Our future operating results may vary substantially from anticipated results due to a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control. The following discussion highlights some of these factors and the possible impact of these factors on future results of operations. If any of the following factors actually occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations and/or further growth prospects could be materially adversely affected. In that case the value of our common stock could decline substantially and you may lose all or part of your investment.
You are encouraged to review these risk factors as well as those presented in our filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Risks Related to our Business and Industry
- obtain and increase market demand for, and sales of, Aversion® Oxycodone;
- obtain acceptance of Aversion® Oxycodone by physicians and patients;
- obtain and maintain adequate levels of coverage and reimbursement for Aversion® Oxycodone from commercial health plans and government health programs, which we refer to collectively as third-party payors, particularly in light of the availability of other branded and generic competitive products;
- maintain compliance with regulatory requirements;
- price Aversion® Oxycodone competitively and enter into price discounting contracts with third-party payors;
- establish and maintain agreements with wholesalers and distributors on commercially reasonable terms;
- manufacture and supply Aversion® Oxycodone to meet commercial demand, including obtaining sufficient quota from the Drug Enforcement Administration; and
- maintain intellectual property protection for Aversion® Oxycodone and obtaining favorable drug listing treatment by the FDA to minimize generic competition.
- our receipt of royalties relating to our licensee’s sale of Aversion® Oxycodone;
- our successful marketing and sale of Nexafed® and other products utilizing our Impede® Technology, and market acceptance, increased demand for and sales of Nexafed®;
- our receipt of milestone payments and royalties relating to our Aversion Technology products in development, including the products returned by Pfizer, from future licensees, of which no assurance can be given;and
- the receipt of FDA approval and the successful commercialization by future licensees (if any) of products utilizing our Aversion® Technology and our ability to commercialize our Impede® Technology without infringing the patents and other intellectual property rights of third parties.
- the relative advantages and disadvantages of our products compared to competitive products;
- the relative timing to commercial launch of our products compared to competitive products;
- the relative safety and efficacy of our products compared to competitive products;
- the product labeling approved by the FDA for our products;
- the perception of health care providers of their role in helping to prevent abuse and their willingness to prescribe abuse-deterrent products to do so;
- the willingness of third party payers to reimburse for our prescription products;
- the willingness of pharmacy chains to stock our Impede® Technology products;
- the willingness of pharmacists to recommend our Impede® Technology products to their consumers; and
- the willingness of consumers to pay for our products.
- An annual, nondeductible fee on any entity that manufactures or imports certain branded prescription drugs and biologic agents, beginning in 2011;
- An increase in the minimum rebates a manufacturer must pay under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program;
- A new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, under which manufacturers must agree to offer 50 percent point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period, as a condition for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D, beginning in 2011;
- Extension of manufacturer’s Medicaid rebate liability to covered drugs dispensed to individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations, effective March 23, 2010;
- A new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to oversee, identify priorities in, and conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research;
- A revision to the definition of “average manufacturer price” for reporting purposes; and
- Encouragement for the development of comparative effectiveness research, which may reduce the extent of reimbursement for our products if such research results in any adverse findings.
- litigation or other proceedings we or our licensee(s) may initiate against third parties to enforce our patent rights or other intellectual property rights, including the Paragraph IV Proceedings described below;
- litigation or other proceedings we or our licensee(s) may initiate against third parties seeking to invalidate the patents held by such third parties or to obtain a judgment that our products do not infringe such third parties’ patents;
- litigation or other proceedings, third parties may initiate against us or our licensee(s) to seek to invalidate our patents or to obtain a judgment that third party products do not infringe our patents;
- if our competitors file patent applications that claim technology also claimed by us, we may be forced to participate in interference or opposition proceedings to determine the priority of invention and whether we are entitled to patent rights on such invention; and
- if third parties initiate litigation claiming that our products infringe their patent or other intellectual property rights, we will need to defend against such proceedings.
- Risks Relating to our Common Stock
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
We are largely dependent on the commercial success of our Aversion® Oxycodone product and our ability to enter into a license agreement with a pharmaceutical company to manufacturer and commercialize Aversion® Oxycodone.
We anticipate that, for at least fiscal 2014 and 2015, our ability to generate revenues and become profitable will depend in large part on the commercial success of our only FDA approved product, our oxycodone hydrochloride formulated with Aversion® Technology, or Aversion® Oxycodone. In April 2014, our license Agreement with Pfizer was terminated and we re-acquired all rights to Aversion® Oxycodone. Our plan is to enter into a license agreement with a strategically focused pharmaceutical company to manufacture and commercialize Aversion® Oxycodone. The commercial success of Aversion® Oxycodone will depend on several factors, including our ability to enter into a license agreement with a pharmaceutical partner, and our licensee’s ability to:
There can be no assurance that we will be successful in entering into a license agreement for Aversion® Oxycodone. If we are successful in entering into such agreement, there can be no assurance that our licensee will devote sufficient resources to the marketing and commercialization of Aversion® Oxycodone. Our licensee’s marketing of Aversion® Oxycodone may result in low market acceptance and insufficient demand for, and sales of, the product. If we are unable to enter into a license agreement for Aversion® Oxycodone, or if we enter into such agreement but our licensee fails to successfully commercialize Aversion® Oxycodone and increase sales, we may be unable to generate sufficient revenues to sustain or grow our business and we may never become profitable, and our business, financial condition and results of operations will be materially adversely affected.
If we are not successful in commercializing Nexafed® and other Impede® Technology products, our revenues and business will suffer.
We commenced the launch and commercial distribution of Nexafed® in mid-December 2012. Nexafed® competes in the highly competitive market for cold, sinus and allergy products generally available to the consumer without a prescription. Many of our competitors have substantially greater financial and other resources and are able to expend more funds and effort than us in marketing their competing products. Category leading brands are often supported by regional and national advertising and promotional efforts. Nexafed® will compete with national brands as well as pharmacy store brands that are offered at a lower price. There can be no assurance that we will succeed in commercializing Nexafed®, or that the pricing of Nexafed® will allow us to generate significant revenues or profit. Regulations have been enacted in several state or local jurisdictions requiring a doctor’s prescription to obtain pseudoephedrine products. An expansion of such restrictions to other jurisdictions or even nationally will adversely impact our ability to market Nexafed® as an OTC product and generate revenue from Nexafed® product sales. Our failure to successfully commercialize Nexafed® and to develop and commercialize other Impede® Technology products will have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
If our Aversion® Oxycodone licensee is not successful in commercializing Aversion® Oxycodone, our revenues and our business will suffer.
In April 2014, we re-acquired all rights to our FDA approved Aversion® Oxycodone product upon the termination of our license agreement with Pfizer. Currently, we do not have the infrastructure to commercialize Aversion® Oxycodone ourselves or the funding to satisfy the expenses and capital requirements necessary to build such infrastructure. Our plan is to enter into an agreement similar to the Pfizer Agreement with a strategically focus pharmaceutical company to manufacture and commercialize Aversion® Oxycodone in the United States and possibly other territories. If we are successful in entering into such license agreement, of which no assurance can be given, upon the termination of such agreement, including due to a party’s failure to perform its obligations or responsibilities under the agreement, we would need to enter into a new agreement with another pharmaceutical company, of which no assurance can be given. If we are unable to find a suitable replacement commercialization partner, we would be unable to generate any revenue from Aversion® Oxycodone. Even if we are successful at replacing the commercialization capabilities of our licensee, our revenues and/or royalties from Aversion® Oxycodone could be adversely impacted.
We expect that the licensee of our Aversion® Oxycodone, or its designated third-party supplier, will be the sole commercial source of supply of Aversion® Oxycodone. If our licensee’s manufacturing facility fails to obtain sufficient DEA quotas for oxycodone, fails to source adequate quantities of active and inactive ingredients, fails to comply with regulatory requirements, or otherwise experiences disruptions in commercial supply of Aversion® Oxycodone, product revenue and our royalties could be adversely impacted.
We expect that the licensee of our Aversion® Oxycodone will have a diversified product line for which Aversion® Oxycodone will vie for such licensee’s promotional, marketing, and selling resources. If our licensee fails to commit sufficient promotional, marketing and selling resources to Aversion® Oxycodone, product revenue and our expected royalties could be adversely impacted. Additionally, there can be no assurance that our licensee will commit the resources required for the successful commercialization of Aversion® Oxycodone.
The market for our opioid product candidates is highly competitive with many marketed non-abuse deterrent brand and generic products and other abuse deterrent product candidates in development. If our licensee prices Aversion® Oxycodone inappropriately, fails to position Aversion® Oxycodone properly, targets inappropriate physician specialties, or otherwise does not provide sufficient promotional support, product revenue and our royalties could be materially adversely impacted.
Our licensee’s promotional, marketing and sales activities in connection with Aversion® Oxycodone are subject to various federal and state fraud and abuse laws, including, without limitation, the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the federal False Claims Act. The federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits persons from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying remuneration, directly or indirectly, to induce, or in return for, the purchase or recommendation of an item or service reimbursable under a federal healthcare program. The federal False Claims Act imposes liability on any person who, among other things, knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment by a federal healthcare program. If our licensee’s activities are found to be in violation of these laws or any other federal and state fraud and abuse laws, our licensee may be subject to penalties, including civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines and the curtailment or restructuring of its activities with regard to the commercialization of Aversion® Oxycodone, which could harm the commercial success of Aversion® Oxycodone and have a material adverse affect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our failure to continue the development of the three development stage products terminated by Pfizer under the Pfizer Agreement, or to successfully establish a license agreement with a pharmaceutical company for the development and commercialization of such products, will adversely impact our ability to develop, market and sell such products and our revenues and business will suffer.
In July 2012, Pfizer exercised its right to terminate the license to the three products in development, or the returned products, under the Pfizer Agreement. The termination of such license provides for the return to us of oxycodone hydrochloride with acetaminophen, hydrocodone bitartrate with acetaminophen and another undisclosed opioid product. We have the right to develop the returned products on our own or in partnership with a third party. Our plan for developing, manufacturing and commercializing the returned products includes entering into an agreement similar to the Pfizer Agreement with a strategically focused pharmaceutical company. Such license agreement may also include rights to our Aversion® Oxycodone product. However, there can be no assurance that we will be successful in entering into such an agreement. Pending any such agreement, we expect to continue the development of our hydrocodone bitartrate with acetaminophen product on our own. Although we believe we have sufficient cash resources to fund the development of such product and submit a corresponding NDA to the FDA, there can be no assurance that this will be the case. The continued development of our hydrocodone bitartrate with acetaminophen product and the other returned products may require additional financing, which may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. In the absence of available financing, or our failure to successfully enter into a license agreement with a pharmaceutical company to develop and commercialize the returned products, we may have to limit the size or scope of, or delay or abandon, the development of some or all of the returned products, which would adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
We have a history of operating losses and may not achieve profitability sufficient to generate a positive return on shareholders’ investment.
We had a net loss of $13.9 million and $9.7 million for the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively, net income of $10.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2011 and a net loss of $12.7 million and $15.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009, respectively. Our future profitability will depend on several factors, including:
We cannot assure you that our Aversion® Oxycodone or Nexafed® products will be successfully commercialized or our Aversion® Technology or Impede® Technology products in development will be successfully developed or be approved for commercialization by the FDA.
We recognized royalty revenues of $10 thousand and $3 thousand from Pfizer under the Pfizer Agreement relating to net sales of Aversion® Oxycodone for the year ended December 31, 2013 and the quarter ended March 31, 2014, respectively. Even if we are successful in entering into a license agreement for Aversion® Oxycodone with a pharmaceutical partner and such licensee succeeds in commercializing Aversion® Oxycodone, or if we or a licensee succeed in developing and commercializing one or more of our pipeline Aversion® Technology products, or if we are successful in commercializing Nexafed or other Impede Technology products, we expect to continue using cash reserves for the foreseeable future. Our expenses may increase in the foreseeable future as a result of continued research and development of our product candidates, maintaining and expanding the scope of our intellectual property, commercializing our Nexafed product, and hiring of additional research and development staff.
We will need to generate revenues from direct product sales or indirectly from royalties on sales to achieve and maintain profitability. If we cannot successfully commercialize Nexafed®, if our licensee does not successfully commercialize Aversion® Oxycodone, or if we or our licensee (if any) cannot successfully develop, obtain regulatory approval and commercialize our products in development, we will not be able to generate such royalty revenues or achieve future profitability. Our failure to achieve or maintain profitability would have a material adverse impact on our operations, financial condition and on the market price of our common stock.
We must rely on current cash reserves, revenues from Nexafed® sales, and the proceeds of our term loan to fund operations.
Pending the receipt of royalties under a license agreement that we expect to enter into with a pharmaceutical company to manufacture and commercialize Aversion® Oxycodone, and milestone payments and royalties under license agreements similar to the Pfizer Agreement that we may enter into with other pharmaceutical companies relating to our products in development, in each case of which no assurance can be given, we must rely on our current cash reserves, revenues from our sales of Nexafed®, and the proceeds of our $10 million term loan from Oxford Finance to fund operations and product development activities. No assurance can be given that current cash reserves, revenues from Nexafed® product sales, or the term loan from Oxford Finance will be sufficient to fund continued operations and the development of our product candidates until such time as we generate revenues from a license agreement for Aversion® Oxycodone or any of our products in development. Moreover, no assurance can be given that we will be successful in raising additional financing or, if funding is obtained, that such funding will be sufficient to fund operations until we enter into a license agreement for Aversion® Oxycodone and generate royalties under such agreement, or until product candidates utilizing our Aversion® and Impede® Technologies may be commercialized. In the event our cash reserves are insufficient to fund continued operations, we may need to suspend some or all of our product development efforts or possibly discontinue operations.
Our and our licensees’ ability to market and promote Aversion® Oxycodone and other Aversion® Technology products by describing the abuse deterrent features of such products will be determined by the FDA approved label for such products.
The commercial success of our Aversion® Technology products will depend upon our and our licensees’ ability to obtain FDA approved labeling describing such products’ abuse deterrent features or benefits. Our or our licensees’ failure to achieve FDA approval of product labeling containing such information will prevent or substantiality limit our and our licensees’ advertising and promotion of such abuse deterrent features in order to differentiate Aversion® Technology products from other immediate release opioid products containing the same active ingredients, and would have a material adverse impact on our business and results of operations. The FDA’s January 2013 draft guidance, while not binding on the FDA, outlines the FDA’s current views on the labeling of abuse deterrent products. The FDA encourages sponsors to seek approval of proposed product labeling that sets forth the results of physiochemical, physiologic, pharmacodynamic, pharmacokinetic, and/or formal post-marketing studies that appropriately characterizes the abuse-deterrent properties of a product. To date, the FDA has limited data correlating the potentially abuse-deterrent properties of certain opioid drug products with actual reduction in abuse or adverse events associated with abuse. When the data predict or show a product’s potential abuse-deterrent properties can be expected to, or actually do, result in a significant reduction in that product’s abuse potential, those data, together with an accurate characterization of what the data mean, should be included in product labeling. We intend to utilize certain clinical and laboratory studies for our opioid products in development to support a label describing the abuse-deterrent features of such products. However, the extent to which such information is included in the FDA approved product label is the subject of our and our licensees’ discussions with, and agreement by, the FDA as part of the NDA review process for each of our product candidates. The outcome of those discussions with the FDA will determine whether we or our licensees will be able to market our products with labeling that sufficiently differentiates them from other products that have comparable therapeutic profiles. While the FDA approved label for Aversion® Oxycodone includes the results from a clinical study which evaluated the effects of nasally snorting crushed Aversion® Oxycodone and commercially available oxycodone tablets and limitations on wetting or dissolving Aversion® Oxycodone, it does not, however, include the results of our laboratory studies intended to evaluate Aversion® Oxycodone’s potential to limit extraction of oxycodone HCl from dissolved Aversion® Oxycodone Tablets and resist conversion into an injectable, or IV solution. The absence of the results of these extraction and syringe studies in the FDA approved label for Aversion® Oxycodone may substantially limit our licensee’s ability to differentiate Aversion® Oxycodone from other immediate release oxycodone products, which would have a material adverse effect on market acceptance of Aversion® Oxycodone and on our business and results of operations.
Notwithstanding the FDA approved labeling for Aversion® Oxycodone, there can be no assurance that our Aversion® Technology products in development will receive FDA approved labeling that describes the abuse deterrent features of such products. If the FDA does not approve labeling containing such information, we or our licensees will not be able to promote such products based on their abuse deterrent features, may not be able to differentiate such products from other immediate release opioid products containing the same active ingredients, and may not be able to charge a premium above the price of such other products which could materially adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Because the FDA closely regulates promotional materials and other promotional activities, even if the FDA initially approves product labeling that includes a description of the abuse deterrent characteristics of our product, as in the case of Aversion® Oxycodone, the FDA may object to our or our licensee’s marketing claims and product advertising campaigns. This could lead to the issuance of warning letters or untitled letters, suspension or withdrawal of Aversion® Oxycodone from the market, recalls, fines, disgorgement of money, operating restrictions, injunctions or criminal prosecution, which could harm the commercial success of our product and materially affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our product candidates are unproven and may not be approved by the FDA.
We are committing a majority of our resources to the development of product candidates utilizing our Aversion® and Impede® Technologies. Notwithstanding the receipt of FDA approval of Aversion® Oxycodone and our marketing of Nexafed®, there can be no assurance that any other product candidate utilizing our Aversion® or Impede® Technologies will meet FDA’s standards for commercial distribution. Further, there can be no assurance that other product candidates that may be developed using Aversion® Technology or Impede® Technology will achieve the targeted end points in the required clinical studies or perform as intended in other pre-clinical and clinical studies or lead to an NDA submission or filing acceptance. Our failure to successfully develop and achieve final FDA approval of our product candidates in development will have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.
If the FDA disagrees with our determination that certain of our products meet the over-the-counter, or OTC, requirements, once those products are commercialized, they may be removed from the market; the FDA or the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, may object to our advertisement and promotion of the extraction characteristics and benefits of Nexafed®.
Drugs that have been deemed safe and effective by the FDA for use by the general public without a prescription are classified as OTC drug products. Certain OTC drug products may be commercialized without premarket review by the FDA if the standards set forth in the applicable regulatory monograph are met. An OTC monograph provides the marketing conditions for the applicable OTC drug product, including active ingredients, labeling, and other general requirements, such as compliance with cGMP and establishment registration. Any product which fails to conform to each of the general conditions and a monograph is subject to regulatory action. Further, although the FDA regulates OTC drug product labeling, the FTC regulates the advertising and marketing of OTC drug products. We believe that Nexafed® is classified for OTC sale under an FDA OTC monograph, which will allow us to commercialize them without submitting an NDA or ANDA to the FDA. We have also determined that, provided we adhere to the FDA’s requirements for OTC monograph products, including product labeling, we can advertise and promote the extraction characteristics and benefits of Nexafed® which are supported by our research studies. No assurance can be given, however, that the FDA will agree that Nexafed® may be sold under the FDA’s OTC monograph product regulations or that the FDA or FTC will not object to our advertisement and promotion of Nexafed®’s extraction characteristics and benefits. If the FDA determines that Nexafed® does not conform to the OTC monograph or if we fail to meet the general conditions, once commercialized, the product may be removed from the market and we may face various actions including, but not limited to, restrictions on the marketing or distribution of such products, warning letters, fines, product seizure, or injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties. Any of these actions may materially and adversely affect our financial condition and operations. Additionally, the FDA has recently announced that it is considering material changes to how it regulates OTC drug products and held hearing in late March 2014 for public comment. Changes to the existing OTC regulations could result in a requirement that Acura file an NDA or ANDA for Nexafed® or other Impede® Technology products in order to commercialize such products. If the FDA requires that we submit a NDA or ANDA to obtain marketing approval for Nexafed® or other Impede® Technology products, this would result in substantial additional costs, suspend the commercialization of Nexafed® and require FDA approval prior to sale, of which no assurance can be provided. In such case, the label for Nexafed® or other Impede® Technology products would be subject to FDA review and approval and there can be no assurance that we will be able to market Nexafed® or other Impede® Technology products with labeling sufficient to differentiate it from products that have comparable therapeutic profiles. If we are unable to advertise and promote the extraction characteristics of Nexafed® or other Impede® Technology products, we may be unable to compete with national brands and pharmacy chain store brands.
Our Aversion® and Impede® Technology products may not be successful in limiting or impeding abuse or misuse upon commercialization.
We are committing a majority of our resources to the development of products utilizing our Aversion® and Impede® Technologies. Notwithstanding the receipt of FDA approval of Aversion® Oxycodone and the results of our numerous clinical and laboratory studies for Aversion® Oxycodone, Nexafed®, and our Aversion® and Impede® Technology products in development, there can be no assurance that Aversion® Oxycodone, Nexafed® or any other product utilizing our Aversion® or Impede® Technologies will perform as tested and limit or Impede® the actual abuse or misuse of such products in commercial settings. Moreover, there can be no assurance that the post-approval epidemiological study required by the FDA as a condition of approval of Aversion® Oxycodone will show a reduction in the consequences of abuse and misuse by patients for whom Aversion® Oxycodone is prescribed. The failure of Aversion® Oxycodone, Nexafed® or other products utilizing our Aversion® and Impede® Technologies to limit or Impede® actual abuse or misuse in practice will have a material adverse impact on market acceptance for such products and on our financial condition and results of operations.
Relying on third party CROs may result in delays in our pre-clinical, clinical or laboratory testing. If pre-clinical, clinical or laboratory testing for our product candidates are unsuccessful or delayed, we will be unable to meet our anticipated development and commercialization timelines.
To obtain FDA approval to commercially sell and distribute in the United States any of our prescription product candidates, we or our licensees must submit to the FDA a NDA demonstrating, among other things, that the product candidate is safe and effective for its intended use. As we do not possess the resources or employ all the personnel necessary to conduct such testing, we rely on CROs for the majority of this testing with our product candidates. As a result, we have less control over our development program than if we performed the testing entirely on our own. Third parties may not perform their responsibilities on our anticipated schedule. Delays in our development programs could significantly increase our product development costs and delay product commercialization.
The commencement of clinical trials with our product candidates may be delayed for several reasons, including, but not limited to, delays in demonstrating sufficient pre-clinical safety required to obtain regulatory approval to commence a clinical trial, reaching agreements on acceptable terms with prospective CROs, clinical trial sites and licensees, manufacturing and quality assurance release of a sufficient supply of a product candidate for use in our clinical trials and/or obtaining institutional review board approval to conduct a clinical trial at a prospective clinical site. Once a clinical trial has begun, it may be delayed, suspended or terminated by us or regulatory authorities due to several factors, including ongoing discussions with regulatory authorities regarding the scope or design of our clinical trials, a determination by us or regulatory authorities that continuing a trial presents an unreasonable health risk to participants, failure to conduct clinical trials in accordance with regulatory requirements, lower than anticipated recruitment or retention rate of patients in clinical trials, inspection of the clinical trial operations or trial sites by regulatory authorities, the imposition of a clinical hold by FDA, lack of adequate funding to continue clinical trials, and/or negative or unanticipated results of clinical trials.
Clinical trials required by the FDA for commercial approval may not demonstrate safety or efficacy of our product candidates. Success in pre-clinical testing and early clinical trials does not assure that later clinical trials will be successful. Results of later clinical trials may not replicate the results of prior clinical trials and pre-clinical testing. Even if the results of our pivotal phase III clinical trials are positive, we and our licensees may have to commit substantial time and additional resources to conduct further pre-clinical and clinical studies before we or our licensees can submit NDAs or obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates.
Clinical trials are expensive and at times, difficult to design and implement, in part because they are subject to rigorous regulatory requirements. Further, if participating subjects or patients in clinical studies suffer drug-related adverse reactions during the course of such trials, or if we, our licensees or the FDA believes that participating patients are being exposed to unacceptable health risks, we or our licensees may suspend the clinical trials. Failure can occur at any stage of the trials, and we or our licensees could encounter problems causing the abandonment of clinical trials or the need to conduct additional clinical studies, relating to a product candidate.
Even if our clinical trials and laboratory testing are completed as planned, their results may not support commercially viable product label claims. The clinical trial process may fail to demonstrate that our product candidates are safe and effective for their intended use. Such failure may cause us or our licensees to abandon a product candidate and may delay the development of other product candidates.
We have no commercial manufacturing capacity and rely on third-party contract manufacturers to produce commercial quantities of our products.
We do not have the facilities, equipment or personnel to manufacture commercial quantities of our products and therefore must rely on our licensees or other qualified third-party contract manufactures with appropriate facilities and equipment to contract manufacture commercial quantities of products utilizing our Aversion® and Impede® Technologies. These licensees and third- party contract manufacturers are also subject to cGMP regulations, which impose extensive procedural and documentation requirements. Any performance failure on the part of our licensees or contract manufacturers could delay commercialization of any approved products, depriving us of potential product revenue.
Our drug products, including Nexafed®, require precise, high quality manufacturing. Failure by our contract manufacturers to achieve and maintain high manufacturing standards could result in patient injury or death, product recalls or withdrawals, delays or failures in testing or delivery, cost overruns, or other problems that could materially adversely affect our business. Contract manufacturers may encounter difficulties involving production yields, quality control, and quality assurance. These manufacturers are subject to ongoing periodic unannounced inspection by the FDA and corresponding state and foreign agencies to ensure strict compliance with cGMP and other applicable government regulations; however, beyond contractual remedies that may be available to us, we do not have control over third-party manufacturers’ compliance with these regulations and standards.
If for some reason our contract manufacturers cannot perform as agreed, we may be required to replace them. Although we believe there are a number of potential replacements, we will incur added costs and delays in identifying and qualifying any such replacements. In addition, a new manufacturer would have to be educated in, or develop substantially equivalent processes for, production of our products or drug candidates.
We or our licensees may not obtain required FDA approval; the FDA approval process is time-consuming and expensive.
The development, testing, manufacturing, marketing and sale of pharmaceutical products are subject to extensive federal, state and local regulation in the United States and other countries. Satisfaction of all regulatory requirements typically takes years, is dependent upon the type, complexity and novelty of the product candidate, and requires the expenditure of substantial resources for research, development and testing. Substantially all of our operations are subject to compliance with FDA regulations. Failure to adhere to applicable FDA regulations by us or our licensees would have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial condition. In addition, in the event we are successful in developing product candidates for distribution and sale in other countries, we would become subject to regulation in such countries. Such foreign regulations and product approval requirements are expected to be time consuming and expensive.
We or our licensees may encounter delays or rejections during any stage of the regulatory review and approval process based upon the failure of clinical or laboratory data to demonstrate compliance with, or upon the failure of the product candidates to meet, the FDA’s requirements for safety, efficacy and quality; and those requirements may become more stringent due to changes in regulatory agency policy or the adoption of new regulations. After submission of a NDA, the FDA may refuse to file the application, deny approval of the application, require additional testing or data and/or require post-marketing testing and surveillance to monitor the safety or efficacy of a product. For instance, the FDA’s approval of Aversion® Oxycodone is conditioned on us or our licensee conducting a post-approval epidemiological study to assess the actual abuse levels and consequences of Aversion® Oxycodone in the market. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, sets time standards for the FDA’s review of NDA’s. The FDA’s timelines described in the PDUFA guidance are flexible and subject to change based on workload and other potential review issues and may delay the FDA’s review of an NDA. Further, the terms of approval of any NDA, including the product labeling, may be more restrictive than we or our licensees desire and could affect the marketability of our products.
Even if we comply with all the FDA regulatory requirements, we or our licensees may not obtain regulatory approval for any of our product candidates in development. For example, we previously submitted a NDA to the FDA for an Aversion® Technology product containing niacin, intended to provide impediments to over-ingesting the product. Such niacin containing product was not approved by the FDA. If we or our licensees fail to obtain regulatory approval for any of our product candidates in development, we will have fewer commercialized products and correspondingly lower revenues. Even if regulatory approval of our products in development is received, such approval may involve limitations on the indicated uses or promotional claims we or our licensees may make for our products, or otherwise not permit labeling that sufficiently differentiates our product candidates from competitive products with comparable therapeutic profiles but without abuse deterrent features (see risk factor above entitled “Our and our licensees ability to market and promote Aversion® Oxycodone and other Aversion® Technology products by describing the abuse deterrent features of such products will be determined by the FDA approved label for such products”). Such events would have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial condition. We may market certain of our products without the prior application to and approval by the FDA. The FDA may subsequently require us to withdraw such products and submit NDA’s for approval prior to re-marketing.
The FDA also has the authority to revoke or suspend approvals of previously approved products for cause, to debar companies and individuals from participating in the drug-approval process, to request recalls of allegedly violative products, to seize allegedly violative products, to obtain injunctions to close manufacturing plants allegedly not operating in conformity with current cGMP and to stop shipments of allegedly violative products. In the event the FDA takes any such action relating to our products, such actions would have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial condition.
We must maintain FDA approval to manufacture clinical supplies of our product candidates at our facility; failure to maintain compliance with FDA requirements may prevent or delay the manufacture of our product candidates and costs of manufacture may be higher than expected.
We have installed the equipment necessary to manufacture clinical trial supplies of our Aversion® and Impede® Technology product candidates in tablet formulations at our Culver, Indiana facility. To be used in clinical trials, all of our product candidates must be manufactured in conformity with cGMP regulations. All such product candidates must be manufactured, packaged, and labeled and stored in accordance with cGMPs. Modifications, enhancements or changes in manufacturing sites of marketed products are, in many circumstances, subject to FDA approval, which may be subject to a lengthy application process or which we may be unable to obtain. Our Culver, Indiana facility, and those of any third-party manufacturers that we or our licensees may use, are periodically subject to inspection by the FDA and other governmental agencies, and operations at these facilities could be interrupted or halted if the FDA deems such inspections are unsatisfactory. Failure to comply with FDA or other governmental regulations can result in fines, unanticipated compliance expenditures, recall or seizure of products, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, suspension of FDA review of our product candidates, termination of ongoing research, disqualification of data for submission to regulatory authorities, enforcement actions, injunctions and criminal prosecution.
We develop our products, and manufacture clinical supplies, at a single location. Any disruption at this facility could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We rely on our Culver, Indiana facility for developing our product candidates and the manufacture of clinical supplies of our product candidates. If the Culver, Indiana facility were damaged or destroyed, or otherwise subject to disruption, it would require substantial lead-time to repair or replace. If our Culver facility were affected by a disaster, we would be forced to rely entirely on CROs and third-party contract manufacturers for an indefinite period of time. Although we believe we possess adequate insurance for damage to our property and for the disruption of our business from casualties, such insurance may not be sufficient to cover all of our potential losses and may not continue to be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. Moreover, any disruptions or delays at our Culver, Indiana facility could impair our ability to develop our product candidates utilizing the Aversion® or Impede® Technologies, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Our operations are subject to environmental, health and safety, and other laws and regulations, with which compliance is costly and which exposes us to penalties for non-compliance.
Our business, properties and product candidates are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment, natural resources and worker health and safety and the use, management, storage and disposal of hazardous substances, waste and other regulated materials. Because we own and operate real property, various environmental laws also may impose liability on us for the costs of cleaning up and responding to hazardous substances that may have been released on our property, including releases unknown to us. These environmental laws and regulations also could require us to pay for environmental remediation and response costs at third-party locations where we dispose of or recycle hazardous substances. The costs of complying with these various environmental requirements, as they now exist or may be altered in the future, could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our failure to successfully establish new license agreements with pharmaceutical companies for the development and commercialization of our other products in development may adversely impair our ability to develop, market and sell such products.
We believe that opportunities exist to enter into license agreements with pharmaceutical partners for the development and commercialization of our Aversion® product candidates in development (including the products returned to us by Pfizer under the Pfizer Agreement) in the United States and worldwide, and for the development and commercialization of additional Aversion® Technology and Impede® Technology product candidates for other abused and misused drugs, such as tranquilizers, stimulants, sedatives and nasal decongestants in the United States and worldwide. However, there can be no assurance that we will be successful in entering into such license agreements in the future. If we are unable to enter into such agreements, our ability to develop and commercialize our product candidates, and our financial condition and results of operations, would be materially adversely affected.
If our licensees do not satisfy their obligations, we will be unable to develop our licensed product candidates.
As part of any license agreement we may enter into relating to Aversion® Oxycodone, or any of our Aversion® or Impede® Technology products in development, we will not have day-to-day control over the activities of our licensees with respect to any product candidate. If a licensee fails to fulfill its obligations under an agreement with us, we may be unable to assume the development and/or commercialization of the product covered by that agreement or to enter into alternative arrangements with another third party. In addition, we may encounter delays in the commercialization of the products that are the subject of a license agreement. Accordingly, our ability to receive any revenue from the products covered by such agreements will be dependent on the efforts of our licensee. We could be involved in disputes with a licensee, which could lead to delays in or termination of, our development and/or commercialization programs and result in time consuming and expensive litigation or arbitration. In addition, any such dispute could diminish our licensee’s commitment to us and reduce the resources they devote to developing and/or commercializing our products. If any licensee terminates or breaches its agreement, or otherwise fails to complete its obligations in a timely manner, our chances of successfully developing and/or commercializing our product candidates would be materially adversely effected. Additionally, due to the nature of the market for Aversion® Oxycodone and our Aversion® product candidates, it may be necessary for us to license Aversion® Oxycodone and all or a significant portion of our product candidates to a single company, thereby eliminating our opportunity to commercialize other product candidates with other licensees.
The market may not be receptive to products incorporating our Aversion® or Impede® Technologies.
The commercial success of our products will depend on acceptance by health care providers and others that such products are clinically useful, cost-effective and safe. There can be no assurance given that our products utilizing the Aversion® or Impede® Technologies would be accepted by health care providers and others. Factors that may materially affect market acceptance of our product candidates include but are not limited to:
Aversion® Oxycodone and our product candidates, if successfully developed and commercially launched, will compete with both currently marketed and new products launched in the future by other companies. Health care providers may not accept or utilize any of our products. Physicians and other prescribers may not be inclined to prescribe our prescription products unless our products demonstrate commercially viable advantages over other products currently marketed for the same indications. Pharmacy chains may not be willing to stock our Impede® Technology products and pharmacists may not recommend such products to consumers. Further, consumers may not be willing to purchase our products. If our products do not achieve market acceptance, we may not be able to generate significant revenues or become profitable.
If we, our licensees or others identify serious adverse events or deaths relating to any of our products once on the market, we may be required to withdraw our products from the market, which would hinder or preclude our ability to generate revenues.
We or our licensees are required to report to relevant regulatory authorities all serious adverse events or deaths involving our product candidates or approved products. If we, our licensees, or others identify such events, regulatory authorities may withdraw their approvals of such products; we or our licensees may be required to reformulate our products; we or our licensees may have to recall the affected products from the market and may not be able to reintroduce them onto the market; our reputation in the marketplace may suffer; and we may become the target of lawsuits, including class actions suits. Any of these events could harm or prevent sales of the affected products and could materially adversely affect our business and financial condition.
Our revenues may be adversely affected if we fail to obtain insurance coverage or adequate reimbursement for our products from third-party payers.
The ability of our licensees to successfully commercialize our products may depend in part on the availability of reimbursement for our prescription products from government health administration authorities, private health insurers, and other third-party payers and administrators, including Medicaid and Medicare. We cannot predict the availability of reimbursement for newly-approved products utilizing our Aversion® Technology. Third-party payers and administrators, including state Medicaid programs and Medicare, are challenging the prices charged for pharmaceutical products. Government and other third-party payers increasingly are limiting both coverage and the level of reimbursement for new drugs. Third-party insurance coverage may not be available to patients for any of our products candidates. The continuing efforts of government and third-party payers to contain or reduce the costs of health care may limit our commercial opportunity. If government and other third-party payers do not provide adequate coverage and reimbursement for any product utilizing our Aversion® Technology, health care providers may not prescribe them or patients may ask their health care providers to prescribe competing products with more favorable reimbursement. In some foreign markets, pricing and profitability of pharmaceutical products are subject to government control. In the United States, we expect there may be federal and state proposals for similar controls. In addition, we expect that increasing emphasis on managed care in the United States will continue to put pressure on the pricing of pharmaceutical products. Cost control initiatives could decrease the price that we or our licensees charge for any of our products in the future. Further, cost control initiatives could impair our ability or the ability of our licensees to commercialize our products and our ability to earn revenues from commercialization.
In both the United States and certain foreign jurisdictions, there have been and we expect there will continue to be a number of legislative and regulatory changes to the health care system that could impact our or our licensees’ ability to sell our products profitably. In particular, in 2010, the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, collectively, the Healthcare Reform Law, was enacted. The Healthcare Reform Law substantially changes the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers and significantly affects the pharmaceutical industry. Among the provisions of the Healthcare Reform Law of greatest importance to the pharmaceutical industry are the following:
At this time, it remains uncertain what the full impact of these provisions will be on the pharmaceutical industry generally or our business in particular. The full effects of these provisions will become apparent as these laws are implemented and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and other agencies issue applicable regulations or guidance as required by the Healthcare Reform Law. Moreover, in the coming years, additional changes could be made to governmental healthcare programs that could significantly impact the success of our products.
If we are unable to establish sales and marketing capabilities for our products that are not licensed to third parties, our revenues and our business will suffer.
We do not currently have an extensive organization for the sales, marketing and distribution of pharmaceutical products and the cost of establishing and maintaining such an organization may exceed the cost-effectiveness of doing so. If we do not license the commercialization of a product, we may have to build our sales, marketing, managerial and other non-technical capabilities or make arrangements with third parties to perform these services. If we are unable to establish or fund adequate sales, marketing and distribution capabilities, whether independently or with third parties, it will impair our ability to sell products and have a material adverse effect on our operations.
Consolidation in the healthcare industry could lead to demands for price concessions or for the exclusion of some suppliers from certain of our markets, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Because healthcare costs have risen significantly, numerous initiatives and reforms by legislatures, regulators and third-party payers to curb these cost increases have resulted in a trend in the healthcare industry to consolidate product suppliers and purchasers. As the healthcare industry consolidates, competition among suppliers to provide products to purchasers has become more intense. This in turn has resulted, and will likely continue to result, in greater pricing pressures and the exclusion of certain suppliers from important market segments as group purchasing organizations, and large single accounts continue to use their market power to influence product pricing and purchasing decisions. We expect that market demand, government regulation, third-party reimbursement policies and societal pressures will continue to influence the worldwide healthcare industry, resulting in further business consolidations, which may exert further downward pressure on the prices of our anticipated products. This downward pricing pressure may adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations. We expect that our licensees will control the price of Aversion® Oxycodone and our other licensed products and may provide price discounts and price reductions in its discretion. Such price discounts and reductions will reduce the net sales of our licensed products and, correspondingly, our royalty payments under such license agreements.
Our success depends on our ability to protect our intellectual property.
Our success depends on our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection for products developed utilizing our technologies, in the United States and in other countries, and to enforce these patents. The patent positions of pharmaceutical firms, including us, are generally uncertain and involve complex legal and factual questions. Notwithstanding our receipt of U.S. Patent No. 7,201,920 and U.S. Patent No. 7,510,726 from the USPTO encompassing our opioid products utilizing our Aversion® Technology, and U.S. Patent No. 7,981,439 encompassing certain non-opioid products utilizing our Aversion® Technology, there is no assurance that any of our patent claims in our other pending non-provisional and provisional patent applications relating to our technologies will issue or if issued, that any of our existing and future patent claims will be held valid and enforceable against third-party infringement or that our products will not infringe any third-party patent or intellectual property. Moreover, any patent claims relating to our technologies may not be sufficiently broad to protect our products. In addition, issued patent claims may be challenged, potentially invalidated or potentially circumvented. Our patent claims may not afford us protection against competitors with similar technology or permit the commercialization of our products without infringing third-party patents or other intellectual property rights.
Our success also depends on our not infringing patents issued to others. We may become aware of patents belonging to competitors and others that could require us to obtain licenses to such patents or alter our technologies. Obtaining such licenses or altering our technology could be time consuming and costly. We may not be able to obtain a license to any technology owned by or licensed to a third party that we or our licensees require to manufacture or market one or more of our products. Even if we can obtain a license, the financial and other terms may be disadvantageous.
Our success also depends on maintaining the confidentiality of our trade secrets and know-how. We seek to protect such information by entering into confidentiality agreements with employees, potential licensees, raw material suppliers, contract research organizations, contract manufacturers, consultants and other parties. These agreements may be breached by such parties. We may not be able to obtain an adequate, or perhaps any, remedy to such a breach. In addition, our trade secrets may otherwise become known or be independently developed by our competitors. Our inability to protect our intellectual property or to commercialize our products without infringing third-party patents or other intellectual property rights would have a material adverse affect on our operations and financial condition.
We also rely on or intend to rely on our or our licensees’ trademarks, trade names and brand names to distinguish our products from the products of our competitors, and have registered or applied to register many of these trademarks. However, our trademark applications may not be approved. Third parties may also oppose our or our licensees’ trademark applications or otherwise challenge our use of the trademarks. In the event that our or our licensees’ trademarks are successfully challenged, we or our licensees could be forced to rebrand our product, which could result in loss of brand recognition and could require us or our licensees to devote resources to advertising and marketing these new brands. Further, our competitors may infringe our trademarks, or we may not have adequate resources to enforce our trademarks.
We may become involved in patent litigation or other intellectual property proceedings relating to our Aversion® or Impede® Technologies or product candidates, which could result in liability for damages or delay or stop our development and commercialization efforts.
The pharmaceutical industry has been characterized by significant litigation and other proceedings regarding patents, patent applications and other intellectual property rights. The situations in which we may become parties to such litigation or proceedings may include:
The costs of resolving any patent litigation, including the Paragraph IV Proceedings, or other intellectual property proceeding, even if resolved in our favor, could be substantial. Many of our potential competitors will be able to sustain the cost of such litigation and proceedings more effectively than we can because of their substantially greater resources. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of patent litigation or other intellectual property proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our ability to compete in the marketplace. Patent litigation, including the Paragraph IV Proceedings, and other intellectual property proceedings may also consume significant management time.
In the event that a competitor infringes upon our patent or other intellectual property rights, enforcing those rights may be costly, difficult and time consuming. Even if successful, litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights or to defend our patents against challenge could be expensive and time-consuming and could divert our management’s attention. We may not have sufficient resources to enforce our intellectual property rights or to defend our patent or other intellectual property rights against a challenge. If we are unsuccessful in enforcing and protecting our intellectual property rights and protecting our products, it could harm our business. In certain circumstances, we expect that our licensees will have first right to control the enforcement of certain of our patents against third party infringers. Our licensees may not put adequate resources or effort into such enforcement actions or otherwise fail to restrain infringing products. In addition, in an infringement proceeding, including the Paragraph IV Proceedings, a court may decide that a patent of ours is invalid or is unenforceable, or may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patents do not cover the technology in question. An adverse result in any litigation, including the Paragraph IV Proceedings, or defense proceedings could put one or more of our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and could put our patent applications at risk of not issuing.
Our technologies or products may be found to infringe claims of patents owned by others. If we determine that we are, or if we are found to be infringing a patent held by another party, we, our suppliers or our licensees might have to seek a license to make, use, and sell the patented technologies and products. In that case, we, our suppliers or our licensees might not be able to obtain such license on acceptable terms, or at all. The failure to obtain a license to any third party technology that may be required would materially harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. If a legal action is brought against us or our licensee(s), we could incur substantial defense costs, and any such action might not be resolved in our favor. If such a dispute is resolved against us, we may have to pay the other party large sums of money and use of our technology and the testing, manufacturing, marketing or sale of one or more of our products could be restricted or prohibited. Even prior to resolution of such a dispute, use of our technology and the testing, manufacturing, marketing or sale of one or more of our products could be restricted or prohibited.
We are aware of certain United States and international pending patent applications owned by third parties with claims potentially encompassing Aversion® Oxycodone and our Aversion® products in development. While we do not expect the claims contained in such pending patent applications will issue in their present form, there can be no assurance that such patent applications will not issue as patents with claims encompassing one or more of our product candidates. If such patent applications result in valid and enforceable issued patents, containing claims in their current form or otherwise encompassing our products we or our licensees may be required to obtain a license to such patents, should one be available, or alternatively, alter our products so as to avoid infringing such third-party patents. If we or our licensees are unable to obtain a license on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, we or our licensees could be restricted or prevented from commercializing our products. Additionally, any alterations to our products or our technologies could be time consuming and costly and may not result in technologies or products that are non-infringing or commercially viable.
We are aware of an issued United States patent owned by a third party having claims encompassing the use of one of our Aversion® inactive ingredients in a controlled release pharmaceutical preparation. We are also aware of an issued United States patent owned by a third party having claims encompassing a pharmaceutical preparation containing viscosity producing ingredients that can be drawn into a syringe when dissolved in 10mL’s or less of aqueous solution. While we believe that our Aversion® products do not infringe these patents, or that such patents are otherwise invalid, there can be no assurance that we or our licensees will not be sued for infringing these patents, and if sued, there can be no assurance that we or our licensees will prevail in any such litigation. If we or our licensees are found to infringe either or both of these patents, we or our licensees may seek a license to use the patented technology. If we are unable to obtain such a license, of which no assurance can be given, we or our licensees may be restricted or prevented from commercializing our Aversion® products.
We are aware of certain issued United States patents owned by a third party having claims encompassing a process used to manufacture oxycodone HCl of high purity and pharmaceutical products resulting therefrom. As required by the FDA, Aversion® Oxycodone contains a similar high purity oxycodone HCl manufactured by a supplier that is not the owner or licensee of such patents. The owner of these patents has filed patent infringement actions relating to these patents against companies that have filed abbreviated new drug applications with the FDA for extended-release versions of oxycodone HCl. To our knowledge, the patent owner has not initiated any patent infringement actions against the sellers of immediate-release oxycodone HCl products or their suppliers of oxycodone HCl, however, we cannot be certain that these immediate-release products actually utilize a high purity oxycodone. We cannot provide assurance that our licensee or its oxycodone HCl supplier will not be sued for infringing these patents. In the event of an infringement action, our licensee and their oxycodone HCl supplier would have to either: (a) demonstrate that the manufacture of the oxycodone HCl used in Aversion® Oxycodone does not infringe the patent claims, (b) demonstrate the patents are invalid or unenforceable, or (c) enter into a license with the patent owner. If our licensee or their oxycodone HCl supplier is unable to demonstrate the foregoing, or obtain a license to these patients, our licensee may be required or choose to withdraw Aversion® Oxycodone from the market.
We are aware of a certain issued United States patent owned by a third party having claims similar to our second generation Impede® Technology directed to ingredient amounts that are generally less than the amounts used in our technology. While we believe our technology does not infringe this patent, we cannot provide assurance that we will not be sued under such patent or if sued, that we will prevail in any such suit.
We cannot assure you that our technologies, products and/or actions in developing our products will not infringe third-party patents. Our failure to avoid infringing third-party patents and intellectual property rights in the development and commercialization of our products would have a material adverse affect on our operations and financial condition.
Generic manufacturers are using litigation and regulatory means to seek approval for generic versions of Aversion® Oxycodone, which could cause our and our licensee’s sales to suffer.
Under the Hatch-Waxman Act, the FDA can approve an ANDA for a generic version of a branded drug and what is referred to as a Section 505(b)(2) NDA, for a branded variation of an existing branded drug, without requiring such applicant to undertake the full clinical testing necessary to obtain approval to market a new drug. An ANDA applicant usually needs to only submit data demonstrating that its product has the same active ingredient(s) and is bioequivalent to the branded product, in addition to any data necessary to establish that any difference in strength, dosage form, inactive ingredients, or delivery mechanism does not result in different safety or efficacy profiles, as compared to the reference drug.
The Hatch-Waxman Act requires an applicant for a drug that references one of our branded drugs to notify us of their application if they assert in their application that the patents we have listed in the Orange Book will not be infringed or otherwise are invalid or unenforceable (a Paragraph IV Certification). Upon receipt of this notice, we have 45 days to bring a patent infringement suit in federal district court against such applicant. If such a suit is commenced, the FDA is generally prohibited from granting approval of the ANDA or Section 505(b)(2) NDA until the earliest of 30 months from the date the FDA accepted the application for filing, the conclusion of litigation in the generic’s favor or expiration of the patent(s). If the litigation is resolved in favor of the applicant or the challenged patent expires during the 30-month stay period, the stay is lifted and the FDA may thereafter approve the application based on the standards for approval of ANDAs and Section 505(b)(2) NDAs. Frequently, the unpredictable nature and significant costs of patent litigation leads the parties to settle to remove this uncertainty. Settlement agreements between branded companies and generic applicants may allow, among other things, a generic product to enter the market prior to the expiration of any or all of the applicable patents covering the branded product, either through the introduction of an authorized generic or by providing a license to the applicant for the patents subject to the litigation.
On September 20, 2012, we announced that we had received a Paragraph IV Certification Notice under 21 U.S.C. 355(j) (a Paragraph IV Notice) from a generic sponsor of an ANDA for a generic drug listing Aversion® Oxycodone as the reference listed drug. Since such date, we have received similar Paragraph IV Notices from three other generic pharmaceutical companies that have filed ANDAs listing Aversion® Oxycodone as the reference drug. The Paragraph IV Notices refer to our U.S. Patent Numbers 7,201,920, 7,510,726 and 7,981,439, which cover our Aversion® Technology and Aversion® Oxycodone. The Paragraph IV Notices state that each generic sponsor believes that such patents are invalid, unenforceable or not infringed. On October 31, 2012, we initiated suit against each of Watson Laboratories, Inc. – Florida, Par Pharmaceutical, Inc., Impax Laboratories, Inc. and Sandoz Inc., and on April 29, 2013, we initiated suit against Ranbaxy, Inc., each in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware alleging infringement of our U.S. Patent No. 7,510,726 listed in the FDA’s Orange Book. The commencement of such litigation prohibits the FDA from granting approval of the filed ANDAs until the earliest of 30 months from the date the FDA accepted the application for filing, or the conclusion of litigation. The above actions are referred to as the “Paragraph IV Proceedings.” In January 2013, we dismissed our suit against Watson Laboratories on the grounds that Watson had amended its ANDA from a Paragraph IV Certification to a Paragraph III Certification, which indicated its intent not to market its generic Aversion® Oxycodone product in advance of our patent expiring.
On October 9, 2013, we announced that we had entered into distinct Settlement Agreements with each of Par and Impax, to settle our patent infringement action pending against them in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. In the suit, we alleged that a generic Aversion® Oxycodone product for which each of Par and Impax is separately seeking approval to market in the United States pursuant to an ANDA filing with the FDA infringes a U.S. patent owned by us. Par is the first filer of an ANDA for a generic Aversion® Oxycodone product and is entitled to the 180-day first filer exclusivity under applicable law and FDA regulations.
Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement with Par, Par may launch its generic Aversion® Oxycodone product in the U.S. through the grant of a non-exclusive, royalty-bearing license from us that would trigger on January 1, 2022. We currently have Orange Book patents that are due to expire between November 2023 and March 2025. In certain limited circumstances, our license to Par would become effective prior to January 1, 2022. Par is required to pay us royalties in the range of 10% to 15% of Par’s net profits from the sale of its generic Aversion® Oxycodone product.
Under the Settlement Agreement with Impax, Impax may launch its generic Aversion® Oxycodone product in the U.S. through the grant of a non-exclusive, royalty-free license from us that would trigger 180 days following the first sale of a generic Aversion® Oxycodone product in the U.S. by an entity that is entitled to the 180 day first-filer exclusivity under applicable law and FDA regulations (or if no entity is entitled to such 180 day exclusivity period, the date on which a generic Aversion® Oxycodone product is first sold in the U.S. or November 27, 2021, whichever date occurs first). In certain circumstances, our license to Impax would become effective prior to such time.
The Settlement Agreements with Par and Impact do not affect the status of our separate AVERSION®® oxycodone patent litigation against each of Sandoz and Ranbaxy pending in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.
Litigation is inherently uncertain and we cannot predict the outcome of the Paragraph IV Proceedings. If Sandoz and/or Ranbaxy prevails in its lawsuit and is able to obtain FDA approval of its product, it may be able to launch its generic version of AVERSION®® oxycodone prior to the expiration of our patents in 2025. Any determination in these infringement actions that our patents covering our Aversion® Technology and Aversion® Oxycodone are invalid or unenforceable, in whole or in part, or that the products covered by generic sponsors’ ANDAs do not infringe our patents, could have a material adverse affect on our operations and financial condition.
We may be exposed to product liability claims and may not be able to obtain or maintain adequate product liability insurance.
Our business exposes us to potential product liability risks, which are inherent in the testing, manufacturing, marketing and sale of pharmaceutical products. Product liability claims might be made by patients, health care providers or others that sell or consume our products. These claims may be made even with respect to those products that possess regulatory approval for commercial sale. We are currently covered by clinical trial product liability insurance on a claims-made basis and for product liability insurance covering our sale and distribution of Nexafed®. This coverage may not be adequate to cover any product liability claims. Product liability coverage is expensive. In the future, we may not be able to maintain such product liability insurance at a reasonable cost or in sufficient amounts to protect us against losses due to product liability claims. Any claims that are not covered by product liability insurance could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The pharmaceutical industry is characterized by frequent litigation. Those companies with significant financial resources will be better able to bring and defend any such litigation. No assurance can be given that we would not become involved in future litigation, in addition to the ongoing Reglan/Metoclopramide mass tort litigation discussed below under “Business – Legal Proceedings – Reglan/Metoclopramide Litigation.” Such litigation may have material adverse consequences to our financial condition and results of operations.
We face significant competition, which may result in others developing or commercializing products before or more successfully than we do.
Our products and technologies compete to varying degrees against both brand and generic products offering similar therapeutic benefits and being developed and marketed by small and large pharmaceutical (for prescription products) and consumer packaged goods (for OTC products) companies. Many of our competitors have substantially greater financial and other resources and are able to expend more funds and effort than us in research, development and commercialization of their competitive technologies and products. Prescription generic products and OTC store brand products will offer cost savings to third party payers and/or consumers that will create pricing pressure on our products. Also, these competitors may have a substantial sales volume advantage over our products, which may result in our costs of manufacturing being higher than our competitors’ costs. If our products are unable to capture and maintain market share, we or our licensees may not achieve significant product revenues and our financial condition and results of operations will be materially adversely affected.
We believe potential competitors may be developing opioid abuse deterrent technologies and products. Such potential competitors include, but may not be limited to, Pain Therapeutics, Pfizer Inc., Purdue Pharma, Atlantic Pharmaceuticals, Egalet Corporation, KemPharm, Shionogi, Nektar Therapeutics, Signature Therapeutics, QRx Pharma, Tris Pharma, Pisgah Labs, and Collegium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. These companies appear to be focusing their development efforts on ER Opioid Products, except for Atlantic Pharmaceuticals, while the majority of our Aversion® Technology opioid analgesic product candidates under development are IR Opioid Products.
Our Impede® Technology products containing PSE, including Nexafed®, will compete in the highly competitive market for cold, sinus and allergy products generally available to the consumer without a prescription. Some of our competitors will have multiple consumer product offerings both within and outside the cold, allergy and sinus category providing them with substantial leverage in dealing with a highly consolidated pharmacy distribution network. The competing products may have well established brand names and may be supported by national or regional advertising. Nexafed® will compete directly with Johnson & Johnson’s Sudafed® brand as well as generic formulations manufactured by Perrigo Company and others. In addition, Highland Pharmaceuticals has recently launched a PSE product that is stated to resist PSE extraction in aqueous solutions.
We are concentrating a substantial majority of our efforts and resources on developing product candidates utilizing our Aversion® and Impede® Technologies. The commercial success of products utilizing such technologies will depend, in large part, on the intensity of competition, FDA approved product labeling for our products compared to competitive products, and the relative timing and sequence for commercial launch of new products by other companies developing, marketing, selling and distributing products that compete with the products utilizing our Aversion® and Impede® Technologies. Alternative technologies and non-opioid products are being developed to improve or replace the use of opioid analgesics. In the event that such alternatives to opioid analgesics are widely adopted, then the market for products utilizing our Aversion® and Impede® Technologies may be substantially decreased, thus reducing our ability to generate future revenues and adversely affecting our ability to generate a profit.
If we fail to comply with the covenants and other obligations under our term loan, the lender may be able to accelerate amounts owed under the facility and may foreclose upon the assets securing our obligations.
In December 2013, we (including our wholly-owned subsidiary Acura Pharmaceutical Technologies, Inc. (“APT”)) entered into a loan and security agreement with Oxford Finance LLC (“Oxford”) pursuant to which we borrowed $10 million from Oxford. Under this agreement, we are subject to a variety of affirmative and negative covenants, including required financial reporting, limitations on certain dispositions and licensing of assets, limitations on the incurrence of additional debt and other requirements. To secure our performance of our obligations under this loan and security agreement, we granted Oxford a security interest in substantially all of our assets, other than intellectual property assets, and pledged to Oxford the stock of APT. Our failure to comply with the terms of the loan and security agreement, the occurrence of a material adverse change in our business, operations or condition (financial or otherwise) or prospects, the material impairment in our prospect of repayment, a material impairment in the perfection or priority of the Oxford’s lien on our assets or the value of Oxford’s collateral, or the occurrence of certain other specified events could result in an event of default that, if not cured or waived, could result in the acceleration of all or a substantial portion of our loan, coupled with prepayment penalties, an additional interest payment of between $795,000 and $995,000, potential foreclosure on our assets, and other adverse results.
Key personnel are critical to our business and our success depends on our ability to retain them.
We are dependent on our management and scientific team, including Robert Jones, our President and Chief Executive Officer, Peter A. Clemens, our Chief Financial Officer, and Albert W. Brzeczko, Ph.D., our Vice President of Technical Affairs. We may not be able to attract and retain personnel on acceptable terms given the competition for such personnel among biotechnology, pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, universities and non-profit research institutions. While we have employment agreements with our CEO and CFO, all of our employees are at-will employees who may terminate their employment at any time. We do not have key personnel insurance on any of our officers or employees. The loss of any of our key personnel, or the inability to attract and retain such personnel, may significantly delay or prevent the achievement of our product and technology development and business objectives and could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our products are subject to regulation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, and such regulation may affect the development and sale of our products.
The DEA regulates certain finished drug products and active pharmaceutical ingredients, including certain opioid active pharmaceutical ingredients and pseudoephedrine HCl that are contained in our products. Consequently, their manufacture, research, shipment, storage, sale and use are subject to a high degree of regulation. Furthermore, the amount of active ingredients we can obtain for our clinical trials is limited by the DEA and our quota may not be sufficient to complete clinical trials. There is a risk that DEA regulations may interfere with the supply of the products used in our clinical trials.
In addition, we and our contract manufacturers are subject to ongoing DEA regulatory obligations, including, among other things, annual registration renewal, security, recordkeeping, theft and loss reporting, periodic inspection and annual quota allotments for the raw material for commercial production of our products. The DEA, and some states, conduct periodic inspections of registered establishments that handle controlled substances. Facilities that conduct research, manufacture, store, distribute, import or export controlled substances must be registered to perform these activities and have the security, control and inventory mechanisms required by the DEA to prevent drug loss and diversion. Failure to maintain compliance, particularly non-compliance resulting in loss or diversion, can result in regulatory action that could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects. The DEA may seek civil penalties, refuse to renew necessary registrations, or initiate proceedings to revoke those registrations. In certain circumstances, violations could lead to criminal proceedings.
Individual states also have controlled substances laws. Though state controlled substances laws often mirror federal law, because the states are separate jurisdictions, they may separately schedule drugs, as well. While some states automatically schedule a drug when the DEA does so, in other states there has to be a rulemaking or a legislative action. State scheduling may delay commercial sale of any controlled substance drug product for which we obtain FDA approval and adverse scheduling could have a material adverse effect on the attractiveness of such product. We or our licensees must also obtain separate state registrations in order to be able to obtain, handle, and distribute controlled substances for clinical trials or commercial sale, and failure to meet applicable regulatory requirements could lead to enforcement and sanctions from the states in addition to those from the DEA or otherwise arising under federal law.
Prior ownership changes limit our ability to use our tax net operating loss carryforwards.
Significant equity restructuring often results in an Internal Revenue Section 382 ownership change that limits the future use of Net Operating Loss, or NOL, carryforwards and other tax attributes. We have determined that an ownership change (as defined by Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code) did occur as a result of restructuring that occurred in 2004. Neither the amount of our NOL carryforwards nor the amount of limitation of such carryforwards claimed by us have been audited or otherwise validated by the Internal Revenue Service, which could challenge the amount we have calculated. The recognition and measurement of our tax benefit includes estimates and judgment by our management, which includes subjectivity. Changes in estimates may create volatility in our tax rate in future periods based on new information about particular tax positions that may cause management to change its estimates.
Risks Relating to Our Common Stock
Our quarterly results of operations will fluctuate, and these fluctuations could cause our stock price to decline.
Our quarterly and annual operating results are likely to fluctuate in the future. These fluctuations could cause our stock price to decline. The nature of our business involves variable factors, such as the timing of any license agreement, the timing of launch and market acceptance of our products, and the timing of the research, development and regulatory submissions of our products in development that could cause our operating results to fluctuate. The forecasting of the timing and amount of sales of our products is difficult due to market uncertainty and the uncertainty inherent in seeking FDA and other necessary approvals for our product candidates. As a result, in some future quarters or years, our clinical, financial or operating results may not meet the expectations of securities analysts and investors, which could result in a decline in the price of our stock.
Our stock price has been and may continue to be volatile, and the value of an investment in our common stock may decline.
During the 12-month period ended March 31, 2014, our stock traded as high as $3.78 per share and as low as $1.35 per share. The trading price of our common stock is likely to continue to be highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. These factors could include:
- results from our clinical development programs, including the data from our ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating our Aversion® hydrocodone/acetaminophen product;
- FDA actions related to our products in development;
- FDA actions related to any of our potential products;
- announcements regarding a license agreement for Aversion® Oxycodone or our product candidates;
- announcements regarding the progress of our preclinical programs;
- our success in the commercialization of our Nexafed® product;
- announcements regarding the sales of our Nexafed® product;
- failure of any of our products in development, if approved, to achieve commercial success;
- quarterly variations in our results of operations or those of our competitors;
- our ability to develop and mark new and enhanced products on a timely basis;
- announcements by us or our competitors of acquisitions, regulatory approvals, clinical milestones, new products, significant contracts, commercial relationships or capital commitments;
- third-party coverage and reimbursement policies;
- additions or departures of key personnel;
- commencement of, or our involvement in, litigation;
- the inability of our contract manufacturers to provide us with adequate commercial supplies of our products;
- changes in governmental regulations or in the status of our regulatory approvals;
- changes in earnings estimates or recommendations by securities analysts;
- any major change in our board or management;
- general economic conditions and slow or negative growth of our market; and
- political instability, natural disasters, war and/or events of terrorism.
From time to time, we estimate the timing of the accomplishment of various scientific, clinical, regulatory and other product development goals or milestones. These milestones may include the commencement or completion of scientific studies and clinical trials and the submission of regulatory filings. Also, from time to time, we expect that we will publicly announce the anticipated timing of some of these milestones. All of these milestones are based on a variety of assumptions. The actual timing of these milestones can vary dramatically compared to our estimates, in some cases for reasons beyond our control. If we do not meet these milestones as publicly announced, our stock price may decline and the commercialization of our products and potential products may be delayed.
In addition, the stock market has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of publicly traded companies. Broad market and industry factors may seriously affect the market price of companies’ stock, including ours, regardless of actual operating performance. These fluctuations may be even more pronounced in the trading market for our stock. In addition, in the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market price of a particular company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against these companies. This litigation, if instituted against us, could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.
We do not have a history of paying dividends on our common stock.
Historically, we have not declared and paid any cash dividends on our common stock. We intend to retain all of our earnings for the foreseeable future to finance the operation and expansion of our business. As a result, you may only receive a return on your investment in our common stock if the market price of our common stock increases.
Any future sale of a substantial number of shares included in our current registration statement could depress the trading price of our stock, lower our value and make it more difficult for us to raise capital.
In order to raise additional capital, we may in the future offer additional shares of our common stock or other securities convertible into or exchangeable for our common stock at prices that may not be the same as the then current trading price of our common stock. The price per share at which we sell additional shares of our common stock, or securities convertible or exchangeable into common stock, in future transactions may be higher or lower than the then current trading price of our common stock.
In accordance with the terms of the Securities Purchase Agreement dated August 20, 2007 between us and the investors named therein, we filed a registration statement with and declared effective by the SEC, to register the shares included in our Units issued pursuant to the Securities Purchase Agreement, including shares underlying warrants included in the Units. In addition, pursuant to the exercise of previously granted piggyback registration rights, each of Galen Partners III, L.P., Galen Partners International III, L.P., Galen Employee Fund III, L.P., Care Capital Investments II, LP, Care Capital Offshore Investments II, LP and Essex Woodlands Health Ventures V, L.P. have exercised their piggyback registration rights to include an aggregate of 26,584,016 shares in such registration statement. As a result, approximately 26,278,000 shares (representing approximately 48% of our shares outstanding on a fully-diluted basis, including all derivative securities, whether or not currently exercisable) are available for resale by selling stockholders under the registration statement. If some or all of the shares included in such registration statement are sold by our affiliates and others it may have the effect of depressing the trading price of our common stock. In addition, such sales could make it more difficult for us to raise capital if needed in the future.
In April 2013, we entered into an at-the-market equity facility, or ATM, with MLV & Co. LLC, or MLV, as sales agent under which we may sell up to approximately $13.0 million of our common stock under our prospectus supplement by any method deemed to be an “at-the-market” offering under SEC rules. As of March 31, 2014 we sold cumulatively approximately $3.3 million of common stock and issued 1,940,652 shares under the ATM. If we continue to sell shares under the ATM, such sales will dilute our existing shareholders and could cause the market price of our common stock to decline significantly. The availability of the ATM to us, as well as any sales of our common stock under the ATM, should we elect to continue to use it, could encourage short sales by third parties, which could contribute to the further decline of our stock price.
If we do not meet the continued listing standards of the NASDAQ Capital Market, our common stock could be delisted from trading, which could limit investors’ ability to make transactions in our common stock and subject us to additional trading restrictions.
Our common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Capital Market, a national securities exchange, which imposes continued listing requirements with respect to listed shares. If we fail to satisfy its continued listing standards, such as, for example, NASDAQ Listing Rule 5450(a)(1), which requires that the closing bid price of our common stock shall not fall below $1.00 for thirty consecutive business days. Failure to comply with NASDAQ’s continued listing standards will result in the issuance of a non-compliance letter and/or initiation of delisting proceedings by NASDAQ.
If our securities are delisted from trading on the NASDAQ Capital Market and we are not able to list our securities on another exchange, such as the NYSE, our securities could then be quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board or on the “pink sheets.” As a result, we could face significant adverse consequences including:
- a limited availability of market quotations for our securities;
- a determination that our common stock is a “penny stock,” which will require brokers trading in our common stock to adhere to more stringent rules and possibly result in a reduced level of trading activity in the secondary trading market for our securities;
- a limited amount of news and analyst coverage for us; and
- a decreased ability to issue additional securities (including pursuant to short-form registration statements on Form S-3 or obtain additional financing in the future).