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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

 

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

 

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

or

 

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

 

 

For the transition period from                   to                     

Commission File Number: 001-35703

 

PUMA BIOTECHNOLOGY, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

77-0683487

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

10880 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 2150

Los Angeles, CA 90024

(424) 248-6500

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Trading symbol

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share

 

PBYI

The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC

(NASDAQ Global Select Market)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

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

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    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, a smaller reporting company, or emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.  

 

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Emerging growth company

 

 

If an emerging growth company, 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 is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes      No  

The aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $427.6 million as of June 28, 2019, based upon the closing price of $12.71 per share of the registrant’s common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market on Friday, June 28, 2019, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter. Shares of common stock held by each executive officer, director and holder of 10% or more of the outstanding common stock have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes. As of February 20, 2020, there were 39,301,587 shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding.

Documents Incorporated by Reference:

Portions of the Proxy Statement for the registrant’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, or the 2020 Proxy Statement, are incorporated by reference into Part III of the Form 10-K to the extent stated herein.

 

 

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

  

 

  

Page

Part I

  

 

  

 

Item 1.

  

Business

  

2

Item 1A.

  

Risk Factors

  

30

Item 1B.

  

Unresolved Staff Comments

  

55

Item 2.

  

Properties

  

55

Item 3.

  

Legal Proceedings

  

55

Item 4.

  

Mine Safety Disclosure

  

55

 

 

 

Part II

  

 

  

 

Item 5.

  

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

  

56

Item 6.

  

Selected Financial Data

  

58

Item 7.

  

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

  

59

Item 7A.

  

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

  

72

Item 8.

  

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

  

72

Item 9.

  

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

  

72

Item 9A.

  

Controls and Procedures

  

73

Item 9B.

  

Other Information

  

75

 

 

 

Part III

  

 

  

 

Item 10.

  

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

  

75

Item 11.

  

Executive Compensation

  

75

Item 12.

  

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

  

75

Item 13.

  

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

  

75

Item 14.

  

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

  

75

 

 

 

Part IV

  

 

  

 

Item 15.

  

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

  

75

Item 16.

 

Form 10-K Summary

 

76

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit Index

 

77

 

 

 

Signatures

  

81

 

 

 

Index to Consolidated Financial Statements

  

F-1

 

 

 

 


CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. Any statements about our expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions, future events or performance are not historical facts and may be forward looking. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about:

 

the commercialization of NERLYNX® (neratinib);

 

the development of our drug candidates, including when we expect to undertake, initiate and complete clinical trials of our product candidates;

 

the anticipated timing of regulatory filings;

 

the regulatory approval of our drug candidates;

 

our use of clinical research organizations and other contractors;

 

our ability to find collaborative partners for research, development and commercialization of potential products;

 

efforts of our sub-licensees to obtain regulatory approval and commercialize NERLYNX in areas outside the United States;

 

our ability to market any of our products;

 

our expectations regarding our costs and expenses;

 

our anticipated capital requirements and estimates regarding our needs for additional financing;

 

our ability to compete against other companies and research institutions;

 

our ability to secure adequate protection for our intellectual property;

 

our intention and ability to vigorously defend against any litigation to which we are or may become party;

 

our estimates for damages that we may be required to pay in connection with the class action lawsuit to which we are a party;

 

our ability to attract and retain key personnel; and

 

our ability to obtain adequate financing.

These statements are often, but not always, made through the use of words or phrases such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “plan,” “project,” “continuing,” “ongoing,” “expect,” “believe,” “intend” and similar words or phrases. Accordingly, these statements involve estimates, assumptions and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in them. Discussions containing these forward-looking statements may be found throughout this Annual Report, including the sections entitled “Item 1. Business” in Part I and “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II of this Annual Report.  These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including the risks discussed in the section entitled “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in Part I of this Annual Report that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.  We undertake no obligation to update the forward-looking statements or to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this document, except as required by law.  The risks discussed in this Annual Report should be considered in evaluating our prospects and future financial performance.

 

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PART I

ITEM 1.

BUSINESS

Company Overview

Unless otherwise provided in this Annual Report, references to the “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to Puma Biotechnology, Inc., a Delaware corporation formed on April 27, 2007 and formerly known as Innovative Acquisitions Corp., together with its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Puma Biotechnology Ltd and Puma Biotechnology B.V., and all references to “Former Puma” refer to Puma Biotechnology, Inc., a privately-held Delaware corporation formed on September 15, 2010, that merged with and into us in October 2011. We refer to this transaction as the “Merger.”

We are a biopharmaceutical company with a focus on the development and commercialization of innovative products to enhance cancer care. We in-license from Pfizer, Inc. or Pfizer, the global development and commercialization rights to PB272 (neratinib, oral), PB272 (neratinib, intravenous) and PB357. Neratinib is a potent irreversible tyrosine kinase inhibitor, or TKI, that blocks signal transduction through the human epidermal growth factor receptors, HER1, HER2 and HER4.  Currently, we are primarily focused on the development and commercialization of the oral version of neratinib, and our most advanced drug candidates are directed at the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer and HER2 mutated cancers. We believe neratinib has clinical application in the treatment of several other cancers as well, including other tumor types that over-express or have a mutation in HER2, such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer or other solid tumors.

 

Prior to 2017, our efforts and resources had been focused primarily on acquiring and developing our pharmaceutical technologies, raising capital and recruiting personnel. In 2017, the United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, approved NERLYNX, formally known as PB272 (neratinib (oral)), for the extended adjuvant treatment of adult patients with early stage HER2-overexpressed/amplified breast cancer following adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy. We currently market NERLYNX in the United States using our direct specialty sales force consisting of approximately 80 sales specialists. Our sales specialists are supported by an experienced sales leadership team consisting of regional managers, and our commercial team of experienced professionals in marketing, access and reimbursement, managed markets, marketing research, commercial operations and sales force planning and management. In 2018, the European Commission, or EC, granted marketing authorization for NERLYNX in the European Union for the extended adjuvant treatment of adult patients with early stage hormone receptor positive HER2-overexpressed/amplified breast cancer and who are less than one year from the completion of prior adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy.

We license the commercial rights to our current drug candidates from Pfizer, which had previously been responsible for the clinical trials regarding neratinib. Going forward, we expect to augment our product pipeline by acquiring, through license or otherwise, additional drug candidates for research and development, and potential commercialization.  Our decision to acquire a drug candidate will also depend on our evaluation of the scientific merits of the underlying technology, the costs of the transaction and other economic terms of any proposed license, the amount of capital that we anticipate will be required to develop the drug candidate and the economic potential of the drug candidate if approved for commercialization.  We believe this strategy minimizes our clinical development risk and allows us to accelerate the development and potential commercialization of current and future drug candidates.

 

We have entered into exclusive sub-license agreements with various parties to pursue regulatory approval, if necessary, and commercialize NERLYNX, if approved, in numerous regions outside the United States, including Europe (excluding Russia and Ukraine), Canada, China, Southeast Asia, and various countries and territories in Central and South America. We plan to continue to pursue commercialization of NERLYNX in other countries outside the United States, if approved.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide.  Studies show that approximately 20% to 25% of breast cancer tumors have an over-expression of the HER2 protein. Women with breast cancer that over-expresses HER2, referred to as HER2-positive breast cancer, are at greater risk for disease progression and death than women whose tumors do not over-express HER2. Therapeutic strategies, such as the use of trastuzumab (marketed as Herceptin), pertuzumab (marketed as Perjeta) and T-DM1 (marketed as Kadcyla), each produced by Genentech, and lapatinib (marketed as Tykerb) produced by Novartis, given either alone or in combination with chemotherapy, have been developed to improve the treatment of this type of breast cancer by binding to the HER2 protein. There are a number of trials ongoing that involve various combinations of these drugs. Based on pre-clinical studies and clinical trials to date, we believe that neratinib may offer an advantage over existing treatments by more potently inhibiting HER2 at a different site and using a different mechanism than these other drugs.

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In December 2016, we initiated a managed access program for neratinib. Managed access programs provide physicians and patients access to medicines when there are limited or no other therapeutic options available. Our managed access program for neratinib enables participation from countries outside the United States, including European Union member states, where permitted by applicable rules, procedures and regulatory authorities. The program provides access to neratinib for the treatment of early stage HER2-positive breast cancer (extended adjuvant setting), HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer and HER2-mutated solid tumors. In order for patients to qualify for our managed access program they must be unable to participate in any ongoing neratinib clinical trial. Patients in the managed access program are given neratinib and are instructed to take a prophylaxis during treatment to manage neratinib-related diarrhea, which consists of high dose loperamide and budesonide.  We have partnered with Caligor Opco LLC, which specializes in early access to medicines, to oversee the managed access program for neratinib.

On February 25, 2020, the FDA approved our supplemental New Drug Application, or sNDA, for neratinib in combination with capecitabine for the treatment of adult patients with advanced or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer who have received two or more prior anti-HER2-based regimens in the metastatic setting.  The sNDA approval was based on results of our Phase III clinical trial of PB272 that we refer to as the NALA trial.  In addition to continuing to follow the patients from the ExteNET trial, which was our Phase III clinical trial of neratinib for the extended adjuvant treatment of early stage HER2-positive breast cancer, as well as patients from the NALA trial, we are actively conducting the following trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of neratinib in various indications:

 

a Phase II clinical trial of neratinib for the extended adjuvant treatment of patients with early stage HER2-overexpressed/amplified breast cancer who have received prior adjuvant trastuzumab (Herceptin)-based therapy in which patients are given either: 1) antidiarrheal prophylaxis including loperamide alone or in combination with budesonide or other agents or 2) escalating doses of neratinib during the first month (dose escalation) in order to prevent and reduce the neratinib-related diarrhea;

 

a Phase II clinical trial of neratinib in combination with the drug ado-trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1, Kadcyla) in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer that has metastasized to the brain;

 

a Phase II clinical trial of neratinib monotherapy or in combination with the drug trastuzumab and or other anticancer drugs in the treatment of patients with HER2-negative cancers that have a HER2 mutation; and

 

a Phase II clinical trial of neratinib monotherapy in the treatment of solid tumors that have an activating EGFR exon 18, or HER4 mutation.

Strategy

Our primary objectives are to build neratinib into a significant oncology franchise as a single agent, and potentially in combination with other therapies, and potentially to in-license or acquire additional drug candidates. The following elements comprise our strategy to achieve these objectives:

 

Successfully execute our NERLYNX commercial plan.  An important near-term objective is to continue to execute our NERLYNX commercial plan by driving market penetration and duration of therapy consistent with the current NERLYNX label.  We continue to focus our efforts on commercializing NERLYNX in the United States.  In addition, we have entered into exclusive sub-license agreements with various parties to pursue regulatory approval, if necessary, and commercialize NERLYNX, if approved, in additional countries worldwide.

 

Continue to advance the development of neratinib for the treatment of other HER2-positive or HER2 mutated breast cancer indications.  We are primarily focused on developing neratinib for the treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer or HER2-negative cancers with a HER2 mutation.  

 

Expand our product pipeline by pursuing additional applications of neratinib. We believe there are additional applications for neratinib in the treatment of patients with HER2-negative cancers who have a HER2 mutation; and in tumor types where HER2 is over-expressed or mutated. We intend to further evaluate the safety and efficacy of neratinib for treating these cancers.

 

In-license or acquire additional drug candidates and technologies in order to build a sustainable product pipeline by employing multiple therapeutic approaches and disciplined decision criteria based on clearly defined proof of principal goals. We seek to build a sustainable product pipeline by employing multiple therapeutic approaches and by acquiring drug candidates belonging to known drug classes. In addition, we employ disciplined decision criteria to assess drug candidates. A decision by us to license a drug candidate will depend on a variety of factors, including the scientific merits of the technology; the costs of the transaction and other economic terms of the proposed license; the amount of capital required to develop the technology; and the economic potential of the drug candidate, should it be commercialized. We believe this strategy minimizes our clinical development risk and allows us to accelerate the development and potential commercialization of current and future drug candidates.

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Evaluate the commercialization strategies on a product-by-product basis in order to maximize the value of each. We are currently commercializing NERLYNX using a direct sales force in the United States and using out-licenses in certain countries outside of the United States.  As we move additional drug candidates through development toward regulatory approval, we plan to evaluate several options for each drug candidate’s commercialization strategy. These options include building our own internal sales force; entering into a joint marketing partnership with another pharmaceutical or biotechnology company, whereby we jointly sell and market the product; and out-licensing our product, whereby another pharmaceutical or biotechnology company sells and markets our product and pays us a royalty on sales. Our decision may be different for each product that reaches commercialization and will be based on a number of factors including capital necessary to execute on each option, size of the market to be addressed and terms of potential offers from other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.  

Breast Cancer Overview

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide, with approximately 1 million new cases reported each year and more than 400,000 deaths per year. Approximately 20% to 25% of breast cancer tumors show over-expression of the HER2 protein. Women with breast cancer that over-expresses HER2 are at greater risk for disease progression and death than women whose tumors do not over-express HER2. Therapeutic strategies have been developed to block HER2 in order to improve the treatment of this type of breast cancer.

Trastuzumab, pertuzumab, lapatinib and T-DM1 are all drugs that bind to the HER2 protein and thereby cause the cells to cease reproducing. Today, these drugs are used as single agents, in combination with other drugs and in combination with chemotherapy to treat patients with HER2-positive breast cancer at various stages.  

Currently, the only treatment approved by the FDA for the treatment of neoadjuvant (newly diagnosed) HER2-positive breast cancer is the combination of pertuzumab plus trastuzumab and taxane chemotherapy.  The FDA-approved treatments for the adjuvant treatment of HER2-positive early stage breast cancer is either the combination of pertuzumab plus trastuzumab and chemotherapy, or Kadcyla, which is approved specifically in patients with HER2-positive early stage breast cancer with residual disease after neoadjuvant treatment. We are also aware of a Phase III clinical trial that is comparing trastuzumab plus pertuzumab plus taxane following anthracyclines versus T-DM1 plus pertuzumab following anthracyclines as an adjuvant therapy.

Trastuzumab and pertuzumab given in combination with taxane chemotherapy is the current first-line standard of care for HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.  Lapatinib (Tykerb), given in combination with the chemotherapy drug capecitabine, is also FDA-approved for the treatment of patients who have failed prior treatments. In a Phase II clinical trial, lapatinib demonstrated a median PFS of eight to nine weeks and a response rate of 5 – 7%.  In a Phase III clinical trial, patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who received the combination of lapatinib plus capecitabine demonstrated a median progression free survival of 27.1 weeks and a response rate of 23.7%.  In the Phase III EMILIA trial, the combination of lapatinib plus capecitabine demonstrated a median PFS of 25.6 weeks and a response rate of 30.8%.  T-DM1 is approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who previously received first line trastuzumab-based therapy.  Unfortunately, the disease eventually progresses for most patients with HER2-positive breast cancer while on these treatments. For these reasons, there is a need for alternatives to block HER2 signaling in patients who fail treatment with prior HER2 directed treatments. Neratinib is an orally active small molecule that inhibits HER2 at a different site and uses a different mechanism than trastuzumab. As a result, we believe that neratinib may have utility in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who have failed treatment with other HER2 inhibitors.

We believe that there are approximately 28,300 patients in the United States and 37,000 patients in the EU with early stage HER2-positive breast cancer that get treated with adjuvant treatment.  We also believe that there are approximately 6,400 patients in the United States with third-line and 4,700 patients in the United States with fourth line HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. The number of patients with third-line or later HER2 positive metastatic breast cancer may decrease in future years as the introduction of new neoadjuvant, adjuvant and extended adjuvant treatments may reduce the number of patients with recurrence of HER2 positive breast cancer and therefore reduce the number of patients with HER2 positive metastatic breast cancer.  

We believe that approximately 1-12% of all cancer patients have mutation in HER2 kinase in the United States and that approximately 7 – 9% of all estrogen receptor positive metastatic breast cancer patients who have received prior endocrine treatment have a mutation in HER2 kinase (approximately 8,000 to 10,000 patients in the United States).

Product Development Pipeline

The following chart shows each of our current drug candidates and their clinical development stage.  

 

 

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Neratinib

Neratinib is a potent irreversible TKI that blocks signal transduction through the epidermal growth factor receptors, HER1, HER2 and HER4.  Based on pre-clinical studies and clinical trials to date, we believe that neratinib may offer an advantage over existing treatments that are used in the treatment of patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who have failed prior treatments, including treatment with trastuzumab, pertuzumab, and T-DM1. Currently, the treatment of metastatic breast cancer patients involves treatment with these agents either alone or in combination with chemotherapy. We believe that by more potently inhibiting HER2 at a different site and acting via a mechanism different from other agents, neratinib may have therapeutic benefits in patients who have failed these existing treatments, most notably due to its increased selectivity and irreversible inhibition of the HER2 target enzyme.

In addition, we believe neratinib has clinical application in the treatment of other cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer and other tumor types that over-express or have a mutation in HER2.  

Our initial focus is on the commercialization and development of the oral formulation of neratinib.  We are also evaluating for potential development an intravenous formulation of neratinib and PB357, a back-up compound to neratinib.

PB272 (neratinib oral)—Early Stage Breast Cancer

Extended Adjuvant Breast Cancer

Two-Year ExteNET Data.  In July 2014, we announced top line results from our ExteNET trial, a Phase III clinical trial of neratinib for the extended adjuvant treatment of early stage HER2-positive breast cancer. The data from this trial were presented in an oral presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, or ASCO, Annual Meeting in June 2015 and were published online in The Lancet Oncology in February 2016. The ExteNET trial was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, Phase III trial of neratinib versus placebo after adjuvant treatment with Herceptin in women with early stage HER2-positive breast cancer.  More specifically, the ExteNET trial enrolled 2,840 patients in 41 countries with early stage HER2-positive breast cancer who had undergone surgery and adjuvant treatment with trastuzumab. After completion of adjuvant treatment with trastuzumab, patients were randomized to receive extended adjuvant treatment with either neratinib or placebo for a period of one year. Patients were then followed for recurrent disease, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), or death for a period of two years after randomization in the trial.  

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The safety results of the study showed that the most frequently observed adverse event for the neratinib-treated patients was diarrhea, with approximately 39.9% of the neratinib-treated patients experiencing grade 3 or higher diarrhea (one patient, 0.1%, had grade 4 diarrhea). Patients who received neratinib in this trial did not receive any prophylaxis with antidiarrheal agents to prevent the neratinib-related diarrhea. We have reported clinical data from several trials that have demonstrated that the use of high-dose prophylactic loperamide may greatly reduce the rate of grade 3 diarrhea with neratinib, with grade 3 diarrhea rates ranging from 0-17% in studies in which high-dose loperamide prophylaxis was used.  We are also currently conducting an international, open-label, Phase II study (CONTROL) investigating the use of antidiarrheal prophylaxis using antidiarrheal drugs or dose escalation in the prevention and reduction of neratinib-associated diarrhea and, more specifically, grade 3 diarrhea.  The interim results of this trial presented in December 2019 showed that as of the cutoff date, the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea for the 137 patients who received the loperamide prophylaxis was 31% , the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea for the 64 patients who received the combination of loperamide plus budesonide was 28%, the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea for the 136 patients who received the combination of loperamide plus colestipol was 21%, the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea for the 104 patients who received colestipol alone with loperamide as needed was 34%, and the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea for the 60 patients who used the dose escalation was 15%.  See “—PB272 (neratinib, oral)—Metastatic Breast Cancer—Safety Database” for additional information.

The primary endpoint of the ExteNET trial was invasive disease-free survival, or DFS. The results of the trial demonstrated that treatment with neratinib resulted in a 33% reduction of risk of invasive disease recurrence or death versus placebo (hazard ratio = 0.67, p = 0.009). The two-year DFS rate for the neratinib arm was 93.9% and the two-year DFS rate for the placebo arm was 91.6%. The secondary endpoint of the trial was disease-free survival including ductal carcinoma in situ, or DFS-DCIS. The results of the trial demonstrated that treatment with neratinib resulted in a 37% reduction of risk of disease recurrence including DCIS or death versus placebo (hazard ratio = 0.63, p = 0.002). The two-year DFS-DCIS rate for the neratinib arm was 93.9% and the two-year DFS-DCIS rate for the placebo arm was 91.0%.

As an inclusion criteria for the ExteNET trial, patients needed to have tumors that were HER2-positive using local assessment. In addition, as a pre-defined subgroup in the trial, patients had centralized HER2 testing performed on their tumor as well. At the time the two-year data was compiled, centralized HER2 testing had been performed on 1,704 (60%) of the patients in the ExteNET trial and further central testing on available samples was currently ongoing. For the 1,463 patients whose tumors were HER2-positive by central confirmation, the results of the trial demonstrated that treatment with neratinib resulted in a 49% reduction of risk of invasive disease recurrence or death versus placebo (hazard ratio = 0.51, p = 0.002). The two-year DFS rate for the centrally confirmed patients in the neratinib arm was 94.7% and the 2-year DFS rate for the centrally confirmed patients in the placebo arm was 90.6%. For the patients in the trial whose tumors were HER2-positive by central confirmation, the results of the trial demonstrated that treatment with neratinib resulted in a 51% reduction of risk of disease recurrence including DCIS or death versus placebo (hazard ratio = 0.49, p < 0.001). The two-year DFS-DCIS rate for the centrally confirmed patients in the neratinib arm was 94.7% and the two-year DFS rate for centrally confirmed patients in the placebo arm was 90.2%.

For the pre-defined subgroup of patients with hormone receptor positive disease, the results of the trial demonstrated that treatment with neratinib resulted in a 49% reduction of risk of invasive disease recurrence or death versus placebo (hazard ratio = 0.51, p = 0.001). The two-year DFS rate for the neratinib arm was 95.4% and the two-year DFS rate for the placebo arm was 91.2%. For the patients in the trial whose tumors were HER2-positive by central confirmation, the results of the trial demonstrated that treatment with neratinib resulted in a 75% reduction of risk of invasive disease recurrence or death (hazard ratio = 0.25, p < 0.001). The two-year DFS rate for the centrally confirmed patients in the neratinib arm was 97.0% and the two-year DFS rate for centrally confirmed patients in the placebo arm was 88.4%.

Based on the results from the ExteNET trial, in June and July 2016, we submitted an MAA with the EMA and filed an NDA with the FDA, respectively, for regulatory approval of neratinib in the extended adjuvant setting, for which we have since obtained approval.

Five-Year ExteNET Data.  In September 2017, we presented updated data from the ExteNET trial at the European Society of Medical Oncology, or ESMO, 2017 Congress in Madrid, Spain.  The data represented a predefined five-year invasive disease-free survival, or iDFS, analysis as a follow-up to the primary two-year iDFS analysis of the Phase III ExteNet trial. The results of the trial demonstrated that after a median follow up of 5.2 years, treatment with neratinib resulted in a 27% reduction of risk of invasive disease recurrence or death versus placebo (hazard ratio = 0.73, p = 0.008). The five-year iDFS rate for the neratinib arm was 90.2% and the 5-year iDFS rate for the placebo arm was 87.7%.  The secondary endpoint of the trial was invasive disease-free survival including ductal carcinoma in situ, or iDFS-DCIS. The results of the trial demonstrated that treatment with neratinib resulted in a 29% reduction of risk of disease recurrence, including DCIS or death versus placebo (hazard ratio = 0.71, p = 0.004). The five-year iDFS-DCIS rate for the neratinib arm was 89.7% and the five-year iDFS-DCIS rate for the placebo arm was 86.8%.

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For the pre-defined subgroup of patients with hormone receptor positive disease, the results of the trial demonstrated that treatment with neratinib resulted in a 40% reduction of risk of invasive disease recurrence or death versus placebo (hazard ratio = 0.60, p = 0.002). The five-year iDFS rate for the neratinib arm was 91.2% and the five-year iDFS rate for the placebo arm was 86.8%. For the pre-defined subgroup of patients with hormone receptor negative disease, the results of the trial demonstrated that treatment with neratinib resulted in a hazard ratio of 0.95 (p = 0.762).

The results of the ExteNET trial showed that after two years of follow-up, for patients with hormone receptor positive, HER2-positive early stage breast cancer patients who were treated within one year after the completion of trastuzumab based adjuvant therapy, iDFS was 95.3% in the patients treated with neratinib compared with 90.8% in those receiving placebo (hazard ratio = 0.49; 95% CI: (0.30, 0.78); p=0.002).

The safety results were unchanged from the primary two-year iDFS analysis of the study that showed the most frequently observed adverse event for the neratinib-treated patients was diarrhea, with approximately 39.9% of the neratinib-treated patients experiencing grade 3 or higher diarrhea (one patient, or 0.1%, had grade 4 diarrhea). Patients who received neratinib in this trial did not receive any prophylaxis with antidiarrheal agents to prevent the neratinib-related diarrhea.

PB272 (neratinib, oral)—Metastatic Breast Cancer

Trials of Neratinib as a Single Agent. In 2009, Pfizer presented data at the CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium from a Phase II trial of neratinib administered as a single agent to patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. Final results from this trial were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in March 2010.

The trial involved a total of 136 patients, 66 of whom had received prior treatment with trastuzumab and 70 of whom had not received prior treatment with trastuzumab. The results of the study showed that neratinib was reasonably well-tolerated among both the pretreated patients and the patients who had not received prior treatment with trastuzumab. Diarrhea was the most common side effect but was manageable with antidiarrheal agents and dose modification. Efficacy results from the trial showed that the objective response rate was 24% for patients who had received prior trastuzumab treatment and 56% for patients with no prior trastuzumab treatment. Furthermore, the median PFS was 22.3 weeks for the patients who had received prior trastuzumab and 39.6 weeks for the patients who had not received prior trastuzumab.

Data from a second Phase II study, in which patients with confirmed HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who had failed treatment with trastuzumab and taxane chemotherapy were given neratinib in combination with capecitabine, was presented at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The results of the study showed that the combination of PB272 and capecitabine had acceptable tolerability. The efficacy results from the trial showed that for the 61 patients in the trial who had not been previously treated with the HER2 targeted anti-cancer drug lapatinib, there was an overall response rate of 64% and a clinical benefit rate of 72%. In addition, for the seven patients in the trial who had previously been treated with lapatinib, there was an overall response rate of 57% and a clinical benefit rate of 71%. The median PFS for patients who had not received prior treatment with lapatinib was 40.3 weeks and the median PFS for the patients who had received prior lapatinib treatment was 35.9 weeks.

In February 2013, we reached agreement with the FDA under an SPA for our Phase III clinical trial (PUMA-NER-1301 or the NALA trial) of neratinib in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who have failed two or more prior treatments (third-line disease). An SPA is a written agreement between the trial’s sponsor and the FDA regarding the design, endpoints, and planned statistical analysis of the Phase III trial with respect to the effectiveness of PB272 for the indication to be studied to support an NDA. The EMA also provided follow-on SA, consistent with that of the FDA regarding our Phase III trial design and endpoints used for such design to support the submission of an MAA in the EU.

Pursuant to the SPA and SA, the Phase III NALA trial was designed as a randomized controlled trial of neratinib plus capecitabine versus Tykerb® (lapatinib) plus capecitabine in patients with third-line HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. The trial enrolled 621 patients who were randomized (1:1) to receive either neratinib plus capecitabine or lapatinib plus capecitabine. The trial was conducted globally at sites in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and South America. The co-primary endpoints of the trial were centrally confirmed progression free survival, or PFS, and overall survival, or OS. An alpha level of 1% was allocated to the PFS and 4% allocated to OS.

In June 2019, we announced that results from the Phase III NALA trial were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2019 Annual Meeting in Chicago.  For the primary analysis of centrally confirmed PFS, treatment with neratinib plus capecitabine resulted in a statistically significant improvement in centrally confirmed PFS (hazard ratio=0.76, p=0.0059) compared to treatment with lapatinib plus capecitabine.  Because the hazard ratio was found to not be constant over time (i.e., the proportional hazard assumption did not hold), the statistical analysis plan for the NALA trial prespecified that a restricted means survival analysis at 24 months would be performed.  In this prespecified analysis the mean PFS for the patients treated with neratinib plus capecitabine was 8.8 months and the mean PFS for the patients treated with lapatinib plus capecitabine was 6.6 months.

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For the primary analyses of OS, neratinib plus capecitabine resulted in an improvement in OS that, although not statistically significant, trended numerically in favor of the neratinib plus capecitabine arm of the study (hazard ratio = 0.88, p=0.21).  The median OS for the patients treated with neratinib plus capecitabine was 21.0 months and the median OS for the patients treated with lapatinib plus capecitabine was 18.7 months.  In the prespecified restricted means analysis the mean OS at 48 months for the patients treated with neratinib plus capecitabine was 24.0 months and the mean OS for the patients treated with lapatinib plus capecitabine was 22.2 months.

For the secondary endpoint of time to intervention for symptomatic central nervous system disease (also referred to as brain metastases), the results of the trial showed that treatment with neratinib plus capecitabine led to an improvement over the combination of lapatinib plus capecitabine.  The overall cumulative incidence of CNS metastases was 22.8% for the neratinib plus capecitabine arm and 29.2% for the lapatinib plus capecitabine arm (p=0.043).  For the secondary endpoint of duration of response, neratinib plus capecitabine treatment resulted in a longer duration of response compared to lapatinib and capecitabine treatment, with a median response of 8.54 months compared to a median response of 5.55 months (HR = 0.495, p = 0.0004).

Treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) were similar between arms: TEAEs leading to neratinib/lapatinib discontinuation were lower with neratinib (10.9%) than with lapatinib (14.5%).  There was a higher rate of grade 3 diarrhea with neratinib plus capecitabine compared to lapatinib plus capecitabine (24.4% vs 12.5%); however, the discontinuations due to diarrhea (neratinib plus capecitabine: 2.6%, lapatinib plus capecitabine: 2.3%) were similar in both arms.

On February 25, 2020, the FDA approved our sNDA based on the results of the NALA trial for neratinib in combination with capecitabine for the treatment of adult patients with advanced or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer who have received two or more prior anti-HER2-based regimens in the metastatic setting

Metastatic Breast Cancer with Brain Metastases

Approximately one-third of the patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer develop metastases that spread to their brain. The current antibody-based treatments, including trastuzumab, pertuzumab and T-DM1, do not enter the brain and therefore are not believed to be effective in treating these patients. In a Phase II trial with lapatinib given as a single agent, lapatinib demonstrated a 6% objective response rate in the patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer whose disease spread to their brain. In January 2012, a Phase II trial of neratinib as a single agent and in combination with the anticancer drug capecitabine in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer that has spread to their brain was initiated in conjunction with the Dana Farber Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium. In June 2014, at the ASCO 2014 Annual Meeting, results from the first cohort (n=40) who were administered neratinib monotherapy were presented. The efficacy results from the first cohort of the trial showed that for the 40 evaluable patients, three (7.5%) patients experienced a partial response, four (10%) patients experienced prolonged stable disease for greater than or equal to six months and 12 (30%) patients experienced stable disease for less than six months. The median PFS of the 40 evaluable patients was seen to be 1.9 months and the median overall survival was seen to be 8.7 months.

In June 2017, we presented additional interim data from this trial at the ASCO 2017 Annual Meeting.  The multicenter Phase II clinical trial enrolled patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who have brain metasteses.  The trial enrolled three cohorts of patients. Patients in the second cohort (n=5) represent patients who had brain metastases which were amenable to surgery and who were administered neratinib monotherapy prior to and after surgical resection. The third cohort (target enrollment=60) enrolled two sub-groups of patients (prior lapatinib-treated and no prior lapatinib) with progressive brain metastases who were administered neratinib in combination with the chemotherapy drug capecitabine. The oral presentation reflected only the patients in the third cohort of patients without prior lapatinib exposure (cohort 3A, n=37), who all had progressive brain metastases at the time of enrollment and who received the combination of capecitabine plus neratinib.

In cohort 3A, 30% of the patients had received prior craniotomy, 65% of the patients had received prior whole brain radiotherapy, and 35% had received prior stereotactic radiosurgery to the brain. No patients had received prior treatment with lapatinib.

The primary endpoint of the trial was CNS Objective Response Rate according to a composite criteria that included volumetric brain MRI measurements, steroid use, neurological signs and symptoms, and RECIST evaluation for non-CNS sites. The secondary endpoint of the trial was CNS response by Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology-Brain Metastases, or RANO-BM, criteria. The efficacy results from the trial showed that 49% of patients experienced a CNS Objective Response by the composite criteria. The results also showed that the CNS response rate using the RANO-BM criteria was 24%. The median time to CNS progression was 5.5 months and the median overall survival was 13.5 months, though 49% of patients remain alive and survival data are immature.

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The results for cohort 3A showed that the most frequently observed severe adverse event for the 37 patients evaluable for safety was diarrhea. Patients received antidiarrheal prophylaxis consisting of high dose loperamide, given together with the combination of capecitabine plus neratinib for the first cycle of treatment in order to try to reduce the neratinib-related diarrhea. Among the 37 patients evaluable for safety, 32% of the patients had grade 3 diarrhea and 41% had grade 2 diarrhea.

In April 2018, we announced that NERLYNX (neratinib) has been included as a recommended treatment option in the latest National Comprehensive Cancer Network, or NCCN, Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology Central Nervous System Cancers for Breast Cancer patients with brain metastases. The NCCN designated NERLYNX in combination with capecitabine as a category 2B treatment option and NERLYNX in combination with paclitaxel as a category 2B treatment option. Use, as designated for breast cancer patients with brain metastases, is outside the FDA-approved indication for NERLYNX and considered investigational, and we do not market or promote NERLYNX for these uses.

Safety Database. Our safety database includes over 3,000 patients who have been treated with neratinib. To date, the most significant grade 3 or higher adverse event associated with neratinib has been diarrhea, which occurs in approximately 30% of patients receiving the drug. Historically, once diarrhea occurred, patients were treated with loperamide and/or a reduction in the dose of neratinib.

In February 2015, we initiated a Phase II open-label trial of neratinib monotherapy for one year in 120 patients with early HER2-positive breast cancer who have completed one year of adjuvant trastuzumab, or the CONTROL trial.  The CONTROL trial is an international, open-label, Phase II study investigating the use of loperamide prophylaxis with or without other agents in the reduction of neratinib-associated diarrhea that has a primary endpoint of the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea.  In the CONTROL trial, patients with HER2-positive early stage breast cancer who had completed trastuzumab-based adjuvant therapy received neratinib daily for a period of one year.

In December 2019, interim results from the CONTROL trial were presented at the 2019 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.  

The interim analysis of the trial presented in the poster included a total of 137 patients who received neratinib plus loperamide prophylaxis, 64 patients who received neratinib plus loperamide prophylaxis for two cycles and budesonide for one cycle, 136 patients who received neratinib plus loperamide prophylaxis for one cycle and colestipol for one cycle, 104 patients who received colestipol prophylaxis for one cycle and loperamide as needed and 60 patients who were treated with a dose escalation approach which involved treating with neratinib at 120 mg per day for the first week, 160 mg per day for the second week and 240 mg per day starting at the start of the third week and until the end of treatment.  The interim results showed that the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea for the 137 patients who received the loperamide prophylaxis was 31%. For the 64 patients who received the combination of loperamide plus budesonide, the interim results showed that the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea was 28%.

For the 136 patients who received the combination of loperamide plus colestipol, the interim results showed that the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea was 21%. For the 104 patients who received prophylactic colestipol and loperamide as needed the interim results showed that the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea was 34%, and for the 60 patients who were treated with the dose escalation, the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea was 15%.  Further information is provided in Table 1 below:

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Table 1: Incidence of Treatment-Emergent Diarrhea

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neratinib dose

 

 

 

 

Budesonide +

 

Colestipol +

 

Colestipol +

 

escalation +

 

 

Loperamide

loperamide

loperamide

 

loperamide prn

 

loperamide prn

 

 

(n=137)

 

(n=64)

 

(n=136)

 

(n=104)

 

(n=60)

Treatment-emergent diarrhea

   incidence, n (%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No diarrhea

 

28 (20)

 

9 (14)

 

23 (17)

 

5 (5)

 

2 (3)

Grade 1

 

33 (24)

 

16 (25)

 

38 (28)

 

33 (32)

 

24 (40)

Grade 2

 

34 (25)

 

21 (33)

 

47 (35)

 

31 (30)

 

25 (42)

Grade 3

 

42 (31)

 

18 (28)

 

28 (21)

 

35 (34)

 

9 (15)

Grade 4

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diarrhea leading to

   discontinuation

 

28 (20.4)

 

7 (10.9)

 

5 (3.7)

 

8 (7.7)

 

2 (3.3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hospitalization (due to diarrhea)

 

2 (1.5)

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discontinuation of study (any

   cause)

 

61 (44.5)

 

13 (20.3)

 

39 (28.7)

 

29 (27.9)

 

12 (20.0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:  Each patient was counted only once in the highest grade category.

No Grade 4 events reported in the CONTROL study.

 

PB272 (neratinib, oral)—Other Potential Applications

HER2 Mutation-Positive Solid Tumors

Based on the results from the Cancer Genome Atlas Study, we estimate that between 2% and 12% of each solid tumor has a mutation in HER2. In the United States, this includes new diagnoses of an estimated 7,000 – 7,500 patients with bladder cancer; 4,000 – 4,500 patients with colorectal cancer; 1,500 – 2,000 patients with glioblastoma; 1,000 patients with melanoma; 4,000 – 5,000 patients with prostate cancer; 1,000 patients with stomach cancer; and 1,000 – 2,000 patients with uterine cancer.

Basket Trial for HER2 Mutation-Positive Solid Tumors. In October 2013, we announced that we had initiated a Phase II clinical trial of neratinib as a single agent in patients with solid tumors that have an activating HER2 mutation, which we refer to as the SUMMIT basket trial. The Phase II SUMMIT basket trial is an open-label, multicenter, multinational study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of PB272 administered daily to patients who have solid tumors with activating HER2 or HER3 mutations. The study initially included six cohorts of patients, one for each of the following cancers: (i) bladder/urinary tract cancer; (ii) colorectal cancer; (iii) endometrial cancer; (iv) gastric/esophageal cancer; (v) ovarian cancer; and (vi) all other solid tumors (including prostate, melanoma and pancreatic cancer). Each cohort initially consists of seven patients. If a certain predetermined objective response rate is seen in the initial cohort of seven patients, the cohort will be expanded to include a larger number of patients.

 

HER2-Mutated, Non-Amplified Breast Cancer

A HER2 mutation in patients with HER2-negative breast cancer was identified as part of a study performed by the Cancer Genome Atlas Network and published in Cancer Discovery in December 2012. We believe this mutation may occur in an estimated 2% of patients with breast cancer. Pre-clinical data from this publication demonstrated that neratinib was active in pre-clinical models of HER2-negative breast cancer that have this HER2 mutation and that neratinib has more anti-cancer activity than either trastuzumab or lapatinib in cells with this mutation. A Phase II trial of neratinib in HER2-negative breast cancer patients who have a HER2 mutation opened for enrollment in December 2012.

As stated above, in May 2014 we expanded the first cohort from the SUMMIT basket trial. Interim results from this ongoing Phase II trial were presented at the 2017 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting.  All patients received loperamide (16 mg per day initially) prophylactically for the first cycle of treatment in order to reduce the neratinib-related diarrhea. Included in the presentation were data on 141 patients enrolled in the neratinib monotherapy arm of the trial, including 124 patients with HER2 mutations and 17 patients with HER3 mutations. This included patients with 21 unique tumor types, with the most common being breast, lung, bladder and colorectal cancer. There were also 30 distinct HER2 and 12 distinct HER3 mutations observed among these patients, with the most frequent HER2 variants involving S310, L755, A755_G776insYVMA and V777.

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In the HER2-mutant cohort, clinical responses were observed in tumors with S310, L755, V777, P780_Y781insGSP and A775_G776insYVMA mutations. When stratified by tumor type, responses were observed in patients with breast, cervical, biliary, salivary and non-small-cell lung cancers, which led to cohort expansions in these tumor types. No activity was observed in the HER3-mutant cohort. A more detailed presentation of the data is presented in the table below.

The interim safety results observed in the SUMMIT study were consistent with that observed previously in metastatic patients with HER2 amplified tumors. With anti-diarrheal prophylaxis and management, diarrhea has not been a treatment-limiting side effect in SUMMIT. The interim safety results of the study showed that the most frequently observed adverse event was diarrhea. For the 141 patients enrolled in the neratinib monotherapy arm with safety data available as of March 10, 2017, 31 patients (22%) reported grade 3 diarrhea. The median duration of grade 3 diarrhea for those patients was two days. Four patients (2.8%) permanently discontinued neratinib due to diarrhea and 21 patients (14.9%) temporarily discontinued neratinib due to diarrhea and then restarted after the diarrhea subsided.

 

Table 1:  SUMMIT Trial Interim Efficacy Results as of March 10, 2017

 

 

HER2mut

Breast

(n=25)

 

HER2mut

Bladder

(n=16)

 

HER2mut

Lung

(n=26)

 

HER2mut

Colorectal

(n=12)

 

HER2mut

Biliary tract

(n=9)

 

HER2mut

Cervical

(n=5)

 

HER3mut

NOS

(n=17)

ORR at week 8, n (%)

   (95% CI)

 

8 (32.0)

(14.953.5)

 

0 (0.0)

(0.020.6)

 

1 (3.8)

(0.119.6)

 

0 (0.0)

(0.026.5)

 

2 (22.2)

(2.860.0)

 

1 (20.0)

(0.571.6)

 

0 (0.0)

(0.020.6)

Clinical benefit rate, n (%)

   (95% CI)

 

10 (40.0)

(21.161.3)

 

3 (18.8)

(4.045.6)

 

11 (42.3)

(23.463.1)

 

1 (8.3)

(0.238.5)

 

3 (33.3)

(7.570.1)

 

3 (60.0)

(14.794.7)

 

2 (11.8)

(1.638.3)

Median PFS, months

   (95% CI)

 

3.5

(1.94.3)

 

1.8

(1.73.5)

 

5.5

(2.710.9)

 

1.8

(1.41.9)

 

2.8

(0.53.7)

 

20.1

(0.5NA)

 

1.7

(1.42.0)

 

In December 2018, we announced that updated interim results from the SUMMIT basket trial in the HER2-mutant, hormone receptor positive breast cancer cohort were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.  The interim results included data from 47 patients who received 240 mg of neratinib daily in combination with fulvestrant at the labeled dose. In this cohort, 43 patients (92%) had HER2-non-amplified disease, and patients had received a median of three prior lines of therapy in the metastatic setting (range 0-11 prior regimens) before entering the trial. All patients had been previously treated with an endocrine agent prior to entering the study, including 25 patients (53%) who had received prior fulvestrant. Further, 20 patients (43%) received prior cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6) -inhibitor therapy.

The interim efficacy results summary from the breast cohort that received neratinib + fulvestrant is shown in the table below. The interim efficacy results from the trial showed that for the 47 efficacy evaluable patients, 14 patients (30%) experienced an objective response, which included four patients with a complete response and 10 patients with partial responses, and 22 patients (47%) experienced clinical benefit (clinical benefit is defined as confirmed complete response or partial response or stable disease for at least 24 weeks). The median duration of response was 9.2 months and the median progression free survival was 5.4 months. Subgroup analysis showed that patients who had received prior fulvestrant or CDK4/6 inhibitor targeted therapy prior to entering the trial also benefited from treatment of neratinib and fulvestrant. Of note, six patients (30%) with prior CDK4/6-inhibitor exposure showed confirmed responses, with the duration of responses ranging from 4.5–14.8 months. Four patients were still on treatment at the time of data reporting.

 

Table 1: HER2-Mutant, HR-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer

Phase II SUMMIT Trial Interim Efficacy Summary as of October 19, 2018

 

 

 

Neratinib + Fulvestrant

 

 

 

 

Subgroups

 

 

All Patients

 

Prior Fulvestrant

 

Prior CDK4/6 Inhibitor -Based

Efficacy Endpointa:

 

(n=47)

 

(n=25)

 

Therapy (n=20)

Objective response (confirmed)b n

 

14

 

4

 

6

CR

 

4

 

0

 

1

PR

 

10

 

4

 

5

Objective response rate (95% CI)

 

30 (17–45)

 

16 (5–36)

 

30 (12–54)

MedianC DOR, months (95% CI)

 

9.2 (5.5–16.6 )

 

 

 

 

DOR for each responder

 

 

 

9.2; 9.3*; 14.8*; 16.6

 

4.5; 7.3; 9.2*; 9.3*; 11.2*; 14.8*

Clinical benefitd – n

 

22

 

9

 

8

CR or PR

 

14

 

4

 

6

SD

 

8

 

5

 

2

Clinical benefit rate (95% CI)

 

47 (32–62)

 

36 (18–58)

 

40 (19–64)

MedianC PFS (95% CI) time to event, months

 

5.4 (3.7–9.2)

 

3.7 (3.5–6.9)

 

4.1 (1.9–10.9)

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Patients with RECIST v1.1 Measurable Disease

 

 

 

 

Subgroups

 

 

All Patients

 

Prior Fulvestrant

 

Prior CDK4/6 Inhibitor -Based

Efficacy Endpointa:

 

(n=39)

 

(n=21)

 

Therapy (n=15)

Objective response (confirmed)b n

 

12

 

4

 

5

CR

 

2

 

0

 

0

PR

 

10

 

4

 

5

Objective response rate (95% CI)

 

31 (17–48)

 

19 (5–42)

 

33 (12–62)

MedianC DOR, months (95% CI)

 

9.0 (4.5–16.6 )

 

 

 

 

DOR for each responder

 

 

 

9.2; 9.3*; 14.8*; 16.6

 

4.5; 7.3; 9.2*; 9.3*; 14.8*

Clinical benefitd – n

 

18

 

8

 

6

CR or PR

 

12

 

4

 

5

SD

 

6

 

4

 

1

Clinical benefit rate (95% CI)

 

46 (30–63)

 

38 (18–62)

 

40 (16–68)

MedianC PFS (95% CI) time to event, months

 

5.4 (3.5–10.3)

 

NA

 

NA

 

a

Response is based on investigator tumor assessments per RECIST v1.1 or modified PERCIST for patients with only PET-evaluable lesions.

b

Overall objective response (ORR) is defined as either a complete or partial response that is confirmed no less than 4-weeks after the criteria for response are initially met.

c

Kaplan-Meier analysis

d

Clinical benefit rate (CBR) is defined as confirmed CR or PR or stable disease (SD) for at least 24 weeks (within +/- 7 day visit window).

*

Patient still on treatment at time of data cut; DOR, duration of response; PFS, progression free survival; NA, not available

The interim safety results observed in neratinib and fulvestrant-treated breast cancer patients in the SUMMIT basket trial were consistent with that observed previously in metastatic patients with HER2 amplified tumors. With anti-diarrheal prophylaxis and management, diarrhea was not a treatment-limiting side effect in the SUMMIT basket trial. The interim safety results of the study showed that the most frequently observed adverse event was diarrhea. For the 47 patients enrolled in the trial, 11 patients (23%) reported grade 3 diarrhea. The median duration of grade 3 diarrhea for those patients was 1.5 days. No patients permanently discontinued neratinib due to diarrhea.

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In December 2019, we announced that additional interim results from the SUMMIT basket trial in the HER2-mutant, hormone receptor positive breast cancer cohort were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.  In the HER2-mutant, HR-positive breast cancer cohort, 28 patients received 240 mg of neratinib daily in combination with trastuzumab and fulvestrant.  In this cohort, patients had received a median of four prior lines of therapy in the metastatic setting (range 0-10 prior regimens) before entering the trial.  All patients had been previously treated with an endocrine agent prior to entering the study, including 17 patients (61%) who had received prior fulvestrant.  Further, 15 patients (54%) received prior cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6) -inhibitor therapy.  21 patients (75%) had received prior chemotherapy.

The interim efficacy results from the breast cohort that received neratinib in combination with trastuzumab and fulvestrant showed that for the 17 efficacy evaluable patients, nine patients (53%) experienced a confirmed objective response, all of which were classified as partial responses, and 10 patients (59%) experienced clinical benefit (clinical benefit is defined as confirmed complete response or partial response or stable disease for at least 24 weeks).  The median duration of response was not reached, and the median progression-free survival was 9.8 months.  At the time of data cut-off, five patients continued to receive treatment.

The interim safety results observed in patients treated with the combination of neratinib plus trastuzumab plus fulvestrant in the SUMMIT study was consistent with that observed previously in metastatic patients with HER2 amplified tumors.  All patients received anti-diarrheal prophylaxis with loperamide alone.  The interim safety results of the study showed that the most frequently observed adverse event was diarrhea.  For the 28 safety evaluable patients enrolled in this cohort, 10 patients (36%) reported grade 3 diarrhea.  The median duration of grade 3 diarrhea for those patients was 5.5 days. No patient permanently discontinued neratinib due to diarrhea.

PB272 (neratinib, intravenous)

We also plan to develop neratinib as an intravenously administered agent. The intravenous version of neratinib resulted in higher exposure levels of neratinib in pre-clinical models. We believe this may result in higher blood levels of neratinib in patients and may translate into enhanced efficacy. We are evaluating the intravenous formulation of neratinib and considering options relative to its development.

PB357

PB357 is an investigational, orally administered agent that is an irreversible TKI that is designed to block signal transduction through the epidermal growth factor receptors, HER1, HER2 and HER4. PB357 is structurally similar to PB272. Pfizer completed single-dose Phase I trials of PB357. We are evaluating PB357 and considering options relative to its development.  

Clinical Testing of Our Products in Development

Each of our products in development, and likely all future drug candidates we in-license, will require extensive pre-clinical and clinical testing to determine the safety and efficacy of the product applications prior to seeking and obtaining regulatory approval. This process is expensive and time consuming. In completing these trials, we are dependent upon third-party consultants, consisting mainly of investigators and collaborators, who will conduct such trials.

We and our third-party consultants conduct pre-clinical testing in accordance with Good Laboratory Practices, or GLP, and clinical testing in accordance with Good Clinical Practice standards, or GCP, which are international ethical and scientific quality standards utilized for pre-clinical and clinical testing, respectively. GCP is the standard for the design, conduct, performance, monitoring, auditing, recording, analysis and reporting of clinical trials and the FDA requires compliance with GCP regulations in the conduct of clinical trials. Additionally, our pre-clinical and clinical testing completed in the EU is conducted in accordance with applicable EU standards, such as the EU Clinical Trials Directive (Directive 2001/20/EC of April 4, 2001), or the EU Clinical Trials Directive, and the national laws of the 28 member states of the EU, or Member States, implementing its provisions.

We have entered into, and may enter into in the future, master service agreements with clinical research organizations, or CROs, with respect to initiating, managing and conducting the clinical trials of our products. These contracts contain standard terms for the type of services provided that contain cancellation clauses requiring between 30 and 45 days written notice and that obligate us to pay for any services previously rendered with prepaid, unused funds being returned to us.   

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Competition

The development and commercialization of new products to treat cancer is highly competitive, and we face considerable competition from major pharmaceutical, biotechnology and specialty cancer companies. As a result, there are and will likely continue to be extensive research and substantial financial resources invested in the discovery and development of new cancer products. Our competitors include, but are not limited to, Genentech, Novartis, Roche, Boehringer Ingelheim, Takeda, Daiichi Sankyo and Seattle Genetics.  None of these companies are developing their drugs for the extended adjuvant treatment of early stage HER2-positive breast cancer that has been previously treated with a trastuzumab-containing regimen.  All of these competitors are developing their drugs for the treatment of early stage and/or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer.  We are an early commercial stage company with a limited history of operations, sales, marketing and commercial manufacturing. Many of our competitors have substantially more financial and technical resources than we do. In addition, many of our competitors have more experience than we have in pre-clinical and clinical development, manufacturing, regulatory and global commercialization. We are also competing with academic institutions, governmental agencies and private organizations that are conducting research in the field of cancer.

We anticipate that we will face intense competition if we are able to commercialize additional product candidates. We expect that our products under development and in clinical trials will address major markets within the cancer sector. Our competition will be determined in part by the potential indications for which drugs are developed and ultimately approved by regulatory authorities. Additionally, the timing of market introduction of some of our potential products or of competitors’ products may be an important competitive factor. Accordingly, the speed with which we can develop products, complete pre-clinical testing, clinical trials and approval processes, and supply commercial quantities to market are expected to be important competitive factors. We expect that competition among products approved for sale will be based on various factors, including product efficacy, safety, reliability, availability, price, reimbursement and patent position.

Sales and Marketing

We currently have a U.S. specialty sales force of approximately 80 sales specialists who are focused on promoting NERLYNX to oncologists. This sales force is supported by an experienced sales leadership team comprised of regional sales managers, and our experienced commercial team comprised of experienced professionals in marketing, access and reimbursement, managed markets, marketing research, commercial operations, and sales force planning and management. In addition, our commercial infrastructure includes capabilities in manufacturing, medical affairs, quality control, and compliance.

We launched NERLYNX in the United States in July 2017, and our focus is to establish NERLYNX as the first choice for extended adjuvant treatment of adult patients with early stage HER2-overexpressed/amplified breast cancer following adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy.

In other markets outside of the United States in which NERLYNX may be approved, if any, we may choose to commercialize NERLYNX independently or by establishing one or more strategic alliances such as the ones we have established for commercializing NERLYNX in the territories for each of our respective licensees.

In November 2018, our board of directors formed a commercialization committee, consisting of Michael Miller, Jay Moyes and Frank Zavrl (and on which Alan H. Auerbach, our Chief Executive Officer and President, participates), to assist management in further accelerating our commercialization efforts in the United States. In particular, the committee is assessing our current commercial infrastructure and sales organization, assisting management in designing and implementing additional strategies focused on optimizing our commercial results and working with management to provide additional oversight into the commercial department.  Hugh O’Dowd and Ann Miller joined the commercialization committee upon joining our Board of Directors in October 2019 and November 2019, respectively.

Intellectual Property and License Agreements

 

We hold a worldwide exclusive license under our license agreement with Pfizer to eighteen granted U.S. patents and five pending U.S. patent applications, as well as foreign counterparts thereof, and other patent applications and patents claiming priority therefrom.

 

In the United States, we have a license to an issued patent, which currently will expire in 2025, for the composition of matter of neratinib, our lead compound. We also have a license to an issued U.S. patent for the use of neratinib in the treatment of breast cancer, which currently expires in 2025, an issued patent for the use of neratinib in the extended adjuvant treatment of early stage HER2 positive breast cancer that has previously been treated with a trastuzumab containing regimen that expires in 2030, and two issued patents for the formulation of NERLYNX that expire in 2030, one issued patent for the preparation of the polymorphic forms of neratinib, and three issued patents for the use of the polymorphic forms of neratinib in the treatment of breast cancer. In jurisdictions which permit such, we will seek patent term extensions where possible for certain of our patents. We plan to pursue additional patents in and outside the United States covering additional therapeutic uses of neratinib from these existing applications. In addition, we will pursue patent protection for any new discoveries or inventions made in the course of our development of neratinib.

 

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In the United States, marketing approval for neratinib was obtained on July 17, 2017, which provided five years of non-patent data exclusivity.  Requests for patent term extension under the Hatch-Waxman Act have been filed in the United States.  If we obtain marketing approval in the United States for new uses or combinations therapies for neratinib, we may be eligible for additional periods of regulatory exclusivity, such as three-year market exclusivity covering the new use. If we obtain marketing approval for neratinib or other drug candidates or in certain jurisdictions outside the United States, we may be eligible for regulatory protection, such as, eight to eleven years of data and marketing exclusivity potentially are available for new drugs in the European Union; up to five years of patent extension are potentially available in Europe (Supplemental Protection Certificate), and eight years of data exclusivity are potentially available in Japan. There can be no assurance that we will qualify for any such regulatory exclusivity, or that any such exclusivity will prevent competitors from seeking approval solely on the basis of their own studies. See “Government Regulation” below.

 

The intellectual property portfolio that was licensed from Pfizer in 2011 when we licensed neratinib included issued patents in a number of countries, including in Europe (EP1848414), as well as pending patent applications in several countries, including the United States, relating to methods of treating gefitinib-and/or erlotinib-resistant cancer by administering an irreversible epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor.  More specifically, with respect to the United States, a Notice of Allowance was issued in January 2020 for pending application US 11/883,474, regarding its claims for methods of treating gefitinib-and/or erlotinib-resistant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cancer.  A Notice of Allowance was also issued in January 2020 for the related continuation application US 15/207,349 regarding its claims for methods of treating gefitinib-and/or erlotinib-resistant NSCLC having a T790M mutation in EGFR.  The issue fees for both these US applications were paid in February 2020.  Regarding Europe, the EP1848414 patent that was issued in Europe in April 2011 included specific claims that included a pharmaceutical composition for use in treating cancer in a subject with a cancer having a mutation in epidermal growth factor receptor with a T790M mutation. On November 28, 2011, Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH filed an opposition to this patent asking for this patent to be revoked. Oral proceedings were held before the Opposition Division of the European Patent Office in Munich, Germany on February 4, 2014. The decision of the Opposition Division was to uphold the granted claims of the European patent that relate to the T790M mutation without any modification. This included specific claims that include claims for the pharmaceutical composition comprising an irreversible epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor for use in treating cancer in a subject having a T790M mutation, and claims for the pharmaceutical composition for use in the treatment of numerous cancers, including lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.  Both parties have appealed this decision.  The appeal is pending, with a hearing set to take place in December 2020.  

 

An Opposition was filed by Hexal AG, or Hexel, on August 3, 2016 against European Patent No. EP2416774 which was licensed from Pfizer in 2011, and which claims neratinib for use in a method for treating HER-2/neu overexpressed/amplified cancer and improving IDFS, wherein the method comprises delivering neratinib therapy to HER-2/neu overexpressed/amplified cancer patients following the completion of at least one year of trastuzumab adjuvant therapy, and wherein the neratinib therapy comprises treating the cancer patients with neratinib for at least twelve months.  An oral hearing was held December 8, 2017, wherein the patent was maintained as granted.  Hexal then appealed, which appeal is pending.

 

On October 4, 2017, Hexal AG also filed an Opposition to European Patent No. EP2326329 which was licensed from Pfizer in 2011, and which claims a combination of neratinib and pharmaceutically acceptable salts thereof with capecitabine for use in a method of treating an Erb-2 positive metastatic breast cancer.  An oral hearing was held on February 13, 2019, wherein the patent was maintained as granted.  Hexal then appealed, which appeal is pending.

 

An Opposition was filed by Generics (UK) Ltd., or Generics, on September 3, 2015 against European Patent No. EP2656844, which was licensed from Pfizer in 2011, and which claims, inter alia, a pharmaceutical pack containing 50 to 300 mg of neratinib and pharmaceutically acceptable salts thereof and vinorelbine for use in a method of treating a neoplasm.  An oral hearing was held July 3, 2017, wherein the patent was maintained as granted.  Generics then appealed, which appeal is pending.

 

Unipharm filed a pre-grant opposition to Israeli Patent Application No. IL210616 on January 31, 2016.  This application was licensed from Pfizer in 2011.  An oral hearing was held in Jerusalem before the Israeli Patent Office on January 22, 2018.  The matter is pending before the Israeli Patent Office.  The application is directed to use of a combination of neratinib and capecitabine in the manufacture of a medicament for treating a neoplasm.

 

Our goal is to obtain, maintain and enforce patent protection for our products, formulations, processes, methods and other proprietary technologies, preserve our trade secrets, and operate without infringing on the proprietary rights of other parties, both in the United States and in other countries. Our policy is to actively seek to obtain, where appropriate, the broadest intellectual property protection possible for our current product candidates and any future product candidates, proprietary information and proprietary technology through a combination of contractual arrangements and patents, both in the United States and abroad. However, even patent protection may not always provide us with complete protection against competitors who seek to circumvent our patents. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property—Our proprietary rights may not adequately protect our intellectual property and potential products, and if we cannot obtain adequate protection of our intellectual property and potential products, we may not be able to successfully market our potential products.”

 

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We depend upon the skills, knowledge and experience of our scientific and technical personnel, as well as that of our advisors, consultants and other contractors, none of which is patentable. To help protect our proprietary know-how, which is not patentable, and inventions for which patents may be difficult to obtain or enforce, we rely on trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements to protect our interests. To this end, we require all of our employees, consultants, advisors and other contractors to enter into confidentiality agreements that prohibit the disclosure of confidential information and, where applicable, require disclosure and assignment to us of the ideas, developments, discoveries and inventions important to our business.

 

In-License Agreement

In August 2011, Former Puma entered into an agreement pursuant to which Pfizer agreed to grant to Former Puma a worldwide license for the development, manufacture and commercialization of neratinib (oral), neratinib (intravenous), PB357, and certain related compounds. Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, the license would not become effective until Former Puma closed a capital raising transaction in which it raised at least $25 million in aggregate net proceeds and had a net worth of at least $22.5 million. Upon the closing of the financing that preceded the Merger, this condition was satisfied.

We assumed the license agreement, in accordance with its terms, in the Merger. The license is exclusive with respect to certain patent rights owned or licensed by Pfizer. Under the license agreement, Pfizer is obligated to transfer to us certain information, records, regulatory filings, materials and inventory controlled by Pfizer and relating to or useful for developing these compounds and to continue to conduct certain ongoing clinical studies until a certain time. After that time, we are obligated to continue such studies pursuant to an approved development plan, including after the license agreement terminates for reasons unrelated to Pfizer’s breach of the license agreement, subject to certain specified exceptions. We are also obligated to commence a new clinical trial for a product containing one of these compounds within a specified period of time and use commercially reasonable efforts to complete such trial and achieve certain milestones as provided in a development plan. If certain of our out-of-pocket costs in completing such studies exceed a mutually agreed amount, Pfizer will pay for certain additional out-of-pocket costs to complete such studies. We must use commercially reasonable efforts to develop and commercialize products containing these compounds in specified major-market countries and other countries in which we believe it is commercially reasonable to develop and commercialize such products.

As consideration for the license, we are required to make payments totaling $187.5 million upon the achievements of certain milestones if all such milestones are achieved. In connection with the FDA approval of NERLYNX in July 2017, we triggered a one-time milestone payment.

The license agreement originally stipulated that should we commercialize any of the compounds licensed from Pfizer or any products containing any of these compounds, we will be obligated to pay to Pfizer incremental annual royalties between approximately 10% and 20% of net sales of all such products, subject, in some circumstances, to certain reductions.

In July 2014, we signed an amendment to the license agreement with Pfizer that, among other things reduced the annual royalties to be paid on net sales of licensed products from a tiered royalty rate structure ranging between 10% to 20% to a fixed rate in the low to mid-teens.  

Our royalty obligation continues, on a product-by-product and country-by-country basis, until the later of (i) the last to expire valid claim of a licensed patent covering the applicable licensed product in such country, or (ii) the earlier of generic competition for such licensed product reaching a certain level of sales in such country or expiration of a certain time period after first commercial sale of such licensed product in such country. We can terminate the license agreement at will at any time or for safety concerns, in each case upon specified advance notice. Each party may terminate the license agreement if the other party fails to cure any breach of a material obligation by such other party within a specified time period. Pfizer may terminate the license agreement in the event of our bankruptcy, receivership, insolvency or similar proceeding. The license agreement contains other customary clauses and terms as are common in similar agreements in the industry.  

Sub-License Agreements

 

Specialised Therapeutics Agreement

On November 20, 2017, we entered into a sub-license agreement, or the Specialised Therapeutics Agreement, with Specialised Therapeutics Asia Pte Ltd., or STA.  Pursuant to the Specialised Therapeutics Agreement, we granted to STA, under certain of our intellectual property rights relating to neratinib, an exclusive, sublicensable (under certain circumstances) license to commercialize any pharmaceutical product containing neratinib in finished form for the extended adjuvant treatment of women with early stage HER2-positive breast cancer and HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer in Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam, or the STA Territory.

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The Specialised Therapeutics Agreement sets forth the parties’ respective obligations with respect to the development, commercialization, and supply of the licensed product. Within the STA Territory, STA will be generally responsible for regulatory and commercialization activities, and we will be solely responsible for the manufacturing and supply of the licensed product under a supply agreement entered into between the parties.

Pursuant to the Specialised Therapeutics Agreement, we received an upfront payment of $1.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2017, a regulatory milestone payment of $1.0 million during the second quarter of 2019 and will potentially receive regulatory milestone payments totaling up to $2.0 million.  In addition, we will receive double-digit royalties on sales of licensed products, calculated as a percentage of net sales of licensed products throughout the STA Territory. At this time, we cannot estimate if or when the remaining milestone-related performance obligations might be achieved.

The term of the Specialised Therapeutics Agreement continues, on a country-by-country basis, until the later of (i) the expiration or abandonment of the last patent covering the licensed product or (ii) the earlier of (a) the date upon which sales of generic versions of licensed product reach a specified level in such country, or (b) the tenth anniversary of the first commercial sale of the licensed product in such country. The Specialised Therapeutics Agreement may be terminated by either party if the other party commits a material breach, subject to a customary cure period, or if the other party is insolvent. The Specialised Therapeutics Agreement will also terminate upon the termination of the supply agreement for licensed products between the parties.

CANbridge Agreement

On January 30, 2018, we entered into a sub-license agreement, or the CANbridge Agreement, with CANbridge Limited, or CANbridge. Pursuant to the CANbridge Agreement, we granted to CANbridge, under certain of our intellectual property rights relating to neratinib, an exclusive, sublicensable (under certain circumstances) license to develop and commercialize any pharmaceutical product containing neratinib for the treatment of human disease, or for purposes of this description, the Field, in the People’s Republic of China, or the CANbridge Territory, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, or, each, a CANbridge Region.

The CANbridge Agreement sets forth the parties’ respective obligations with respect to the development, commercialization, and supply of the licensed product. CANbridge will, at its expense, develop the licensed product for the purpose of obtaining regulatory approval in the Field and in the CANbridge Territory, subject to our approval of certain aspects of clinical studies conducted by CANbridge. Within the CANbridge Territory, CANbridge will be solely responsible, at its expense, for regulatory and commercialization activities. We will be solely responsible, subject to certain exceptions, for the manufacturing and supply of the licensed product under a supply agreement that will be entered into between the parties.

Pursuant to the CANbridge Agreement, we received an upfront payment of $30.0 million during the first quarter of 2018 and a regulatory milestone payment of $10.0 million during the fourth quarter of 2018, and will potentially receive additional regulatory milestone payments totaling up to $30.0 million and sales-based milestone payments totaling up to $185.0 million. In addition, we are entitled to receive double-digit royalties on sales of the licensed products, calculated as a percentage of net sales of the licensed products in the CANbridge Territory. At this time, we cannot estimate if or when the remaining milestone-related performance obligations might be achieved.

The term of the CANbridge Agreement continues, on a CANbridge Region-by-CANbridge Region basis, until (i) the later of the expiration or abandonment of the last licensed patent covering the licensed product in such CANbridge Region or (ii) the earlier of (x) the date upon which sales of generic versions of the licensed product reach a specified level in such CANbridge Region, or (y) the tenth anniversary of the first commercial sale of the licensed product in such CANbridge Region. The CANbridge Agreement may be terminated by either party if the other party commits a material breach, subject to a customary cure period, or if the other party is insolvent; provided that if CANbridge materially breaches its development or commercialization obligations in a particular CANbridge Region, we may terminate the CANbridge Agreement solely with respect to such CANbridge Region. CANbridge may terminate the agreement at its convenience.

Pint Agreement

On March 30, 2018, we entered into a sub-license agreement, or the Pint Agreement, with Pint Pharma International SA, or Pint. Pursuant to the Pint Agreement, we granted to Pint, under certain of our intellectual property rights relating to neratinib, an exclusive, sublicensable (under certain circumstances) license to develop and commercialize any product containing neratinib and certain related compounds in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela, French Guiana, the Falkland Islands, and Mexico, or the Pint Territory.

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The Pint Agreement sets forth the parties’ respective obligations with respect to the development, commercialization, and supply of the licensed product. Pint will, at its expense, develop the licensed product for the purpose of obtaining regulatory approval in the Pint Territory, subject to our consent to conduct such development activities and approval of certain aspects of clinical studies conducted by Pint. Within the Pint Territory, Pint will also be responsible for regulatory and commercialization activities. We will be solely responsible for the manufacturing and supply of the licensed product under a supply agreement that will be entered into between the parties, subject to certain exceptions therein.

Pursuant to the Pint Agreement, we received an upfront payment of $10.0 million during the third quarter of 2018 and will potentially receive additional regulatory and sales-based milestone payments totaling up to approximately $24.5 million. In addition, we are entitled to receive double-digit royalties on sales of licensed products, calculated as a percentage of net sales of licensed products throughout the Pint Territory. During the third quarter of 2019, we achieved a development-based milestone, which satisfied a performance obligation necessary to recognize the associated license revenue. We expect to receive the payment from Pint associated with this milestone during the third quarter of 2020. At this time, we cannot estimate if or when the remaining milestone-related performance obligations might be achieved.

The term of the Pint Agreement continues, on a country-by-country basis, until the later of (i) the expiration or abandonment of the last licensed patent covering the licensed product in such country, or (ii) the earlier of (x) the date upon which sales of generic versions of licensed product reach a specified level in such country, or (y) the tenth anniversary of the first commercial sale of the licensed product in such country. The Pint Agreement may be terminated by either party if the other party commits a material breach, subject to a customary cure period, or if the other party is insolvent. Pint may also terminate the Pint Agreement at will, for certain safety concerns.

Knight Agreement

On January 9, 2019, we entered into a sub-license agreement, or the Knight Agreement, with Knight Therapeutics, Inc., or Knight. Pursuant to the Knight Agreement, we granted to Knight, under certain of the our intellectual property rights relating to neratinib, an exclusive, sublicensable (under certain circumstances) license (i) to commercialize any product containing neratinib and certain related compounds in Canada, or the Knight Territory, (ii) to seek and maintain regulatory approvals for the licensed products in the Knight Territory and (iii) to manufacture the licensed products anywhere in the world solely for the development and commercialization of the licensed products in the Knight Territory for human use, subject to the terms of the Knight Agreement and a supply agreement to be negotiated and executed by the parties.

Under the terms of the Knight Agreement, we will be solely responsible for the manufacturing and supply of the licensed products to Knight, but under limited circumstances Knight may obtain the right to manufacture the licensed products under the supply agreement.

The Knight Agreement sets forth the parties’ respective obligations with respect to the commercialization of the licensed products. Within the Knight Territory, we will be solely responsible for obtaining the regulatory approval for the indication of extended adjuvant treatment of HER2-positive early stage breast cancer, or the Initial Indication, and Knight will use commercially reasonable efforts to prepare, file and manage regulatory filings for any other indications in the field of human use. Promptly after obtaining the regulatory approval for the Initial Indication in the Knight Territory, we will transfer such regulatory approval to Knight, and Knight will own and hold any regulatory approvals for the licensed products in the Knight Territory in its name.

Pursuant to the Knight Agreement, we received an upfront payment of $1.5 million during the first quarter of 2019, a regulatory milestone payment of approximately $0.3 million during the third quarter of 2019 and will potentially receive regulatory and commercial milestone payments totaling up to approximately $5.6 million. In addition, we are entitled to receive double-digit royalties on sales of licensed products, calculated as a percentage of net sales of licensed products in the Knight Territory.  At this time, we cannot estimate if or when the remaining milestone-related performance obligations might be achieved.

The term of the Knight Agreement continues, on a licensed product-by-licensed product basis, until the later of (i) the expiration or abandonment of the last valid claim of the licensed patents that covers such licensed product in the Territory, or (ii) the earlier of (x) the time when generic competitors to such licensed product have achieved a specified level in such country, or (y) ten (10) years following the date of first commercial sale of such licensed product in the Territory. The Knight Agreement may be terminated by either party if the other party commits a material breach, subject to a customary cure period, or if the other party is insolvent.

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Pierre Fabre Agreement

On March 29, 2019, we entered into a sub-license agreement, or the Pierre Fabre Agreement, with Pierre Fabre Medicament SAS, or Pierre Fabre. The Pierre Fabre Agreement granted intellectual property rights and set forth the parties’ respective obligations with respect to development, commercialization and supply of any pharmaceutical product containing neratinib in European countries excluding Russia and Ukraine, along with countries in North Africa and francophone countries of West Africa, or the Pierre Fabre Territory. On November 25, 2019, we entered into a license amendment, or the Pierre Fabre Amendment, with Pierre Fabre to extend the terms of the Pierre Fabre Agreement to the Middle East, South Africa, Sudan and Turkey, or the Pierre Fabre Amendment Territory.

Under the terms of the Pierre Fabre Agreement, we are obligated to supply Pierre Fabre with the licensed product in accordance with the related supply agreement. Pierre Fabre will be responsible for conducting additional clinical studies and leading regulatory activities in connection with the EMA.

Pursuant to the Pierre Fabre Agreement, we received an upfront payment of $60.0 million during the second quarter of 2019 and will potentially receive additional regulatory and sales-based milestone payments totaling up to $345.0 million. In addition, we will receive double-digit royalties on sales of licensed products throughout the Pierre Fabre Territory. Pursuant to the Pierre Fabre Amendment, we received an upfront payment of $4.0 million and will potentially receive additional regulatory and sales-based milestone payments totaling up to $3.0 million. In addition, we will receive double-digit royalties on sales of licensed products, calculated as a percentage of net sales of licensed products throughout the Pierre Fabre Amendment Territory. At this time, we cannot estimate if or when the remaining milestone-related performance obligations might be achieved.

The term of the Pierre Fabre Agreement, as amended, continues until, on a country-by-country basis, the later of (i) the expiration or abandonment of the last licensed patent covering the licensed product in such country and (ii) the earlier of (x) the date upon which sales of generic versions of the licensed product reach a specified level in such country, or (y) the tenth anniversary of the first commercial sale of the licensed product in such country. The Pierre Fabre Agreement, as amended, may be terminated by either party if the other party commits a material breach, subject to a cure period, or if the other party is insolvent. Pierre Fabre may terminate the agreement at its convenience or if there is evidence of safety issues with the licensed product.

Manufacturing

We do not currently have our own manufacturing facilities. We intend to continue to use our financial resources to accelerate commercialization of NERLYNX and development of our drug candidates rather than diverting resources to establish our own manufacturing facilities.  We intend to meet our pre-clinical and clinical trial manufacturing requirements by establishing relationships with third-party manufacturers and other service providers to perform these services for us.  While our drug candidates were being developed by Pfizer, both the drug substance and drug product were manufactured by third-party contractors.  We are currently using the same third-party contractors to manufacture, supply, store and distribute our products in clinical trials and commercial quantities.  We believe that we have manufactured sufficient quantities of the drug to support at least the launch in the extended adjuvant breast cancer indication and plan to continue to manufacture the drug in 2020 to further support the commercial launch of the drug.  

Should any of our other drug candidates obtain marketing approval, we anticipate establishing relationships with third-party manufacturers and other service providers in connection with commercial production of our products.  We have some flexibility in securing other manufacturers to produce our drug candidates; however, our alternatives may be limited due to proprietary technologies or methods used in the manufacture of some of our drug candidates.

Government Regulation

United States—FDA Process

The research, development, testing, manufacture, labeling, promotion, advertising, distribution and marketing, among other things, of drug products are extensively regulated by governmental authorities in the United States and other countries. In the United States, the FDA regulates drugs under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or the FDCA, and its implementing regulations. Failure to comply with the applicable U.S. requirements may subject us to administrative or judicial sanctions, such as FDA refusal to approve pending NDAs, warning letters, fines, civil penalties, product recalls, product seizures, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunctions and/or criminal prosecution.

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Drug Approval Process. None of our drug product candidates may be marketed in the United States until the drug has received FDA approval. The steps required before a drug may be marketed in the United States generally include the following:

 

completion of extensive pre-clinical laboratory tests, animal studies, and formulation studies in accordance with the FDA’s GLP requirements and other applicable regulations;

 

submission to the FDA of an Investigational New Drug application, or IND, for human clinical testing, which must become effective before human clinical trials may begin;

 

approval by an independent institutional review board, or IRB, or ethics committee at each clinical site before each trial may be initiated;

 

performance of adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials in accordance with GCP requirements to establish the safety and efficacy of the drug for each proposed indication;

 

submission to the FDA of an NDA after completion of all pivotal clinical trials;

 

satisfactory completion of an FDA advisory committee review, if applicable;

 

satisfactory completion of an FDA pre-approval inspection of the manufacturing facility or facilities at which the active pharmaceutical ingredient, or API, and finished drug product are produced and tested to assess compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practices, or cGMPs; and

 

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

Pre-clinical tests include laboratory evaluation of product chemistry, toxicity and formulation, as well as animal studies. The conduct of the pre-clinical tests and formulation of the compounds for testing must comply with federal regulations and requirements. The results of the pre-clinical tests, together with manufacturing information and analytical data, are submitted to the FDA as part of an IND, which must become effective before human clinical trials may begin. An IND will automatically become effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless before that time the FDA raises concerns or questions about the conduct of the trial, such as whether human research subjects will be exposed to an unreasonable health risk. In such a case, the IND sponsor and the FDA must resolve any outstanding FDA concerns or questions before clinical trials can proceed. We cannot be sure that submission of an IND will result in the FDA allowing clinical trials to begin.

Clinical trials involve administration of the investigational drug to human subjects under the supervision of qualified investigators. Clinical trials are conducted under protocols detailing the objectives of the study, the parameters to be used in monitoring safety and the effectiveness criteria to be evaluated. Each protocol must be provided to the FDA as part of a separate submission to the IND. Further, an IRB for each medical center proposing to conduct the clinical trial must review and approve the study protocol and informed consent information for study subjects for any clinical trial before it commences at that center, and the IRB must monitor the study until it is completed. There are also requirements governing reporting of ongoing clinical trials and clinical trial results to public registries. Study subjects must sign an informed consent form before participating in a clinical trial.

Clinical trials necessary for product approval typically are conducted in three sequential phases, but the phases may overlap. Phase I usually involves the initial introduction of the investigational drug into a limited population, typically healthy humans, to evaluate its short-term safety, dosage tolerance, metabolism, pharmacokinetics and pharmacologic actions, and, if possible, to gain an early indication of its effectiveness. Phase II usually involves trials in a limited patient population to (i) evaluate dosage tolerance and appropriate dosage; (ii) identify possible adverse effects and safety risks; and (iii) evaluate preliminarily the efficacy of the drug for specific targeted indications. Multiple Phase II clinical trials may be conducted by the sponsor to obtain information prior to beginning larger and more expensive Phase III clinical trials. Phase III trials, commonly referred to as pivotal studies, are undertaken in an expanded patient population at multiple, geographically dispersed clinical trial centers to further evaluate clinical efficacy and test further for safety by using the drug in its final form.  Post-approval trials, sometimes referred to as Phase IV studies, 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, the FDA may mandate the performance of Phase IV clinical trials as a condition of approval of an NDA.  

Furthermore, the sponsor, the FDA or an IRB may suspend clinical trials at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the subjects or patients are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk. Similarly, an IRB can suspend or terminate approval of a clinical trial at its institution, such as in the circumstances where 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. In addition, some clinical trials are overseen by an independent group of qualified experts organized by the sponsor, known as a data safety monitoring board or committee. Depending on its charter, this group may determine whether a trial may move forward at designated check points based on access to certain data from the trial.     

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During the development of a new drug, sponsors are given an opportunity to meet with the FDA at certain points. These points may be prior to submission of an IND, at the end of Phase II clinical testing, and before an NDA is submitted. Meetings at other times may be requested. These meetings can provide an opportunity for the sponsor to share information about the data gathered to date, for the FDA to provide advice, and for the sponsor and the FDA to reach consensus on the next phase of development. Sponsors typically use the end of Phase II meeting to discuss their Phase II clinical results and present their plans for the pivotal Phase III clinical trial that they believe will support submission of an NDA.

A sponsor may request a special protocol assessment, or SPA to reach an agreement with the FDA that the protocol design, clinical endpoints, and statistical analyses are acceptable to support regulatory approval of the product candidate with respect to effectiveness in the indication studied. If such an agreement is reached, it will be documented and made part of the administrative record, and it will be binding on the FDA except in limited circumstances, such as if the FDA identifies a substantial scientific issue essential to determining the safety or effectiveness of the product after clinical studies begin, if the relevant data, assumptions, or information provided by the sponsor in a request for SPA change are found to be false statements or misstatements or omit relevant facts, or if the sponsor fails to follow the protocol that was agreed upon with the FDA. A documented SPA may be modified, and such modification will be deemed binding on the FDA review division, except under the circumstances described above, if FDA and the sponsor agree in writing to modify the protocol and such modification is intended to improve the study.  There is no guarantee that a study will ultimately be adequate to support an approval, even if the study is subject to an SPA.

Concurrent with clinical trials, companies usually complete additional animal safety studies and must also develop additional information about the chemistry and physical characteristics of the drug and finalize a process for manufacturing the product in accordance with cGMP requirements. The manufacturing process must be capable of consistently producing quality batches of the drug candidate and the manufacturer must develop methods for testing the quality, purity and potency of the final drugs. Additionally, appropriate packaging must be selected and tested, and stability studies must be conducted to demonstrate that the drug candidate does not undergo unacceptable deterioration over its shelf life.

Assuming successful completion of the required clinical testing, the results of pre-clinical studies and of clinical trials, together with other detailed information, including information on the manufacture and composition of the drug, are submitted to the FDA in the form of an NDA requesting approval to market the product for one or more indications. An NDA must be accompanied by a significant user fee, which is waived for the first NDA submitted by a qualifying small business.

The FDA reviews an NDA to determine, among other things, whether a product is safe and effective for its intended use and whether its manufacturing is cGMP-compliant to assure and preserve the product’s identity, strength, quality and purity. Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, guidelines that are currently in effect, the FDA has a goal of ten months from the date of “filing” of a standard NDA for a new molecular entity to review and act on the submission.  This review typically takes twelve months from the date the NDA is submitted to FDA because the FDA has approximately two months to make a “filing” decision after it the application is submitted.  The FDA conducts a preliminary review of all NDAs within the first 60 days after submission, before accepting them for filing, to determine whether they are sufficiently complete to permit substantive review. The FDA may request additional information rather than accept an NDA for filing. In this event, the NDA must be resubmitted with the additional information. The resubmitted application also is subject to a filing review before the FDA accepts it for filing and substantive review.

The FDA also may refer an application for a novel drug to an advisory committee.  An advisory committee is a panel of independent experts, including clinicians and other scientific experts, that reviews, evaluates and provides 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.

Before approving an NDA, the FDA inspects the facility or the facilities at which the drug and/or its active pharmaceutical ingredient is manufactured and will not approve the product unless the manufacturing is in compliance with cGMPs and adequate to assure consistent production of the product within required specifications.  Additionally, before approving an NDA, the FDA will typically inspect one or more clinical sites to assure compliance with GCPs.  If the FDA determines that the application, manufacturing process or manufacturing facilities are not acceptable, it will outline the deficiencies in the submission and often will request additional testing or information.  Notwithstanding the submission of any requested additional information, the FDA ultimately may decide that the application does not satisfy the regulatory criteria for approval.

After the FDA evaluates an NDA, it will issue an approval letter or a Complete Response Letter. An approval letter authorizes commercial marketing of the drug 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 the specific deficiencies in the NDA identified by the FDA and may require additional clinical data and/or additional pivotal Phase III clinical trial(s), and/or other significant, expensive and time-consuming requirements related to clinical trials, pre-clinical studies or manufacturing. Even if such additional information is submitted, the FDA may ultimately decide that the NDA does not satisfy the criteria for approval.

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If regulatory approval of a product is granted, such approval will be granted for particular indications and may entail limitations on the indicated uses for which such product may be marketed. For example, the FDA could approve the NDA with a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy to mitigate risks of the drug, which could include medication guides, physician communication plans, or elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries or other risk minimization tools. Once the FDA approves a drug, the FDA may withdraw product approval if ongoing regulatory requirements are not met or if safety problems occur after the product reaches the market. In addition, the FDA may require testing, including Phase IV clinical trials, and surveillance programs to monitor the safety effects of approved products that have been commercialized. The FDA has the power to prevent or limit further marketing of a product based on the results of these post-marketing programs or other information.  In addition, new government requirements, including those resulting from new legislation, may be established, or the FDA’s policies may change, which could impact the timeline for regulatory approval or otherwise impact ongoing development programs.

Expedited Review and Approval. The FDA has various programs, including fast track designation, priority review, accelerated approval, and breakthrough therapy designation, which are intended to expedite or simplify the process for reviewing certain drugs and in the case of accelerated approval, provide for approval on the basis of surrogate or intermediate endpoints. Even if a drug qualifies for one or more of these programs, the FDA may later decide that the drug no longer meets the conditions for qualification or that the time period for FDA review or approval will not be shortened. Generally, drugs that may be eligible for these programs are those for serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions, those with the potential to address unmet medical needs, and those that offer meaningful benefits over existing treatments. Fast track designation, breakthrough therapy designation, priority review and accelerated approval do not change the standards for approval but may expedite the development or approval process.

For example, fast track designation is designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of drugs to treat serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions and which demonstrate the potential to address an unmet medical need for such diseases or conditions. With regard to a fast track-designated product, the FDA may consider for review sections of the NDA on a rolling basis before the complete application is submitted, if the sponsor provides a schedule for the submission of the sections of the NDA, the FDA agrees to accept sections of the NDA and determines that the schedule is acceptable, and the sponsor pays any required user fees upon submission of the first section of the NDA. Any product submitted to the FDA for approval, including a product with a fast track designation, may also be eligible for other types of FDA programs intended to expedite development and review, such as priority review and accelerated approval.  A product is eligible for priority review if it has the potential to provide safe and effective therapy where no satisfactory alternative therapy exists or a significant improvement in the treatment, diagnosis or prevention of a disease compared to marketed products.  The FDA will attempt to direct additional resources to the evaluation of an application for a new drug designated for priority review in an effort to facilitate the review.  The FDA endeavors to review applications with priority review designations within six months of the filing date as compared to ten months for review of new molecular entity NDAs under its current PDUFA review goals.

Drug products intended for serious or life threatening conditions may be eligible for accelerated approval upon a determination that the product has an effect on a surrogate endpoint, which is a laboratory measurement or physical sign used as an indirect or substitute measurement representing a clinically meaningful outcome, or an effect on a clinical endpoint that can be measured earlier than irreversible morbidity or mortality and that is reasonably likely to predict an effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality or other clinical benefit, taking into account the severity, rarity or prevalence of the condition and the availability or lack of alternative treatments. As a condition of approval, the FDA may require that a sponsor of a drug receiving accelerated approval perform post-marketing clinical trials.  In addition, the FDA currently requires pre-approval of promotional materials as a condition for accelerated approval.

The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act established a category of drugs referred to as “breakthrough therapies” that may be eligible to receive breakthrough therapy designation.  A sponsor may seek FDA designation of a product candidate as a “breakthrough therapy” if the product is intended, alone or in combination with one or more other drugs, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development. Drugs designated as breakthrough therapies receive all the benefits of a fast track designation, as well as intensive guidance on efficient drug development and organizational commitment involving senior managers in the FDA.

Post-Approval Requirements. After a drug has been approved by the FDA for sale, the FDA may require that certain post-approval requirements be satisfied, including the conduct of additional clinical studies. In addition, certain changes to an approved product, such as adding new indications, making certain manufacturing changes, or making certain additional labeling claims, are subject to further FDA review and approval. Before a company can market products for additional indications, it must obtain additional approvals from the FDA. Obtaining approval for a new indication generally requires that additional clinical studies be conducted. A company cannot be sure that any additional approval for new indications for any product candidate will be approved on a timely basis, or at all.

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If post-approval conditions are not satisfied, the FDA may withdraw its approval of the drug. In addition, holders of an approved NDA are required to (i) report certain adverse reactions to the FDA and maintain pharmacovigilance programs to proactively look for these adverse events; (ii) comply with certain requirements concerning advertising and promotional labeling for their products; and (iii) continue to have quality control and manufacturing procedures conform to cGMPs after approval. The FDA periodically inspects the sponsor’s records related to safety reporting and/or manufacturing facilities; this latter effort includes assessment of ongoing compliance with cGMPs. Accordingly, manufacturers must continue to expend time, money and effort in the area of production and quality control to maintain cGMP compliance. We use third-party manufacturers to produce our products in clinical and commercial quantities, and future FDA inspections may identify compliance issues at the facilities of our contract manufacturers that may disrupt production or distribution, or require substantial resources to correct. In addition, discovery of problems with a product after approval may result in restrictions on a product, manufacturer or holder of an approved NDA, including, among other things:

 

restrictions on the marketing or manufacturing of the product, complete withdrawal of the product from the market or product recalls;

 

fines, warning letters or holds on post-approval clinical trials;

 

refusal of the FDA to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications, or suspension or revocation of existing product approvals;

 

product seizure or detention, or refusal to permit the import or export of products; or

 

injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.

Patent Term Restoration and Marketing Exclusivity. Depending upon the timing, duration and specifics of FDA approval of the use of our drugs, 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, 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 an NDA, plus the time between the submission date of an NDA and the approval of that application. Only one patent applicable to an approved drug is eligible for the extension and the extension must be requested prior to expiration of the patent. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, in consultation with the FDA, reviews and approves the application for any patent term extension or restoration. We have filed for patent term extension for two U.S. patents, each of which is being considered by the USPTO.  Only one U.S. patent is permitted to be extended for the currently approved drug product and its uses.  If both are approved, we will be asked by the USPTO to choose one of the two patents to extend.

Data and market exclusivity provisions under the FDCA also can delay the submission or the approval of certain applications. The FDCA provides a five-year period of non-patent data exclusivity within the United States to the first applicant to gain approval of an NDA for a new chemical entity. A drug is a new chemical entity if the FDA has not previously approved any other new drug containing the same active moiety, which is the molecule or ion responsible for the action of the drug substance. During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not accept for review an abbreviated new drug application, or ANDA, or an NDA submitted under section 505(b)(2) of the FDCA by another company for another version of such drug where the applicant does not own or have a legal right of reference to all the data required for approval. However, an application may be submitted after four years if it contains a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement. The FDCA also provides three years of marketing exclusivity for an NDA, 505(b)(2) NDA or supplement to an existing NDA if new clinical investigations, other than bioavailability studies, conducted or sponsored by the applicant are deemed by the FDA to be essential to the approval of the application, for example, for new indications, dosages or strengths of an existing drug. This three-year exclusivity covers only the conditions associated with the new clinical investigations and does not prohibit the FDA from approving ANDAs or 505(b)(2) NDAs for drugs containing the original active agent or from accepting and reviewing an application referencing the approved drug’s application. Five-year and three-year exclusivity will not delay the submission or approval of a full NDA; however, an applicant submitting a full NDA would be required to conduct, or obtain a right of reference to all of the pre-clinical studies and clinical trials necessary to demonstrate safety and effectiveness.

Foreign Regulation

In addition to regulations in the United States, we will be subject to a variety of foreign regulations governing clinical trials and commercial sales and distribution of our products. Whether or not we obtain FDA approval for a product, we must obtain approval by the comparable regulatory authorities of foreign countries before we can commence clinical trials and approval of foreign countries or economic areas, such as the EU, before we may market products in those countries or areas. The approval process and requirements governing the conduct of clinical trials, product licensing, pricing and reimbursement vary greatly from place to place, and the time may be longer or shorter than that required for FDA approval.

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In the European Economic Area, or EEA, which is comprised of the Member States of the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, medicinal products can only be commercialized after obtaining a Marketing Authorization, or MA. There are two types of MAs:

 

Community MAs – These are 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 EMA, and are 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, and medicinal products indicated for the treatment of AIDS, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, auto-immune and viral diseases. The Centralized Procedure is optional for products containing a new active substance not yet authorized in the EEA; for products that constitute a significant therapeutic, scientific or technical innovation; or for products that are in the interest of public health in the EU.

 

National MAs – These are issued by the competent authorities of the Member States of the EEA and only cover their respective territory and 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 another Member State through the Mutual Recognition Procedure. 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. Under the Decentralized Procedure, 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. The competent authority of the Reference Member State prepares a draft assessment report, a draft summary of the 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 Member States Concerned) for their approval. If the Member States Concerned raise no objections, based on a potential serious risk to public health, to the assessment, SmPC, labeling or packaging proposed by the Reference Member State, the product is subsequently granted a National MA in all the Member States, i.e., in the Reference Member State and the Member States Concerned.

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

As in the United States, it may be possible in foreign countries to obtain a period of market and/or data exclusivity that would have the effect of postponing the entry into the marketplace of a competitor’s generic product. For example, if any of our products receive marketing approval in the EEA, we expect they will benefit from eight years of data exclusivity and 10 years of marketing exclusivity. An additional non-cumulative one-year period of marketing exclusivity is possible if during the data exclusivity period (the first eight years of the 10-year marketing exclusivity period), we obtain an authorization for one or more new therapeutic indications that are deemed to bring a significant clinical benefit compared to existing therapies. The data exclusivity period begins on the date of the product’s first marketing authorization in the EEA and prevents generics from relying on the marketing authorization holder’s pharmacological, toxicological and clinical data for a period of eight years. After eight years, a generic product application may be submitted, and generic companies may rely on the marketing authorization holder’s data. However, a generic cannot launch until two years later (or a total of 10 years after the first marketing authorization in the EU of the innovator product), or three years later (or a total of 11 years after the first marketing authorization in the EU of the innovator product) if the marketing authorization holder obtains marketing authorization for a new indication with significant clinical benefit within the eight-year data exclusivity period. In Japan, our products may be eligible for eight years of data exclusivity. There can be no assurance that we will qualify for such regulatory exclusivity, or that such exclusivity will prevent competitors from seeking approval solely on the basis of their own studies.

When conducting clinical trials in the EU, we must adhere to the provisions of the European Union Clinical Trials Directive (Directive 2001/20/EC) and the laws and regulations of the EU Member States implementing them. These provisions require, among other things, that the prior authorization of an Ethics Committee and the competent Member State authority is obtained before commencing the clinical trial. In April 2014, the EU passed the Clinical Trials Regulation (Regulation 536/2014), which will replace the current Clinical Trials Directive. To ensure that the rules for clinical trials are identical throughout the European Union, the EU Clinical Trials Regulation was passed as a regulation that is directly applicable in all EU member states. All clinical trials performed in the European Union are required to be conducted in accordance with the Clinical Trials Directive until the Clinical Trials Regulation becomes applicable. According to the current plans of the EMA, the Clinical Trials Regulation is expected to become applicable in 2020.

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Coverage and Reimbursement

In the United States and internationally, sales of NERLYNX and any other products that we market in the future, and our ability to generate revenues on such sales, are dependent, in significant part, on the availability of adequate coverage and reimbursement from third-party payors, such as state and federal governments, managed care providers and private insurance plans. Private insurers, such as health maintenance organizations and managed care providers, have implemented cost-cutting and reimbursement initiatives and likely will continue to do so in the future. These include establishing formularies that govern the drugs and biologics that will be offered and the out-of-pocket obligations of member patients for such products. We may need to conduct pharmacoeconomic studies to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of our products for formulary coverage and reimbursement. Even with such studies, our products may be considered less safe, less effective or less cost-effective than existing products, and third-party payors may not provide coverage and reimbursement for our product candidates, in whole or in part.

In addition, particularly in the United States and increasingly in other countries, we are required to provide discounts and pay rebates to state and federal governments and agencies in connection with purchases of our products that are reimbursed by such entities. It is possible that future legislation in the United States and other jurisdictions could be enacted to potentially impact reimbursement rates for the products we are developing and may develop in the future and could further impact the levels of discounts and rebates paid to federal and state government entities. Any legislation that impacts these areas could impact, in a significant way, our ability to generate revenues from sales of products that, if successfully developed, we bring to market.   

Political, economic and regulatory influences are subjecting the healthcare industry in the United States to fundamental changes. There have been, and we expect there will continue to be, legislative and regulatory proposals to change the healthcare system in ways that could significantly affect our future business. For example, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, or collectively, the ACA, enacted in March 2010, substantially changes the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers. Among other cost containment measures, ACA establishes:

 

an annual, nondeductible fee on any entity that manufactures or imports certain branded prescription drugs and biologic agents;

 

a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which pharmaceutical manufacturers who wish to have their drugs covered under Part D must offer discounts to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period, or the donut hole; and

 

a new formula that increases the rebates a manufacturer must pay under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program.

We expect that the current presidential administration and U.S. Congress will likely continue to seek to modify, repeal, or otherwise invalidate all, or certain provisions of, the ACA. Most recently, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted, which, among other things, removes penalties for not complying with the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate to carry health insurance.  On December 14, 2018, a U.S. District Court Judge in the Northern District of Texas, ruled that the individual mandate is a critical and inseverable feature of the ACA, and therefore, because it was repealed as part of the Tax Act, the remaining provisions of the ACA are invalid as well. On December 18, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the individual mandate was unconstitutional and remanded the case back to the District Court to determine whether the remaining provisions of the ACA are invalid as well. It is unclear how these decisions, subsequent appeals, if any, and other efforts to challenge repeal or replace the ACA will impact the ACA.

In addition, other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the ACA was enacted. For example, the Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, included aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to providers of 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect on April 1, 2013 and, due to subsequent legislative amendments to the statute, will remain in effect through 2029 unless additional Congressional action is taken. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, among other things, reduced Medicare payments to several types of providers, including hospitals, imaging centers and cancer treatment centers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years. Individual states in the United States have also become increasingly active in passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. Recently, there has also been heightened governmental scrutiny over the manner in which drug manufacturers set prices for their marketed products, which has resulted in several Congressional inquiries and proposed bills designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to product pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drug products. For example, the 21st Century Cures Act changes the reimbursement methodology for infusion drugs and biologics furnished through durable medical equipment in an attempt to remedy over- and underpayment of certain drugs.

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Similar political, economic and regulatory developments are occurring in the EU and may affect the ability of pharmaceutical companies to profitably commercialize their products. In addition to continuing pressure on prices and cost containment measures, legislative developments at the EU or member state level may result in significant additional requirements or obstacles. The delivery of healthcare in the EU, including the establishment and operation of health services and the pricing and reimbursement of medicines, is almost exclusively a matter for national, rather than EU, law and policy. National governments and health service providers have different priorities and approaches to the delivery of health care and the pricing and reimbursement of products in that context. In general, however, the healthcare budgetary constraints in most EU member states have resulted in restrictions on the pricing and reimbursement of medicines by relevant health service providers. Coupled with ever-increasing EU and national regulatory burdens on those wishing to develop and market products, this could restrict or regulate post-approval activities and affect the ability of pharmaceutical companies to commercialize their products. In international markets, reimbursement and healthcare payment systems vary significantly by country, and many countries have instituted price ceilings on specific products and therapies.

In the future, there may continue to be additional proposals relating to the reform of the U.S. healthcare system and international healthcare systems. Future legislation, or regulatory actions implementing recent or future legislation may have a significant effect on our business. Our ability to successfully commercialize products depends in part on the extent to which reimbursement for the costs of our products and related treatments will be available in the United States and worldwide from government health administration authorities, private health insurers and other organizations. The adoption of certain proposals could limit the prices we are able to charge for our products, the amounts of reimbursement available for our products, and limit the acceptance and availability of our products. Therefore, substantial uncertainty exists as to the reimbursement status of newly approved health care products by third-party payors.

Sales and Marketing

The FDA regulates all advertising and promotion activities for products under its jurisdiction prior to and after approval, including standards and regulations for direct-to-consumer advertising, dissemination of off-label information, industry-sponsored scientific and educational activities and promotional activities involving the Internet. Drugs may be marketed only for the approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved label. Further, if there are any modifications to the drug, including changes in indications, labeling, or manufacturing processes or facilities, we may be required to submit and obtain FDA approval of a new or supplemental NDA, which may require us to collect additional data or conduct additional pre-clinical studies and clinical trials. Failure to comply with applicable FDA requirements may subject a company to adverse publicity, enforcement action by the FDA, corrective advertising, consent decrees and the full range of civil and criminal penalties available to the FDA.

Physicians may prescribe legally available drugs for uses that are not described in the drug’s labeling and that differ from those tested by us and approved by the FDA. Such off-label uses are common across medical specialties, and often reflect a physician’s belief that the off-label use is the best treatment for the patient. The FDA does not regulate the behavior of physicians in their choice of treatments, but FDA regulations do impose stringent restrictions on manufacturers’ communications regarding off-label uses. Failure to comply with applicable FDA requirements may subject a company to adverse publicity, enforcement action by the FDA, corrective advertising, consent decrees and the full range of civil and criminal penalties available to the FDA.

Outside the United States, our ability to market a product is contingent upon obtaining marketing authorization from the appropriate regulatory authorities. The requirements governing marketing authorization, pricing and reimbursement vary widely from country to country.  

Other Healthcare Laws

We may also be subject to various federal and state laws pertaining to health care “fraud and abuse,” including anti-kickback laws and false claims laws, data privacy and security laws and transparency laws.  

The federal Anti-Kickback Statute, or AKS, prohibits, among other things, any person or entity from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying any remuneration, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, order or recommendation of an item or service reimbursable, in whole or in part, under a federal healthcare program, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The term “remuneration” has been broadly interpreted to include anything of value. There are a number of statutory exceptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting some common activities from prosecution; however, these are drawn narrowly and require strict compliance in order to offer protection. Additionally, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. Moreover, a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the AKS constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the federal False Claims Act, or the FCA.

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Federal civil and criminal false claims laws, such as the FCA, prohibit individuals or entities from, among other things, knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented false, fictitious or fraudulent claims for payment or approval by the federal government, including federal health care programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim, or knowingly making a false statement to improperly avoid, decrease or conceal an obligation to pay money to the federal government. Private individuals can bring “qui tam” actions under the FCA, on behalf of the government and such individuals, commonly known as “whistleblowers,” may share in amounts paid by the entity to the government in fines or settlement.

The federal Civil Monetary Penalties law prohibits, among other things, offering or transferring remuneration to a federal healthcare beneficiary that a person knows or should know is likely to influence the beneficiary’s decision to order or receive items or services reimbursable by the government from a particular provider or supplier.

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, created federal criminal statutes that prohibit knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud or to obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, any money or property owned by, or under the control or custody of, any healthcare benefit program, including private third-party payors and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up by trick, scheme or device, a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services.  Like the AKS, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation.

The federal transparency requirements under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, created under the ACA, requires, among other things, certain manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies reimbursed under Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program to annually report to CMS information related to payments and other transfers of value provided to physicians, certain other healthcare professionals beginning in 2022, and teaching hospitals and physician ownership and investment interests, including such ownership and investment interests held by a physician’s immediate family members.

There are also state and foreign law equivalents of each of the above federal laws, such as state anti-kickback and false claims laws, that may impose similar or more prohibitive restrictions, and may apply to items or services reimbursed by any non-governmental third-party payors, including private insurers.  Similar restrictions are also imposed on the promotion and marketing of medicinal products in the EU and other countries. Laws (including those governing promotion, marketing and anti-kickback provisions), industry regulations and professional codes of conduct often are strictly enforced.

Violations of fraud and abuse laws may be punishable by criminal and/or civil sanctions, including fines and civil monetary penalties, the possibility of exclusion from federal health care programs (including Medicare and Medicaid) and corporate integrity agreements, which impose, among other things, rigorous operational and monitoring requirements on companies. Similar sanctions and penalties also may be imposed upon executive officers and employees, including criminal sanctions against executive officers under the so-called “responsible corporate officer” doctrine, even in situations where the executive officer did not intend to violate the law and was unaware of any wrongdoing. Given the penalties that may be imposed on companies and individuals if convicted, allegations of such violations often result in settlements even if the company or individual being investigated admits no wrongdoing. Settlements often include significant civil sanctions, including fines and civil monetary penalties, and corporate integrity agreements.   In addition, private individuals have the ability to bring similar actions.

 

Data Privacy and Security

Pharmaceutical companies may be subject to U.S. federal and state and foreign health information privacy, security and data breach notification laws, which may govern the collection, use, disclosure and protection of health-related and other personal information. In the U.S., HIPAA imposes privacy, security and breach reporting obligations with respect to individually identifiable health information upon “covered entities” (health plans, health care clearinghouses and certain health care providers), and their respective business associates, individuals or entities that create, received, maintain or transmit protected health information in connection with providing a service for or on behalf of a covered entity. HIPAA mandates the reporting of certain breaches of health information to HHS, affected individuals and if the breach is large enough, the media. Entities that are found to be in violation of HIPAA as the result of a breach of unsecured protected health information, a complaint about privacy practices or an audit by HHS, may be subject to significant civil, criminal and administrative fines and penalties and/or additional reporting and oversight obligations if required to enter into a resolution agreement and corrective action plan with HHS to settle allegations of HIPAA non-compliance. Even when HIPAA does not apply, according to the Federal Trade Commission or the FTC, failing to take appropriate steps to keep consumers’ personal information secure constitutes unfair acts or practices in or affecting commerce in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, or the FTCA, 15 U.S.C § 45(a). The FTC expects a company’s data security measures to be reasonable and appropriate in light of the sensitivity and volume of consumer information it holds, the size and complexity of its business, and the cost of available tools to improve security and reduce vulnerabilities. Individually identifiable health information is considered sensitive data that merits stronger safeguards. The FTC’s guidance for appropriately securing consumers’ personal information is similar to what is required by the HIPAA Security Rule.

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In addition, certain state and non-U.S. laws, such as the European Union General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679, or GDPR, govern the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, some of which are more stringent than HIPAA and many of which differ from each other in significant ways and may not have the same effect, thus complicating compliance efforts.  Failure to comply with these laws, where applicable, can result in the imposition of significant civil and/or criminal penalties and private litigation. For example, California recently enacted legislation, the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, which went into effect January 1, 2020. The CCPA, among other things, creates new data privacy obligations for covered companies and provides new privacy rights to California residents, including the right to opt out of certain disclosures of their information. The CCPA also creates a private right of action with statutory damages for certain data breaches, thereby potentially increasing risks associated with a data breach. Although the law includes limited exceptions, including for “protected health information” maintained by a covered entity or business associate, it may regulate or impact our processing of personal information depending on the context. In Europe, the GDPR went into effect in May 2018 and introduces strict requirements for processing the personal data of European Union data subjects. Companies that must comply with the GDPR face increased compliance obligations and risk, including more robust regulatory enforcement of data protection requirements and potential fines for noncompliance of up to €20 million or 4% of the annual global revenues of the noncompliant company, whichever is greater.

Other Laws and Regulatory Processes

We are subject to a variety of financial disclosure and securities trading regulations as a public company in the United States with securities traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, including laws relating to the oversight activities of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, and the rules and regulations of The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC. In addition, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, the SEC, and other bodies that have jurisdiction over the form and content of our accounts, our financial statements and other public disclosure are constantly discussing and interpreting proposals and existing pronouncements designed to ensure that companies best display relevant and transparent information relating to their respective businesses.  

Our present and future business has been and will continue to be subject to various other laws and regulations. Various laws, regulations and recommendations relating to safe working conditions, laboratory practices, experimental use of animals, and the purchase, storage, movement, import and export, and use and disposal of hazardous or potentially hazardous substances used in connection with our research work are or may be applicable to our activities. Certain agreements entered into by us involving exclusive license rights or acquisitions may be subject to national or supranational antitrust regulatory control, the effect of which cannot be predicted. The extent of government regulation that might result from future legislation or administrative action cannot accurately be predicted.

Research and Development Expenses

Research and development activities, which include personnel costs, research supplies, clinical and pre-clinical study costs, are the primary source of our overall expenses. Such expenses related to the research and development of our product candidates totaled $132.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, $164.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 and $207.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.

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Employees

As of December 31, 2019, we had 269 employees, all of whom are full-time employees. We believe our relations with our employees are good. Over the course of the next year, we anticipate hiring approximately 30 additional full-time employees.

In addition, we intend to continue to use CROs and third parties to perform our clinical studies and manufacturing.

Corporate Information and History

Our principal executive offices are located at 10880 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 2150, Los Angeles, California 90024 and our telephone number is (424) 248-6500. Our internet address is www.pumabiotechnology.com. Our annual, quarterly and current reports, and any amendments to those reports, filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 may be accessed free of charge through our website after we have electronically filed or furnished such material with the SEC. We also make available free of charge on or through our website our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, Corporate Governance Guidelines, Audit Committee Charter, Compensation Committee Charter, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee Charter and Research and Development Committee Charter. We will disclose on a current report on Form 8-K or on our website information any amendment or waiver of the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for our executive officers and directors. Any amendment or waiver disclosed on our website will remain available on our website for at least 12 months after the initial disclosure.

The reference to www.pumabiotechnology.com (including any other reference to such address in this Annual Report) is an inactive textual reference only, meaning that the information contained on or accessible from the website is not part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and is not incorporated in this report by reference.

We were originally incorporated in the State of Delaware in April 2007 under the name Innovative Acquisitions Corp. We were a “shell” company registered under the Exchange Act with no specific business plan or purpose until we acquired Former Puma in the Merger. As a result of this transaction, Former Puma become our wholly-owned subsidiary and subsequently merged with and into us, at which time we adopted Former Puma’s business plan and changed our name to “Puma Biotechnology, Inc.”

 

 

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ITEM 1A.

RISK FACTORS

In addition to the other information contained in this Annual Report, the following risk factors should be considered carefully in evaluating our company. Our business, financial condition, liquidity or results of operations could be materially adversely affected by any of these risks. Our business, financial condition, liquidity or results of operations could be materially adversely affected by any of these risks. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties that we are unaware of, or that we currently believe are not material, may also become important factors that affect us.  

Risks Related to our Business

We have a limited operating history and are not profitable and may never become profitable.

We have a limited operating history and have a history of operating losses, with net losses of $75.6 million, $113.6 million and $292.0 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.  As of December 31, 2019, we had an accumulated deficit of approximately $1,277.6 million.  

Although we received FDA approval and commenced commercialization of NERLYNX in the United States in July 2017 and the EC granted marketing authorization for NERLYNX in the European Union in 2018, we may continue to incur losses and may never become profitable.  Moreover, even if we succeed in developing and commercializing one or more of other drug candidates, we may never become profitable. The successful development and commercialization of any drug candidate will require us to perform a variety of functions, including:

 

undertaking pre-clinical development and clinical trials;

 

hiring additional personnel;

 

participating in regulatory approval processes;

 

formulating and manufacturing products;

 

initiating and conducting sales and marketing activities; and

 

implementing additional internal systems and infrastructure.

We will need to generate significant revenue in order to achieve and maintain profitability. We may not be able to generate this revenue or achieve profitability in the future. As a result, we expect our losses to continue for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that we will achieve profitability in the future or that, if we do become profitable, we will sustain profitability. Our failure to achieve or maintain profitability could negatively impact the value of our common stock.  

Our success depends on our ability to commercialize NERLYNX successfully.  We are currently a single product company with limited commercial sales experience, which makes it difficult to evaluate our current business, predict our future prospects and forecast our financial performance and growth.

We have invested a significant portion of our efforts and financial resources in the development and commercialization of our lead product, NERLYNX, and we expect NERLYNX to constitute the vast majority of our product revenue for the foreseeable future. Our success depends on our ability to commercialize NERLYNX successfully. Successful commercialization of NERLYNX is subject to many risks. We have never, as an organization, launched or commercialized a product, and there is no guarantee that we will be able to do so successfully with NERLYNX. There are numerous examples of unsuccessful product launches and failures to meet high expectations of market potential, including by pharmaceutical companies with more experience and resources than we have. The commercial success of NERLYNX depends on the extent to which patients and physicians accept and adopt NERLYNX. For example, if the expected patient population is smaller than we estimate or if physicians are unwilling to prescribe or patients are unwilling to take or continue to take NERLYNX, due to the related side effects, including diarrhea, or otherwise, the commercial success of NERLYNX will be limited. Thus, significant uncertainty remains regarding the commercial potential of NERLYNX.  Moreover, our ability to effectively generate product revenue from NERLYNX will depend on our ability to, among other things:

 

achieve and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements;

 

create and sustain market demand for and achieve market acceptance of NERLYNX through our marketing and sales activities and other arrangements established for the promotion of NERLYNX;

 

compete with other breast cancer drugs (either in the present or in the future);

 

educate physicians and patients about the benefits, administration and use of NERLYNX;

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train, deploy and support a qualified sales force;

 

secure formulary approvals for NERLYNX at a substantial number of targeted hospitals;

 

ensure that our third-party manufacturers manufacture NERLYNX in sufficient quantities, in compliance with requirements of the FDA and similar foreign regulatory agencies where NERLYNX is approved, and at acceptable quality and pricing levels in order to meet commercial demand;

 

ensure that our third-party manufacturers develop, validate and maintain commercially viable manufacturing processes that are compliant with current Good Manufacturing Practice, or cGMP, regulations;

 

implement and maintain agreements with wholesalers, distributors and group purchasing organizations on commercially reasonable terms;

 

ensure that our entire supply chain efficiently and consistently delivers NERLYNX to our customers;

 

receive adequate levels of coverage and reimbursement for NERLYNX from commercial health plans and governmental health programs;

 

provide co-pay assistance to help qualified patients with out-of-pocket costs associated with their NERLYNX prescription and/or other programs to ensure patient access to our products;

 

obtain acceptance of NERLYNX as safe and effective by patients and the medical community;

 

influence the nature of publicity related to our product relative to the publicity related to our competitors’ products;

 

obtain regulatory approvals for additional indications for the use of NERLYNX; and

 

maintain and defend our patent protection and regulatory exclusivity for NERLYNX and to comply with our obligations under, and otherwise maintain, our intellectual property license with Pfizer and our license agreements with third parties.

In addition, we are dependent on international third-party sub-licensees for the development and commercialization of NERLYNX in several countries outside the United States. The failure of these sub-licensees to meet their contractual, regulatory or other obligations could adversely affect international sales of NERLYNX and hinder our ability to generate revenue.

We have limited experience as a company in marketing or distributing pharmaceutical products. If we are unable to expand our marketing capabilities and successfully commercialize NERLYNX, our business, results of operations and financial condition may be materially adversely affected.

A key part of our strategy is to build our sales, marketing and distribution capabilities to commercialize NERLYNX successfully in the United States. While we are continuing to establish our commercial team and hire our U.S. sales force, we have limited experience commercializing pharmaceutical products as an organization. In order to market NERLYNX successfully, we must continue to build our sales, marketing, managerial, compliance, and related capabilities or make arrangements with third parties to perform these services. If we are unable to establish adequate sales, marketing, and distribution capabilities, whether independently or with third parties, we may not be able to commercialize NERLYNX appropriately and may not become profitable.

Part of our strategy to commercialize NERLYNX in the United States is to develop a direct sales force.  These efforts will continue to be expensive and time-consuming, and we cannot be certain that we will be able to successfully develop this capability.  NERLYNX is a newly-marketed drug and, therefore, none of the members of our sales force had ever promoted NERLYNX prior to its commercial launch. In addition, we must train our sales force to ensure that a consistent and appropriate message about NERLYNX is being delivered to our potential customers. If we are unable to effectively train our sales force and equip them with effective materials, including medical and sales literature to help them inform and educate potential customers about the benefits of NERLYNX and its proper administration, our efforts to commercialize NERLYNX successfully could be harmed, which would negatively impact our ability to generate product revenue.

Additionally, we will need to maintain and further develop our sales force to achieve commercial success, and we will be competing with other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to recruit, hire, train and retain marketing and sales personnel. In the event we are unable to continue to develop and effectively maintain our commercial team, including our U.S. sales force, our ability to successfully commercialize NERLYNX would be limited, and we would not be able to generate product revenue successfully.

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There are risks involved both with establishing our own sales and marketing capabilities, and with entering into arrangements with third parties to perform these services. For example, any efforts to develop a direct sales and marketing organization are subject to numerous risks, including:

 

the expense and time required to recruit and train a sales force;

 

our inability to recruit, retain or motivate adequate numbers of effective and qualified sales and marketing personnel;

 

the inability to provide adequate training to sales and marketing personnel;

 

the inability of sales personnel to obtain access to physicians or convince adequate numbers of physicians to prescribe any product;

 

unforeseen costs and expenses associated with creating an independent sales and marketing organization; and

 

the premature or unnecessary incurrence of significant commercialization expenses if the commercial launch of a product is delayed or does not occur for any reason.

Similarly, if we enter into arrangements with third parties to perform sales, marketing and distribution services, our product revenue or the profitability associated with any product revenue may be lower than if we were to market and sell any products that we develop ourselves. In addition, we may not be successful in entering into arrangements with third parties to sell and market our products or may be unable to do so on terms that are favorable to us. We may have little control over such third parties, and any of them may fail to devote the necessary resources and attention to sell and market our products effectively.  Moreover, we may be negatively impacted by other factors outside of our control relating to such third parties, including, but not limited to, their inability to comply with regulatory requirements.  If we do not establish sales, marketing and distribution capabilities successfully, either on our own or in collaboration with third parties, we will not be successful in commercializing our products.

We depend on a limited number of customers for a significant amount of our total revenue, and if we lose any of our significant customers, our business could be harmed.

The majority of our revenue comes from a limited number of customers. In 2019, two customers, CVS/Caremark and Accredo/Acaria, individually comprised approximately 34% and 22%, respectively, of our total product revenue. We expect that revenue from a limited number of customers will continue to account for a large portion of our revenue in the future. The loss by us of any of these customers, or a material reduction in their purchases or their market pricing, could harm our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects. In addition, if any of these customers were to fail to pay us in a timely manner, it could harm our cash flow.

We are dependent on international third-party sub-licensees for the development and commercialization of NERLYNX in several countries outside the United States. The failure of these sub-licensees to meet their contractual, regulatory or other obligations could adversely affect our business.

We have entered into exclusive sub-license agreements with several third parties that provide these sub-licensees exclusive rights to the development and commercialization of NERLYNX in various specified regions outside of the United States.  As a result, we are entirely dependent on these parties to achieve regulatory approval of NERLYNX for marketing in these countries and for the commercialization of NERLYNX, if approved.  The timing and amount of any milestone and royalty payments we may receive under these agreements, as well as the commercial success of NERLYNX in those regions outside of the United States, will depend on, among other things, the efforts, allocation of resources and successful commercialization of NERLYNX by the licensees.  We also depend on these third parties to comply with all applicable laws relative the development and commercialization of our products in those countries.  We do not control the individual efforts of these licensees and have limited ability to terminate these agreements if the licensees do not perform as anticipated. The failure of these licensees to devote sufficient time and effort to the development and commercialization of NERLYNX, or the failure of these licensees to meet their obligations to us, including for future royalty and milestone payments; to adequately deploy business continuity plans in the event of a crisis; and/or satisfactorily resolve significant disagreements with us or address other factors, could have an adverse impact on our financial results and operations. In addition, if these third parties violate, or are alleged to have violated, any laws or regulations during the performance of their obligations for us, it is possible that we could suffer financial and reputational harm or other negative outcomes, including possible legal consequences.

Any termination, breach or expiration of any of these sub-license agreements could have a material adverse effect on our financial position by reducing or eliminating the potential for us to receive license fees, milestones and royalties. In such an event, we may be required to devote additional efforts and to incur additional costs associated with pursuing regulatory approval and commercialization of the applicable products and product candidates. Alternatively, we may attempt to identify and transact with a new sub-licensee, but there can be no assurance that we would be able to identify a suitable sub-licensee or transact on terms that are favorable to us.

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We may not be able to secure additional financing on favorable terms, or at all, to meet our future capital needs and our failure to obtain additional financing when needed on acceptable terms, or at all, could force us to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development or commercialization efforts or other operations.

Our operations have consumed substantial amounts of cash since inception.  Our costs and expenses may increase in the future as we continue to commercialize NERLYNX, on account of, among other things, the cost of a direct sales force and the cost of manufacturing. We will also continue to expend substantial amounts on research and development of our other product candidates, including conducting clinical trials.  Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including:

 

the costs and expenses of our U.S. sales and marketing infrastructure, and of manufacturing;

 

the degree of success we experience in commercializing NERLYNX;

 

the revenue generated by the sale of NERLYNX and any other products that may be approved;

 

the costs, timing and outcomes of clinical trials and regulatory reviews associated with our other product candidates;

 

the emergence of competing products;

 

the extent to which NERLYNX is adopted by the physician community and patients;

 

the number and types of future products we develop and commercialize;

 

the costs of preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications and maintaining, enforcing and defending intellectual property-related claims;

 

the costs of operating as a public company and compliance with existing and future regulations; and

 

the extent and scope of our general and administrative expenses.

While our consolidated financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis, we expect to continue incurring significant losses for the foreseeable future and will continue to remain dependent on our ability to obtain sufficient funding to sustain operations and successfully commercialize NERLYNX. We are party to a credit facility with Oxford Finance LLC, or Oxford, providing for term loans equaling a total of $100 million, which mature on June 1, 2024.  As of December 31, 2019, we had $100 million in principal amounts outstanding.  While we have been successful in raising financing in the past, there can be no assurance that we will be able to do so in the future.  Additional financing may not be available on a timely basis on terms acceptable to us, or at all. We may raise funds in equity or debt financings to access funds for our capital needs. If we raise additional funds through further issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution in their percentage ownership of our company, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges senior to those of holders of our common stock. Any debt financing obtained by us in the future would cause us to incur debt service expenses and could include restrictive covenants relating to our capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and pursue business opportunities. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us when we require it, we may terminate or delay the development of one or more of our product candidates, delay clinical trials necessary to market our products, or delay establishment of sales and marketing capabilities or other activities necessary to commercialize our products. If this were to occur, our ability to continue to grow and support our business and to respond to business challenges could be significantly limited.  Furthermore, our ability to obtain funding may be adversely impacted by uncertain market conditions, our success in commercializing neratinib, unfavorable decisions of regulatory authorities or adverse clinical trial results.  The outcome of these matters cannot be predicted at this time.  

The terms of our credit facility place restrictions on our ability to operate our business and on our financial flexibility, and we may be unable to achieve the revenue necessary for us to incur additional borrowings under the credit facility or to satisfy the minimum revenue covenants.

The terms of our credit facility place restrictions on our ability to operate our business and our financial flexibility.  As of December 31, 2019, we had $100 million in principal amounts outstanding under the credit facility.  The credit facility is secured by substantially all of our personal property, other than our intellectual property.

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The credit facility includes affirmative and negative covenants applicable to us, our current subsidiaries and any subsidiaries we create in the future.  The affirmative covenants include, among others, covenants requiring us to maintain our legal existence and governmental approvals, deliver certain financial reports, maintain insurance coverage and satisfy certain requirements regarding deposit accounts.  We must also achieve product revenue, measured as of the last day of each fiscal quarter on a trailing year to date basis. New minimum revenue levels will be established for each subsequent fiscal year by mutual agreement of us, Oxford, as collateral agent, and the lender.  The negative covenants include, among others, restrictions on us transferring collateral, incurring additional indebtedness, engaging in mergers or acquisitions, paying dividends or making other distributions, making investments, creating liens, selling assets and suffering a change in control, in each case subject to certain exceptions.  These covenants may make it difficult for us to operate our business.  In addition, we are in the early stages of commercializing NERLYNX and we cannot assure you that we will be able to achieve the minimum revenue requirements provided for in the credit facility.  Our failure to satisfy the revenue, or any other, covenant could result in an event of default under the loan.

The credit facility also includes events of default, the occurrence and continuation of which could cause interest to be charged at the rate that is otherwise applicable plus 5% and would provide Oxford, as collateral agent, with the right to exercise remedies against us and the collateral securing the credit facility, including foreclosure against the property securing the credit facility, including our cash.  These events of default include, among other things, our failure to pay principal or interest due under the credit facility, a breach of certain covenants under the credit facility, our insolvency, a material adverse change, the occurrence of any default under certain other indebtedness in an amount greater than $500,000 and one or more judgments against us in an amount greater than $500,000 individually or in the aggregate that remains unsatisfied, unvacated, or unstayed for a period of 10 days after its entry.

Interim, “topline” and preliminary data from our clinical trials that we announce or publish from time to time may change as more patient data become available and are subject to audit and verification procedures that could result in material changes in the final data.

From time to time, we may publicly disclose preliminary or topline data from our preclinical studies and clinical trials, which is based on a preliminary analysis of then-available data, and the results and related findings and conclusions are subject to change following a more comprehensive review of the data related to the particular study or trial. We also make assumptions, estimations, calculations and conclusions as part of our analyses of data, and we may not have received or had the opportunity to fully and carefully evaluate all data. As a result, the topline or preliminary results that we report may differ from future results of the same studies, or different conclusions or considerations may qualify such results, once additional data have been received and fully evaluated. Preliminary and topline data also remain subject to audit and verification procedures that may result in the final data being materially different from the preliminary data we previously published. Consequently, preliminary and topline data should be viewed with caution until the final data are available.

Interim data from clinical trials that we may complete are subject to the risk that one or more of the clinical outcomes may materially change as patient enrollment continues and more patient data become available. Adverse differences between preliminary or interim data and final data could significantly harm our business prospects. Further, disclosure of interim data by us or by our competitors could result in volatility in the price of our common stock after this offering.

In addition, others, including regulatory agencies, may not accept or agree with our assumptions, estimates, calculations, conclusions or analyses or may interpret or weigh the importance of data differently, which could impact the value of the particular program, the approvability or commercialization of the particular product candidate or product and our company in general. In addition, the information we choose to publicly disclose regarding a particular study or clinical trial is based on what is typically extensive information, and you or others may not agree with what we determine is material or otherwise appropriate information to include in our disclosure.

If the interim, topline, or preliminary data that we report differ from actual results, or if others, including regulatory authorities, disagree with the conclusions reached, our ability to obtain approval for, and commercialize, our product candidates may be harmed, which could harm our business, operating results, prospects or financial condition.

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NERLYNX or our other drug candidates may cause undesirable side effects or have other properties when used alone or in combination with other approved products or investigational new drugs that could delay or prevent their regulatory approval, limit the commercial profile of an approved label, or result in significant negative consequences following marketing approval, if any, as applicable.

Undesirable side effects caused by NERLYNX or our other drug candidates could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials and could result in a more restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or other comparable foreign authorities. To date, subjects treated with NERLYNX have experienced drug-related side effects including diarrhea. Results of our trials could reveal a high and unacceptable severity and prevalence of these or other side effects. In such an event, our trials could be suspended or terminated and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities could order us to cease further development of or deny approval of our product candidates for any or all targeted indications. The drug-related side effects could affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete clinical trials or result in potential product liability claims. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly.

Additionally, if we or others later identify undesirable side effects caused by any approved product, including in combination with other approved products or investigational new drugs, a number of potentially significant negative consequences could result, including:

 

regulatory authorities may withdraw approvals of such product;

 

regulatory authorities may require additional warnings on the label;

 

we may be required to create a medication guide outlining the risks of such side effects for distribution to patients;

 

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

 

our reputation may suffer.

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

Even though the FDA and EC have granted approval of NERLYNX for the extended adjuvant treatment of early stage, HER2-positive breast cancer, the terms of the approvals may limit its commercial potential.

Even though the FDA and EC have granted approval of NERLYNX, the scope and terms of the approvals may limit our ability to commercialize NERLYNX and, therefore, our ability to generate substantial sales revenue. The FDA and EC have approved NERLYNX only for the extended adjuvant treatment of early stage, HER2-positive breast cancer in patients who are less than one year from the completion of prior adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy. In connection with the FDA and EC approvals, we have committed to conduct certain post-marketing studies. We have completed the post-marketing commitments related to the FDA approval, and the post-marketing studies related to the EC approval are ongoing. If we fail to comply with all of our post-marketing commitments, or if the results of the post-marketing studies, or any other ongoing clinical studies of NERLYNX, are negative, the FDA or the EC could decide to withdraw its respective approval, add warnings or narrow the approved indication in the product label.

NERLYNX is still under clinical development for various additional indications, and we cannot be certain that NERLYNX will receive regulatory approval for any other indication for which we may seek approval.

The FDA and the EC have approved NERLYNX only for the extended adjuvant treatment of adult patients with early stage hormone receptor positive HER2-overexpressed/amplified breast cancer and who are less than one year from the completion of prior adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy.  We expect that a substantial portion of our efforts and expenditures over the next few years will be devoted to the development of NERLYNX in various additional indications. Accordingly, our business currently depends heavily on the successful development and regulatory approval of NERLYNX for additional indications. The research, testing, manufacturing, labeling, approval, sale, marketing and distribution of drug products are and will remain subject to extensive regulation by the FDA and other regulatory authorities in the United States and other countries that each have differing regulations. We are not permitted to market NERLYNX for other indications or any of our other drug candidates in the United States until we receive approval of an NDA from the FDA or in the EU until we receive approval from the EC, as applicable, for such indications, or, in any foreign countries, until requisite approval from such countries.  

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Approval of NERLYNX by the FDA or the EC for the extended adjuvant treatment of adult patients with early stage hormone receptor positive HER2-overexpressed/amplified breast cancer and who are less than one year from the completion of prior adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy does not ensure that a foreign jurisdiction will also approve NERLYNX for that indication, nor does it ensure that NERLYNX will be approved by the FDA for any other indications.  Obtaining approval of an NDA or foreign marketing application is an extensive, lengthy, expensive and inherently uncertain process, and the FDA or a foreign regulator may delay, limit or deny approval of a drug candidate for many reasons, including:

 

we may not be able to demonstrate that NERLYNX or any other drug candidate is safe and effective as a treatment for our targeted indications to the satisfaction of the FDA or other regulator;

 

the results of our clinical trials may not meet the level of statistical or clinical significance required by the FDA or other regulator for marketing approval;

 

the FDA or other regulator may disagree with the number, design, size, conduct or implementation of our clinical trials;

 

the clinical research organization, or CRO, that we retain to conduct clinical trials or any other third parties involved in the conduct of trials may take actions outside of our control that materially adversely impact our clinical trials;

 

the FDA or other regulator may not find the data from pre-clinical studies and clinical trials sufficient to demonstrate that the clinical and other benefits of NERLYNX or any other drug candidate outweigh the safety risks;

 

the FDA or other regulator may disagree with our interpretation of data from our pre-clinical studies and clinical trials or may require that we conduct additional studies or trials;

 

the FDA or other regulator may not accept data generated at our clinical trial sites;

 

if our NDA is reviewed by an advisory committee, the FDA may have difficulties scheduling an advisory committee meeting in a timely manner or the advisory committee may recommend against approval of our application or may recommend that the FDA require, as a condition of approval, additional pre-clinical studies or clinical trials, limitations on approved labeling or distribution and use restrictions;

 

the advisory committee may recommend that the FDA require, as a condition of approval, additional pre-clinical studies or clinical trials, limitations on approved labeling or distribution and use restrictions;

 

the FDA may require development of a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy as a condition of approval;

 

the FDA or other regulator may identify deficiencies in the manufacturing processes or facilities of our third-party manufacturers; or

 

the FDA or other regulator may change its approval policies or adopt new regulations.

If we do not obtain regulatory approval of NERLYNX for other indications, whether in the United States or in other jurisdictions, we will not be able to market NERLYNX for such indications in those jurisdictions, which will limit our commercial revenue.

We have no experience in drug formulation or manufacturing and rely exclusively on third parties to formulate and manufacture NERLYNX and our drug candidates, and any disruption or loss of these relationships could delay our development and commercialization efforts.

We have no experience in drug formulation or manufacturing and do not intend to establish our own manufacturing facilities. We lack the resources and expertise to formulate or manufacture NERLYNX and our drug candidates. While our drug candidates were being developed by Pfizer, both the drug substance and drug product were manufactured by third-party contractors. We are using the same third-party contractors to manufacture, supply, store and distribute drug supplies for our clinical trials and the commercialization of NERLYNX. If we are unable to continue our relationships with one or more of these third-party contractors, we could experience delays in our development or commercialization efforts as we locate and qualify new manufacturers. We intend to rely on one or more third-party contractors to manufacture the commercial supply of our drugs.  Our anticipated future reliance on a limited number of third-party manufacturers exposes us to the following risks:

 

We may be unable to identify manufacturers on acceptable terms or at all because the number of potential manufacturers is limited, and the FDA must approve any replacement manufacturer. This approval would require new testing and compliance inspections. In addition, a new manufacturer would have to be educated in, or develop substantially equivalent processes for, production of our products after receipt of FDA approval.

 

Our third-party manufacturers might be unable to formulate and manufacture our drugs in the volume and of the quality required to meet our clinical and/or commercial needs.

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Our future contract manufacturers may not perform as agreed or may not remain in the contract manufacturing business for the time required to supply our clinical trials or to successfully produce, store and distribute our products for commercialization, as applicable.

 

The facilities used by our contract manufacturers to manufacture NERLYNX and our other drug candidates must be approved by the FDA pursuant to inspections that are conducted following submission of an NDA to the FDA. We do not control the manufacturing process of, and are completely dependent on, our contract manufacturing partners for compliance with cGMP regulations for manufacture of both active drug substances and finished drug products. If our contract manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our specifications and the strict regulatory requirements of the FDA or others, they will not be able to secure and/or maintain regulatory approval for their manufacturing facilities.  In addition, drug manufacturers are subject to ongoing periodic unannounced inspection by the FDA, the Drug Enforcement Administration for controlled substances, similar non-U.S. regulatory agencies and corresponding state agencies to ensure strict compliance with cGMP regulations and other government regulations and corresponding foreign standards. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority does not approve these facilities for the manufacture of our drug candidates or if it withdraws any such approval in the future, we may need to find alternative manufacturing facilities, which would significantly impact our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval for our other drug candidates, if approved, or market NERLYNX.

 

If any third-party manufacturer makes improvements in the manufacturing process for our products, we may not own, or may have to share, the intellectual property rights to the innovation.

Each of these risks could delay our clinical trials, the approval, if any, of our drug candidates by the FDA or the commercialization of NERLYNX or our other drug candidates, or result in higher costs or deprive us of potential product revenue.

If our third-party manufacturers fail to manufacture NERLYNX in sufficient quantities and at acceptable quality and pricing levels, or fail to fully comply with cGMP regulations, we may face delays in commercialization or be unable to meet market demand, and may lose potential revenues.

The manufacture of NERLYNX requires significant expertise and capital investment, including the development of advanced manufacturing techniques, process controls and the use of specialized processing equipment. Our third-party manufacturers must comply with federal, state and foreign regulations, including the FDA’s regulations governing cGMP, enforced by the FDA through its facilities inspection program and by similar regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions where we do business. These requirements include, among other things, quality control, quality assurance and the maintenance of records and documentation. The FDA or similar foreign regulatory authorities at any time may implement new standards or change their interpretation and enforcement of existing standards for manufacture, packaging or testing of our products. Any failure by us or our third-party manufacturers to comply with applicable regulations may result in fines and civil penalties, suspension of production, product seizure or recall, operating restrictions, imposition of a consent decree, modification or withdrawal of product approval or criminal prosecution and would limit the availability of our product. Any manufacturing defect or error discovered after products have been produced and distributed also could result in significant consequences, including costly recall procedures, re-stocking costs, damage to our reputation and potential for product liability claims.

If our third-party manufacturers are unable to produce the required commercial quantities of NERLYNX to meet market demand for NERLYNX on a timely basis or at all, or if they fail to comply with applicable laws for the manufacturing of NERLYNX, we will suffer damage to our reputation and commercial prospects and we will lose potential revenue.

Clinical trials are very expensive, time-consuming and difficult to design and implement.

Although NERLYNX has been approved by the FDA for the extended adjuvant treatment of early stage, HER2-positive breast cancer, NERLYNX is still under development for various indications in the United States, and our other drug candidates are in development, as well, all of which will require extensive clinical testing before we can submit any NDA for regulatory approval. We cannot predict with any certainty that any NDA or supplemental NDA seeking to expand the indication for NERLYNX will be approved by the FDA. Human clinical trials are very expensive and difficult to design and implement, in part because they are subject to rigorous regulatory requirements. The clinical trial process is also time consuming. We estimate that clinical trials of our other drug candidates will take at least several years to complete. Furthermore, failure can occur at any stage of the trials, and we could encounter problems that cause us to abandon or repeat clinical trials. The results of pre-clinical studies and early clinical trials of our drug candidates may not be predictive of the results of later-stage clinical trials.  Drug candidates in later stages of clinical trials may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy traits despite having progressed through pre-clinical studies and initial clinical trials. A number of companies in the biopharmaceutical industry have suffered significant setbacks in advanced clinical trials due to lack of efficacy or adverse safety profiles, notwithstanding promising results in earlier trials. Our future clinical trial results may not be successful.

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We do not know whether our future clinical trials will begin on time or enroll patients on time, or whether our ongoing and/or future clinical trials will be completed on schedule or at all. Clinical trials can be delayed for a variety of reasons, including delays related to:

 

 

the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities disagreeing as to the design or implementation of our clinical studies;

 

obtaining regulatory authorizations to commence a trial or reaching a consensus with regulatory authorities on trial design;

 

any failure or delay in reaching an agreement with CROs and clinical trial sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and trial sites;

 

obtaining approval from one or more institutional review boards, or IRBs;

 

IRBs refusing to approve, suspending or terminating the trial at an investigational site, precluding enrollment of additional subjects, or withdrawing their approval of the trial;

 

changes to clinical trial protocol;

 

clinical sites deviating from trial protocol or dropping out of a trial;

 

manufacturing sufficient quantities of product candidate or obtaining sufficient quantities of combination therapies for use in clinical trials;

 

subjects failing to enroll or remain in our trial at the rate we expect, or failing to return for post- treatment follow-up;

 

subjects choosing an alternative treatment for the indication for which we are developing our product candidates, or participating in competing clinical trials;

 

lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial;

 

subjects experiencing severe or unexpected drug-related adverse effects;

 

occurrence of serious adverse events in trials of the same class of agents conducted by other companies;

 

selection of clinical end points that require prolonged periods of clinical observation or analysis of the resulting data;

 

a facility manufacturing our product candidates or any of their components being ordered by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities to temporarily or permanently shut down due to violations of current good manufacturing practice, or cGMP, regulations or other applicable requirements, or infections or cross-contaminations of product candidates in the manufacturing process;

 

any changes to our manufacturing process that may be necessary or desired;

 

third-party clinical investigators losing the licenses or permits necessary to perform our clinical trials, not performing our clinical trials on our anticipated schedule or consistent with the clinical trial protocol, good clinical practices, or GCP, or other regulatory requirements;

 

third-party contractors not performing data collection or analysis in a timely or accurate manner; or

 

third-party contractors becoming debarred or suspended or otherwise penalized by the FDA or other government or regulatory authorities for violations of regulatory requirements, in which case we may need to find a substitute contractor, and we may not be able to use some or all of the data produced by such contractors in support of our marketing applications.

Further, we, the FDA, foreign regulatory authorities, or an Institutional Review Board, or IRB, may suspend our clinical trials at any time if it appears that we or our collaborators are failing to conduct a trial in accordance with regulatory requirements, that we are exposing participants to unacceptable health risks, or if the FDA or such other regulator finds deficiencies in our IND or comparable submissions or the conduct of these trials. Therefore, we cannot predict with any certainty the schedule for commencement and completion of future clinical trials. If we experience delays in the commencement or completion of our clinical trials, or if we terminate a clinical trial prior to completion, the commercial prospects of our drug candidates could be harmed, and our ability to generate revenue from the drug candidates may be delayed. In addition, any delays in our clinical trials could increase our costs, slow down the approval process and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and generate revenue. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, many of the factors that cause, or lead to, a delay in the commencement or completion of clinical trials may also ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of our drug candidates.

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Enrollment and retention of patients in clinical trials is an expensive and time-consuming process and could be made more difficult or rendered impossible by multiple factors outside our control.

We may encounter delays in enrolling, or be unable to enroll, a sufficient number of patients to complete any of our clinical trials, and even once enrolled we may be unable to retain a sufficient number of patients to complete any of our trials. Patient enrollment and retention in clinical trials depends on many factors, including the size of the patient population, the nature of the trial protocol, the existing body of safety and efficacy data with respect to the study drug, the number and nature of competing treatments and ongoing clinical trials of competing drugs for the same indication, the proximity of patients to clinical sites and the eligibility criteria for the study. Furthermore, any negative results we may report in clinical trials of any of our drug candidates may make it difficult or impossible to recruit and retain patients in other clinical studies of that same drug candidate. Delays or failures in planned patient enrollment and/or retention may result in increased costs, program delays or both, which could have a harmful effect on our ability to develop our drug candidates or could render further development impossible. In addition, we expect to rely on CROs and clinical trial sites to ensure proper and timely conduct of our future clinical trials and, while we intend to enter into agreements governing their services, we will be limited in our ability to compel their actual performance.

The results of our clinical trials may not support our drug candidate claims.

Even if our clinical trials are completed as planned, we cannot be certain that their results will support the safety and effectiveness of our drug candidates for our targeted indications. Success in pre-clinical testing and early clinical trials does not ensure that later clinical trials will be successful, and we cannot be sure that the results of later clinical trials will replicate the results of prior clinical trials and pre-clinical testing. A failure of a clinical trial to meet its predetermined endpoints would likely cause us to abandon a drug candidate and may delay development of other drug candidates.

Moreover, preclinical and clinical data are often susceptible to varying interpretations and analyses and many companies that believed their product candidates performed satisfactorily in preclinical studies and clinical trials nonetheless failed to obtain FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authority approval. We cannot guarantee that the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities will interpret trial results as we do, and more trials could be required before we are able to submit applications seeking approval of our product candidates. To the extent that the results of the trials are not satisfactory to the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities for support of a marketing application, we may be required to expend significant resources, which may not be available to us, to conduct additional trials in support of potential approval of our product candidates. Even if regulatory approval is secured for any of our product candidates, the terms of such approval may limit the scope and use of our product candidate, which may also limit its commercial potential. Furthermore, the approval policies or regulations of the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may significantly change in a manner rendering our clinical data insufficient for approval, which may lead to the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities delaying, limiting or denying approval of our product candidates. 

Engaging in international business subjects us to additional business and regulatory risks, and there can be no assurance that our products will be accepted in those markets.

We have entered into exclusive sub-license agreements providing for third parties to pursue regulatory approval and commercialize NERLYNX, if approved, in various specified regions outside of the United States.  We plan to continue to pursue commercialization of NERLYNX in additional countries outside the United States where it has been approved.  Engaging in international business inherently involves a number of difficulties and risks, including:

 

competition from established companies, many of which are well-positioned within their local markets with longer operating histories, more recognizable names and better established distribution networks;

 

the availability and level of coverage and reimbursement within prevailing foreign healthcare payment systems and the ability of patients to elect to privately pay for NERLYNX and our other products, if approved;

 

difficulties in enforcing intellectual property rights;

 

pricing pressure;

 

required compliance with existing and changing foreign regulatory requirements and laws;

 

laws and business practices favoring local companies;

 

longer sales and payment cycles;

 

difficulties in enforcing agreements and collecting receivables through certain foreign legal systems;

 

political and economic instability;

 

foreign currency risks that could adversely affect our financial results;

 

potentially adverse tax consequences, tariffs and other trade barriers;

 

exposure to liabilities under anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, and similar laws and regulations in other jurisdictions;

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international terrorism and anti-American sentiment;

 

difficulties and costs associated with staffing and managing foreign operations; and

 

export restrictions and controls relating to technology.

If we or our sub-licensees or third-party manufacturers are unable to address these international risks, we may fail to establish and maintain an international presence, and our business, financial condition and results of operations would suffer.

The failure to comply with anti-bribery, anti-corruption, and anti-money laundering laws, including the FCPA and similar laws associated with our activities outside of the United States, could subject us to penalties and other adverse consequences.

We are subject to the FCPA, regulations of the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, the United Kingdom Bribery Act of 2010 and other anti-corruption, anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws around the world where we conduct activities, including, if approved in such countries, the sale of NERLYNX.  We face significant risks and liability if we fail to comply with the FCPA and other anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws that prohibit companies and their employees and third-party business partners, such as distributors or resellers, from authorizing, offering or providing, directly or indirectly, improper payments or benefits to foreign government officials, political parties or candidates, employees of public international organizations including healthcare professionals, or private-sector recipients for the corrupt purpose of obtaining or retaining business, directing business to any person, or securing any advantage.  We currently rely on various third parties for certain services outside the United States, including continued development of NERLYNX and, if approved, its subsequent commercialization.  We may be held liable for the corrupt or other illegal activities of these third parties and intermediaries, our employees, representatives, contractors, partners, and agents, even if we do not explicitly authorize such activities.

Any violation of the FCPA, other applicable anti-bribery, anti-corruption laws, and anti-money laundering laws could result in whistleblower, adverse media coverage, investigations, loss of export privileges, severe criminal or civil sanctions and, in the case of the FCPA, suspension or debarment from U.S. government contracts, which could have a material and adverse effect on our reputation, business, operating results and prospects.  In addition, responding to any enforcement action or related investigation may result in a materially significant diversion of management’s attention and resources and significant defense costs and other professional fees.

If we fail to comply with United States export control and economic sanctions or fail to expand and maintain an effective sales force or successfully develop our international distribution network, our business, financial condition and operating results may be adversely affected.

When selling any products outside of the United States, including NERLYNX, we are subject to United States export control and economic sanctions laws, the violation of which could result in substantial penalties being imposed against us. More broadly, if we fail to comply with export control laws, any sales could fail to grow or could decline, and our ability to grow our business could be adversely affected.

Regulatory approval for any approved product is limited by the FDA to those specific indications and conditions for which clinical safety and efficacy have been demonstrated as set forth on the product label.  If we market NERLYNX for uses beyond such approved indications, we could be subject to enforcement action, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

The FDA strictly regulates marketing, labeling, advertising and promotion of prescription drugs. These regulations include standards and restrictions for direct-to-consumer advertising, industry-sponsored scientific and educational activities, promotional activities involving the internet and off-label promotion. Any regulatory approval that the FDA grants is limited to those specific diseases and indications for which a product is deemed to be safe and effective by the FDA. For example, the FDA-approved label for NERLYNX is limited to the extended adjuvant treatment of adult patients with early stage, HER2-positive breast cancer following adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy. In addition to the FDA approval required for new formulations, any new indication for an approved product also requires FDA approval. If we are not able to obtain FDA approval for any desired future indications for our drugs and drug candidates, our ability to effectively market and sell our products may be reduced and our business may be adversely affected.

While physicians in the United States may choose, and are generally permitted, to prescribe drugs for uses that are not described in the product’s labeling and for uses that differ from those tested in clinical trials and approved by the regulatory authorities, our ability to promote the products is narrowly limited to those indications that are specifically approved by the FDA. These “off-label” uses are common across medical specialties and may constitute an appropriate treatment for some patients in varied circumstances. For example, in April 2018 we announced that NERLYNX (neratinib) has been included as a recommended treatment option in the latest NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology Central Nervous System Cancers for Breast Cancer patients with brain metastases. The NCCN designated NERLYNX in combination with capecitabine as a category 2A treatment option and NERLYNX in combination with paclitaxel as a category 2B treatment option. Use, as designated for breast cancer patients with brain metastases, is outside the FDA approved indication for NERLYNX and considered investigational, and we do not market or promote NERLYNX

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for these uses. Regulatory authorities in the United States generally do not regulate the behavior of physicians in their choice of treatments. Regulatory authorities do, however, restrict communications by pharmaceutical companies on the subject of off-label use. Although recent court decisions suggest that certain off-label promotional activities may be protected under the First Amendment, the scope of any such protection is unclear. If our promotional activities fail to comply with the FDA’s regulations or guidelines, we may be subject to warnings from, or enforcement action by, these authorities. In addition, our failure to follow FDA rules and guidelines relating to promotion and advertising may cause the FDA to issue warning letters or untitled letters, bring an enforcement action against us, suspend or withdraw an approved product from the market, require a recall or institute fines or civil fines, or could result in disgorgement of money, operating restrictions, injunctions or criminal prosecution, any of which could harm our reputation and our business.

Even though the FDA has approved NERLYNX for the extended adjuvant treatment of early stage, HER2-positive breast cancer in adult patients following adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy, we will be subject to ongoing obligations and continued regulatory review with regard to NERLYNX and any other drug candidates that receive FDA approval, which may result in significant additional expense. Additionally, NERLYNX and our drug candidates, if approved, could be subject to labeling and other restrictions and market withdrawal and we may be subject to penalties if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or experience unanticipated problems with our products.

The FDA’s approval of the NDA for NERLYNX and any regulatory approvals that we receive for our other drug candidates may also 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 IV clinical trials, and surveillance to monitor the safety and efficacy of the drug candidate. In addition, the manufacturing processes, labeling, packaging, distribution, adverse event reporting, storage, advertising, promotion and recordkeeping for the product will be subject to extensive and ongoing regulatory requirements. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration, as well as continued compliance with cGMPs and GCPs for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with a product, 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, among other things:

 

restrictions on the marketing or manufacturing of the product, withdrawal of the product from the market, or voluntary or mandatory product recalls;

 

fines, 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 product license approvals;

 

product seizure or detention, or refusal to permit the import or export of products; and

 

injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties. 

The FDA’s policies may change and additional government regulations may be enacted that could prevent, limit or delay regulatory approval of our drug candidates. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any marketing approval that we may have obtained, which would adversely affect our business, prospects and ability to achieve or sustain profitability.

We also cannot predict the likelihood, nature or extent of government regulation that may arise from future legislation or administrative or executive action, either in the United States or abroad.  For example, certain policies of the Trump administration may impact our business and industry. Namely, the Trump administration has taken several executive actions, including the issuance of a number of Executive Orders, that could impose significant burdens on, or otherwise materially delay, FDA’s ability to engage in routine regulatory and oversight activities such as implementing statutes through rulemaking, issuance of guidance, and review and approval of marketing applications.  It is difficult to predict how these Executive Orders will be implemented, and the extent to which they will impact the FDA’s ability to exercise its regulatory authority.  If these executive actions impose constraints on FDA’s ability to engage in oversight and implementation activities in the normal course, our business may be negatively impacted.

We rely on third parties to conduct our pre-clinical studies and clinical trials. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for our drug candidates.

We depend upon independent investigators and collaborators, such as CROs, universities and medical institutions, to conduct our pre-clinical studies and clinical trials under agreements with us. These collaborators are not our employees and we cannot control the amount or timing of resources that they devote to our programs. Nevertheless, we are responsible for ensuring that each of our clinical trials is conducted in accordance with regulatory requirements, including GCP requirements, and the applicable protocol. If we, or any of our CROs or third party contractors, fail to comply with applicable GCPs, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our marketing applications. We cannot assure you that upon inspection by a given regulatory authority, such regulatory authority will determine that any of our clinical trials comply with GCP regulations. In addition, our clinical trials must be

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conducted with product produced under current cGMP regulations. Our failure to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process. Moreover, third party contractors and investigators may not assign as great a priority to our programs or pursue them as diligently as we would if we were undertaking such programs ourselves. If outside collaborators fail to devote sufficient time and resources to our drug-development programs, or if their performance is substandard or otherwise fails to satisfy applicable regulatory requirements, the approval of our FDA applications, if any, and our introduction of new drugs, if any, will be delayed. These collaborators may also have relationships with other commercial entities, some of whom may compete with us. If our collaborators assist our competitors to our detriment, our competitive position would be harmed. If any of our relationships with these third-party collaborators terminate, we may not be able to enter into arrangements with alternative third parties on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Switching or adding additional third parties to our clinical trial programs can involve substantial costs and require extensive management time and focus.

We rely significantly on information technology and any failure, inadequacy, interruption or security lapse of that technology, including any cybersecurity incidents, could harm us.

Our internal computer systems and those of third parties with which we contract may be vulnerable to damage from cyber-attacks, computer viruses, unauthorized access, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures despite the implementation of security measures. System failures, accidents or security breaches could cause interruptions in our operations and could result in a material disruption of our clinical activities and business operations, in addition to possibly requiring substantial expenditures of resources to remedy. The loss of clinical trial data could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of, or damage to, our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability and our research and development programs and the development of our drug candidates could be delayed.

Compliance with governmental regulation and other legal obligations related to privacy, data protection and information security could result in additional costs and liabilities to us or inhibit our ability to collect and process data, and the failure to comply with such requirements could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Privacy and data security have become significant issues in the United States, Europe and in many other jurisdictions where we may in the future conduct our operations. As we receive, collect, process, use and store personal and confidential data, we are subject to diverse laws and regulations relating to data privacy and security, including, in the United States, HIPAA, and, in the EU, GDPR. In addition, in the United States, certain states have also enacted data privacy and security laws.  For example, in June  2018, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA creates individual privacy rights for California consumers and increases the privacy and security obligations of entities handling certain personal information. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that is expected to increase data breach litigation. The CCPA may increase our compliance costs and potential liability, and similar laws have been proposed at the federal level and in other states. Compliance with these privacy and data security requirements is rigorous and time-intensive and may increase our cost of doing business, and despite those efforts, there is a risk that we may be subject to fines and penalties, litigation and reputational harm, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, the regulatory framework for the receipt, collection, processing, use, safeguarding, sharing and transfer of personal and confidential data is rapidly evolving and is likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future as new global privacy rules are being enacted and existing ones are being updated and strengthened. For example, on May 25, 2018, GDPR took effect in Europe. GDPR is directly applicable in each European Union member state and applies to companies established in the European Union as well as companies that collect and use personal data to offer goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, individuals in the European Union. GDPR introduces more stringent data protection obligations for processors and controllers of personal data, and penalties and fines for failure to comply with GDPR are significant, including fines of up to €20 million or 4% of total worldwide annual turnover, whichever is higher.

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Health care reform measures may hinder or prevent our products’ and product candidates’ commercial success.

The United States and some foreign jurisdictions have enacted or are considering enacting a number of legislative and regulatory proposals to change the healthcare system in ways that could affect our ability to profitably sell our product and product candidates, if and when they are approved. Among policy makers and payors in the United States and elsewhere, there is significant interest in promoting changes in healthcare systems with the stated goals of containing healthcare costs, improving quality and/or expanding access. In the United States, the pharmaceutical industry has been a particular focus of these efforts and has been significantly affected by major legislative initiatives.

In March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, or collectively, the ACA, became law in the United States. The ACA substantially changed and will continue to change the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers and significantly affects the pharmaceutical industry. Among the provisions of the ACA, of greatest importance to the pharmaceutical industry are the following:

 

an annual, nondeductible fee on any entity that manufactures or imports certain branded prescription drugs and biologic agents, apportioned among these entities according to their market share in certain government healthcare programs;

 

an increase in the rebates a manufacturer must pay under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program to 23.1% and 13% of the average manufacturer price for branded and generic drugs, respectively;

 

a new methodology by which rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program are calculated for drugs that are inhaled, infused, instilled, implanted or injected;

 

a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period, as a condition for the manufacturers’ outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D;

 

extension of manufacturers’ Medicaid rebate liability to covered drugs dispensed to individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations;

 

expansion of eligibility criteria for Medicaid programs by, among other things, allowing states to offer Medicaid coverage to additional individuals, which began in April 2010, and by adding new eligibility categories for certain individuals with income at or below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level beginning in 2014, thereby potentially increasing manufacturers’ Medicaid rebate liability;

 

increase in the number of entities eligible for discounts under the Public Health Service pharmaceutical pricing program;

 

a new requirement to annually report drug samples that manufacturers and distributors provide to physicians;

 

a licensure framework for follow-on biologic products; and

 

a new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to oversee, identify priorities in, and conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research, along with funding for such research.

Since its enactment, there have been judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the ACA. As a result, there have been delays in the implementation of, and action taken to repeal or replace, certain aspects of the ACA. Most recently, the Tax Cuts and Job Act was enacted, which, among other things, removes the penalties for not complying with the ACA’s individual mandate to carry health insurance. On December 14, 2018, a U.S. District Court Judge in the Northern District of Texas, ruled that the individual mandate is a critical and inseverable feature of the ACA, and therefore, because it was repealed as part of the Tax Act, the remaining provisions of the ACA are invalid as well. On December 18, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the individual mandate was unconstitutional and remanded the case back to the District Court to determine whether the remaining provisions of the ACA are invalid as well. It is unclear how these decisions, subsequent appeals, if any, and other efforts to challenge, repeal or replace the ACA will impact the ACA and our business. We cannot predict the ultimate content, timing or effect of any healthcare reform legislation or the impact of potential legislation on us.

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In addition, other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the ACA was enacted. For example, the Budget Control Act of 2011 resulted in aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to providers of 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect on April 1, 2013 and, due to subsequent legislative amendments, will remain in effect through 2029 unless additional Congressional action is taken. On January 2, 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, among other things, also 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. Recently, there has been heightened governmental scrutiny over the manner in which drug manufacturers set prices for their marketed products, which has resulted in several Congressional inquiries and proposed bills designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to product pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drug products. For example, the 21st Century Cures Act changes the reimbursement methodology for infusion drugs and biologics furnished through durable medical equipment in an attempt to remedy over- and underpayment of certain drugs. We cannot predict all of the ways in which future federal or state legislative or administrative changes relating to healthcare reform will affect our business.

Individual states in the United States have also become increasingly active in passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. In addition, regional healthcare authorities and individual hospitals are increasingly using bidding procedures to determine what pharmaceutical products and which suppliers will be included in their prescription drug and other healthcare programs.

We anticipate that the ACA, as well as other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, may result in additional reductions in Medicare and other healthcare funding, more rigorous coverage criteria, new payment methodologies and additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any approved product, and could seriously harm our business. Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors.  The implementation of cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may prevent us from being able to generate revenue, attain profitability or commercialize our product and product candidates, if approved.

In the EU, similar political, economic and regulatory developments may affect our ability to profitably commercialize NERLYNX and our other product candidates, if approved. In addition to continuing pressure on prices and cost containment measures, legislative developments at the EU or member state level may result in significant additional requirements or obstacles that may increase our operating costs. The delivery of healthcare in the EU, including the establishment and operation of health services and the pricing and reimbursement of medicines, is almost exclusively a matter for national, rather than EU, law and policy. National governments and health service providers have different priorities and approaches to the delivery of health care and the pricing and reimbursement of products in that context. In general, however, the healthcare budgetary constraints in most EU member states have resulted in restrictions on the pricing and reimbursement of medicines by relevant health service providers. Coupled with ever-increasing EU and national regulatory burdens on those wishing to develop and market products, this could restrict or regulate post-approval activities and affect our ability to commercialize NERLYNX and our other product candidates, if approved. In international markets, reimbursement and healthcare payment systems vary significantly by country, and many countries have instituted price ceilings on specific products and therapies.

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 or our collaborators are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we or our collaborators are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, NERLYNX may lose any regulatory approval that may have been obtained and we may not achieve or sustain profitability.

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Failure to obtain or maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement for our products or product candidates, if approved, could limit our ability to market those products and decrease our ability to generate revenue.

Successful commercial sales of any approved products will depend on the availability of adequate coverage and reimbursement from government health administration authorities, private health insurers and other third-party payors. Each third-party payor separately decides which products it will cover and establishes the reimbursement level, and there is no guarantee that any of our approved products or product candidates that may be approved for marketing by regulatory authorities will receive adequate coverage or reimbursement levels. Obtaining and maintaining coverage approval for a product is time-consuming, costly and may be difficult. We may be required to conduct expensive pharmacoeconomic studies to justify coverage and reimbursement or the level of coverage and reimbursement relative to other therapies. If coverage and adequate reimbursement are not available or limited, we may not be able to successfully commercialize any product or product candidate for which we obtain marketing approval. Government authorities and third-party payors have attempted to control costs by limiting coverage and the amount of reimbursement for particular medications. Increasingly, third-party payors are requiring that drug companies provide them with predetermined discounts from list prices and are challenging the prices charged for drugs and biologics. Even if we obtain coverage for a given product, the resulting reimbursement rates may be inadequate and may affect the demand for, or the price of, any product candidate for which we obtain marketing approval.

We expect to experience pricing pressures in connection with the sale of our current or future commercial products, due to the trend toward managed healthcare, the increasing influence of health maintenance organizations and additional legislative proposals. There may be additional pressure by payors and healthcare providers to use generic drugs that contain the active ingredients found in neratinib (oral), neratinib (intravenous), PB357 or any other drug candidates that we may develop. If we fail to successfully secure and maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement for our products or are significantly delayed in doing so, we will have difficulty achieving market acceptance of our products and expected revenue and profitability which would have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We are subject, directly and indirectly, to federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws, false claims laws, physician payment transparency laws and health information privacy and security laws. Failure to comply with these laws may subject us to substantial penalties.

We do not and will not control referrals of healthcare services or bill directly to Medicare, Medicaid or other third-party payors. However, federal and state healthcare laws and regulations pertaining to fraud and abuse, physician payment transparency, privacy and security laws and regulations may apply to us depending on programs we operate and have been asserted by the government and others to apply to companies like us, and our arrangements with healthcare providers, customers and other entities, including our marketing practices, educational programs and pricing policies. These laws include:

 

the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons or entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying remuneration, directly or indirectly, in exchange for or to induce either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, order or recommendation of, any good or service for which payment may be made under federal healthcare programs, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs. A person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute or specific intent to violate it to have committed a violation. In addition, 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 False Claims Act;

 

federal false claims laws, including, without limitation, the False Claims Act, which prohibit, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, claims for payment from Medicare, Medicaid or other federal third-party payors that are false or fraudulent, such as engaging in improper promotion of products or submitting inaccurate price reports to the Medicaid Drug Rebate program;

 

the federal Civil Monetary Penalties law, which prohibits, among other things, offering or transferring remuneration to a federal healthcare beneficiary that a person knows or should know is likely to influence the beneficiary’s decision to order or receive items or services reimbursable by the government from a particular provider or supplier;

 

federal criminal laws that prohibit executing a scheme to defraud any federal healthcare benefit program or making false statements relating to healthcare matters; similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it to have committed a violation;

 

HIPAA, which governs the conduct of certain electronic healthcare transactions and protects the security and privacy of protected health information held by certain covered entities and their business associates, and imposes obligations, including mandatory contractual terms, with respect to safeguarding the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information;

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the federal Physician Payment Sunshine Act, which requires manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (with certain exceptions) to report annually to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, information related to payments or other “transfers of value” made to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors), certain other healthcare professionals starting in 2022, and teaching hospitals, and requires applicable manufacturers and group purchasing organizations to report annually to CMS ownership and investment interests held by the physicians described above and their immediate family members and payments or other “transfers of value” to such physician owners (manufacturers are required to submit reports to CMS by the 90th day of each calendar year);

 

analogous state equivalents of each of the above federal laws, such as anti-kickback and false claims laws which may apply to sales or marketing arrangements and claims involving healthcare items or services reimbursed by any third-party payor, including commercial insurers; state laws that require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the applicable compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government or otherwise restrict payments that may be made to healthcare providers and other potential referral sources; state laws that require drug manufacturers to report information related to payments and other transfers of value to physicians and other healthcare providers or marketing expenditures and pricing information; 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, thus complicating compliance efforts; and

 

European and other foreign law equivalents of each of these laws, including reporting requirements detailing interactions with and payments to healthcare providers and laws governing the privacy and security of certain protected information, such as GDPR, which imposes obligations and restrictions on the collection and use of personal data relating to individuals located in the EU (including health data).

Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of the statutory exceptions and safe harbors available under such laws, it is possible that some of our business activities, including our relationships with physicians and other healthcare providers, some of whom recommend, purchase and/or prescribe our products, and the manner in which we promote our products, could be subject to challenge under one or more of such laws.

We are also exposed to the risk that our employees, independent contractors, principal investigators, consultants, vendors, distributors and agents may engage in fraudulent or other illegal activity. While we have policies and procedures in place prohibiting such activity, misconduct by these parties could include, among other infractions or violations, intentional, reckless and/or negligent conduct or unauthorized activity that violates FDA requirements, including those laws that require the reporting of true, complete and accurate information to the FDA, manufacturing standards, federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations, laws that require the true, complete and accurate reporting of financial information or data or other commercial or regulatory laws or requirements. It is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct by our employees and other third parties, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to be in compliance with such laws or regulations.

If our operations are found to violate any of the laws described above or any other laws and regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, the exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs and imprisonment of officers involved, any of which could adversely affect our ability to market our current and any future products, once approved, and materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. Any action against us for violation of these laws, even if we successfully defend against it, could cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business.

If we fail to comply with our reporting and payment obligations under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program or other governmental pricing programs in the United States, we could be subject to additional reimbursement requirements, penalties, sanctions and fines, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We participate in the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, as administered by CMS, and other federal and state government pricing programs in the United States, and we may participate in additional government pricing programs in the future. These programs generally require us to pay rebates or otherwise provide discounts to government payors in connection with drugs, including NERLYNX, that are dispensed to beneficiaries of these programs. In some cases, such as with the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, the rebates are based on pricing and rebate calculations that we report on a monthly and quarterly basis to the government agencies that administer the programs. Pricing and rebate calculations are complex, vary among products and programs, and are often subject to interpretation by governmental or regulatory agencies and the courts. The terms, scope and complexity of these government pricing programs change frequently. Responding to current and future changes may increase our costs and the complexity of compliance will be time consuming.

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In addition, there is increased focus by the Office of Inspector General on the methodologies used by manufacturers to calculate average manufacturer price, or AMP, and best price, or BP, to assess manufacturer compliance with reporting requirements under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program. We are liable for errors associated with our submission of pricing data and for any overcharging of government payors. For example, failure to submit monthly/quarterly AMP and BP data on a timely basis could result in a civil monetary penalty per day for each day the submission is late beyond the due date. Failure to make necessary disclosures and/or to identify overpayments could result in allegations against us under the Federal False Claims Act and other laws and regulations.

Any required refunds to the U.S. government or responding to a government investigation or enforcement action would be expensive and time consuming and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. In the event that CMS were to terminate our rebate agreement, no federal payments would be available under Medicaid or Medicare for our covered outpatient drugs.

If we cannot compete successfully for market share against other drug companies, we may not achieve sufficient product revenue and our business will suffer.

The market for our drugs and drug candidates is characterized by intense competition and rapid technological advances. NERLYNX competes, and any of our other drug candidates that receives FDA approval will compete, with a number of existing and future drugs and therapies developed, manufactured and marketed by others. Existing or future competing products may provide greater therapeutic convenience or clinical or other benefits for a specific indication than our products or may offer comparable performance at a lower cost. In addition, a large number of companies are pursuing the development of pharmaceuticals that target the same diseases and conditions that we are targeting. If our products fail to capture and maintain market share, we may not achieve sufficient product revenue and our business will suffer.

We compete against fully integrated pharmaceutical companies and smaller companies that are collaborating with larger pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, government agencies and other public and private research organizations. Many of these competitors have oncology compounds that have already been approved or are in development. In addition, many of these competitors, either alone or together with their collaborative partners, operate larger research and development programs or have substantially greater financial resources than we do, as well as significantly greater experience in the following:

 

developing drugs;

 

undertaking pre-clinical testing and clinical trials;

 

obtaining FDA and other regulatory approvals of drugs;

 

formulating and manufacturing drugs; and

 

launching, marketing and selling drugs.

We may be exposed to liability claims associated with the use of hazardous materials and chemicals.

Our research and development activities may involve the controlled use of hazardous materials and chemicals. Although we believe that our safety procedures for using, storing, handling and disposing of these materials comply with federal, state and local laws and regulations, we cannot completely eliminate the risk of accidental injury or contamination from these materials. In the event of such an accident, we could be held liable for any resulting damages and any liability could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, the federal, state and local laws and regulations governing the use, manufacture, storage, handling and disposal of hazardous or radioactive materials and waste products may require us to incur substantial compliance costs that could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The loss of one or more key members of our management team could adversely affect our business.

Our success and future growth depend, to a significant degree, on the skills and continued services of our management team, in particular Alan H. Auerbach, our Chief Executive Officer and President. If Mr. Auerbach resigns or becomes unable to continue in his present role and is not adequately replaced, our business operations could be materially adversely affected. We do not maintain “key man” life insurance for Mr. Auerbach.

If we are unable to hire additional qualified personnel, our ability to grow our business may be harmed.

As of December 31, 2019, we had 269 employees. Our future success depends on our ability to identify, attract, hire, train, retain and motivate other highly skilled scientific, technical, marketing, managerial and financial personnel. Although we will seek to hire and retain qualified personnel with experience and abilities commensurate with our needs, there is no assurance that we will succeed despite their collective efforts. Competition for personnel is intense, and any failure to attract and retain the necessary

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technical, marketing, managerial and financial personnel would have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

We may not successfully manage our growth.

Our success will depend upon the expansion of our operations and our ability to successfully manage our growth. Our future growth, if any, may place a significant strain on our management and on our administrative, operational and financial resources. Our ability to manage our growth effectively will require us to implement and improve our operational, financial and management systems and to expand, train, manage and motivate our employees. These demands may require the hiring of additional management personnel and the development of additional expertise by management. Any increase in resources devoted to research and product development without a corresponding increase in our operational, financial and management systems could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.   

We may be adversely affected by the current economic environment.

Our ability to attract and retain collaborators or customers, invest in and grow our business and meet our financial obligations depends on our operating and financial performance, which, in turn, is subject to numerous factors, including the prevailing economic conditions and financial, business and other factors beyond our control, such as the rate of unemployment, the number of uninsured persons in the United States and inflationary pressures. We cannot anticipate all the ways in which the current economic climate and financial market conditions could adversely impact our business.

We are exposed to risks associated with reduced profitability and the potential financial instability of our collaborators or customers, many of which may be adversely affected by volatile conditions in the financial markets. For example, unemployment and underemployment, and the resultant loss of insurance, may decrease the demand for healthcare services and pharmaceuticals. If fewer patients are seeking medical care because they do not have insurance coverage, our collaboration partners or customers may experience reductions in revenues, profitability and/or cash flow that could lead them to modify, delay or cancel orders for our products once commercialized. If collaboration partners or customers are not successful in generating sufficient revenue or are precluded from securing financing, they may not be able to pay, or may delay payment of, accounts receivable that are owed to us. This, in turn, could adversely affect our financial condition and liquidity. In addition, if economic challenges in the United States result in widespread and prolonged unemployment, either regionally or on a national basis, a substantial number of people may become uninsured or underinsured. To the extent economic challenges result in fewer individuals pursuing or being able to afford our products once commercialized, our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows could be adversely affected.

We may incur substantial liabilities and may be required to limit commercialization of our products in response to product liability lawsuits and product recalls.

The testing and marketing of medical products entail an inherent risk of product liability. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims, we may incur substantial liabilities or be required to limit commercialization of our products. If we are unable to obtain sufficient product liability insurance at an acceptable cost to protect against potential product liability claims, the commercialization of pharmaceutical products we develop, alone or with collaborators, could be prevented or inhibited.

Product recalls may be issued at our discretion, or at the discretion of government agencies and other entities that have regulatory authority for pharmaceutical sales. Any recall of NERLYNX could materially adversely affect our business by rendering us unable to sell NERLYNX for some time and by adversely affecting our reputation.

We may in the future engage in strategic transactions that increase our capital requirements, dilute our stockholders, cause us to incur debt or assume contingent liabilities and subject us to other risks.

We actively evaluate various strategic transactions on an ongoing basis, including licensing or otherwise acquiring complementary products, technologies or businesses. Any potential future acquisitions or in-licensing transactions entail numerous risks, including but not limited to: 

 

 

risks associated with satisfying the closing conditions relating to such transactions and realizing their anticipated benefits;

 

increased operating expenses and cash requirements;

 

difficulty integrating acquired technologies, products, operations, and personnel with our existing business;

 

the potential disruption of our historical core business;

 

diversion of management’s attention in connection with both negotiating the acquisition or license and integrating the business, technology or product;

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retention of key employees;

 

difficulties in assimilating employees and corporate cultures of any acquired companies;

 

uncertainties in our ability to maintain key business relationships of any acquired companies;

 

strain on managerial and operational resources;

 

difficulty implementing and maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting at businesses that we acquire, particularly if they are not located near our existing operations;

 

exposure to unanticipated liabilities of acquired companies or companies in which we invest;

 

the potential need to write down assets or recognize impairment charges; and

 

potential costly and time-consuming litigation, including stockholder lawsuits.

 

 

As a result of these or other problems and risks, businesses, technologies or products we acquire or invest in or obtain licenses to may not produce the revenues, earnings or business synergies that we anticipated, acquired or licensed product candidates or technologies may not result in regulatory approvals, and acquired or licensed products may not perform as expected. As a result, we may incur higher costs and realize lower revenues than we had anticipated. We cannot assure you that any acquisitions or investments we have made or may make in the future will be completed or that, if completed, the acquired business, licenses, investments, products, or technologies will generate sufficient revenue to offset the negative costs or other negative effects on our business. Failure to effectively manage our growth through acquisition or in-licensing transactions could adversely affect our growth prospects, business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flow.

In addition, we may spend significant amounts, issue dilutive securities, assume or incur significant debt obligations, incur large one-time expenses and acquire intangible assets or goodwill in connection with acquisitions and in-licensing transactions that could result in significant future amortization expense and write-offs. 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. Other pharmaceutical companies, many of which may have substantially greater financial, marketing and sales resources, compete with us for these opportunities. Even if appropriate opportunities are available, we may not be able to successfully identify them or we may not have the financial resources necessary to pursue them, and if pursued, we may be unable to structure and execute transactions in the anticipated timeframe, or at all.

 

Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property

We depend significantly on intellectual property licensed from Pfizer and the termination of this license would significantly harm our business and future prospects.

We depend significantly on our license agreement with Pfizer. Our license agreement with Pfizer may be terminated by Pfizer if we materially breach the agreement and fail to cure our breach during an applicable cure period. Our failure to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop and commercialize licensed products in certain specified major market countries would constitute a material breach of the license agreement. Pfizer may also terminate the license agreement if we become involved in bankruptcy, receivership, insolvency or similar proceedings. In the event our license agreement with Pfizer is terminated, we will lose all of our rights to develop and commercialize the drug candidates covered by such license, which would significantly harm our business and future prospects.  

Our proprietary rights may not adequately protect our intellectual property and potential products, and if we cannot obtain adequate protection of our intellectual property and potential products, we may not be able to successfully market our potential products.

Our commercial success will depend in part on obtaining and maintaining intellectual property protection for our products, formulations, processes, methods and other technologies. We will only be able to protect these technologies and products from unauthorized use by third parties to the extent that valid and enforceable intellectual property rights, including patents, cover them, or other market exclusionary rights apply. The patent positions of pharmaceutical companies, like ours, can be highly uncertain and involve complex legal and factual questions for which important legal principles remain unresolved. No consistent policy regarding the breadth of claims allowed in such companies’ patents has emerged to date in the United States. The general environment for pharmaceutical patents outside the United States also involves significant uncertainty. Accordingly, we cannot predict the breadth of claims that may be allowed (if any are allowed at all) or enforced, or that the scope of these patent rights could provide a sufficient degree of future protection that could permit us to gain or keep our competitive advantage with respect to these products and technology. For example, we cannot predict:

 

the degree and range of protection any patents will afford us against competitors, including whether third parties will find ways to make, use, sell, offer to sell or import competitive products without infringing our patents;

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if and when patents will issue;

 

whether or not others will obtain patents claiming inventions similar to those covered by our patents and patent applications; or

 

whether we will need to initiate litigation or administrative proceedings in connection with patent rights, which may be costly whether we win or lose, and the outcome of which is unpredictable.

The patents we have licensed may be challenged and could be invalidated or rendered unenforceable by third parties. Changes in either the patent laws or in the interpretations of patent laws in the United States or other countries may diminish the value of our intellectual property.

The patents we have licensed may be affected by certain provisions of the America Invents Act, or AIA, enacted in 2011. For example, under the AIA, members of the public may seek to challenge an issued patent by petitioning the USPTO to institute a post grant proceeding, such as a Post Grant Review, or PGR, or Inter Partes Review, or IPR. Once a post grant proceeding is instituted, the USPTO may find grounds to revoke the challenged patent or specific claims therein. A similar procedure (known as a patent opposition) has existed in Europe for many years and we have defended, and continue to defend, our European patents in certain of those proceedings. We cannot predict whether any other licensed patents will become the subject of a post grant proceeding or patent opposition. If a significant product patent is successfully challenged in a post grant proceeding or patent opposition, it may be revoked, which would have a serious negative impact on our ability to maintain exclusivity in the market-place for our commercial products affected by such revocation and could adversely affect our future revenues and profitability.

In addition, others may independently develop similar or alternative products and technologies that may be outside the scope of our intellectual property. Furthermore, others may have invented technology claimed by our patents before we or our licensors did so, and they may have filed patents claiming such technology before we did so, weakening our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection for such technology. Should third parties obtain patent rights to similar products or technology, this may have an adverse effect on our business.

We may also rely on trade secrets to protect our technology, especially where we do not believe patent protection is appropriate or obtainable. Trade secrets, however, are difficult to protect. While we believe that we will use reasonable efforts to protect our trade secrets, our own or our strategic partners’ employees, consultants, contractors or advisors may unintentionally or willfully disclose our information to competitors. Such disclosure could adversely affect our ability to prevent further disclosures of our trade secrets.  We seek to protect this information, in part, through the use of non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with employees, consultants, advisors and others. These agreements may be breached, and we may not have adequate remedies for a breach. In addition, we cannot ensure that those agreements will be enforceable, provide adequate protection for our trade secrets, know-how or other proprietary information, or prevent their unauthorized use or disclosure.

To the extent that consultants or key employees apply technological information independently developed by them or by others to our potential products, disputes may arise as to the proprietary rights in such information, which may not be resolved in our favor. Consultants and key employees who work with our confidential and proprietary technologies are required to assign all intellectual property rights in their discoveries to us. However, these consultants or key employees may terminate their relationship with us, and we cannot preclude them indefinitely from dealing with our competitors. If our trade secrets become known to competitors with greater experience and financial resources, the competitors may copy or use our trade secrets and other proprietary information in the advancement of their products, methods or technologies. If we were to prosecute a claim that a third party had illegally obtained and was using our trade secrets, it could be expensive and time consuming and the outcome could be unpredictable. In addition, courts outside the United States are sometimes less willing to protect trade secrets than courts in the United States. Moreover, if our competitors independently develop equivalent knowledge, we would lack any legal or contractual claim to prevent them from using such information, and our business could be harmed.   

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

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Filing, prosecuting, and defending our intellectual property rights in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive, and our intellectual property rights in some countries outside the United States can be less extensive than those in the United States. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as federal and state laws in the United States. Further, licensing partners may not prosecute patents in certain jurisdictions in which we may obtain commercial rights, thereby precluding the possibility of later obtaining patent protection in these countries. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the United States, or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in and into the United States or other jurisdictions. Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own products and may also export infringing products to territories where we have patent protection, but enforcement is not as strong as that in the United States. These products may compete with our products, and our intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing.

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

Our ability to commercialize our potential products will depend on our ability to sell such products without infringing the patent or proprietary rights of third parties. If we are sued for infringing intellectual property rights of third parties, it will be costly and time consuming, and an unfavorable outcome in that litigation would have a material adverse effect on our business.

Our ability to commercialize our potential products will depend on our ability to sell such products without infringing the patents or other proprietary rights of third parties. Third-party intellectual property rights in our field are complicated and continuously evolving. The coverage of patents is subject to interpretation by the courts, and this interpretation is not always consistent.

Other companies may have or may acquire intellectual property rights that could be enforced against us. If they do so, we may be required to alter our products, formulations, processes, methods or other technologies, obtain a license, assuming one can be obtained, or cease our product-related activities. Holders of such intellectual property rights are not required to give us a license if one were required.  If our products or technologies infringe the intellectual property rights of others, such parties could bring legal action against us or our licensors or collaborators claiming damages and seeking to enjoin any activities that they believe infringe their intellectual property rights. If we are sued for patent infringement, we would need to demonstrate that our products or methods of use either do not infringe the patent claims of the relevant patent or that the patent claims are invalid or unenforceable, and we may not be able to do this. Proving the invalidity of a patent is particularly difficult in the United States, since it requires a showing of clear and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption of validity enjoyed by issued patents. If we are found to infringe a third-party patent, we may need to cease the commercial sale of our products.

Because patent applications can take many years to issue, there may be currently pending applications unknown to us or reissue applications that may later result in issued patents upon which our products or technologies may infringe. There could also be existing patents of which we are unaware that our products or technologies may infringe. In addition, if third parties file patent applications or obtain patents claiming products or technologies also claimed by us in pending applications or issued patents, we may have to participate in interference proceedings in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, to determine priority of invention. If third parties file inter partes review or post-grant review petitions in the USPTO to invalidate our issued U.S. patents, we may have to participate in such proceedings to defend such patents.  If third parties file oppositions in foreign countries, we may also have to participate in opposition proceedings in foreign tribunals to defend the patentability of our filed foreign patent applications. The outcome of such proceedings in the United States and foreign countries is predictable.  Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of such proceedings and of complex patent litigation more effectively than we can because they have substantially greater resources. Additionally, any uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of any such proceedings or litigation may have a material adverse effect on our ability to raise the funds necessary to continue our operations.

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If a third-party claims that we infringe its intellectual property rights, it could cause our business to suffer in a number of ways, including:

 

we may become involved in time-consuming and expensive litigation, even if the claim is without merit, the third party’s patent is ultimately invalid or unenforceable, or we are ultimately found to have not infringed;

 

we may become liable for substantial damages for past infringement if a court decides that our technologies infringe upon a third party’s patent;

 

we may be ordered by a court to stop making, using, selling, offering for sale, importing or licensing our products or technologies without a license from a patent holder, and such license may not be available on commercially acceptable terms, if at all, or may require us to pay substantial royalties or grant cross-licenses to our patents; and

 

we may have to redesign our products so that they do not infringe upon others’ patent rights, which may not be possible or could require substantial investment and/or time.

If any of these events occur, our business could suffer, and the market price of our common stock may decline.

As is common in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, we employ individuals who were previously employed at other companies in these industries, including our competitors or potential competitors. We may become subject to claims that these employees or we have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed trade secrets or other proprietary information of their former employers, although no such claims are pending. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. Even if we successfully defend any such claims, we may incur substantial costs in such defense, and our management may be distracted by these claims.  

Risks Related to Owning our Common Stock

The price of our common stock could be subject to volatility related or unrelated to our operations.

The trading price of our common stock has been highly volatile and could continue to be subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. These factors include:

 

the level of sales of NERLYNX;

 

the overall demand for NERLYNX, including the customer ordering and discontinuation patterns

 

actual or anticipated quarterly variation in our results of operations or the results of our competitors;

 

announcements regarding results of any clinical trials relating to our drug candidates;

 

announcements of medical innovations or new products by our competitors;

 

developments involving our sublicensees;

 

issuance of new or changed securities analyst reports or recommendations for our stock;

 

developments or disputes concerning our intellectual property or other proprietary rights;

 

commencement of, or developments in, litigation involving us;

 

market conditions in the biopharmaceutical industry;

 

timing and announcement of regulatory approvals;

 

changes in government regulation that affect us or the biopharmaceutical industry more generally;

 

any future sales of our common stock or other securities in connection with raising additional capital or otherwise;

 

any major change to the composition of our board of directors or management; and

 

general economic conditions and slow or negative growth of our markets.

The stock market in general, and market prices for the securities of biotechnology companies like ours in particular, have from time to time experienced volatility that often has been unrelated to the operating performance of the underlying companies. These broad market and industry fluctuations may adversely affect the market price of our common stock, regardless of our operating performance.

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We have been subject to securities litigation in the past, and volatility in the price of our common stock may subject us to securities litigation in the future.

In the past, securities class action litigation has often been brought against a company following periods of volatility in the market price of its securities. This risk is especially relevant for us because pharmaceutical companies have experienced significant stock price volatility in recent years.  These types of lawsuits are subject to inherent uncertainties, and are expensive and time-consuming to investigate, defend and resolve. For instance, in Hsu v. Puma Biotechnology, Inc., et al., the plaintiff alleged that we and certain of our executive officers made false or misleading statements and failed to disclose material adverse facts about our business, operations, prospects and performance in violation of the Exchange Act. In February 2019, a jury found that we had liability on one of four alleged misstatements, and awarded a maximum of $4.50 per share in damages, representing approximately 5% of total claimed damages.  Trading models suggest that approximately ten million shares traded during the class period may be eligible to claim damages. Based on prior lawsuits, we believe that the number of stockholders who submit proof of claims sufficient to recover damages is typically in the range of 20% to 40% of the total eligible shares, and based on these assumptions, total damages after claims could range from $9 million to $18 million.  However, the total amount of aggregate class-wide damages remains uncertain and will be ascertained only after an extensive claims process and the exhaustion of any appeals, and it is possible that the total damages will be higher than this estimate.  It is also possible, as a result of the verdict, that our insurance carriers may assert a right to be paid back litigation cost reimbursements previously received by us, due to certain provisions in our insurance coverage policy.

Any other litigation to which we are a party may similarly divert our management’s attention and financial and other resources, or result in an onerous or unfavorable judgment that may not be reversed upon appeal or in payments of substantial monetary damages or fines. Additionally, we may decide to settle such lawsuits on similarly unfavorable terms, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or stock price.

Issuance of stock to fund our operations may dilute your investment and reduce your equity interest.

We may need to raise capital in the future to fund the development of our drug candidates or for other purposes. Any equity financing may have a significant dilutive effect to stockholders and a material decrease in our existing stockholders’ equity interest in us. Equity financing, if obtained, could result in substantial dilution to our existing stockholders. At its sole discretion, our board of directors may issue additional securities without seeking stockholder approval, and we do not know when we will need additional capital or, if we do, whether it will be available to us.

Upon the exercise of our outstanding warrant, holders of our common stock may experience immediate dilution and the market price of our common stock may be adversely affected.

Our founder, Chief Executive Officer and President, Alan H. Auerbach, holds a warrant for 2,116,250 shares with an exercise price of $16.00 per share. If any portion of the outstanding warrant is exercised for shares of our common stock prior to its expiration in October 2021, our stockholders may experience immediate dilution and the market price of our common stock may be adversely affected.

We incur increased costs and demands upon management as a result of complying with the laws and regulations affecting public companies.

As a public company, we incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses, including costs associated with public company reporting requirements. We also incur costs associated with current corporate governance requirements, including requirements under Section 404 and other provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as rules implemented by the SEC, or NASDAQ or any stock exchange or inter-dealer quotations system on which our common stock may be listed in the future. The expenses incurred by public companies for reporting and corporate governance purposes have increased dramatically in recent years. These rules and regulations increase our legal and financial compliance costs and make some activities more time-consuming and costly.

These rules and regulations may also make it difficult and expensive for us to maintain the appropriate level of director and officer insurance for a company with our market capitalization.  If we are unable to maintain an appropriate level of such insurance, we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or larger deductible limits.  As a result, it may be more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified individuals to serve on our board of directors or as our executive officers.

If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, our ability to produce accurate and timely financial statements could be impaired, which could harm our operating results, our ability to operate our business and investors’ views of us.

We are subject to the rules and regulations of the SEC, including those rules and regulations mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires public companies to include in their annual report a statement of management’s responsibilities for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting, together with an assessment of the effectiveness of those internal controls. Section 404 also requires the independent auditors of certain public companies to attest to, and report on, this management assessment. Ensuring that we have adequate internal financial and accounting controls and procedures

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in place so that we can produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis is a costly and time-consuming effort that will need to be evaluated frequently. Our failure to maintain the effectiveness of our internal controls in accordance with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act could have a material adverse effect on our business. We could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, which could have an adverse effect on the price of our common stock. In addition, if our efforts to comply with new or changed laws, regulations, and standards differ from the activities intended by regulatory or governing bodies due to ambiguities related to practice, regulatory authorities may initiate legal proceedings against us and our business may be harmed.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish, or cease publishing, research reports about us, our business or our market, or if they change their recommendations regarding our stock adversely, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our common stock is and will be influenced by whether industry or securities analysts publish research and reports about us, our business, our market or our competitors and, if any analysts do publish such reports, what they publish in those reports. We may not obtain analyst coverage in the future. Any analysts who do cover us may make adverse recommendations regarding our stock, adversely change their recommendations from time to time, and/or provide more favorable relative recommendations about our competitors. If any analyst who may cover us in the future were to cease coverage of our company or fail to regularly publish reports on us, or if analysts fail to cover us or publish reports about us at all, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.

We do not foresee paying cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

We currently intend to retain any future earnings for funding growth. We do not anticipate paying any dividends in the foreseeable future, and the payment of dividends is also restricted under our credit facility. As a result, you should not rely on an investment in our securities if you require dividend income. Capital appreciation, if any, of our shares may be your sole source of gain for the foreseeable future. Moreover, you may not be able to re-sell your shares in us at or above the price you paid for them.

Our ability to use our net operating losses and research and development credit carryforwards to offset future taxable income may be subject to certain limitations.

In general, under Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, a corporation that undergoes an “ownership change,” generally defined as a greater than 50% change (by value) in its equity ownership over a three year period, is subject to limitations on its ability to utilize its pre-change net operating losses, or NOLs, and its research and development credit carryforwards to offset future taxable income. Our existing NOLs and research and development credit carryforwards may be subject to limitations arising from previous ownership changes, and if we undergo an ownership change, our ability to utilize NOLs and research and development credit carryforwards could be further limited by Sections 382 and 383 of the Code. Future changes in our stock ownership, some of which might be beyond our control, could result in an ownership change under Sections 382 and 383 of the Code. Furthermore, our ability to utilize NOLs and research and development credit carryforwards of any companies we may acquire in the future may be subject to limitations, in accordance with Sections 382 and 383 of the Code. For these reasons, in the event we experience a change of control, we may not be able to utilize a material portion of the NOLs and research and development credit carryforwards, even if we attain profitability.

 

54


 

ITEM 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2.

PROPERTIES

We lease approximately 65,656 square feet of office space in the building located at 10880 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California for use as our corporate headquarters. This lease commenced in December 2011 and over time has been amended to add rentable square footage.  The lease terminates in March 2026.  We also lease approximately 29,470 square feet of office space in the building located at 701 Gateway Blvd, South San Francisco, California. The lease for the South San Francisco facility commenced in October 2012. The lease will terminate around March 2026, with an option to extend for an additional five-year term.  We believe that our existing office space, along with the additional office space in South San Francisco, is adequate to meet current and anticipated future requirements and that additional or substitute space will be available as needed to accommodate any expansions that our operations require.

ITEM 3.

Hsu vs. Puma Biotechnology, Inc., et. al.

 

On June 3, 2015, Hsingching Hsu, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a class action lawsuit against us and certain of our executive officers in the United States District Court for the Central District of California (Case No. 8:15-cv-00865-AG-JCG). On October 16, 2015, lead plaintiff Norfolk Pension Fund filed a consolidated complaint on behalf of all persons who purchased our securities between July 22, 2014 and May 29, 2015. A trial on the claims relating to four statements alleged to have been false or misleading was held from January 15 to January 29, 2019. At trial, the jury found that three of the four challenged statements were not false or misleading, and thus found in the defendants’ favor on those claims.  The jury found liability as to one statement and awarded a maximum of $4.50 per share in damages, which represents approximately 5% of the total claimed damages of $87.20 per share. Trading models suggest that approximately ten million shares traded during the class period may be eligible to claim damages. Based on prior lawsuits, we believe that the number of stockholders who submit proof of claims sufficient to recover damages is typically in the range of 20% to 40% of the total eligible shares. Based on these assumptions, total damages after claims could range from $9 million to $18 million. The total amount of aggregate class-wide damages remains uncertain and will be ascertained only after an extensive claims process and the exhaustion of any appeals, and it is reasonably possible that the total damages will be higher than this estimate.  However, the amount is not estimable at this time.

 

On September 9, 2019, the Court entered an order specifying the rate of prejudgment interest to be awarded on any valid claims at the 52-week Treasury Bill rate. The Courts order also established a claims process, which is expected to take about twelve months. A final judgment has not been entered.

Eshelman vs. Puma Biotechnology, Inc., et. al.

In February 2016, Fredric N. Eshelman filed a lawsuit against our Chief Executive Officer and President, Alan H. Auerbach, and us in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (Case No. 7:16-cv-00018-D). The complaint generally alleged that we and Mr. Auerbach made defamatory statements regarding Dr. Eshelman in connection with a proxy contest. In May 2016, Dr. Eshelman filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of the claims against Mr. Auerbach. A trial on the remaining defamation claims against us took place from March 11 to March 15, 2019. At trial, the jury found us liable and awarded Dr. Eshelman $15.9 million in compensatory damages and $6.5 million in punitive damages. The plaintiff has since filed motions seeking attorneys fees and pre-judgment interest, which if granted could increase the judgment amount. We strongly disagree with the verdict and, on April 22, 2019, filed a motion for a new trial or, in the alternative, a reduced damages award. If the verdict is upheld, pending the outcome of that motion, we intend to appeal the verdict. We estimate the high end of potential damages in the matter could be approximately $26.3 million; however, the actual amount of damages payable by us is still uncertain and will be ascertained only after completion of post-trial proceedings and the exhaustion of any appeals, and such amount could be greater than the amount of expense already recognized or the high end of the estimate.

ITEM 4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

Not applicable.

55


 

PART II

ITEM 5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Market for Common Stock

Our common stock has been quoted on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, or NASDAQ, under the symbol “PBYI” since January 3, 2017.  Prior to January 3, 2017, shares of our common stock had been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since October 19, 2012.  

Record Holders

On February 20, 2020, we had eight holders of record of our common stock. The actual number of stockholders is greater than this number of record holders, and includes stockholders who are beneficial owners, but whose shares are held in street name by brokers and other nominees. This number of holders of record also does not include stockholders whose shares may be held in trust by other entities.  We believe approximately 14,586 additional owners held our common stock in “Street Name” as of February 20, 2020.

Dividends

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. Currently, we anticipate that we will retain all available funds for use in the operation and expansion of our business and do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination relating to dividend policy will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on our future earnings, capital requirements, financial condition, prospects, applicable Delaware law, which provides that dividends are only payable out of surplus or current net profits, and other factors that our board of directors deems relevant.   Additionally, we are restricted from paying cash dividends under our credit facility with Oxford.

Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

The information included under Item 12 of Part III of this Annual Report, “Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans,” is hereby incorporated by reference into this Item 5 of Part II of this Annual Report.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

We did not make any sales of unregistered securities during fiscal year 2019.

Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

Neither we nor any “affiliated purchasers” within the definition of Rule 10b-18(a)(3) made any purchases of our equity securities during the fourth quarter of 2019.

Performance Graph

The graph and table below compare the cumulative total return of our common stock from December 31, 2014, through December 31, 2019, with the cumulative total returns on (i) the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index and (ii) the Nasdaq Composite Index. The comparison assumes investment of $100 on December 31, 2014, in our common stock and in each index and, for each index, assumes reinvestment of all dividends.

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The historical price performance included below is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.

 

 

 

The material in this performance graph is not soliciting material, is not deemed filed with the SEC and is not incorporated by reference in any of our filings under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act, whether made on, before or after the date of this filing and irrespective of any general incorporation language in such filing.

57


 

ITEM 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The following financial data should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report and with the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

The Consolidated Statement of Operations Data and Other Financial Data for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 and the Consolidated Balance Sheet Data as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report. The Consolidated Statement of Operations Data and Other Financial Data for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015 and the Consolidated Balance Sheet Data as of December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements not included herein. Historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected in the future, and the results for the years presented should not be considered indicative of our future results of operations.

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

 

(in millions, except share and per share data)

 

Statement of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product revenue, net

 

$

211.6

 

 

$

200.5

 

 

$

26.2

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

License revenue

 

 

60.3

 

 

 

50.5

 

 

 

1.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Royalty revenue

 

 

0.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of sales

 

 

36.8

 

 

 

34.6

 

 

 

5.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selling, general and administrative

 

 

141.7

 

 

 

146.2

 

 

 

106.7

 

 

 

53.8

 

 

 

31.8

 

Research and development

 

 

132.9

 

 

 

164.9

 

 

 

207.8

 

 

 

222.8

 

 

 

208.5

 

Operating loss

 

 

(39.1

)

 

 

(94.7

)

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