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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 20-F

 

 

(Mark One)

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

 

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

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

OR

 

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

For the transition period from                  to

OR

 

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

Date of event requiring this shell company report

Commission file number 001-37452

 

 

CELYAD ONCOLOGY S.A.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter and translation of Registrant’s name into English)

 

 

Belgium

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

Rue Edouard Belin 2

1435 Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium

(Address of principal executive offices)

Filippo Petti

Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer

Celyad Oncology SA

Rue Edouard Belin 2

1435 Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium

Tel: +32 10 394 100 Fax: +32 10 394 141

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.

 

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol

 

Name of each exchange on which  registered

American Depositary Shares, each representing one ordinary share, no nominal value per share   CYAD   The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
Ordinary shares, no nominal value per share*     The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC*

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

American Depositary Shares, each representing one ordinary share, no nominal value per share   CYAD   The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
Ordinary shares, no nominal value per share*     The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC*

 

*

Not for trading, but only in connection with the registration of the American Depositary Shares.

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act. None

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act. None

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the Annual Report.

Ordinary shares, no nominal value per share: 13,942,344 as of December 31, 2020

 

 

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

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.    ☐  Yes    ☒  No

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

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

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

Large accelerated filer  ☐                 Accelerated filer  ☒                 Non-accelerated filer  ☐                Emerging growth company  ☐

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

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

 

The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

U.S. GAAP  ☐   International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board  ☒
  Other  ☐

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.    ☐  Item 17    ☐  Item 18

If this is an Annual Report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    ☐  Yes    ☒  No

 

 

 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

          Page  

SUMMARY OF THE MATERIAL RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH OUR BUSINESS

     1  

INTRODUCTION

     3  

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING  STATEMENTS

     4  

PART I

     5  

Item 1.

   Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers      5  

Item 2.

   Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable      5  

Item 3.

   Key Information      5  
   A. Selected Financial Data      5  
   B. Capitalization and Indebtedness      7  
   C. Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds      7  
   D. Risk Factors      7  

Item 4.

   Information on the Company      53  
   A. History and Development of the Company      53  
   B. Business Overview      53  
   C. Organizational Structure      93  
   D. Property, Plants and Equipment      93  

Item 4A.

   Unresolved Staff Comments      93  

Item 5.

   Operating and Financial Review and Prospects      93  
   A. Operating Results      95  
   B. Liquidity and Capital Resources      104  
   C. Research and Development      108  
   D. Trend Information      108  
   E. Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements      108  
   F. Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations      109  
   G. Safe Harbor      109  

Item 6.

   Directors, Senior Management and Employees      109  
   A. Directors and Senior Management      109  
   B. Compensation      115  
   C. Board Practices      123  
   D. Employees      124  
   E. Share Ownership      125  

Item 7.

   Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions      125  
   A. Major shareholders      125  
   B. Related Party Transactions      126  
   C. Interest of Experts and Counsel      129  

Item 8.

   Financial Information      129  
   A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information Consolidated Financial Statements      129  
   B. Significant Changes      130  

Item 9.

   The Offer and Listing      130  
   A. Offer and Listing Details      130  
   B. Plan of Distribution      130  
   C. Markets      130  
   D. Selling Shareholders      130  
   E. Dilution      130  
   F. Expenses of the Issue      130  

Item 10.

   Additional Information      130  
   A. Share Capital      130  
   B. Memorandum and Articles of Association      130  

 

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          Page  
   C. Material Contracts      131  
   D. Exchange Controls      131  
   E. Taxation      131  
   F. Dividends and Paying Agents      141  
   G. Statement by Experts      141  
   H. Documents on Display      141  
   I. Subsidiary Information      142  

Item 11.

   Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk      142  

Item 12.

   Description of Securities Other than Equity Securities      143  
   A. Debt Securities      143  
   B. Warrants and Rights      143  
   C. Other Securities      143  
   D. American Depositary Shares      143  

PART II

     145  

Item 13.

   Defaults, Dividend Arrearages And Delinquencies      145  

Item 14.

   Material Modifications to the Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds      145  

Item 15.

   CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES      145  

Item 16.

   Reserved      147  

Item 16A.

   Audit Committee Financial Expert      147  

Item 16B.

   Code of Ethics      147  

Item 16C.

   Principal Accountant Fees and Services      148  

Item 16D.

   Exemptions from the Listing Standards for Audit Committees      149  

Item 16E.

   Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers      149  

Item 16F.

   Corporate Governance      149  

Item 16G.

   Mine Safety Disclosure      150  

PART III

     150  

Item 17.

   Financial Statements      150  

Item 18.

   FINANCIAL STATEMENTS      150  

Item 19.

   Exhibits      150  

Note 1: The Company

     F-11  

Note 2: General information and Statement of Compliance

     F-11  

Note 3: Accounting Principles

     F-13  

Foreign currency translation

     F-14  

Revenue

     F-14  

Other income

     F-15  

Intangible assets

     F-17  

Property, plant and equipment

     F-19  

Leases

     F-19  

Impairment of non-financial assets

     F-22  

Cash and cash equivalents

     F-22  

Financial assets

     F-22  

Financial liabilities

     F-24  

Provisions

     F-25  

Income taxes

     F-27  

Earnings (loss) per share

     F-28  

Note 4: Risk Management

     F-28  

Note 5: Critical accounting estimates and judgments

     F-29  

Note 6: Operating segment information

     F-31  

Note 7: Intangible assets

     F-33  

Note 8: Property, plant and equipment

     F-36  

Note 9: Other non-current assets

     F-37  

 

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Note 10: Inventories and Work in Progress

     F-38  

Note 11: Trade, other receivables and other assets

     F-38  

Note 12: Short-term investment

     F-39  

Note 13: Cash and cash equivalents

     F-39  

Note 14: Investment in Subsidiaries

     F-40  

Note 15: Share Capital

     F-40  

Note 16: Share-based payments

     F-44  

Note 17: Post-employment Benefits

     F-48  

Note 18: Other reserves

     F-51  

Note 19: Advances repayable

     F-51  

Note 20: Due dates of the Financial Liabilities

     F-54  

Note 21: Other non-current liabilities

     F-55  

Note 22: Trade payables and other current liabilities

     F-55  

Note 23: Financial instruments

     F-56  

Note 24: Changes in liabilities arising from financial activities

     F-59  

Note 25: Revenues

     F-60  

Note 26: Operating expenses

     F-61  

Note 27: Employee Benefit Expenses

     F-63  

Note 28: Change in fair value of contingent consideration, Other Income and Other Expenses

     F-64  

Note 29: Leases

     F-65  

Note 30: Financial income and expenses

     F-67  

Note 31: Income Tax

     F-68  

Note 32: Deferred taxes

     F-68  

Note 33: Commitments

     F-70  

Note 34: Relationships with related Parties

     F-72  

Note 35: Loss per share

     F-73  

Note 36: Events after the close of the fiscal Year

     F-73  

EXHIBIT INDEX

     EX-1  

 

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SUMMARY OF THE MATERIAL RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH OUR BUSINESS

Our business is subject to numerous material and other risks and uncertainties, including those described in Item 3D. “Risk Factors” in this Report. The principal risks and uncertainties affecting our business include the following:

 

   

We are heavily dependent on the regulatory approval of our CAR-T cell therapy product candidates, including CYAD-02, CYAD-101 and CYAD-211 (our “Product Candidates”) in the United States and Europe, and subsequent commercial success of our Product Candidates, both of which may never occur.

 

   

Our clinical trials are ongoing and not complete. Initial success in our ongoing clinical trials may not be indicative of results obtained when these trials are completed. Furthermore, success in early clinical trials may not be indicative of results obtained in later trials.

 

   

In previous clinical trials involving T cell-based immunotherapies, some patients experienced serious adverse events. Our drug product candidates may demonstrate a similar effect or have other properties that could halt our clinical development, prevent our regulatory approval, limit our commercial potential, or result in significant negative consequences.

 

   

Our Product Candidates are a new approach to cancer treatment that presents significant challenges.

 

   

We have obtained and will seek to obtain significant funding from the Walloon Region. The terms of the agreements signed with the Region may hamper our ability to partner part or all of our products.

 

   

We rely and will continue to rely on collaborative partners regarding the development of our research programs and product candidates.

 

   

We rely on third parties to conduct, supervise and monitor our clinical trials. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our drug product candidates and our business could be substantially harmed.

 

   

Cell-based therapies rely on the availability of specialty raw materials, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all.

 

   

Our patents and other intellectual property rights portfolio are relatively young and may not adequately protect our research programs and product candidates, which may impede our ability to compete effectively.

 

   

We may infringe on the patents or intellectual property rights of others and may face patent litigation, which may be costly and time consuming.

 

   

We depend on intellectual property licensed from third parties and termination of any of these licenses could result in the loss of significant rights, which would harm our business.

 

   

We could be unsuccessful in obtaining or maintaining adequate patent protection for one or more of our drug product candidates.

 

   

We and our third-party suppliers are subject to high standards of manufacturing in accordance with current good manufacturing practices, or cGMPs, and other manufacturing regulations. Complying with these requirements will require us and our third-party suppliers to expend significant time, money and effort and any failure to comply could have an adverse effect on our business.

 

   

We rely on a single manufacturing facility and if operations at that manufacturing facility are disrupted, we could experience delays in our clinical trials or we would need to expend additional time and capital to identify and onboard another manufacturing facility.

 

   

We will need increased manufacturing capacity, which will require additional time and capital. If we are not able to expand manufacturing capacity, we may experience delays in our clinical trials.

 

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We are highly dependent on our key personnel, and if we are not successful in attracting, motivating and retaining highly qualified personnel, we may not be able to successfully implement our business strategy.

 

   

We have incurred net losses in each period since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur net losses in the future.

 

   

We may need substantial additional funding, which may not be available on acceptable terms when needed, if at all.

 

   

Our net losses and significant cash used in operating activities have raised doubt regarding our ability continue as a going concern.

 

   

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

 

   

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate research or unfavorable research about our business, the price of the ordinary shares and the ADSs and trading volume could decline.

 

   

The market price of the shares could be negatively impacted by actual or anticipated sales of substantial numbers of ordinary shares or ADSs.

 

   

A public market for our shares may not be sustained.

 

   

The market price of the shares may fluctuate widely in response to various factors.

 

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INTRODUCTION

Unless otherwise indicated, “Celyad,” “Celyad Oncology”, “the Company,” “our company,” “the Group,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Celyad Oncology S.A. and its consolidated subsidiaries.

We own various trademark registrations and applications, and unregistered trademarks and service marks, including “CELYAD”, “C-CATHez” and our corporate logo. All other trademarks or trade names referred to in this Annual Report on Form 20-F are the property of their respective owners. Trade names, trademarks and service marks of other companies appearing in this Annual Report on Form 20-F are the property of their respective holders. Solely for convenience, the trademarks and trade names in this Annual Report on Form 20-F may be referred to without the ® and symbols, but such references should not be construed as any indicator that their respective owners will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, their rights thereto. We do not intend to use or display other companies’ trademarks and trade names to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us, any other companies.

Our audited consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, or IFRS, as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, or IASB. Our consolidated financial statements are presented in euros. All references in this Annual Report on Form 20-F to “$,” “US$,” “U.S.$,” “U.S. dollars,” “dollars” and “USD” mean U.S. dollars and all references to “€”, “EUR”, and “euros” mean euros, unless otherwise noted. Throughout this Annual Report on Form 20-F, references to ADSs mean ADSs or ordinary shares represented by ADSs, as the case may be.

 

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 20-F, or Annual Report, contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than present and historical facts and conditions contained in this Annual Report, including statements regarding our future results of operations and financial positions, business strategy, plans and our objectives for future operations, are forward-looking statements. When used in this Annual Report, the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “can,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “is designed to,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “objective,” “should,” or the negative of these and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about:

 

   

The initiation, timing, progress and results of our preclinical studies and clinical trials, and our research and development programs;

 

   

Our ability to advance drug product candidates into, and successfully complete, clinical trials;

 

   

Our ability to successfully manufacture drug product for our clinical trials, including drug product with the desired number of t cells under our clinical trial protocols, and our ability to improve and automate these manufacturing procedures in the future;

 

   

Our reliance on the success of our product candidates;

 

   

The timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals;

 

   

The implementation of our business model, strategic plans for our business, product candidates and technology;

 

   

The scope of protection we are able to establish and maintain for intellectual property rights covering our product candidates and technology;

 

   

Our ability to operate our business without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating the intellectual property rights and proprietary technology of third parties;

 

   

Cost associated with enforcing or defending intellectual property infringement, misappropriation or violation; product liability; and other claims;

 

   

Regulatory development in the United States, the European Union, and other jurisdictions;

 

   

Our ability to develop sales and marketing capabilities if our product candidates are approved;

 

   

The commercialization of our product candidates, if approved;

 

   

The pricing and reimbursement of our product candidates, if approved;

 

   

Estimates of our expenses, future revenues, capital requirements and our needs for additional financing;

 

   

Our ability to obtain additional financing, if necessary, on attractive terms or at all;

 

   

The potential benefits of strategic collaboration agreements and our ability to enter into strategic arrangements;

 

   

Our ability to maintain and establish collaborations or obtain additional grant funding;

 

   

The rate and degree of market acceptance of our drug product candidates, if approved;

 

   

Our financial performance;

 

   

Developments relating to our competitors and our industry, including competing therapies;

 

   

Our ability to effectively manage our anticipated growth;

 

   

Our ability to attract and retain qualified employees and key personnel;

 

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Our ability to build our finance infrastructure, improve our accounting systems and controls and remedy the material weakness identified in our internal control over financial reporting;

 

   

Statements regarding future revenue, hiring plans, expenses, capital expenditures, capital requirements and share performance;

 

   

Our expectations regarding our passive foreign investment company (PFIC) status;

 

   

Potential impacts of the coronavirus pandemic such as delays, interruptions or other adverse effects to clinical trials, delays in regulatory review, manufacturing and supply chain interruptions, disruption of the global economy and the overall impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our business, financial condition and results of operations; and

 

   

Other risks and uncertainties, including those listed in the section of this annual report titled “item 3.d.—risk factors.”

You should refer to the section of this Annual Report titled “Item 3.D.—Risk Factors” for a discussion of important factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements. As a result of these factors, we cannot assure you that the forward-looking statements in this Annual Report will prove to be accurate. Furthermore, if our forward-looking statements prove to be inaccurate, the inaccuracy may be material. In light of the significant uncertainties in these forward-looking statements, you should not regard these statements as a representation or warranty by us or any other person that we will achieve our objectives and plans in any specified time frame or at all. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

You should read this Annual Report and the documents that we reference in this Annual Report with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

This Annual Report contains market data and industry forecasts that were obtained from industry publications. These data involve a number of assumptions and limitations, and you are cautioned not to give undue weight to such estimates. While we believe the market position, market opportunity and market size information included in this Annual Report is generally reliable, such information is inherently imprecise.

PART I

 

ITEM 1.

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2.

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3.

KEY INFORMATION

A. Selected Financial Data

Our consolidated audited financial statements have been prepared in accordance with IFRS, as issued by the IASB. We derived the selected statements of consolidated income (loss) data, selected statements of consolidated financial position and selected statements of consolidated cash flows, for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 and as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 from our consolidated audited financial statements appended to this Annual Report. We derived the selected statements of consolidated income (loss) data, selected

 

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statements of consolidated financial position and selected statements of consolidated cash flows, for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016 and as of December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 from our consolidated audited financial statements not appended to this Annual Report. This data should be read together with, and is qualified in its entirety by reference to, “Item 5-Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” as well as our financial statements and notes thereto appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected in the future.

Statement of Income (Loss) Data:

 

    For the year ended December 31,  

(€’000)

  2020     2019     2018     2017     2016  

Revenues

    5       6       3 115       3 540       10 012  

Cost of sales

    —         —         —         (515     (1 542

Gross profit

    5       6       3 115       3 025       8 471  

Research and Development expenses

    (21 522     (25 196     (23 577     (22 908     (27 675

General & Administrative expenses

    (9 315     (9 070     (10 387     (9 310     (9 744

Change in fair value of contingent consideration

    9 228       433       (5 604     193       (1 634

Other income

    4 731       5 139       1 078       2 437       4 982  

Other expenses

    (114     (191     (2 795     (41     (8

Amendment of Celdara Medical and Dartmouth College agreements

    —         —         —         (24 341     —    

Write-off C-Cure and Corquest assets and derecognition of related liabilities

    —         —         —         (1 932     —    

Operating loss

    (16 987     (28 879     (38 170     (52 876     (25 609

Financial income

    217       582       804       933       2 204  

Financial expenses

    (434     (343     (62     (4 454     (207

Loss before taxes

    (17 204     (28 640     (37 428     (56 396     (23 612

Income taxes

    —         8       0       1       6  

Loss for the year (1)

    (17 204     (28 632     (37 427     (56 395     (23 606

Basic and diluted loss per share (in €)

    (1.23     (2.29     (3.36     (5.86     (2.53

Weighted average number of outstanding shares

    13 942 344       12 523 166       11 142 244       9 627 601       9 313 603  

 

(1)

For 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016, we do not have any non-controlling interests and the losses for the year are fully attributable to owners of the parent.

Selected Statement of Financial Position Data:

 

     For the year ended December 31,  

(€’000)

   2020      2019      2018      2017      2016  

Cash and cash equivalents

     17 234        39 338        40 542        23 253        48 357  

Short term investments

     —          —          9 197        10 653        34 230  

Total assets1

     66 084        89 836        94 299        77 626        138 806  

Total equity

     30 994        45 619        55 589        47 535        90 885  

Total non-current liabilities1

     23 256        32 295        29 063        22 146        36 646  

Total current liabilities1

     11 834        11 922        9 647        7 945        11 275  

Total liabilities

     35 090        44 217        38 710        30 091        47 922  

Total equity and liabilities

     66 084        89 836        94 299        77 626        138 806  

 

1 

Includes the effects of first-time application of IFRS 16 on leases using the modified retrospective approach, effective January 1, 2019.

 

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Selected Statements of Consolidated Cash Flow Data

 

     For the year ended December 31,  

(€’000)

   2020     2019     2018     2017     2016  

Net cash used in operations

     (27 665     (28 202     (27 249     (44 441     (24 692

Net cash from/(used in) investing activities

     157       8 987       607       17 613       (30 157

Net cash from financing activities

     5 396       18 276       43 928       605       3 031  

Net cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period

     17 234       39 338       40 542       23 253       48 357  

B. Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not applicable.

C. Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not applicable.

D. Risk Factors

Our business faces significant risks. You should carefully consider all of the information set forth in this Annual Report and in our other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, including the following risk factors which we face, and which are faced by our industry. Our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected by any of these risks. This Annual Report also contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our results could materially differ from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, as a result of certain factors including the risks described below and elsewhere in this report and our other SEC filings. See “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” above.

Risks Related to Product Development, Regulatory Approval and Commercialization

We are heavily dependent on the regulatory approval of our Product Candidates in the United States and Europe, and subsequent commercial success of our Product Candidates, both of which may never occur.

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with no products approved by regulatory authorities or available for commercial sale. We may be unable to develop or commercialize a product, product candidate or research program, or may cease some of our operations, which may have a material adverse effect on our business.

We have generated limited revenue to date and do not expect to generate any revenue from product sales for the foreseeable future. As a result, our future success is currently dependent upon the regulatory approval and commercial success of our CAR-T cell therapy product candidates, including CYAD-02, CYAD-101 and CYAD-211 (our “Product Candidates”) which we intend to seek approval. Our ability to generate revenues in the near term will depend on our ability to obtain regulatory approval and successfully commercialize our Product Candidates in the United States, the first country in which we intend to seek approval for these candidates. We may experience delays in obtaining regulatory approval in the United States for these clinical candidates, if they are approved at all, and the price of our ordinary shares and/or ADSs may be negatively impacted. Even if we receive regulatory approval, the timing of the commercial launch of our Product Candidates in the United States is dependent upon a number of factors, including, but not limited to, hiring sales and marketing personnel, pricing and reimbursement timelines, the production of sufficient quantities of commercial drug product and implementation of marketing and distribution infrastructure.

 

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In addition, we have incurred and expect to continue to incur significant expenses as we continue to pursue the approval of our Product Candidates in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. We plan to devote a substantial portion of our effort and financial resources in order to continue to grow our operational capabilities. This represents a significant investment in the clinical and regulatory success of our Product Candidates, which is uncertain. The success of our clinical candidates, if approved, and revenue from commercial sales, will depend on several factors, including:

 

   

Execution of an effective sales and marketing strategy for the commercialization of our Product Candidates;

 

   

Acceptance by patients, the medical community and third-party payors;

 

   

Our success in educating physicians and patients about the benefits, administration and use of our Product Candidates;

 

   

The incidence and prevalence of the indications for which our Product Candidates are approved in those markets in which the candidate(s) are approved;

 

   

The prevalence and severity of side effects, if any, experienced by patients treated with our Product Candidates;

 

   

The availability, perceived advantages, cost, safety and efficacy of alternative treatments, including potential alternate treatments that may currently be available or in development or may later be available or in development or approved by regulatory authorities;

 

   

Successful implementation of our manufacturing processes that we plan to include in a future biologics license application, or BLA, and production of sufficient quantities of commercial drug product;

 

   

Maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements, including current good manufacturing practices, or cGMPs, good laboratory practices, or GLPs and good clinical practices, or GCPs; and

 

   

Obtaining and maintaining patent, trademark and trade secret protection and regulatory exclusivity and otherwise protecting our rights in our intellectual property portfolio.

 

   

We may also fail in our efforts to develop and commercialize future product candidates, including CYAD-103, CYAD-221 and CYAD-231. If this were to occur, we would continue to be heavily dependent on the regulatory approval and successful commercialization of our current clinical CAR-T product candidates, our development costs may increase and our ability to generate revenue or profits, or to raise additional capital, could be impaired.

The achievement of milestones (such as those related to research and development, scientific, clinical, regulatory and business) will trigger payment obligations towards Celdara, Dartmouth and Horizon Discovery, which will negatively impact our profitability.

Our clinical trials are ongoing and not complete. Initial success in our ongoing clinical trials may not be indicative of results obtained when these trials are completed. Furthermore, success in early clinical trials may not be indicative of results obtained in later trials.

Trial designs and results from previous or ongoing trials are not necessarily predictive of future clinical trial results, and initial or interim results may not continue or be confirmed upon completion of the trial. These data, or other positive data, may not continue or occur for these patients or for any future patients in our ongoing or future clinical trials, and may not be repeated or observed in ongoing or future trials involving our drug product candidates.

There are limited data concerning long-term safety and efficacy following treatment with CYAD-02, CYAD-101 and CYAD-211. Our Product Candidates may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy in later stages of clinical development despite having successfully advanced through initial clinical trials. There can be no

 

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assurance that any of these trials will ultimately be successful or support further clinical advancement or regulatory approval of CYAD-02, CYAD-101 and CYAD-211 or other product candidates.

In December 2020, we made the strategic decision to discontinue the development of our first-generation autologous NKG2D CAR T candidate CYAD-01 for the treatment of relapsed / refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) based on data from the Phase 1 THINK and DEPLETHINK trials which did not achieve the necessary internal clinical activity threshold set for the program.

There is a high failure rate for drugs and biologics proceeding through clinical trials. A number of companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have suffered significant setbacks in later stage clinical trials even after achieving promising results in earlier stage clinical trials. Data obtained from preclinical and clinical activities are subject to varying interpretations, which may delay, limit or prevent regulatory approval. In addition, regulatory delays or rejections may be encountered as a result of many factors, including changes in regulatory policy during the period of product development.

In previous clinical trials involving T cell-based immunotherapies, some patients experienced serious adverse events. Our drug product candidates may demonstrate a similar effect or have other properties that could halt our clinical development, prevent our regulatory approval, limit our commercial potential, or result in significant negative consequences.

In previous and ongoing clinical trials involving CAR-T cell products by other companies or academic researchers, many patients experienced side effects such as neurotoxicity and CRS, which have in some cases resulted in clinical holds in ongoing clinical trials of CAR-T drug product candidates. There have been life threatening events related to severe neurotoxicity and CRS, requiring intense medical intervention such as intubation or pressor support, and in several cases, resulted in death. Severe neurotoxicity is a condition that is currently defined clinically by cerebral edema, confusion, drowsiness, speech impairment, tremors, seizures, or other central nervous system side effects, when such side effects are serious enough to lead to intensive care. In some cases, severe neurotoxicity was thought to be associated with the use of certain lymphodepletion preconditioning regimens used prior to the administration of the CAR-T cell products. CRS is a condition that is currently defined clinically by certain symptoms related to the release of cytokines, which can include fever, chills, low blood pressure, when such side effects are serious enough to lead to intensive care with mechanical ventilation or significant vasopressor support. The exact cause or causes of CRS and severe neurotoxicity in connection with treatment of CAR-T cell products and product candidates is not fully understood at this time. In addition, patients have experienced other adverse events in these studies, such as a reduction in the number of blood cells (in the form of neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia or other cytopenias), febrile neutropenia, chemical laboratory abnormalities (including elevated liver enzymes), and renal failure.

Undesirable side effects caused by our Product Candidates or other T cell-based immunotherapy drug product candidates, could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials and could result in a more restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authorities. Results of our trials could reveal a high and unacceptable severity and prevalence of side effects or unexpected characteristics. Treatment-related side effects could also affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the trials or result in potential product liability claims. In addition, these side effects may not be appropriately recognized or managed by the treating medical staff, as toxicities resulting from T cell-based immunotherapies are not normally encountered in the general patient population and by medical personnel. We expect to have to train medical personnel regarding our T cell-based immunotherapy drug product candidates to understand their side effects for both our planned clinical trials and upon any commercialization of any T cell-based immunotherapy drug product candidates. Inadequate training in recognizing or managing the potential side effects of T cell-based immunotherapy drug product candidates could result in patient deaths. Any of these occurrences could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and prospects.

 

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Our Product Candidates are a new approach to cancer treatment that presents significant challenges.

We have concentrated our research and development efforts on cell-based immunotherapy technology, and our future success is highly dependent on the successful development of cell-based immunotherapies in general and in particular our approach using the NKG2D receptor, an activating receptor of NK cells, to target stress ligands. Currently, two of our clinical Product Candidates use the NKG2D receptor. We cannot be sure that our T cell immunotherapy technologies will yield satisfactory products that are safe and effective, scalable or profitable.

Our approach to cancer immunotherapy and cancer treatment generally poses a number of challenges, including:

 

   

Obtaining regulatory approval from the FDA and other regulatory authorities that have very limited experience with the commercial development of genetically modified T cell therapies for cancer;

 

   

Developing and deploying consistent and reliable processes for engineering a patient’s T cells ex vivo and infusing the engineered T cells back into the patient;

 

   

Preconditioning patients with chemotherapy or other product treatments in conjunction with delivering each of our drug product candidates, which may increase the risk of adverse side effects;

 

   

Educating medical personnel regarding the potential side effect profile of each of our drug product candidates, such as the potential adverse side effects related to cytokine release or neurotoxicity;

 

   

Developing processes for the safe administration of these drug product candidates, including long-term follow-up for all patients who receive our drug product candidates;

 

   

Sourcing clinical and, if approved, commercial supplies for the materials used to manufacture and process our drug product candidates;

 

   

Developing a manufacturing process and distribution network with a cost of goods that allows for an attractive return on investment;

 

   

Establishing sales and marketing capabilities after obtaining any regulatory approval to gain market acceptance, and obtaining adequate coverage, reimbursement, and pricing by third-party payors and government authorities; and

 

   

Developing therapies for types of cancers beyond those addressed by our current drug product candidates.

Additionally, because our technology involves the genetic modification of patient cells ex vivo using a virus, we are subject to many of the challenges and risks that gene therapies face, including:

 

   

Regulatory requirements governing gene and cell therapy products have changed frequently and may continue to change in the future. For example, the FDA recently released new guidance documents related to gene therapy products.

 

   

In the event of improper insertion of a gene sequence into a patient’s chromosome, genetically modified products could lead to lymphoma, leukemia or other cancers, or other aberrantly functioning cells.

 

   

Although our viral vectors are not able to replicate, there is a risk with the use of retroviral or lentiviral vectors that they could lead to new or reactivated pathogenic strains of virus or other infectious diseases.

 

   

The FDA recommends a 15-year follow-up observation period for all patients who receive treatment using certain gene therapies, and we may need to adopt such an observation period for our drug product candidates.

Moreover, public perception of therapy safety issues, including adoption of new therapeutics or novel approaches to treatment, may adversely influence the willingness of subjects to participate in clinical trials, or if approved, of

 

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physicians to subscribe to the novel treatments. Physicians, hospitals and third-party payors often are slow to adopt new products, technologies and treatment practices that require additional upfront costs and training. Physicians may not be willing to undergo training to adopt this novel and personalized therapy, may decide the therapy is too complex to adopt without appropriate training and may choose not to administer the therapy. Based on these and other factors, hospitals and payors may decide that the benefits of this new therapy do not or will not outweigh its costs.

We have been able to consistently produce the required number of T cells for our autologous CYAD-02 product candidate for the treatment of relapsed / refractory AML and MDS using our OptimAb manufacturing process, however there can be no guarantee that we will be able to improve the safety and clinical activity of CYAD-02.

The manufacturing processes for our CYAD-02 drug product candidate are complex. In 2019, we modified the manufacturing process we use to manufacture our autologous Product Candidates. We refer to the new manufacturing process as the OptimAb process.

The OptimAb manufacturing process, is designed as an iterative improvement of our first two manufacturing processes (the LY and mAb processes) for our first-generation NGK2D CAR-T CYAD-01and builds upon key characteristics of both. OptimAb utilizes a shortened eight-day cell culture and incorporates a selective phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor. Combined with the manufacturing optimizations previously developed by us, the OptimAb process results in a product candidate that is enriched for T cells with a memory-like phenotype while maintaining the high level of manufacturing reliability required to support clinical development.

The first patient in our CYAD-02 CYCLE-1 trial to be administered drug product candidate manufactured using the OptimAb process was treated in January 2020. As of the date of this Annual Report, 24 patients have been dosed using the new process across both the CYAD-01 and CYAD-02 clinical programs. To date, no critical safety issues related to the cell therapy have been reported. There can be no assurance that drug product candidate manufactured using the OptimAb process will have similar or improved safety and clinical activity compared to drug product candidate manufactured using our previous manufacturing processes.

In addition, we may develop additional process changes in the future, as we seek to advance our drug product candidates through the clinic and prepare for a potential commercial launch. In some circumstances, changes in the manufacturing process may require us to perform additional comparability studies or to collect additional clinical data from patients prior to undertaking additional clinical studies or filing for regulatory approval. These requirements may lead to delays in our clinical development and commercialization plans as well as potential increased costs.

We have not yet finalized our clinical development program for CYAD-02 for the treatment of patients with r/r AML and MDS or for CYAD-101, our allogeneic NKG2D CAR-T for the treatment of mCRC or CYAD-211, or allogeneic BCMA CAR-T for the treatment of r/r multiple myeloma (MM). The FDA and comparable foreign regulators may not agree with our proposed protocols for these clinical trials, which could result in delays.

We are still considering the clinical development program for CYAD-02 in relapsed / refractory AML and MDS, CYAD-101 for mCRC and CYAD-211 for relapsed / refractory MM. Prior to initiating new clinical trials for our drug product candidates, we are required to submit clinical trial protocols for these trials to the FDA and comparable foreign regulators in other jurisdictions where we plan to undertake clinical trials. We may not reach agreement with these regulators, or there may be a delay in reaching agreement. These regulators may want to see additional clinical or preclinical data regarding our Product Candidates before we initiate new clinical trials. Any of these decisions could have a material adverse effect on our expected clinical and regulatory timelines, business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We may encounter substantial delays in our clinical trials or may fail to demonstrate safety and efficacy to the satisfaction of applicable regulatory authorities.

Before obtaining regulatory approval or marketing authorization from regulatory authorities for the sale of our drug product candidates, if at all, we must conduct extensive clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the drug product candidates in humans. Clinical testing is expensive, time-consuming and uncertain as to outcome. We cannot guarantee that any clinical trials will be conducted as planned or completed on schedule, if at all. A failure of one or more clinical trials can occur at any stage of testing. Events that may prevent successful or timely completion of clinical development include:

 

   

Delays in raising, or inability to raise, sufficient capital to fund the planned clinical trials;

 

   

Delays in reaching a consensus with regulatory agencies on trial design;

 

   

Identifying, recruiting and training suitable clinical investigators;

 

   

Delays in reaching agreement on acceptable terms with prospective clinical research organizations, or CROs, and clinical trial sites;

 

   

Delays in obtaining required Investigational Review Board, or IRB, or ethics committee approval at each clinical trial site;

 

   

Delays in recruiting suitable patients to participate in our clinical trials;

 

   

Delays due to changing standard of care for the diseases we are studying;

 

   

Adding new clinical trial sites;

 

   

Imposition of a clinical hold by regulatory agencies, including after an inspection of our clinical trial operations or trial sites;

 

   

Failure by our CROs, other third parties or us to adhere to clinical trial requirements;

 

   

Catastrophic loss of drug product candidates due to shipping delays or delays in customs in connection with delivery to foreign countries for use in clinical trials;

 

   

Failure to perform in accordance with the FDA’s GCPs or applicable regulatory guidelines in other countries;

 

   

Delays in the testing, validation, manufacturing and delivery of our drug product candidates to the clinical sites;

 

   

Delays in having patients complete participation in a trial or return for post-treatment follow-up;

 

   

Clinical trial sites or patients dropping out of a trial;

 

   

Occurrence of serious adverse events associated with the drug product candidate that are viewed to outweigh its potential benefits; or

 

   

Changes in regulatory requirements and guidance that require amending or submitting new clinical protocols.

Any inability to successfully complete preclinical and clinical development could result in additional costs to us or impair our ability to generate revenues from product sales, regulatory and commercialization milestones and royalties. Clinical trial delays could also shorten any periods during which we may have the exclusive right to commercialize our drug product candidates or allow our competitors to bring products to market before we do, which could impair our ability to successfully commercialize our drug product candidates and may harm our business and results of operations.

 

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If the results of our clinical trials are inconclusive or if there are safety concerns or adverse events associated with our drug product candidates, we may:

 

   

Be delayed in obtaining marketing approval for our drug product candidates, if at all;

 

   

Obtain approval for indications or patient populations that are not as broad as intended or desired;

 

   

Obtain approval with labelling that includes significant use or distribution restrictions or safety warnings;

 

   

Be subject to changes in the way the product is administered;

 

   

Be required to perform additional clinical trials to support approval or be subject to additional post-marketing testing requirements;

 

   

Have regulatory authorities withdraw their approval of the product or impose restrictions on our distribution in the form of a risk evaluation and mitigations strategy, or REMS, program;

 

   

Be subject to the addition of labelling statements, such as warnings or contraindications;

 

   

Be sued; or

 

   

Experience damage to our reputation.

Our drug product candidates could potentially cause other adverse events that have not yet been predicted. As described above, any of these events could prevent us from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of our drug product candidates and impair our ability to commercialize our products if they are ultimately approved by applicable regulatory authorities.

Our drug product candidates may cause undesirable side effects or have other properties that could halt their clinical development, prevent their regulatory approval, limit their commercial potential, or result in significant negative consequences.

As with most biological drug products, use of our drug product candidates could be associated with side effects or adverse events which can vary in severity from minor reactions to death and in frequency from infrequent to prevalent. Undesirable side effects or unacceptable toxicities caused by our drug product candidates could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay, or halt clinical trials. The FDA, EMA, or comparable foreign regulatory authorities could delay or deny approval of our drug product candidates for any or all targeted indications and negative side effects could result in a more restrictive label for any product that is approved. Side effects such as toxicity or other safety issues associated with the use of our drug product candidates could also require us or our collaborators to perform additional studies or halt development or sale of these drug product candidates.

Treatment-related side effects could also affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled subjects to complete the trial, or could result in potential product liability claims. In addition, these side effects may not be appropriately or timely recognized or managed by the treating medical staff. Any of these occurrences may materially and adversely harm our business, financial condition and prospects.

Additionally, if one or more of our drug product candidates receives marketing approval, and we or others later identify undesirable side effects caused by such products, including during any long-term follow-up observation period recommended or required for patients who receive treatment using our products, a number of potentially significant negative consequences could result, including:

 

   

Regulatory authorities may withdraw approvals of or revoke licenses for such product;

 

   

Regulatory authorities may require additional warnings on the label;

 

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We may be required to create a rems program which could include a medication guide outlining the risks of such side effects for distribution to patients, a communication plan for healthcare providers, and/or other elements to assure safe use;

 

   

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

 

   

Our reputation may suffer.

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

If we encounter difficulties enrolling patients in our clinical trials, our clinical development activities could be delayed or otherwise adversely affected.

The timely completion of clinical trials in accordance with their protocols depends, among other things, on our ability to enroll a sufficient number of patients who remain in the trial until our conclusion. We may experience difficulties in patient enrollment in our clinical trials for a variety of reasons, including:

 

   

The size and nature of the patient population;

 

   

The patient eligibility criteria defined in the protocol;

 

   

The size of the study population required for analysis of the trial’s primary endpoints;

 

   

The willingness or availability (including legality under applicable covid-19 shelter-in-place restrictions) of patients to participate in our trials (including due to fears of contracting covid-19);

 

   

The willingness of investigators and other third parties to support patient enrollment due to concerns surrounding the covid-19 pandemic;

 

   

The proximity of patients to trial sites;

 

   

The design of the trial;

 

   

Our ability to recruit clinical trial investigators with the appropriate competencies and experience;

 

   

Competing clinical trials for similar therapies;

 

   

Clinicians’ and patients’ perceptions as to the potential advantages and side effects of the drug product candidate being studied in relation to other available therapies, including any new drugs or treatments that may be approved for the indications we are investigating;

 

   

Our ability to obtain and maintain patient consents; and

 

   

The risk that patients enrolled in clinical trials will not complete a clinical trial.

In addition, our clinical trials will compete with other clinical trials for drug product candidates that are in the same therapeutic areas as our drug product candidates, and this competition will reduce the number and types of patients available us, because some patients who might have opted to enroll in our trials may instead opt to enroll in a trial being conducted by one of our competitors. Because the number of qualified clinical investigators is limited, we expect to conduct some of our clinical trials at the same clinical trial sites that some of our competitors use, which will reduce the number of patients who are available for our clinical trials at such clinical trial sites. Moreover, because our drug product candidates represent a departure from more commonly used methods for cancer treatment, potential patients and their doctors may be inclined to use conventional therapies, rather than enroll patients in our clinical trials.

Further, timely enrollment in clinical trials is reliant on clinical trial sites which may be adversely affected by global health matters, including, among other things, pandemics. With regards to our clinical programs,

 

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CYAD-02, CYAD-101 and CYAD-211 were slightly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic throughout 2020. Enrollment in the respective trials for these assets is ongoing without any major disruption, partially due to the staggered enrollment associated with the dose-escalation trials for CYAD-211 and CYAD-02, respectively, and the expansion cohort of CYAD-101 which began in late 2020. However, certain clinical sites and institutions have not been able to receive visits from us or our representatives, which has delayed our data monitoring activities.

The long-term impact of COVID-19 on our operations will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including a potential second wave of the pandemic, new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the coronavirus and the actions to contain the coronavirus or treat its impact, among other things, but potential prolonged closures or other business disruptions may negatively affect its operations and the operations of its agents, contractors, consultants or collaborators, which could have a material adverse impact its business, results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, after enrollment in these trials, if patients contract COVID-19 during participation in our trials or are subject to isolation or shelter-in-place restrictions, they may drop out of our trials, miss scheduled follow-up visits or otherwise fail to follow trial protocols. If patients are unable to follow the trial protocols or if our trial results are otherwise disputed due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic or actions taken to mitigate its spread, the integrity of data from our trials may be compromised or not accepted by the FDA or other regulatory authorities, which would represent a significant setback for the applicable program.

Some factors from the COVID-19 pandemic that we believe may adversely affect enrollment in our trials include:

 

   

The diversion of healthcare resources away from the conduct of clinical trial matters to focus on pandemic concerns, including the attention of physicians serving as our clinical trial investigators, hospitals serving as our clinical trial sites and hospital staff supporting the conduct of our clinical trials;

 

   

Some patients who would otherwise be candidates for enrollment in our clinical trials are at increased risk of severe effects of the coronavirus, which may lead to the death of some patients and render others too ill to participate, limiting the available pool of participants for our trials;

 

   

The fact that there can be no guarantee that any proposed changes to our protocols, if necessary, would be acceptable to regulators;

 

   

Limitations on travel that interrupt key trial activities, such as clinical trial site initiations and monitoring; and

 

   

Interruption in global shipping affecting the transport of clinical trial materials being used in our trials.

These and other factors arising from the COVID-19 pandemic could worsen in countries that are already afflicted with the virus or could continue to spread to additional countries, each of which may further adversely impact our clinical trials. The global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and the conduct of our trials may continue to be adversely affected, despite efforts to mitigate this impact.

Even if we are able to enroll a sufficient number of patients in our clinical trials, delays in patient enrollment may result in increased costs or may affect the timing or outcome of our clinical trials, which could prevent completion of these trials and adversely affect our ability to advance the development of our drug product candidates.

 

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Clinical development is a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome, and results of earlier studies and trials as well as data from any interim analysis of ongoing clinical trials may not be predictive of future trial results. Clinical failure can occur at any stage of clinical development.

Clinical testing is expensive and can take many years to complete, and our outcome is inherently uncertain. Failure can occur at any time during the clinical trial process. Although drug product candidates may demonstrate promising results in early clinical (human) trials and preclinical (animal) studies, they may not prove to be effective in subsequent clinical trials. For example, testing on animals may occur under different conditions than testing in humans and therefore the results of animal studies may not accurately predict human experience. Likewise, early clinical trials may not be predictive of eventual safety or effectiveness results in larger-scale pivotal clinical trials. The results of preclinical studies and previous clinical trials as well as data from any interim analysis of ongoing clinical trials of our drug product candidates, as well as studies and trials of other products with similar mechanisms of action to our drug product candidates, may not be predictive of the results of ongoing or future clinical trials. Drug product candidates in later stages of clinical trials may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy traits despite having progressed through preclinical studies and earlier clinical trials. In addition to the safety and efficacy traits of any drug product candidate, clinical trial failures may result from a multitude of factors including flaws in trial design, dose selection, placebo effect and patient enrollment criteria. Based upon negative or inconclusive results, we or our collaborators may decide, or regulators may require it, to conduct additional clinical trials or preclinical studies. In addition, data obtained from trials and studies are susceptible to varying interpretations, and regulators may not interpret our data as favorably as we do, which may delay, limit or prevent regulatory approval.

The regulatory approval processes of the FDA, EMA and other comparable regulatory authorities is lengthy, time-consuming, and inherently unpredictable, and we may experience significant delays in the clinical development and regulatory approval, if any, of our drug product candidates.

The research, testing, manufacturing, labelling, approval, selling, import, export, marketing, and distribution of drug products, including biologics, are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA, EMA and other comparable regulatory authorities. We are not permitted to market any biological drug product in the United States until we receive a license from the FDA for our BLA, or an approval of our marketing authorization application, or MAA, from the EMA. We have not previously submitted a BLA to the FDA, MAA to the EMA, or similar approval filings to comparable foreign authorities. A BLA must include extensive preclinical and clinical data and supporting information to establish that the drug product candidate is safe, pure, and potent for each desired indication. The BLA must also include significant information regarding the chemistry, manufacturing, and controls for the product, and the manufacturing facilities must complete a successful pre-license inspection. We expect the nature of our drug product candidates to create further challenges in obtaining regulatory approval. For example, the FDA and EMA have limited experience with commercial development of genetically modified T-cell therapies for cancer. The FDA may also require a panel of experts, referred to as an Advisory Committee, to deliberate on the adequacy of the safety and efficacy data to support licensure. The opinion of the Advisory Committee, although not binding, may have a significant impact on our ability to obtain licensure of the drug product candidates based on the completed clinical trials. Accordingly, the regulatory approval pathway for our drug product candidates may be uncertain, complex, expensive, and lengthy, and approval may not be obtained.

Obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of our drug product candidates in one jurisdiction does not mean that we will be successful in obtaining regulatory approval of our drug product candidates in other jurisdictions.

If we obtain and maintain regulatory approval of our drug product candidates in one jurisdiction, such approval does not guarantee that we will be able to obtain or maintain regulatory approval in any other jurisdiction, but a failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approval in one jurisdiction may have a negative effect on the regulatory approval process in others. For example, even if the FDA or EMA grants marketing approval of a drug product candidate, comparable regulatory authorities in foreign jurisdictions must also approve the manufacturing,

 

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marketing and promotion of the drug product candidate in those countries. Approval procedures vary among jurisdictions and can involve requirements and administrative review periods different from those in the European Union or in the United States, including additional preclinical studies or clinical trials as clinical trials conducted in one jurisdiction may not be accepted by regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions. In many jurisdictions, a drug product candidate must be approved for reimbursement before it can be approved for sale in that jurisdiction. In some cases, the price that we intend to charge for our products is also subject to approval.

Obtaining foreign regulatory approvals and compliance with foreign regulatory requirements could result in significant delays, difficulties and costs for us and could delay or prevent the introduction of our products in certain countries. If we fail to comply with the regulatory requirements in international markets and/or to receive applicable marketing approvals, our target market will be reduced and our ability to realize the full market potential of our drug product candidates will be harmed.

A Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA for our drug product candidates may not lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process, and it does not increase the likelihood that our drug product candidates will receive marketing approval.

We may seek a Breakthrough Therapy Designation for some of our drug product candidates. A breakthrough therapy is defined as a product that is intended, alone or in combination with one or more other products, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition, and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the product may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development. For drug product candidates that have been designated as breakthrough therapies, interaction and communication between the FDA and the sponsor of the trial can help to identify the most efficient path for clinical development while minimizing the number of patients placed in ineffective control regimens. Drug product candidates designated as breakthrough therapies by the FDA may also be eligible for accelerated approval.

Designation as a breakthrough therapy is within the discretion of the FDA. Accordingly, even if we believe one of our drug product candidates meets the criteria for designation as a breakthrough therapy, the FDA may disagree and instead determine not to make such designation. In any event, the receipt of a Breakthrough Therapy Designation for a drug product candidate may not result in a faster development process, review or approval compared to drugs considered for approval under conventional FDA procedures and does not assure ultimate approval by the FDA. In addition, even if one or more of our drug product candidates qualify as breakthrough therapies, the FDA may later decide that the drug product candidates no longer meet the conditions for designation.

A Fast Track Designation by the FDA may not actually lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process.

We may seek Fast Track Designation for some of our drug product candidates. If a product is intended for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening condition and the product demonstrates the potential to address unmet medical needs for this condition, the product sponsor may apply for Fast Track Designation. The FDA has broad discretion whether or not to grant this designation, so even if we believe a particular drug product candidate is eligible for this designation, we cannot assure you that the FDA would decide to grant it. Even if we do receive Fast Track Designation, we may not experience a faster development process, review or approval compared to conventional FDA procedures. The FDA may withdraw Fast Track Designation if it believes that the designation is no longer supported by data from our clinical development program.

 

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We may seek Orphan Drug Designation for some of our drug product candidates, and we may be unsuccessful or may be unable to maintain the benefits associated with Orphan Drug Designation, including the potential for market exclusivity.

As part of our business strategy, we may seek Orphan Drug Designation for some of our drug product candidates, and we may be unsuccessful. Regulatory authorities in some jurisdictions, including the United States and the European Union, may designate products for relatively small patient populations as orphan drugs. Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may designate a product as an orphan drug if it is a product intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is generally defined as a patient population of fewer than 200,000 individuals annually in the United States, or a patient population greater than 200,000 in the United States where there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing the product will be recovered from sales in the United States. In the United States, Orphan Drug Designation entitles a party to financial incentives such as opportunities for grant funding towards clinical trial costs, tax advantages and user-fee waivers.

Similarly, in the European Union, after recommendation from the EMA’s Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products, the European Commission grants Orphan Drug Designation to promote the development of products that are intended for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of life-threatening or chronically debilitating conditions affecting not more than five in 10,000 persons in the European Union and for which no satisfactory method of diagnosis, prevention, or treatment has been authorized (or the product would be a significant benefit to those affected). Additionally, designation is granted for products intended for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of a life-threatening, seriously debilitating or serious and chronic condition and when, without incentives, it is unlikely that sales of the product in the European Union would be sufficient to justify the necessary investment in developing the product. In the European Union, Orphan Drug Designation entitles a party to financial incentives such as reduction of fees or fee waivers.

Generally, if a drug product candidate with an Orphan Drug Designation subsequently receives the first marketing approval for the indication for which it has such designation, the product is entitled to a period of marketing exclusivity, which precludes the EMA or the FDA from approving another marketing application for the same product and indication for that time period, except in limited circumstances. The applicable period is seven years in the United States and ten years in Europe. The European exclusivity period can be reduced to six years if a product no longer meets the criteria for Orphan Drug Designation or if the drug is sufficiently profitable so that market exclusivity is no longer justified.

Even if we obtain orphan drug exclusivity for a product, that exclusivity may not effectively protect the product from competition because different products can be approved for the same condition or the same products can be approved for different conditions. If one of our drug product candidates that receives an orphan drug designation is approved for a particular indication or use within the rare disease, the FDA may later approve the same product for additional indications or uses within that rare disease that are not protected by our exclusive approval. Even after an orphan drug is approved, the FDA can subsequently approve the same product for the same condition if the FDA concludes that the later product is clinically superior in that it is shown to be safer, more effective or makes a major contribution to patient care. In addition, a designated orphan drug may not receive orphan drug exclusivity if it is approved for a use that is broader than the indication for which it received orphan designation. Moreover, orphan drug exclusive marketing rights in the United States may be lost if the FDA later determines that the request for designation was materially defective or if the manufacturer is unable to assure sufficient quantity of the product to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition. Orphan Drug Designation neither shortens the development time or regulatory review time of a product nor gives the product any advantage in the regulatory review or approval process. While we intend to seek Orphan Drug Designation for some of our drug product candidates, we may never receive such designations. Even if we do receive such designations, there is no guarantee that we will enjoy the benefits of those designations.

 

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Even if we receive regulatory approval of our drug product candidates, we will be subject to ongoing regulatory obligations and continued regulatory review, which may result in significant additional expense and we may be subject to penalties if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or experience unanticipated problems with our drug product candidates.

If our drug product candidates are approved, they will be subject to ongoing regulatory requirements for manufacturing, labeling, packaging, storage, advertising, promotion, sampling, record-keeping, conduct of post-marketing studies, and submission of safety, efficacy, and other post-market information, including both federal and state requirements in the United States and requirements of comparable foreign regulatory authorities.

Manufacturers and manufacturers’ facilities are required to comply with extensive FDA, and comparable foreign regulatory authority, requirements, including ensuring that quality control and manufacturing procedures conform to current Good Manufacturing Practices, or cGMP, and in certain cases current Good Tissue Practices, or cGTP, regulations. As such, we and our contract manufacturers will be subject to continual review and inspections to assess compliance, to the extent applicable, with cGMP and adherence to commitments made in any BLA, other marketing application, and previous responses to inspection observations. Accordingly, we and others with whom we work must continue to expend time, money, and effort in all areas of regulatory compliance, including manufacturing, production, and quality control.

Any regulatory approvals that we receive for our drug product candidates may be subject to limitations on the approved indicated uses for which the product may be marketed or to the conditions of approval, or contain requirements for potentially costly post-marketing testing, including Phase 4 clinical trials and surveillance to monitor the safety and efficacy of the drug product candidate. The FDA may also require a REMS program as a condition of approval of our drug product candidates, which could entail requirements for long-term patient follow-up, a medication guide, physician communication plans or additional elements to ensure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools. In addition, if the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority approves our drug product candidates, we will have to comply with requirements including submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, establishment registration, as well as continued compliance with cGMPs and GCPs for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval.

The FDA may seek consent decrees or withdraw approval if compliance with regulatory requirements and standards is not maintained or if problems occur after the product reaches the market. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with our drug product candidates, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or with our third-party manufacturers or manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in revisions to the approved labeling to add new safety information; imposition of post-market studies or clinical trials to assess new safety risks; or imposition of distribution restrictions or other restrictions under a REMS program. Other potential consequences include, among other things:

 

   

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

 

   

Fines, untitled or warning letters, or holds on clinical trials;

 

   

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

 

   

Product seizure or detention, or refusal to permit the import or export of our drug product candidates; and

 

   

Injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.

The FDA strictly regulates marketing, labeling, advertising, and promotion of products that are placed on the market. Products may be promoted only for the approved indications and in accordance with the approved label.

 

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The FDA and other agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses, and a company that is found to have improperly promoted off-label uses may be subject to significant liability. The policies of the FDA and of other regulatory authorities may change and additional government regulations may be enacted that could prevent, limit or delay regulatory approval of our drug product candidates. We cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of government regulation that may arise from future legislation or administrative action, either in the United States or abroad. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any marketing approval that we may have obtained and we may not achieve or sustain profitability.

Even if we obtain regulatory approval of our drug product candidates, the products may not gain market acceptance among physicians, patients, hospitals and others in the medical community.

Our autologous engineered-cell therapies may not become broadly accepted by physicians, patients, hospitals, and others in the medical community. Numerous factors will influence whether our drug product candidates are accepted in the market, including:

 

   

The clinical indications for which our drug product candidates are approved;

 

   

Physicians, hospitals, and patients considering our drug product candidates as a safe and effective treatment;

 

   

The potential and perceived advantages of our drug product candidates over alternative treatments;

 

   

The prevalence and severity of any side effects;

 

   

Product labelling or product insert requirements of the FDA, EMA, or other regulatory authorities;

 

   

Limitations or warnings contained in the labelling approved by the FDA or EMA;

 

   

The timing of market introduction of our drug product candidates as well as competitive products;

 

   

The cost of treatment in relation to alternative treatments;

 

   

The availability of adequate coverage, reimbursement and pricing by third-party payors and government authorities;

 

   

The willingness of patients to pay out-of-pocket in the absence of coverage by third-party payors and government authorities;

 

   

Relative convenience and ease of administration, including as compared to alternative treatments and competitive therapies; and

 

   

The effectiveness of our sales and marketing efforts.

In addition, although we are not utilizing embryonic stem cells in our drug product candidates, adverse publicity due to the ethical and social controversies surrounding the therapeutic use of such technologies, and reported side effects from any clinical trials using these technologies or the failure of such trials to demonstrate that these therapies are safe and effective may limit market acceptance our drug product candidates due to the perceived similarity between our drug product candidates and these other therapies. If our drug product candidates are approved but fail to achieve market acceptance among physicians, patients, hospitals, or others in the medical community, we will not be able to generate significant revenue.

Even if our products achieve market acceptance, we may not be able to maintain that market acceptance over time if new products or technologies are introduced that are more favorably received than our products, are more cost effective or render our products obsolete.

 

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Our drug product candidates are biologics, which are complex to manufacture, and we may encounter difficulties in production, particularly with respect to process development or scaling-out of our manufacturing capabilities. If we or any of our third-party manufacturers encounter such difficulties, our ability to provide supply of our drug product candidates for clinical trials or our products for patients, if approved, could be delayed or stopped, or we may be unable to maintain a commercially viable cost structure.

Our drug product candidates are biologics and the process of manufacturing our products is complex, highly-regulated and subject to multiple risks. The manufacture of our drug product candidates involves complex processes, including harvesting cells from patients, selecting and expanding certain cell types, engineering or reprogramming the cells in a certain manner to create CAR T-cells, expanding the cell population to obtain the desired dose, and ultimately infusing the cells back into a patient’s body. As a result of the complexities, the cost to manufacture our drug product candidates is higher than traditional small molecule chemical compounds, and the manufacturing process is less reliable and is more difficult to reproduce. Our manufacturing process is susceptible to product loss or failure due to logistical issues associated with the collection of blood cells, or starting material, from the patient, shipping such material to the manufacturing site, shipping the final product back to the patient, and infusing the patient with the product, manufacturing issues associated with the differences in patient starting materials, interruptions in the manufacturing process, contamination, equipment or reagent failure, improper installation or operation of equipment, vendor or operator error, inconsistency in cell growth, and variability in product characteristics. Even minor deviations from normal manufacturing processes could result in reduced production yields, product defects, and other supply disruptions. Because some of our drug product candidates are manufactured for each particular patient, we are required to maintain a chain of identity with respect to materials as they move from the patient to the manufacturing facility, through the manufacturing process, and back to the patient. Maintaining such a chain of identity is difficult and complex and failure to do so could result in adverse patient outcomes, loss of product, or regulatory action including withdrawal of our products from the market. Further, as drug product candidates are developed through preclinical to late stage clinical trials towards approval and commercialization, it is common that various aspects of the development program, such as manufacturing methods, are altered along the way in an effort to optimize processes and results. Such changes carry the risk that they will not achieve these intended objectives, and any of these changes could cause our drug product candidates to perform differently and affect the results of ongoing clinical trials or other future clinical trials.

Although we are working, or will be working, to develop commercially viable processes for the manufacture of our drug product candidates, doing so is a difficult and uncertain task, and there are risks associated with scaling to the level required for later-stage clinical trials and commercialization, including, among others, cost overruns, potential problems with process scale-out, process reproducibility, stability issues, lot consistency, and timely availability of reagents or raw materials. We may ultimately be unable to reduce the cost of goods for our drug product candidates to levels that will allow for an attractive return on investment if and when those drug product candidates are commercialized.

In addition, the manufacturing process that we develop for our drug product candidates is subject to regulatory authorities’ approval processes, and we will need to make sure that we or our contract manufacturers, or CMOs, if any, are able to meet all regulatory authorities’ requirements on an ongoing basis. If we or our CMOs are unable to reliably produce drug product candidates to specifications acceptable to the regulatory authorities, we may not obtain or maintain the approvals we need to commercialize such drug product candidates. Even if we obtain regulatory approval for any of our drug product candidates, there is no assurance that either we or our CMOs will be able to manufacture the approved product to specifications acceptable to the regulatory authorities, to produce it in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements for the potential launch of the product, or to meet potential future demand. Any of these challenges could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

 

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We may face competition from biosimilars, which may have a material adverse impact on the future commercial prospects of our drug product candidates.

Even if we are successful in achieving regulatory approval to commercialize a drug product candidate faster than our competitors, we may face competition from biosimilars. The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009, or BPCI Act, created an abbreviated approval pathway for biological products that are demonstrated to be biosimilar to, or interchangeable with, an FDA-approved biological product. “Biosimilarity” means that the biological product is highly similar to the reference product notwithstanding minor differences in clinically inactive components and there are no clinically meaningful differences between the biological product and the reference product in terms of safety, purity, and potency of the product. To meet the higher standard of “interchangeability,” an applicant must provide sufficient information to show biosimilarity and demonstrate that the biological product can be expected to produce the same clinical result as the reference product in any given patient and, if the biological product is administrated more than once to an individual, the risk in terms of safety or diminished efficacy of alternating or switching between the use of the biological product and the reference product is not greater than the risk of using the reference product without such alternation or switch.

A reference biological product is granted 12 years of exclusivity from the time of first licensure of the product, and the FDA will not accept an application for a biosimilar or interchangeable product based on the reference biological product until four years after first licensure. First licensure typically means the initial date the particular product at issue was licensed in the United States. This does not include a supplement for the biological product or a subsequent application by the same sponsor or manufacturer of the biological product (or licensor, predecessor in interest, or other related entity) for a change that results in a new indication, route of administration, dosing schedule, dosage form, delivery system, delivery device, or strength, unless that change is a modification to the structure of the biological product and such modification changes our safety, purity, or potency. Whether a subsequent application, if approved, warrants exclusivity as the first licensure of a biological product is determined on a case-by-case basis with data.

This data exclusivity does not prevent another company from developing a product that is highly similar to the innovative product, generating its own data, and seeking approval. Data exclusivity only assures that another company cannot rely upon the data within the application for the reference biological product to support the biosimilar product’s approval.

In the European Union, the European Commission has granted marketing authorizations for several biosimilars pursuant to a set of general and product class-specific guidelines for biosimilar approvals issued over the past few years. In the European Union, a competitor may reference data supporting approval of an innovative biological product, but will not be able do so until eight years after the time of approval of the innovative product and to get its biosimilar on the market until ten years from the aforementioned approval. This 10-year marketing exclusivity period will be extended to 11 years if, during the first eight of those ten years, the marketing authorization holder obtains an approval for one or more new therapeutic indications that bring significant clinical benefits compared with existing therapies. In addition, companies may be developing biosimilars in other countries that could compete with our products.

If competitors are able to obtain marketing approval for biosimilars referencing our products, our products may become subject to competition from such biosimilars, with the attendant competitive pressure and consequences.

Nearly all aspects of our activities are subject to substantial regulation. No assurance can be given that any of our product candidates will fulfill regulatory compliance. Failure to comply with such regulations could result in delays, suspension, refusals, fines and withdrawal of approvals.

The international pharmaceutical and medical technology industry is highly regulated by government bodies (hereinafter the “Competent Authorities”) that impose substantial requirements covering nearly all aspects of our activities notably on research and development, manufacturing, preclinical tests, clinical trials, labelling,

 

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marketing, sales, storage, record keeping, promotion and pricing of our research programs and product candidates. Compliance with standards laid down by local Competent Authorities is required in each country where we, or any of our partners or licensees, conduct said activities in whole or in part. The Competent Authorities notably include the EMA in the European Union and the FDA in the United States.

There can be no assurance that our product candidates will fulfill the criteria required to obtain necessary regulatory authorization to access the market. Also, at this time, we cannot guarantee or know the exact nature, precise timing and detailed costs of the efforts that will be necessary to complete the remainder of the development of our research programs and product candidates.

The specific regulations and laws, as well as the time required to obtain Competent Authorities approvals, may vary from country to country, but the general regulatory procedures are similar in the European Union and the United States. Each Competent Authority may impose its own requirements, may discontinue an approval, may refuse to grant approval, or may require additional data before granting approval, notwithstanding that approval may have been granted by one or more other Competent Authorities. Competent Authority approval may be delayed, limited or denied for a number of reasons, most of which are beyond our control. Such reasons include the production process or site not meeting the applicable requirements for the manufacture of regulated products, or the products not meeting applicable requirements for safety or efficacy during the clinical development stage or after marketing. No assurance can be given that clinical trials will be approved by Competent Authorities or that products will be approved for marketing by Competent Authorities in any pre-determined indication or intended use. Competent Authorities may disagree with our interpretation of data submitted for their review. Even after obtaining approval for clinical trials or marketing, products will be subject to ongoing regulation and evaluation of their benefit/safety or risk/performance ratio; a negative evaluation of the benefit/safety or risk/performance ratio could result in a potential use restriction and/or withdrawal of approval for one or more products. At any time Competent Authorities may require discontinuation or holding of clinical trials or require additional data prior to completing their review or may issue restricted authorization or authorize products for clinical trials or marketing for narrower indications than requested or require further data or studies be conducted and submitted for their review. There can be no guarantee that such additional data or studies, if required, will corroborate earlier data.

Research programs and our product candidates must undergo rigorous preclinical tests and clinical trials, the start, timing of completion, number and results of which are uncertain and could substantially delay or prevent the products from reaching the market.

Preclinical tests and clinical trials are expensive and time-consuming, and their results are uncertain. We, our collaborative partners or other third parties may not successfully complete the preclinical tests and clinical trials of the research programs and product candidates. Failure to do so may delay or prevent the commercialization of products. We cannot guarantee that our research programs and product candidates will demonstrate sufficient safety or efficacy or performance in our preclinical tests and clinical trials to obtain marketing authorization in any given territory or at all, and the results from earlier preclinical tests and clinical trials may not accurately predict the results of later-stage preclinical tests and clinical trials. At any stage of development, based on a review of available preclinical and clinical data, the estimated costs of continued development, market assessments and other factors, the development of any of our research programs and product candidates may be suspended or discontinued.

We and our collaborative partners are, or may become subject to, numerous ongoing regulatory obligations, such as data protection, environmental, health and safety laws and restrictions on the experimental use of animals and/or human beings. The costs of compliance with applicable regulations, requirements or guidelines could be substantial, and failure to comply could result in sanctions, including fines, injunctions, civil penalties, denial of applications for marketing authorization of our products, delays, suspension or withdrawal of approvals, license revocation, seizures or recalls of products, operating restrictions and criminal prosecutions, any of which could significantly increase our or our collaborative partners’ costs or delay the development and commercialization of our product candidates.

 

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We may face significant competition and technological change which could limit or eliminate the market opportunity for our product candidates.

The market for pharmaceutical products is highly competitive. Our competitors include many established pharmaceutical, biotechnology, universities and other research or commercial institutions, many of which have substantially greater financial, research and development resources than us. The fields in which we operate are characterized by rapid technological change and innovation. There can be no assurance that our competitors are not currently developing, or will not in the future develop technologies and products that are equally or more effective and/or are more economical as any current or future technology or product of ours. Competing products may gain faster or greater market acceptance than our products and medical advances or rapid technological development by competitors may result in our product candidates becoming non-competitive or obsolete before we are able to recover our research and development and commercialization expenses. If we or our product candidates do not compete effectively, it may have a material adverse effect on our business.

The price setting, the availability and level of adequate reimbursement by third parties, such as insurance companies, governmental and other healthcare payers is uncertain and may impede on our ability to generate sufficient operating margins to offset operating expenses.

Our commercial performance will depend in part on the conditions for setting the sales price of our products by the relevant public commissions and bodies and the conditions of their reimbursement by the health agencies or insurance companies in the countries where we intend to market our products. The current context of healthcare cost control and economic and financial crisis that most countries are currently facing, coupled with the increase in health care budgets caused by the aging population creates extra pressure on health care spending in most if not all countries. Consequently, pressure on sales prices and reimbursement levels is intensifying owing in particular to:

 

   

Price controls imposed by many states;

 

   

The increasing reimbursement limitations of some products under budgetary policies;

 

   

The heightened difficulty in obtaining and maintaining a satisfactory reimbursement rate for medicines.

Obtaining adequate pricing decisions that would generate return on the investment incurred for the development of the product candidates developed by us are therefore uncertain. Our ability to manage our expenses and cost structure to adapt to increased pricing pressure is untested and uncertain.

All of these factors will have a direct impact on our ability to make profits on the products in question. The partial/no reimbursement policy of medicines could have a material adverse effect on the business, prospects, financial situation, earnings and our growth.

Changes in regulatory approval policies or enactment of additional regulatory approval requirements may delay or prevent the product candidates from being marketed.

The regulatory clearance process is expensive and time consuming and the timing of marketing is difficult to predict. Once marketed, products may be subject to post-authorization safety studies or other pharmacovigilance or vigilance activities or may be subject to limitations on their uses or may be withdrawn from the market for various reasons, including if they are shown to be unsafe or ineffective, or when used in a larger population that may be different from the trial population studied prior to market introduction of the product.

Our product candidates may become subject to changes in the regulatory framework or market conditions. Regulatory guidelines may change during the course of product development and review process, making the chosen development strategy suboptimal. Market conditions may change resulting in the emergence of new competitors or new treatment guidelines which may require alterations in the development strategy. These factors may result in significant delays, increased trial costs, significant changes in commercial assumptions or failure of the products to obtain marketing authorization.

 

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We are subject to inspection and shall be subject to market surveillance by the FDA, EMA and other Competent Authorities for compliance with regulations that prohibit the promotion of our products for a purpose or indication other than those for which approval has been granted.

While a product manufacturer may not promote a product for such “off label” use, doctors are allowed, in the exercise of their professional judgment in the practice of medicine, to use a product in ways not approved by Competent Authorities. Off-label marketing regulations are subject to varying evolving interpretations.

Post-approval manufacturing and marketing of our products may show different safety and efficacy profiles to those demonstrated in the data on which approval to test or market said products was based. Such circumstances could lead to the withdrawal or suspension of approval, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, operating results or cash flows. In addition, Competent Authorities may not approve the labelling claims or advertisements that are necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of our products.

Competent Authorities have broad enforcement power, and a failure by us or our collaboration partners to comply with applicable regulatory requirements can, among other things, result in recalls or seizures of products, operating and production restrictions, withdrawals of previously approved marketing applications, total or partial suspension of regulatory approvals, refusal to approve pending applications, warning letters, injunctions, penalties, fines, civil proceedings, criminal prosecutions and imprisonment.

We may fail to comply with evolving European and other privacy laws.

In Europe, Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of October 24, 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (the “Directive”), and Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of July 12, 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (as amended by Directive 2009/136/EC) (the “e-Privacy-Directive”), have over the past two decades required the EU member states to implement data protection laws to meet strict privacy requirements. Violations of the resulting national law requirements can result in administrative measures, including fines, or criminal sanctions. The e-Privacy Directive will be replaced in time by a new e-Privacy Regulation (having direct legal effect without the need for transposition into national laws) which may impose additional obligations and risk for our business.

Effective as of May 25, 2018, the Directive has been replaced by Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 27, 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (the “GDPR”). Unlike the Directive, the GDPR resorts direct legal effect and (although it contains more than fifty provisions allowing for EU member states to enact more precise measures) does not require transposition into national laws. As such, it imposes a broad range of strict requirements on companies subject to the GDPR, such as us, including requirements relating to having legal bases for processing personal information (i.e. information relating to identified or identifiable individuals) and transferring such information outside the European Economic Area (the “EEA”), including to the United States, providing details to those individuals regarding the processing of their personal information, keeping personal information secure, having data processing agreements with third parties who process personal information, responding to individuals’ requests to exercise their rights in respect of their personal information, reporting security breaches involving personal data to the competent national data protection authority and affected individuals, appointing data protection officers, conducting data protection impact assessments, and record-keeping. The GDPR focuses strongly on accountability of data controllers (such as us) and requires us to take all technical and organizational measures (privacy by design and by default) to ensure that we meet our obligations. It also increases substantially the penalties to which we could be subject in the event of any non-compliance, including fines of up to €10,000,000 or up to 2% of our total worldwide annual turnover for certain comparatively minor offenses, or up to €20,000,000 or up to 4% of our total worldwide annual turnover

 

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for more serious offenses. Given this robust new legislative framework and the nascent jurisprudence developing in our wake, we face considerable uncertainty as to the correct interpretation and implementation of the GDPR requirements and may be unsuccessful in implementing all technical and organizational measures required by data protection authorities or courts.

In addition to the direct applicability of the GDPR per se, national laws of EU member states are also in the process of being adapted to the requirements of the GDPR, notably in areas where the GDPR gives leeway to EU member states to fill in the gaps - thereby implementing national laws which may partially deviate from the GDPR and impose different obligations from country to country, so that we cannot expect to operate in a uniform legal landscape in the EU. Thus, in the field of handling genetic data for instance, the GDPR specifically allows national laws to impose additional and more specific requirements or restrictions, and European laws have historically differed quite substantially in this field, leading to additional uncertainty.

We must also ensure that we maintain adequate safeguards to enable the transfer of personal data outside of the EEA in compliance with European data protection laws, in particular to the United States. The Schrems 2 ruling of the European Court of Justice has complicated international data transfers from the EU to the US by obliterating the former EU-US Privacy Shield and by criticizing the existing standard contractual clauses (SCC) that the European Commission had decreed. As a result, we expect that we will continue to face uncertainty as to whether our efforts to comply with our obligations under European privacy laws will be sufficient. If we are investigated by a European data protection authority, we may face fines and other penalties. Any such investigation or charges by European data protection authorities could have a negative effect on our existing business and on our ability to attract and retain new clients or pharmaceutical partners. A data protection authority could also order a processing ban, which could mean the effective end of a clinical trial. We may also experience hesitancy, reluctance, or refusal by European or multi-national clients or pharmaceutical partners to continue to use our products and solutions due to the potential risk exposure as a result of the current (and, in particular, future) data protection obligations imposed on them by certain data protection authorities in interpretation of current law, including the GDPR. Such clients or pharmaceutical partners may also view any alternative approaches to compliance as being too costly, too burdensome, too legally uncertain, or otherwise objectionable and therefore decide not to do business with us. Any of the foregoing could materially harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Related to Our Reliance on Third Parties

We have obtained and will seek to obtain significant funding from the Walloon Region. The terms of the agreements signed with the Region may hamper our ability to partner part or all of our products.

We contracted over the past year numerous funding agreements with the Walloon Region to partially finance our research and development programs. Under the terms of the agreements, we would need to obtain the consent of the Walloon Region for any out-licensing agreement or sale to a third party of any or all of our products, prototypes or installations which may reduce our ability to partner or sell part or all of our products.

Furthermore, when the research and development programs partially financed by us enter in “exploitation phase”, we have to start reimbursing the funding received. We may not be able to reimburse such funding under the terms of the agreements or such reimbursement may jeopardize the funding of our clinical and scientific activities.

We rely and will continue to rely on collaborative partners regarding the development of our research programs and product candidates.

We are and expect to continue to be dependent on collaborations with partners relating to the development and commercialization of our existing and future research programs and product candidates. We had, have and will continue to have discussions on potential partnering opportunities with various pharmaceutical and medical

 

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device companies. If we fail to enter into or maintain collaborative agreements on reasonable terms or at all, our ability to develop our existing or future research programs and product candidates could be delayed, the commercial potential of our products could change and our costs of development and commercialization could increase. For example, we are party to two collaboration agreements with Horizon Discovery regarding the use of Horizon’s SMARTvector shRNA reagents to reduce expression of one or more defined targets in connection with the development of our product candidates. Horizon recently informed us they believe we are in material breach of these agreements as a result of certain disclosures we have made in connection with our obligations as a publicly traded company in the United States and Belgium, although they have not formally delivered to us a notice of material breach or termination. We believe any such assertion of material breach would be without merit and we would expect to vigorously defend any such notice of material breach. Any dispute under these agreements would be subject to arbitration in The Hague under the International Chamber of Commerce Rules. We are currently in discussions with Horizon about possible amendments to these agreements in connection with which we would retain freedom to operate under the in-licensed patents.

Our dependence on collaborative partners subjects it to a number of risks, including, but not limited to, the following:

 

   

We may not be able to control the amount or timing of resources that collaborative partners devote to our research programs and product candidates;

 

   

We may be required to relinquish significant rights, including intellectual property, marketing and distribution rights;

 

   

We rely on the information and data received from third parties regarding our research programs and product candidates and will not have control of the process conducted by the third party in gathering and composing such data and information. We may not have formal or appropriate guarantees from our contract parties with respect to the quality and the completeness of such data;

 

   

A collaborative partner may develop a competing product either by itself or in collaboration with others, including one or more of our competitors;

 

   

Our collaborative partners’ willingness or ability to complete their obligations under our collaboration arrangements may be adversely affected by business combinations or significant changes in a collaborative partner’s business strategy; and/or

 

   

We may experience delays in, or increases in the costs of, the development of our research programs and product candidates due to the termination or expiration of collaborative research and development arrangements.

We rely on third parties to conduct, supervise and monitor our clinical trials. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our drug product candidates and our business could be substantially harmed.

We rely on clinical research organizations, or CROs, clinical investigators and clinical trial sites to ensure our clinical trials are conducted properly and on time. While we will have agreements governing their activities, we will have limited influence over their actual performance. We will control only certain aspects of our CROs’ activities. Nevertheless, we will be responsible for ensuring that each of our clinical trials is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol, legal and regulatory requirements and scientific standards, and our reliance on these third parties does not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities.

We and these third parties are required to comply with the FDA’s GCPs for conducting, recording and reporting the results of clinical trials to assure that the data and reported results are credible and accurate and that the rights, integrity and confidentiality of clinical trial participants are protected. The FDA, the Competent Authorities of the Member States of the EEA, and comparable foreign regulatory authorities enforce these GCPs through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators and clinical trial sites. If we or these third parties fail to comply with applicable GCPs, the clinical data generated in our future clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA, the EMA, or other foreign regulatory authorities may require us to perform

 

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additional clinical trials before approving any marketing applications. Upon inspection, the FDA may determine that our clinical trials did not comply with GCPs. In addition, our future clinical trials will require a sufficient number of test subjects to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of our drug product candidates. Accordingly, if our CROs fail to comply with these regulations or fail to recruit a sufficient number of patients, we may be required to repeat such clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process.

These third parties are not our employees, and we are therefore unable to directly monitor whether or not they devote sufficient time and resources to our clinical and preclinical programs. These third parties may also have relationships with other commercial entities, including our competitors, for whom they may also be conducting clinical trials or other product development activities that could harm our competitive position. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or obligations, fail to meet expected deadlines, or if the quality or accuracy of the clinical data they obtain is compromised due to the failure to adhere to our clinical protocols or regulatory requirements, or for any other reasons, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated, and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for, or successfully commercialize, our drug product candidates. If any such event were to occur, our financial results and the commercial prospects for our drug product candidates would be harmed, our costs could increase, and our ability to generate revenues could be delayed.

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

Cell-based therapies rely on the availability of specialty raw materials, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all.

Engineered-cell therapies require many specialty raw materials, some of which are manufactured by small companies with limited resources and experience to support a commercial product. The suppliers may be ill-equipped to support our needs, especially in non-routine circumstances like an FDA inspection or medical crisis, such as widespread contamination, or a pandemic such as COVID-19. We also do not have contracts with many of these suppliers, and may not be able to contract with them on acceptable terms or at all. Accordingly, we may experience delays in receiving key raw materials to support clinical or commercial manufacturing.

In addition, some raw materials are currently available from a single supplier, or a small number of suppliers. We cannot be sure that these suppliers will remain in business, or that they will not be purchased by one of our competitors or another company that is not interested in continuing to produce these materials for our intended purpose.

Two vaccines for COVID-19 were granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA in late 2020, and more are likely to be authorized in the coming months. The resultant demand for vaccines and potential for manufacturing facilities and materials to be commandeered under the Defense Production Act of 1950, or equivalent foreign legislation, may make it more difficult to obtain materials or manufacturing slots for the products needed for our clinical trials, which could lead to delays in these trials.

Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property

Our patents and other intellectual property rights portfolio are relatively young and may not adequately protect our research programs and product candidates, which may impede our ability to compete effectively.

Our success will depend in part on our ability to obtain, maintain and enforce our patents and other intellectual property rights. Our research programs and product candidates are covered by several patent application families, which are either licensed to us or owned by us. Out of the numerous patent applications controlled by us, eleven

 

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national patents have been granted in the US relating to the field of immuno-oncology. We cannot guarantee that it will be in a position in the future to develop new patentable inventions or that we or our licensors will be able to obtain or maintain these patent rights against challenges to their validity, scope and/or enforceability. We cannot guarantee that it is or has been the first to conceive an invention or to file a patent application on an invention, particularly given that patent applications are not published in most countries before 18-months after the date of filing. Moreover, we may have little or no control over its licensors’ abilities to prevent the infringement of their patents or the misappropriation of their intellectual property. There can be no assurance that the technologies used in our research programs and product candidates are patentable, that pending or future applications will result in the grant to us or our licensors, that any patents will be of sufficient breadth to provide adequate and commercially meaningful protection against competitors with similar technologies or products, or that any patents granted to us or our licensors will not be successfully challenged, circumvented, invalidated or rendered unenforceable by third parties, enabling competitors to circumvent or use them and depriving us from the protection it would need against competitors. If we or our licensors do not obtain meaningful patents on their technologies or if the patents of us or our licensors are invalidated, third parties may use the technologies without payment to us. A third party’s ability to use unpatented technologies is enhanced by the fact that the published patent application contains a detailed description of the relevant technology.

We cannot guarantee that third parties, contract parties or employees will not claim ownership rights over the patents or other intellectual property rights owned or held by us.

We also rely on proprietary know-how to protect our research programs and product candidates. Know-how is difficult to maintain and protect. We use reasonable efforts to maintain our know-how, but it cannot assure that our partners, employees, consultants, advisors or other third parties will not willfully or unintentionally disclose proprietary information to competitors. Furthermore, our competitors may independently develop equivalent knowledge and know-how, which could diminish or eliminate our competitive advantage.

The enforcement of patents, know-how and other intellectual property is costly, time consuming and highly uncertain. We cannot guarantee that it will be successful in preventing the infringement of our patented inventions, or the misappropriation of our know-how and other intellectual property rights and those of our licensors, and failure to do so could significantly impair the ability of us to compete effectively.

We may infringe on the patents or intellectual property rights of others and may face patent litigation, which may be costly and time consuming.

Our success will depend in part on our ability to operate without infringing or misappropriating the intellectual property rights of others. We cannot guarantee that our activities will not infringe on the patents or other intellectual property rights owned by others. We may expend significant time and effort and may incur substantial costs in litigation if it is required to defend against patent or other intellectual property right suits brought against us regardless of whether the claims have any merit. Additionally, we cannot predict whether we will be successful in any litigation. If we are found to infringe the patents or other intellectual property rights of others, we may be subject to substantial claims for damages, which could materially impact our cash flow and financial position. We may also be required to cease development, use or sale of the relevant research program, product candidate or process or it may be required to obtain a license to the disputed rights, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, if at all.

There can be no assurance that we are even aware of third-party rights that may be alleged to be relevant to any particular product candidate, method, process or technology.

We may spend significant time and effort and may incur substantial costs if required to defend against any infringement claims or to assert our intellectual property rights against third parties. The risk of such a claim by a third party may be increased by our public announcement regarding our research programs and product candidates. We may not be successful in defending our rights against such claims and may incur as a consequence thereof significant losses, costs or delays in our intended commercialization plans as a result thereof.

 

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We depend on intellectual property licensed from third parties and termination of any of these licenses could result in the loss of significant rights, which would harm our business.

We are dependent on patents, know-how, and proprietary technology, both our own and licensed from others. We license technology from the Trustees of Dartmouth College, or Dartmouth College. Dartmouth College may terminate our license, if we fail to meet a milestone within the specified time period, unless we pay the corresponding milestone payment. Dartmouth College may terminate either the license in the event we default or breach any of the provisions of the applicable license, subject to 30 days’ prior notice and opportunity to cure. In addition, the license automatically terminates in the event we become insolvent, make an assignment for the benefit of creditors or file, or have filed against us, a petition in bankruptcy. Furthermore, Dartmouth College may terminate our license, after April 30, 2024, if we fail to meet the specified minimum net sales obligations for any year, unless we pay to Dartmouth College the royalty we would otherwise be obligated to pay had we met such minimum net sales obligation. We also license technology from Horizon Discovery Limited, or Horizon Discovery. Horizon Discovery may terminate our license in case of insolvency, material breach or force majeure. Any termination of these licenses or any of our other licenses could result in the loss of significant rights and could harm our ability to commercialize our drug product candidates. Disputes may also arise between us and our licensors regarding intellectual property subject to a license agreement, including those relating to:

 

   

The scope of rights granted under the license agreement and other interpretation-related issues;

 

   

Whether and the extent to which our technology and processes infringe on intellectual property of the licensor that is not subject to the license agreement;

 

   

Our right to sublicense patent and other rights to third parties under collaborative development relationships;

 

   

The amount and timing of milestone and royalty payments;

 

   

Whether we are complying with our diligence obligations with respect to the use of the licensed technology in relation to our development and commercialization of our drug product candidates; and

 

   

The allocation of ownership of inventions and know-how resulting from the joint creation or use of intellectual property by us and our partners and by our licensors.

If disputes over intellectual property that we have licensed prevent or impair our ability to maintain our current licensing arrangements on acceptable terms, we may be unable to successfully develop and commercialize the affected drug product candidates. We are generally also subject to all of the same risks with respect to protection of intellectual property that we license as it is for intellectual property that we own, which are described below. If we or our licensors fail to adequately protect this intellectual property, our ability to commercialize our products could suffer.

Our licenses may be terminated if we are unable to meet the payment obligations under the agreements (notably if we are unable to obtain additional financing).

We could be unsuccessful in obtaining or maintaining adequate patent protection for one or more of our drug product candidates.

The patent application process is expensive and time-consuming, and we and our current or future licensors and licensees may not be able to apply for or prosecute patents on certain aspects of our drug product candidates or deliver technologies at a reasonable cost, in a timely fashion, or at all. It is also possible that we or our current licensors, or any future licensors or licensees, will fail to identify patentable aspects of inventions made in the course of development and commercialization activities before it is too late to obtain patent protection on them. Therefore, our patents and applications may not be prosecuted and enforced in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business. It is possible that defects of form in the preparation or filing of our patents or patent applications may exist, or may arise in the future, such as with respect to proper priority claims, inventorship,

 

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claim scope or patent term adjustments. Under our existing license agreements with the Trustees of Dartmouth College, we have the right, but not the obligation, to enforce our licensed patents. If our current licensors, or any future licensors or licensees, are not fully cooperative or disagree with us as to the prosecution, maintenance or enforcement of any patent rights, such patent rights could be compromised and we might not be able to prevent third parties from making, using, and selling competing products. If there are material defects in the form or preparation of our patents or patent applications, such patents or applications may be invalid and unenforceable. Moreover, our competitors may independently develop equivalent knowledge, methods, and know-how. Any of these outcomes could impair our ability to prevent competition from third parties, which may have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and operating results.

We currently have issued patents and patent applications directed to our drug product candidates and medical devices, and we anticipate that it will file additional patent applications in several jurisdictions, including several European Union countries and the United States, as appropriate.

However, we cannot predict:

 

   

If and when any patents will issue from patent applications;

 

   

The degree and range of protection any issued patents will afford us against competitors, including whether third parties will find ways to invalidate or otherwise circumvent our patents;

 

   

Whether others will apply for or obtain patents claiming aspects similar to those covered by our patents and patent applications; or

 

   

Whether we will need to initiate litigation or administrative proceedings to defend our patent rights, which may be costly whether we win or lose.

We cannot be certain, however, that the claims in our pending patent applications will be considered patentable by patent offices in various countries, or that the claims of any of our issued patents will be considered valid and enforceable by local courts.

The strength of patents in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical field can be uncertain, and evaluating the scope of such patents involves complex legal and scientific analyses. The patent applications that we own, or in-licenses may fail to result in issued patents with claims that cover our drug product candidates or uses thereof in the European Union, in the United States or in other jurisdictions. Even if the patents do successfully issue, third parties may challenge the validity, enforceability, or scope thereof, which may result in such patents being narrowed, invalidated, or held unenforceable. Furthermore, even if they are unchallenged, our patents and patent applications may not adequately protect our intellectual property or prevent others from designing their products to avoid being covered by our claims. If the breadth or strength of protection provided by the patent applications, we hold with respect to our drug product candidates is threatened, this could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to develop, and could threaten our ability to commercialize, our drug product candidates. Further, because patent applications in most countries are confidential for a period of time after filing, we cannot be certain that we were the first to file any patent application related to our drug product candidates.

Patents have a limited lifespan. Various extensions may be available; however, the life of a patent, and the protection it affords, is limited. Further, the extensive period of time between patent filing and regulatory approval for a drug product candidate limits the time during which we can market a drug product candidate under patent protection, which may particularly affect the profitability of our early-stage drug product candidates. If we encounter delays in our clinical trials, the period of time during which we could market our drug product candidates under patent protection would be reduced. Without patent protection for our drug product candidates, we may be open to competition from biosimilar versions of our drug product candidates.

 

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Third-party claims of intellectual property infringement against us or our collaborators may prevent or delay our product discovery and development efforts.

Our commercial success depends in part on our avoiding infringement of the patents and proprietary rights of third parties. There is a substantial amount of litigation involving patents and other intellectual property rights in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, as well as administrative proceedings for challenging patents, including interference, derivation, and reexamination proceedings before the USPTO or oppositions and other comparable proceedings in foreign jurisdictions. Recently, due to changes in U.S. law referred to as patent reform, new procedures including inter partes review and post-grant review have been implemented. This reform adds uncertainty to the possibility of challenge to our patents in the future.

Numerous U.S. and foreign issued patents and pending patent applications owned by third parties exist in the fields in which we are developing our drug product candidates. As the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries expand and more patents are issued, the risk increases that our drug product candidates may give rise to claims of infringement of the patent rights of others.

Although we have conducted analyses of the patent landscape with respect to our drug product candidates, and based on these analyses, we believe that we will be able to commercialize our drug product candidates, third parties may nonetheless assert that we infringe their patents, or that we are otherwise employing their proprietary technology without authorization, and may sue us. There may be third-party patents of which we are currently unaware with claims to compositions, formulations, methods of manufacture, or methods of use or treatment that cover our drug product candidates. Because patent applications can take many years to issue, there may be currently pending patent applications that may later result in issued patents that our drug product candidates may infringe. In addition, third parties may obtain patents in the future and claim that use of our technologies or the manufacture, use, or sale of our drug product candidates infringes upon these patents. If any such third-party patents were held by a court of competent jurisdiction to cover our technologies or drug product candidates, the holders of any such patents may be able to block our ability to commercialize the applicable drug product candidate unless we obtain a license under the applicable patents, or until such patents expire or are finally determined to be held invalid or unenforceable. Such a license may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all. If we are unable to obtain a necessary license to a third-party patent on commercially reasonable terms, our ability to commercialize our drug product candidates may be impaired or delayed, which could in turn significantly harm our business.

Third parties asserting their patent rights against us may seek and obtain injunctive or other equitable relief, which could effectively block our ability to further develop and commercialize our drug product candidates. Defense of these claims, regardless of their merit, would involve substantial litigation expense and would be a substantial diversion of management and other employee resources from our business, and may impact our reputation. In the event of a successful claim of infringement against us, we may have to pay substantial damages, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees for willful infringement, obtain one or more licenses from third parties, pay royalties, or redesign our infringing products, which may be impossible or require substantial time and monetary expenditure. In that event, we would be unable to further develop and commercialize our drug product candidates, which could harm our business significantly.

We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.

Filing, prosecuting and defending patents on drug product candidates in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as laws in the European Union or the United States. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries, or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in and into other jurisdictions. Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own products and further, may export otherwise infringing products to territories where we have patent protection, but enforcement is not as

 

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strong. These products may compete with our products and our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing.

Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in a number of jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents, trade secrets and other intellectual property protection, particularly those relating to biotechnology products, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents or marketing of competing products in violation of our proprietary rights generally. Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in some jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and our patent applications at risk of not issuing and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate, and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop or license.

We may be involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our patents or the patents of our licensors, which could be expensive, time-consuming, and unsuccessful.

Competitors may infringe our patents or the patents of our licensors. To address such infringement, we may be required to file patent infringement claims, which can be expensive and time-consuming. In addition, in an infringement proceeding or a declaratory judgment action against us, a court may decide that one or more of our patents is not valid 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 or defense proceeding could put one or more of our or of our licensors’ patents at risk of being invalidated, held unenforceable, interpreted narrowly, or amended such that they do not cover our drug product candidates. Such results could also increase the risk that pending patent applications of our or our licensors may not issue. Defense of these claims, regardless of their merit, would involve substantial litigation expense and could create a substantial diversion of employee resources from our business. Interference or derivation proceedings provoked by third parties may be necessary to determine the priority of inventions with respect to, or the correct inventorship of, our patents or patent applications or those of our licensors. An unfavorable outcome could result in a loss of our current patent rights and could require us to cease using the related technology or to attempt to license rights to it from the prevailing party. Our business could be harmed if the prevailing party does not offer us a license on commercially reasonable terms. Litigation, interference, or derivation proceedings may result in a decision adverse to our interests and, even if we are successful, may result in substantial costs and distract our management and other employees.

Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in some jurisdictions in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation. In addition, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments. If securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a substantial adverse effect on the price of our ordinary shares.

Confidentiality agreements with employees and third parties may not prevent unauthorized disclosure of trade secrets and other proprietary information, and our inability to maintain the confidentiality of that information, due to unauthorized disclosure or use, cyber-attack, or other event, could have a material adverse effect on our business.

In addition to the protection afforded by patents, we seek to rely on trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements to protect proprietary know-how that is not patentable or that we elect not to patent, processes for which patents are difficult to enforce, and any other elements of our product discovery and development processes that involve proprietary know-how, information, or technology that is not covered by patents. Trade secrets, however, may be difficult to protect. We seek to protect our proprietary processes, in part, by entering

 

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into confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, outside scientific advisors, contractors and collaborators. Although we use reasonable efforts to protect our trade secrets, our employees, consultants, outside scientific advisors, contractors, and collaborators might intentionally or inadvertently disclose our trade secret information to competitors. In addition, competitors may otherwise gain access to our trade secrets or independently develop substantially equivalent information and techniques. Furthermore, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect proprietary rights to the same extent or in the same manner as the laws of the United States. As a result, we may encounter significant problems in protecting and defending our intellectual property both in the United States and abroad. If we are unable to prevent unauthorized material disclosure of our intellectual property to third parties, or misappropriation of our intellectual property by third parties, we will not be able to establish or maintain a competitive advantage in our market, which could materially adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.

Our intellectual property and other sensitive company information are also dependent on sophisticated information technology systems and are potentially vulnerable to cyber-attack, loss, damage, destruction from system malfunction, computer viruses, loss of data privacy, or misappropriation or misuse of it by those with permitted access, and other events. While we have invested to protect our data and other information and continue to upgrade and enhance our systems to keep pace with continuing changes in information processing technology, there can be no assurance that our precautionary measures will prevent breakdowns, breaches, cyber-attacks, or other events. Such events could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, financial condition, or results of operations.

Issued patents covering our drug product candidates could be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged in court or before relevant authority.

If we or one of our licensing partners initiate legal proceedings against a third party to enforce a patent covering one of our drug product candidates, the defendant could counterclaim that the patent covering our drug product candidate is invalid or unenforceable. Third parties may also raise similar claims before administrative bodies, even outside the context of litigation. Such mechanisms include re-examination, inter partes review, post grant review, oppositions and derivation proceedings. Such proceedings could result in revocation or amendment to our or those of our licensing partners’ patents in such a way that the patent no longer covers and protects the relevant drug product candidate(s). The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability is unpredictable. With respect to the validity of our patents, for example, we cannot be certain that there is no invalidating prior art of which we, our patent counsel, and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution. If a defendant were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity and/or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on our drug product candidates. Such a loss of patent protection could have a material adverse impact on our business.

Changes in U.S. patent law could diminish the value of patents in general, thereby impairing our ability to protect our products.

As is the case with other biopharmaceutical companies, our success is heavily dependent on intellectual property, particularly patents. Obtaining and enforcing patents in the biopharmaceutical industry involves, both technological and legal complexity, and is therefore costly, time-consuming, and inherently uncertain. Numerous recent changes to the patent laws and proposed changes to the rules of the USPTO may have a significant impact on our ability to protect our technology and enforce our intellectual property rights. For example, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, or AIA, enacted in 2011 involves significant changes in patent legislation. An important change introduced by the AIA is that, as of March 16, 2013, the United States transitioned to a ‘‘first-to-file’’ system for deciding which party should be granted a patent when two or more patent applications are filed by different parties claiming the same invention. A third party that files a patent application with the USPTO after that date but before us could therefore be awarded a patent covering an invention of ours even if we had made the invention before it was made by the third party. This will require us to be cognizant going forward of the time from invention to filing of a patent application.

 

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Among some of the other changes introduced by the AIA are changes that limit where a patentee may file a patent infringement suit and provide opportunities for third parties to challenge any issued patent in the USPTO. This applies to all of our U.S. patents, even those issued before March 16, 2013. Because of a lower evidentiary standard in USPTO proceedings compared to the evidentiary standard in United States federal court necessary to invalidate a patent claim, a third party could potentially provide evidence in a USPTO proceeding sufficient for the USPTO to hold a claim invalid even though the same evidence would be insufficient to invalidate the claim if first presented in a district court action. Accordingly, a third party may attempt to use the USPTO procedures to invalidate our patent claims that would not have been invalidated if first challenged by the third party as a defendant in a district court action.

In addition, recent court rulings in cases such as Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. (Myriad I); BRCA1- & BRCA2-Based Hereditary Cancer Test Patent Litig. (Myriad II); and Promega Corp. v. Life Technologies Corp. have narrowed the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances and weakened the rights of patent owners in certain situations. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, this combination of events has created uncertainty with respect to the value of patents once obtained. Depending on decisions by the U.S. Congress, the federal courts, and the USPTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that would weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce our existing patents and patents that we might obtain in the future. For example, in Assoc. for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court held that certain claims to naturally-occurring substances are not patentable. Although we do not believe that any of the patents owned or licensed by us will be found invalid based on this decision, we cannot predict how future decisions by the courts, the U.S. Congress, or the USPTO may impact the value of our patents.

We may be subject to claims that our employees, consultants, or independent contractors have wrongfully used or disclosed confidential information of third parties.

We have received confidential and proprietary information from third parties. In addition, we employ individuals who were previously employed at other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies. We may be subject to claims that we or our employees, consultants, or independent contractors have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed confidential information of these third parties or our employees’ former employers. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. Even if we are successful in defending against these claims, litigation could result in substantial cost and be a distraction to our management and employees.

Risks Related to Our Organization, Structure and Operation

We and our third-party suppliers are subject to high standards of manufacturing in accordance with cGMPs and other manufacturing regulations. Complying with these requirements will require us and our third-party suppliers to expend significant time, money and effort and any failure to comply could have an adverse effect on our business.

We, and key third-party suppliers on which we rely, currently or in the future must continuously adhere to cGMPs and corresponding manufacturing regulations of Competent Authorities. In complying with these regulations, we and our third-party suppliers must expend significant time, money and effort in the areas of design and development, testing, production, record-keeping and quality control to assure that the products meet applicable specifications and other regulatory requirements. The failure to comply with these requirements could result in an enforcement action against us, including the seizure of products and shutting down of production. We and any of these third-party suppliers may also be subject to audits by the Competent Authorities. If any of our third-party suppliers or we ourselves fail to comply with cGMPs or other applicable manufacturing regulations, our ability to develop and commercialize the products could suffer significant interruptions.

 

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We rely on a single manufacturing facility and if operations at that manufacturing facility are disrupted, we could experience delays in our clinical trials or we would need to expend additional time and capital to identify and onboard another manufacturing facility.

We face risks inherent in operating a single manufacturing facility, since any disruption, such as a fire, natural hazards or vandalism could significantly interrupt our manufacturing capability. We currently do not have alternative production plans in place or disaster-recovery facilities available. In case of a disruption, we will have to establish alternative manufacturing sources. This would require substantial capital on our part, which it may not be able to obtain on commercially acceptable terms or at all. Additionally, we would likely experience months or years of manufacturing delays as we build or locate replacement facilities and seek and obtain necessary regulatory approvals. If this occurs, we will be unable to satisfy manufacturing needs on a timely basis, if at all. Also, operating any new facilities may be more expensive than operating our current facility. Further, business interruption insurance may not adequately compensate us for any losses that may occur, and we would have to bear the additional cost of any disruption. For these reasons, a significant disruptive event of the manufacturing facility could have drastic consequences, including placing our financial stability at risk.

We will need increased manufacturing capacity, which will require additional time and capital. If we are not able to expand manufacturing capacity, we may experience delays in our clinical trials.

We may not be able to expand the manufacturing capacity within the anticipated time frame or budget or may not be able to obtain the requisite regulatory approvals for the increase in manufacturing capacity on a timely basis, or at all. If we cannot obtain necessary approvals for this contemplated expansion in a timely manner, our ability to meet demand for our products would be adversely affected. We may have difficulties in finding suitable locations or commercially acceptable terms for the leasing of such facilities. We may also have difficulties in finding a commercial partner for the construction of those facilities and/or partners for investing in the capital expenses related to the manufacturing plants. We will need to obtain GMP certification of those plants for commercial products. Obtaining those certificates may be delayed, or may not be granted.

We are highly dependent on our key personnel, and if we are not successful in attracting, motivating and retaining highly qualified personnel, we may not be able to successfully implement our business strategy.

Our ability to compete in the highly competitive biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries depends upon our ability to attract, motivate and retain highly qualified managerial, scientific and medical personnel. We are highly dependent on members of our Executive Committee, and our scientific and medical personnel. The loss of the services of any members of our Executive Committee, other key employees, and other scientific and medical advisors, and our inability to find suitable replacements, could result in delays in product development and harm our business.

Competition for skilled personnel in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries is intense and the turnover rate can be high, which may limit our ability to hire and retain highly qualified personnel on acceptable terms or at all.

To induce valuable employees to remain with us, in addition to salary and cash incentives, we have provided warrants that vest over time. The value to employees of these equity grants that vest over time may be significantly affected by movements in our share price that are beyond our control, and may at any time be insufficient to counteract more lucrative offers from other companies. We do not maintain “key man” insurance policies on the lives of all of these individuals or the lives of any of our other employees.

The improper conduct of employees, agents, contractors, consultants or collaborators could adversely affect our reputation and business, prospects, operating results, and financial condition.

We cannot ensure that our compliance controls, policies, and procedures will in every instance protect it from acts committed by our employees, agents, contractors, or collaborators that would violate the laws or regulations

 

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of the jurisdictions in which it operates, including, without limitation, healthcare, employment, foreign corrupt practices, environmental, competition, and patient privacy and other privacy laws and regulations. Such improper actions could subject us to civil or criminal investigations, and monetary and injunctive penalties, and could adversely impact our ability to conduct business, operating results, and reputation. In particular, our business activities may be subject to anti-bribery or anti-corruption laws, regulations or rules of countries in which it operates, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, or the U.K. Bribery Act.

Violations of these laws and regulations could result in fines, criminal sanctions against us, our officers, or our employees, the closing down of our facilities, requirements to obtain export licenses, cessation of business activities in sanctioned countries, implementation of compliance programs, and prohibitions on the conduct of our business. Any such violations could include prohibitions on our ability to offer products in one or more countries and could materially damage our reputation, our brand, our international expansion efforts, our ability to attract and retain employees, and our business, prospects, operating results, and financial condition.

We have limited experience in sales, marketing and distribution.

Given our stage in development, we have never marketed a product and have therefore limited experience in the fields of sales, marketing and distribution of therapies. As a consequence, we will have to acquire marketing skills and develop our own sales and marketing infrastructure and would need to incur additional expenses, mobilize management resources, implement new skills and take the time necessary to set up the appropriate organization and structure to market the relevant product(s), in accordance with applicable laws.

While several of our managers have commercialized and launched high technology medical products there can be no assurance that the existing limited experience would be sufficient to effectively commercialize any or all of our product candidates. We may not be able to attract qualified sales and marketing personnel on acceptable terms in the future and therefore may experience constraints that will impede the achievement of our commercial objectives. Such events could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial situation, earnings and growth.

We will need to grow the size and capabilities of our organization, and we may experience difficulties in managing this growth.

As of December 31, 2020, we had 92 employees and six senior managers, three being under employment contracts and three under management services agreements, most of whom are full-time. As our drug product candidates move into later stage clinical development and towards commercialization, we must add a significant number of additional managerial, operational, sales, marketing, financial, and other personnel. Future growth will impose significant added responsibilities on members of management, including:

 

   

Identifying, recruiting, integrating, maintaining, and motivating additional employees;

 

   

Managing our internal development efforts effectively, including the clinical and fda review process for our drug product candidates, while complying with our contractual obligations to contractors and other third parties; and

 

   

Improving our operational, financial and management controls, reporting systems, and procedures.

Our future financial performance and our ability to commercialize our drug product candidates will depend, in part, on our ability to effectively manage any future growth, and our management may also have to divert a disproportionate amount of our attention away from day-to-day activities in order to devote a substantial amount of time to managing these growth activities.

If we are not able to effectively expand our organization by hiring new employees and expanding our groups of consultants and contractors, we may not be able to successfully implement the tasks necessary to further develop and commercialize our drug product candidates and, accordingly, may not achieve our research, development, and commercialization goals.

 

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If we engage in future acquisitions or strategic partnerships, this may increase our capital requirements, dilute our shareholders, and cause it to incur debt or assume contingent liabilities, and subject it to other risks.

We may evaluate various acquisitions and strategic partnerships, including licensing or acquiring complementary products, intellectual property rights, technologies, or businesses. Any potential acquisition or strategic partnership may entail numerous risks, including:

 

   

Increased operating expenses and cash requirements;

 

   

The assumption of additional indebtedness or contingent liabilities;

 

   

The issuance of our equity securities;

 

   

Assimilation of operations, intellectual property and products of an acquired company, including difficulties associated with integrating new personnel;

 

   

The diversion of our management’s attention from our existing product programs and initiatives in pursuing such a strategic merger or acquisition;

 

   

Retention of key employees, the loss of key personnel, and uncertainties in our ability to maintain key business relationships;

 

   

Risks and uncertainties associated with the other party to such a transaction, including the prospects of that party and their existing products or drug product candidates and regulatory approvals; and

 

   

Our inability to generate revenue from acquired technology and/or products sufficient to meet our objectives in undertaking the acquisition or even to offset the associated acquisition and maintenance costs.

In addition, if we undertake acquisitions, we may issue dilutive securities, assume or incur debt obligations, incur large one-time expenses and acquire intangible assets that could result in significant future amortization expense. Moreover, we may not be able to locate suitable acquisition opportunities and this inability could impair our ability to grow or obtain access to technology or products that may be important to the development of our business.

We are subject to certain covenants as a result of certain non-dilutive financial support received to date.

We have received some non-dilutive financial supports from the Walloon Region to support various research programs. The support has been granted in the form of recoverable cash advances, or RCAs, and subsidies.

In the event we decide to exploit any discoveries or products from the research funded by under an RCA, the relevant RCA becomes refundable; otherwise the RCA is not refundable. We own the intellectual property rights which result from the research programs partially funded by the Region, unless it decides not to exploit, or cease to exploit, the results of the research in which case the results and intellectual property rights are transferred to the Region. Subject to certain exceptions, however, we cannot grant to third parties, by way of license or otherwise, any right to use the results without the prior consent of the Region. We also need the consent of the Region to transfer an intellectual property right resulting from the research programs or a transfer or license of a prototype or installation. Obtaining such consent from the Region could give rise to a review of the applicable financial terms. The RCAs also contain provisions prohibiting us from conducting research for any other person which would fall within the scope of a research program of one of the RCAs. Most RCAs provide that this prohibition is applicable during the research phase and the decision phase, but a number of RCAs extend it beyond these phases.

Subsidies received from the Region are dedicated to funding research programs and patent applications and are not refundable. We own the intellectual property rights which result from the research programs or with regard to

 

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a patent covered by a subsidy. Subject to certain exceptions, however, we cannot grant to third parties, by way of license, transfer or otherwise, any right to use the patents or research results without the prior consent of the Region. In addition, certain subsidies require that we exploit the patent in the countries where the protection was granted and to make an industrial use of the underlying invention. In case of bankruptcy, liquidation or dissolution, the rights to the patents covered by the patent subsidies will be assumed by the Region by operation of law unless the subsidy is reimbursed. Furthermore, we would lose our qualification as a small or medium-sized enterprise, the patent subsidies will terminate, and no additional expenses will be covered by such patent subsidies. In 2020, we will be required to make exploitation decisions on our remaining outstanding RCA related to the CAR-T platform.

Failure to build our finance infrastructure and improve our accounting systems and controls could impair our ability to comply with the financial reporting and internal controls requirements for publicly traded companies.

As a public company, we are operating in an increasingly demanding regulatory environment that requires us to comply with, among other things, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and related rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s substantial disclosure requirements, accelerated reporting requirements and complex accounting rules. Company responsibilities required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act include establishing corporate oversight and adequate internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. Effective internal controls are necessary for us to produce reliable financial reports and are important to help prevent financial fraud.

Management identified the following material weakness as of December 31, 2020: given the size of our operations, we maintain a limited finance and accounting staff, which does not ensure sufficient backup in personnel with an appropriate level of knowledge and experience in the application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). See “Item 15—Controls and Procedures” of this Annual Report for further discussion of management’s assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that we include a report of management on our internal control over financial reporting in our annual report on Form 20-F.

Assessing our procedures to improve our internal control over financial reporting is an ongoing process. We can provide no assurance that our remediation efforts described under “Item 15—Controls and Procedures” of this Annual Report will be successful and that we will not have material weaknesses in the future. Any additional material weaknesses we identify could result in an adverse reaction in the financial markets due to a loss of confidence in the reliability of our consolidated financial statements. Any failure to maintain internal control over financial reporting could severely inhibit our ability to accurately report our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. If we are unable to remedy the material weaknesses and continue to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is ineffective, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, the market price of the ADSs could decline, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the NASDAQ Stock Market, the SEC or other regulatory authorities. Failure to remedy any material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, or to implement or maintain other effective control systems required of public companies, could also restrict our future access to the capital markets.

Our international operations subject it to various risks, and our failure to manage these risks could adversely affect our results of operations.

We face significant operational risks as a result of doing business internationally, such as:

 

   

Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates;

 

   

Potentially adverse and/or unexpected tax consequences, including penalties due to the failure of tax planning or due to the challenge by tax authorities on the basis of transfer pricing and liabilities imposed from inconsistent enforcement;

 

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Potential changes to the accounting standards, which may influence our financial situation and results;

 

   

Becoming subject to the different, complex and changing laws, regulations and court systems of multiple jurisdictions and compliance with a wide variety of foreign laws, treaties and regulations (including those relating to corporate taxation and sales taxes);

 

   

Reduced protection of, or significant difficulties in enforcing, intellectual property rights in certain countries;

 

   

Difficulties in attracting and retaining qualified personnel;

 

   

Restrictions imposed by local labor practices and laws on our business and operations, including unilateral cancellation or modification of contracts; and

 

   

Rapid changes in global government, economic and political policies and conditions, political or civil unrest or instability, terrorism or epidemics and other similar outbreaks or events, and potential failure in confidence of our suppliers or customers due to such changes or events; and tariffs, trade protection measures, import or export licensing requirements, trade embargoes and other trade barriers.

We incur portions of our expenses, and may in the future derive revenues, in currencies other than the euro, in particular, the U.S. dollar. As a result, we are exposed to foreign currency exchange risk as our results of operations and cash flows are subject to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. We currently do not engage in hedging transactions to protect against uncertainty in future exchange rates between particular foreign currencies and the euro. Therefore, for example, an increase in the value of the euro against the U.S. dollar could be expected to have a negative impact on our revenue and earnings growth as U.S. dollar revenue and earnings, if any, would be translated into euros at a reduced value. We cannot predict the impact of foreign currency fluctuations, and foreign currency fluctuations in the future may adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

We or third parties upon whom we depend may be adversely affected by natural disasters and/or global health pandemics, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

The occurrence of unforeseen or catastrophic events, including extreme weather events and other natural disasters, man-made disasters, or the emergence of epidemics or pandemics, depending on their scale, may cause different degrees of damage to the national and local economies and could cause a disruption in our operations and have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Man-made disasters, pandemics, and other events connected with the regions in which we operate could have similar effects. If a natural disaster, health pandemic, or other event beyond our control occurred that prevented us from using all or a significant portion of our office and/or lab spaces, damaged critical infrastructure, such as our manufacturing facilities or our manufacturing facilities of our third-party contract manufacturers, or that otherwise disrupted operations, it may be difficult for us to continue our business for a substantial period of time.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic and recommended containment and mitigation measures worldwide. As of the date of this Annual Report, Belgium and the United States, where we operate, has been impacted by temporary closures. The length or severity of this pandemic cannot be predicted, but the Company anticipates that there may be an additional impact from a prolonged COVID-19 environment on the planned development activities of the Company.

Further, timely enrollment in clinical trials is reliant on clinical trial sites which may be adversely affected by global health matters, including, among other things, pandemics. With regards to our clinical programs, CYAD-02, CYAD-101 and CYAD-211 were slightly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic throughout 2020. Enrollment in the respective trials for these assets is ongoing without any major disruption, partially due to the staggered enrollment associated with the dose-escalation trials for CYAD-02 and CYAD-211 and CYAD-02,

 

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respectively, and the expansion cohort of the CYAD-101 trial which began in late 2020. However, certain clinical sites and institutions have not been able to receive visits from us or our representatives, which has delayed our data monitoring activities.

The long-term impact of COVID-19 on the Company’s operations will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including a potential second wave of the pandemic, new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the coronavirus and the actions to contain the coronavirus or treat its impact, among other things, but potential prolonged closures or other business disruptions may negatively affect its operations and the operations of its agents, contractors, consultants or collaborators, which could have a material adverse impact its business, results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, after enrollment in these trials, if patients contract COVID-19 during participation in our trials or are subject to isolation or shelter-in-place restrictions, they may drop out of our trials, miss scheduled follow-up visits or otherwise fail to follow trial protocols. If patients are unable to follow the trial protocols or if our trial results are otherwise disputed due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic or actions taken to mitigate its spread, the integrity of data from our trials may be compromised or not accepted by the FDA or other regulatory authorities, which would represent a significant setback for the applicable program.

Some factors from the COVID-19 pandemic that we believe may adversely affect enrollment in our trials include:

 

   

The diversion of healthcare resources away from the conduct of clinical trial matters to focus on pandemic concerns, including the attention of physicians serving as our clinical trial investigators, hospitals serving as our clinical trial sites and hospital staff supporting the conduct of our clinical trials;

 

   

Some patients who would otherwise be candidates for enrollment in our clinical trials are at increased risk of severe effects of the coronavirus, which may lead to the death of some patients and render others too ill to participate, limiting the available pool of participants for our trials;

 

   

The fact that there can be no guarantee that any proposed changes to our protocols, if necessary, would be acceptable to regulators;

 

   

Limitations on travel that interrupt key trial activities, such as clinical trial site initiations and monitoring; and

 

   

Interruption in global shipping affecting the transport of clinical trial materials being used in our trials.

These and other factors arising from the COVID-19 pandemic could worsen in countries that are already afflicted with the virus or could continue to spread to additional countries, each of which may further adversely impact our clinical trials. The global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and the conduct of our trials may continue to be adversely affected, despite efforts to mitigate this impact.

Even if we are able to enroll a sufficient number of patients in our clinical trials, delays in patient enrollment may result in increased costs or may affect the timing or outcome of our clinical trials, which could prevent completion of these trials and adversely affect our ability to advance the development of our drug product candidates.

The impact of COVID-19 on our business is uncertain at this time and will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the coronavirus and the actions to contain the coronavirus or treat its impact, among other things, but prolonged closures or other business disruptions may negatively affect our operations and the operations of our agents, contractors, consultants or collaborators, which could have a material adverse impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

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Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Need for Capital

We have incurred net losses in each period since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur net losses in the future.

We are not profitable and have incurred losses in each period since our inception. For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, we incurred a loss for the year of €17.2 million, €28.6 million and €37.4 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, we had a retained loss of €91.8 million. We expects these losses to increase as we continue to incur significant research and development and other expenses related to our ongoing operations, continues to advance our drug product candidates through preclinical studies and clinical trials, seek regulatory approvals for our drug product candidates, scale-up manufacturing capabilities and hire additional personnel to support the development of our drug product candidates and to enhance our operational, financial and information management systems.

Our main assets are intellectual property rights concerning technologies that have not led to commercialization of any product. We have never been profitable and have never commercialized any products.

Even if we succeed in commercializing one or more of our drug product candidates, we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future relating to our substantial research and development expenditures to develop our technologies. We anticipate that our expenses will increase substantially if and as we:

 

   

Continue our research, preclinical and clinical development of our product candidates;

 

   

Expand the scope of therapeutic indications of our current clinical studies for our product candidates;

 

   

Initiate additional preclinical studies or additional clinical trials of existing product candidates or new product candidates;

 

   

Further develop the manufacturing process for our product candidates;

 

   

Change or add additional manufacturers or suppliers;

 

   

Seek regulatory and marketing approval for our drug product candidates that successfully complete clinical studies;

 

   

Establish a sales, marketing and distribution infrastructure to commercialize any products for which we may obtain marketing approval, in the European Union and the United States;

 

   

Make milestone or other payments under any in-license agreements;

 

   

Maintain, protect and expand our intellectual property portfolio; and

 

   

Maintain and upgrade internal controls.

We may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other unknown factors that may adversely affect our business. The size of our future net losses will depend, in part, on the rate of future growth of our expenses and our ability to generate revenue.

Our prior losses and expected future losses have had and will continue to have an adverse effect on our shareholders’ equity and working capital. Further, the net losses we incur may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year, such that a period to period comparison of our results of operations may not be a good indication of our future performance.

We may need substantial additional funding, which may not be available on acceptable terms when needed, if at all.

Our operations have required substantial amounts of cash since inception. We expect to continue to spend substantial amounts to continue the clinical development of our drug product candidates CYAD-02, CYAD-211

 

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and CYAD-101 (the “Product Candidates”) or any future product candidates, including but limited to CYAD-103, CYAD-221 and CYAD-231. If approved, we will require significant additional amounts in order to launch and commercialize our drug product candidates.

As of December 31, 2020, we had cash and cash equivalents of €17.2 million and no short-term investments. On January 8, 2021, we entered into a committed equity purchase agreement (“Purchase Agreement”) for up to $40 million with Lincoln Park Capital Fund, LLC (“LPC”), a Chicago-based institutional investor. Over the 24-month term of the Purchase Agreement, we will have the right to direct LPC to purchase up to an aggregate amount of $40 million American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”), each of which represents one of our ordinary shares. This equity purchase agreement is expected to strengthen our current statement of financial position while also providing us with access to future capital on an as needed basis and to ensure sufficient funding to cover our operations for the next 12 months from the date the financial statements are issued.

Based on our current scope of activities, we estimate that our cash and cash equivalents as of December 31, 2020 combined with the $40 million that we have access to from the equity purchase agreement established with Lincoln Park Capital Fund should be sufficient to fund operations until mid-2022, including data readouts from our ongoing clinical trials.

However, changing circumstances may cause us to increase our spending significantly faster than we currently anticipate, and we may need to spend more money than currently expected because of circumstances beyond our control. We may require additional capital for the further development and commercialization of our drug product candidates and may need to raise additional funds sooner if we choose to expand more rapidly than we presently anticipate.

The achievement of milestones (R&D, scientific, clinical, regulatory, business) will trigger payment obligations towards Celdara, Dartmouth and Horizon, which will negatively impact the Company’s profitability and may require material additional funding.

The Company contracted over the past year numerous funding agreements with the Walloon Region to partially finance its research and development programs. Under the terms of the agreements, the Company would need to obtain the consent of the Walloon Region for any out-licensing agreement or sale to a third party of any or all of its products, prototypes or installations which may reduce the Company’s ability to partner or sell part or all of its products. Furthermore, when the research and development programs partially financed by the Company enter in “exploitation phase”, the Company has to start reimbursing the funding received. For more information on the potential financial consequences of these exploitation decisions in terms of potential reimbursements and sales percentage fees to be paid to the Walloon Region. The Company may not be able to reimburse such funding under the terms of the agreements or such reimbursement may jeopardize the funding of its clinical and scientific activities

Our ability to raise additional funds will depend on financial, economic and market conditions and other factors, over which we may have no or limited control, and we cannot guarantee that additional funds will be available to it when necessary on commercially acceptable terms, if at all. If the necessary funds are not available, we may need to seek funds through collaborations and licensing arrangements, which may require us to reduce or relinquish significant rights to our research programs and product candidates, to grant licenses on our technologies to partners or third parties or enter into new collaboration agreements, the terms could be less favorable to us than those we might have obtained in a different context. If adequate funds are not available on commercially acceptable terms when needed, we may be forced to delay, reduce or terminate the development or commercialization of all or part of our research programs or product candidates or we may be unable to take advantage of future business opportunities.

 

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Our net losses and significant cash used in operating activities have raised doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern.

We have a limited operating history and have experienced net losses and significant cash used in operating activities in each period since inception. We expect to continue to incur net losses and have significant cash outflows for at least the next year. As of December 31, 2020, we had cash and cash equivalents of €17.2 million and no short-term investments and an accumulated deficit of €91.8 million. On January 8, 2021, we entered into a committed equity purchase agreement (“Purchase Agreement”) for up to $40 million with Lincoln Park Capital Fund, LLC (“LPC”). Over the 24-month term of the Purchase Agreement, we will have the right to direct LPC to purchase up to an aggregate amount of $40 million ADSs.

Our cash and cash equivalents and accumulated deficit, among other factors, raise doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. Our inability to continue as a going concern could materially limit our ability to raise additional funds through the issuance of new debt or equity securities or otherwise. Future reports on our financial statements may include an explanatory paragraph with respect to our ability to continue as a going concern. We have not been profitable since inception, and it is possible we will never achieve profitability. None of our product candidates can be marketed until governmental approvals have been obtained. Accordingly, there is no substantial source of revenues, much less profits, to sustain our present activities, and no substantial revenues will likely be available until, and our product candidates are approved by FDA, EMA or other Competent Authority and successfully marketed, either by us or a partner, an outcome which may not occur. Based on our current level of operating expenditures, we expect our cash position as of December 31, 2020 combined with the full utilization of the $40 million equity purchase agreement established in January 2021 to be able to fund our operations until mid-2022 but we will require significant additional cash resources to launch new development phases of existing projects in our pipeline. In addition, this period could be shortened if there are any significant increases in planned spending on development programs or more rapid progress of development programs than anticipated. Other financing may not be available when needed to allow us to continue as a going concern. The perception that we may not be able to continue as a going concern may cause others to choose not to deal with us due to concerns about our ability to meet our contractual obligations.

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

We may seek additional funding through a combination of equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations and/or licensing arrangements. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, the shareholders will be diluted, and the terms may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a shareholder. The incurrence of indebtedness and/or the issuance of certain equity securities could result in increased fixed payment obligations and could also result in certain additional restrictive covenants, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt and/or issue additional equity, limitations on our ability to acquire or license intellectual property rights and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. In addition, issuance of additional equity securities, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of the Shares to decline. In the event that we enter into collaborations and/or licensing arrangements in order to raise capital, it may be required to accept unfavorable terms, including relinquishing or licensing to a third party on unfavorable terms our rights to technologies or drug product candidates that we otherwise would seek to develop or commercialize ourselves or potentially reserve for future potential arrangements when we might be able to achieve more favorable terms.

We may be exposed to significant foreign exchange risk.

We incur portions of our expenses, and may in the future derive revenues, in currencies other than the euro, in particular, the U.S. dollar. As a result, we are exposed to foreign currency exchange risk as our results of operations and cash flows are subject to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. We currently do not engage in hedging transactions to protect against uncertainty in future exchange rates between particular foreign

 

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currencies and the euro. Therefore, for example, an increase in the value of the euro against the U.S. dollar could be expected to have a negative impact on our revenue and earnings growth as U.S. dollar revenue and earnings, if any, would be translated into euros at a reduced value. We cannot predict the impact of foreign currency fluctuations, and foreign currency fluctuations in the future may adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

The investment of our cash and cash equivalents may be subject to risks that may cause losses and affect the liquidity of these investments.

As of December 31, 2020, we had cash and cash equivalents of €17.2 million and no short-term investments. We historically have invested substantially all of our available cash and cash equivalents in corporate bank accounts. Pending their use in our business, we may invest the net proceeds of our global offerings in investments that may include corporate bonds, commercial paper, certificates of deposit and money market funds. These investments may be subject to general credit, liquidity, and market and interest rate risks. We may realize losses in the fair value of these investments or a complete loss of these investments, which would have a negative effect on our financial statements.

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, is currently unable to inspect the audit work and practices of auditors operating in Belgium, including our auditor.

Our auditors, EY Bedrijfsrevisoren BV/Reviseurs d’Entreprises SRL, are registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). Our auditors, like any other independent registered public accounting firms operating in Belgium, are not yet permitted, because of Belgian regulation impediments, to be subject to inspections by the PCAOB that assess their compliance with U.S. law and professional standards in connection with performance of audits of financial statements filed with the SEC. As a result, our investors may not realize the potential benefits of such inspections. Cooperation between Belgium regulator and the PCAOB is expected in the first half of 2021.

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Ordinary Shares and American Depositary Shares (“ADS”)

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate research or unfavorable research about our business, the price of the ordinary shares and the ADSs and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for the ordinary shares and the ADSs depends in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. If no or few securities or industry analysts cover our company, the trading price for the ordinary shares and the ADSs would be negatively impacted. If one or more of the analysts who covers us downgrades the ordinary shares or the ADSs or publishes incorrect or unfavorable research about our business, the price of the ordinary shares and the ADSs would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of our company or fails to publish reports on us regularly, or downgrades the ordinary shares or the ADSs, demand for the ADSs and ordinary shares could decrease, which could cause the price of the ADSs and ordinary shares or trading volume to decline.

The market price of the shares could be negatively impacted by actual or anticipated sales of substantial numbers of ordinary shares or ADSs.

Sales of a substantial number of Shares in the public markets, or the perception that such sales might occur, might cause the market price of the Shares to decline. We cannot make any prediction as to the effect of any such sales or perception of potential sales on the market price of the Shares.

A public market for our shares may not be sustained.

We cannot guarantee the extent to which a liquid market for our ordinary shares or ADSs will be sustained. In the absence of such liquid market for our ordinary shares or ADSs, the price of our ordinary shares or ADSs could be

 

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influenced. The liquidity of the market for our ordinary shares or ADSs could be affected by various causes, including the factors identified in the next risk factor (below) or by a reduced interest of investors in biotechnology sector.

The market price of the shares may fluctuate widely in response to various factors.

A number of factors may significantly affect the market price of our ordinary shares or ADSs. The main factors are changes in our operating results and those of our competitors, announcements of technological innovations or results concerning the product candidates, changes in earnings estimates by analysts.

Other factors which could cause the price of the shares to fluctuate or could influence our reputation include, amongst other things:

 

   

Public information regarding actual or potential results relating to products and product candidates under development by our competitors;

 

   

Actual or potential results relating to products and product candidates under development by us;

 

   

Developments concerning intellectual property rights, including patents;

 

   

Regulatory and medicine pricing and reimbursement developments in Europe, the United States and other jurisdictions;

 

   

Any publicity derived from any business affairs, contingencies, litigation or other proceedings, our assets (including the imposition of any lien), our management, or our significant shareholders or collaborative partners;

 

   

Divergences in financial results from stock market expectations;

 

   

Changes in the general conditions in the pharmaceutical industry and general economic, financial market and business conditions in the countries in which we operate; and

 

   

Any publicity derived from data protection or cybersecurity breaches.

In addition, stock markets have from time to time experienced extreme price and volume volatility which, in addition to general economic, financial and political conditions, could affect the market price for the Shares regardless of the operating results or our financial condition.

We have no present intention to pay dividends on our ordinary shares in the foreseeable future and, consequently, your only opportunity to achieve a return on your investment during that time is if the price of the securities increases.

We have no present intention to pay dividends in the foreseeable future. Any recommendation by our Board of Directors to pay dividends will depend on many factors, including our financial condition (including losses carried-forward), results of operations, legal requirements and other factors. Furthermore, pursuant to Belgian law, the calculation of amounts available for distribution to shareholders, as dividends or otherwise, must be determined on the basis of our non-consolidated statutory accounts prepared in accordance with Belgian accounting rules. In addition, in accordance with Belgian law and our Articles of Association, we must allocate each year an amount of at least 5% of our annual net profit under our non-consolidated statutory accounts to a legal reserve until the reserve equals 10% of our share capital. Therefore, we are unlikely to pay dividends or other distributions in the foreseeable future. If the price of the securities or the underlying ordinary shares declines before we pay dividends, investors will incur a loss on their investment, without the likelihood that this loss will be offset in part or at all by potential future cash dividends.

Takeover provisions in the national law of Belgium may make a takeover difficult.

Public takeover bids on our shares and other voting securities, such as warrants or convertible bonds, if any, are subject to the Belgian Act of 1 April 2007 on public takeover bids, as amended and implemented by the Belgian

 

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Royal Decree of April 27, 2007, or Royal Decree, and to the supervision by the Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority, or FSMA. Public takeover bids must be made for all of our voting securities, as well as for all other securities that entitle the holders thereof to the subscription to, the acquisition of or the conversion into voting securities. Prior to making a bid, a bidder must issue and disseminate a prospectus, which must be approved by the FSMA. The bidder must also obtain approval of the relevant competition authorities, where such approval is legally required for the acquisition of us. The Belgian Act of 1 April 2007 provides that a mandatory bid will be required to be launched for all of our outstanding shares and securities giving access to ordinary shares if a person, as a result of our own acquisition or the acquisition by persons acting in concert with it or by persons acting on their account, directly or indirectly holds more than 30% of the voting securities in a company that has our registered office in Belgium and of which at least part of the voting securities are traded on a regulated market or on a multilateral trading facility designated by the Royal Decree. The mere fact of exceeding the relevant threshold through the acquisition of one or more shares will give rise to a mandatory bid, irrespective of whether or not the price paid in the relevant transaction exceeds the current market price.

There are several provisions of Belgian company law and certain other provisions of Belgian law, such as the obligation to disclose important shareholdings and merger control, that may apply to us and which may make an unfriendly tender offer, merger, change in management or other change in control, more difficult. These provisions could discourage potential takeover attempts that third parties may consider and thus deprive the shareholders of the opportunity to sell their shares at a premium (which is typically offered in the framework of a takeover bid).

We may be at an increased risk of securities class action litigation.

Historically, securities class action litigation has often been brought against a company following a decline in the market price of that company’s securities. This risk is especially relevant for us because biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies have experienced significant share price volatility in recent years. If we were to be sued, it could result in substantial costs and a diversion of management’s attention and resources, which could harm our business.

Holders of the shares outside Belgium and France may not be able to exercise pre-emption rights (notice for non-Belgian resident investors).

In the event of an increase in our share capital in cash, holders of shares are generally entitled to full pre-emption rights unless these rights are excluded or limited either by a resolution of the general meeting, or by a resolution of the Board of Directors (if the Board of Directors has been authorized by the general meeting in the articles of association to increase the share capital in that manner). Certain holders of shares outside Belgium or France may not be able to exercise pre-emption rights unless local securities laws have been complied with. In particular, U.S. holders of the shares may not be able to exercise pre-emption rights unless a registration statement under the Securities Act is declared effective with respect to the shares issuable upon exercise of such rights or an exemption from the registration requirements is available. We does not intend to obtain a registration statement in the U.S. or to fulfil any requirement in other jurisdictions (other than Belgium and France) in order to allow shareholders in such jurisdictions to exercise their pre-emptive rights (to the extent not excluded or limited).

We have been subject to an investigation by the Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority.

The Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority, or the FSMA, opened an investigation against us on April 22, 2014. Such investigation was related to whether we had failed to timely disclose inside information to the market in relation to the Investigational New Drug, or IND, clearance from the FDA for our CHART-2 Phase III heart-failure trial received on December 26, 2013 and reported on January 9, 2014. In April 2015, we notified the FSMA our agreement to settle our investigation by paying the proposed settlement amount of €175,000. Although such settlement does not provide for any admission of guilt on our part, the fact that we have entered into a settlement with the FSMA could cause investors to have a negative perception of our governance structure,

 

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which would have a material adverse effect on our business. Further, any future allegations (based on other facts and circumstances) that we failed to comply with applicable securities laws, whether or not true, may subject it to fines, claims and/or sanctions, which could impair our ability to offer our securities or restrict trading in our securities. The occurrence of any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on the trading price of our securities and our business.

Fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the euro may increase the risk of holding the ADSs.

Our ordinary shares currently trade on Euronext Brussels and Euronext Paris in euros, while the ADSs trade on NASDAQ in U.S. dollars. Fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the euro may result in differences between the value of the ADSs and the value of our ordinary shares, which may result in heavy trading by investors seeking to exploit such differences. In addition, as a result of fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the euro, the U.S. dollar equivalent of the proceeds that a holder of the ADSs would receive upon the sale in Belgium of any ordinary shares withdrawn from the depositary upon calculation of the corresponding ADSs and the U.S. dollar equivalent of any cash dividends paid in euros on our ordinary shares represented by the ADSs could also decline.

Holders of the ADSs are not treated as shareholders of our company.

Holders of the ADSs are not treated as shareholders of our company, unless they cancel the ADSs and withdraw our ordinary shares underlying the ADSs. The depositary (or its nominee) is the shareholder of the ordinary shares underlying the ADSs. Holders of ADSs therefore do not have any rights as shareholders of our company, other than the rights that they have pursuant to the deposit agreement.

Our shareholders residing in countries other than Belgium may be subject to double withholding taxation with respect to dividends or other distributions made by us.

Any dividends or other distributions we make to shareholders will, in principle, be subject to withholding tax in Belgium at a rate of 30%, except for shareholders which qualify for an exemption of withholding tax such as, among others, qualifying pension funds or a company qualifying as a parent company within the meaning of the Council Directive (90/435/EEC) July 23, 1990, known as the Parent-Subsidiary Directive, or that qualify for a lower withholding tax rate or an exemption by virtue of a tax treaty. Various conditions may apply and shareholders residing in countries other than Belgium are advised to consult their advisers regarding the tax consequences of dividends or other distributions made by us. Our shareholders residing in countries other than Belgium may not be able to credit the amount of such withholding tax to any tax due on such dividends or other distributions in any other country than Belgium. As a result, such shareholders may be subject to double taxation in respect of such dividends or other distributions. Belgium and the United States have concluded a double tax treaty concerning the avoidance of double taxation, or the U.S.-Belgium Tax Treaty. The U.S.-Belgium Tax Treaty reduces the applicability of Belgian withholding tax to 15%, 5% or 0% for U.S. taxpayers, provided that the U.S. taxpayer meets the limitation of benefits conditions imposed by the U.S.-Belgium Tax Treaty. The Belgian withholding tax is generally reduced to 15% under the U.S.-Belgium Tax Treaty. The 5% withholding tax applies in case where the U.S. shareholder is a company which holds at least 10% of the shares in the company. A 0% Belgian withholding tax applies when the shareholder is a company which has held at least 10% of the shares for at least 12 months, or is, subject to certain conditions, a U.S. pension fund. The U.S. shareholders are encouraged to consult their own tax advisers to determine whether they can invoke the benefits and meet the limitation of benefits conditions as imposed by the U.S.-Belgium Tax Treaty.

U.S. holders of the ADSs may suffer adverse tax consequences if we are characterized as a PFIC for any taxable year.

Generally, if, for any taxable year, at least 75% of our gross income is passive income, or at least 50% of the value of our assets is attributable to assets that produce passive income or are held for the production of passive

 

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income, including cash, we would be characterized as a passive foreign investment company (PFIC), for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Passive income for this purpose generally includes dividends, interest, royalties, rents, gains from commodities and securities transactions, the excess of gains over losses from the disposition of assets which produce passive income, and includes amounts derived by reason of the temporary investment of cash, including the funds raised in offerings of the ADSs. If we are characterized as a PFIC, U.S. holders (as defined below under “Material Tax Considerations – Certain Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations to U.S. Holders”) of the ADSs may suffer adverse tax consequences, including having gains realized on the sale of the ADSs treated as ordinary income, rather than capital gain, the loss of the preferential rate applicable to dividends received on the ADSs by individuals who are U.S. holders, and having interest charges apply to distributions by us and the proceeds of sales of the ADSs.

We do not believe that we were a PFIC for the 2020 taxable year and, based on the expected composition of our income and assets, we do not expect to be a PFIC for the 2021 taxable year; however, we cannot provide any assurances regarding our PFIC status for past, current or future taxable years. Our status as a PFIC is a fact intensive determination made on an annual basis. Whether we are a PFIC for any taxable year will depend on the composition of our income and assets, and the estimated fair market values of our assets, in each year. The market value of our assets may be determined in large part by reference to the market price of the ADSs and our ordinary shares, which is likely to fluctuate. Our status as a PFIC also depends on the interpretation of the rules governing the PFIC income and asset tests, which are subject to uncertainty (including with respect to the characterization of income from government grants, for which direct legal authority does not exist).

Future sales of ordinary shares or ADSs by existing shareholders could depress the market price of the ADSs.

If our existing shareholders sell, or indicate an intent to sell, substantial amounts of ordinary shares or ADSs in the public market, the trading price of the ADSs could decline significantly. In the future we may file one or more registration statements with the SEC covering ordinary shares available for future issuance under our equity incentive plans. Upon effectiveness of such registration statements, any shares subsequently issued under such plans will be eligible for sale in the public market, except to the extent that they are restricted by the lock-up agreements referred to above and subject to compliance with Rule 144 in the case of our affiliates. Sales of a large number of the shares issued under these plans in the public market could have an adverse effect on the market price of the ADSs and the ordinary shares.

We are a Belgian public limited liability company, and shareholders of our company may have different and, in some cases, more limited shareholder rights than shareholders of a U.S. listed corporation.

We are a public limited liability company incorporated under the laws of Belgium. Our corporate affairs are governed by Belgian corporate and securities law. The rights provided to our shareholders under Belgian corporate law and our articles of association differ in certain respects from the rights that you would typically enjoy as a shareholder of a U.S. corporation under applicable U.S. federal and state laws. Under Belgian corporate law, other than certain information that we must make public and except in certain limited circumstances, our shareholders may not ask for an inspection of our corporate records, while under Delaware corporate law any shareholder, irrespective of the size of its shareholdings, may do so. Shareholders of a Belgian corporation have more limited rights to initiate a derivative action, a remedy typically available to shareholders of U.S. companies, in order to enforce a right of our Company, in case we fail to enforce such right ourselves.

A liability action can be instituted for our account by one or more of our shareholders who, individually or together, hold securities representing at least 1.0% of the votes or a part of the capital worth at least €1.25 million and have not approved of the discharge from liability that was granted to the directors. If the court orders the directors to pay damages, they are due to us, though the amounts advanced by the minority shareholders (for example attorney’s fees) are to be reimbursed by us. If the action is disallowed, the minority shareholders may be ordered to pay the costs, and, should there be grounds therefor, to pay damages to the directors, for example for having conducted provocative and reckless legal proceedings.

 

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In addition, a majority of our shareholders present or represented at our meeting of shareholders may release a director from any claim of liability we may have, provided that the financial position is accurately reflected in the annual accounts. This includes a release from liability for any acts of the directors beyond their statutory powers or in breach of the Belgian Code on Companies and Associations, provided that the relevant acts were specifically mentioned in the convening notice to the meeting of shareholders deliberating on the discharge. In contrast, most U.S. federal and state laws prohibit a company or its shareholders from releasing a director from liability altogether if he or she has acted in bad faith or has breached his or her duty of loyalty to us. Finally, Belgian corporate law does not provide any form of appraisal rights in the case of a business combination. As a result of these differences between Belgian corporate law and our articles of association, on the one hand, and the U.S. federal and state laws, on the other hand, in certain instances, you could receive less protection as an ADS holder of our company than you would as a shareholder of a listed U.S. company.

Holders of ADSs may be subject to limitations on the transfer of their ADSs and the withdrawal of the underlying ordinary shares.

ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. The depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of your ADSs generally when our books or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary think it is advisable to do so because of any requirement of law, government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason, subject to your right to cancel your ADSs and withdraw the underlying ordinary shares. Temporary delays in the cancellation of your ADSs and withdrawal of the underlying ordinary shares may arise because the depositary has closed its transfer books or we have closed our transfer books, the transfer of ordinary shares is blocked to permit voting at a shareholders’ meeting or we are paying a dividend on our ordinary shares.

In addition, you may not be able to cancel your ADSs and withdraw the underlying ordinary shares when you owe money for fees, taxes and similar charges and when it is necessary to prohibit withdrawals in order to comply with any laws or governmental regulations that apply to ADSs or to the withdrawal of ordinary shares or other deposited securities.

As a foreign private issuer, we are exempt from a number of rules under the U.S. securities laws and are permitted to file less information with the SEC than a U.S. company. This may limit the information available to holders of ADSs or ordinary shares.

We are a “foreign private issuer,” as defined in the SEC’s rules and regulations and, consequently, we are not subject to all of the disclosure requirements applicable to public companies organized within the United States. For example, we are exempt from certain rules under the Exchange Act, that regulate disclosure obligations and procedural requirements related to the solicitation of proxies, consents or authorizations applicable to a security registered under the Exchange Act, including the U.S. proxy rules under Section 14 of the Exchange Act. In addition, our officers and directors are exempt from the reporting and “short-swing” profit recovery provisions of Section 16 of the Exchange Act and related rules with respect to their purchases and sales of our securities. Moreover, while we currently make annual and semi-annual filings with respect to our listing on Euronext Brussels and Euronext Paris, we will not be required to file periodic reports and financial statements with the SEC as frequently or as promptly as U.S. domestic issuers and will not be required to file quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K under the Exchange Act. Accordingly, there will be less publicly available information concerning our company than there would be if we were not a foreign private issuer.

 

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As a foreign private issuer, we are permitted to adopt certain home country practices in relation to corporate governance matters that differ significantly from NASDAQ corporate governance listing standards. These practices may afford less protection to shareholders than they would enjoy if we complied fully with corporate governance listing standards.

As a foreign private issuer listed on NASDAQ, we are subject to corporate governance listing standards. However, rules permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country. Certain corporate governance practices in Belgium, which is our home country, may differ significantly from corporate governance listing standards. For example, neither the corporate laws of Belgium nor our articles of association require a majority of our directors to be independent and we could include non-independent directors as members of our Nomination and Remuneration Committee, and our independent directors would not necessarily hold regularly scheduled meetings at which only independent directors are present. Currently, we intend to follow home country practice to the maximum extent possible. Therefore, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they otherwise would have under corporate governance listing standards applicable to U.S. domestic issuers. See “Item 16G—Corporate Governance.”

We may lose our foreign private issuer status in the future, which could result in significant additional cost and expense.

While we currently qualify as a foreign private issuer, the determination of foreign private issuer status is made annually on the last business day of an issuer’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter and, accordingly, the next determination will be made with respect to us on June 30, 2021. In the future, we would lose our foreign private issuer status if we to fail to meet the requirements necessary to maintain our foreign private issuer status as of the relevant determination date. For example, if more than 50% of our securities are held by U.S. residents and more than 50% of the members of our Executive Committee or members of our Board of Directors are residents or citizens of the United States, we could lose our foreign private issuer status.

The regulatory and compliance costs to us under U.S. securities laws as a U.S. domestic issuer may be significantly more than costs we incur as a foreign private issuer. If we are not a foreign private issuer, we will be required to file periodic reports and registration statements on U.S. domestic issuer forms with the SEC, which are more detailed and extensive in certain respects than the forms available to a foreign private issuer. We would be required under current SEC rules to prepare our financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or U.S. GAAP, rather than IFRS, and modify certain of our policies to comply with corporate governance practices associated with U.S. domestic issuers. Such conversion of our financial statements to U.S. GAAP could involve significant time and cost. In addition, we may lose our ability to rely upon exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements on U.S. stock exchanges that are available to foreign private issuers such as the ones described above and exemptions from procedural requirements related to the solicitation of proxies.

It may be difficult for investors outside Belgium to serve process on, or enforce foreign judgments against, us or our directors and senior management.

We are a Belgian public limited liability company. Less than a majority of the members of our Board of Directors and members of our Executive Committee are residents of the United States. All or a substantial portion of the assets of such non-resident persons and most of our assets are located outside the United States. As a result, it may not be possible for investors to effect service of process upon such persons or on us or to enforce against them or us a judgment obtained in U.S. courts. Original actions or actions for the enforcement of judgments of U.S. courts relating to the civil liability provisions of the federal or state securities laws of the United States are not directly enforceable in Belgium.

The United States and Belgium do not currently have a multilateral or bilateral treaty providing for reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments, other than arbitral awards, in civil and commercial matters. In order

 

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for a final judgment for the payment of money rendered by U.S. courts based on civil liability to produce any effect on Belgian soil, it is accordingly required that this judgment be recognized or be declared enforceable by a Belgian court in accordance with Articles 22 to 25 of the 2004 Belgian Code of Private International Law. Recognition or enforcement does not imply a review of the merits of the case and is irrespective of any reciprocity requirement. A U.S. judgment will, however, not be recognized or declared enforceable in Belgium if it infringes upon one or more of the grounds for refusal that are exhaustively listed in Article 25 of the Belgian Code of Private International Law. Actions for the enforcement of judgments of U.S. courts might be successful only if the Belgian court confirms the substantive correctness of the judgment of the U.S. court and is satisfied that:

 

   

The effect of the enforcement judgment is not manifestly incompatible with Belgian public policy;

 

   

The judgment did not violate the rights of the defendant;

 

   

The judgment was not rendered in a matter where the parties transferred rights subject to transfer restrictions with the sole purpose of avoiding the application of the law applicable according to Belgian international private law;

 

   

The judgment is not subject to further recourse under U.S. law;

 

   

The judgment is not compatible with a judgment rendered in Belgium or with a subsequent judgment rendered abroad that might be recognized in Belgium;

 

   

A claim was not filed outside Belgium after the same claim was filed in Belgium, while the claim filed in Belgium is still pending;

 

   

The Belgian courts did not have exclusive jurisdiction to rule on the matter;

 

   

The U.S. court did not accept its jurisdiction solely on the basis of either the nationality of the plaintiff or the location of the disputed goods; and

 

   

The judgment submitted to the Belgian court is authentic.

In addition to recognition or enforcement, a judgment by a federal or state court in the United States against us may also serve as evidence in a similar action in a Belgian court if it meets the conditions required for the authenticity of judgments according to the law of the state where it was rendered. The findings of a federal or state court in the United States will not, however, be taken into account to the extent they appear incompatible with Belgian public policy.

We may be subject at an increased risk of securities class action litigation.

Historically, securities class action litigation has often been brought against a company following a decline in the market price of its securities. This risk is especially relevant for us because biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies have experienced significant share price volatility in recent years. If we were to be sued, it could result in substantial costs and a diversion of management’s attention and resources, which could harm our business.

Tax law changes could adversely affect our shareholders and our business and financial condition.

We and our subsidiaries are subject to income and other taxes in Belgium, the United States, and other tax jurisdictions throughout the world. Tax laws and rates in these jurisdictions are subject to change. Our financial condition can be impacted by a number of complex factors, including, but not limited to: (i) interpretations of existing tax laws; (ii) the tax impact of existing or future legislation; (iii) changes in accounting standards; and (iv) changes in the mix of earnings in the various tax jurisdictions in which we operate. In recent years, many such changes have been made and changes are likely to continue to occur in the future. Future changes in tax laws could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow, financial condition or results of operations. We urge our shareholders to consult with their legal and tax advisors with respect to any such legislation and the potential tax consequences of investing in our common shares.

 

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ITEM 4.

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

A. History and Development of the Company

Our legal and commercial name is Celyad Oncology SA. On June 10, 2020, we rebranded Celyad SA as Celyad Oncology SA to better reflect our ambition to pioneer CAR T cell therapies for cancer and more accurately reflect our team’s expertise in developing innovative cell therapies against cancer. We are a limited liability company incorporated in the form of a naamloze vennootschap/société anonyme under Belgian law. We are registered with the Register of Legal Entities (RPM Nivelles) under the enterprise number 891.118.115. We were incorporated in Belgium on July 24, 2007 for an unlimited duration. Our fiscal year ends December 31.

Our principal executive and registered offices are located at rue Edouard Belin 2 1435 Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium and our telephone number is +32 10 394 100. Our agent for service of process in the United States is Celyad Inc., World Financial District, 60 Broad Street, Suite 3502, New York, NY 10004. We also maintain a website at www.celyad.com. The reference to our website is an inactive textual reference only and the information contained in, or that can be accessed through, our website is not a part of this Annual Report.

Our actual capital expenditures related to Property, Plant and Equipment, excluding the impact of recognition of right of use assets for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020, amounted to €0.8 million, €0.4 million and €0.2 million, respectively. These capital expenditures primarily consisted of the acquisition of laboratory equipment and industrial tools, the refurbishment of our research and development laboratories and leasehold improvements of our corporate offices located in Belgium. We expect our capital expenditures to increase in absolute terms in the near term as we continue to advance our research and development programs. For commitments regarding capital expenditures, we refer to Item 5.F.

The SEC maintains a website (www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding registrants, such as Celyad Oncology SA, that file electronically with the SEC.

B. Business Overview

We are a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T) therapies for cancer. Our goal is to discover, develop and commercialize our next-generation CAR T cell therapy product candidates, if approved. We are currently developing a diversified pipeline of allogeneic and autologous CAR T cell therapy candidates for the treatment of both hematological malignancies and solid tumors.

Our differentiated pipeline of next generation CAR T candidates is based off the two main approaches in the field of CAR T: allogeneic, or off-the-shelf, and autologous, or personalized, therapies. Allogeneic CAR T cells are prepared in advance from healthy donors and are stored frozen until a patient requires treatment. With the autologous approach, CAR T cells are derived from the patients themselves, first by collection of the patient’s immune cells through a process called leukapheresis, and then the patient’s cells are engineered and reintroduced back into the patient via infusion.

Over the past few years, as the CAR T landscape has shifted towards pursuing off-the-shelf approaches, we have continued to steadily progress our allogeneic CAR T franchise and programs by exploring two proprietary, non-gene edited technology platforms, T cell receptor inhibitory molecule (TIM) and short hairpin RNA(shRNA), to target the T cell receptor (TCR) complex. In adoptive cell therapy, the infusion of donor-derived T cells to cancer patients with a different background than that of the donor may lead to multiple reactions. These reactions include the donor cells attacking the patient’s healthy tissue, known as Graft-versus-Host disease (GvHD), as well as the rejection of the therapy by the patient’s immune system known as Host-versus-Graft (HvG) reaction.

 

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The TCR, a molecule present on the surface of T cells, is principally responsible for GvHD. At the center of allogeneic CAR T therapy, the goal is to eliminate or blunt the signaling of the TCR through engineering with a specific technology. By reducing the signaling of the TCR, the engineered allogeneic CAR T cells fail to recognize the patient’s healthy tissue as foreign, which avoids GvHD.

We believe non-gene edited technologies target the TCR specifically without extensive genetic manipulation. Through the co-expression of our non-gene edited technologies with a specific CAR of interest, we can design cell therapy candidates intended to inhibit the function of the TCR while allowing the T cells to target the cancer. We believe this unique strategy offers a streamlined approach in advancing the allogeneic CAR T landscape.

Our proprietary non-gene edited technologies, TIM and shRNA, offer a unique strategy and streamlined approach to allogeneic CAR T development:

 

   

T cell Inhibitory Molecule (TIM). Our novel TIM peptide interferes with the ability of the TCR to signal and is designed to prevent GvHD. TIM is a truncated form of the CD3z component of the TCR complex which lacks the critical signaling domains of the wild-type CD3z. In our CYAD-100 series of CAR T candidates, including CYAD-101, TIM is co-expressed with a NKG2D CAR to reduce the potential of the TCR to induce GvHD. Following the expression of TIM, the peptide acts as a competitive inhibitor to wild-type CD3z and is incorporated into the TCR complex.

 

   

Short hairpin RNA (shRNA). shRNA is a dynamic, innovative technology that allows for the development of allogeneic CAR Ts through the selection of an optimal shRNA, targeting CD3z which results in durable high-level knockdown of the TCR on T cells to a level equivalent to that seen if the CD3z gene was gene edited with CRISPR/Cas9. In addition, the persistence of allogeneic T cells without a CAR generated with shRNA was statistically superior to similar cells generated with CRISPR/Cas9. We have also demonstrated concurrent knockdown of multiple gene products, or multiplexing,

Central to our pipeline is a cutting-edge All-in-One vector approach where we focus on using a single vector to generate CAR T cells to simplify the design and development of our cell therapy candidates. The All-in-One vector approach encodes multiple components of the CAR T construct simultaneously, including the CAR, our non-gene edited technologies including TIM and shRNA, cell section marker to assist with the enrichment of the manufactured cells and potential therapeutic add-ons such as cytokines and antibodies. This single transduction, plug and play approach to CAR T development has the potential to streamline process development and manufacturing while broadening the potential applicability of our candidates.

 

LOGO

 

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Our CAR T Pipeline

The pipeline below presents our allogeneic and autologous product candidates.

 

LOGO

AML: Acute myeloid leukemia; BCMA: B-cell maturation antigen; mCRC: Metastatic colorectal cancer; MDS: Myelodysplastic syndrome; MM: Multiple myeloma; NKG2DL: Natural killer group 2D ligands; r/r: relapse/refractory.

Our lead product candidates include:

 

   

CYAD-101. CYAD-101 is an investigational, non-gene edited, allogeneic CAR T candidate engineered to co-express a CAR based on NKG2D, a receptor expressed on natural killer (NK) cells that binds to eight stress-induced ligands and TIM. CYAD-101 is currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial, alloSHRINK, for the treatment of patients with advanced metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). In total, 15 patients with relapsed/refractory mCRC who progressed after previous treatment with oxaliplatin-based or irinotecan-based chemotherapies were treated in the dose-escalation segment of the Phase 1 alloSHRINK trial evaluating three dose levels of CYAD-101 administered concurrently with preconditioning chemotherapy. The mean number of prior therapies received by patients enrolled in the trial was three. To date, treatment with CYAD-101 was observed to be well-tolerated with no evidence of GvHD. In addition, two patients in the trial achieved a confirmed partial response (PR) including one patient at the recommended dose of 1x109 CYAD-101 cells per infusion, which is under further investigation in the expansion cohort of the trial. In September 2020, we entered a clinical trial collaboration with Merck & Co, Inc. (Merck) to conduct the Phase 1b KEYNOTE-B79 clinical trial, which will evaluate CYAD-101 following FOLFIRI preconditioning chemotherapy, with Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in refractory mCRC patients with microsatellite stable (MSS) / mismatch-repair proficient (pMMR) disease.

 

   

CYAD-211. CYAD-211 is an investigational, shRNA-based allogeneic CAR T candidate for the treatment of relapsed / refractory multiple myeloma (r/r MM). CYAD-211 is engineered to co-express a B cell maturation antigen (BCMA) targeting chimeric antigen receptor and a single shRNA, which interferes with the expression of the CD3z component of the TCR complex. In July 2020, we announced the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) clearance of our Investigational New Drug (IND) application for CYAD-211. In November 2020, we began enrollment in the dose-escalation Phase 1 IMMUNICY-1 trial, which will evaluate the safety and clinical activity of a single infusion of CYAD-211 following preconditioning chemotherapy in patients with r/r MM.

 

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CYAD-02. CYAD-02 is an investigational, autologous CAR T therapy that co-expresses both the NKG2D CAR and a single shRNA targeting the NKG2D ligands MICA and MICB on the CAR T cells. In preclinical models, shRNA-mediated knockdown of MICA and MICB expression on NKG2D CAR T cells has shown enhanced in vitro expansion, as well as enhanced in vivo engraftment and persistence, of the CAR T cells, as compared to first-generation NKG2D receptor CAR T cells. In November 2019, we initiated the dose-escalation Phase 1 CYCLE-1 trial, evaluating the safety and clinical activity of the next-generation, autologous NKG2D receptor-based CAR T candidate CYAD-02 following preconditioning chemotherapy in patients with relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (r/r AML) / MDS. Nine patients have received treatment with CYAD-02 in the Phase 1 trial. To date, CYAD-02 has been generally well-tolerated. Four of seven patients evaluable for clinical activity demonstrated anti-leukemic activity (at least 50% bone marrow blasts decrease) with the single patient evaluated at dose level 3 having achieved a marrow complete response (mCR). Enrollment in the dose level 3 cohort of the CYCLE-1 trial is ongoing.

In addition to our lead clinical product candidates, we have a portfolio of preclinical stage allogeneic product candidates targeting various indications including B-cell malignancies and solid tumors.

OUR STRATEGY

Our mission is to eliminate cancer and improve life. We are developing innovative cell therapies against cancer and are driven by the promise to deliver meaningful treatment options to patients seeking hope. Overall, our objective is to discover, develop and commercialize our next-generation CAR T cell therapies.

We are guided by our passion, led by our deep expertise in oncology and motivated by the patients we serve. We believe that our innovative CAR T candidates, if approved, could offer patients with advanced disease alternative therapeutic options where no other treatments exist. Delivering best-in-class cell therapies for patients with unmet medical needs is our top priority. We aim to do this with the following strategies:

 

   

Focus on the development of non-gene edited approaches to allogeneic CAR T therapies. We are pioneering a differentiated approach to the discovery and development of allogeneic CAR T cell therapy candidates for the treatment of cancer led by a pair of non-gene edited approaches including our TIM and shRNA technologies. Through the co-expression of either technology with a specific CAR of interest, we can design donor-derived cell therapy candidates intended to inhibit the function of the TCR complex while allowing the T cell product candidates to target cancer. Our unique strategy, coupled with our All-in-One vector approach, allows us to avoid multiple genetic modifications and costs in the production of our cell therapy candidates, while also benefiting from the broader potential advantages of allogeneic CAR T therapies including faster delivery, greater uniformity, better patient accessibility and increased manufacturing scalability as compared to autologous CAR T therapies.

 

   

Advance our lead allogeneic candidate CYAD-101 for the treatment of advanced mCRC. The clinical benefit of CAR T therapies has been limited to date for the treatment of solid tumors partially due to the hostile tumor microenvironment (TME), which surrounds the tumor and is composed of immune cells, blood vessels and extracellular matrix. Our TIM-based allogeneic CYAD-101 product candidate is engineered to co-express the chimeric antigen receptor NKG2D, a receptor expressed on natural killer cells that binds to eight stress-induced ligands that are overexpressed by a broad range of tumors, including mCRC, as well as cells within the TME such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and regulatory T cells (Tregs). Our depth of experience in developing autologous NKG2D CAR T candidates across multiple trials uniquely positions us to develop the allogeneic NKG2D approach. CYAD-101 is the first allogeneic CAR T candidate with clinical evidence of no GvHD and confirmed objective responses in the treatment of a solid tumor indication, specifically advanced mCRC. Based on the encouraging data to date for CYAD-101 for the treatment of advanced mCRC, we are currently enrolling patients in the dose-expansion cohort of the Phase 1 alloSHRINK trial and expect to report preliminary data from the study during the first half of 2021.

 

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Develop our shRNA-based allogeneic candidate CYAD-211 for r/r MM. CYAD-211 is a first-in-class, allogeneic CAR T candidate engineered to express a single shRNA to interfere with the expression of the TCR complex, while targeting the clinically validated BCMA found in multiple myeloma (MM). Enrollment in the Phase 1 IMMUNICY-1 trial evaluating CYAD-211 for the treatment of r/r MM is ongoing. The trial seeks to determine the recommended dose of CYAD-211 in r/r MM patients for further development as well as to establish proof-of-concept that single shRNA-mediated knockdown can generate allogeneic CAR T cells in humans without inducing GvHD. Preliminary data from the trial are expected during the first half of 2021, while additional data from the full dose-escalation trial are expected during the second half of 2021.

 

   

Further investigate CYAD-02 for the treatment of r/r AML and MDS. Despite our focus on our allogeneic franchise, we still firmly believe that autologous CAR T cell therapies will play an important role in the treatment of cancers, in particular for indications such as r/r AML and MDS where there remains a major unmet medical need. We continue to explore the potential clinical benefit of our autologous NKG2D CAR T candidate CYAD-02 for the treatment of r/r AML and MDS in the Phase 1 CYCLE-1 trial and we anticipate announcing additional clinical data for the program in 2021. We may also seek to find a potential partner to aid in the further development of this autologous candidate.

 

   

Broaden our allogeneic pipeline to explore additional indications, cancer targets and novel technologies. We are building a diversified portfolio of next-generation CAR T candidates by leveraging our deep knowledge of NKG2D receptor biology and allogeneic technologies. We believe that our NKG2D candidates represent an opportunity to treat a wide array of cancer indications, given the broad overexpression of NKG2D stress ligands on more than 80% of tumors. In addition, our shRNA technology has the potential to become a platform technology allowing for a modular approach to designing next-generation CAR T candidates incorporating both novel and clinically validated targets, while offering the opportunity to knockdown multiple genes of interest simultaneously with the co-expression of multiple shRNAs through our All-in-One vector approach. Our current preclinical pipeline includes targeting CD19, a B cell biomarker, and a next-generation NKG2D candidate.

 

   

Continue to build our proprietary in-house manufacturing expertise and capabilities. We have developed a Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) for our allogeneic candidates that we believe is flexible, rapid, and cost-efficient, while allowing us to independently improve and optimize the production of our cell therapy candidates with the capacity to treat hundreds of patients in our early-stage clinical programs. Leveraging our differentiated All-in-One vector approach, we can enrich for our allogeneic CAR T cells using an optimized process through positive selection, leading to an approach that is autologous-like for allogeneic CAR T. Our in-house manufacturing facility has been critical in enabling the delivery of our clinical programs. As we move towards an allogeneic focused strategy, we will continue to develop our manufacturing expertise and capability focusing on both supporting early phase clinical testing but also concentrating on the challenges of scale-up and commercial level manufacturing of allogeneic CAR T cell therapies. Our manufacturing facility remains crucial to our long-term success.

 

   

Drive innovation through strategic collaborations to realize the full potential of our unique CAR T therapies. We are continually exploring opportunities to build strong partnerships with strategic organizations and key international academic institutions to maximize the therapeutic potential of our current and future product candidates as well as our intellectual property. For example, as announced In September 2020, we will conduct the Phase 1b KEYNOTE-B79 trial to evaluate CYAD-101 with Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in mCRC patients with MSS / pMMR disease. We expect to initiate the KEYNOTE-B79 trial the first half of 2021. We will continue to explore additional opportunities to create value and develop our platform technologies and pipeline in pursuit of our mission.

 

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WHAT DIFFERENTIATES CELYAD ONCOLOGY?

The level of activity in the CAR T landscape across the globe has exploded over the last few years. The challenges in this subsection of the oncology industry are significant. Most tumors develop undetected over decades, fine tuning their capacity to resist treatment, before exploding with clinically relevant disease that rapidly overcomes standard treatment paradigms. Immune-based therapies, including checkpoint inhibitors, are now delivering clinically relevant responses in several indications.

Checkpoint inhibitors seek to release T cell activity against the tumor within the patient. However, tumors are extremely proficient at avoiding T cell recognition – effectively, they become invisible. Unveiling tumors so they can be detected by the T cell is the underlying premise of the CAR T approach. Consequently, the success of CAR Ts is reliant upon the target and the means to deliver the engineered T cell in a clinically reliable and relevant manner.

Within this extremely competitive space, the clinical challenges remain the same and include:

Lack of suitable targets for most tumors. Currently approved CAR T therapies are limited to hematological malignancies. Finding safe and appropriate tumor specific antigens for solid tumors is difficult and emphasized by the nearly universal focus on the CD19 target.

Clinical delivery of autologous CAR T product. Autologous CAR T cell therapy involves a time delay between patient recruitment and cell infusion due to just-in-time manufacturing which may mean that the patient progresses before the cell product can be generated.

Our expertise in oncology, our proprietary technologies, and our differentiated approach to developing CAR Ts has allowed us to overcome some of the challenges associated with developing these cell therapies. Our solutions include:

1. Novel targeting of solid tumors and hematological malignancies through the NKG2D CAR

The NKG2D CAR binds eight ligands known to be over-expressed in a broad range of cancer indications. We were the first company to investigate this target in the CAR T area and have performed extensive clinical testing that has observed the tolerability of the approach and early evidence of clinical responses. Additional sponsors are now just entering the field using NKG2D-based approaches, which highlights our advanced position with this receptor that we are now exploiting with our novel non-gene edited allogeneic approach in the CYAD-101 product candidate.

2. CYAD-101: Ahead of the field in the solid tumor space

We are currently enrolling patients in the expansion cohort of the Phase 1 alloSHRINK trial of CYAD-101 having shown initial clinical activity in advanced mCRC patients while being generally well-tolerated. To our knowledge, CYAD-101 is the first candidate to generate clinical data in a solid tumor indication from an allogeneic CAR T therapy. As of early 2021, there is only one other company known to be currently evaluating an allogeneic CAR T candidate for the treatment of a solid tumor in Phase 1 clinical development while others are still at the preclinical stage. Preliminary clinical data of the extension segment of the alloSHRINK trial are expected during the first half of 2021 and we anticipate the initial results to help better assess CYAD-101’s profile for the treatment of advanced mCRC.

3. The future is silent: shRNA platform for all CAR Ts

Within two years, we moved our shRNA-based allogeneic approach from concept to the clinic. The rapidity of progressing an early-stage preclinical asset into clinical testing required a major effort across the full organization. However, this focus is important given the potential that shRNA technology offers. Our first allogeneic shRNA-based candidate, CYAD-211, is a BCMA CAR T employing a single shRNA targeting the CD3z component of the TCR complex that generates the allogeneic CAR T cell phenotype.

 

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In November 2020, we enrolled the first patient in the Phase 1 IMMUNICY-1 trial for CYAD-211. The IMMUNCY-1 trial is key for our company for two main reasons. Firstly, we are evaluating the activity of the BCMA CAR T in patients with r/r MM. Secondly, evidence in the clinic that the shRNA technology controls GvHD through shRNA-based allogeneic CAR Ts should provide an important clinical validation of this approach. shRNA technology will underpin our future CAR T product candidates, which includes multiplexing shRNA to generate bespoke modified CAR T candidates for specific cancer indications.

Moreover, clinical data will support if we are able to generate allogeneic CAR T cells without using gene-editing technology. Our differentiation here relates to manufacturing and cost of goods to produce the allogeneic candidates. Our All-in-One vector strategy expresses all the elements required for the CAR T into one clinical grade reagent while we also use tried and trusted manufacturing approaches. On the other hand, gene editing requires multiple clinical grade reagents, difficult quality control due to cutting the cell’s genome, and expensive bespoke manufacturing solutions.

Taken together, and if we observe clinical validation, the flexibility and pragmatism of the All-in-One vector shRNA platform may be a clear differentiator from most companies within this therapeutic space.

OUR NON-GENE EDITED PROPRIETARY TECHNOLOGIES

Novel technology targeting the TCR

We are working to advance the field of allogeneic CAR T therapy by exploring two proprietary, non-gene edited technology platforms to target the TCR complex. In adoptive cell therapy, the infusion of donor-derived T cells to cancer patients with a different background than that of the donor may lead to multiple reactions. These reactions include the donor cells attacking the patient’s healthy tissue, known as GvHD, as well as the rejection of the therapy by the patient’s immune system known as HvG reaction.

The TCR, a molecule present on the surface of T cells, is principally responsible for GvHD. At the center of allogeneic CAR T therapy, the goal is to eliminate or blunt the signaling of the TCR through engineering with a specific technology. By reducing the signaling of the TCR, the engineered allogeneic CAR T cells fail to recognize the patient’s healthy tissue as foreign, which avoids GvHD.

Our non-gene edited technologies target the TCR specifically without extensive genetic manipulation. Through the co-expression of our non-gene edited technologies with a specific CAR of interest, we can design cell therapy candidates intended to inhibit the function of the TCR while allowing the T cells to target the cancer. We believe this unique strategy offers a streamlined approach in advancing the allogeneic CAR T landscape.

Our Proprietary T cell receptor Inhibitory Molecule (TIM) Technology

 

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Our novel TIM technology interferes with the ability of the TCR to signal and is designed to prevent GvHD. TIM is a truncated form of the CD3z component of the TCR complex which lacks the critical signaling domains of the wild-type CD3z In our CYAD-100 series of CAR T candidates, including CYAD-101, TIM is co-expressed with a NKG2D CAR to reduce the potential of the TCR to induce GvHD. Following the expression of TIM, the peptide acts as a competitive inhibitor to wild-type CD3z and is incorporated into the TCR complex.

Data from the Phase 1 alloSHRINK trial evaluating CYAD-101 for the treatment of mCRC demonstrated proof-of-concept that the non-gene edited TIM technology has the potential to knockdown signaling of the TCR complex, with no evidence of GvHD observed in the first fifteen patients treated with this first-in-class allogeneic CAR T candidate. More broadly, we believe the data from the alloSHRINK trial confirm the potential of non-gene edited approaches for the development of allogeneic CAR T candidates.

Our Proprietary Short Hairpin RNA (shRNA) Technology

shRNA is a dynamic, innovative technology that allows for the development of allogeneic CAR Ts through the modulation of gene expression without the need for gene-editing. We are currently engineering T cells for specific desired features, including the inhibition of alloreactivity, increased persistence and enhanced antitumor activity or potentially improved tolerability. We believe that shRNA offers us the ability to design and develop next-generation, non-gene edited allogeneic CAR T therapies with any CAR across a broad array of targets.

Preclinical data have shown TCR knockdown using shRNA targeting CD3z is as effective as gene-editing methods such as CRISPR/Cas9 to inhibit TCR expression. Importantly, preclinical proof of principle experiments demonstrated that expression of a single shRNA hairpin provides prolonged TCR knockdown.

Through the selection of an optimal shRNA, targeting CD3z results in durable high-level knockdown of the TCR on primary T cells to a level equivalent to that seen if the CD3z gene was gene edited with CRISPR/Cas9 (Figure A). Functionally, this correlates with an inability of these cells to respond to a mitogenic stimulus (aka TCR driven T cell activation; Figure B) and a corresponding absence of toxicity when these cells are infused into the gold standard in vivo GvHD test model. In addition, the persistence of allogeneic T cells without a CAR generated with shRNA was statistically superior to allogeneic T cells without a CAR generated with CRISPR/Cas9 – a potential key differentiator of the shRNA technology (Figure C).

                    A)                                                                          B)                                                              C)

 

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The technology is also complementary to our All-in-One Vector approach, which allows for the expression of multiple shRNA hairpins in a single construct within a single transduction step, aka multiplexing.

 

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As seen below, data from preclinical studies in transduced Jurkat cells demonstrate simultaneous knockdown of the multiple gene products at the mRNA (Figure D) and protein levels (Figure E) in a single multiplexed vector.

                        D)                                                                                                       E)

 

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In addition, the ability to multiplex with shRNA using our All-in-One vector approach provides a means to generate an optimal therapeutic T cell phenotype with strong control on one of the major raw material costs since all these elements are maintained within a single vector. This compares favorably to engineering multiple knockdowns using current gene editing technologies which typically require an increasing number of clinical grade reagents, in particular multiple vectors.

We have validated the utility of our shRNA platform with our next-generation autologous NKG2D receptor CAR T clinical candidate, CYAD-02, which incorporates a single shRNA hairpin targeting the NKG2D ligands MICA/MICB within the construct. Our first shRNA-based allogeneic CAR T candidate, CYAD-211, entered clinical development in late 2020. Proof-of-concept data on the ability of the technology to generate allogeneic CAR T candidates is expected in 2021.

We are also developing a proprietary shRNA platform utilizing a novel framework to optimize and expand the expression of multiple shRNAs with our All-in-One Vector approach. Our novel framework has the capability to knockdown or silence up to six genes simultaneously, while providing several key advantages beyond our first-generation approach. We believe our next-generation shRNA multiplex platform will form the backbone for future allogeneic CAR T candidates, including several programs which are in the discovery phase of development.

LEAD PROGRAMS

CYAD-101 – Allogeneic NKG2D receptor-based CAR T in mCRC

About metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC)1

There is a significant unmet need for new treatments for colorectal cancer, a cancer that affects the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer worldwide with approximately 1.2 million individuals diagnosed globally per year, with 400,000 of those cases in the United States and Europe. This disease also has the fourth highest cancer mortality rate with roughly 600,000 deaths per year. Treatment for colorectal cancer typically includes surgery, chemotherapy and antibody therapies such as anti-angiogenesis treatments.

Metastatic colorectal cancer occurs when the cancer has spread to other organs, rendering most typical treatments ineffective and leaving patients with few treatment options.

About CYAD-101

CYAD-101 is an investigational, non-gene edited allogeneic CAR T candidate engineered to co-express the chimeric antigen receptor based on NKG2D, the novel inhibitory peptide TIM and a truncation CD19 selection

 

1 

Kim, R., 2020, Celyad Oncology Research and Development Day Webinar, Celyad.com

 

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marker (Figure—CYAD-101 – Vector Construct and Cell Surface Expression). The product candidate leverages our All-In-One vector approach with a single transduction, avoiding multiple genetic modifications and costs associated with additional GMP grade materials. TIM inhibits CD3z and reduces signaling of the TCR complex, which reduces the potential for GvHD.

 

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CYAD-101 – Vector Construct and Cell Surface Expression

alloSHRINK Phase 1 Trial Overview

In December 2018, we initiated the Phase 1 alloSHRINK trial. alloSHRINK is an open-label trial assessing the safety and clinical activity of three consecutive administrations of CYAD-101 every two weeks administered concurrently with preconditioning chemotherapy in patients with refractory unresectable mCRC. The dose-escalation segment of the trial evaluated the administrations of CYAD-101 concurrently with FOLFOX (combination of 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin and oxaliplatin) chemotherapy regimen at three dose levels (1×108, 3×108, 1×109 cells per infusion).

Phase 1 alloSHRINK clinical trial data

Initial positive data from the alloSHRINK trial were reported both at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) 2019 and American Society of Clinical Oncology 2020 conferences. In January 2021, we reported additional translational data for the alloSHRINK trial at American Society of Clinical Oncology 2021 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.

A total of 15 patients with relapsed/refractory mCRC who progressed after previous treatment with oxaliplatin-based or irinotecan-based chemotherapies were enrolled in the dose-escalation, alloSHRINK Phase 1 trial. The number of prior therapies received by patients enrolled in the trial ranged from one to six with a mean of three.

Data from the trial showed that CYAD-101 following preconditioning chemotherapy was observed to be generally well-tolerated with no GvHD observed, no dose-limiting toxicities reported, no patient discontinuation due to treatment and no treatment-related adverse events greater than Grade 3. Results also showed two patients achieved a partial response (PR) according to RECIST 1.1 criteria, including one patient with a KRAS-mutation.

 

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Nine patients achieved stable disease (SD), with seven patients demonstrating disease stabilization lasting more than or equal to three months of duration, with a disease control rate of 73%.

 

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Median progression free survival (mPFS) for this segment of the trial was 3.9 months, and median overall survival (mOS) was 10.6 months. No correlation was observed between clinical responses and the degree of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) matching between patients and CYAD-101 donor cells, indicating that CYAD-101 may be able to be used in a broad patient population regardless of the HLA haplotype.    

Data from the alloSHRINK trial also showed a tumor burden decrease was observed in eight out of 15 evaluable patients, including six of nine patients at dose level 3. Clinical activity was observed across all dose levels. There was no obvious correlation between response, dose-levels nor baseline characteristics.

 

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Of four patients treated at the highest dose level of 1×109 CYAD-101 cells per infusion available for analysis, three patients who achieved either a confirmed PR or SD also showed hyper-expanded TCR repertoire post-treatment through the emergence of new T cell clones in the peripheral blood T cell repertoire, while the patient with progressive disease displayed no evidence of new T cell clones.

 

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Cytokine modulation was also observed after the first and second infusions of CYAD-101 in the patient who achieved a confirmed PR from the highest dose level.

All 15 patients from the dose-escalation segment of the alloSHRINK trial were dosed from a single cell bank of CYAD-101 that was generated in advance from two manufacturing runs each using a fraction of an apheresis from a single healthy donor.

Expansion cohort of the Phase 1 alloSHRINK trial

The expansion cohort of the alloSHRINK trial which will evaluate CYAD-101 following FOLFIRI (combination of 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin and irinotecan) preconditioning chemotherapy for the treatment of advanced mCRC began in December 2020. The ongoing segment will evaluate three infusions of CYAD-101 at the recommended dose of 1×109 cells per infusion. The expansion cohort of the alloSHRINK trial may enroll up to 34 patients with advanced mCRC. Preliminary data are expected during the first half of 2021.

 

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Phase 1b KEYNOTE-B79 Trial Overview

In September 2020, we announced a clinical trial collaboration with MSD, a tradename of Merck. The KEYNOTE-B79 will evaluate CYAD-101 following FOLFIRI (combination of 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin and irinotecan) preconditioning chemotherapy, with Merck’s anti-PD1 therapy, KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), in refractory mCRC patients with MSS / pMMR disease.

We believe CYAD-101 and KEYTRUDA may have highly complementary mechanisms of action to offer potential additional therapeutic benefit to mCRC patients with MSS / pMMR disease. Preclinical data demonstrated that treatment with NKG2D CAR T cells converted the TME from immunosuppressive to immunostimulatory and triggered strong tumor-specific host immune response. Anti-PD1 treatment blocks the co-inhibitory interaction of cancer cells with multiple types of immune cells thereby restoring the immune response. Based on the complementary modes of action, KEYTRUDA® could potentially enhance the CYAD-101-sculpted microenvironment.

We expect to start the Phase 1b KEYNOTE-B79 trial in the first half of 2021.

CYAD-211 – shRNA based allogeneic CAR T in r/r MM

About Multiple myeloma (MM)2

Multiple myeloma is a type of hematological malignancy that affects plasma cells, a white blood cell located in bone marrow. The disease can cause many issues in the body including low blood counts, bone and calcium problems, infections, and kidney problems. The American Cancer Society estimates that 34,920 new cases of MM will be diagnosed, and 12,410 deaths are expected to occur in 2021. There are no cures for multiple myeloma, but treatment options can include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and stem cell therapy.

 

2 

“What Is Multiple Myeloma?: The MMRF.” Themmrf.org, 12 Feb. 2021, themmrf.org/multiple-myeloma/.com

 

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Patients who have r/r MM have either been unresponsive to treatments or have seen their cancer return after a period of remission. These patients have often failed many previous therapies, including proteosome inhibitors, immunomodulatory agents (IMiDs) and monoclonal antibodies leaving few remaining options.

About CYAD-211

CYAD-211 is an investigational shRNA-based allogeneic CAR T candidate for the treatment of relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (r/r MM). CYAD-211 is engineered to co-express a BCMA chimeric antigen receptor and a single shRNA hairpin which interferes with the expression of the CD3z component of the TCR complex (Figure - CYAD-211 – Vector Construct and Cell Surface Expression).

 

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CYAD-211 – Vector Construct and Cell Surface Expression

In November 2020, we initiated the dose-escalation Phase 1 IMMUNICY-1 trial evaluating CYAD-211 for the treatment of r/r MM. Importantly, the non-gene edited shRNA-based CYAD-211 program moved from initial concept to clinical trial in approximately two years.

CYAD-211 preclinical data

In December 2020, we announced preclinical data from CYAD-211 at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting. The preclinical studies confirmed that T cells engrafted with a BCMA CAR co-expressing the CD3z targeting shRNA exhibited robust anti-tumor activity in vitro and in vivo with no evidence of toxicity.

In addition, CYAD-211 exhibited no signs of GvHD induction with concurrent robust anti-tumor activity. These in vivo data were generated in sub-lethally irradiated NSG mice, the gold standard preclinical model of GvHD, and we believe these studies confirm that the novel CD3z-targeting shRNA element used in CYAD-211 to inhibit alloreactivity is functional. In fact, we have shown that anti-BCMA CAR cells incorporating this CD3z-targeting shRNA element exhibit no signs of TCR activation with anti-tumor activity.

 

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Phase 1 IMMUNICY-1 Trial Overview

IMMUNICY-1 is an open-label Phase 1, dose-escalation trial that will evaluate the safety and clinical activity of a single infusion of CYAD-211 following preconditioning chemotherapy cyclophosphamide (300 mg/m²) and fludarabine (30 mg/m²) in patients with relapse or refractory multiple myeloma. The trial will evaluate multiple dose levels of CYAD-211: 30x106, 100x106 and 300x106 cells per infusion.

 

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The IMMUNICY-1 trial is designed to establish proof-of-principle that a single shRNA-mediated knockdown of a key TCR complex component can generate fully functional allogeneic CAR T cells without inducing GvHD. Preliminary data from this trial are expected in the first half of 2021.

CYAD-02 – Next generation autologous NKG2D CAR T in r/r AML and MDS

About AML/MDS3

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a blood cancer that occurs when young abnormal white blood cells called blasts (leukemia cells) begin to fill up the bone marrow, preventing normal blood production. It is one of the most common types of leukemia in adults but still only accounts for approximately 1% of all cancers. In 2020, there were about 19,940 new cases of AML in the United States with 11,180 deaths occurring from this disease.

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are conditions that can occur when the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow become abnormal, leading to low numbers of one or more types of blood cells. In about 1 in 3 patients, MDS can progress to AML.

 

3 

“Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in Adults” cancer.org, 12 Feb 2021, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/acute-myeloid-leukemia.html

 

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About CYAD-02

CYAD-02 is an investigational CAR T therapy that engineers an All-in-One vector approach in a patient’s T cells to express both the NKG2D chimeric antigen receptor and shRNA technology to knockdown the expression of NKG2D ligands MICA and MICB on the CAR T cells.

In preclinical models, targeting MICA and MICB with a single shRNA lead to decrease of ligand expression (Figure A) on T cells and enhanced in vitro expansion (Figure B) compared to a first-generation autologous NKG2D CAR T product candidate.

 

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Phase 1 CYCLE - 1 Trial Overview

In November 2019, we initiated the Phase 1 dose-escalation CYCLE-1 trial that will evaluate the safety and clinical activity of a single infusion of CYAD-02 following preconditioning chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide and fludarabine for the treatment of r/r AML patients who have failed at least one prior therapy and r/r MDS patients who have failed prior treatment with at least four cycles of azacitidine or decitabine.

Phase 1 CYCLE -1 Trial - Initial Data

In December 2020, we reported initial data from the Phase 1 CYCLE-1 trial at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting. Overall, seven patients were evaluable for clinical activity, two with AML and five with MDS: three patients at dose level 1, three patients at dose level 2, one patient at dose level 3.

Initial observations of clinical activity for CYAD-02 are encouraging, with anti-leukemic activity, defined as a decrease of 50% in bone marrow blasts, observed in four out of seven evaluable r/r AML and MDS patients including one marrow complete response in a very high-risk MDS patient enrolled in dose level 3. In addition to the encouraging anti-leukemic activity seen to date from the initial cohorts, we also have seen multiple patients from the CYCLE-1 trial who have achieved durable disease stabilization over several months following treatment with CYAD-02. In addition, treatment with CYAD-02 was generally well-tolerated to date.

 

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Enrollment in the Phase 1 trial is ongoing and we anticipate reporting additional safety and clinical activity data from the trial, as well as potential next steps for the program, during the first half of 2021.

 

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OUR MANUFACTURING CAPABILITIES

Our established in-house process development and manufacturing expertise enables us to seamlessly and efficiently reproduce materials to advance our cell therapy candidates into early-stage clinical trials. We control our manufacturing through our 11,000 square foot GMP-compliant manufacturing facility, located in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium. Our facility’s staff have been instrumental in the preparation of multiple IND and Clinical Trial Applications (CTAs) filings, through the completion of dozens of production runs, as well as in implementing multiple chemistry, manufacturing, and control (CMC) amendments associated with our CAR T programs. We have the flexibility to manufacture both our allogeneic and autologous CAR T candidates within our GMP facility and we are equipped to support the production of all doses to deliver our clinical development plan. In addition, leveraging our All-in-One vector approach for CAR T production means that we can use a consistent manufacturing process across all product candidates. We also plan to expand our manufacturing capabilities through potential partnerships with contract development and manufacturing organizations.

LICENSING AND COLLABORATION AGREEMENTS

Celdara

Background

In January 2015, we entered into an agreement with Celdara Medical, LLC, or Celdara in which we purchased all outstanding membership interests of OnCyte, LLC, or OnCyte. In connection with this transaction, we entered into an asset purchase agreement to which Celdara sold to OnCyte certain data, protocols, regulatory documents and intellectual property, including the rights and obligations under two license agreements between OnCyte and Dartmouth College, or Dartmouth, related to our CAR T development programs.

In March 2018, we dissolved the affairs of our wholly owned subsidiary OnCyte. As a result of the dissolution of OnCyte, all the assets and liabilities of OnCyte were fully distributed to us. We will continue to carry out the business and obligations of OnCyte, including under our license agreement with Dartmouth College.

Amended Asset Purchase Agreement

In August 2017, we entered into an amendment to the asset purchase agreement described above. In connection with the amendment, the following payments were made to Celdara: (i) an amount in cash equal to $10.5 million, (ii) newly issued shares of Celyad valued at $12.5 million, (iii) an amount in cash equal to $6.0 million in full satisfaction of any payments owed to Celdara in connection with a clinical milestone related to our CAR-T NKR-2 product candidate, (iv) an amount in cash equal to $0.6 million in full satisfaction of any payments owed to Celdara in connection with our license agreement with Novartis International Pharmaceutical Ltd., and (v) an amount in cash equal to $0.9 million in full satisfaction of any payments owed to Celdara in connection with our license agreement with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Under the amended asset purchase agreement, we are obligated to make certain development-based milestone payments to Celdara up to $40.0 million, certain development-based milestone payments up to $36.5 million and certain sales-based milestone payments up to $156.0 million. We are required to make tiered single-digit royalty payments to Celdara in connection with the sales of CAR-T products, subject to reduction in countries in which there is no patent coverage for the applicable product or in the event Celyad is required to secure licenses from third parties to commercialize the applicable product. We are also required to pay Celdara a percentage of sublicense income, including royalty payments, for each sublicense ranging from the mid-single digits to the mid-twenties, depending on which of a specified list of clinical and regulatory milestones the applicable product has achieved at the time the sublicense is executed. We are required to pay Celdara a single-digit percentage of any research and development funding received by us, not to exceed $7.5 million for each product group. We can opt out of the development of any product if the data does not meet the scientific criteria of success. We may also opt out of development of any product for any other reason upon payment of a termination fee of $2.0 million to Celdara.

 

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Dartmouth College

Amended Dartmouth License

As described above, as a result of our acquisition of all of the outstanding membership interests of OnCyte and the asset purchase agreement among us, Celdara and OnCyte, OnCyte became our wholly-owned subsidiary and acquired certain data, protocols, regulatory documents and intellectual property, including the rights and obligations under two license agreements between OnCyte and Dartmouth. The first of these two license agreements concerned patent rights related, in part, to methods for treating cancer involving chimeric NK and NKP30 receptor targeted therapeutics and T cell receptor-deficient T cell compositions in treating tumor, infection, GVHD, transplant and radiation sickness, or the CAR-T License, and the second of these two license agreements concerned patent rights related, in part, to anti-B7-H6 antibody, fusion proteins and methods of using the same, or the B7H6 License.

In August 2017, we and Dartmouth entered into an amendment agreement in order to combine our rights under B7H6 Agreement with our rights under the CAR-T License, resulting in the termination of the B7H6 License, and in order to make certain other changes to the agreement. In connection with the amendment, we paid Dartmouth a non-refundable, non-creditable amendment fee in the amount of $2.0 million in 2017. Under the amended license agreement, Dartmouth granted us an exclusive, worldwide, royalty-bearing license to certain know-how and patent rights to make, have made, use, offer for sale, sell, import and commercialize any product or process for human therapeutics, the manufacture, use or sale of which, is covered by such patent rights or any platform product. Dartmouth reserves the right to use the licensed patent rights and licensed know-how, in the same field, for education and research purposes only. The patent rights included in the amended license agreement also include the patents previously covered by the B7H6 License. In consideration for the rights granted to us under the amended license agreement, we are required to pay to Dartmouth an annual license fee as well as a low single-digit royalty based on annual net sales of the licensed products by us, with certain minimum net sales obligations beginning April 30, 2024 and continuing for each year of sales thereafter. Under the amended license agreement, in lieu of royalties previously payable on sales by sublicensees, Celyad is required to pay Dartmouth a percentage of sublicense income, including royalty payments, (i) for each product sublicense ranging from the mid-single digits to low-single digits, depending on which of a specified list of clinical and regulatory milestones the applicable product has achieved at the time the sublicense is executed and (ii) for each platform sublicense in the mid-single digits. Additionally, the agreement requires that we exploit the licensed products, and we have agreed to meet certain developmental and regulatory milestones. Upon successful completion of such milestones, Celyad is obligated to pay to Dartmouth certain clinical and regulatory milestone payments up to an aggregate amount of $1.5 million and a commercial milestone payment in the amount of $4.0 million. We are responsible for all expenses in connection with the preparation, filing, prosecution and maintenance of the patents covered under the agreement.

After April 30, 2024, Dartmouth may terminate the amended license if Celyad fails to meet the specified minimum net sales obligations for any year (USD 10 million during first year of sales, USD 40 million during the second year of sales and USD 100 million during the third year of sales and every year of sales thereafter), unless Celyad pays to Dartmouth the royalty Celyad would otherwise be obligated to pay had Celyad met such minimum net sales obligation. Dartmouth may also terminate the license if Celyad fails to meet a milestone within the specified time period, unless Celyad pays the corresponding milestone payment.

Novartis

On May 1st, 2017, we entered into a non-exclusive license agreement with Novartis International AG, or Novartis, regarding U.S. patents related to allogeneic CAR-T cells. The agreement includes our intellectual property rights under U.S. Patent No. 9,181,527. This agreement is related to two undisclosed targets currently under development by Novartis. Under the terms of the agreement, we received an upfront payment of $4.0 million and are eligible to receive additional milestone payments in aggregate amounts of up to

 

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$92.0 million. In addition, we are eligible to receive royalties based on net sales of the licensed target associated products at percentages in the single digits. We retain all rights to grant further licenses to third parties for the use of allogeneic CAR-T cells.

Horizon Discovery Group plc

In April and June 2018, we signed two research and development collaboration and license agreements with Horizon Discovery Group plc , or Horizon, to evaluate the utility of Horizon’s SMARTvector shRNA reagents to reduce expression of one or more defined targets in connection with the development of our product candidates. The first agreement was focused on targets related to our autologous CAR-T candidate, CYAD-02. The second agreement was focused on targets related to our allogenic CAR-T product candidate CYAD-211 and one pre-clinical allogenic product candidate not yet publicly announced, called CYAD-203.

In September 2019, we exercised our option to convert the first agreement into an exclusive license agreement, in connection with which we have paid Horizon an up-front payment of $0.1 million and an additional milestone of $0.1 million for the first IND filed by us for CYAD-02. In December 2018, we exercised our option to convert the second agreement into an exclusive license agreement, in connection with which we paid Horizon an up-front payment of $1 million and an additional milestone of $0.2 million for the first IND filed by us for CYAD-211. Under these exclusive license agreements combined, Horizon is eligible to receive additional milestone payments in development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, in addition to low single digit royalties on net sales, subject to customary reductions.

In December 2020, Horizon Discovery was acquired by PerkinElmer, Inc. (Horizon/PKI).

Horizon/PKI recently informed us they believe we are in material breach of these agreements as a result of certain disclosures we have made in connection with our obligations as a publicly traded company in the United States and Belgium, although they have not formally delivered to us a notice of material breach or termination. We believe any such assertion of material breach would be without merit and we would expect to vigorously defend any such notice of material breach. Any dispute under these agreements would be subject to arbitration in The Hague under the International Chamber of Commerce Rules. We are currently in discussions with Horizon about possible amendments to these agreements in connection with which we would retain freedom to operate under the in-licensed patents.

Of note, we have filed patent applications which, if issued, would cover other aspects of the product candidates described above as well as products developed by third parties that deploy similar technology and targets. These patent applications encompass the downregulation of one or more of the targets covered under the Horizon/PKI agreements, the use of shRNA to downregulate such targets in immune cells and the combination of shRNAs with a chimeric antigen receptor in immune cells. We are also developing a second generation shRNA platform that does not incorporate any of the Horizon Discovery/Perkin Elmer, Inc. technology described above.

Our lead allogeneic CAR T product candidate, CYAD-101, does not incorporate any of the Horizon Discovery/Perkin Elmer, Inc. technology described above.

Merck

In September 2020, we entered into a clinical trial collaboration agreement and subsequent agreements with MSD International GmbH, or MSD, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. The agreements relate to the Phase 1b KEYNOTE-B79 clinical trial, which will evaluate our investigational non-gene edited allogeneic CAR-T candidate, CYAD-101, following FOLFIRI preconditioning chemotherapy, with MSD’s anti -PD -1 therapy, KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab). The trial will enroll refractory metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients with microsatellite stable (MSS) / mismatch-repair proficient (pMMR) disease, with the initial goal of

 

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determining the safety and tolerability of the combination therapy. The trial is expected to begin enrollment in the third quarter of 2021.

Mesoblast

On May 8, 2018, we entered into an exclusive license agreement with Mesoblast, an Australian biotechnology company, to develop and commercialize our intellectual property rights relating to C-Cathez, an intra-myocardial injection catheter, related to our former cardiovascular business, for which Mesoblast has paid to Celyad an upfront fee of 1,000,000 USD. In addition to the upfront fee, Celyad may be eligible up to 20,000,000 USD in clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments payable in cash or, for certain milestones, in Mesoblast shares. Mesoblast will pay a 2,500,000 USD termination fee in case such termination occurs prior to the completion of above-mentioned milestones.

Termination of C-Cure and Heart-XS Programs

Until mid-2016, we were focused on the development of a cardiovascular drug product candidate called C-Cure, an autologous cell therapy for the treatment of patients with ischemic heart failure. This program was funded in part through various research programs from the Walloon Region of Belgium. In June 2016, we reported topline results from a Phase 3 clinical trial for this drug product candidate. Following the announcement of these results, we explored strategic options to further develop and commercialize C-Cure, while we focused on our CAR-T oncology drug product candidates. In December 2017, we elected to shelve this program, as a result of which the research data and intellectual property rights associated with this development program were transferred to the Walloon Region, which partially financed the C-Cure program.

In addition, in December 2017, our Board of Directors decided to pause the development of the Heart-XS platform.

Pursuant to our decision to shift our focus away from cardiovascular drug candidates, on November 22, 2019, our affiliate, CorQuest Medical Inc., sold its portfolio of Heart-XS patents and related rights to CorQuest MedTech SRL, for consideration of €1 in addition of the reimbursement of certain maintenance costs of these patents. CorQuest Medical Inc. also has the right to receive royalties on the future sales and a percentage on the capital gains in the case of a re-sale or a change of control of Corquest MedTech SRL. Celyad has not sold and will not sell any of the products sold to CorQuest MedTech SRL.

Intellectual Property

Patents and Patent Applications

Patents, patent applications and other intellectual property rights are important in the sector in which we operate. We consider on a case-by-case basis filing patent applications with a view to protecting certain innovative products, processes, and methods of treatment. We may also license or acquire rights to patents, patent applications or other intellectual property rights owned by third parties, academic partners or commercial companies which are of interest to us.

Our patent portfolio includes pending patent applications and issued patents in the United States and in foreign countries.

The term of a U.S. patent may be eligible for patent term extension under the Hatch-Waxman Act to account for at least some of the time the drug or device is under development and regulatory review after the patent is granted. With regard to a drug or device for which FDA approval is the first permitted marketing of the active ingredient, the Hatch-Waxman Act allows for extension of the term of one U.S. patent. The extended patent term

 

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cannot exceed the shorter of five years beyond the non-extended expiration of the patent or 14 years from the date of the FDA approval of the drug or device. Some foreign jurisdictions have analogous patent term extension provisions that allow for extension of the term of a patent that covers a device approved by the applicable foreign regulatory agency.

NKR-T Cell Platform Patents

As of February 28, 2021, our CAR T-cell portfolio includes four patent families exclusively licensed to us by Dartmouth. This portfolio includes seventeen issued U.S. patents; six pending U.S. patent applications; and 25 foreign granted patents and applications pending in jurisdictions including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico and Russia. These patents and patent applications relate to specific chimeric antigen receptors and to T-cell receptor deficient T-cells and are further detailed below.

A first patent family relates to chimeric NK receptors and methods for treating cancer. There are three granted U.S. patents in this family (US 7,994,298; US 8,252,914 and US 10,336,804) and two further pending US applications. The scope of this patent family includes chimeric natural killer cell receptors (NKR CARs), T-cells with such receptors (NKR CAR-T cells) and methods of treating cancer with these NKR CAR-T cells.

A second patent family is entitled “NKp30 receptor targeted therapeutics” and describes a specific NKR CAR based on the NKp30 receptor. Two U.S. patents are granted (US 9,833,476 and US 10,682,378) and there is a further U.S. application pending.

A third family relates to an anti-B7H6 antibody, CARs and BiTE molecules containing the antibody; to CAR-T cells; and methods of treating cancer with the CAR-T cells. One U.S. patent is granted (US9,790,278), patents have also been granted in Europe, China and Japan, and applications are pending in China, Europe, Japan and the United States.

A fourth patent family relates to T-cell receptor-deficient compositions. T-cell receptor, or TCR, deficient human T-cells could be particularly useful to generate allogeneic CAR-T cells. The family includes members that relate to the concept (irrespective of the way the T-cell is made TCR deficient), as well as members describing specific ways of making the cells TCR deficient. There are eleven granted U.S. patents in this family (US 9,181,527; US 9,273,283; US9,663,763; US9,822,340; US9,821,011; US 9,938,497; US 9,957,480; US 10,689,616; US 10,689,617; US 10,689,618; and US 10,689,619), as well as two further pending US applications and ten applications in other jurisdictions.

Trade Secrets

In addition to our patents and patent applications, we keep certain of our proprietary information as trade secrets, which we seek to protect by confidentiality agreements with our employees and third parties, and by fragmenting know-how between different individuals, in accordance with standard industry practices.

Competition

The industry in which we operate is subject to rapid technological change. We face competition from pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as from academic and research institutions. Some of these competitors are pursuing the development of medicinal products and other therapies that target the same diseases and conditions that we are targeting.

Some of our current or potential competitors, either alone or with their collaboration partners, have significantly greater financial resources and expertise in research and development, manufacturing, preclinical testing, conducting clinical trials and marketing approved products than we do. Mergers and acquisitions in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and gene therapy industries may result in even more resources being concentrated

 

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among a smaller number of our competitors. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies. These competitors also compete with us in recruiting and retaining qualified scientific and management personnel and establishing clinical trial sites and patient registration for clinical trials, as well as in acquiring technologies complementary to, or necessary for, our programs.

Our commercial opportunity could be reduced or eliminated if our competitors develop and commercialize products that are safer, more effective, have fewer or less severe side effects, are more convenient or are less expensive than any products that we may develop. Our competitors also may obtain FDA or other regulatory approval for their products more rapidly than we may obtain approval for ours, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market. The key competitive factors affecting the success of all of our programs are likely to be their efficacy, safety and convenience.

Many of our competitors have substantially greater financial, technical and other resources.

For a breakdown of our total revenues by activity and geographic market, please see “Note 6—Operating segment information” in our consolidated financial statements appended to this Annual Report.

CAR T-Cell Therapy

Encouraging results from clinical trials have continued to fuel the interest in CAR T-cell therapies and our competitors as of the date of this Annual Report include Adicet Bio, Inc, Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc, Affimed NV, Allogene Therapeutics Inc., AlloVir, Inc, Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc., Autolus Therapeutics plc, Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., bluebird bio, Inc., CARsgen Therapeutics Co. Ltd., Cellectis S.A., Cellular Biomedicine Group, Celularity, Inc., CRISPR Therapeutics, Inc., Editas Medicines, Inc, Fate Therapeutics, Inc., Immatics Biotechnologies GmbH, Intellia Therapeutics, Inc., Juno Therapeutics, Inc. (acquired by Celgene Corporation), Kite Pharma, Inc. (acquired by Gilead Sciences, Inc.), Kuur Therapeutics, Legend Biotech USA, Inc., Lyell Immunopharma, Inc., Medigene AG, Mustang Bio, Inc., NantKwest, Inc., Nkarta Therapeutics, Inc., Novartis AG, Poseida Therapeutics, Inc., Precigen, Inc. Precision Biosciences, Inc., Sana Biotechnology, Inc., Servier Laboratories Limited, Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc., SQZ Biotech, Inc., TC BioPharm Ltd., TCR2 Therapeutics, Inc., Tmunity Therapeutics, Inc., and Ziopharm Oncology, Inc.

Government Regulation

U.S. Regulation

Government authorities in the United States at the federal, state and local level and in other countries extensively regulate, among other things, the research, development, testing, manufacture, quality control, approval, labeling, packaging, storage, record-keeping, promotion, advertising, distribution, post-approval monitoring and reporting, marketing and export and import of drug and biological products, or biologics, such as our drug product candidates. Generally, before a new drug or biologic can be marketed, considerable data demonstrating its quality, safety and efficacy must be obtained, organized into a format specific for each regulatory authority, submitted for review and an application for marketing authorization must be approved by the regulatory authority.

Regulation of Combination Products in the U.S.

Certain products may be comprised of components that are regulated under separate regulatory authorities and by different centers at the FDA. These products are known as combination products. A combination product is comprised of a combination of a drug and a device; a biological product and a device; a drug and a biological product; or a drug, a device, and a biological product. Under regulations issued by the FDA, a combination product includes:

 

   

a product comprised of two or more regulated components that are physically, chemically, or otherwise combined or mixed and produced as a single entity;

 

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two or more separate products packaged together in a single package or as a unit and comprised of drug and device products, device and biological products, or biological and drug products;

 

   

a drug, device, or biological product packaged separately that according to its investigational plan or proposed labeling is intended for use only with an approved individually specified drug, device or biological where both are required to achieve the intended use, indication, or effect and where upon approval of the proposed product the labeling of the approved product would need to be changed, e.g., to reflect a change in intended use, dosage form, strength, route of administration, or significant change in dose; or

 

   

any investigational drug, device, or biological packaged separately that according to its proposed labeling is for use only with another individually specified investigational drug, device, or biological product where both are required to achieve the intended use, indication, or effect.

Under the FDCA, the FDA is charged with assigning a center with primary jurisdiction, or a lead center, for review of a combination product. That determination is based on the “primary mode of action” of the combination product, which means the single mode of action that provides the most important therapeutic action of the combination product, i.e., the mode of action expected to make the greatest contribution to the overall intended therapeutic effects of the combination product. Thus, if the primary mode of action of a device-biologic combination product is attributable to the biologic product, that is, if it acts by means of a virus, therapeutic serum, toxin, antitoxin, vaccine, blood, blood component or derivative, allergenic product, or analogous product, the FDA center responsible for premarket review of the biologic product (the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, or CBER, would have primary jurisdiction for the combination product.

U.S. Biological Product Development

In the United States, the FDA regulates biologics under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or FDCA, and the Public Health Service Act, or PHSA, and their implementing regulations. Biologics are also subject to other federal, state and local statutes and regulations. The process of obtaining regulatory approvals and the subsequent compliance with appropriate federal, state, local and foreign statutes and regulations require the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources. Failure to comply with the applicable U.S. requirements at any time during the product development process, approval process or after approval, may subject an applicant to administrative or judicial sanctions. These sanctions could include, among other actions, the FDA’s refusal to approve pending applications, withdrawal of an approval or license revocation, a clinical hold, untitled or warning letters, product recalls or withdrawals from the market, product seizures, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunctions, fines, refusals of government contracts, restitution, disgorgement, or civil or criminal penalties. Any agency or judicial enforcement action could have a material adverse effect on us.

Our drug product candidates must be approved by the FDA through the Biologics License Application, or BLA, process before they may be legally marketed in the United States. The process required by the FDA before a biologic may be marketed in the United States generally involves the following:

 

   

Completion of extensive nonclinical, sometimes referred to as preclinical, laboratory tests, animal studies and formulation studies in accordance with applicable regulations, including the FDA’s Good Laboratory Practice, or GLP, regulations;

 

   

Submission to the FDA of an IND, which must become effective before human clinical trials may begin;

 

   

Performance of adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials in accordance with applicable IND regulations, good clinical practices, or gcps, and other clinical trial-related regulations to establish the safety and efficacy of the proposed drug product candidate for its proposed indication;

 

   

Submission to the FDA of a BLA;

 

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Satisfactory completion of an FDA pre-approval inspection of the manufacturing facility or facilities where the product is produced to assess compliance with the FDA’s current good manufacturing practice, or cGMP, requirements to assure that the facilities, methods and controls are adequate to preserve the product’s identity, strength, quality, purity and potency;

 

   

Potential FDA audit of the preclinical study sites and/or clinical trial sites that generated the data in support of the BLA;

 

   

Review of the product candidate by an FDA advisory committee, where appropriate and if applicable;

 

   

Payment of user fees for FDA review of the BLA (unless a fee waiver applies); and

 

   

FDA review and approval of the BLA prior to any commercial marketing or sale of the product in the United States.

The data required to support a BLA is generated in two distinct development stages: preclinical and clinical. The preclinical development stage generally involves laboratory evaluations of drug chemistry, formulation and stability, as well as studies to evaluate toxicity in animals, which support subsequent clinical testing. The conduct of the preclinical studies must comply with federal regulations, including GLPs. The sponsor must submit the results of the preclinical studies, together with manufacturing information, analytical data, any available clinical data or literature and a proposed clinical protocol, as well as other information, to the FDA as part of the IND. An IND is a request for authorization from the FDA to administer an investigational drug product to humans and must become effective before human clinical trials may begin. The central focus of an IND submission is on the general investigational plan and the protocol(s) for human trials. The IND automatically becomes effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless the FDA raises concerns or questions regarding the proposed clinical trials and places the IND on clinical hold within that 30-day time period. In such a case, the IND sponsor and the FDA must resolve any outstanding concerns before the clinical trial can begin. The FDA may also impose clinical holds on a drug product candidate at any time before or during clinical trials due to safety concerns, non-compliance, or other issues affecting the integrity of the trial. Accordingly, we cannot be sure that submission of an IND will result in the FDA allowing clinical trials to begin, or that, once begun, issues will not arise that could cause the trial to be suspended or terminated.

Where a trial is conducted at, or sponsored by, institutions receiving NIH funding for recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid research, the investigator must comply with the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules, or NIH Guidelines. Many companies and other institutions not otherwise subject to the NIH Guidelines voluntarily follow them. Pursuant to the NIH Guidelines, clinical trials must be evaluated and assessed by an Institutional Biosafety Committee, or IBC, a local committee that reviews and oversees research utilizing recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules at that institution. The IBC assesses the safety of the research and identifies any potential risk to public health or the environment, and such review may result in some delay before initiation of a clinical trial. Previously, investigators subject to the NIH Guidelines had to submit their protocol and related documentation and register their trial with the NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities, or OBA. The NIH could convene the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, or RAC, a federal advisory committee, to discuss protocols that raise novel or particularly important scientific, safety or ethical considerations at one of its quarterly public meetings. RAC proceedings and reports were posted on the OBA web site. However, in April 2019, the NIH updated its Guidelines to eliminate these requirements.

The clinical stage of development involves the administration of the drug product candidate to healthy volunteers and patients under the supervision of qualified investigators, generally physicians not employed by or under the trial sponsor’s control, in accordance with GCPs, which include the requirement that all research subjects provide their informed consent for their participation in any clinical trial. Clinical trials are conducted under protocols detailing, among other things, the objectives of the clinical trial, dosing procedures, subject selection and exclusion criteria, and the parameters to be used to monitor subject safety and assess efficacy. Each protocol, and any subsequent amendments to the protocol, must be submitted to the FDA as part of the IND. Further, each

 

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clinical trial must be reviewed and approved by an independent institutional review board, or IRB, at or servicing each institution at which the clinical trial will be conducted. An IRB is charged with protecting the welfare and rights of trial participants and considers such items as whether the risks to individuals participating in the clinical trials are minimized and are reasonable in relation to anticipated benefits. The IRB also approves the informed consent form that must be provided to each clinical trial subject or his or her legal representative and must monitor the clinical trial until completed.

There are also requirements governing the reporting of ongoing clinical trials and completed clinical trial results to public registries. Sponsors of certain clinical trials of FDA-regulated products, including biologics, are required to register and disclose certain clinical trial information, which is publicly available at www.clinicaltrials.gov. Information related to the product, patient population, phase of investigation, study sites and investigators, and other aspects of the clinical trial is then made public as part of the registration. Sponsors are also obligated to discuss the results of their clinical trials after completion. Disclosure of the results of these trials can be delayed until the new product or new indication being studied has been approved. However, there are evolving rules and increasing requirements for publication of trial-related information, and it is possible that data and other information from trials involving biologics that never garner approval could in the future require disclosure. In addition, publication policies of major medical journals mandate certain registration and disclosures as a pre-condition for potential publication, even if not currently mandated as a matter of law. Competitors may use this publicly available information to gain knowledge regarding the progress of development programs.

Clinical trials are generally conducted in three sequential phases, known as Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3, and may overlap. Phase 1 clinical trials generally involve a small number of healthy volunteers who are initially exposed to a single dose and then multiple doses of the drug product candidate. The primary purpose of these clinical trials is to assess the metabolism, pharmacologic action, side effect tolerability and safety of the drug product candidate and, if possible, to gain early evidence on effectiveness. Phase 2 clinical trials typically involve studies in disease-affected patients to determine the dose required to produce the desired benefits. At the same time, safety and further pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic information is collected, as well as identification of possible adverse effects and safety risks and preliminary evaluation of efficacy. Phase 3 clinical trials generally involve large numbers of patients at multiple sites, in multiple countries, and are designed to provide the data necessary to demonstrate the efficacy of the product for its intended use, its safety in use, and to establish the overall benefit/risk relationship of the product and provide an adequate basis for product approval. Phase 3 clinical trials may include comparisons with placebo and/or other comparator treatments. The duration of treatment is often extended to mimic the actual use of a product during marketing. Generally, two adequate and well-controlled Phase 3 clinical trials are required by the FDA for approval of a BLA.

Post-approval trials, sometimes referred to as Phase 4 clinical trials, may be conducted after initial marketing approval. These trials are used to gain additional experience from the treatment of patients in the intended therapeutic indication. In certain instances, FDA may condition approval of a BLA on the sponsor’s agreement to conduct additional clinical trials to further assess the biologic’s safety and effectiveness after BLA approval.

Progress reports detailing the results of the clinical trials, among other information, must be submitted at least annually to the FDA, and written IND safety reports must be submitted to the FDA and the investigators within 15 calendar days of receipt by the sponsor or its agents after determining that the information qualifies for such expedited reporting. IND safety reports are required for serious and unexpected suspected adverse events, findings from other studies or animal or in vitro testing that suggest a significant risk for human subjects, and any clinically important increase in the rate of a serious suspected adverse reaction over that listed in the protocol or investigator brochure. Additionally, a sponsor must notify FDA within 7 calendar days after receiving information concerning any unexpected fatal or life-threatening suspected adverse reaction. Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials may not be completed successfully within any specified period, if at all. The FDA, the IRB, or the sponsor may suspend or terminate a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the research subjects or patients are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk. Similarly, an IRB can suspend

 

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or terminate approval of a clinical trial at its institution if the clinical trial is not being conducted in accordance with the IRB’s requirements or if the drug has been associated with unexpected serious harm to patients. Additionally, some clinical trials are overseen by an independent group of qualified experts organized by the clinical trial sponsor, known as a data safety monitoring board or committee. This group provides authorization for whether or not a trial may move forward at designated intervals based on access to certain data from the trial. We may also suspend or terminate a clinical trial based on evolving business objectives and/or competitive climate. Concurrent with clinical trials, companies usually complete additional animal studies and must also develop additional information about the chemistry and physical characteristics of the drug product candidate as well as finalize a process for manufacturing the product in commercial quantities in accordance with cGMP requirements. The manufacturing process must be capable of consistently producing quality batches of the drug product candidate and, among other things, must develop methods for testing the identity, strength, quality and purity of the final product. Additionally, appropriate packaging must be selected and tested, and stability studies must be conducted to demonstrate that the drug product candidate does not undergo unacceptable deterioration over its shelf life.

Expanded access, sometimes called “compassionate use,” is the use of investigational products outside of clinical trials to treat patients with serious or immediately life-threatening diseases or conditions when there are no comparable or satisfactory alternative treatment options. FDA regulations allow access to investigational products under an IND by the company or the treating physician for treatment purposes on a case-by-case basis for: individual patients (single-patient IND applications for treatment in emergency settings and non-emergency settings); intermediate-size patient populations; and larger populations for use of the investigational product under a treatment protocol or treatment IND application. There is no requirement for a company to provide expanded access to its investigational product. A manufacturer of an investigational drug for a serious disease or condition is required to make publicly available, such as by posting on its website, its policy on evaluating and responding to requests for individual patient access to such investigational drug. This requirement applies on the earlier of the first initiation of a Phase 2 or Phase 3 trial of the investigational drug or, as applicable, 15 days after the drug receives a designation as a breakthrough therapy, fast track product, or regenerative advanced therapy.

BLA and FDA Review Process

Following trial completion, trial data are analyzed to assess safety and efficacy. The results of preclinical studies and clinical trials are then submitted to the FDA as part of a BLA, along with proposed labeling for the product and information about the manufacturing process and facilities that will be used to ensure product quality, results of analytical testing conducted on the chemistry of the drug product candidate, and other relevant information. The BLA is a request for approval to market the biologic for one or more specified indications and must contain proof of safety, purity, and potency, or efficacy, which is demonstrated by extensive preclinical and clinical testing. The application may include both negative or ambiguous results of preclinical and clinical trials as well as positive findings. Data may come from company-sponsored clinical trials intended to test the safety and efficacy of a use of a product, or from a number of alternative sources, including studies initiated by investigators. To support marketing approval, the data submitted must be sufficient in quality and quantity to establish the safety, purity and potency of the investigational product to the satisfaction of the FDA. FDA approval of a BLA must be obtained before a biologic may be marketed in the United States.

Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, as amended, each BLA must be accompanied by a significant user fee, which is adjusted on an annual basis. PDUFA also imposes an annual prescription drug product program fee. Fee waivers or reductions are available in certain circumstances, including a waiver of the application fee for the first application filed by a small business.

Once a BLA has been accepted for filing, which occurs, if at all, sixty days after the BLA’s submission, the FDA’s goal is to review BLAs within 10 months of the filing date for standard review or six months of the filing date for priority review, if the application is for a product intended for a serious or life-threatening condition and the product, if approved, would provide a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness. The review process is often significantly extended by FDA requests for additional information or clarification.

 

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After the BLA submission is accepted for filing, the FDA reviews the BLA to determine, among other things, whether the proposed drug product candidate is safe, pure and potent for its intended use, and whether the drug product candidate is being manufactured in accordance with cGMP to assure and preserve the drug product candidate’s identity, strength, quality, purity and potency. The FDA may refer applications for novel drug product candidates or drug product candidates which present difficult questions of safety or efficacy to an advisory committee, typically a panel that includes clinicians and other experts, for review, evaluation and a recommendation as to whether the application should be approved and under what conditions. The FDA is not bound by the recommendations of an advisory committee, but it considers such recommendations carefully when making decisions. The FDA will likely re-analyze the clinical trial data, which could result in extensive discussions between the FDA and us during the review process. The review and evaluation of a BLA by the FDA is extensive and time consuming and may take longer than originally planned to complete, and we may not receive a timely approval, if at all.

Before approving a BLA, the FDA will conduct a pre-approval inspection of the manufacturing facilities for the new product to determine whether they comply with cGMPs. The FDA will not approve the product unless it determines that the manufacturing processes and facilities are in compliance with cGMP requirements and adequate to assure consistent production of the product within required specifications. In addition, before approving a BLA, the FDA may also audit data from clinical trials to ensure compliance with GCP requirements. After the FDA evaluates the application, manufacturing process and manufacturing facilities, it may issue an approval letter or a Complete Response Letter. An approval letter authorizes commercial marketing of the product with specific prescribing information for specific indications. A Complete Response Letter indicates that the review cycle of the application is complete, and the application will not be approved in its present form. A Complete Response Letter usually describes all of the specific deficiencies in the BLA identified by the FDA. The Complete Response Letter may require additional clinical data and/or an additional pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial(s), and/or other significant and time-consuming requirements related to clinical trials, preclinical studies or manufacturing. If a Complete Response Letter is issued, the applicant may either resubmit the BLA, addressing all of the deficiencies identified in the letter, withdraw the application or request a hearing. Even if such data and information is submitted, the FDA may ultimately decide that the BLA does not satisfy the criteria for approval. Data obtained from clinical trials are not always conclusive, and the FDA may interpret data differently than we interpret the same data.

There is no assurance that the FDA will ultimately approve a product for marketing in the United States, and we may encounter significant difficulties or costs during the review process. If a product receives marketing approval, the approval may be significantly limited to specific populations, and dosages or the indications for use may otherwise be limited, which could restrict the commercial value of the product. Further, the FDA may require that certain contraindications, warnings or precautions be included in the product labeling or may condition the approval of the BLA on other changes to the proposed labeling, development of adequate controls and specifications, or a commitment to conduct post-market testing or clinical trials and surveillance to monitor the effects of approved products. For example, the FDA may require Phase 4 testing which involves clinical trials designed to further assess the product’s safety and effectiveness and may require testing and surveillance programs to monitor the safety of approved products that have been commercialized. The FDA may also place other conditions on approvals including the requirement for a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, to assure the safe use of the product. If the FDA concludes a REMS is needed, the sponsor of the BLA must submit a proposed REMS. The FDA will not approve the BLA without an approved REMS, if required. A REMS could include medication guides, physician communication plans, or elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools. Any of these limitations on approval or marketing could restrict the commercial promotion, distribution, prescription or dispensing of products. Product licenses may be revoked or suspended for non-compliance with regulatory standards or if problems occur following initial marketing.

 

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Expedited Development and Review Programs

The FDA has a Fast Track program that is intended to expedite or facilitate the process for reviewing new drugs and biological products that meet certain criteria. Specifically, new drugs and biological products are eligible for Fast Track designation if they are intended to treat a serious or life-threatening condition and nonclinical or clinical data demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs for the condition. Fast Track designation applies to the combination of the product and the specific indication for which it is being studied. The sponsor of a new drug or biologic may request the FDA to designate the drug or biologic as a Fast Track product concurrently with, or at any time after, submission of an IND, and the FDA must determine if the product qualifies for Fast Track designation within 60 days of receipt of the sponsor’s request. The FDA may consider for review sections of the marketing application on a rolling basis before the complete application is submitted, if the sponsor provides a schedule for the submission of the sections of the application, the FDA agrees to accept sections of the application and determines that the schedule is acceptable, and the sponsor pays any required user fees upon submission of the first section of the application.

Any product submitted to the FDA for marketing, including under a Fast Track program, may be eligible for other types of FDA programs intended to expedite development and review, such as priority review and accelerated approval. Any product is eligible for priority review, or review within a six-month timeframe from the date a complete BLA is accepted for filing, if it has the potential to provide a significant improvement in safety and effectiveness compared to available therapies. The FDA will attempt to direct additional resources to the evaluation of an application for a new drug or biological product designated for priority review in an effort to facilitate the review.

Additionally, a product may be eligible for accelerated approval. An investigational drug may obtain accelerated approval if it treats a serious or life-threatening condition and generally provides a meaningful advantage over available therapies and demonstrates an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit or on a clinical endpoint that can be measured earlier than irreversible morbidity or mortality, or IMM, that is reasonably likely to predict an effect on IMM or other clinical benefit. As a condition of approval, the FDA generally requires that a sponsor of a drug or biological product receiving accelerated approval perform, in a diligent manner, adequate and well-controlled post-marketing clinical trials to verify the clinical benefit in relationship to the surrogate endpoint or ultimate outcome in relationship to the clinical benefit. If the FDA concludes that a drug shown to be effective can be safely used only if distribution or use is restricted, it will require such post-marketing restrictions as it deems necessary to assure safe use of the drug, such as:

 

   

Distribution restricted to certain facilities or physicians with special training or experience; or

 

   

Distribution conditioned on the performance of specified medical procedures.

The limitations imposed would be commensurate with the specific safety concerns presented by the product. In addition, the FDA currently requires as a condition for accelerated approval pre-approval of promotional materials, which could adversely impact the timing of the commercial launch of the product. The FDA may withdraw approval of a drug or an indication approved under accelerated approval if, for example, the confirmatory trial fails to verify the predicted clinical benefit of the product. Fast Track designation, priority review and accelerated approval do not change the standards for approval but may expedite the development or approval process.

Breakthrough Designation

A product can be designated as a breakthrough therapy if it is intended to treat a serious or life-threatening condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that it may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints. A sponsor may request that a drug product candidate be designated as a breakthrough therapy concurrently with, or at any time after, the submission of an IND, and the FDA must determine if the drug product candidate qualifies for breakthrough therapy designation

 

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within 60 days of receipt of the sponsor’s request. If so designated, the FDA shall act to expedite the development and review of the product’s marketing application, including by meeting with the sponsor throughout the product’s development, providing timely advice to the sponsor to ensure that the development program to gather preclinical and clinical data is as efficient as practicable, involving senior managers and experienced review staff in a cross-disciplinary review, assigning a cross-disciplinary project lead for the FDA review team to facilitate an efficient review of the development program and to serve as a scientific liaison between the review team and the sponsor, and reviewing portions of the marketing application on a rolling basis before the sponsor submits the complete application.

Accelerated Approval for Regenerative Advanced Therapies

As part of the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress amended the FDCA to create an accelerated approval program for products designated as regenerative medicine advanced therapies, which include cell therapies, therapeutic tissue engineering products, human cell and tissue products, and combination products using any such therapies or products. Regenerative medicine advanced therapies do not include those human cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue-based products regulated solely under section 361 of the PHSA and 21 CFR Part 1271. The new program is intended to facilitate efficient development and expedite review of regenerative medicine advanced therapies, which are intended to treat, modify, reverse, or cure a serious or life-threatening disease or condition. A drug sponsor may request that FDA designate a drug as a regenerative medicine advanced therapy concurrently with or at any time after submission of an IND. FDA has 60 calendar days to determine whether the drug meets the criteria, including whether there is preliminary clinical evidence indicating that the drug has the potential to address unmet medical needs for a serious or life-threatening disease or condition. A new drug application or BLA for a regenerative medicine advanced therapy may be eligible for priority review or accelerated approval through (1) surrogate or intermediate endpoints reasonably likely to predict long-term clinical benefit or (2) reliance upon data obtained from a meaningful number of sites. Benefits of such designation also include early interactions with FDA to discuss any potential surrogate or intermediate endpoint to be used to support accelerated approval. A regenerative medicine advanced therapy that is granted accelerated approval and is subject to post-approval requirements may fulfill such requirements through the submission of clinical evidence, clinical studies, patient registries, or other sources of real world evidence, such as electronic health records; the collection of larger confirmatory data sets; or post-approval monitoring of all patients treated with such therapy prior to its approval.

Orphan Drug Designation and Exclusivity

Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may grant orphan designation to a drug or biological product intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is generally a disease or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the United States, or 200,000 or more individuals in the United States and for which there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing and making a drug or biological product available in the United States for this type of disease or condition will be recovered from sales of the product. Orphan product designation must be requested before submitting a BLA. After the FDA grants orphan product designation, the identity of the therapeutic agent and its potential orphan use are disclosed publicly by the FDA. Orphan product designation does not convey any advantage in or shorten the duration of the regulatory review and approval process.

If a product that has orphan drug designation subsequently receives the first FDA approval for a particular active ingredient for the disease for which it has such designation, the product is entitled to orphan product exclusivity, which means that the FDA may not approve any other applications, including a full BLA, to market the same biologic for the same indication for seven years, except in limited circumstances, such as a showing of clinical superiority to the product with orphan drug exclusivity or if the FDA finds that the holder of the orphan drug exclusivity has not shown that it can assure the availability of sufficient quantities of the orphan drug to meet the needs of patients with the disease or condition for which the drug was designated. Orphan drug exclusivity does not prevent the FDA from approving a different drug or biologic for the same disease or condition, or the same

 

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drug or biologic for a different disease or condition. Among the other benefits of orphan drug designation are tax credits for certain research and a waiver of the BLA application user fee. A designated orphan drug may not receive orphan drug exclusivity if it is approved for a use that is broader than the indication for which it received orphan designation. In addition, orphan drug exclusive marketing rights in the United States may be lost if the FDA later determines that the request for designation was materially defective or, as noted above, if the second applicant demonstrates that its product is clinically superior to the approved product with orphan exclusivity or the manufacturer of the approved product is unable to assure sufficient quantities of the product to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition.

Pediatric Trials

Under the Pediatric Research Equity Act, or PREA, as amended, a BLA or supplement to a BLA must contain data to assess the safety and efficacy of the product for the claimed indications in all relevant pediatric subpopulations and to support dosing and administration for each pediatric subpopulation for which the product is safe and effective. The FDCA requires that a sponsor who is planning to submit a marketing application for a drug or biological product that includes a new active ingredient, new indication, new dosage form, new dosing regimen or new route of administration submit an initial Pediatric Study Plan, or PSP, within sixty days of an end-of-Phase II meeting or as may be agreed between the sponsor and FDA. The initial PSP must include an outline of the pediatric study or studies that the sponsor plans to conduct, including study objectives and design, age groups, relevant endpoints and statistical approach, or a justification for not including such detailed information, and any request for a deferral of pediatric assessments or a full or partial waiver of the requirement to provide data from pediatric studies along with supporting information. FDA and the sponsor must reach agreement on the PSP. A sponsor can submit amendments to an agreed-upon initial PSP at any time if changes to the pediatric plan need to be considered based on data collected from nonclinical studies, early phase clinical trials, and/or other clinical development programs. The FDA may, on its own initiative or at the request of the applicant, grant deferrals for submission of data or full or partial waivers.

Post-Marketing Requirements

Following approval of a new product, a manufacturer and the approved product are subject to continuing regulation by the FDA, including, among other things, monitoring and recordkeeping activities, reporting to the applicable regulatory authorities of adverse experiences with the product, providing the regulatory authorities with updated safety and efficacy information, product sampling and distribution requirements, and complying with promotion and advertising requirements, which include, among others, standards for direct-to-consumer advertising, restrictions on promoting products for uses or in patient populations that are not described in the product’s approved labeling (known as “off-label use”), limitations on industry-sponsored scientific and educational activities, and requirements for promotional activities involving the internet. Although physicians may prescribe legally available drugs and biologics for off-label uses, manufacturers may not market or promote such off-label uses.

Modifications or enhancements to the product or its labeling or changes of the site of manufacture are often subject to the approval of the FDA and other regulators, which may or may not be received or may result in a lengthy review process. Prescription drug promotional materials must be submitted to the FDA in conjunction with their first use. Any distribution of prescription drug products and pharmaceutical samples must comply with the U.S. Prescription Drug Marketing Act, or the PDMA, a part of the FDCA.

In the United States, once a product is approved, its manufacture is subject to comprehensive and continuing regulation by the FDA. The FDA regulations require that products be manufactured in specific approved facilities and in accordance with cGMPs. The cGMP requirements for constituent parts of cross-labeled combination products that are manufactured separately and not co-packaged are the same as those that would apply if these constituent parts were not part of a combination product. For single-entity and co-packaged combination products, there are two ways to demonstrate compliance with cGMP requirements, either

 

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compliance with all cGMP regulations applicable to each of the constituent parts included in the combination product, or a streamlined approach demonstrating compliance with either the drug/biologic cGMPs or the medical device quality system regulation rather than demonstrating full compliance with both, under certain conditions. These conditions include demonstrating compliance with specified provisions from the other of these two sets of cGMP requirements. We rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties for the production of clinical and commercial quantities of our products in accordance with cGMP regulations. cGMP regulations require, among other things, quality control and quality assurance as well as the corresponding maintenance of records and documentation and the obligation to investigate and correct any deviations from cGMP. Manufacturers and other entities involved in the manufacture and distribution of approved products are required to register their establishments with the FDA and certain state agencies, and are subject to periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA and certain state agencies for compliance with cGMP and other laws. Accordingly, manufacturers must continue to expend time, money, and effort in the area of production and quality control to maintain cGMP compliance. These regulations also impose certain organizational, procedural and documentation requirements with respect to manufacturing and quality assurance activities. BLA holders using contract manufacturers, laboratories or packagers are responsible for the selection and monitoring of qualified firms, and, in certain circumstances, qualified suppliers to these firms. These firms and, where applicable, their suppliers are subject to inspections by the FDA at any time, and the discovery of violative conditions, including failure to conform to cGMP, could result in enforcement actions that interrupt the operation of any such facilities or the ability to distribute products manufactured, processed or tested by them. Discovery of problems with a product after approval may result in restrictions on a product, manufacturer, or holder of an approved BLA, including, among other things, recall or withdrawal of the product from the market.

The FDA also may require post-approval testing, sometimes referred to as Phase 4 testing, risk minimization action plans and post-marketing surveillance to monitor the effects of an approved product or place conditions on an approval that could restrict the distribution or use of the product. Discovery of previously unknown problems with a product or the failure to comply with applicable FDA requirements can have negative consequences, including adverse publicity, judicial or administrative enforcement, untitled or warning letters from the FDA, mandated corrective advertising or communications with doctors, and civil or criminal penalties, among others. Newly discovered or developed safety or effectiveness data may require changes to a product’s approved labeling, including the addition of new warnings and contraindications, and also may require the implementation of other risk management measures. Also, new government requirements, including those resulting from new legislation, may be established, or the FDA’s policies may change, which could delay or prevent regulatory approval of our products under development.

Other Regulatory Matters

Manufacturing, sales, promotion and other activities following product approval are also subject to regulation by numerous regulatory authorities in addition to the FDA, including, in the United States, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, other divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and state and local governments. In the United States, sales, marketing and scientific/educational programs must also comply with federal and state fraud and abuse laws, data privacy and security laws, transparency laws, and pricing and reimbursement requirements in connection with governmental payor programs, among others. The handling of any controlled substances must comply with the U.S. Controlled Substances Act and Controlled Substances Import and Export Act. Products must meet applicable child-resistant packaging requirements under the U.S. Poison Prevention Packaging Act. Manufacturing, sales, promotion and other activities are also potentially subject to federal and state consumer protection and unfair competition laws.

The distribution of pharmaceutical products is subject to additional requirements and regulations, including extensive record-keeping, licensing, storage and security requirements intended to prevent the unauthorized sale of pharmaceutical products.

 

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The failure to comply with regulatory requirements subjects firms to possible legal or regulatory action. Depending on the circumstances, failure to meet applicable regulatory requirements can result in criminal prosecution, fines or other penalties, injunctions, recall or seizure of products, total or partial suspension of production, denial of product approvals, license suspension or revocation, or refusal to allow a firm to enter into supply contracts, including government contracts. In addition, even if a firm complies with FDA and other requirements, new information regarding the safety or efficacy of a product could lead the FDA to modify or suspend or revoke licenses. Prohibitions or restrictions on sales or withdrawal of future products marketed by us could materially affect our business in an adverse way.

Changes in regulations, statutes or the interpretation of existing regulations could impact our business in the future by requiring, for example: (i) changes to our manufacturing arrangements; (ii) additions or modifications to product labeling; (iii) the recall or discontinuation of our products; or (iv) additional record-keeping requirements. If any such changes were to be imposed, they could adversely affect the operation of our business.

U.S. Patent Term Restoration and Marketing Exclusivity

Depending upon the timing, duration and specifics of the FDA approval of our drug product candidates, some of our U.S. patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, commonly referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Amendments. The Hatch-Waxman Amendments permit a patent restoration term of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. However, patent term restoration cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the product’s approval date. The patent term restoration period is generally one-half the time between the effective date of an IND and the submission date of a BLA plus the time between the submission date of a BLA and the approval of that application, except that the review period is reduced by any time during which the applicant failed to exercise due diligence. Only one patent applicable to an approved drug is eligible for the extension and the application for the extension must be submitted prior to the expiration of the patent. The U.S. PTO, in consultation with the FDA, reviews and approves the application for any patent term extension or restoration. In the future, we may apply for restoration of patent term for our currently owned or licensed patents to add patent life beyond its current expiration date, depending on the expected length of the clinical trials and other factors involved in the filing of the relevant BLA.

An abbreviated approval pathway for biological products shown to be biosimilar to, or interchangeable with, an FDA-licensed reference biological product was created by the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009, or BPCI Act, which was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, or collectively the ACA. This amendment to the PHSA attempts to minimize duplicative testing. Biosimilarity, which requires that the biological product be highly similar to the reference product notwithstanding minor differences in clinically inactive components and that there be no clinically meaningful differences between the product and the reference product in terms of safety, purity, and potency, can be shown through analytical studies, animal studies, and a clinical trial or trials. Interchangeability requires that a biological product be biosimilar to the reference product and that the product can be expected to produce the same clinical results as the reference product in any given patient and, for products administered multiple times, that the product and the reference product may be switched after one has been previously administered without increasing safety risks or risks of diminished efficacy relative to exclusive use of the reference biological product. However, complexities associated with the larger, and often more complex, structure of biological products as compared to small molecule drugs, as well as the processes by which such products are manufactured, pose significant hurdles to implementation that are still being worked out by the FDA.

A reference biological product is granted twelve years of exclusivity from the time of first licensure of the product, and the FDA will not accept an application for a biosimilar or interchangeable product based on the reference biological product until four years after first licensure. “First licensure” typically means the initial date the particular product at issue was licensed in the United States. This does not include a supplement for the biological product or a subsequent application by the same sponsor or manufacturer of the biological product (or

 

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licensor, predecessor in interest, or other related entity) for a change that results in a new indication, route of administration, dosing schedule, dosage form, delivery system, delivery device, or strength, unless that change is a modification to the structure of the biological product and such modification changes its safety, purity, or potency. Whether a subsequent application, if approved, warrants exclusivity as the “first licensure” of a biological product is determined on a case-by-case basis with data submitted by the sponsor.

Pediatric exclusivity is another type of regulatory market exclusivity in the United States. Pediatric exclusivity, if granted, adds six months to existing exclusivity periods and patent terms. This six-month exclusivity, which attaches to the twelve-year exclusivity period for reference biologics, may be granted based on the voluntary completion of a pediatric trial in accordance with an FDA-issued “Written Request” for such a trial.

European Union Drug Development

In the European Union, our future drug product candidates will also be subject to extensive regulatory requirements. As in the United States, medicinal products can only be marketed if a marketing authorization, or MA, from the competent regulatory agencies has been obtained.

Clinical Trials

Similar to the United States, the various phases of preclinical and clinical research in the European Union are subject to significant regulatory controls. Although the EU Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC has sought to harmonize the European Union clinical trials regulatory framework, setting out common rules for the control and authorization of clinical trials in the European Union, the European Union Member States have transposed and applied the provisions of the Directive differently. This has led to significant variations in the Member State regimes. To improve the current system, a new Regulation No. 536/2014, or the Regulation, on clinical trials on medicinal drug product candidates for human use, which repeals Directive 2001/20/EC, was adopted on April 16, 2014, and published in the European Official Journal on May 27, 2014. The new Regulation aims at harmonizing and streamlining the clinical trials authorization process, simplifying adverse event reporting procedures, improving the supervision of clinical trials, and increasing their transparency. The new Regulation entered into force on June 16, 2014, but the timing of its application depends on the development and confirmation of a fully functional EU clinical trials portal and database, through an independent audit, currently expected to occur in December 2021. In addition, the transitory provisions of the new Regulation offer the sponsors the possibility to choose between the requirements of the Directive and the Regulation if the request for authorization of a clinical trial is submitted in the 12 months after the new Regulation becomes applicable. In that case, the clinical trial continues to be governed by the Directive until 36 months after the new Regulation becomes applicable.

Under the current regime, before a clinical trial can be initiated it must be approved in each of the European Union countries where the trial is to be conducted by two distinct bodies: the National Competent Authority, or NCA, and one or more Ethics Committees, or ECs. More specifically, a clinical trial may not be started until the relevant EC has issued a favorable opinion, and the NCA has not informed the Sponsor of the trial of any grounds for non-acceptance or confirmed that no such grounds exist. Approval will only be granted if satisfactory information demonstrating the quality of the investigational agent and its non-clinical safety has been provided, together with a study plan that details the manner in which the trial will be carried out.

ECs determine whether the proposed clinical trial will expose participants to unacceptable conditions or hazards, while considering, among other things, the trial design, protocol, facilities, investigator and supporting staff, recruitment of clinical trial subjects, the Investigator’s Brochure, or IB, indemnity and insurance, etc. The EC also determines whether clinical trial participants have given informed consent to participate in the trial. Following receipt of a complete application (which must be submitted in the national language), ECs must deliver their opinion within 60 days (or sooner if the Member State has implemented a shorter time period). For clinical trials of gene therapy, somatic cell therapy, and all medicinal products containing genetically modified organisms, the normal statutory time limit is extended to 90 days, and this may be extended (by an additional 90 days).

 

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Similarly, a valid request for authorization (in the national language) must be submitted to the NCA of each Member State where the trial will be conducted. Sponsors must be notified of the decision within 60 days of receipt of the application (unless shorter time periods have been fixed), in the absence of which, the trial is considered approved. However, for clinical trials of gene therapy, somatic cell therapy, and all medicinal products containing genetically modified organisms, a written authorization by the competent NCA is required. Similar timeline extensions as for ECs exist.

Studies must comply with ethical guidelines and Good Clinical Practice, or GCP, guidelines. Monitoring of adverse reactions that occur during clinical trials, including, where applicable, notification of the same to the competent NCA and ECs, is also required. Trials can be terminated early if a danger to human health is established or continuing the trial would be considered unethical. Consequently, the rate of completion of clinical trials may be delayed by many factors, including slower than anticipated patient enrollment or adverse events occurring during clinical trials.

Drug Review and Approval

In the European Economic Area, or EEA (which is comprised of the Member States of the European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), medicinal products can only be commercialized after obtaining a marketing authorization, or MA.

There are two types of marketing authorizations:

The centralized MA, which is issued by the European Commission through the centralized procedure, based on the opinion of the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, or CHMP, of the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, and which is valid throughout the entire territory of the EEA. The centralized procedure is mandatory for certain types of products, such as biotechnology medicinal products, orphan medicinal products, advanced-therapy medicines (gene-therapy, somatic cell-therapy or tissue-engineered medicines), and medicinal products containing a new active substance indicated for the treatment of HIV, AIDS, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, auto-immune and other immune dysfunctions, and viral diseases. The centralized procedure is optional for products containing a new active substance not yet authorized in the EEA, or for products that constitute a significant therapeutic, scientific or technical innovation or which is in the interest of public health in the European Union.

National MAs, which are issued by the competent authorities of the Member States of the EEA and only cover their respective territory, are available for products not falling within the mandatory scope of the centralized procedure. Where a product has already been authorized for marketing in a Member State of the EEA, this national MA can be recognized in other Member State(s) through the mutual recognition procedure, or MRP. If the product has not received a national MA in any Member State at the time of application, it can be approved simultaneously in various Member States through the decentralized procedure, or DCP. Under the DCP an identical dossier is submitted to the competent authorities of each of the Member States in which the MA is sought, one of which is selected by the applicant as the Reference Member State, or RMS. The competent authority of the RMS prepares a draft assessment report, a draft summary of product characteristics, or SmPC, and a draft of the labeling and package leaflet, which are sent to the other Member States (referred to as the Concerned Member States, or CMSs) for their approval. If the CMSs raise no objections, based on a potential serious risk to public health, to the assessment, SmPC, labeling, or packaging proposed by the RMS, the product is subsequently granted a national MA in all the relevant Member States (i.e. in the RMS and the CMSs).

Under the above described procedures, before granting the MA, the EMA or the competent authorities of the Member States of the EEA make an assessment of the risk-benefit balance of the product on the basis of scientific criteria concerning its quality, safety and efficacy.

Now that the United Kingdom (which comprises Great Britain and Northern Ireland) has left the E.U., Great Britain will no longer be covered by centralized MAs (under the Northern Irish Protocol, centralized MAs will

 

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continue to be recognized in Northern Ireland). All medicinal products with a current centralized MA were automatically converted to Great Britain MAs on January 1, 2021. For a period of two years from January 1, 2021, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, or MHRA, the UK medicines regulator, may rely on a decision taken by the European Commission on the approval of a new marketing authorization in the centralized procedure, in order to more quickly grant a new Great Britain MA. A separate application will, however, still be required.

Marketing Authorization Application

Following positive completion of clinical trials, pharmaceutical companies can submit a MA application. The MA application shall include all information that is relevant to the evaluation of the medicinal products, whether favorable or unfavorable. The application dossier must include, among other things, the results of pharmaceutical (physicochemical, biological, or microbiological) tests, preclinical (toxicological and pharmacological) tests, and clinical trials, including the therapeutic indications, contra-indications, and adverse reactions, and the recommended dosing regimen or posology.

In addition to demonstrating the safety and efficacy of the medicinal product, pharmaceutical companies are required to guarantee the consistent quality of the product. Therefore, the conditions for obtaining a MA include requirements that the manufacturer of the product complies with applicable legislation including Good Manufacturing Practice, or GMP, related implementing measures and applicable guidelines that involve, amongst others, ongoing inspections of manufacturing and storage facilities.

Early Access Mechanisms

Several schemes exist in the EU to support earlier access to new medicines falling within the scope of the centralized procedure, in particular (i) accelerated assessment; (ii) conditional MAs; and (iii) MAs granted under exceptional circumstances.

For a medicine, which is of “major public health interest” (in particular, in terms of therapeutic innovation), accelerated assessment can be requested, taking up to 150 days instead of the usual period of up to 210 days (although in each case “clock stops”, where additional information or written or oral explanation is to be provided by the applicant in response to questions of the CHMP, may extend the timeframe of the assessment beyond 150 or 210 days (as applicable)). There is no single definition of what constitutes “major public health interest”. This should be justified by the applicant on a case-by-case basis. The justification should present arguments to support the claim that the medicinal product introduces new methods of therapy or improves on existing methods, thereby addressing to a significant extent the greater unmet needs for maintaining and improving public health.

Conditional MAs may be granted on the basis of less complete data than usual in order to meet unmet medical needs of patients and in the interest of public health, and the medicine is aimed at treating, preventing or diagnosing seriously debilitating or life-threatening diseases. Conditional MAs are subject to specific obligations with regard to further studies and intended to be replaced by a full unconditional MA once the missing data is provided. A conditional MA is valid for one year and can be renewed annually.

Medicines for which the MA applicant can demonstrate that the normally required comprehensive efficacy and safety data cannot be provided (for example because the disease which the medicine treats is extremely rare) may be eligible for a MA under exceptional circumstances. These are medicines for which it is not normally intended that a full MA will be obtained. Where an MA under exceptional circumstances is granted, it will be subject to a requirement for the applicant to introduce specific procedures, in particular in relation to the safety of the medicine, notification to competent regulatory authorities of any incident relating to its use, and the action to be taken in such circumstances. MAs under exceptional circumstances are reviewed annually to reassess the risk-benefit balance.

 

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Supplementary Protection Certificates and Data/market Exclusivity

In Europe, the extension of effective patent term to compensate originator pharmaceutical companies for the period between the filing of an application for a patent for a new medicinal product and the first MA for such product, has been achieved by means of a Supplementary Protection Certificate, or SPC, which can be applied for by the originator pharmaceutical company within six months from the granting of the first MA and comes into effect on expiry of the basic patent. Such SPC attaches only to the active ingredient of the medicinal product for which the MA has been granted. The SPC for an active ingredient has a single last potential expiry date throughout the EEA, and cannot last for more than five years from the date on which it takes effect (i.e., patent expiry). Furthermore, the overall duration of protection afforded by a patent and a SPC cannot exceed 15 years from the first MA. The duration of a medicinal product SPC can be extended by a single six-month period, or pediatric extension, when all studies in accordance with a pediatric investigation plan, or PIP, have been carried out.

Innovative medicines benefit from specific data and marketing exclusivity regimes. These regimes are intended to provide general regulatory protection to further stimulate innovation. The current rules provide for (i) an 8-year data exclusivity period (from the grant of the MA of an innovative medicine) which prevents the filing of an abridged (generic or biosimilar) application for a follow-on product, which references the data supporting the MA of the innovative medicine (data exclusivity); and (ii) an additional 2-year period of protection against the marketing of a follow-on product (marketing exclusivity), with a possible extension by 1 year if, during the first 8 years, a new therapeutic indication (which is considered to bring a significant clinical benefit in comparison with existing therapies) is approved. This protection is often referred to as the “eight, plus two, plus one” rule. Additional reward mechanisms exist, most notably a 10-year orphan medicines’ marketing exclusivity, and a 1-year data exclusivity for developing a new indication for an old substance and for switch data supporting a change in prescription status.

The current rules also provide for a system of obligations and rewards and incentives intended to facilitate the development and accessibility of pediatric medicinal products, and to ensure that such products are subject to high quality ethical research. Pursuant to such rules, pharmaceutical companies are often required to submit a Pediatric Investigation Plan, or PIP, at a relatively early stage of product development, which defines the pediatric studies to be completed before a MA application can be submitted. Products that are granted a marketing authorization with the results of the pediatric clinical trials (even where the trial results are negative) may be entitled to certain benefits, i.e., the afore-mentioned 6-month pediatric extension of the SPC for non-orphan medicinal products; or a two-year extension of the 10-year marketing exclusivity period for orphan medicines.

Post-marketing and Pharmacovigilance Requirements

When granting a MA, competent authorities (i.e., the EMA or the relevant NCAs) may impose an obligation to conduct additional clinical testing, sometimes referred to as Phase IV clinical trials, or other post-approval commitments, to monitor the product after commercialization. Additionally, the MA may be subjected to limitations on the indicated uses for the product.

Also, after a MA has been obtained, the marketed product and its manufacturer and MA holder will continue to be subject to a number of regulatory obligations, as well as to monitoring/inspections by the competent authorities.

Under applicable pharmacovigilance rules, pharmaceutical companies must, in relation to all their authorized products, irrespective of the regulatory route of approval, collect, evaluate and collate information concerning all suspected adverse reactions and, when relevant, report it to the competent authorities. This information includes both suspected adverse reactions signaled by healthcare professionals, either spontaneously or through post-authorization studies, regardless of whether or not the medicinal product was used in accordance with the

 

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authorized SmPC and/or any other marketing conditions, and suspected adverse reactions identified in worldwide-published scientific literature. To that end, a MA holder must have (permanently and continuously) at its disposal an appropriately qualified person responsible for pharmacovigilance and establish an adequate pharmacovigilance system. All relevant suspected adverse reactions, including suspected serious adverse reactions, which must also be reported on an expedited basis, should be submitted to the competent authorities in the form of Periodic Safety Update Reports, or PSURs. PSURs are intended to provide an update for the competent authorities on the worldwide safety experience of a medicinal product at defined time points after authorization. PSURs must therefore comprise a succinct summary of information together with a critical evaluation of the risk/benefit balance of the medicinal product, taking into account any new or changing information. The evaluation should ascertain whether any further investigations need to be carried out, and whether the SmPC or other product information needs to be modified.

To ensure that pharmaceutical companies comply with pharmacovigilance regulatory obligations, and to facilitate compliance, competent authorities will conduct pharmacovigilance inspections. These inspections are either routine (i.e. aimed at determining whether the appropriate personnel, systems, and resources are in place) or “for cause” (i.e. targeted to companies suspected of being non-compliant, or in response to specific issues arising where there is a potential for increased risk of non-compliance). Reports of the outcome of such inspections will be used to help improve compliance and may also be used as a basis for enforcement action.

Other Regulatory Matters

Advertising of medicines is subject to tighter controls than general consumer goods and specific requirements are set forth in Directive 2001/83/EC, which apply in addition to the general rules. In general, advertising of unapproved medicinal products or of unapproved uses of otherwise authorized medicinal products (e.g., off-label uses) is prohibited, and advertising for prescription medicinal products must be directed only towards health care professionals (i.e., advertising of these products to the general public is prohibited). Member States have implemented the advertising rules differently and the requirements vary significantly depending on the specific country. Advertising of medicinal products in an online setting, including social media, can be particularly challenging given the strict rules in place. Such prohibitions on advertising have been implemented into UK law through the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, and therefore will continue to apply in the UK despite its departure from the European Union.

Brexit and the Regulatory Framework in the United Kingdom

On June 23, 2016, the electorate in the UK voted in favor of leaving the EU (commonly referred to as “Brexit”). Thereafter, on March 29, 2017, the country formally notified the EU of its intention to withdraw pursuant to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and the UK formally left the EU on January 31, 2020. A transition period began on February 1, 2020, during which EU pharmaceutical law remained applicable to the UK, however this ended on December 31, 2020. Since the regulatory framework in the UK covering quality, safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical products, clinical trials, marketing authorization, commercial sales and distribution of pharmaceutical products is derived from EU Directives and Regulations, Brexit could materially impact the future regulatory regime which applies to products and the approval of product candidates in the UK, as UK legislation now has the potential to diverge from EU legislation. It remains to be seen how Brexit will impact regulatory requirements for product candidates and products in the UK in the long-term. The MHRA has recently published detailed guidance for industry and organizations to follow from January 1, 2021 now the transition period is over, which will be updated as the UK’s regulatory position on medicinal products evolves over time.

Pricing and Reimbursement

United States

Sales of our products will depend, in part, on the extent to which our products, once approved, will be covered and reimbursed by third-party payors, such as government health programs, commercial insurance and managed

 

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healthcare organizations. These third-party payors are increasingly reducing reimbursements for medical products and services. The process for determining whether a third-party payor will provide coverage for a drug product, including a biologic, typically is separate from the process for setting the price of a drug product or for establishing the reimbursement rate that a payor will pay for the drug product once coverage is approved. Third-party payors may limit coverage to specific drug products on an approved list, also known as a formulary, which might not include all of the approved drugs for a particular indication.

In order to secure coverage and reimbursement for any drug product candidate that might be approved for sale, we may need to conduct expensive pharmacoeconomic studies in order to demonstrate the medical necessity and cost-effectiveness of the drug product candidate, in addition to the costs required to obtain FDA or other comparable regulatory approvals. Whether or not we conduct such studies, our drug product candidates may not be considered medically necessary or cost-effective. A third-party payor’s decision to provide coverage for a drug product does not imply that an adequate reimbursement rate will be approved. Further, one payor’s determination to provide coverage for a product does not assure that other payors will also provide coverage, and adequate reimbursement, for the product. Third party reimbursement may not be sufficient to enable us to maintain price levels high enough to realize an appropriate return on our investment in product development.

The containment of healthcare costs has become a priority of federal and state governments, and the prices of drugs, including biologics, have been a focus in this effort. The U.S. government, state legislatures and foreign governments have shown significant interest in implementing cost-containment programs, including price controls, restrictions on reimbursement and requirements for substitution of generic products. Adoption of price controls and cost-containment measures, and adoption of more restrictive policies in jurisdictions with existing controls and measures, could further limit our net revenue and results. Decreases in third-party reimbursement for our drug product candidate or a decision by a third-party payor to not cover our drug product candidate could reduce physician usage of the drug product candidate and have a material adverse effect on our sales, results of operations and financial condition.

For example, the ACA, enacted in March 2010, has had a significant impact on the health care industry. The ACA has expanded coverage for the uninsured while at the same time containing overall healthcare costs. With regard to pharmaceutical products, among other things, the ACA expanded and increased industry rebates for drugs covered under Medicaid programs and made changes to the coverage requirements under the Medicare Part D program.

In addition, other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the ACA was enacted. On August 2, 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011 among other things, created measures for spending reductions by Congress. A Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, tasked with recommending a targeted deficit reduction of at least $1.2 trillion for the years 2013 through 2021, was unable to reach required goals, thereby triggering the legislation’s automatic reduction to several government programs. This includes aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to providers of up to 2% per fiscal year, started in April 2013 and will stay in effect through 2027 unless additional Congressional action is taken. On January 2, 2013, then-President Obama signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which, among other things, reduced Medicare payments to several providers, including hospitals, imaging centers and cancer treatment centers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years.

Some of the provisions of ACA have yet to be fully implemented, while certain provisions have been subject to judicial and Congressional challenges. On January 20, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order directing federal agencies with authorities and responsibilities under ACA to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision of ACA that would impose a fiscal burden on states or a cost, fee, tax, penalty or regulatory burden on individuals, healthcare providers, health insurers, or manufacturers of pharmaceuticals or medical devices. On October 13, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order terminating the cost-sharing subsidies that reimburse insurers under the ACA. Several state Attorneys General filed suit to stop the administration from terminating the subsidies, but their request for a restraining order was

 

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denied by a federal judge in California on October 25, 2017. In addition, CMS has recently proposed regulations that would give states greater flexibility in setting benchmarks for insurers in the individual and small group marketplaces, which may have the effect of relaxing the essential health benefits required under the ACA for plans sold through such marketplaces. Congress may consider other legislation to replace elements of the ACA.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, or TCJA, includes a provision repealing, effective January 1, 2019, the tax-based shared responsibility payment imposed by the ACA on certain individuals who fail to maintain qualifying health coverage for all or part of a year that is commonly referred to as the “individual mandate.” Additionally, on January 22, 2018, President Trump signed a continuing resolution on appropriations for fiscal year 2018 that delayed the implementation of certain ACA-mandated fees, including the so-called “Cadillac” tax on certain high cost employer-sponsored insurance plan, the annual fee imposed on certain high cost employer-sponsored insurance plans, the annual fee imposed on certain health insurance providers based on market share, and the medical device exercise tax on non-exempt medical devices. Further, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, or the BBA, among other things, amends the ACA, effective January 1, 2019, to reduce the coverage gap in most Medicare drug plans, commonly referred to as the “donut hole.” Congress also could consider subsequent legislation to replace elements of ACA that are repealed. Thus, the full impact of ACA, any law replacing elements of it, or the political uncertainty related to any repeal or replacement legislation on our business remains unclear.

In addition, in some foreign countries, the proposed pricing for a drug must be approved before it may be lawfully marketed. The requirements governing drug pricing vary widely from country to country.

European Union

In Europe, pricing and reimbursement for pharmaceutical products are not harmonized and fall within the exclusive competence of the national authorities, provided that basic transparency requirements (such as maximum timelines) defined at the European level are met as set forth in Directive 89/105/EEC relating to the transparency of measures regulating the prices of medicinal products for human use and their inclusion in the scope of national health insurance systems. A Member State may approve a specific price for a medicinal product, or it may instead adopt a system of direct or indirect controls on the profitability of the company placing the medicinal product on the market. For example, in France, effective access to the market assumes that our future products will be reimbursed by social security. The price of medications is negotiated with the Economic Committee for Health Products, or CEPS.

As a consequence, reimbursement mechanisms by public national healthcare systems, or private health insurers also vary from country to country. In public healthcare systems, reimbursement is determined by guidelines established by the legislator or the national competent authority. In general, inclusion of a product in reimbursement schemes is dependent upon proof of the product efficacy, medical need, and economic benefits of the product to patients and the healthcare system in general. Acceptance for reimbursement comes with cost, use and often volume restrictions, which again vary from country to country.

The pricing and reimbursement level for medicinal products will depend on the strength of the clinical data set and, as for most novel therapies, restrictions may apply. In most countries, national competent authorities ensure that the prices of registered medicinal products sold in their territory are not excessive. In making this judgment, they usually compare the proposed national price either to prices of existing treatments and/or to prices of the product at issue in other countries – so-called “international reference pricing” – also taking into account the type of treatment (preventive, curative or symptomatic), the degree of innovation, the therapeutic breakthrough, volume of sales, sales forecast, size of the target population and/or the improvement (including cost savings) over comparable treatments. Given the growing burden of medical treatments on national healthcare budgets, reimbursement and insurance coverage is an important determinant of the accessibility of medicines.

The various public and private plans, formulary restrictions, reimbursement policies, patient advocacy groups, and cost-sharing requirements may play a role in determining effective access to the market of our product

 

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candidates. The national competent authorities may also use a range of policies and other initiatives intended to influence pharmaceutical consumption. There can be no assurance that any country that has price controls or reimbursement limitations for pharmaceutical products will allow favorable reimbursement and pricing arrangements for any of our drug product candidates. Historically, products launched in the European Union do not follow price structures of the United States and generally tend to be priced at a significantly lower level.

Other Healthcare Laws and Compliance Requirements

Our business operations in the United States and our arrangements with clinical investigators, healthcare providers, consultants, third-party payors and patients may expose us to broadly applicable federal and state fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws. These laws may impact, among other things, our research, proposed sales, marketing and education programs of our drug product candidates that obtain marketing approval. The laws that may affect our ability to operate include, among others:

 

   

The federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons and entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying remuneration (including any kickback, bribe or rebate), directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward, or in return for, either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, lease, order, or recommendation of, an item, good, facility or service reimbursable under a federal healthcare program, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs;

 

   

Federal civil and criminal false claims laws and civil monetary penalty laws, which impose penalties and provide for civil whistleblower or qui tam actions against individuals and entities for, among other things, knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, claims for payment from Medicare, Medicaid, or other third-party payers that are false or fraudulent, or making a false statement or record material to payment of a false claim or avoiding, decreasing, or concealing an obligation to pay money to the federal government, including for example, providing inaccurate billing or coding information to customers or promoting a product off-label;

 

   

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, which created federal criminal statutes that prohibit, among other things, executing a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, obtaining money or property of the health care benefit program through false representations, or knowingly and willingly falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact, making false statements or using or making any false or fraudulent document in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits or services.

 

   

The federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act, enacted as part of the ACA, which requires applicable manufacturers of covered drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies to track and annually report to CMS payments and other transfers of value provided to physicians and teaching hospitals and certain ownership and investment interest held by physicians or their immediate family members in applicable manufacturers and group purchasing organizations;

 

   

HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH, and its implementing regulations, which imposes certain requirements on covered entities and their business associates relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information; and

 

   

State law equivalents of each of the above federal laws, such as state anti-kickback and false claims laws which may apply to items or services reimbursed by any third-party payor, including commercial insurers, state marketing and/or transparency laws applicable to manufacturers that may be broader in scope than the federal requirements, state laws that require biopharmaceutical companies to comply with the biopharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government, and state laws governing the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and may not have the same effect as HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts.

 

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The ACA broadened the reach of the federal fraud and abuse laws by, among other things, amending the intent requirement of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and certain applicable federal criminal healthcare fraud statutes. Pursuant to the statutory amendment, a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of this statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. In addition, the ACA provides that the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the civil False Claims Act or the civil monetary penalties statute.

Efforts to ensure that our business arrangements with third parties will comply with applicable healthcare laws will involve substantial costs. It is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices may not comply with current or future statutes, regulations or case law involving applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of these laws or any other governmental regulations that may apply to us, we may be subject to significant administrative, civil, and/or criminal penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, individual imprisonment, exclusion from government funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations. If the physicians or other healthcare providers or entities with whom we expect to do business are found to be not in compliance with applicable laws, they also may be subject to administrative, civil, and/or criminal sanctions, including exclusions from government funded healthcare programs.

Legal Proceedings

From time to time, we may become involved in legal proceedings or be subject to claims arising in the ordinary course of our business. Regardless of the outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on us because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources and other factors.

In December 2020, Horizon Discovery was acquired by PerkinElmer, Inc. (Horizon/PKI).

Horizon/PKI recently informed us they believe we are in material breach of these agreements as a result of certain disclosures we have made in connection with our obligations as a publicly traded company in the United States and Belgium, although they have not formally delivered to us a notice of material breach or termination. We believe any such assertion of material breach would be without merit and we would expect to vigorously defend any such notice of material breach. Any dispute under these agreements would be subject to arbitration in The Hague under the International Chamber of Commerce Rules. We are currently in discussions with Horizon about possible amendments to these agreements in connection with which we would retain freedom to operate under the in-licensed patents.

Of note, we have filed patent applications which, if issued, would cover other aspects of the product candidates described above as well as products developed by third parties that deploy similar technology and targets. These patent applications encompass the downregulation of one or more of the targets covered under the Horizon/PKI agreements, the use of shRNA to downregulate such targets in immune cells and the combination of shRNAs with a chimeric antigen receptor in immune cells. We are also developing a second generation shRNA platform that does not incorporate any of the Horizon Discovery/Perkin Elmer, Inc. technology described above.

Our lead allogeneic CAR T product candidate, CYAD-101, does not incorporate any of the Horizon Discovery/Perkin Elmer, Inc. technology described above.

 

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C. Organizational Structure.

We and our subsidiaries, or the Group, is made of the following entities as of December 31, 2020. The following diagram illustrates our corporate structure.

 

Name

   Country of
Incorporation
and Place of
Business
   Nature of
Business
   Proportion of
ordinary shares
directly held by
parent (%)
    Proportion of
ordinary shares
held by us (%)
    Proportion of
ordinary
shares held  by
non-controlling
interests (%)
 

Celyad Oncology SA

   BE    Biopharma      Parent company      

Celyad Inc

   US    Biopharma      100     100     0

CorQuest Medical Inc

   US    Medical Device      100     100     0

Biological Manufacturing Services SA

   BE    Manufacturing      100     100     0

See “Item 4.A.—History and Development of the Company.”

D. Property, Plants and Equipment.

We rent a 2,284 square meter office space from the Axis Parc developer located at the Axis Parc in Mont-Saint-Guibert pursuant to a lease agreement dated October 15, 2015 as amended from time to time, which expires on June 30, 2025. We also rent a 1,120 square meter office and laboratory space from the Axis Parc developer pursuant to a lease agreement dated June 30, 2020, as amended from time to time, which expires on June 30, 2029. In September 2016, we entered into a six-year lease agreement for our U.S. corporate offices (555 square meter office space) located in Boston, Massachusetts. Since February 2018, this office space is subleased to a third party through the end of the six-year lease agreement.

We have committed to maintain our headquarters and registered office in the Walloon Region of Belgium and all of our existing activities will continue to be performed in the Walloon Region.

 

ITEM 4A.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 5.

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

Information pertaining to fiscal year 2018 was included in our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year-ended December 31, 2019, on pages 93-111, under Item 5, “Operating and Financial Review and Prospects”, which was filed with the SEC on March 25, 2020.

We are a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T) therapies for cancer. Our goal is to discover, develop and commercialize our next-generation CAR T cell therapy product candidates, if approved. We are currently developing a diversified pipeline of allogeneic and autologous CAR T cell therapy candidates for the treatment of both hematological malignancies and solid tumors.

Our differentiated pipeline of next generation CAR T candidates is based off the two main approaches in the field of CAR T: allogeneic, or off-the-shelf, and autologous, or personalized, therapies. Allogeneic CAR T cells are prepared in advance from healthy donors and are stored frozen until a patient requires treatment. With the autologous approach, CAR T cells are derived from the patients themselves, first by collection of the patient’s immune cells through a process called leukapheresis, and then the patient’s cells are engineered and reintroduced back into the patient via infusion.

 

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Over the past few years, as the CAR T landscape has shifted towards pursuing off-the-shelf approaches, we have continued to steadily progress our allogeneic CAR T franchise and programs by exploring two proprietary, non-gene edited technology platforms, T cell receptor inhibitory molecule (TIM) and short hairpin RNA (shRNA), to target the T cell receptor (TCR) complex.

We believe non-gene edited technologies target the TCR specifically without extensive genetic manipulation. Through the co-expression of our non-gene edited technologies with a specific CAR of interest, we can design cell therapy candidates intended to inhibit the function of the TCR while allowing the T cells to target the cancer. We believe this unique strategy offers a streamlined approach in advancing the allogeneic CAR T landscape.

Central to our pipeline is a cutting-edge All-in-One vector approach where we focus on using a single vector to generate CAR T cells to simplify the design and development of our cell therapy candidates. The All-in-One vector approach encodes multiple components of the CAR T construct simultaneously, including the CAR, our non-gene edited technologies, cell section marker to assist with the enrichment of the manufactured cells and potential therapeutic add-ons such as cytokines and antibodies. This single transduction, plug and play approach to CAR T development has the potential to streamline process development and manufacturing while broadening the potential applicability of our candidates.

Since our acquisition of OnCyte LLC, or OnCyte, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Celdara Medical, LLC, a privately-held U.S. biotechnology company, we have devoted the majority of our financial resources to research and development of CAR-T cell therapy product candidates. Our current efforts are focused on discovery research, conducting clinical trials of our product candidates, manufacturing of our clinical stage candidates, general and administrative support for these operations and protecting our intellectual property. We currently do not have any products approved for sale and have not generated any revenues from immunotherapy product sales.

As of December 31, 2020, we have been funded through the following transactions:

 

   

Proceeds of €42.0 million from private financing rounds;

 

   

Proceeds of €26.5 million from an initial public offering of our ordinary shares on Euronext Brussels and Euronext Paris in July 2013, or the Euronext IPO;

 

   

Proceeds of €25.0 million from a private financing by Medisun International Limited, or Medisun, in June 2014;

 

   

Proceeds of €31.7 million from a private placement in March 2015;

 

   

Proceeds of €88.0 million from a global offering of 1,460,000 ordinary shares, consisting of an underwritten public offering of 1,168,000 ADSs and a concurrent European private placement of 292,000 ordinary shares, in June 2015.

 

   

Proceeds of €46.1 million from a global offering of 2,070,000 ordinary shares, consisting of an underwritten public offering of 568,500 ordinary shares in the form of ADSs and 1,501,500 ordinary shares, in May 2018.

 

   

Proceeds of €18.2 million from a global offering of 2,000,000 ordinary shares, consisting of an underwritten public offering of 1,675,000 ordinary shares in the form of ADSs and 325,000 ordinary shares, in September 2019.

 

   

Proceeds of €32.0 million from recoverable cash advances, or RCAs, granted by Walloon Region government, and €2.6 million from other grants granted by Walloon Region and Federal Belgian Institute for Health Insurance Inami. The RCAs are a non-dilutive financing source.

We have incurred net losses in each year since our inception. Substantially all of our net losses have resulted from costs incurred in connection with our research and development programs and from general and administration expenses associated with our operations. For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018,

 

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we incurred a loss for the year of €17.2 million, €28.6 million and, €37.4 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of €91.8 million. We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and increasing operating losses for the foreseeable future. We anticipate that our expenses will increase substantially in connection with our ongoing activities, as we:

 

   

Continue the development of our product candidates, including planned and future clinical trials;

 

   

Conduct additional research and development for product candidate discovery and development;

 

   

Seek regulatory approvals for our product candidates;

 

   

Prepare for the potential launch and commercialization of our product candidates, if approved;

 

   

Establish a sales and marketing infrastructure for the commercialization of our product candidates, if approved;

 

   

In-license or acquire additional product candidates or technologies;

 

   

Build-out additional manufacturing capabilities; and

 

   

Hire additional personnel, including personnel to support our product development and commercialization efforts and operations as a U.S. public company.

We do not expect to generate material revenue from drug product sales unless and until we successfully complete development of, and obtain marketing approval for, one or more of our product candidates, which we expect will take a number of years and is subject to significant uncertainty. Accordingly, we anticipate that we will need to raise additional capital prior to commercialization of our lead product candidates. Until such time that we can generate substantial revenue from drug product sales, if ever, we expect to finance our operating activities through a combination of equity offerings, debt financings, government or other third-party funding, including government grants and RCAs, and collaborations and licensing arrangements. However, we may be unable to raise additional funds or enter into such arrangements when needed on favorable terms, or at all, which would have a negative impact on our financial condition and could force us to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our development programs or commercialization efforts or grant to others rights to develop or market drug product candidates that we would otherwise prefers to develop and market ourselves. Failure to receive additional funding could cause us to cease operations, in part or in full.

Our financial statements for 2018, 2019 and 2020 have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, or IFRS, as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, or IASB.

Financial Operations Overview

A. Operating Results

Our operating income consists of revenues and other income.

Revenues

The Company’s license and collaboration agreements have generated no revenue in 2020 and in 2019.

Cost of sales

For the years 2020 and 2019 no costs of sales related to our programs have been recorded.

Research and Development expenses

Research and development expenses amounted to €21.5 million and €25.2 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, and represented 70% and 74% of our total research and development

 

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and general and administrative operating expenses. For the periods presented in this report, research and development expenses included all of our operating expenses, except the general and administrative expenses. It included all the costs related to our operations in the following departments; research and development, clinical, manufacturing, regulatory, quality and intellectual property.

With the exception of the C-Cathez development costs capitalized since May 2012, we expense all research and development costs as they are incurred. A total of €1.1 million development costs of C-Cathez have been capitalized since May 1, 2012, the month following our receipt of the CE mark for C-Cathez. We may review this policy in the future depending on the outcome of our current development programs.

We utilize our research and development staff and infrastructure resources across projects in our programs and many of our costs historically have not been specifically attributable to a single project. In addition, our research and development expense may vary substantially from period to period based on the timing and scope of our research and development activities, the timing of regulatory approvals or authorizations and the rate of commencement and enrollment of patients in clinical trials.

Research and development activities are central to our business. We expect that our other research and development expenses will continue to grow in the future mostly with the development of drug product candidates from our CAR-T cell programs. The expected increase in research and development expenditures will mostly relate to higher personnel costs, outsourcing costs and additional preclinical and clinical studies.

Salaries represented the biggest cost by nature within our operations over the last three years. Our strategy is to internalize all operations when they become material or critical to our operations. We subcontract all one-time projects and tasks that cannot be taken in-house for quality or regulatory purposes. Other important costs of our operations are our preclinical studies, clinical studies, scale-up and automation of the production processes.

The costs associated with preclinical studies are laboratory supplies and the costs of our outsourced research and development studies and services.

The costs associated with clinical studies are comprised of the preparation, the conduct and the supervision of our clinical trials. We expect that these expenses will increase in the near future given the expected clinical trial activities associated with our CAR-T product candidates. We cannot determine with certainty the duration and completion costs of our current or future clinical trials of our drug product candidates or if, when, or to what extent we will generate revenue from the commercialization and sale of any of our drug product candidates that obtain regulatory approval. We may never succeed in achieving regulatory approval for any of our drug product candidates. The duration, costs and timing of clinical trials and development of our drug product candidates will depend on a variety of factors, including:

 

   

Per patient clinical trial costs;

 

   

The number of patients that participate in clinical trials;

 

   

The drop-out or discontinuation rates of patients;

 

   

The duration of patient follow-up;

 

   

The scope, rate of progress and expense of our ongoing as well as any additional non-clinical studies, clinical trials and other research and development activities;

 

   

Clinical trial and early-stage results;

 

   

The terms and timing of regulatory approvals;

 

   

The expense of filing, prosecuting, defending and enforcing patent claims and other intellectual property rights; and

 

   

The ability to market, commercialize and achieve market acceptance of our product candidates.

 

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A change in the outcome of any of these variables with respect to the development of our Product Candidates that we are developing could mean a significant change in the costs and timing associated with the development of such Product Candidates. For example, if the FDA, the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, or any other regulatory authority were to require us to conduct additional preclinical studies and clinical trials beyond those which we currently anticipate will be required for the completion of clinical development of our drug product candidates, or if we experience significant delays in enrollment in any clinical trials, we would be required to spend significant additional financial resources and time on the completion of the clinical development of the applicable drug product candidate.

Product candidates in later stages of clinical development generally have higher development costs than those in earlier stages of clinical development, primarily due to the increased size and duration of later-stage clinical trials.

We have not received regulatory approval from the FDA, EMA or any other regulatory authority to market any of our drug product candidates. The successful development of our drug product candidates is highly uncertain. Our drug product candidates are tested in numerous preclinical studies for safety, pharmacology and efficacy. We then conduct clinical trials for those drug product candidates that are determined to be the most promising. We fund these trials ourselves or through non-dilutive funding. As we obtain results from clinical trials, we may elect to discontinue or delay trials for some drug product candidates in order to focus resources on drug product candidates that we believe are more promising. Completion of clinical trials may take several years or more, and the length of time generally varies substantially according to the type, complexity, novelty and intended use of a drug product candidate. The cost of clinical trials for a particular drug product candidate may vary significantly.

At this time, we cannot reasonably estimate the time and costs necessary to complete the development of any of our drug product candidates or the period, if any, in which we will generate drug product revenue. There are numerous risks and uncertainties associated with drug product development, including:

 

   

Terms and timing of regulatory approvals and authorizations; and

 

   

The number, the design and the size of the clinical trials required by the regulatory authorities to seek marketing approval.

For the periods presented in this Annual Report, the manufacturing expenses included the costs to manufacture our Product Candidates, combined with the costs associated with the process of developing of such Product Candidates, including the scale-up and the automation of such processes. These costs are mainly comprised of the production of raw material and supplies, maintenance and calibration charges of equipment and the rental of Good Manufacturing Practices laboratory facilities. Raw materials are the main component of the current cost of production of Product Candidates and will remain as such in the future as they are closely associated to the production of clinical batches. Most of our raw material suppliers are large companies, and pursuant to our internal procedures, we are in the process to find an alternative supplier for each critical material, to limit risk of disruption and price sensitivity.

We lease our production facility from a real estate company through our wholly owned subsidiary, Biological Manufacturing Services SA.

Manufacturing expenses are mostly driven by the number and the size of clinical trials that we conduct on our drug product candidates. We expect these expenses will remain significant in the near future and will increase as our clinical trials include a greater number of patients and we potentially commence commercialization of our drug product candidates, if approved.

General and administrative expenses

General and administrative expenses represented 30% and 26% of our total research and development and general and administrative operating expenses for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

 

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Our general and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries, fees and other share-based compensation costs for personnel in executive, finance and accounting, people, communication and legal functions. It also includes costs related to professional fees for auditors and lawyers, consulting fees and insurances not related to research and development operations, and fees related to functions that are outsourced by us such as information technology, or IT. Our general and administrative expenses are expected to slightly increase in the near future due to the recruitment of other executives in order to consolidate our executive team.

Change in fair value of the contingent consideration and other financial liabilities

For the periods presented in this Annual Report, our change in fair value of the contingent consideration and other financial liabilities mainly refer to non-cash expenses relating to liability remeasurement required by IFRS.

Other income

For the periods presented in this Annual Report, our other income is primarily generated from:

 

  (i)

Government grants received either from the Regional Government of Wallonia, or Walloon Region, in the form of RCAs or from the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Program (FP7);

 

  (ii)

The amortized cost remeasurement of the recoverable cash advances liability (non-cash relating to liability remeasurement required by IFRS); or

 

  (iii)

R&D tax credits.

Recoverable Cash Advances

RCAs support specific development programs and are typically granted by regional governmental entities, and in our case, the Walloon Region. All RCA contracts, in essence, consist of three phases, i.e., the “research phase”, the “decision phase” and the “exploitation phase”. During the research phase, we receive funds from the Walloon Region based on statements of expenses. In accordance with IAS 20.10A and IFRS Interpretations Committee’s, or IC’s, conclusion that contingently repayable cash received from a government to finance a research and development project is a financial liability under IAS 32, ‘Financial instruments; Presentation’, the RCAs are initially recognized as a financial liability at fair value, determined as per IFRS 9. The benefit (RCA grant component) consisting in the difference between the cash received (RCA proceeds) and the above-mentioned financial liability’s fair value (RCA liability component) is treated as a government grant in accordance with IAS 20.

The RCA grant component is recognized in profit or loss on a systematic basis over the periods in which the entity recognizes the underlying research and development expenses subsidized by the RCA. Subsequent measurement of the RCAs liability component (RCA financial liability) is performed at amortized cost using the cumulative catch-up approach, under which the carrying amount of the liability is adjusted to the present value of the future estimated cash flows, discounted at the liability’s original effective interest rate. The resulting adjustment is recognized within profit or loss.

At the end of the research phase, we should within a period of six months decide whether or not to exploit the results of the research phase (decision phase). The exploitation phase may have a duration of up to 10 years. In the event we decide to exploit the results under an RCA, the relevant RCA becomes contingently refundable, and the fair value of the RCA liability adjusted accordingly, if required.

When we do not exploit (or ceases to exploit) the results under an RCA, it has to notify the Walloon Region of this decision. This decision is our sole responsibility. The related liability is then discharged by the transfer of such results to the Walloon Region. Also, when we decide to renounce to its rights to patents which may result from the research, title to such patents will be transferred to the Walloon Region. In that case, the RCA liability is extinguished.

 

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Since inception through December 31, 2020, we have received subsidy RCAs totaling €32.0 million. In 2021 and beyond, the Group will have to make exploitation decisions on the remaining RCA (agreements numbered 8087, 8088, 1910028, 8212 and 8436).

Other Government Grants

Since inception, we have also received other types of grants from European Commission and Walloon Region authorities and we expect to continue to apply for such grants (EU framework programs for research and development, investment subsidies, sales-promotion subsidies, etc.). These grants are used to partially finance early stage projects such as fundamental research, applied research and prototype design.

As of the date of this Annual Report, none of the grants we have received are subject to any conditions. As per our agreements with these governmental authorities, grants are paid upon our submission of a statement of expenses. We incur project expenses first and ask for partial reimbursement according to the terms of the agreements.

The government grants are recognized in profit or loss on a systematic basis over the periods in which we recognize as expenses the related costs that the grants are intended to compensate.

Since inception through December 31, 2020, we have received government grants totaling €2.6 million.

R&D tax credit

Since financial year 2013, we have applied for R&D tax credit, a tax incentive measure for European SME’s set-up by the Belgian federal government. When incurring R&D spend, a Company may either i) get a reduction of its taxable income (at current income tax rate applicable); or ii) if no sufficient taxable income is available, apply for the refund of the unutilized tax credits, calculated on the R&D expenses amount for the year. Such settlement occurs at the earliest 5 financial years after the tax credit application filed by a Company.

In 2017, we recognized, for the first time, a R&D tax credit (€1.2 million) receivable from the federal government that included a one-off catch-up effect. Since 2018, further R&D tax credit receivables are recorded on an annual base increment. For the current year, the R&D tax credit has been updated for an amount of €0.7 million, taking into account all information available at this date, compared to an amount of €1.6 million in 2019. In 2020, we established an accrual under other current liabilities to cover for a €1.0 million reimbursement of R&D tax credit related to an assessment resulting from an audit of fiscal years 2013 and 2014. While management plans to appeal the assessment, currently management has determined that it is probable that reimbursement will be required.

Collection of the research and development tax credits is expected after financial year 2021.

Other expenses

For the periods presented in this Annual Report, our other expenses mainly refer to:

 

  i)

Non-cash expenses relating to liability remeasurement required by IFRS on the amortized cost remeasurement of the recoverable cash advances liability; or

 

  ii)

Clinical development milestones payments.

For the year 2020, other expenses mainly refer to clinical development milestones for (€0.1 million) paid to Dartmouth after that the Group successfully dosed the first patient with CYAD-02 in CYCLE-1 trial for the treatment of r/r AML and MDS.

 

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For the year 2019, other expenses mainly referred to remeasurement expenses of recoverable cash advances (RCAs) for €0.1 million.

Finance income

Finance income relates to interest income earned on bank accounts and from currency exchange rate differences. Our cash and cash equivalents have been deposited primarily in savings and deposit accounts with original maturities of three months or less. Savings and deposit accounts generate a modest amount of interest income. Given the level of market interest rates of corporate deposits of short-term maturities, the Group has reduced the amounts invested in short-term deposits over 2019 and has no investment in short-term deposits as of December 31, 2020 and 2019.

Finance expenses

Finance expenses relate to interest payable on bank or governmental loans (RCAs), finance leases and operating leases under IFRS 16, and overdrafts, as well as currency exchange rate differences.

Recently Issued Accounting Standards

For information regarding recently issued accounting standards, please see “Note 2— General information and statement of compliance” in our consolidated financial statements appended to this Annual Report.

Critical Accounting Estimates and Judgments

For information regarding our critical accounting estimates and judgments, please see “Note 5—Critical accounting estimates and judgements” in our consolidated financial statements appended to this Annual Report. The preparation of our consolidated financial statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the year. These items are considered further to be the accounting policies that are most critical to our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

Consolidated Financial Data

The following is a summary of our consolidated financial data.

Comparisons for the Years Ended December 31, 2020 and 2019

Revenues

 

     For the year ended
December 31,
 

(€’000)

   2020      2019  

Out-licensing revenue (non-refundable upfront payment)

     —          —    

C-Cathez sales

     5        6  

Other revenue

     —          0  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total Revenue

     5        6  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Our license and collaboration agreements have generated no revenue in 2020.

Cost of sales

No operations qualify for such a presentation for the year 2020 and comparative period.

 

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Research and development expenses

 

     For the year ended
December 31,
 

(€’000)

   2020      2019  

Employee expenses

     8 564        8 362  

Travel & Living

     116        486  

Clinical study costs

     5 555        4 713  

Preclinical study costs

     1 976        3 711  

Process development and scale-up

     1 056        3 765  

Consulting fees

     372        675  

IP filing and maintenance fees

     230        260  

Share-based payments

     927        813  

Depreciation

     1 511        1 444  

Rent and utilities

     800        746  

Delivery systems

     47        53  

Others

     369        168  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total R&D expenses

     21 522        25 196  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

The Research and Development expenses include pre-clinical, manufacturing, clinical, quality, intellectual property and regulatory expenses and other research and development expenses, which are aggregated and presented as a single line in our consolidated financial statements.

Bottom-line, the R&D expenses show a year-over-year decrease of €3.7 million. The decrease is mainly driven by the decrease in preclinical activities, including process development and clinical development of the autologous programs, associated with its r/r AML and MDS product candidates.

The key projects driving the research and development expenses in 2020 included:

 

   

The clinical studies conducted on our Product Candidates;

 

   

The preclinical studies conducted on company’s CAR-T product candidates in allogeneic settings for solid tumors and the development of our allogeneic platform, which evaluates multiple non-gene editing technologies.

General and administrative expenses

 

     For the year ended
December 31,
 

(€’000)

   2020      2019  

Employee expenses

     3 363        3 542  

Share-based payments

     1 855        1 962  

Rent

     87        66  

Insurances

     1 182        559  

Communication & Marketing

     454        607  

Consulting fees

     1 747        1 532  

Travel & Living

     91        331  

Post employment benefits

     19        (33

Depreciation

     320        345  

Other

     197        159  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total General and administration

     9 315        9 070  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

General and administrative expenses were €9.3 million in 2020 as compared to €9.1 million in 2019, an increase of €0.2 million. This increase primarily relates to higher insurances costs partly compensated by savings on the travel & living expenses due to COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions.

 

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Change in fair value of contingent consideration

 

     For the year ended
December 31,
 

(€’000)

       2020              2019      

Change in fair value of contingent consideration

     9 228        433  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total Change in fair value of contingent consideration

     9 228        433  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

The fair value adjustment (€9.2 million) relating to the contingent consideration and other financial liabilities as of December 31, 2020, mainly driven by updated assumptions associated with the timing of the potential commercialization of our autologous AML/MDS CAR T program. The decrease of the liability is also driven by the devaluation of the USD foreign exchange rate as of December 31, 2020.

Other income and expenses

Other income

 

     For the year ended
December 31,
 

(€’000)

       2020              2019      

Grant income (RCA’s)

     2 311        1 508  

Grant income (Other)

     779        1 788  

Remeasurement of RCA’s

     933        —    

Fair value adjustment on securities (MESOBLAST)

     —          182  

R&D tax credit

     657        1 560  

Gain on sales of Property, plant & equipment

     35        —    

Other

     17        102  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total Other Income

     4 731        5 139  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Our other income, as described note 28, is associated with grants received from the Walloon Region mainly in the form of recoverable cash advances (RCAs), the change in fair value of the contingent liabilities and R&D tax credit income:

 

   

Additional grant income (RCAs) has been recognized in 2020 on grants in the form of recoverable cash advances (RCAs) for contracts, numbered 7685, 8087, 8088, 8212, 8436 and 1910028. According to IFRS standards, we have recognized grant income for the period amounting to €2.3 million and a liability component of €1.3 million is accounted for as a financial liability;

 

   

Additional grant income (Others) has been recognized in 2020 on grants received from the Federal Belgian Institute for Health Insurance Inami (€0.2 million) and from the regional government (contract numbered 8066 for €0.6 million), not referring to RCAs and not subject to reimbursement;

 

   

The remeasurement income on the recoverable cash advances (RCAs) of €0.9 million which is mainly related to the Group’s decision to updated assumptions associated with the timing of the potential commercialization of our autologous AML/MDS CAR T program;

 

   

With respect to R&D tax credit, the decrease compared to 2020 is mainly related to a catch-up effect for €0.7 million which occurred in 2019 and a decrease on the current year income for €0.2 million due to global decrease on R&D expenses in 2020.

 

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Other expenses

 

     For the year ended
December 31,
 

(€’000)

       2020              2019      

Clinical Development milestone payment

     69        36  

Remeasurement of RCA’s

     —          120  

Loss on disposals of Property, plant & equipment

     10        —    

Other

     35        35  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total Other Expenses

     114        191  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

For the year 2020, the decrease of our other expenses compared to prior year is mainly related to the RCA remeasurement effect which is favorable in 2020.

Non-recurring operating income and expenses

Non-recurring operating income and expenses are defined as one-off items, not directly related to our operational activities. No operations qualify for such a presentation for the years 2020 and 2019.

Operating loss

For the year ended December 31, 2020, the loss from operations amounted to €17.0 million versus €28.9 million in 2019 for the reasons stated above.

Financial income and financial expenses

 

     For the year ended
December 31,
 

(€’000)

       2020              2019      

Interest finance leases

     260        291  

Interest on overdrafts and other finance costs

     19        35  

Interest on RCAs

     18        17  

Foreign Exchange differences

     136        —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Finance expenses

     434        343  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Finance income on the net investment in lease

     46        62  

Interest income bank account

     5        30  

Foreign Exchange differences

     —          326  

Other financial income

     166        164  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Finance income

     217        582  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net Financial Result

     (217      239  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Financial results refer mainly to interest on finance leases and foreign exchange differences. Due to the depreciation of the USD compared to EUR in the previous year, we recognized a loss on foreign exchange differences in 2020 of €0.1 million in comparison to a gain of €0.3 million in 2019.

Income taxes

As we incurred losses in all the relevant periods, we had no taxable income and therefore incurred no significant corporate taxes.

 

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Loss for the year

As a result of the foregoing, the net loss for the financial year 2020 amounts to €17.2 million, compared to a net loss of €28.6 million for the prior year for the reasons discussed above.

B. Liquidity and Capital Resources

We have financed our operations since inception through several private placements of equity securities, several contributions in kind, an initial public offering on Euronext Brussels and Paris, an initial U.S. public offering on Nasdaq, follow-on offerings on Euronext and Nasdaq, and non-dilutive governmental support.

Through December 31, 2020, the total gross proceeds of the placement of our securities amounted to €253.2 million and RCAs total non-dilutive funding amounted to €32.0 million. For information on our use of and policies regarding financial instruments, please see Note 3 and Note 23 included in our consolidated financial statements appended to this Annual Report.

The table hereunder summarizes our sources and uses of cash for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018.

 

     For the years ended December 31,  

(€’000)

   2020      2019      2018  

Cash used in operating activities

     (27 665      (28 202      (27 249

Cash from/(used in) investing activities

     157        8 987        607  

Cash flows from financing activities

     5 396        18 276        43 928  

Net increase/(decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

     (22 112      (940      17 286  

Comparison between 2020 and 2019

The net cash burn rate for 2020 is a net cash outflow amounting to €22.1 million, compared to a net cash outflow of €10.4 million for 2019.

The cash outflow resulting from operating activities amounted to €27.7 million for 2020, which is in line with the €28.2 million for 2019.

Cash flow from investing activities represented a net cash inflow of €0.2 million for 2020, which represents a decrease of €8.8 million compared to 2019, largely driven by the fact that we had proceeds from short-term investments of €9.2 million in 2019.

The decrease in cash inflow from financing activities is primarily due to:

 

   

A decrease in the proceeds from capital raise of €16.4 million obtained in 2019 compared to no proceeds associated with the capital markets in 2020 and;

 

   

A partial offset coming from an increase of the proceeds from government grants received in 2020 for a total amount of €7.3 million (compared to €3.6 million in 2019).

Comparison between 2019 and 2018

The net cash burn rate for 2019 is a net cash outflow amounting to €10.4 million, compared to a net cash inflow of €15.8 million for 2018.

The cash outflow resulting from operating activities amounted to €28.2 million for 2019, compared to €27.2 million for 2018. This €1.0 million increase is mainly due to increased spending on our R&D expenses, which includes our preclinical and in-process development/scale-up investments in preparation for the next anticipated clinical stages of our product candidates.

 

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Cash flow from investing activities represented a net cash inflow of €9.0 million for 2019, an increase of €8.4 million compared to 2018, largely driven by proceeds from short-term investments (€9.4 million), and partly offset by the acquisition of Horizon Discovery’s shRNA Platform, acquired for $1.0 million in December 2018.

The decrease in cash inflow from financing activities is primarily due to:

 

   

A decrease in the net proceeds from the September 2019 capital raise (€16.4 million) compared to net proceeds from the May 2018 capital raise (€43.0 million),

 

   

And is partially offset by an increase the proceeds from government grants received in 2019 for a total amount of €3.6 million (compared to €1.2 million in 2018).

Cash and Funding Sources4

Over the last three years, we obtained new financing mostly through the issuance of our shares. A summary of our funding activities is as follows:

 

(€’000)

   Total      Equity
capital
     Finance
leases
     Loans  

2018

     43,960        43,011        730        220  

2019

     16,448        16,448        —          —    

2020

     —          —          —          —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total financing

     60,408        59,459        730        220  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

We refer to “Note 23—Financial instruments” included in our consolidated financial statements appended to this Annual Report for information related to the maturity profile of our leases and loans.

In May 2018, we completed a $54.4 million (€46.1 million) financing, before deducting underwriting commissions and offering expenses, via a global offering of 2,070,000 ordinary shares to purchasers in the United States, Europe and certain countries outside the United States and Europe, comprised of 568,500 ordinary shares in the form of American Depositary Shares (ADSs) at a price per ADS of $26.28, and 1,501,500 ordinary shares at a price per share of €22.29. Each ADS represents the right to receive one ordinary share.

In September 2019, we completed a $20.0 million (€18.2 million) financing, before deducting underwriting commissions and offering expenses, via a global offering of 2,000,000 ordinary shares to purchasers in the United States, Europe and certain countries outside the United States and Europe, comprised of 1,675,000 ordinary shares in the form of ADSs at a price per ADS of $10.00, and 325,000 ordinary shares at a price per share of €9.08. Each ADS represents the right to receive one ordinary share.

No warrants were exercised for equity capital proceeds in 2020 and 2019, compared to amounts of €0.01 million in 2018.

Most of our capital expenditures in 2018 related to laboratory and office equipment are financed with three-year maturity finance leases (€0.7 million). In 2019 and 2020, our capital expenditures have been financed mainly by cash and cash equivalents.

In 2018, we also contracted a bank loan to partially finance the leasehold improvements brought on a regular basis to our manufacturing facility and corporate office.

 

4 

The uncertainly raised by the COVID-19 pandemic is not impacting our corporate cash flow, capital resources and liquidity. For additional information on COVID-19 pandemic update, refer to note 2.

 

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Amounts received from the Walloon Region, booked as advances repayable, correspond to funding received under several RCAs, dedicated to supporting specific development programs related to CAR-T platform, THINK and DEPLETHINK (for CYAD-01), CYAD-02, CYAD-103, CYAD-101 and CYAD-211 clinical studies and C-Cathez at the end of 2020.

The changes in the advances repayable balance recorded in 2020, 2019 and 2018 are summarized in the table below:

 

(€’000)

      

Balance of January 1, 2018

     1 770  
  

 

 

 

+ liability recognition

     598  

- repayments

     (226

+/- other transactions including change of fair value

     998  

Balance at December 31, 2018

     3 140  
  

 

 

 

+ liability recognition

     1 481  

- repayments

     (256

+/- other transactions including change of fair value

     120  

Balance at December 31, 2019

     4 485  
  

 

 

 

+ liability recognition

     1 284  

- repayments

     (246

+/- other transactions including change of fair value

     (933

Balance at December 31, 2020

     4 591  
  

 

 

 

Capital Expenditures

We do not capitalize our research and development expenses until we receive marketing authorization for the applicable product candidate. Accordingly, all clinical, research and development spend related to the development of our CAR-T product candidates and allogeneic platform have been accounted for as operating expenses for the current year 2020, like for prior years.

Our capital expenditures were €0.3 million, €0.6 million and €1.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 respectively.

In 2021, we anticipate new capital expenditures in our laboratories and manufacturing plant.

The non-current assets are detailed in the following table.

 

     As of December 31,  

(€’000)

   2020      2019      2018  

Intangible assets

     36 171        36 199        36 164  

Property, plant and equipment

     4 119        5 061        3 014  

Other non-current assets

     6 089        5 740        3 430  

Total

     46 379        47 000        42 607  

The decrease observed at year-end 2020 compared to year-end 2019, is primarily the result of:

 

   

A decrease of €1.0 million on Property, plant and equipment mainly resulting from the depreciation of assets.

 

   

An increase in additional non-current assets, mainly related to receivables on the amounts to collect from the federal government as R&D tax credit (€3.7 million at December 31, 2020, including a base increment for 2020 of €0.6 million) partly compensated by the decrease of net investment in our lease, as we sublease some office spaces it leases from a head lessor (€0.5 million for the period ended December 31, 2019 compared to €0.2 million for the period ended December 31, 2020).

 

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The increase observed at year-end 2019 compared to year-end 2018, is primarily the result of:

 

   

An increase of €2.0 million on Property, plant and equipment mainly resulting from the first adoption of new accounting standard IFRS16 Leases, which leads to the recognition of additional right-of-use assets (mainly related to rent of offices, vehicles and equipment), for a total of €3.0 million recognized at January 1, 2019; additional lease as of December 31, 2019 for €0.3 million and related depreciation for the year 2019 for €0.6 million.

 

   

An increase in additional non-current assets, mainly related to receivables on the amounts to collect from the federal government as R&D tax credit recognized for the first time at year-end 2017 (€3.1 million at December 31, 2019, including a base increment for 2019 of €1.6 million) and a net investment in our lease that has been recorded in light of adoption of new accounting standard IFRS16 Leases as of January 1, 2019, as we sublease some office spaces it leases from a head lessor (€0.5 million for the period ended December 31, 2019).

Operating Capital Requirements

As of December 31, 2020, we had cash and cash equivalents of €17.2 million and no short-term investments. On January 8, 2021, we entered into a committed equity purchase agreement (“Purchase Agreement”) for up to $40 million with Lincoln Park Capital Fund, LLC (“LPC”), a Chicago-based institutional investor. Over the 24-month term of the Purchase Agreement, we will have the right to direct LPC to purchase up to an aggregate amount of $40 million American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”), each of which represents one of our ordinary shares. This equity purchase agreement is expected to strengthen our current statement of financial position while also providing us with access to future capital on an as needed basis and to ensure sufficient funding to cover our operations for the next 12 months from the date the financial statements are issued.

Based on our current scope of activities, we estimate that our cash and cash equivalents as of December 31, 2020 combined with the $40 million that we have access to from the equity purchase agreement established with Lincoln Park Capital Fund should be sufficient to fund operations until mid-2022, including data readouts from our ongoing clinical trials.

We have based this estimate on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could use our capital resources sooner than we currently expect. In any event, we will require additional capital to pursue preclinical and clinical activities, obtain regulatory approval for, and to commercialize our drug product candidates.

Until we can generate a sufficient amount of revenue from our drug product candidates, if ever, we expect to finance our operating activities through a combination of equity offerings, debt financings, government, including RCAs and subsidies, or other third-party financings and collaborations. Additional capital may not be available on reasonable terms, if at all. If we are unable to raise additional capital in sufficient amounts or on terms acceptable to us, we may have to significantly delay, scale back or discontinue the development or commercialization of one or more of our drug product candidates. If we raise additional funds through the issuance of additional debt or equity securities, it could result in dilution to our existing shareholders, increased fixed payment obligations and these securities may have rights senior to those of our ordinary shares. If we incur indebtedness, we could become subject to covenants that would restrict our operations and potentially impair our competitiveness, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt, limitations on our ability to acquire, sell or license intellectual property rights and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. Any of these events could significantly harm our business, financial condition and prospects.

There are no legal or economic restrictions on the ability of our subsidiaries to transfer funds to Celyad Oncology SA in the form of cash dividends, loans or advances.

 

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Our present and future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including, among other things:

 

   

The size, progress, timing and completion of our clinical trials for any current or future product candidates;

 

   

The number of potential new drug product candidates we identify and decide to develop;

 

   

The costs involved in filing patent applications, maintaining and enforcing patents or defending against claims or infringements raised by third parties;

 

   

The time and costs involved in obtaining regulatory approval for drug products and any delays we may encounter as a result of evolving regulatory requirements or adverse results with respect to any of these drug products; and

 

   

The amount of revenue, if any, we may derive either directly or in the form of royalty payments from future potential collaboration agreements on our technology platforms.

For more information as to the risks associated with our future funding needs, see the section of this Annual Report titled “Item 3.D.—Risk Factors”.

C. Research and Development

For a discussion of our research and development activities, see “Item 4.B.—Business Overview” and “Item 5.A—Operating Results.”

D. Trend Information

Other than as disclosed elsewhere in this annual report, we are not aware of any trends, uncertainties, demands, commitments or events for the period from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 that are reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on our net revenues, income, profitability, liquidity or capital resources, or that caused the disclosed financial information to be not necessarily indicative of future operating results or financial conditions. For a discussion of trends, see “Item 4.B.—Business Overview,” “Item 5.A.—Operating Results” and “Item 5.B.—Liquidity and Capital Resources.”

E. Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

During the periods presented, we did not and do not currently have any off-balance sheet arrangements as defined under SEC rules, such as relationships with unconsolidated entities or financial partnerships, which are often referred to as structured finance or special purpose entities, established for the purpose of facilitating financing transactions that are not required to be reflected on our balance sheets.

During the periods presented, we had bank guarantees granted to the landlords of our Belgian and U.S. offices (€0.3 million). These bank guarantees will last until the termination of the respective lease agreements.

For other contingent liabilities, see “Item 5.F.—Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations” below.

 

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F. Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations

The table below analyses our non-derivative financial liabilities into relevant maturity groupings based on the remaining period at the statement of financial position date to the contractual maturity date. The amounts disclosed in the table are the contractual undiscounted cash flows, except for advances repayable which are presented at amortized cost.

 

(€’000)

   Total      Less than
one year
     One to three
years
     Three to
five years
     More than
five years
 

As at December 31, 2020

              

Lease liabilities (undiscounted)

     4 129        1 306        1 776        955        92  

Bank loan

     37        37        —          —          —    

Pension obligations

     614        —          —          —          614  

Advances repayable (current and non-current)

     4 590        371        542        480        3 197  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total financial liabilities

     9 371        1 714        2 319        1 435        3 903  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

G. Safe Harbor.

This Annual Report contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act and as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. See “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”

 

ITEM 6.

DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

A. Directors and Senior Management.

Board of Directors

As provided by the articles 7:85 et sq. of the CCA, we are managed by a Board of Directors acting as a collegiate body. The Board of Directors’ role is to pursue our long-term success by providing entrepreneurial leadership and enabling risks to be assessed and managed. The Board of Directors determines our values and strategy, its risk preference and key policies. The Board of Directors ensures that the necessary leadership, financial and human resources are in place for us to meet its objectives.

We have opted for a one-tier governance structure. As provided by Article 7:93 of the CCA, the Board of Directors is our ultimate decision-making body, except with respect to those areas that are reserved by the law or by our articles of association to the Shareholders Meeting.

Our articles of association state that the number of our directors, who may be natural persons or legal entities and who need not be shareholders, must be at least three. At least half of the members of the Board of Directors must be non-executive directors and at least three of them must be independent directors.

A meeting of the Board of Directors is validly constituted if at least half of its members are present in person or represented at the meeting. If that quorum is not met, a new board meeting may be convened by any director to deliberate and decide on the matters on the agenda of the board meeting for which a quorum was not met, provided that at least two members are present. Meetings of the Board of Directors are convened by the Chairperson of the Board or the CFO or the Chief Legal Officer, or by at least two directors, whenever our interest so requires. In principle, the Board of Directors will meet at least four times per year.

The Chairperson of the Board of Directors shall have a casting vote on matters submitted to the Board of Directors in the event of a tied vote.

 

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At the date of this Report, the Board of Directors consists of 9 members, one of which is an executive director (with daily management authority) and 8 of which are non-executive directors, including four independent directors. The Board of Directors is composed of 6 men and 3 women.

 

Name

  

Position

  

Term

  

Board Committee Membership

Mel Management SRL(1)   

Chairman of the Board

Non-Executive Director

   2021    Chairman of the Nomination and Remuneration Committee
Filippo Petti    Executive Director    2024   
Serge Goblet    Non-executive director    2024   
Chris Buyse    Non-executive director    2024    Member of the Audit Committee
RAD Lifesciences BV(2)    Non-executive director    2024   
Hilde Windels    Independent director    2022    Member of the Audit Committee and the Nomination and Remuneration Committee
Maria Koehler(3)    Independent Director    2024   
Dominic Piscitelli(4)    Independent Director    2024    Chairman of the Audit Committee and member of the Nomination and Remuneration Committee
Marina Udier(5)    Independent Director    2021   

 

(1)

Represented by Michel Lussier. Mel Management SRL has been appointed on December 4, 2020 as member of the Board to fulfill the vacant mandate of Michel Lussier who stepped down from the Board at the same date.

(2)

represented by Rudy Dekeyser.

(3)

Maria Koehler was appointed as Board member by resolution of the extraordinary shareholders meeting of March 23, 2020

(4)

Dominic Piscitelli was appointed as Board member by resolution of the shareholders meeting of May 5, 2020

(5)

Marina Udier has been appointed as member of the Board of Directors on December 17, 2020 to fulfill the vacant mandate of Margo Roberts

The following paragraphs contain brief biographies of each of the directors, or in case of legal entities being director, their permanent representatives, with an indication of other relevant mandates as member of administrative, management or supervisory bodies in other companies during the previous five years.

Michel Lussier serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Lussier has founded MedPole Ltd, the North American affiliate of MedPole SA, a European incubator for medical technology start-up companies located in Belgium and serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the group. Since May 2014 and until September 2020, Mr. Lussier has also served as the Chief Executive Officer of Metronom Health Inc, an early stage medical device company founded by Fjord Ventures, developing a continuous glucose monitoring system. Prior to that, from 2002 to 2013, he worked for Volcano Corporation, where he served several positions, most recently as President, Clinical and Scientific Affairs from 2012 to 2013, and prior to that from 2007 to 2012, Group President, Advanced Imaging Systems, Global Clinical & Scientific Affairs and General Management of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Mr. Lussier obtained a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Electrical Engineering and Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Montreal. He also holds an MBA from INSEAD (European Institute of Business Administration), France. In addition to serving on our Board of Directors, he also serves on the boards of several early stage medical devices companies.

Filippo Petti is our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, and Executive Director. Prior to joining us, Mr. Petti worked in healthcare investment banking both at Wells Fargo Securities and William Blair & Company, until 2017. Prior to his roles in investment banking, Mr. Petti spent several years in equity research covering U.S. biotechnology companies both at William Blair & Company and Wedbush Securities. He began

 

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his career as a research scientist at OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. focused on drug discovery and translational research, and later transitioning into corporate development with the company. Mr. Petti holds a Master of Business Administration from Cornell University, a Master of Science from St. John’s University and a Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University.

Serge Goblet holds a Master Degree in Business and Consular Sciences from ICHEC, Belgium and has many years of international experience as director in Belgian and foreign companies. Mr. Goblet is the managing director of TOLEFI SA, a Belgian holding company and holds director mandates in subsidiaries of TOLEFI.

Chris Buyse brings more than 30 years of international financial expertise and experience in introducing best financial management practices. He is currently Managing Director of FUND+, a fund that invests in innovative Belgian Life Sciences companies, Between August 2006 and June 2014, Mr. Buyse served as the Chief Financial Officer and board member of ThromboGenics NV, a leading biotech company that is listed on NYSE Euronext Brussels. Before joining ThromboGenics, he was the Chief Financial Officer of the Belgian biotech company CropDesign, where he coordinated the acquisition by BASF in July 2006. Prior to joining CropDesign NV he was financial manager of WorldCom/MCI Belux, a European subsidiary of one of the world’s largest telecommunication companies and he was also the Chief Financial Officer and interim Chief Executive Officer of Keyware Technologies. Mr. Buyse holds a Master’s Degree in applied economic sciences from the University of Antwerp and a Master of Business Association from Vlerick School of Management in Gent. He currently serves, in his own name or as permanent representative of a management company, as member of the board of directors of the following publicly and privately held companies: Bio Incubator NV, Pinnacle Investments SA, CreaBuild NV, Sofia BVBA, Pienter-Jan BVBA, Life Sciences Research Partners VZW, Inventiva SA, The Francqui Foundation and EyeDPharma SA. Mr. Buyse is also Board observer at Hyloris pharmaceuticals and the Foundation Louis-Jeantet (CH).

Rudy Dekeyser is partner at LSP, one of Europe’s leading venture capital firms in healthcare. Prior to joining LSP, Mr. Dekeyser has been co-managing director of VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology), where he was also responsible for all activities related to the intellectual property portfolio, business development and the establishment of new companies. He holds non-executive director positions in Sequana Medical NV, Lumeon Inc and Remynd NV, and held non-executive director positions in Devgen NV, CropDesign NV, Ablynx NV, Actogenix NV, Flandersbio VZW and Multiplicom NV. He is a co-founder of ASTP (the European associations of technology transfer managers) and Chairman of EMBLEM (EMBL’s business arm). Mr. Dekeyser is member of the advisory boards of several foundations investing in life sciences research and innovation. He obtained a Ph.D. in molecular biology at the University Ghent.

Hilde Windels is the Chief Executive Officer of the privately held diagnostics company Antelope Dx BV and she is also member of its boards of directors. Ms. Windels brings 20 years of experience in biotech with a track record of business and corporate strategy, building and structuring organizations, private fundraising, mergers and acquisitions and public capital markets. Ms. Windels has worked as Chief Financial Officer for several biotech companies, amongst those Belgium based molecular Dx company Biocartis where she started as Chief Financial Officer CFO in 2011. She transitioned to the co-Chief Executive Officer role in 2015 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2017. Later that year, she joined MyCartis NV as Chief Executive Officer and in 2019 she was appointed CEO of Mycartis’ spin-out Antelope Dx. Ms. Windels is member of the board of directors of Erytech and MdxHealth. She holds a Master’s Degrees in Economics (Commercial Engineer) from the University of Leuven (Belgium).

Dr. Maria Koehler, Ph.D., is since May 2019 the Chief Medical Officer at oncology biotechnology company Repare Therapeutics and previously from September 2017 until April 2019 served as the Chief Medical Officer of a Bicycle Therapeutics plc, a biotechnology company. From March 2009 until September 2017, she was the Vice President of Strategy and Innovation for the Oncology Unit at Pfizer Inc, a pharmaceutical company. Prior to that, Dr. Koehler held senior positions in oncology research and development at AstraZeneca plc. and GlaxoSMith Kline. Dr. Koehler has also served as the Clinical Director of Bone Marrow Transplantation at

 

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University Hospital in Pittsburgh and the Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program and Associate Professor at St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Koehler is a board-certified hematology/oncology physician. Dr. Koehler received her M.D. and Ph.D. from Silesian School of Medicine in Katowice, Poland.

Dominic Piscitelli brings more than 20 years of industry experience, including debt and equity financings, in-licensing transactions, acquisitions, marketing partnerships and commercial product launches (XTANDI® and Tarceva®). Since September 2019 Dominic has served as the Chief Financial Officer of ORIC Pharmaceuticals, Nasdaq-listed biotechnology company, that completed its initial public offering in April 2020. Prior to joining ORIC, Mr. Piscitelli was CFO of AnaptysBio, a Nasdaq-listed biotechnology company, where he helped raise over $500 million in an IPO and follow-on financings. From 2012 until 2017, Mr. Piscitelli was Vice President of Finance, Strategy and Investor Relations at Medivation and played a key role in its acquisition by Pfizer. Previously, he served as Senior Director of Collaborations and Operations Finance at Astellas Pharma. Prior to that, Mr. Piscitelli served in various roles of increasing responsibility culminating as the Vice President, Treasury & Management Finance at OSI Pharmaceuticals, and played a significant role in their acquisition by Astellas. Mr. Piscitelli began his career with KPMG and is a certified public accountant. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA from Hofstra University (New York).

Marina Udier, Ph.D., serves as CEO of Nouscom after joining as Chief Operating Officer in 2016 from Versant Ventures, where she was Operating Principal. Prior to Versant, she held senior development and commercial roles at Novartis in Basel including work as a Global Commercial Head. Previously, Dr. Udier worked for McKinsey & Company in the US, working with Healthcare Fortune 500 companies in areas of marketing, strategy and pricing. She has a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Yale University.

The Executive Committee

The Board of Directors has established an Executive Committee. The terms of service of the Executive Committee have been determined by the Board of Directors and are set out in our Charter.

The Executive Committee consists of the “Chief Executive Officer”, or CEO (who is the chairman of the Executive Committee), the “Chief Financial Officer”, or CFO, currently Filippo Petti ad interim, the “Chief Scientific Officer”, the “Chief Legal Officer” and the “Vice President Clinical Development and Medical Affairs”, the “Chief Business Officer”, and the Chief Human Resources Officer.

The Executive Committee discusses and consults with the Board of Directors and advises the Board of Directors on our day-to-day management in accordance with our values, strategy, general policy and budget, as determined by the Board of Directors.

Each member of the Executive Committee has been made individually responsible for certain aspects of our day-to-day management and our business (in the case of the CEO, by way of delegation by the Board of Directors; in the case of the other member of the Executive Committee, by way of delegation by the CEO). The further tasks for which the Executive Committee is responsible are described in greater detail in the sections referencing the Executive Committee, as set out in our Charter.

The members of the Executive Committee are appointed and may be dismissed by the Board of Directors at any time. The Board of Directors appoints them following the recommendation of the Nomination and Remuneration Committee, which shall also assist the Board of Directors on the remuneration policy of the members of the Executive Committee, and their individual remunerations.

The remuneration, duration and conditions of dismissal of Executive Committee members is governed by the contract entered into between us and each member of the Executive Committee with respect to their function within us.

 

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In principle, the Executive Committee meets every month. Additional meetings may be convened at any time by the Chairman of the Executive Committee or at the request of two of its members. The Executive Committee will constitute a quorum when all members have been invited and the majority of the members are present or represented at the meeting. Absent members may grant a power of attorney to another member of the Executive Committee. Members may attend the meeting physically or by telephone or video conference. The absent members must be notified of the discussions in their absence by the Chairman (or our Secretary, if the Executive Committee has appointed a Company Secretary from among its members).

The members of the Executive Committee must provide the Board of Directors with information in a timely manner, if possible in writing, on all facts and developments concerning us that the Board of Directors may need in order to function as required and to properly carry out its duties. The CEO (or, in the event that the CEO is not able to attend the Board of Directors’ meeting, the CFO or, in the event that the CFO is not able to attend the Board of Directors’ meeting, another representative of the Executive Committee) must report at every ordinary meeting of the Board of Directors on the material deliberations of the previous meeting(s) of the Executive Committee.

The following table sets forth the members of the Executive Committee who have performed during 2020.

 

Name

  

Function

   Year of birth

Filippo Petti

   Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer(1)    1976

KNCL SRL, represented by Jean-Pierre Latere(1)

   Chief Operating Officer    1975

NandaDevi SRL, represented by Philippe Dechamps

   Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary    1970

MC Consult SRL, represented by Philippe Nobels

   Chief Human Resources Officer    1966

ImXense SRL, represented by Frederic Lehmann

   Vice President Clinical Development & Medical Affairs    1964

Stephen Rubino(2)

   Chief Business Officer    1958

David Gilham

   Chief Scientific Officer    1965

 

(1)

The services agreement with KNCL SRL has been terminated by us with effective date as of May 18, 2020

(2)

Stephen Rubino was appointed Chief Business Development Officer as of February 1st, 2020

The following paragraphs contain brief biographies of each of the current members of the Executive Committee or in case of legal entities being a member of the Executive Committee or key manager, their permanent representatives.

Filippo Petti, CEO and CFO ad interim– reference is made to section “Board of Directors”.

Philippe Dechamps (representative of NandaDevi SRL), serves as our Chief Legal Officer. Philippe started his legal career as an associate in Brussels with the law firm Linklaters De Bandt from 1994 to 1998. Until 2003, he then served as an Legal manager at Solvay Group to assist the company in its turnaround through several M&A operations in Europe, India and Far-East Asia. In 2003, he took over the position of Legal Director at Guidant, the United States company formerly active in the medical devices business before its acquisition by Boston Scientific and Abbott Laboratories in 2005. At Abbott, Philippe was leading the legal affairs of Abbott Vascular International outside of the United States. In 2008, Philippe joined Delhaize Group to lead the legal and government affairs in Europe and Asia, before becoming Group General Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Directors in 2015. In this position, he piloted the legal strategy to merge Delhaize Group with Royal Ahold in July 2016. Since December 2018, Philippe is also member of the Board of Directors of Petserco SA, the holding company of the Tom&Co group. Philippe holds law degrees from the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), and a Master of Law (LL.M) from Harvard Law School.

 

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Philippe Nobels (representative of MC Consult SRL), serves as our Vice President of Human Resources. He started his career at Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) as auditor in 1989. He also went in rotational assignment in Congo during 2 years on consulting missions for the World Bank. In 1995, he joined Fourcroy as plant controller. Then, he joined Dow Corning in 1997 where he held different positions in Finance and Human Resources. He led the HR operations in Europe, became the HR manager for Dow Corning in Belgium, and HR Business Partner for the sales and marketing functions globally. As a member of the sales and marketing Leadership teams, he contributed to Dow Corning’s major transformation initiatives to increase organizational effectiveness, employees’ engagement & performance as well as Business results. Mr. Nobels holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Namur.

Frédéric Lehmann (representative of ImXense SRL), serves as our Vice President Clinical Development & Medical Affairs. Dr. Lehmann is a physician by training, specialized in hematology and oncology. Dr. Lehmann has extensive experience in oncology drug development spanning early to late phase, including clinical trial design, translational research, regulatory interactions, and clinical risk management. He started his academic career at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Brussels, followed by a position at the Institute Jules Bordet. He then moved to the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) as Medical Advisor. Dr. Lehmann began his corporate career at GlaxoSmithKline, where he led the early worldwide clinical development program for our cancer vaccines and went on to lead the research and development incubator for cancer immunotherapeutics.

David Gilham serves as our Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Gilham obtained his Ph.D from the University of Dundee, UK under the supervision of Professor Roland Wolf OBE working on cytochrome P4502D6 and Parkinson’s disease. In 1996, Dr. Gilham was recruited to work with Professor Robert Hawkins at the University of Bristol, UK to work on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells as a part of the Chimeric Eurocell European Programme lead by Prof Zelig Eshhar. In 1998, the group moved to the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, University of Manchester. The group maintained a strong translational focus delivering several clinical trials of CAR T (including the first such trial to be initiated in the UK) while developing a strong basic research core activity including the ATTACK European Programme that drew together colleagues working in T cell therapy across Europe. Along with achieving academic independence and promotion to Senior Fellow, Dr. Gilham took over the leadership of the laboratory group in 2009. The group moved to the Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Manchester based within the Manchester Cancer Research Centre in 2015 and Dr. Gilham was appointed Reader in 2016. In September 2016, Dr. Gilham moved to the role of Vice President at Celyad to continue working upon immune based therapies for cancer and appointed to Chief Scientific Officer in May 2020.

Dr. Stephen Rubino, Ph.D., serves as our Chief Business Officer. Dr. Rubino brings over 30 years of pharmaceutical leadership experience to the role of Chief Business Officer, with emphasis in the areas of business development and licensing, new product development, commercial operations, pharmaceutical strategy and investor relations. Dr. Rubino currently serves as an independent board member of Sermonix Pharmaceuticals and Viracta Therapeutics. Dr. Rubino has also served Novartis Pharmaceuticals in a wide range of roles and therapeutic areas, the last of which was as Global Head of Business Development and New Product Marketing, responsible for developing and building the product pipeline for Novartis’ Cell & Gene Therapies Unit. Prior to Novartis, Dr. Rubino worked for Schering–Plough (Merck) where his last role was head of the Global Solid Tumor Oncology & Autoimmune Business Unit responsible for the licensing and launch of Remicade, as well as the launch and commercialization of several global oncology brands. Dr. Rubino received his Ph.D. from Weill Cornell University (New York) and his Master of Business Association from Baruch University (New York).

Family Relationships

There are no family relationships among any of the members of our Executive Committee or directors.

 

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B. Compensation

The aggregate compensation paid and benefits in kind granted by us to the current members of our Executive Committee and directors, including share-based compensation, for the year ended December 31, 2020, was €3.94 million. For the year ended December 31, 2020, approximately €34,000 of the amounts set aside or accrued to provide pension, retirement or similar benefits to our employees was attributable to members of our Executive Committee.

For a discussion of our employment arrangements with members of our Executive Committee and consulting arrangements with our directors, see the section of this Annual Report titled “Item 7.B.—Related Party Transactions—Agreements with our Directors and Members of our Executive Committee.” For more information regarding warrant grants, see the section of this report titled “—Warrant Plans.”

Except the arrangements described in the section of this Annual Report titled “Certain relationships and related party transactions-Agreements with our Directors and Members of our Executive Committee,” there are no arrangements or understanding between us and any our other executive officers or directors providing for benefits upon termination of their employment, other than as required by applicable law.

There are no agreements or contracts between the directors and the members of the Executive Committee and us or any of our subsidiaries providing for benefits for the directors upon termination of employment or services agreements in place that provide for benefits upon termination of employment.

Compensation of Our Board of Directors

The Company’s remuneration policy is aimed at attracting non-executive directors with the most relevant skills, knowledge and expertise in a highly competitive and quickly evolving industry. The policy will help the Company attract and retain a diverse and international team of non-executive directors, striking a balance between scientific, financial, operational and strategic contributions, promoting an open, fair, sustainable and equitable company culture, driven by success.

The remuneration of the non-executive Directors is determined by the shareholders’ meeting upon proposal of the Board of Directors based on a recommendation from the Nomination and Remuneration Committee. The Nomination and Remuneration Committee benchmarks non-executive Directors’ compensation against peer companies to ensure that it remains fair and competitive. The Directors’ remunerations are therefore market driven.

On May 9, 2016, at a meeting of our shareholders, the shareholders approved a remuneration and compensation scheme for the non-executive directors. The remuneration package is made up of fixed annual fee of €10,000 for non-executive directors, supplemented by a fixed annual fee of €10,000 for the Chairman. The annual fee is supplemented by a €5,000 fee for any non-executive directors covering the participation to the four ordinary Board of Directors’ meetings. Any participation to an extraordinary Board of Directors’ meetings gives right to a supplemental fee of €5,000. This remuneration package is also supplemented with a fixed annual fee of €15,000 for membership of each committee of the Board of Directors, to be increased by €5,000 in case the relevant director chairs the Nomination and Remuneration Committee or the Audit Committee. Finally, an extraordinary fee of €3,000 is granted to non-executive directors in case of appointment of such directors, on request of the CEO and with prior approval of the Board of Directors, for specific missions requiring the presence of the concerned director. As part of the fixed remuneration for non-executive directors, all directors may receive from time to time Company warrants subject to shareholders’ approval. As mentioned above, the grant of warrants to non-executive directors is not linked or subject to performance criteria. Directors are also entitled to the reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses actually incurred as a result of participation in meetings of the Board of Directors.

 

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On May 5, 2021, the Company will propose to its shareholders to approve a new Remuneration Policy designed to bring the current remuneration policy in line with the Directive (EU) 2017/828 amending Directive 2007/36/EC as regards the encouragement of long-term shareholder engagement.

The new remuneration policy is based on the following fixed components:

 

  (a)

A fixed fee, consisting of a base fee and an additional fee if the non-executive director is the Chairman of the Board or any of its committees or if the non-executive director is a member of a board committee ;

 

  (b)

Warrants.

The remuneration of non-executive Directors does not contain any variable part and is not based on any performance conditions.

As the Company has no distributable reserves, it does not meet the legal requirements to proceed to a shares buy-back, therefore does not own treasury shares and is then currently unable to grant shares to the non-executive directors as part of their remuneration.

Fixed fee

The fixed fee of non-executive directors consists of:

 

  (a)

A fixed annual fee (retainer) of 18,000 EUR (36,000 EUR for the Chairman of the Board), including the four annual, ordinary Board meetings;

 

  (b)

A supplemental fixed fee of 3,000 EUR (5,000 EUR for the Chairman of the Board) for the participation to extraordinary Board meetings of more than 2 hours, and 1,500 EUR (2,500 for the Chairman of the Board) for the participation to extraordinary Board meetings of less than 2 hours;

 

  (c)

A supplemental fixed annual fee (retainer) of 15,000 EUR for membership of each committee of the Board of Directors, increased by 5,000 EUR for the chairmanship of such committee;