incorporated documents listed above, no information
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available on or through our website shall be deemed to be incorporated in this prospectus supplement or the registration statement of which it forms a part. Information contained on our website is not part of this prospectus supplement.
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Prospectus
https://cdn.kscope.io/a1dba0165133ee42040cc799e05fb754-image_01.jpg
Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc.

$150,000,000
Common Stock
Preferred Stock
Debt Securities
Depositary Shares
Warrants
Subscription Rights
Purchase Contracts
Units
We may issue securities from time to time in one or more offerings, in amounts, at prices and on terms determined at the time of offering. This prospectus describes the general terms of these securities and the general manner in which these securities will be offered. We will provide the specific terms of these securities in supplements to this prospectus, which will also describe the specific manner in which these securities will be offered and may also supplement, update or amend information contained in this prospectus. You should read this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement before you invest. The aggregate offering price of the securities we sell pursuant to this prospectus will not exceed $150,000,000.
The securities may be sold directly to you, through agents or through underwriters and dealers. If agents, underwriters or dealers are used to sell the securities, we will name them and describe their compensation in a prospectus supplement. The price to the public of those securities and the net proceeds we expect to receive from that sale will also be set forth in a prospectus supplement.
Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “ALPN.” Each prospectus supplement will indicate whether the securities offered thereby will be listed on any securities exchange.
Investing in these securities involves risks. Please carefully read the information under the headings “Risk Factors” beginning on page 4 of this prospectus and “Item 1A – Risk Factors” of our most recent report on Form 10-K or 10-Q that is incorporated by reference in this prospectus before you invest in our securities.
Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
The date of this prospectus is May 20, 2021.




TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

i



ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS
This prospectus is part of a registration statement that we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, using a “shelf” registration process. Under this shelf registration process, we may from time to time sell any combination of the securities described in this prospectus in one or more offerings.
This prospectus provides you with a general description of the securities that may be offered. Each time we sell securities, we will provide one or more prospectus supplements that will contain specific information about the terms of the offering. The prospectus supplement may also add, update or change information contained in this prospectus. You should read both this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement together with the additional information described under the heading “Where You Can Find More Information.”
We have not authorized anyone to provide you with information that is different from that contained, or incorporated by reference, in this prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplement or in any related free writing prospectus. We take no responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. This prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement or any related free writing prospectus do not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities other than the securities described in the applicable prospectus supplement or an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy such securities in any circumstances in which such offer or solicitation is unlawful. You should assume that the information appearing in this prospectus, any prospectus supplement, the documents incorporated by reference and any related free writing prospectus is accurate only as of their respective dates. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed materially since those dates.
ii


PROSPECTUS SUMMARY
This summary highlights selected information that is presented in greater detail elsewhere, or incorporated by reference, in this prospectus. It does not contain all of the information that may be important to you and your investment decision. Before investing in our securities, you should carefully read this entire prospectus, including the matters set forth under the section of this prospectus captioned “Risk Factors” and the financial statements and related notes and other information that we incorporate by reference herein, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K and our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Unless the context indicates otherwise, references in this prospectus to “Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc.,” “we,” “our” and “us” refer, collectively, to Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc., a Delaware corporation, and its subsidiaries taken as a whole.
Company Overview
We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering and developing innovative, protein-based immunotherapies to treat cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Our approach includes a proprietary scientific platform that converts native immune system proteins into differentiated, multi-targeted therapeutics. We believe our strategies are capable of meaningfully modulating the human immune system and significantly improving outcomes in patients with serious diseases.
ALPN-101 is a dual inducible T cell costimulatory, or ICOS, and cluster of differentiation 28, or CD28, antagonist intended for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Preclinical studies have demonstrated efficacy in models of systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, Sjögren’s syndrome, or SjS, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, uveitis, and graft versus host disease, or GVHD. In June 2020, we entered into an Option and License agreement with AbbVie Ireland Unlimited Company, or AbbVie, which grants to AbbVie an exclusive option to take an exclusive license to ALPN-101. Under the terms of the agreement, we received an upfront payment of $60 million, and are eligible to receive up to an aggregate of $805 million for AbbVie’s exercise of the option and success-based development, regulatory and commercial milestones. In addition, we are eligible to receive tiered royalties on net sales of ALPN-101. We have successfully received U.S. FDA IND clearance, and anticipate that a study will commence enrollment in mid-2021.
ALPN-303 is a dual B cell cytokine antagonist being developed for B cell-mediated autoimmune/inflammatory diseases. Engineered using our proprietary directed evolution platform, ALPN-303 is a potent inhibitor of the pleiotropic B cell cytokines B cell activating factor, or BAFF, and a proliferation inducing ligand, or APRIL, which may play key roles in certain autoimmune/inflammatory disease through their regulation of B cell development, differentiation, and survival. We are targeting completion of activities to support initiation of a Phase 1 healthy volunteer study with ALPN-303 in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Our lead oncology program is ALPN-202, a conditional CD28 costimulator and dual checkpoint inhibitor intended for the treatment of cancer. Preclinical in vivo data have demonstrated monotherapy efficacy in tumor models superior to approved therapies. In addition, ALPN-202 has a unique immuno-modulatory profile and has demonstrated evidence of anti-tumor immunity in preclinical models. Based on ALPN-202’s efficacy in preclinical models and favorable nonclinical safety and development profile, we initiated NEON-1, a Phase 1 dose escalation and expansion study in patients with advanced malignancies, in 2020 and intend to continue enrolling patients throughout 2021. We also intend to initiate NEON-2, a Phase 1 combination study of ALPN-202 and a PD-1 inhibitor later this year.
Our scientific platform has also generated immune modulatory proteins with the potential of improving engineered cellular therapies, or ECT, such as chimeric antigen receptor T cells, or CAR-T, T cell receptor-engineered T cells, or TCR-T, and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, or TILs. In May 2019, we signed a collaboration and license agreement with Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc, or Adaptimmune, to develop next-generation SPEARTM T cell products which incorporate our secreted and transmembrane immunomodulatory protein (termed SIP™ and TIP™) technology. We intend to continue to leverage our existing pipeline and platform to actively explore and evaluate potential value-creating partnering opportunities.

Corporate Information
In July 2017, Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc. completed its business combination with Nivalis Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly held company. In connection with the merger, Nivalis Therapeutics, Inc. changed its name to Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc. Nivalis Therapeutics, Inc. was incorporated in Delaware in March 2007. Alpine Immune Sciences, Inc. (prior to its business combination with Nivalis Therapeutics, Inc.) was incorporated in Delaware in December 2014.
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Our principal executive office is located at 188 East Blaine Street, Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98102. Our telephone number is (206) 788-4545. Our website is www.alpineimmunesciences.com. Information contained in, or that can be accessed through, our website is not a part of, and is not incorporated into, this prospectus.
The Securities That May Be Offered
We may offer or sell common stock, preferred stock, depositary shares, debt securities, warrants, subscription rights, purchase contracts and units in one or more offerings and in any combination. The aggregate offering price of the securities we sell pursuant to this prospectus will not exceed $150,000,000. Each time securities are offered with this prospectus, we will provide a prospectus supplement that will describe the specific amounts, prices and terms of the securities being offered and the net proceeds we expect to receive from that sale.
The securities may be sold to or through underwriters, dealers or agents or directly to purchasers or as otherwise set forth in the section of this prospectus captioned “Plan of Distribution.” Each prospectus supplement will set forth the names of any underwriters, dealers, agents or other entities involved in the sale of securities described in that prospectus supplement and any applicable fee, commission or discount arrangements with them.
Common Stock
We may offer shares of our common stock, par value $0.001 per share, either alone or underlying other registered securities convertible into our common stock. Holders of our common stock are entitled to receive dividends declared by our board of directors out of funds legally available for the payment of dividends, subject to rights, if any, of preferred stockholders. We have not paid dividends in the past and have no current plans to pay dividends. Each holder of common stock is entitled to one vote per share. The holders of common stock have no preemptive rights.
Preferred Stock
Our board of directors has the authority, subject to limitations prescribed by Delaware law, to issue preferred stock in one or more series, to establish from time to time the number of shares to be included in each series, and to fix the designation, powers, preferences and rights of the shares of each series and any of its qualifications, limitations or restrictions, in each case without further vote or action by our stockholders. Each series of preferred stock offered by us will be more fully described in the particular prospectus supplement that will accompany this prospectus, including redemption provisions, rights in the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, voting rights and rights to convert into common stock.
Depositary Shares
We may issue fractional shares of preferred stock that will be represented by depositary shares and depositary receipts.
Each series of depositary shares or depositary receipts offered by us will be more fully described in the particular prospectus supplement that will accompany this prospectus, including redemption provisions, rights in the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, voting rights and rights to convert into common stock.
Debt Securities
We may offer secured or unsecured obligations in the form of one or more series of senior or subordinated debt. The senior debt securities and the subordinated debt securities are together referred to in this prospectus as the “debt securities.” The subordinated debt securities generally will be entitled to payment only after payment of our senior debt. Senior debt generally includes all debt for money borrowed by us, except debt that is stated in the instrument governing the terms of that debt to be not senior to, or to have the same rank in right of payment as, or to be expressly junior to, the subordinated debt securities. We may issue debt securities that are convertible into shares of our common stock.
The debt securities will be issued under an indenture between us and a trustee to be identified in an accompanying prospectus supplement. We have summarized the general features of the debt securities to be governed by the indenture in this prospectus and the form of indenture has been filed as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part. We encourage you to read the indenture.
Warrants
We may offer warrants for the purchase of common stock, preferred stock, debt securities or depositary shares. We may offer warrants independently or together with other securities.
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Subscription Rights
We may offer subscription rights to purchase our common stock, preferred stock, debt securities, depositary shares, warrants or units consisting of some or all of these securities. These subscription rights may be offered independently or together with any other security offered hereby and may or may not be transferable by the stockholder receiving the subscription rights in such offering.
Purchase Contracts
We may offer purchase contracts, including contracts obligating holders or us to purchase from the other a specific or variable number of securities at a future date or dates.
Units
We may offer units comprised of one or more of the other classes of securities described in this prospectus in any combination. Each unit will be issued so that the holder of the unit is also the holder of each security included in the unit.
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RISK FACTORS
An investment in our securities involves a high degree of risk. The prospectus supplement applicable to each offering of our securities will contain a discussion of the risks applicable to an investment in our securities. Prior to making a decision about investing in our securities, you should carefully consider the specific factors discussed under the section in the applicable prospectus supplement captioned “Risk Factors,” together with all of the other information contained or incorporated by reference in the prospectus supplement or appearing or incorporated by reference in this prospectus. You should also consider the risks, uncertainties and assumptions discussed under “Part I—Item 1A—Risk Factors” of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and in “Part II—Item 1A—Risk Factors” in our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed subsequent to such Form 10-K that are incorporated herein by reference, as may be amended, supplemented or superseded from time to time by other reports we file with the SEC in the future. The risks and uncertainties we have described are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also affect our operations.


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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This prospectus, each prospectus supplement and the information incorporated by reference in this prospectus and each prospectus supplement contain certain statements that constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. The words “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “could,” “would,” “project,” “plan,” “potentially,” “likely,” and similar expressions and variations thereof are intended to identify forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements. Those statements appear in this prospectus, any accompanying prospectus supplement and the documents incorporated herein and therein by reference, particularly in the sections captioned “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of our management that are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions. You are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors.
Because forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified, you should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements may not be achieved or occur and actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Except as required by applicable law, including the securities laws of the United States and the rules and regulations of the SEC, we do not plan to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements contained herein after we distribute this prospectus, whether as a result of any new information, future events or otherwise.
In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this prospectus, and although we believe such information forms a reasonable basis for such statements, such information may be limited or incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted a thorough inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely upon these statements.
This prospectus and the documents incorporated by reference in this prospectus may contain market data that we obtain from industry sources. These sources do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information. Although we believe that our industry sources are reliable, we do not independently verify the information. The market data may include projections that are based on a number of other projections. While we believe these assumptions to be reasonable and sound as of the date of this prospectus, actual results may differ from the projections.
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USE OF PROCEEDS
We will retain broad discretion over the use of the net proceeds to us from the sale of our securities under this prospectus. Unless otherwise provided in the applicable prospectus supplement, we currently expect to use the net proceeds that we receive from this offering for working capital and other general corporate purposes. We may also use a portion of the net proceeds to acquire, license or invest in complementary products, technologies or businesses; however, we currently have no agreements or commitments to complete any such transaction. The expected use of net proceeds of this offering represents our current intentions based on our present plans and business conditions. We cannot specify with certainty all of the particular uses for the net proceeds to be received upon the closing of this offering. Pending these uses, we plan to invest the net proceeds of this offering in short- and intermediate-term, interest-bearing obligations, investment-grade instruments, certificates of deposit or direct or guaranteed obligations of the U.S. government.
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DESCRIPTION OF CAPITAL STOCK
The description of our capital stock is incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.10 to our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, filed with the SEC on March 18, 2021.
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DESCRIPTION OF DEBT SECURITIES
The following description, together with the additional information we include in any applicable prospectus supplement, summarizes certain general terms and provisions of the debt securities that we may offer under this prospectus. When we offer to sell a particular series of debt securities, we will describe the specific terms of the series in a supplement to this prospectus. We will also indicate in the supplement to what extent the general terms and provisions described in this prospectus apply to a particular series of debt securities.
We may issue debt securities either separately, or together with, or upon the conversion or exercise of or in exchange for, other securities described in this prospectus. Debt securities may be our senior, senior subordinated or subordinated obligations and, unless otherwise specified in a supplement to this prospectus, the debt securities will be our direct, unsecured obligations and may be issued in one or more series.
The debt securities will be issued under an indenture between us and a trustee to be identified in an accompanying prospectus supplement. We have summarized select portions of the indenture below. The summary is not complete. The form of the indenture has been filed as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part and you should read the indenture for provisions that may be important to you. In the summary below, we have included references to the section numbers of the indenture so that you can easily locate these provisions. Capitalized terms used in the summary and not defined herein have the meanings specified in the indenture.
General
The terms of each series of debt securities will be established by or pursuant to a resolution of our board of directors and set forth or determined in the manner provided in a resolution of our board of directors, in an officer’s certificate or by a supplemental indenture. The particular terms of each series of debt securities will be described in a prospectus supplement relating to such series (including any pricing supplement or term sheet).
We can issue an unlimited amount of debt securities under the indenture that may be in one or more series with the same or various maturities, at par, at a premium, or at a discount. We will set forth in a prospectus supplement (including any pricing supplement or term sheet) relating to any series of debt securities being offered the aggregate principal amount and the following terms of the debt securities, if applicable:
the title and ranking of the debt securities (including the terms of any subordination provisions);
the price or prices (expressed as a percentage of the principal amount) at which we will sell the debt securities;
any limit upon the aggregate principal amount of the debt securities;
the date or dates on which the principal of the securities of the series is payable;
the rate or rates (which may be fixed or variable) per annum or the method used to determine the rate or rates (including any commodity, commodity index, stock exchange index or financial index) at which the debt securities will bear interest, the date or dates from which interest will accrue, the date or dates on which interest will commence and be payable and any regular record date for the interest payable on any interest payment date;
the place or places where principal of, and interest, if any, on the debt securities will be payable (and the method of such payment), where the securities of such series may be surrendered for registration of transfer or exchange, and where notices and demands to us in respect of the debt securities may be delivered;
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the period or periods within which, the price or prices at which and the terms and conditions upon which we may redeem the debt securities;
any obligation we have to redeem or purchase the debt securities pursuant to any sinking fund or analogous provisions or at the option of a holder of debt securities and the period or periods within which, the price or prices at which and the terms and conditions upon which securities of the series shall be redeemed or purchased, in whole or in part, pursuant to such obligation;
the dates on which and the price or prices at which we will repurchase debt securities at the option of the holders of debt securities and other detailed terms and provisions of these repurchase obligations;
the denominations in which the debt securities will be issued, if other than denominations of $1,000 and any integral multiple thereof;
whether the debt securities will be issued in the form of certificated debt securities or global debt securities;
the portion of principal amount of the debt securities payable upon declaration of acceleration of the maturity date, if other than the principal amount;
the currency of denomination of the debt securities, which may be United States dollars or any foreign currency, and if such currency of denomination is a composite currency, the agency or organization, if any, responsible for overseeing such composite currency;
the designation of the currency, currencies or currency units in which payment of principal of, premium and interest on the debt securities will be made;
if payments of principal of, premium or interest on the debt securities will be made in one or more currencies or currency units other than that or those in which the debt securities are denominated, the manner in which the exchange rate with respect to these payments will be determined;
the manner in which the amounts of payment of principal of, premium, if any, or interest on the debt securities will be determined, if these amounts may be determined by reference to an index based on a currency or currencies or by reference to a commodity, commodity index, stock exchange index or financial index;
any provisions relating to any security provided for the debt securities;
any addition to, deletion of or change in the Events of Default described in this prospectus or in the indenture with respect to the debt securities and any change in the acceleration provisions described in this prospectus or in the indenture with respect to the debt securities;
any addition to, deletion of or change in the covenants described in this prospectus or in the indenture with respect to the debt securities;
any depositaries, interest rate calculation agents, exchange rate calculation agents or other agents with respect to the debt securities;
any other terms of the debt securities, which may supplement, modify or delete any provision of the indenture as it applies to that series, including any terms that may be required under applicable law or regulations or advisable in connection with the marketing of the securities; and
whether any of our direct or indirect subsidiaries will guarantee the debt securities of that series, including the terms of subordination, if any, of such guarantees.
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We may issue debt securities that provide for an amount less than their stated principal amount to be due and payable upon declaration of acceleration of their maturity pursuant to the terms of the indenture. We will provide you with information on the federal income tax considerations and other special considerations applicable to any of these debt securities in the applicable prospectus supplement.
If we denominate the purchase price of any of the debt securities in a foreign currency or currencies or a foreign currency unit or units, or if the principal of and any premium and interest on any series of debt securities is payable in a foreign currency or currencies or a foreign currency unit or units, we will provide you with information on the restrictions, elections, general tax considerations, specific terms and other information with respect to that issue of debt securities and such foreign currency or currencies or foreign currency unit or units in the applicable prospectus supplement.
Transfer and Exchange
Each debt security will be represented by either one or more global securities registered in the name of a clearing agency registered under the Exchange Act, which we refer to as the depositary, or a nominee of the depositary (we will refer to any debt security represented by a global debt security as a “book-entry debt security”), or a certificate issued in definitive registered form (we will refer to any debt security represented by a certificated security as a “certificated debt security”) as set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement. Except as set forth under the heading “Global Debt Securities and Book-Entry System” below, book-entry debt securities will not be issuable in certificated form.
Certificated Debt Securities
You may transfer or exchange certificated debt securities at any office we maintain for this purpose in accordance with the terms of the indenture. No service charge will be made for any transfer or exchange of certificated debt securities, but we may require payment of a sum sufficient to cover any tax or other governmental charge payable in connection with a transfer or exchange.
You may effect the transfer of certificated debt securities and the right to receive the principal of, premium and interest on certificated debt securities only by surrendering the certificate representing those certificated debt securities and either reissuance by us or the trustee of the certificate to the new holder or the issuance by us or the trustee of a new certificate to the new holder. 
Global Debt Securities and Book-Entry System
Each global debt security representing book-entry debt securities will be deposited with, or on behalf of, the depositary, and registered in the name of the depositary or a nominee of the depositary.
Covenants
We will set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement any restrictive covenants applicable to any issue of debt securities.
No Protection in the Event of a Change of Control
Unless we state otherwise in the applicable prospectus supplement, the debt securities will not contain any provisions which may afford holders of the debt securities protection in the event we have a change in control or in the event of a highly leveraged transaction (whether or not such transaction results in a change in control) which could adversely affect holders of debt securities.
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Consolidation, Merger and Sale of Assets
We may not consolidate with or merge with or into, or convey, transfer or lease all or substantially all of our properties and assets to any person, which we refer to as a successor person, unless:
we are the surviving corporation or the successor person (if other than us) is a corporation organized and validly existing under the laws of any U.S. domestic jurisdiction and expressly assumes our obligations on the debt securities and under the indenture; and
immediately after giving effect to the transaction, no Default or Event of Default, shall have occurred and be continuing.
Notwithstanding the above, any of our subsidiaries may consolidate with, merge into or transfer all or part of its properties to us.
Events of Default
“Event of Default” means with respect to any series of debt securities, any of the following:
default in the payment of any interest upon any debt security of that series when it becomes due and payable, and continuance of such default for a period of 30 days (unless the entire amount of the payment is deposited by us with the trustee or with a paying agent prior to the expiration of the 30-day period);
default in the payment of principal of any security of that series at its maturity;
default in the performance or breach of any other covenant or warranty by us in the indenture (other than a covenant or warranty that has been included in the indenture solely for the benefit of a series of debt securities other than that series), which default continues uncured for a period of 60 days after we receive written notice from the trustee, or we and the trustee receive written notice from the holders of not less than 25% in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of that series as provided in the indenture;
certain voluntary or involuntary events of bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization of us; and
any other Event of Default provided with respect to debt securities of that series that is described in the applicable prospectus supplement.
No Event of Default with respect to a particular series of debt securities (except as to certain events of bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization) necessarily constitutes an Event of Default with respect to any other series of debt securities. The occurrence of certain Events of Default or an acceleration under the indenture may constitute an event of default under certain indebtedness of ours or our subsidiaries outstanding from time to time.
We will provide the trustee written notice of any Default or Event of Default within 30 days of becoming aware of the occurrence of such Default or Event of Default, which notice will describe in reasonable detail the status of such Default or Event of Default and what action we are taking or propose to take in respect thereof.
If an Event of Default with respect to debt securities of any series at the time outstanding occurs and is continuing, then the trustee or the holders of not less than 25% in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of that series may, by a notice in writing to us (and to the trustee if given by the holders), declare to be due and payable immediately the principal of (or, if the debt securities of that series are discount securities, that portion of the principal amount as may be specified in the terms of that series) and accrued and unpaid interest, if any, on all debt securities of that series. In the case of an Event of Default resulting from certain events of bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization, the principal (or such specified amount) of and accrued and unpaid interest, if any, on
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all outstanding debt securities will become and be immediately due and payable without any declaration or other act on the part of the trustee or any holder of outstanding debt securities. At any time after a declaration of acceleration with respect to debt securities of any series has been made, but before a judgment or decree for payment of the money due has been obtained by the trustee, the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of that series may rescind and annul the acceleration if all Events of Default, other than the non-payment of accelerated principal and interest, if any, with respect to debt securities of that series, have been cured or waived as provided in the indenture. We refer you to the prospectus supplement relating to any series of debt securities that are discount securities for the particular provisions relating to acceleration of a portion of the principal amount of such discount securities upon the occurrence of an Event of Default.
The indenture provides that the trustee may refuse to perform any duty or exercise any of its rights or powers under the indenture unless the trustee receives indemnity satisfactory to it against any cost, liability or expense which might be incurred by it in performing such duty or exercising such right or power. Subject to certain rights of the trustee, the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of any series will have the right to direct the time, method and place of conducting any proceeding for any remedy available to the trustee or exercising any trust or power conferred on the trustee with respect to the debt securities of that series.
No holder of any debt security of any series will have any right to institute any proceeding, judicial or otherwise, with respect to the indenture or for the appointment of a receiver or trustee, or for any remedy under the indenture, unless:
that holder has previously given to the trustee written notice of a continuing Event of Default with respect to debt securities of that series; and
the holders of not less than 25% in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of that series have made written request, and offered indemnity or security satisfactory to the trustee, to the trustee to institute the proceeding as trustee, and the trustee has not received from the holders of not less than a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of that series a direction inconsistent with that request and has failed to institute the proceeding within 60 days.
Notwithstanding any other provision in the indenture, the holder of any debt security will have an absolute and unconditional right to receive payment of the principal of, premium and any interest on that debt security on or after the due dates expressed in that debt security and to institute suit for the enforcement of payment.
The indenture requires us, within 120 days after the end of our fiscal year, to furnish to the trustee a statement as to compliance with the indenture. If a Default or Event of Default occurs and is continuing with respect to the securities of any series and if it is known to a responsible officer of the trustee, the trustee shall send to each securityholder of the securities of that series notice of a Default or Event of Default within 90 days after it occurs or, if later, after a responsible officer of the trustee has knowledge of such Default or Event of Default. The indenture provides that the trustee may withhold notice to the holders of debt securities of any series of any Default or Event of Default (except in payment on any debt securities of that series) with respect to debt securities of that series if the trustee determines in good faith that withholding notice is in the interest of the holders of those debt securities.
Modification and Waiver
We and the trustee may modify, amend or supplement the indenture or the debt securities of any series without the consent of any holder of any debt security:
to cure any ambiguity, defect or inconsistency;
to comply with covenants in the indenture described above under the heading “Consolidation, Merger and Sale of Assets”;
to provide for uncertificated securities in addition to or in place of certificated securities;
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to add guarantees with respect to debt securities of any series or secure debt securities of any series;
to surrender any of our rights or powers under the indenture;
to add covenants or events of default for the benefit of the holders of debt securities of any series;
to comply with the applicable procedures of the applicable depositary;
to make any change that does not adversely affect the rights of any holder of debt securities;
to provide for the issuance of and establish the form and terms and conditions of debt securities of any series as permitted by the indenture;
to effect the appointment of a successor trustee with respect to the debt securities of any series and to add to or change any of the provisions of the indenture to provide for or facilitate administration by more than one trustee; or
to comply with requirements of the SEC in order to effect or maintain the qualification of the indenture under the Trust Indenture Act.
We may also modify and amend the indenture with the consent of the holders of at least a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of each series affected by the modifications or amendments. We may not make any modification or amendment without the consent of the holders of each affected debt security then outstanding if that amendment will:
reduce the amount of debt securities whose holders must consent to an amendment, supplement or waiver;
reduce the rate of or extend the time for payment of interest (including default interest) on any debt security;
reduce the principal of or premium on or change the fixed maturity of any debt security or reduce the amount of, or postpone the date fixed for, the payment of any sinking fund or analogous obligation with respect to any series of debt securities;
reduce the principal amount of discount securities payable upon acceleration of maturity;
waive a default in the payment of the principal of, premium or interest on any debt security (except a rescission of acceleration of the debt securities of any series by the holders of at least a majority in aggregate principal amount of the then outstanding debt securities of that series and a waiver of the payment default that resulted from such acceleration);
make the principal of or premium or interest on any debt security payable in currency other than that stated in the debt security;
make any change to certain provisions of the indenture relating to, among other things, the right of holders of debt securities to receive payment of the principal of, premium and interest on those debt securities and to institute suit for the enforcement of any such payment and to waivers or amendments; or
waive a redemption payment with respect to any debt security.
Except for certain specified provisions, the holders of at least a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of any series may on behalf of the holders of all debt securities of that series waive our compliance
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with provisions of the indenture. The holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of any series may on behalf of the holders of all the debt securities of such series waive any past default under the indenture with respect to that series and its consequences, except a default in the payment of the principal of, premium or any interest on any debt security of that series; provided, however, that the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of any series may rescind an acceleration and its consequences, including any related payment default that resulted from the acceleration.
Defeasance of Debt Securities and Certain Covenants in Certain Circumstances
Legal Defeasance
The indenture provides that, unless otherwise provided by the terms of the applicable series of debt securities, we may be discharged from any and all obligations in respect of the debt securities of any series (subject to certain exceptions). We will be so discharged upon the irrevocable deposit with the trustee, in trust, of money and/or U.S. government obligations or, in the case of debt securities denominated in a single currency other than U.S. dollars, government obligations of the government that issued or caused to be issued such currency, that, through the payment of interest and principal in accordance with their terms, will provide money or U.S. government obligations in an amount sufficient in the opinion of a nationally recognized firm of independent public accountants or investment bank to pay and discharge each installment of principal, premium and interest on and any mandatory sinking fund payments in respect of the debt securities of that series on the stated maturity of those payments in accordance with the terms of the indenture and those debt securities.
This discharge may occur only if, among other things, we have delivered to the trustee an opinion of counsel stating that we have received from, or there has been published by, the United States Internal Revenue Service a ruling or, since the date of execution of the indenture, there has been a change in the applicable United States federal income tax law, in either case to the effect that, and based thereon such opinion shall confirm that, the holders of the debt securities of that series will not recognize income, gain or loss for United States federal income tax purposes as a result of the deposit, defeasance and discharge and will be subject to United States federal income tax on the same amounts and in the same manner and at the same times as would have been the case if the deposit, defeasance and discharge had not occurred.
Defeasance of Certain Covenants
The indenture provides that, unless otherwise provided by the terms of the applicable series of debt securities, upon compliance with certain conditions:
we may omit to comply with the covenant described under the heading “Consolidation, Merger and Sale of Assets” and certain other covenants set forth in the indenture, as well as any additional covenants which may be set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement; and
any omission to comply with those covenants will not constitute a Default or an Event of Default with respect to the debt securities of that series.
We refer to this as covenant defeasance. The conditions include:
depositing with the trustee money and/or U.S. government obligations or, in the case of debt securities denominated in a single currency other than U.S. dollars, government obligations of the government that issued or caused to be issued such currency, that, through the payment of interest and principal in accordance with their terms, will provide money in an amount sufficient in the opinion of a nationally recognized firm of independent public accountants or investment bank to pay and discharge each installment of principal of, premium and interest on and any mandatory sinking fund payments in respect of the debt securities of that series on the stated maturity of those payments in accordance with the terms of the indenture and those debt securities;
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such deposit will not result in a breach or violation of, or constitute a default under the indenture or any other agreement to which we are a party;
no Default or Event of Default with respect to the applicable series of debt securities shall have occurred or is continuing on the date of such deposit; and
delivering to the trustee an opinion of counsel to the effect that we have received from, or there has been published by, the United States Internal Revenue Service a ruling or, since the date of execution of the indenture, there has been a change in the applicable United States federal income tax law, in either case to the effect that, and based thereon such opinion shall confirm that, the holders of the debt securities of that series will not recognize income, gain or loss for United States federal income tax purposes as a result of the deposit and related covenant defeasance and will be subject to United States federal income tax on the same amounts and in the same manner and at the same times as would have been the case if the deposit and related covenant defeasance had not occurred.
No Personal Liability of Directors, Officers, Employees or Stockholders
None of our past, present or future directors, officers, employees or stockholders, as such, will have any liability for any of our obligations under the debt securities or the indenture or for any claim based on, or in respect or by reason of, such obligations or their creation. By accepting a debt security, each holder waives and releases all such liability. This waiver and release is part of the consideration for the issue of the debt securities. However, this waiver and release may not be effective to waive liabilities under U.S. federal securities laws, and it is the view of the SEC that such a waiver is against public policy.
Governing Law
The indenture and the debt securities, including any claim or controversy arising out of or relating to the indenture or the securities, will be governed by the laws of the State of New York.
The indenture will provide that we, the trustee and the holders of the debt securities (by their acceptance of the debt securities) irrevocably waive, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, any and all right to trial by jury in any legal proceeding arising out of or relating to the indenture, the debt securities or the transactions contemplated thereby.
The indenture will provide that any legal suit, action or proceeding arising out of or based upon the indenture or the transactions contemplated thereby may be instituted in the federal courts of the United States of America located in the City of New York or the courts of the State of New York in each case located in the City of New York, and we, the trustee and the holder of the debt securities (by their acceptance of the debt securities) irrevocably submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of such courts in any such suit, action or proceeding. The indenture will further provide that service of any process, summons, notice or document by mail (to the extent allowed under any applicable statute or rule of court) to such party’s address set forth in the indenture will be effective service of process for any suit, action or other proceeding brought in any such court. The indenture will further provide that we, the trustee and the holders of the debt securities (by their acceptance of the debt securities) irrevocably and unconditionally waive any objection to the laying of venue of any suit, action or other proceeding in the courts specified above and irrevocably and unconditionally waive and agree not to plead or claim any such suit, action or other proceeding has been brought in an inconvenient forum.
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DESCRIPTION OF DEPOSITARY SHARES
General
We may, at our option, elect to offer fractional shares of preferred stock, or depositary shares, rather than full shares of preferred stock. If we do, we will issue to the public receipts, called depositary receipts, for depositary shares, each of which will represent a fraction, to be described in the applicable prospectus supplement, of a share of a particular series of preferred stock. Unless otherwise provided in the prospectus supplement, each owner of a depositary share will be entitled, in proportion to the applicable fractional interest in a share of preferred stock represented by the depositary share, to all the rights and preferences of the preferred stock represented by the depositary share. Those rights include dividend, voting, redemption, conversion and liquidation rights.
The shares of preferred stock underlying the depositary shares will be deposited with a bank or trust company selected by us to act as depositary under a deposit agreement between us, the depositary and the holders of the depositary receipts. The depositary will be the transfer agent, registrar and dividend disbursing agent for the depositary shares.
The depositary shares will be evidenced by depositary receipts issued pursuant to the depositary agreement. Holders of depositary receipts agree to be bound by the deposit agreement, which requires holders to take certain actions such as filing proof of residence and paying certain charges.
The summary of terms of the depositary shares contained in this prospectus is not complete. You should refer to the form of the deposit agreement, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and the certificate of designation for the applicable series of preferred stock that are, or will be, filed with the SEC.
Dividends and Other Distributions
The depositary will distribute all cash dividends or other cash distributions, if any, received in respect of the preferred stock underlying the depositary shares to the record holders of depositary shares in proportion to the numbers of depositary shares owned by those holders on the relevant record date. The relevant record date for depositary shares will be the same date as the record date for the underlying preferred stock.
If there is a distribution other than in cash, the depositary will distribute property (including securities) received by it to the record holders of depositary shares, unless the depositary determines that it is not feasible to make the distribution. If this occurs, the depositary may, with our approval, adopt another method for the distribution, including selling the property and distributing the net proceeds from the sale to the holders.
Liquidation Preference
If a series of preferred stock underlying the depositary shares has a liquidation preference, in the event of the voluntary or involuntary liquidation, dissolution or winding up of us, holders of depositary shares will be entitled to receive the fraction of the liquidation preference accorded each share of the applicable series of preferred stock, as set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement.
Withdrawal of Stock
Unless the related depositary shares have been previously called for redemption, upon surrender of the depositary receipts at the office of the depositary, the holder of the depositary shares will be entitled to delivery, at the office of the depositary to or upon his or her order, of the number of whole shares of the preferred stock and any money or other property represented by the depositary shares. If the depositary receipts delivered by the holder evidence a number of depositary shares in excess of the number of depositary shares representing the number of whole shares of preferred stock to be withdrawn, the depositary will deliver to the holder at the same time a new depositary receipt evidencing the excess number of depositary shares. In no event will the depositary deliver fractional shares of preferred stock upon surrender of depositary receipts. Holders of preferred stock thus withdrawn
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may not thereafter deposit those shares under the deposit agreement or receive depositary receipts evidencing depositary shares therefor.
Redemption of Depositary Shares
Whenever we redeem shares of preferred stock held by the depositary, the depositary will redeem as of the same redemption date the number of depositary shares representing shares of the preferred stock so redeemed, so long as we have paid in full to the depositary the redemption price of the preferred stock to be redeemed plus an amount equal to any accumulated and unpaid dividends on the preferred stock to the date fixed for redemption. The redemption price per depositary share will be equal to the redemption price and any other amounts per share payable on the preferred stock multiplied by the fraction of a share of preferred stock represented by one depositary share. If less than all the depositary shares are to be redeemed, the depositary shares to be redeemed will be selected by lot or pro rata or by any other equitable method as may be determined by the depositary.
After the date fixed for redemption, depositary shares called for redemption will no longer be deemed to be outstanding and all rights of the holders of depositary shares will cease, except the right to receive the monies payable upon redemption and any money or other property to which the holders of the depositary shares were entitled upon redemption upon surrender to the depositary of the depositary receipts evidencing the depositary shares.
Voting the Preferred Stock
Upon receipt of notice of any meeting at which the holders of the preferred stock are entitled to vote, the depositary will mail the information contained in the notice of meeting to the record holders of the depositary receipts relating to that preferred stock. The record date for the depositary receipts relating to the preferred stock will be the same date as the record date for the preferred stock. Each record holder of the depositary shares on the record date will be entitled to instruct the depositary as to the exercise of the voting rights pertaining to the number of shares of preferred stock represented by that holder’s depositary shares. The depositary will endeavor, insofar as practicable, to vote the number of shares of preferred stock represented by the depositary shares in accordance with those instructions, and we will agree to take all action that may be deemed necessary by the depositary in order to enable the depositary to do so. The depositary will not vote any shares of preferred stock except to the extent that it receives specific instructions from the holders of depositary shares representing that number of shares of preferred stock.
Charges of the Depositary
We will pay all transfer and other taxes and governmental charges arising solely from the existence of the depositary arrangements. We will pay charges of the depositary in connection with the initial deposit of the preferred stock and any redemption of the preferred stock. Holders of depositary receipts will pay transfer, income and other taxes and governmental charges and such other charges (including those in connection with the receipt and distribution of dividends, the sale or exercise of rights, the withdrawal of the preferred stock and the transferring, splitting or grouping of depositary receipts) as are expressly provided in the deposit agreement to be for their accounts. If these charges have not been paid by the holders of depositary receipts, the depositary may refuse to transfer depositary shares, withhold dividends and distributions and sell the depositary shares evidenced by the depositary receipt.
Amendment and Termination of the Deposit Agreement
The form of depositary receipt evidencing the depositary shares and any provision of the deposit agreement may be amended by agreement between us and the depositary. However, any amendment that materially and adversely alters the rights of the holders of depositary shares, other than fee changes, will not be effective unless the amendment has been approved by the holders of a majority of the outstanding depositary shares. The deposit agreement may be terminated by the depositary or us only if:
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all outstanding depositary shares have been redeemed; or
there has been a final distribution of the preferred stock in connection with our dissolution and such distribution has been made to all the holders of depositary shares.
Resignation and Removal of Depositary
The depositary may resign at any time by delivering to us notice of its election to do so, and we may remove the depositary at any time. Any resignation or removal of the depositary will take effect upon our appointment of a successor depositary and its acceptance of such appointment. The successor depositary must be appointed within 60 days after delivery of the notice of resignation or removal and must be a bank or trust company having its principal office in the United States and having the requisite combined capital and surplus as set forth in the applicable agreement.
Notices
The depositary will forward to holders of depositary receipts all notices, reports and other communications, including proxy solicitation materials received from us, that are delivered to the depositary and that we are required to furnish to the holders of the preferred stock. In addition, the depositary will make available for inspection by holders of depositary receipts at the principal office of the depositary, and at such other places as it may from time to time deem advisable, any reports and communications we deliver to the depositary as the holder of preferred stock.
Limitation of Liability
Neither we nor the depositary will be liable if either is prevented or delayed by law or any circumstance beyond its control in performing its obligations. Our obligations and those of the depositary will be limited to performance in good faith of our and its duties thereunder. We and the depositary will not be obligated to prosecute or defend any legal proceeding in respect of any depositary shares or preferred stock unless satisfactory indemnity is furnished. We and the depositary may rely upon written advice of counsel or accountants, on information provided by persons presenting preferred stock for deposit, holders of depositary receipts or other persons believed to be competent to give such information and on documents believed to be genuine and to have been signed or presented by the proper party or parties.
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DESCRIPTION OF WARRANTS
We may issue warrants to purchase debt securities, preferred stock, depositary shares or common stock. We may offer warrants separately or together with one or more additional warrants, debt securities, preferred stock, depositary shares or common stock, or any combination of those securities in the form of units, as described in the applicable prospectus supplement. If we issue warrants as part of a unit, the applicable prospectus supplement will specify whether those warrants may be separated from the other securities in the unit prior to the expiration date of the warrants. The applicable prospectus supplement will also describe the following terms of any warrants:
the specific designation and aggregate number of, and the offering price at which we will issue, the warrants;
the currency or currency units in which the offering price, if any, and the exercise price are payable;
the date on which the right to exercise the warrants will begin and the date on which that right will expire or, if you may not continuously exercise the warrants throughout that period, the specific date or dates on which you may exercise the warrants;
whether the warrants are to be sold separately or with other securities as parts of units;
whether the warrants will be issued in definitive or global form or in any combination of these forms, although, in any case, the form of a warrant included in a unit will correspond to the form of the unit and of any security included in that unit;
any applicable material U.S. federal income tax consequences;
the identity of the warrant agent for the warrants and of any other depositaries, execution or paying agents, transfer agents, registrars or other agents;
the proposed listing, if any, of the warrants or any securities purchasable upon exercise of the warrants on any securities exchange;
the designation and terms of any equity securities purchasable upon exercise of the warrants;
the designation, aggregate principal amount, currency and terms of any debt securities that may be purchased upon exercise of the warrants;
if applicable, the designation and terms of the debt securities, preferred stock, depositary shares or common stock with which the warrants are issued and the number of warrants issued with each security;
if applicable, the date from and after which any warrants issued as part of a unit and the related debt securities, preferred stock, depositary shares or common stock will be separately transferable;
the number of shares of preferred stock, the number of depositary shares or the number of shares of common stock purchasable upon exercise of a warrant and the price at which those shares may be purchased;
if applicable, the minimum or maximum amount of the warrants that may be exercised at any one time;
information with respect to book-entry procedures, if any;
the antidilution provisions, and other provisions for changes to or adjustment in the exercise price, of the warrants, if any;
any redemption or call provisions; and
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any additional terms of the warrants, including terms, procedures and limitations relating to the exchange or exercise of the warrants.
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DESCRIPTION OF SUBSCRIPTION RIGHTS
We may issue subscription rights to purchase our common stock, preferred stock, debt securities, depositary shares, warrants or units consisting of some or all of these securities. These subscription rights may be offered independently or together with any other security offered hereby and may or may not be transferable by the stockholder receiving the subscription rights in such offering. In connection with any offering of subscription rights, we may enter into a standby arrangement with one or more underwriters or other purchasers pursuant to which the underwriters or other purchasers may be required to purchase any securities remaining unsubscribed for after such offering.
The prospectus supplement relating to any subscription rights we offer, if any, will, to the extent applicable, include specific terms relating to the offering, including some or all of the following:
the price, if any, for the subscription rights;
the exercise price payable for our common stock, preferred stock, debt securities, depositary shares, warrants or units consisting of some or all of these securities upon the exercise of the subscription rights;
the number of subscription rights to be issued to each stockholder;
the number and terms of our common stock, preferred stock, debt securities, depositary shares, warrants or units consisting of some or all of these securities which may be purchased per each subscription right;
the extent to which the subscription rights are transferable;
any other terms of the subscription rights, including the terms, procedures and limitations relating to the exchange and exercise of the subscription rights;
the date on which the right to exercise the subscription rights shall commence, and the date on which the subscription rights shall expire;
the extent to which the subscription rights may include an over-subscription privilege with respect to unsubscribed securities or an over-allotment privilege to the extent the securities are fully subscribed; and
if applicable, the material terms of any standby underwriting or purchase arrangement which may be entered into by us in connection with the offering of subscription rights.
The descriptions of the subscription rights in this prospectus and in any prospectus supplement are summaries of the material provisions of the applicable subscription right agreements. These descriptions do not restate those subscription right agreements in their entirety and may not contain all the information that you may find useful. We urge you to read the applicable subscription right agreements because they, and not the summaries, define your rights as holders of the subscription rights. For more information, please review the forms of the relevant subscription right agreements, which will be filed with the SEC promptly after the offering of subscription rights and will be available as described in the section of this prospectus captioned “Where You Can Find More Information.”
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DESCRIPTION OF PURCHASE CONTRACTS
The following description summarizes the general features of the purchase contracts that we may offer under this prospectus. Although the features we have summarized below will generally apply to any future purchase contracts we may offer under this prospectus, we will describe the particular terms of any purchase contracts that we may offer in more detail in the applicable prospectus supplement. The specific terms of any purchase contracts may differ from the description provided below as a result of negotiations with third parties in connection with the issuance of those purchase contracts, as well as for other reasons. Because the terms of any purchase contracts we offer under a prospectus supplement may differ from the terms we describe below, you should rely solely on information in the applicable prospectus supplement if that summary is different from the summary in this prospectus.
We will incorporate by reference into the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part the form of any purchase contract that we may offer under this prospectus before the sale of the related purchase contract. We urge you to read any applicable prospectus supplement related to specific purchase contracts being offered, as well as the complete instruments that contain the terms of the securities that are subject to those purchase contracts. Certain of those instruments, or forms of those instruments, have been filed as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, and supplements to those instruments or forms may be incorporated by reference into the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part from reports we file with the SEC.
We may issue purchase contracts, including contracts obligating holders to purchase from us, and for us to sell to holders, a specific or variable number of our securities at a future date or dates. Alternatively, the purchase contracts may obligate us to purchase from holders, and obligate holders to sell to us, a specific or varying number of our securities.
If we offer any purchase contracts, certain terms of that series of purchase contracts will be described in the applicable prospectus supplement, including, without limitation, the following:
the price of the securities or other property subject to the purchase contracts (which may be determined by reference to a specific formula described in the purchase contracts);
whether the purchase contracts are issued separately, or as a part of units each consisting of a purchase contract and one or more of our other securities, including U.S. Treasury securities, securing the holder’s obligations under the purchase contract;
any requirement for us to make periodic payments to holders or vice versa, and whether the payments are unsecured or pre-funded;
any provisions relating to any security provided for the purchase contracts;
whether the purchase contracts obligate the holder or us to purchase or sell, or both purchase and sell, the securities subject to purchase under the purchase contract, and the nature and amount of each of those securities, or the method of determining those amounts;
whether the purchase contracts are to be prepaid or not;
whether the purchase contracts are to be settled by delivery, or by reference or linkage to the value, performance or level of the securities subject to purchase under the purchase contract;
any acceleration, cancellation, termination or other provisions relating to the settlement of the purchase contracts;
a discussion of certain U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to the purchase contracts;
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whether the purchase contracts will be issued in fully registered or global form; and
any other terms of the purchase contracts and any securities subject to such purchase contracts.
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DESCRIPTION OF UNITS
We may issue units comprising two or more securities described in this prospectus in any combination. For example, we might issue units consisting of a combination of debt securities and warrants to purchase common stock. The following description sets forth certain general terms and provisions of the units that we may offer pursuant to this prospectus. The particular terms of the units and the extent, if any, to which the general terms and provisions may apply to the units so offered will be described in the applicable prospectus supplement.
Each unit will be issued so that the holder of the unit also is the holder of each security included in the unit. Thus, the unit will have the rights and obligations of a holder of each included security. Units will be issued pursuant to the terms of a unit agreement, which may provide that the securities included in the unit may not be held or transferred separately at any time or at any time before a specified date. A copy of the forms of the unit agreement and the unit certificate relating to any particular issue of units will be filed with the SEC each time we issue units, and you should read those documents for provisions that may be important to you. For more information on how you can obtain copies of the forms of the unit agreement and the related unit certificate, see the section of this prospectus captioned “Where You Can Find More Information.”
The prospectus supplement relating to any particular issuance of units will describe the terms of those units, including, to the extent applicable, the following:
the designation and terms of the units and the securities comprising the units, including whether and under what circumstances those securities may be held or transferred separately;
any provision for the issuance, payment, settlement, transfer or exchange of the units or of the securities comprising the units; and
whether the units will be issued in fully registered or global form.

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PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION
We may sell securities: