S-1/A
Table of Contents

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 28, 2021

Registration No. 333-252083

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

AMENDMENT NO. 1

TO

FORM S-1

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933

 

 

Landos Biopharma, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Delaware   2834   81-5085535

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(Primary Standard Industrial

Classification Code Number)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

1800 Kraft Drive, Suite 216

Blacksburg, VA 24060

(540) 218-2232

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

 

 

Josep Bassaganya-Riera

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Landos Biopharma, Inc.

1800 Kraft Drive, Suite 216

Blacksburg, VA 24060

(540) 218-2232

(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)

 

 

Copies to:

 

Eric W. Blanchard

Madison A. Jones

Divakar Gupta

Cooley LLP

55 Hudson Yards

New York, New York 10001

(212) 479-6000

 

Nathan Ajiashvili

Salvatore Vanchieri

Latham & Watkins LLP

885 Third Avenue

New York, New York 10022

(212) 906-1200

 

 

Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: As soon as practicable after this Registration Statement is declared effective.

If any of the securities being registered on this form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, check the following box.  ☐

If this form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an 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 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.     ☐

 

 

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

 

 

Title of each Class of Securities to be registered   Amount
to be
registered(1)
  Proposed
maximum
offering price
per share
  Proposed
maximum
aggregate
offering price(1)(2)
  Amount of
Registration
fee(2)(3)

Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share

 

7,187,500

  $17.00   122,187,500  

$13,331

 

 

 

(1)   Includes 937,500 shares of common stock that the underwriters have the option to purchase to cover over-allotments, if any.

 

(2)   Estimated solely for the purpose of calculating the registration fee in accordance with Rule 457(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

 

(3)   Of this amount, $10,910 has been previously paid.

 

 

The Registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 or until the Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.

 

 

 


Table of Contents

The information in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. These securities may not be sold until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities nor does it seek an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

Subject to completion, dated January 28, 2021

Preliminary prospectus

6,250,000 shares

 

 

 

 

LOGO

Common stock

This is an initial public offering of shares of common stock Landos Biopharma, Inc. We are offering 6,250,000 shares of our common stock. The initial public offering price is expected to be between $15.00 and $17.00 per share.

Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for our common stock. We have applied to list our common stock on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “LABP.”

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined under U.S. federal securities laws and will be subject to reduced public company reporting requirements. See “Prospectus summary—Implications of being an emerging growth company.”

 

     
        Per share        Total  

Initial public offering price

     $                      $                

Underwriting discounts and commissions(1)

     $          $    

Proceeds, before expenses, to us

     $          $    

 

(1)   See the section titled “Underwriting” beginning on page 210 for a description of compensation payable to the underwriters.

We have granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 937,500 shares from us at the initial public offering price, less the underwriting discounts and commissions, for a period of up to 30 days after the date of this prospectus.

Investing in our common stock involves risks. See the section titled “Risk factors” beginning on page 13 of this prospectus.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities, or passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

The underwriters expect to deliver the shares of common stock to the purchasers on or about                     , 2021.

 

J.P. Morgan    Jefferies        SVB Leerink

Raymond James

                    , 2021


Table of Contents

Table of contents

 

     Page  

Prospectus summary

     1  

Risk factors

     13  

Special note regarding forward-looking statements

     63  

Industry and other data

     65  

Use of proceeds

     66  

Dividend policy

     68  

Capitalization

     69  

Dilution

     71  

Selected consolidated financial data

     74  

Management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations

     76  

Business

     89  

Management

     175  

Executive compensation

     182  

Certain relationships and related party transactions

     190  

Principal stockholders

     194  

Description of capital stock

     196  

Shares eligible for future sale

     202  

Material U.S. federal income tax consequences to non-U.S. holders

     205  

Underwriting

     210  

Legal matters

     220  

Experts

     220  

Where you can find more information

     220  

Index to financial statements

     F-1  

We and the underwriters have not authorized anyone to provide any information or to make any representations other than those contained in this prospectus or in any free writing prospectuses we have prepared. We and the underwriters take no responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may provide you. We are offering to sell, and seeking offers to buy, shares of common stock only in jurisdictions where offers and sales are permitted. The information contained in this prospectus is accurate only as of the date of this prospectus, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus or of any sale of the common stock. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since that date.

Through and including                     , 2021 (the 25th day after the date of this prospectus), all dealers that effect transactions in these securities, whether or not participating in this offering, may be required to deliver a prospectus. This is in addition to the dealers’ obligation to deliver a prospectus when acting as underwriters and with respect to their unsold allotments or subscriptions.

For investors outside of the United States: We have not, and the underwriters have not, done anything that would permit this offering or possession or distribution of this prospectus in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required, other than the United States. Persons outside of the United States who come into possession of this prospectus must inform themselves about, and observe any restrictions relating to, the offering of the shares of common stock and the distribution of this prospectus outside of the United States.


Table of Contents

Prospectus summary

This summary highlights information contained elsewhere in this prospectus. This summary does not contain all of the information you should consider before investing in our common stock. You should read this entire prospectus carefully, especially the “Risk factors” section beginning on page 11 and our financial statements and the related notes appearing at the end of this prospectus, before making an investment decision.

As used in this prospectus, unless the context otherwise requires, references to “we,” “us,” “our,” “the company” and “Landos Biopharma” refer to Landos Biopharma, Inc. and its subsidiaries.

Overview

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of oral therapeutics for patients with autoimmune diseases that are the first to target new mechanisms of action, including the LANCL2, NLRX1 and PLXDC2 immunometabolic pathways. Our core expertise is in the development of therapeutic candidates targeting novel pathways at the interface of immunity and metabolism. Based on our understanding of the role that cell metabolic pathways have on modulating inflammatory responses, we aim to inhibit these inflammatory responses by changing the metabolic processes in target cells. We leverage our proprietary AI-based precision medicine platform, our LANCE platform, to identify novel therapeutic targets based on predictions of immunometabolic function and create therapeutic candidates to engage those targets in areas of unmet medical need. Through our LANCE platform we have identified seven novel immunometabolic targets and product candidates to date across 14 indications, including ulcerative colitis, or UC, Crohn’s disease, or CD, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, eosinophilic esophagitis, or EoE, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, diabetic nephropathy and type 1 diabetes.

We have completed the induction phase of a Phase 2 clinical trial of our lead product candidate, BT-11, for mild to moderate UC in the United States, Russia and Europe to evaluate the efficacy and safety of BT-11 in UC patients. Data from the induction stage of this Phase 2 trial demonstrated that BT-11 was gut-restricted and well tolerated, with no treatment-related significant adverse events and a similar adverse event profile across placebo and BT- 11 groups. In the intent-to-treat population, we observed a positive trend in absolute clinical remission rates as defined by the 3-component modified Mayo Score, using a stool frequency subscore of 0 or 1, a rectal bleeding subscore of 0 and an endoscopic subscore of 0 or 1 following 12 weeks of oral treatment with BT-11 at 1,000 mg once daily, or QD, or 500 mg QD compared to placebo (31.8% and 30.3 versus 22.7%; p=0.340 and 0.235). As a first-in-patient, proof-of-concept trial to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of BT-11 in ulcerative colitis patients, the trial was not conducted to establish statistical significance but rather to inform the design of the Phase 3 trial. The primary and secondary endpoints did not reach statistical significance in terms of efficacy, but achieved desired outcomes in regards to safety and PK/PD relationships.

Although the Phase 2 trial did not include a biologic comparator arm, the resulting placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates of 9.1% and 7.6% for the 1,000 and 500 mg dose groups, respectively, were consistent with standard of care treatments in both mild to moderate and moderate to severe UC. In a more moderate subset of patients (with Mayo score equal to or greater than 7 at baseline) the placebo-adjusted clinical remission rate was 11.5% (p=0.153) and 8.7% (p=0.273) for the 1,000 mg (n=47) and 500 mg (n=44) dose groups, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=50). Additionally, in a small subset of biologic experienced patients, positive placebo-adjusted remission trends were also observed (66.6% and 33.3% in the 1,000 mg (n=3) and 500 mg (n=3) cohorts, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=3, 0%)).

Based on these data, we expect to commence an integrated Phase 3 trial of BT-11 in UC patients in the United States, Russia, Asia, and Europe in the first half of 2021, subject to review of the complete Phase 2 data and FDA feedback, and we expect to discuss with the FDA the pathway for further development of BT-11 in UC patients.

 

1


Table of Contents

We also expect to initiate a Phase 2 trial of BT-11 for the treatment of moderate to severe CD in the first half of 2021. We believe the therapeutics we discover and develop, if approved, will have a significant impact on the quality of life of patients suffering from autoimmune diseases.

Autoimmune diseases generally result from the loss of self-tolerance in the immune system, causing the immune system to attack healthy organs and tissues. This leads to inflammation of the organs and tissues, causing chronic pain and deterioration or destruction of the ability of these organs to function. Current therapies either broadly prevent the immune system from functioning, in the case of corticosteroids, aminosalicylates and immunosuppressants, or systemically block specific molecules that promote inflammation in the case of biologics and JAK inhibitors. While great strides have been made, existing approaches continue to leave patient needs unmet, due in part to significant safety concerns.

Our proprietary LANCE platform: our approach to optimally identifying novel immunometabolic targets

We are developing novel, disease-specific oral therapeutic candidates designed to address the therapeutic gap in the current treatment paradigm for autoimmune diseases. We leverage our AI-based integrated computational and experimental LANCE platform to discover novel therapeutic targets based on the prediction and validation of immunometabolic function. Through our LANCE platform, we have identified novel pathways that stand at immunometabolic intersections of multiple well-established immune processes. We believe these pathways have a greater potential to restore the immune tolerance that is lost in patients with autoimmune disease.

We begin our discovery process with an in silico discovery platform. The LANCE platform analyzes large datasets from autoimmune disease patients to identify novel expression patterns tied to regulatory functions. It then ranks and prioritizes new immunometabolic targets that are perturbed in human disease and have high potential to serve as selective portals to the coordination of multiple well-categorized downstream responses tied to autoimmune diseases. We then continue evaluation in silico, identifying thousands of targets within the human immune system to evaluate and refine potential targets to maximize efficiency of time and cost. We include multi-scale modeling of immune and disease processes in virtual representations of target tissues for a specific disease to prioritize targets capable of exerting control on the immune response to a level providing meaningful change at the tissue and clinical level. In parallel, targets are filtered for druggability and safety parameters, removing those that are difficult to activate or inhibit or have potential to be linked to toxicity. We prioritize the selection of targets with mechanisms applicable to numerous autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, while generating predictions for disease-specific potency and optimal pharmacokinetic, or PK, profiles. We then conduct experimental target validation of top ranked targets in cells and in mouse models of disease using loss-of-function and constitutive expression methods. Upon successful target identification, an internal medicinal chemistry program is initiated to optimize preliminary scaffolds into leads. We evaluate lead compounds through a series of in-house robust target engagement, in vitro culture, multiple animal models for diseases of interest, PK evaluation, preliminary dose range finding, or DRF, toxicity studies in rats and translational studies in human patient samples. We have used this strategy to identify, evaluate and advance seven product candidates across three targets spanning numerous autoimmune and related disorders. Prioritization of these product candidates occurs based on unmet clinical need, therapeutic market size and opportunity, preclinical safety and efficacy data, and performance in translational biomarkers.

We believe our LANCE platform may have several key advantages compared to traditional drug discovery paradigms in autoimmune diseases, including improved discovery and significant target generation potential, an ability to modulate multiple critical pathways via a single target, and cost advantage. We have leveraged our platform to identify seven novel immunometabolic targets to date, two of which we are evaluating in clinical trials, LANCL2 and NLRX1. Using our LANCE platform, we expect to identify further novel targets and develop

 

2


Table of Contents

new product candidates for additional indications such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, NASH, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetic nephropathy, asthma, psoriasis, EoE and COPD, with the potential to submit one to two investigational new drug applications, or INDs, per year over the next five years, including at least three new INDs in 2021.

Our portfolio

We are leveraging our LANCE platform, our proprietary computational target discovery engine, to design and develop a pipeline of oral small molecule product candidates with differentiated profiles that are the first to target novel mechanisms to address autoimmune diseases. We currently own worldwide development and commercialization rights to each of our product candidates. Since our inception, we successfully cleared four INDs with the United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. We expect to submit at least three additional INDs by the end of 2021. Leveraging our LANCE platform, we have reduced our development time, measured from initial target discovery and Phase 1 clinical trial dosing, from 24 months, in the case of BT-11, to 18 months, in the case of NX-13. Our development time from discovery to Phase 2 ready was 30 months, in the case of BT-11, and 24 months, in the case of NX-13. We believe similar timelines are possible with our future product candidates; however, the process of clinical development is inherently uncertain and no guarantee can be made that similar timelines will be achieved.

 

LOGO

 

*   Subject to feedback from the FDA, we intend to initially submit one IND for each product candidate in order to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials in an indication. We will submit subsequent INDs to proceed to Phase 1 clinical trials in additional indications for that product candidate.

 

**   We define the discovery stage of development as the design, initial synthesis, target binding and preliminary pharmacology testing in in vitro and animal models of disease; the preclinical stage of development as GLP toxicity and pharmacology studies, metabolism and pharmacokinetics in addition to scale-up chemistry manufacturing and controls for drug substance and drug product; the Phase 1 stage as clinical trials designed to assess safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics in healthy volunteers or small patient cohorts; the Phase 2 stage as placebo-controlled clinical trials designed to provide proof-of-concept efficacy in the target patient population; and the Phase 3 stage as clinical trials designed to provide the final supporting data for the safety and effectiveness of a drug in the proposed indication to support an NDA filing.

 

3


Table of Contents

Numerous advances in our portfolio are currently in preparation. For BT-11, we expect a Phase 3 clinical trial in UC will be initiated in the first half of 2021, a Phase 2 clinical trial in CD will be initiated in the first half of 2021 and Phase 1b clinical trials in EoE and psoriasis will be initiated in the second half of 2021. For NX-13, Phase 2 clinical trials in UC and CD are expected to be initiated in the first half of 2022. For BT-104, BT-111, and NX-66, IND-enabling studies are expected to be completed in 2021. For PX-69, IND-enabling studies are expected to be completed in the first half of 2022.

BT-11 program overview

Our lead product candidate, BT-11, a gut-restricted oral therapeutic that is the first candidate designed to engage the novel target lanthionine synthetase C-like protein 2, or LANCL2, a membrane receptor that has been shown to modulate immunological mechanisms that are associated with autoimmune diseases such as UC or CD. Approximately 2 million Americans suffer from UC or CD, and the treatment of these two diseases in the United States accounts for an aggregate annual market size of up to $17 billion. There are currently no approved treatments that target LANCL2. BT-11 is designed to act locally in the gastrointestinal tract for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. We have designed BT-11 to overcome limitations of existing therapies, including with respect to side effect profiles, route of administration (injectables) and sustained efficacy.

We have completed the induction phase of a Phase 2 clinical trial of BT-11 for mild to moderate UC in the United States, Russia and Europe. In the intent-to-treat population, we observed a positive trend in absolute clinical remission rates as defined by the 3-component modified Mayo Score, using a stool frequency subscore of 0 or 1, a rectal bleeding subscore of 0 and an endoscopic subscore of 0 or 1 following 12 weeks of oral treatment with BT-11 at 1000 mg QD or 500 mg QD compared to placebo (31.8% and 30.3 versus 22.7%; p=0.340 and 0.235). Although the Phase 2 trial did not include a biologic comparator arm, the resulting placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates of 9.1% and 7.6% for the 1,000 and 500 mg dose groups, respectively, were consistent with standard of care treatments in both mild to moderate and moderate to severe UC. In a more moderate subset of 4 patients (with Mayo score equal to or greater than 7 at baseline) the placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates were 11.5% (p=0.153) and 8.7% (p=0.273) for the 1,000 mg (n=47) and 500 mg (n=44) dose groups, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=50). Additionally, in a small subset of biologic experienced patients, positive placebo-adjusted remission trends were also observed (66.6% and 33.3% in the 1,000 mg (n=3) and 500 mg (n=3) cohorts, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=3, 0%)).

Based on these data, we expect to commence an integrated Phase 3 trial of BT-11 in UC patients in the United States, Russia, Asia, and Europe in the first half of 2021, subject to review of the complete Phase 2 data and FDA feedback, and we expect to discuss with the FDA the pathway for further development of BT-11 in UC patients. We also expect to initiate a Phase 2 of BT-11 trial for the treatment of moderate to severe CD in the first half of 2021.

We believe that BT-11, if approved, has the potential to disrupt the treatment paradigm in IBD. In UC, we believe BT-11 has the potential to be utilized as a pre-biologic therapy for mild-to-moderate cases, where greater than 90% of the patient population with active disease exists, due to its novel mechanism of action and tolerability profile, with no dose-limiting toxicities observed in preclinical studies in doses up to 7-fold higher than the proposed clinical therapeutic dose. In CD, we believe that BT-11, if approved, has the potential to serve as a first-line therapy and treat patients prior to their progression into biologics by addressing the main limitations of current therapeutics. We believe that an oral, gut-restricted small molecule delivered once daily in a singular tablet could serve as a first-line therapy in the moderate to severe CD treatment paradigm. We also plan to develop BT-11 for EoE, and expect to initiate a Phase 1b clinical trial in EoE in the second half of 2021.

 

4


Table of Contents

Additionally, we plan to develop BT-11 for psoriasis and expect to initiate a Phase 1b clinical trial in psoriasis in the second half of 2021. We also plan to develop BT-11 for atopic dermatitis.

NX-13 program overview

Our second product candidate, NX-13, is a novel, gut-restricted oral therapeutic that targets NOD-like receptor X1, or NLRX1, a mitochondria-associated receptor that has been associated with the modulation of inflammatory cytokines for UC and CD. There are currently no approved NLRX1 ligands. NX-13 is designed to target NLRX1 in order to induce anti-inflammatory effects in CD4+ T cells and other immune cells in the gastrointestinal tract. We believe that, if approved, NX-13 could provide an additional treatment option for the up to 50% of UC patients that experience relapse within one year of current therapies and up to 55% of CD patients that relapse within one year of achieving active remission. Mechanistically, NX-13 could provide improvements in fibrosis. We believe NX-13 offers the potential, both as a single agent and in combination with other therapeutics, to address the unmet medical need in UC and CD. We have completed a Phase 1a trial of NX-13 in normal healthy volunteers and identified a maximum tolerated dose, or MTD, that was 10-fold greater than the targeted therapeutic dose, without presentation of serious adverse events.

Discovery programs overview

Our earlier stage pipeline includes numerous product candidates targeting the LANCL2 pathway (BT-104, BT-111), NLRX1 pathway (NX-66 and NX-73) and PLXDC2 pathway (PX-69):

 

 

BT-104 for the treatment of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. BT-104 is our oral, small molecule agonist of the LANCL2 pathway product candidate being developed for the treatment of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The therapeutic market in lupus is sparsely populated, with sales of the top ten therapeutics for lupus amounting to over $4 billion annually. The therapeutic market in rheumatoid arthritis is fragmented and represents approximately $25 billion annually. We intend to submit an IND for BT-104 in the second half of 2021, and to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial of BT-104 in healthy volunteers thereafter in the second half of 2021.

 

 

BT-111 for the treatment of NASH and type 1 diabetes. BT-111 is our oral, small molecule agonist of the LANCL2 pathway product candidate being developed for the treatment of NASH and type 1 diabetes. NASH has a wide projected market of approximately $25 billion annually by 2025 and is a rapidly expanding public health issue. We intend to submit an IND for BT-111 in the second half of 2021, and to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial of BT-111 in healthy volunteers thereafter in the second half of 2021.

 

 

NX-66 for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. NX-66 is our oral, small molecule agonist of the NLRX1 pathway product candidate being developed for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. The combined CNS market in multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to be $22 billion annually. We believe NX-66, if approved, may address the lack of therapeutic options for progressive MS and has the potential to slow cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. We intend to submit an IND for NX-66 in the second half of 2021 and to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers thereafter.

 

 

NX-73 for the treatment of asthma and COPD. NX-73 is our oral, small molecule agonist of the NLRX1 pathway product candidate being developed for the treatment of asthma and COPD. The combined respiratory market in asthma and COPD is estimated at $25 billion annually. We intend to submit an IND for NX-73 in the second half of 2023 and to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers thereafter.

 

 

PX-69 for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy and rheumatoid arthritis. PX-69 is our oral, small molecule agonist of the PLXDC2 pathway product candidate being developed for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy and rheumatoid arthritis. The annual markets for diabetic nephropathy, the leading cause of long-term renal dialysis, and rheumatoid arthritis, are estimated at up to $3 billion and $25 billion, respectively. We intend to

 

5


Table of Contents
 

submit an IND for PX-69 in the first half of 2022 and to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers thereafter.

Our strengths

We believe we are a leader in the discovery of targets through unique multi-modal pathways at the interface of immunity and metabolism. Through our proprietary LANCE precision medicine platform, we have pioneered a promising drug development engine underpinned by advanced computational capabilities applied to the discovery of new therapeutic targets for autoimmune disease.

Our distinctive strengths include:

 

 

We are pioneering a new treatment paradigm in immunometabolism based on novel pathways.

 

 

We have discovered and are developing several clinical-stage assets across the LANCL2 and NLRX1 pathways through our LANCE platform and distinctive capabilities.

 

 

We are developing product candidates with novel mechanisms of action and the potential for use as monotherapy or combination therapy to address therapeutic gaps for patients for whom current treatments have limited efficacy and safety and tolerability concerns.

 

 

We are targeting several indications characterized by unmet medical need and therapeutic gaps that represent a broad market opportunity.

 

 

We have a strong intellectual property foundation and we retain global commercial rights to all of our product candidates.

 

 

We have assembled an experienced team comprised of industry leaders in the fields of immunology and inflammation and are backed by prominent life science investors.

Our strategy

As a leader in the development of therapeutic candidates addressing novel immunometabolic mechanisms of action such as the LANCL2, NLRX1 and PLXDC2 pathways, we believe we are distinctly positioned to discover and develop potentially safer and more effective novel therapeutics for autoimmune diseases. We are targeting indications characterized by high unmet clinical need, significant likelihood of success in clinical development and the ability to improve the quality of life for large patient populations. Our strategy consists of the following key components:

 

 

Maximize and capture value in our LANCE platform by discovering and developing oral therapeutics that are the first to target novel immunometabolic pathways and are designed to improve the lives of patients with autoimmune diseases.

 

 

Advance the development of our lead product candidate, BT-11, into Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of UC and CD.

 

 

Advance our second clinical candidate, NX-13, into Phase 1b/2 clinical trials for the treatment of UC and CD.

 

 

Continue to develop a franchise of oral therapies from our deep preclinical pipeline of product candidates targeting immunometabolic pathways identified by our LANCE platform.

 

 

Maximize the commercial value of our therapeutic pipeline.

 

6


Table of Contents

Our culture and team

We were founded in January 2017 by Dr. Josep Bassaganya-Riera, our Chairman of our board of directors, President and Chief Executive Officer, who has assembled a management team of biopharmaceutical specialists with extensive experience in building and operating organizations that develop and deliver innovative medicines to patients. Our management team has broad expertise and successful track records in drug discovery, immunology & inflammation, clinical development, regulatory affairs, manufacturing and commercialization of therapies, as well as in business and finance, through previous experiences at leading institutions. We are also guided by our board of directors, and a clinical advisory board composed of key opinion leaders in UC and CD. We are backed by leading life sciences investors, including Perceptive Advisors, or Perceptive, and RTW Investments, or RTW.

Risks associated with our business

Our business is subject to numerous risks that you should be aware of before making an investment decision. These risks are described more fully in the section entitled “Risk factors.” These risks include, among others:

 

 

We have incurred significant losses since our inception. We expect to incur losses over the next several years and may never achieve or maintain profitability.

 

 

We have a limited operating history, have not yet completed Phase 3 clinical trials and have no history of commercializing products, which may make it difficult for an investor to evaluate the success of our business to date and to assess our future viability.

 

 

Even if this offering is successful, we will need substantial additional funding to meet our financial obligations and to pursue our business objectives. If we are unable to raise capital when needed, we could be forced to curtail our planned operations and the pursuit of our growth strategy.

 

 

Our business and operations may be adversely affected by the evolving and ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.

 

 

We currently have only two clinical-stage product candidates, BT-11 and NX-13. If we are unable to successfully develop, receive regulatory approval for and commercialize our product candidates for these or any other indications, or successfully develop any other product candidates, or experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be harmed.

 

 

The regulatory approval processes of the FDA and comparable foreign authorities are lengthy, time consuming and inherently unpredictable. If we are not able to obtain required regulatory approval for our product candidates, our business will be substantially harmed.

 

 

Success in preclinical studies or earlier clinical trials may not be indicative of results in future clinical trials.

 

 

We may not be successful in our efforts to increase our pipeline of product candidates, including by pursuing additional indications for our current product candidates or in-licensing or acquiring additional product candidates for other diseases.

 

 

We face substantial competition, which may result in a smaller than expected commercial opportunity and/or others discovering, developing or commercializing products before or more successfully than we do.

 

 

We rely on third parties to conduct a significant portion of our existing clinical trials and potential future clinical trials for product candidates, and those third parties may not perform satisfactorily, including failing to meet deadlines for the completion of such trials.

 

 

If we are unable to obtain or protect intellectual property rights related to any of our product candidates, we may not be able to compete effectively in our market.

 

7


Table of Contents
 

There has been no prior public market for our common stock. An active trading market for our common stock may not develop and you may not be able to resell your shares of our common stock at or above the initial offering price, if at all.

Implications of being an emerging growth company

We qualify as an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act. An emerging growth company may take advantage of relief from certain reporting requirements and other burdens that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies. These provisions include:

 

 

reduced obligations with respect to financial data, including presenting only two years of audited financial statements and only two years of selected financial data in this prospectus;

 

 

an exception from compliance with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act;

 

 

reduced disclosure about our executive compensation arrangements in our periodic reports, proxy statements and registration statements; and

 

 

exemptions from the requirements of holding non-binding advisory votes on executive compensation or golden parachute arrangements.

We may take advantage of these provisions for up to five years or such earlier time that we no longer qualify as an emerging growth company. We would cease to qualify as an emerging growth company if we have more than $1.07 billion in annual revenue, we are deemed to be a “large accelerated filer” under the rules of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, which means the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the prior June 30th or issue more than $1.0 billion of non-convertible debt over a three-year period. We may choose to take advantage of some but not all of these reduced reporting burdens. For example, we may take advantage of the exemption from auditor attestation on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. To the extent that we take advantage of these reduced reporting burdens, the information that we provide stockholders may be different than you might obtain from other public companies in which you hold equity interests.

In addition, under the JOBS Act, emerging growth companies can delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have irrevocably elected not to avail ourselves of this exemption from new or revised accounting standards and, therefore, we will be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not emerging growth companies.

Corporate information

We were incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware in January 2017. Our principal executive offices are located at 1800 Kraft Drive, Suite 216, Blacksburg, VA 24060, and our telephone number is (540) 218-2232. Our website address is www.landosbiopharma.com. The information contained on, or accessible through, our website is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus, and you should not consider any information contained in, or that can be accessed through, our website as part of this prospectus or in deciding whether to purchase our common stock.

We own various U.S. federal trademark applications and unregistered trademarks, including our company name. All other trademarks or trade names referred to in this prospectus are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, the trademarks and trade names in this prospectus are referred to without the symbols ® and , but such references should not be construed as any indicator that their respective owners will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, their rights thereto.

 

8


Table of Contents

The offering

 

Common stock offered by us

6,250,000 shares

 

Common stock to be outstanding after this offering

39,163,174 shares (or 40,100,674 shares if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares)

 

Underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares

We have granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 937,500 additional shares of common stock from us at the public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions.

 

Use of proceeds

We estimate that the net proceeds from the sale of the shares of common stock in this offering will be approximately $91.2 million (or approximately $105.2 million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of common stock in full) after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering to advance the development of our lead product candidate, BT-11, and NX-13, and the remainder, if any, for working capital and other general corporate purposes. See “Use of proceeds” beginning on page 66.

 

Risk factors

Investing in our common stock involves risks. See “Risk factors” beginning on page 13 and the other information included in this prospectus for a discussion of factors you should consider carefully before deciding to invest in our common stock.

 

Proposed Nasdaq Global Market symbol

“LABP”

The number of shares of our common stock to be outstanding after this offering is based on 32,913,174 shares of our common stock (including preferred stock on an as-converted basis) outstanding as of September 30, 2020 and excludes:

 

 

7,205,190 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2019 Equity Incentive Plan, or our 2019 Plan, as of the closing of this offering, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under the 2019 Plan;

 

 

388,703 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Employee Stock Purchase Plan, or the ESPP, which will become effective in connection with this offering, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under the ESPP;

 

 

1,653,432 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of options under our 2019 Plan granted subsequent to September 30, 2020, at an exercise price of $1.86 per share; and

 

9


Table of Contents
 

638,076 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of stock options to be granted to certain of our officers and employees on the date hereof under the 2019 Plan at an exercise price equal to the initial public offering price per share.

Unless otherwise indicated, this prospectus reflects and assumes the following:

 

 

the automatic conversion of all outstanding shares of our preferred stock on a 1.8249-for-1 basis into 20,549,478 shares of our common stock, which will occur immediately prior to the closing of this offering;

 

 

a 1.8249-for-1 stock split of our common stock to be effected prior to the pricing of this offering;

 

 

the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, which will occur immediately prior to the closing of this offering; and

 

 

no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional shares of our common stock.

 

10


Table of Contents

Summary consolidated financial data

The following tables present our summary consolidated financial data. You should read the following summary consolidated financial data together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto included elsewhere in this prospectus and the “Selected consolidated financial data” and “Management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations” sections of this prospectus. We have derived the following consolidated statement of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019 from our audited consolidated financial statements appearing at the end of this prospectus. We have derived the following consolidated statement of operations data for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020 and the balance sheet data as of September 30, 2020 from our unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements appearing at the end of this prospectus. The unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements reflect, in the opinion of management, adjustments of a normal, recurring nature that are necessary for a fair statement of the unaudited interim consolidated financial statements. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results that should be expected in the future.

 

     
     Year ended December 31,     Nine months ended
September  30,
 
(in thousands, except share and per share data)    2018     2019     2019      2020  
                 (unaudited)  

Consolidated statement of operations data:

         

Operating expenses:

         

Research and development

   $ 6,803     $ 11,812     $ 8,455      $ 15,379  

General and administrative

     1,136       1,478       1,097        3,898  
  

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     7,939       13,290       9,552        19,277  
  

 

 

 

Loss from operations

     (7,939     (13,290     (9,552      (19,277

Other income (expense):

         

Research and development incentive income

     2,005                     

Interest expense

     (4     (304     (304       

Loss from foreign exchange

     (106     (33     (103      37  

Other income, net

           160              437  
  

 

 

 

Other income (expense), net

     1,895       (177     (407      474  
  

 

 

 

Net loss

   $ (6,044   $ (13,467   $ (9,959    $ (18,803
  

 

 

 

Net loss per share, basic and diluted(1)

   $ (0.59   $ (1.18   $ (0.88    $ (1.56
  

 

 

 

Weighted average common shares outstanding, basic and diluted

     10,288,614       11,393,549       11,296,356        12,068,517  
  

 

 

 

Pro forma net loss per share, basic and diluted (unaudited)(1)

     $ (0.58      $ (0.58
  

 

 

 

Pro forma weighted average common shares outstanding, basic and diluted (unaudited)(1)

       23,103,285          32,618,001  
  

 

 

 

Net loss

   $ (6,044   $ (13,467   $ (9,959    $ (18,803

Unrealized gain (loss) on available-for-sale securities

           (77            113  
  

 

 

 

Comprehensive loss

   $ (6,044   $ (13,544   $ (9,959    $ (18,690

 

 

 

(1)   See Note 10 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for an explanation of the method used to calculate pro forma net loss per share and pro forma weighted average common shares outstanding.

 

11


Table of Contents

The following table presents our summary balance sheet data as of September 30, 2020:

 

 

on an actual basis;

 

 

on a pro forma basis to give effect to the conversion of all outstanding shares of our convertible preferred stock into an aggregate of 20,549,478 shares of our common stock, which will occur immediately prior to the closing of this offering; and

 

 

on a pro forma as adjusted basis to give further effect to our issuance and sale of 6,250,000 shares of common stock in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

 

   
     As of September 30, 2020  
(in thousands)    Actual    

Pro

forma

     Pro forma as
adjusted
 
     (unaudited)     (unaudited)      (unaudited)  

Consolidated balance sheet data:

       

Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities

   $ 35,331     $ 35,331      $ 126,660  

Working capital(1)

     27,618       27,618        119,672  

Total assets

     36,762       36,762        127,254  

Redeemable convertible preferred stock

     73,037               

Total stockholders’ (deficit) equity

     (44,234     28,803        120,021  

 

 

 

(1)   We define working capital as current assets less current liabilities. See our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

Each $1.00 increase or decrease in the assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase or decrease the pro forma as adjusted amount of each of cash and cash equivalents, working capital, total assets and total stockholders’ equity by $5.8 million, assuming that the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions. Each increase or decrease of 1.0 million in the number of shares we are offering would increase or decrease the pro forma as adjusted amount of each of cash and cash equivalents, working capital, total assets and total stockholders’ equity by $14.9 million, assuming no change in the assumed initial public offering price per share and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions. This pro forma as adjusted information is illustrative only and will depend on the actual initial public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing.

 

12


Table of Contents

Risk factors

Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should consider carefully the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information in this prospectus, including our financial statements and related notes, before deciding whether to purchase shares of our common stock. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Such risks and uncertainties may be amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential impact on our business and the global economy. 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. If any of the following risks are realized, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In that event, the price of our common stock could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment.

Summary risk factors

Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk, as fully described below. The principal factors and uncertainties that make investing in our common stock risky, include, among others:

 

 

We have incurred significant losses since our inception. We expect to incur losses over the next several years and may never achieve or maintain profitability.

 

 

We have a limited operating history, have not yet completed Phase 3 clinical trials and have no history of commercializing products, which may make it difficult for an investor to evaluate the success of our business to date and to assess our future viability.

 

 

Even if this offering is successful, we will need substantial additional funding to meet our financial obligations and to pursue our business objectives. If we are unable to raise capital when needed, we could be forced to curtail our planned operations and the pursuit of our growth strategy.

 

 

Our business and operations may be adversely affected by the evolving and ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.

 

 

We currently have only two clinical-stage product candidates, BT-11 and NX-13. If we are unable to successfully develop, receive regulatory approval for and commercialize our product candidates for these or any other indications, or successfully develop any other product candidates, or experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be harmed.

 

 

The regulatory approval processes of the FDA and comparable foreign authorities are lengthy, time consuming and inherently unpredictable. If we are not able to obtain required regulatory approval for our product candidates, our business will be substantially harmed.

 

 

Success in preclinical studies or earlier clinical trials may not be indicative of results in future clinical trials.

 

 

We may not be successful in our efforts to increase our pipeline of product candidates, including by pursuing additional indications for our current product candidates or in-licensing or acquiring additional product candidates for other diseases.

 

 

We face substantial competition, which may result in a smaller than expected commercial opportunity and/or others discovering, developing or commercializing products before or more successfully than we do.

 

 

We rely on third parties to conduct a significant portion of our existing clinical trials and potential future clinical trials for product candidates, and those third parties may not perform satisfactorily, including failing to meet deadlines for the completion of such trials.

 

13


Table of Contents
 

If we are unable to obtain or protect intellectual property rights related to any of our product candidates, we may not be able to compete effectively in our market.

 

 

There has been no prior public market for our common stock. An active trading market for our common stock may not develop and you may not be able to resell your shares of our common stock at or above the initial offering price, if at all.

Risks related to our financial position and capital needs

We have incurred significant losses since our inception. We expect to incur losses over the next several years and may never achieve or maintain profitability.

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a limited operating history. Since our inception, we have incurred significant net losses, and we expect to continue to incur significant expenses and operating losses for the foreseeable future. Our net losses were $6.0 million and $13.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019, respectively. Our net losses were $9.0 million and $18.8 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020, respectively. As of September 30, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $44.4 million. We have financed our operations with $70.0 million in gross proceeds raised in our private placements of convertible preferred stock and convertible promissory notes. We have no products approved for commercialization and have never generated any revenue from product sales.

We have devoted substantially all of our financial resources and efforts to the development of our clinical and preclinical product candidates and our LANCE platform, including conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials. We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and operating losses over the next several years. We expect that it could be several years, if ever, before we have a commercialized product. Our net losses may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year. We anticipate that our expenses will increase substantially as we:

 

 

conduct our ongoing and planned clinical trials of BT-11 and NX-13, as well as initiate and complete additional clinical trials;

 

 

pursue regulatory approval of BT-11 and NX-13 for the treatment of ulcerative colitis, or UC, and Crohn’s disease;

 

 

seek to discover and develop additional clinical and preclinical product candidates;

 

 

scale up our clinical and regulatory capabilities;

 

 

establish a commercialization infrastructure and scale up external manufacturing and distribution capabilities to commercialize any product candidates for which we may obtain regulatory approval, including BT-11 and NX-13;

 

 

adapt our regulatory compliance efforts to incorporate requirements applicable to marketed products;

 

 

maintain, expand and protect our intellectual property portfolio;

 

 

hire additional clinical, manufacturing and scientific personnel;

 

 

add operational, financial and management information systems and personnel, including personnel to support our product development and planned future commercialization efforts; and

 

 

incur additional legal, accounting and other expenses in operating as a public company.

 

 

14


Table of Contents

To become and remain profitable, we must succeed in developing and eventually commercializing product candidates that generate significant revenue. This will require us to be successful in a range of challenging activities, including completing preclinical testing and clinical trials of our product candidates, obtaining regulatory approval, and manufacturing, marketing and selling any product candidates for which we may obtain regulatory approval, as well as discovering and developing additional product candidates. We are only in the preliminary stages of most of these activities. We may never succeed in these activities and, even if we do, may never generate any revenue or revenue that is significant enough to achieve profitability.

Even if we achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain or increase profitability on a quarterly or annual basis. Our failure to become and remain profitable would depress the value of our company and could impair our ability to raise capital, expand our business, maintain our development efforts, obtain product approvals, diversify our offerings or continue our operations. A decline in the value of our company could also cause you to lose all or part of your investment.

We have a limited operating history, have not yet completed Phase 3 clinical trials and have no history of commercializing products, which may make it difficult for an investor to evaluate the success of our business to date and to assess our future viability.

We commenced operations in 2017, and our operations to date have been largely focused on raising capital and developing our clinical and preclinical product candidates and our LANCE platform, including undertaking preclinical studies and conducting clinical trials. To date, we have not yet demonstrated our ability to successfully complete pivotal clinical trials, obtain regulatory approvals, manufacture a product on a commercial scale, or arrange for a third party to do so on our behalf, or conduct sales and marketing activities necessary for successful commercialization. Consequently, any predictions you make about our future success or viability may not be as accurate as they could be if we had a longer operating history or a history of successfully developing and commercializing products.

We may also need to transition from a company with a research focus to a company capable of supporting commercial activities. Our inability to adequately address these risks and difficulties or successfully make such a transition could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

We may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other known or unknown factors in achieving our business objectives. We may also need to transition from a company with a research focus to a company capable of supporting commercial activities. Our inability to adequately address these risks and difficulties or successfully make such a transition could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

Even if this offering is successful, we will need substantial additional funding to meet our financial obligations and to pursue our business objectives. If we are unable to raise capital when needed, we could be forced to curtail our planned operations and the pursuit of our growth strategy.

Our operations have consumed substantial amounts of cash since inception. Identifying potential product candidates and conducting preclinical testing and clinical trials is a time-consuming, expensive and uncertain process that takes years to complete, and we may never generate the necessary data or results required to obtain regulatory approval and achieve product sales. We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and operating losses over the next several years as we complete our ongoing clinical trials of our product candidates, initiate future clinical trials of our product candidates, seek marketing approval for BT-11 and NX-13 for the treatment of UC and Crohn’s disease and advance any of our other product candidates we may develop or otherwise acquire. In addition, our product candidates, if approved, may not achieve commercial success. Our revenue, if any, will be derived from sales of products that we do not expect to be commercially available

 

15


Table of Contents

for a number of years, if at all. If we obtain marketing approval for BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidates that we develop or otherwise acquire, we expect to incur significant commercialization expenses related to product sales, marketing, distribution and manufacturing. We also expect an increase in our expenses associated with creating additional infrastructure to support operations as a public company.

As of September 30, 2020, we had cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $35.3 million. We believe that the anticipated net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash and cash equivalents, will be sufficient to fund our operating expenses and capital requirements into 2023. This estimate is based on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could use our available capital resources sooner than we expect. Changes may occur beyond our control that would cause us to consume our available capital before that time, including changes in and progress of our development activities, acquisitions of additional product candidates, and changes in regulation. Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including:

 

 

the scope, progress, costs and results of our ongoing and planned clinical trials of BT-11 and NX-13, as well as the associated costs, including any unforeseen costs we may incur as a result or preclinical study or clinical trial delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other delays;

 

 

the scope, progress, costs and results of preclinical development, laboratory testing and clinical trials for any future product candidates we may decide to pursue;

 

 

the extent to which we develop, in-license or acquire other product candidates and technologies;

 

 

the costs and timing of process development and manufacturing scale-up activities associated with our product candidates and other programs we advance them through preclinical and clinical development;

 

 

the number and development requirements of other product candidates that we may pursue;

 

 

the costs, timing and outcome of regulatory review of our product candidates;

 

 

the costs and timing of future commercialization activities, including product manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution, for any of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval;

 

 

the revenue, if any, received from commercial sales of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval;

 

 

our ability to establish collaborations to commercialize BT-11, NX-13 or any of our other product candidates outside the United States; and

 

 

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

We will require additional capital to commercialize BT-11 and NX-13. If we receive regulatory approval for either of these product candidates, we expect to incur significant commercialization expenses related to product manufacturing, sales, marketing and distribution, depending on where we choose to commercialize. Additional funds may not be available on a timely basis, on favorable terms, or at all, and such funds, if raised, may not be sufficient to enable us to continue to implement our long-term business strategy. Further, our ability to raise additional capital may be adversely impacted by potential worsening global economic conditions and the recent disruptions to and volatility in the credit and financial markets in the United States and worldwide resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. If we are unable to raise sufficient additional capital, we could be forced to curtail our planned operations and the pursuit of our growth strategy.

 

16


Table of Contents

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

Until such time, if ever, as we can generate substantial revenue, we may finance our cash needs through a combination of equity offerings, government or private party grants, debt financings and license and collaboration agreements. We do not currently have any other committed external source of funds. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, your ownership interest will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a common stockholder. Debt financing and preferred equity financing, if available, may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends.

If we raise additional funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may be required to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, future revenue streams or product candidates, grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us or commit to future payment streams. If we are unable to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development or future commercialization efforts or grant rights to develop and market product candidates that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves. Market volatility resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic or other factors may further adversely impact our ability to access capital as and when needed.

Risks related to the discovery, development and commercialization of our product candidates

Our business and operations may be adversely affected by the evolving and ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.

Our business and operations may be adversely affected by the effects of the recent and evolving COVID-19 virus, which was declared by the World Health Organization as a global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in travel and other restrictions in order to reduce the spread of the disease, including public health directives and orders in the United States and the European Union that, among other things and for various periods of time, directed individuals to shelter at their places of residence, directed businesses and governmental agencies to cease non-essential operations at physical locations, prohibited certain non-essential gatherings and events and ordered cessation of non-essential travel. Although our employees are no longer working remotely after the expiration of such orders in Virginia, future remote work policies and similar government orders or other restrictions on the conduct of business operations related to the COVID-19 pandemic may negatively impact productivity and may disrupt our ongoing research and development activities and our clinical programs and timelines, the magnitude of which will depend, in part, on the length and severity of the restrictions and other limitations on our ability to conduct our business in the ordinary course. Further, such orders also may impact the availability or cost of materials, which would disrupt our supply chain and manufacturing efforts and could affect our ability to conduct ongoing and planned clinical trials and preparatory activities.

Although our ongoing and planned clinical trials have not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to date, we may experience related disruptions in the future that could severely impact our clinical trials, including:

 

 

delays, difficulties or a suspension in clinical site initiation, including difficulties in recruiting clinical site investigators and clinical site staff;

 

 

risk that participants enrolled in our clinical trials will contract COVID-19 while the clinical trial is ongoing, which could impact the results of the clinical trial, including by increasing the number of observed adverse events;

 

17


Table of Contents
 

interruptions in our ability to manufacture and deliver drug supply for trials;

 

 

diversion of healthcare resources away from the conduct of clinical trials, including the diversion of hospitals serving as our clinical trial sites and hospital staff supporting the conduct of our clinical trials;

 

 

changes in local regulations as part of a response to the COVID-19 outbreak that may require us to change the ways in which our clinical trials are conducted, which may result in unexpected costs, or to discontinue the clinical trials altogether;

 

 

interruption of key clinical trial activities, such as clinical trial site monitoring, and the ability or willingness of subjects to travel to trial sites due to limitations on travel imposed or recommended by federal or state governments, employers and others;

 

 

limitations in employee resources that would otherwise be focused on the conduct of our clinical trials, including because of sickness of employees or their families or the desire of employees to avoid contact with large groups of people;

 

 

delays in necessary interactions with local regulators, ethics committees and other important agencies and contractors due to limitations in employee resources or forced furlough of government employees; and

 

 

refusal of the United States Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, to accept data from clinical trials in these affected geographies.

The spread of COVID-19, which has caused a broad impact globally, may materially affect us economically. While the potential economic impact brought by, and the duration of, COVID-19 may be difficult to assess or predict, a widespread pandemic could result in significant disruption of global financial markets, reducing our ability to access capital, which could in the future negatively affect our liquidity. In addition, a recession or market correction resulting from the spread of COVID-19 could materially affect our business and the value of our common stock.

The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to rapidly evolve. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our business and operations, including our clinical development and regulatory efforts, will depend on future developments that are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence at the time of this prospectus, such as the ultimate geographic spread of the disease, the duration of the outbreak, the duration and effect of business disruptions and the short-term effects and ultimate effectiveness of the travel restrictions, quarantines, social distancing requirements and business closures in the United States and other countries to contain and treat the disease. Accordingly, we do not yet know the full extent of potential delays or impacts on our business, our clinical and regulatory activities, healthcare systems or the global economy as a whole. However, these impacts could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

In addition, to the extent the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic adversely affects our business and results of operations, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks and uncertainties described in this “Risk factors” section.

We currently have only two clinical-stage product candidates, BT-11 and NX-13. If we are unable to successfully develop, receive regulatory approval for and commercialize such product candidates for these or any other indications, or successfully develop any other product candidates, or experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be harmed.

We currently have no products that are approved for commercial sale. We currently have only two clinical-stage product candidates, BT-11 and NX-13. To date, we have not yet conducted any pivotal clinical trials. We have not completed the development of any product candidates, and we may never be able to develop marketable products.

 

18


Table of Contents

We have invested substantially all of our efforts and financial resources in the development of our clinical and preclinical product candidates and our LANCE platform. Our ability to generate revenue from our product candidates, which we do not expect will occur for several years, if ever, will depend heavily on the successful development, regulatory approval and eventual commercialization of our product candidates. The success of BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidates that we develop or otherwise may acquire will depend on several factors, including:

 

 

timely and successful completion of preclinical studies and clinical trials;

 

 

sufficiency of our financial and other resources to complete the necessary preclinical studies and clinical trials;

 

 

successful patient enrollment and completion of clinical trials;

 

 

successful development of, or making arrangements with third-party manufacturers for, our commercial manufacturing processes for any of our product candidates that receive regulatory approval;

 

 

timely receipt marketing approvals from applicable regulatory authorities;

 

 

launching commercial sales of products, if approved;

 

 

acceptance of our products, if approved, by patients, the medical community and third-party payors, for their approved indications;

 

 

the prevalence and severity of adverse events experienced with BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidates;

 

 

the availability, perceived advantages, cost, safety and efficacy of alternative therapies for any product candidate, and any indications for such product candidate, that we develop, specifically alternative treatments for UC or Crohn’s disease;

 

 

our ability to produce BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidates we develop on a commercial scale;

 

 

obtaining and maintaining patent, trademark and trade secret protection and regulatory exclusivity for our product candidates and otherwise protecting our rights in our intellectual property portfolio;

 

 

maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements, including current good manufacturing practices, or cGMPs, and complying effectively with other procedures;

 

 

maintaining a continued acceptable safety, tolerability and efficacy profile of the products following approval;

 

 

obtaining and maintaining patent protection, trade secret protection and regulatory exclusivity, both in the United States and internationally;

 

 

the protection of our rights in our intellectual property portfolio;

 

 

the successful launch of commercial sales following any marketing approval;

 

 

a continued acceptable safety profile following any marketing approval;

 

 

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

 

 

our ability to compete with other therapies.

 

19


Table of Contents

We do not have complete control over many of these factors, including certain aspects of clinical development and the regulatory submission process, potential threats to our intellectual property rights and the manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sales efforts of any future collaborator. If we are not successful with respect to one or more of these factors in a timely manner or at all, we could experience significant delays or an inability to successfully commercialize the product candidates we develop, which would materially harm our business. If we do not receive marketing approvals for BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidate we develop, we may not be able to continue our operations.

The regulatory approval processes of the FDA and comparable foreign authorities are lengthy, time consuming and inherently unpredictable. If we are not able to obtain required regulatory approval for our product candidates, our business will be substantially harmed.

The time required to obtain approval or other marketing authorizations by the FDA and comparable foreign authorities is unpredictable, and it typically takes many years following the commencement of clinical trials and depends upon numerous factors, including the substantial discretion of the regulatory authorities. In addition, approval policies, regulations, and the type and amount of clinical data necessary to gain approval may change during the course of a product candidate’s clinical development and may vary among jurisdictions. BT-11 and NX-13 are currently our only clinical-stage product candidates. We have not obtained regulatory approval for any product candidate, and it is possible that we may never obtain regulatory approval for BT-11, NX-13 or any product candidates we may seek to develop in the future. Neither we nor any current or future collaborator is permitted to market any drug product candidates in the United States until we receive regulatory approval of a new drug application, or NDA, from the FDA. To date, we have only had limited discussions with the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, and other comparable foreign authorities regarding regulatory approval for BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidate outside of the United States.

Prior to obtaining approval to commercialize any drug product candidate in the United States or abroad, we must demonstrate with substantial evidence from well-controlled clinical trials, and to the satisfaction of the FDA or foreign regulatory agencies, that such product candidates are safe, pure and effective for their intended uses. Results from preclinical studies and clinical trials can be interpreted in different ways. Even if we believe the preclinical or clinical data for our product candidates are promising, such data may not be sufficient to support approval by the FDA and other regulatory authorities. The FDA may also require us to conduct additional preclinical studies or clinical trials for our product candidates either prior to or after approval, or it may object to elements of our clinical development programs.

Of the large number of products in development, only a small percentage successfully complete the FDA or foreign regulatory approval processes and are commercialized. The lengthy approval and marketing authorization process as well as the unpredictability of future clinical trial results may result in our failing to obtain regulatory approval and marketing authorization to market our product candidates, which would significantly harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We have invested a significant portion of our time and financial resources in the development of our clinical and preclinical product candidates, including BT-11 and NX-13. Our business is dependent on our ability to successfully complete preclinical and clinical development of, obtain regulatory approval for, and, if approved, successfully commercialize BT-11, NX-13 and any future product candidates in a timely manner.

Even if we eventually complete clinical testing and receive approval of a NDA or foreign marketing application for BT-11, NX-13 or any future product candidates, the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency may grant approval or other marketing authorization contingent on the performance of costly additional clinical trials, including post-marketing clinical trials. The FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency also may approve or authorize for marketing a product candidate for a more limited indication or patient population

 

20


Table of Contents

than we originally request, and the FDA or applicable foreign regulatory agency may not approve or authorize the labeling that we believe is necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of a product candidate. Any delay in obtaining, or inability to obtain, applicable regulatory approval or other marketing authorization would delay or prevent commercialization of that product candidate and would materially adversely impact our business and prospects.

In addition, the FDA and other regulatory authorities may change their policies, issue additional regulations or revise existing regulations, or take other actions, which may prevent or delay approval of our future products under development on a timely basis. Such policy or regulatory changes could impose additional requirements upon us that could delay our ability to obtain approvals, increase the costs of compliance or restrict our ability to maintain any marketing authorizations we may have obtained.

Clinical product development involves a lengthy and expensive process, with an uncertain outcome. We may incur additional costs and experience delays in completing, or ultimately be unable to complete, the development and commercialization of our product candidates.

In order to obtain FDA approval to market a new drug product we must demonstrate proof of safety, purity and efficacy in humans. The risk of failure for product candidates is high. It is impossible to predict when or if any of our product candidates will prove effective or safe in humans or will receive regulatory approval. Before obtaining marketing approval from regulatory authorities for the sale of any product candidate, we must complete preclinical development and then conduct extensive clinical trials to demonstrate the safety, purity, potency, and efficacy of our product candidates in humans. Clinical testing is expensive, difficult to design and implement, can take many years to complete and is inherently uncertain as to outcome. A failure of one or more clinical trials can occur at any stage of testing or at any time during the trial process. The outcome of preclinical testing and early clinical trials may not be predictive of the results of later clinical trials, and interim results of a clinical trial do not necessarily predict final results. Moreover, preclinical and clinical data are often susceptible to varying interpretations and analyses, and many companies that have believed their product candidates performed satisfactorily in preclinical studies and clinical trials have nonetheless failed to obtain marketing approval of their products.

We have not completed all clinical trials required for the approval of any of our product candidates. We cannot assure you that any clinical trial that we are conducting, or may conduct in the future, will demonstrate consistent or adequate efficacy and safety to obtain regulatory approval to market our product candidates.

We may incur additional costs and experience delays in ongoing clinical trials for our product candidates, and we do not know whether future clinical trials, if any, will begin on time, need to be redesigned, enroll an adequate number of patients on time or be completed on schedule, if at all. We may experience numerous unforeseen events during or as a result of clinical trials that could delay or prevent our ability to receive marketing approval or commercialize our product candidates, including:

 

 

regulators or institutional review boards may not authorize us or our investigators to commence a clinical trial or conduct a clinical trial at a prospective trial site;

 

 

we may experience delays in reaching, or fail to reach, agreement on acceptable clinical trial contracts or clinical trial protocols with prospective trial sites or prospective contract research organizations, or CROs, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and trial sites;

 

 

clinical trials of our product candidates may produce negative or inconclusive results, including failure to demonstrate statistical significance, and we may decide, or regulators may require us, to conduct additional clinical trials or abandon product development programs;

 

21


Table of Contents
 

we may fail to demonstrate statistical significance in early stage or Phase II clinical trials of our product candidates, which may impact the timing and design of late stage clinical trials for such product candidates;

 

 

the number of patients required for clinical trials of our product candidates may be larger than we anticipate, enrollment in these clinical trials may be slower than we anticipate or participants may drop out of these clinical trials or fail to return for post-treatment follow-up at a higher rate than we anticipate;

 

 

our product candidates may have undesirable side effects or other unexpected characteristics, causing us or our investigators, regulators or institutional review boards to suspend or terminate the trials;

 

 

our third-party contractors may fail to comply with regulatory requirements or meet their contractual obligations to us in a timely manner, or at all;

 

 

regulators or institutional review boards may require that we or our investigators suspend or terminate clinical development for various reasons, including noncompliance with regulatory requirements or a finding that the participants are being exposed to unacceptable health risks;

 

 

the cost of clinical trials of our product candidates may be greater than we anticipate; and

 

 

the supply or quality of our product candidates or other materials necessary to conduct clinical trials of our product candidates may be insufficient or inadequate.

If we experience delays in the completion of, or termination of, any clinical trial of our product candidates, the commercial prospects of our product candidates will be harmed, and our ability to generate product revenues from any of these product candidates will be delayed. In addition, any delays in completing our clinical trials will increase our costs, slow down our product candidate development and approval process and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and generate revenues.

If we are required to conduct additional clinical trials or other testing of our product candidates beyond those that we currently contemplate, if we are unable to successfully complete clinical trials of our product candidates or other testing, if the results of these trials or tests are not favorable or if there are safety concerns, we may:

 

 

be delayed in obtaining marketing approval for our product candidates;

 

 

not obtain marketing approval at all;

 

 

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

 

 

obtain approval with labeling that includes significant use or distribution restrictions or safety warnings;

 

 

be subject to additional post-marketing testing requirements; or

 

 

have the product removed from the market after obtaining marketing approval.

Success in preclinical studies or earlier clinical trials may not be indicative of results in future clinical trials.

Success in preclinical testing and early clinical trials does not ensure that later clinical trials will generate the same results or otherwise provide adequate data to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of a product candidate. Preclinical tests and Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials are primarily designed to test safety, to study pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics and to understand the side effects of product candidates at various doses and schedules. Success in preclinical or animal studies and early clinical trials does not ensure that later large-scale efficacy trials will be successful nor does it predict final results. Our product candidates may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy in clinical development despite positive results in preclinical studies or having successfully advanced through initial clinical trials, particularly because we are targeting novel pathways that have not yet been tested in later-stage clinical trials.

 

22


Table of Contents

Many companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have suffered significant setbacks in late-stage clinical trials even after achieving promising results in preclinical testing and earlier-stage clinical trials. Data obtained from preclinical and clinical activities are subject to varying interpretations, which may delay, limit or prevent regulatory approval. In addition, we may experience regulatory delays or rejections as a result of many factors, including changes in regulatory policy during the period of our product candidate development. Any such delays could negatively impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

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

Regulatory authorities in some jurisdictions, including the United States, may designate drugs or biologics intended to treat relatively small patient populations as orphan drug products. Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may designate a drug or biologic as an orphan drug if it is intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is generally defined as a patient population of fewer than 200,000 individuals in the United States, or a patient population greater than 200,000 in the United States where there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing the drug will be recovered from sales in the United States.

If a drug or biologic with an orphan drug designation subsequently receives the first marketing approval for the indication for which it has such designation, the drug or biologic is entitled to a period of marketing exclusivity, which precludes the FDA from approving another marketing application for the same drug and indication for that time period, except in limited circumstances. If our competitors are able to obtain orphan drug exclusivity prior to us, for products that constitute the “same drug” and treat the same indications as our product candidates, we may not be able to have competing products approved by the applicable regulatory authority for a significant period of time. The applicable period is seven years in the United States.

We intend to seek orphan designation for a modified formulation of BT-11 for the treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis. However, we may be unsuccessful in obtaining orphan drug designation for this or other product candidates, and may be unable to maintain the benefits associated with orphan drug designation. Even if we obtain orphan drug exclusivity for any of our product candidates, that exclusivity may not effectively protect those product candidates from competition because different drugs can be approved for the same condition, and orphan drug exclusivity does not prevent the FDA from approving the same or a different drug in another indication. Even after an orphan drug is granted orphan exclusivity and approved, the FDA can subsequently approve a later application for the same drug for the same condition before the expiration of the seven-year exclusivity period if the FDA concludes that the later drug is clinically superior in that it is shown to be safer in a substantial portion of the target populations, more effective or makes a major contribution to patient care. In addition, a designated orphan drug may not receive orphan drug exclusivity if it is approved for a use that is broader than the indication for which it received orphan designation. Moreover, orphan-drug-exclusive marketing rights in the United States may be lost if the FDA later determines that the request for designation was materially defective or if we are unable to manufacture sufficient quantities of the product to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition. Orphan drug designation neither shortens the development time or regulatory review time of a drug nor gives the drug any advantage in the regulatory review or approval process.

Interim “top-line” and preliminary results 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 publish interim top-line or preliminary results from our preclinical studies and clinical trials, which are based on a preliminary analysis of then-available data, and the results and related

 

23


Table of Contents

findings and conclusions are subject to change following a more comprehensive review of the data related to the particular study or trial. Interim results 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. Preliminary or top-line results 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. As a result, interim and preliminary data should be viewed with caution until the final data are available. Differences between preliminary or interim data and final data could significantly harm our business prospects and may cause the trading price of our common stock to fluctuate significantly.

Further, 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 investors or others may not agree with what we determine is material or otherwise appropriate information to include in our disclosure.

Our clinical trials may fail to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates, or serious adverse or unacceptable side effects may be identified during the development of our product candidates, which could prevent or delay regulatory approval and commercialization, increase our costs or necessitate the abandonment or limitation of the development of some of our product candidates.

Before obtaining regulatory approvals for the commercial sale of our product candidates, we must demonstrate through lengthy, complex and expensive preclinical testing and clinical trials that our product candidates are safe, pure and effective for use in each target indication, and failures can occur at any stage of testing. Clinical trials often fail to demonstrate safety or efficacy of the product candidate studied for the target indication.

If our product candidates are associated with side effects in clinical trials or have characteristics that are unexpected, we may need to abandon their development or limit development to more narrow uses in which the side effects or other characteristics are less prevalent, less severe or more acceptable from a risk-benefit perspective. The FDA or an institutional review board may also require that we suspend, discontinue, or limit our clinical trials based on safety information, or that we conduct additional animal or human studies regarding the safety and efficacy of our product candidates which we have not planned or anticipated. Such findings could further result in regulatory authorities failing to provide marketing authorization for our product candidates or limiting the scope of the approved indication, if approved. Many product candidates that initially showed promise in early stage testing have later been found to cause side effects that prevented further development of the product candidate.

Additionally, if one or more of our product candidates receives marketing approval, and we or others identify undesirable side effects caused by such products, 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 labels;

 

 

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;

 

24


Table of Contents
 

we may not be able to achieve or maintain third-party payor coverage and adequate reimbursement; and

 

 

our reputation and physician or patient acceptance of our products may suffer.

There can be no assurance that we will resolve any issues related to any product-related adverse events to the satisfaction of the FDA or foreign regulatory agency in a timely manner or at all. Moreover, any of these events could prevent us from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of the particular product candidate, if approved, and could significantly harm our business, results of operations and prospects.

As an organization, we have never conducted pivotal clinical trials, and we may be unable to do so for any product candidates we may develop.

We will need to successfully complete pivotal clinical trials in order to obtain the approval of the FDA, EMA or other regulatory agencies to market BT-11, NX-13 or any future product candidate. Carrying out pivotal clinical trials is a complicated process. As an organization, we have not previously conducted any later stage or pivotal clinical trials. In order to do so, we will need to expand our clinical development and regulatory capabilities, and we may be unable to recruit and train qualified personnel. We also expect to continue to rely on third parties to conduct our pivotal clinical trials. See “—Risks related to our dependence on third parties—We will rely on third parties to conduct our future clinical trials for product candidates, and those third parties may not perform satisfactorily, including failing to meet deadlines for the completion of such trials.” Consequently, we may be unable to successfully and efficiently execute and complete necessary clinical trials in a way that leads to NDA submission and approval of BT-11, NX-13 or future product candidates. We may require more time and incur greater costs than our competitors and may not succeed in obtaining regulatory approvals of product candidates that we develop. Failure to commence or complete, or delays in, our planned clinical trials, could prevent us from or delay us in commercializing our product candidates.

If we experience delays or difficulties in the enrollment and/or maintenance of patients in clinical trials, our receipt of necessary regulatory approvals could be delayed or prevented.

Successful and timely completion of clinical trials will require that we enroll a sufficient number of patients. Patient enrollment, a significant factor in the timing of clinical trials, is affected by many factors, including the size and nature of the patient population and competition for patients with other trials. For example, we are aware of multiple clinical trials for the treatment of UC and Crohn’s disease being conducted by competitors that may make it difficult for us to enroll sufficient patients. Trials may be subject to delays as a result of patient enrollment taking longer than anticipated or patient withdrawal. We may not be able to initiate or continue clinical trials for our product candidates if we are unable to locate and enroll a sufficient number of eligible patients to participate in these trials as required by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities. We cannot predict how successful we will be at enrolling subjects in future clinical trials. Subject enrollment is affected by other factors including:

 

 

the eligibility criteria for the trial in question;

 

 

the size of the patient population and process for identifying patients;

 

 

the perceived risks and benefits of the product candidate in the trial;

 

 

the availability of competing commercially available therapies and other competing drug candidates’ clinical trials;

 

 

the willingness of patients to be enrolled in our clinical trials;

 

 

the efforts to facilitate timely enrollment in clinical trials;

 

25


Table of Contents
 

potential disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including difficulties in initiating clinical sites, enrolling and retaining participants, diversion of healthcare resources away from clinical trials, travel or quarantine policies that may be implemented, and other factors;

 

 

the patient referral practices of physicians;

 

 

the ability to monitor patients adequately during and after treatment; and

 

 

the proximity and availability of clinical trial sites for prospective patients.

Our inability to enroll a sufficient number of patients for clinical trials would result in significant delays and could require us to abandon one or more clinical trials altogether. Enrollment delays in these clinical trials may result in increased development costs for our product candidates, which would cause the value of our company to decline and limit our ability to obtain additional financing. Furthermore, we rely on and expect to continue to rely on CROs and clinical trial sites to ensure the proper and timely conduct of our clinical trials and we will have limited influence over their performance.

Furthermore, even if we are able to enroll a sufficient number of patients for our clinical trials, we may have difficulty maintaining enrollment of such patients in our clinical trials.

Changes in methods of product candidate manufacturing or formulation may result in additional costs or delay.

As product candidates proceed through preclinical studies to late-stage clinical trials towards potential approval and commercialization, it is common that various aspects of the development program, such as manufacturing methods and formulation, are altered along the way in an effort to optimize processes and product characteristics. Such changes carry the risk that they will not achieve these intended objectives. Any of these changes could cause our product candidates to perform differently and affect the results of planned clinical trials or other future clinical trials conducted with the materials manufactured using altered processes. Such changes may also require additional testing, FDA notification or FDA approval. This could delay completion of clinical trials, require the conduct of bridging clinical trials or the repetition of one or more clinical trials, increase clinical trial costs, delay approval of our product candidates and jeopardize our ability to commence sales and generate revenue.

We may not be successful in our efforts to increase our pipeline of product candidates, including through our LANCE platform, by pursuing additional indications for our current product candidates or by in-licensing or acquiring additional product candidates for other diseases.

A key element of our strategy is to build and expand our pipeline of product candidates. We have developed the LANCE platform to enable the identification, testing, design and development of new product candidates. We cannot assure you that our LANCE platform will work, nor that any of these potential targets or other aspects of our platform will yield product candidates that could enter clinical development and, ultimately, be commercially valuable. Although we expect to continue to enhance the capabilities of our LANCE platform by developing and integrating existing and new research technologies, we may not be successful in any of our enhancement and development efforts. If our enhancement or development efforts are unsuccessful, we may not be able to advance our drug discovery capabilities as quickly as we expect or identify as many potential drug candidates as we desire.

In addition, we may in-license or acquire additional product candidates for other diseases. We may not be able to identify or develop product candidates that are safe, tolerable and effective. Even if we are successful in continuing to build our pipeline, the potential product candidates that we identify, in-license or acquire may not be suitable for clinical development, including as a result of being shown to have harmful side effects or other characteristics that indicate that they are unlikely to be products that will receive marketing approval and achieve market acceptance.

 

26


Table of Contents

We may expend our limited resources to pursue a particular product candidate or indication and fail to capitalize on product candidates or indications that may be more profitable or for which there is a greater likelihood of success.

Because we have limited financial and management resources, we focus on development programs and product candidates that we identify for specific indications. As such, we are currently primarily focused on the development of BT-11 and NX-13 for the treatment of UC and Crohn’s disease. As a result, we may forego or delay pursuit of opportunities with other product candidates or for other indications for BT-11 and NX-13 that later prove to have greater commercial potential. Our resource allocation decisions may cause us to fail to capitalize on viable commercial products or profitable market opportunities. Our spending on current and future development programs and product candidates for specific indications may not yield any commercially viable products. If we do not accurately evaluate the commercial potential or target market for a particular product candidate, we may relinquish valuable rights to that product candidate through collaboration, licensing or other royalty arrangements in cases in which it would have been more advantageous for us to retain sole development and commercialization rights to such product candidate.

We intend to explore the use of BT-11 and NX-13, and potentially other product candidates, in combination with other therapies, which exposes us to additional risks.

We intend to explore the use of BT-11 and NX-13 and likely other future product candidates in combination with one or more other approved or unapproved therapies to treat UC and CD.

Even if any product candidate we develop were to receive marketing approval or be commercialized for use in combination with other existing therapies, we would continue to be subject to the risks that the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities outside of the United States could revoke approval of the therapy used in combination with our product or that safety, efficacy, manufacturing or supply issues could arise with any of those existing therapies. If the therapies we use in combination with our product candidates are replaced as the standard of care for the indications we choose for any of our product candidates, the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to conduct additional clinical trials. The occurrence of any of these risks could result in our own products, if approved, being removed from the market or being less successful commercially.

We also may choose to evaluate BT-11 and NX-13 or any other future product candidates in combination with one or more therapies that have not yet been approved for marketing by the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. We will not be able to market and sell BT-11 or NX-13 or any product candidate we develop in combination with an unapproved therapy for a combination indication if that unapproved therapy does not ultimately obtain marketing approval either alone or in combination with our product. In addition, unapproved therapies face the same risks described with respect to our product candidates currently in development and clinical trials, including the potential for serious adverse effects, delay in their clinical trials and lack of FDA approval.

If the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities do not approve these other drugs or revoke their approval of, or if safety, efficacy, quality, manufacturing or supply issues arise with, the drugs we choose to evaluate in combination with our product candidate we develop, we may be unable to obtain approval of or market such combination therapy.

The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union may have a negative effect on global economic conditions, financial markets and our business.

Following the result of a referendum in 2016, the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31, 2020, commonly referred to as Brexit.

 

27


Table of Contents

Since a significant proportion of the regulatory framework in the United Kingdom applicable to our business and our product candidates is derived from European Union directives and regulations, Brexit, could materially impact the regulatory regime with respect to the development, manufacture, importation, approval and commercialization of our product candidates in the United Kingdom or the European Union. For example, as a result of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the EMA relocated to Amsterdam from London. The United Kingdom will no longer be covered by the centralized procedures for obtaining European Union-wide marketing and manufacturing authorizations from the EMA and a separate process for authorization of drug products will be required in the United Kingdom, the potential process for which is currently unclear. Any delay in obtaining, or an inability to obtain, any marketing approvals, as a result of Brexit or otherwise, would prevent us from commercializing our product candidates in the United Kingdom or the European Union and limit our ability to generate revenue and achieve and sustain profitability. In addition, we may be required to pay taxes or duties or be subjected to other hurdles in connection with the importation of our product candidates into the European Union, or we may incur expenses in establishing a manufacturing facility in the European Union in order to circumvent such hurdles. If any of these outcomes occur, we may be forced to restrict or delay efforts to seek regulatory approval in the United Kingdom or the European Union for our product candidates, or incur significant additional expenses to operate our business, which could significantly and materially harm or delay our ability to generate revenues or achieve profitability of our business. Any further changes in international trade, tariff and import/export regulations as a result of Brexit or otherwise may impose unexpected duty costs or other non-tariff barriers on us. These developments, or the perception that any of them could occur, may significantly reduce global trade and, in particular, trade between the impacted nations and the United Kingdom. It is also possible that Brexit may negatively affect our ability to attract and retain employees, particularly those from the European Union.

Risks related to the commercialization of our product candidates

Even if any of our product candidates receive marketing approval, they may fail to achieve the degree of market acceptance by physicians, patients, third-party payors and others in the medical community necessary for commercial success.

If any of our product candidates receive marketing approval, they may nonetheless fail to gain sufficient market acceptance by physicians, patients, third-party payors and others in the medical community. If our product candidates do not achieve an adequate level of acceptance, we may not generate significant revenue and we may not become profitable. The degree of market acceptance of our product candidates, if approved for commercial sale, will depend on a number of factors, including:

 

 

the efficacy, safety and potential advantages compared to alternative treatments;

 

 

the timing of market introduction of the product candidate as well as competitive products;

 

 

our ability to offer our products for sale at competitive prices;

 

 

the convenience and ease of administration compared to alternative treatments;

 

 

product labeling or product insert requirements of the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities, including any limitations or warnings contained in a product’s approved labeling, including any black box warning;

 

28


Table of Contents
 

the availability of the approved product candidate for use as a combination therapy;

 

 

the willingness of the target patient population to try new treatments and of physicians to prescribe these treatments;

 

 

our ability to hire and retain a sales force in the United States;

 

 

the strength of marketing and distribution support;

 

 

the availability of third-party coverage and adequate reimbursement for BT-11, NX-13 and any other product candidates, once approved;

 

 

the prevalence and severity of any side effects; and

 

 

any restrictions on the use of our products together with other medications.

If we are unable to establish sales, marketing and distribution capabilities for BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidate that may receive regulatory approval, we may not be successful in commercializing those product candidates if and when they are approved.

We do not have sales or marketing infrastructure. To achieve commercial success for BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidate for which we may obtain marketing approval, we will need to establish a sales and marketing organization. In the future, we expect to build a focused sales and marketing infrastructure to market some of our product candidates in the United States, if and when they are approved. There are risks involved with establishing our own sales, marketing and distribution capabilities. For example, recruiting and training a sales force is expensive and time consuming and could delay any product launch. If the commercial launch of a product candidate for which we recruit a sales force and establish marketing capabilities is delayed or does not occur for any reason, we would have prematurely or unnecessarily incurred these commercialization expenses. This may be costly, and our investment would be lost if we cannot retain or reposition our sales and marketing personnel.

Factors that may inhibit our efforts to market our products on our own include:

 

 

our inability to recruit, train and retain adequate numbers of effective sales and marketing personnel;

 

 

the inability of sales personnel to obtain access to physicians in order to educate physicians about our product candidates, once approved;

 

 

the lack of complementary products to be offered by sales personnel, which may put us at a competitive disadvantage relative to companies with more extensive product lines; and

 

 

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

If we are unable to establish our own sales, marketing and distribution capabilities and are forced to enter into arrangements with, and rely on, third parties to perform these services, our revenue and our profitability, if any, are likely to be lower than if we had developed such capabilities ourselves. In addition, we may not be successful in entering into arrangements with third parties to sell, market and distribute our product candidates or may be unable to do so on terms that are favorable to us. We likely will 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. 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 product candidates.

 

29


Table of Contents

We face substantial competition, which may result in a smaller than expected commercial opportunity and/or others discovering, developing or commercializing products before or more successfully than we do.

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, and particularly the market for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, are characterized by rapidly advancing technologies, intense competition and a strong emphasis on proprietary and novel products and product candidates. We face competition with respect to our current product candidates, and will face competition with respect to any product candidates that we may seek to develop or commercialize in the future, from many different sources, including major pharmaceutical and specialty pharmaceutical companies, compounding facilities, academic institutions and governmental agencies and public and private research institutions.

We are aware of several other products and product candidates as potential treatments for UC and Crohn’s disease that would compete with BT-11 and NX-13, if approved. In particular, we expect to compete against companies that produce biologic drugs that currently dominate the UC and Crohn’s disease market, as well as companies that produce the aminosalicylates, steroids and immunosuppressants that are currently used to treat patients with mild to moderate disease.

In addition, our commercial opportunity could be reduced or eliminated if our competitors develop and commercialize products that are safer or more effective, have fewer or less severe side effects, are more convenient or are less expensive than BT-11, NX-13 or any other product that we may develop. Our competitors also may obtain FDA or other regulatory approval for their products more rapidly than we may obtain approval for our product, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market.

Many of the companies against which we are competing, or against which we may compete in the future, have significantly greater financial resources and expertise in research and development, manufacturing, preclinical testing, conducting clinical trials, obtaining regulatory approvals and marketing approved products than we do. Mergers and acquisitions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries may result in even more resources being concentrated among a smaller number of our competitors. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies. These competitors also compete with us in recruiting and retaining qualified scientific and management personnel and establishing clinical trial sites and patient registration for clinical trials, as well as in acquiring technologies complementary to, or that may be necessary for, our programs.

The success of BT-11, NX-13 or any future product candidate, will depend significantly on coverage and adequate reimbursement or the willingness of patients to pay for these products.

We believe our success depends on obtaining and maintaining coverage and adequate reimbursement for BT-11 and NX-13 for the treatment of UC and Crohn’s disease, and the extent to which patients will be willing to pay out-of-pocket for such products, in the absence of reimbursement for all or part of the cost. Additionally, in the United States, there is no uniform policy of coverage and reimbursement among third-party payors. Third-party payors often rely upon Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own coverage and reimbursement policies. However, decisions regarding the extent of coverage and amount of reimbursement to be provided are made on a payor-by-payor basis. One payor’s determination to provide coverage for a drug product does not assure that other payors will also provide coverage, and adequate reimbursement.

Third-party payors determine which products they will cover and establish reimbursement levels. Even if a third-party payor covers a particular product, the resulting reimbursement payment rates may not be adequate. .Reimbursement by a third-party payor may depend upon a number of factors, including the third-party payor’s determination that a product is safe, effective and medically necessary; appropriate for the

 

30


Table of Contents

specific patient; cost-effective; supported by peer-reviewed medical journals; included in clinical practice guidelines; and neither cosmetic, experimental, nor investigational.

Increasingly, third-party payors are requiring that drug companies provide them with predetermined discounts from list prices and are challenging the prices charged for medical products. Further, such payors are increasingly challenging the price, examining the medical necessity and reviewing the cost effectiveness of medical product candidates. There may be especially significant delays in obtaining coverage and reimbursement for newly approved drugs. Third-party payors may limit coverage to specific product candidates on an approved list, known as a formulary, which might not include all FDA-approved drugs for a particular indication. We may need to conduct expensive pharmaco-economic studies to demonstrate the medical necessity and cost effectiveness of our products. Nonetheless, our product candidates may not be considered medically necessary or cost effective. We cannot be sure that coverage and reimbursement will be available for any product that we commercialize and, if reimbursement is available, what the level of reimbursement will be.

Foreign governments also have their own healthcare reimbursement systems, which vary significantly by country and region, and we cannot be sure that coverage and adequate reimbursement will be made available with respect to the treatments in which our products are used under any foreign reimbursement system.

There can be no assurance that BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidate, if approved for sale in the United States or in other countries, will be considered medically reasonable and necessary, that it will be considered cost-effective by third-party payors, that coverage or an adequate level of reimbursement will be available or that reimbursement policies and practices in the United States and in foreign countries where our products are sold will not adversely affect our ability to sell our product candidates profitably, if they are approved for sale.

The market for BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidates may be smaller than we expect.

Our estimates of the potential market opportunity for BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidates include several key assumptions based on our industry knowledge, industry publications and third-party research reports. These assumptions include the number of patients who have the autoimmune diseases we intend to target, as well as the estimated reimbursement levels for each product candidate if approved. However, there can be no assurance that any of these assumptions are, or will remain, accurate. Further, new studies may change the estimated incidence or prevalence of these diseases, and the potentially addressable patient population for our product candidates may not ultimately be amenable to treatment with our product candidates. If the actual market for BT-11, NX-13 or for any other product candidates we may develop is smaller than we expect, our revenues, if any, may be limited and it may be more difficult for us to achieve or maintain profitability.

Product liability lawsuits against us could cause us to incur substantial liabilities and to limit commercialization of any products that we may develop.

We face an inherent risk of product liability exposure related to the testing of our product candidates in human clinical trials and will face an even greater risk if we commercially sell any products that we may develop. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against claims that our product candidates or drugs caused injuries, we will incur substantial liabilities. Regardless of merit or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:

 

 

decreased demand for any product candidates or drugs that we may develop;

 

 

injury to our reputation and significant negative media attention;

 

 

withdrawal of clinical trial participants;

 

 

significant costs to defend the related litigation;

 

31


Table of Contents
 

substantial monetary awards paid to trial participants or patients;

 

 

loss of revenue;

 

 

reduced resources of our management to pursue our business strategy; and

 

 

the inability to commercialize any products that we may develop.

Although we maintain product liability insurance coverage, such insurance may not be adequate to cover all liabilities that we may incur. We may need to increase our insurance coverage as we expand our clinical trials or if we commence commercialization of our product candidates. Insurance coverage is increasingly expensive. We may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or in an amount adequate to satisfy any liability that may arise.

Our business and operations would suffer in the event of computer system failures, cyberattacks or a deficiency in our cybersecurity.

Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems, and those of third parties on which we rely, are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, malware, natural disasters, terrorism, war, telecommunication and electrical failures, cyberattacks or cyber-intrusions over the Internet, attachments to emails, persons inside our organization, or persons with access to systems inside our organization. The risk of a security breach or disruption, particularly through cyberattacks or cyber intrusion, including by computer hackers, “phishing” attacks, foreign governments, and cyber terrorists, has generally increased as the number, intensity and sophistication of attempted attacks and intrusions from around the world have increased. If such an event were to occur and cause interruptions in our operations, it could result in a material disruption of our product development programs. For example, the loss of clinical trial data from completed or ongoing or planned clinical trials could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. The techniques used by cyber criminals change frequently, may not be recognized until launched and can originate from a wide variety of sources, including outside groups such as external service providers, organized crime affiliates, terrorist organizations or hostile foreign governments or agencies. We cannot assure you that our security measures will prevent significant breakdowns, data leakages or breaches in our systems or those of our CROs and other contractors and consultants. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may face increased cybersecurity risks due to our reliance on internet technology and the number of our employees that are working remotely, which may create additional opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities. For example, companies have experienced an increase in phishing and social engineering attacks from third parties in connection with the COVID-19 global pandemic. To the extent that any disruption or security breach was to result in a loss of or damage to our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur material legal claims and liability and damage to our reputation, and the further development of our product candidates could be delayed.

We maintain a large quantity of sensitive information, including confidential business and personal information in connection with the conduct of our clinical trials and related to our employees, and we are subject to laws and regulations governing the privacy and security of such information.

In the United States, there are numerous federal and state privacy and data security laws and regulations governing the collection, use, disclosure and protection of personal information, including federal and state health information privacy laws, federal and state security breach notification laws, and federal and state consumer protection laws. Each of these constantly evolving laws can be subject to varying interpretations. In addition, we may obtain health information from third parties (including research institutions from which we obtain clinical trial data) that are subject to privacy and security requirements under HIPAA. Depending on the facts and circumstances, we could be subject to criminal penalties if we knowingly obtain, use, or disclose

 

32


Table of Contents

individually identifiable health information maintained by a HIPAA-covered entity in a manner that is not authorized or permitted by HIPAA.

Even when HIPAA does not apply, according to the Federal Trade Commission, or the FTC, violating consumers’ privacy rights or failing to take appropriate steps to keep consumers’ personal information secure may constitute unfair acts or practices in or affecting commerce in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act. 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.

Foreign data protection laws, including without limitation, the European Union General Data Protection Regulation or the GDPR, which became effective in May 2018, and member state data protection legislation, may also apply to health-related and other personal information obtained outside of the United States. The GDPR governs the collection, use, disclosure, transfer or other processing of personal data of individuals within the European Economic Area, or the EEA. Among other things, the GDPR imposes strict obligations on the ability to process health-related and other personal data of data subjects in the EEA. The GDPR imposes requirements relating to the consent of the individuals to whom the personal data relates, including detailed notices for clinical trial subjects and investigators. The GDPR also includes certain requirements regarding the security of personal data and notification of data processing obligations or security incidents to appropriate data protection authorities or data subjects as well as requirements for establishing a lawful basis on which personal data can be processed . In addition, the GDPR increases the scrutiny of transfers of personal data from clinical trial sites located in the EEA to the United States and other jurisdictions that the European Commission does not recognize as having “adequate” data protection laws. Recent legal developments in Europe have created complexity and compliance uncertainty regarding certain transfers of personal data from the EEA For example, on July 16, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union, or the CJEU, invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework, or the Privacy Shield, under which personal data could be transferred from the EEA. to United States entities who had self-certified under the Privacy Shield scheme. While the CJEU upheld the adequacy of the standard contractual clauses (a standard form of contract approved by the European Commission as an adequate personal data transfer mechanism, and potential alternative to the Privacy Shield), it made clear that reliance on them alone may not necessarily be sufficient in all circumstances. Use of the standard contractual clauses must now be assessed on a case-by-case basis taking into account the legal regime applicable in the destination country, in particular applicable surveillance laws and rights of individuals. The GDPR imposes substantial fines for breaches and violations (up to the greater of 20 million or 4% of our consolidated annual worldwide gross revenue). The GDPR also confers a private right of action on data subjects and consumer associations to lodge complaints with supervisory authorities, seek judicial remedies and obtain compensation for damages resulting from violations of the GDPR.

Further, following Brexit we will have to comply with the GDPR and separately the GDPR as implemented in the United Kingdom, each regime having the ability to fine up to the greater of 20 million / £17 million or 4% of global turnover. The relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union in relation to certain aspects of data protection law remains unclear, including how data transfers between European Union member states and the United Kingdom will be treated. These changes may lead to additional compliance costs and could increase our overall risk.

Compliance with these and any other applicable privacy and data security laws and regulations is a rigorous and time-intensive process, and we may be required to put in place additional mechanisms ensuring compliance with the new data protection rules. If we fail to comply with any such laws or regulations, we may face significant fines and penalties that could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Furthermore, the laws are not consistent, and compliance in the event of a widespread data breach

 

33


Table of Contents

is costly. In addition, states are constantly adopting new laws or amending existing laws, requiring attention to frequently changing regulatory requirements. For example, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act, or the CCPA, on June 28, 2018, which took effect on January 1, 2020 and has been dubbed the first “GDPR-like” law in the United States. The CCPA gives California residents expanded rights to access and delete their personal information, opt out of certain personal information sharing and receive detailed information about how their personal information is used by requiring covered companies to provide new disclosures to California consumers (as that term is broadly defined) and provide such consumers new ways to opt-out of certain sales of 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. Some observers have noted that the CCPA could mark the beginning of a trend toward more stringent privacy legislation in the United States. Other states are beginning to pass similar laws. For example, an amendment to Nevada’s privacy laws, which went into effect October 1, 2019, requires us to offer to consumers the right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information.

Risks related to our dependence on third parties

We rely on third parties to conduct a significant portion of our existing clinical trials and potential future clinical trials for product candidates, and those third parties may not perform satisfactorily, including failing to meet deadlines for the completion of such trials.

To date, we have generally engaged CROs to conduct our ongoing and completed clinical trials of BT-11 and NX-13. We expect to engage CROs for future clinical trials for BT-11, NX-13 or other product candidates that we may progress to clinical development. We expect to continue to rely on third parties, including clinical data management organizations, medical institutions and clinical investigators, to conduct those clinical trials. Any of these third parties may terminate their engagements with us, some in the event of an uncured material breach and some at any time for convenience. If any of our relationships with these third parties terminate, we may not be able to timely enter into arrangements with alternative third parties or to do so on commercially reasonable terms, if at all. Switching or adding CROs involves substantial cost and requires management time and focus. In addition, there is a natural transition period when a new CRO commences work. As a result, delays occur, which can materially impact our ability to meet our desired clinical development timelines. Though we intend to carefully manage our relationships with our CROs, there can be no assurance that we will not encounter challenges or delays in the future or that these delays or challenges will not have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and prospects. Further, the performance of our CROs may also be interrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including due to travel or quarantine policies, heightened exposure of CRO staff who are healthcare providers to COVID-19 or prioritization of resources toward the pandemic.

In addition, any third parties conducting our clinical trials will not be our employees, and except for remedies available to us under our agreements with such third parties, we cannot control whether or not they devote sufficient time and resources to our clinical programs. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or obligations or meet expected deadlines, if they need to be replaced or if the quality or accuracy of the clinical data they obtain is compromised due to the failure to adhere to our clinical protocols, regulatory requirements or for other reasons, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed or terminated and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or successfully commercialize our product candidates. Consequently, our results of operations and the commercial prospects for our product candidates would be harmed, our costs could increase substantially and our ability to generate revenue could be delayed significantly.

We rely on these parties for execution of our preclinical studies and clinical trials, and generally do not control their activities. Our reliance on these third parties for research and development activities will reduce our

 

34


Table of Contents

control over these activities but will not relieve us of our responsibilities. For example, we will remain responsible for ensuring that each of our clinical trials is conducted in accordance with the general investigational plan and protocols for the trial. Moreover, the FDA requires us to comply with standards, commonly referred to as good clinical practices, or GCPs, for conducting, recording and reporting the results of clinical trials to assure that data and reported results are credible and accurate and that the rights, integrity and confidentiality of trial participants are protected. We also are required to register ongoing clinical trials and post the results of completed clinical trials on a government-sponsored database, ClinicalTrials.gov, within specified timeframes. Failure to do so can result in fines, adverse publicity and civil and criminal sanctions. If we or any of our CROs or other third parties, including trial sites, fail to comply with applicable GCPs, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our marketing applications. We cannot assure you that upon inspection by a given regulatory authority, such regulatory authority will determine that any of our clinical trials complies with GCP regulations. In addition, our clinical trials must be conducted with product produced under cGMP conditions. Our failure to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process.

In addition, principal investigators for our clinical trials may serve as scientific advisors or consultants to us from time to time and receive compensation in connection with such services. Under certain circumstances, we may be required to report some of these relationships to the FDA. The FDA may conclude that a financial relationship between us and a principal investigator has created a conflict of interest or otherwise affected interpretation of the trial. The FDA may therefore question the integrity of the data generated at the applicable clinical trial site and the utility of the clinical trial itself may be jeopardized. This could result in a delay in approval, or rejection, of our marketing applications by the FDA and may ultimately lead to the denial of marketing approval of BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidates.

We also expect to rely on other third parties to store and distribute product supplies for our clinical trials. Any performance failure on the part of our distributors could delay clinical development or marketing approval of our product candidates or commercialization of our products, producing additional losses and depriving us of potential revenue.

We contract with third parties for the manufacture of BT-11 and NX-13 for clinical drug supply and expect to continue to do so for commercialization if approved. This reliance on third parties increases the risk that we will not have sufficient quantities of our product candidates or such quantities at an acceptable cost, which could delay, prevent or impair our development or commercialization efforts.

We do not have any cGMP manufacturing facilities. We currently rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties for the cGMP manufacture of BT-11, NX-13 and any other product candidates that we may pursue, for clinical development. Any significant delay, including any delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the supply of a product candidate or raw material components for an ongoing clinical trial due to the need to replace a third-party CMO could considerably delay the completion of our clinical trials.

We also expect to rely on third-party manufacturers or third-party collaborators for the manufacture of commercial supply of BT-11, NX-13 and any other product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. The facilities used by our CMOs to manufacture our product candidates must be inspected by the FDA or other regulatory authorities after we submit our NDA or comparable marketing application to the FDA or other regulatory authority. We do not have control over a supplier’s or manufacturer’s compliance with laws, regulations and applicable cGMP standards or similar regulatory requirements and other laws and regulations, such as those related to environmental health and safety matters. If our contract manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our specifications and the strict regulatory requirements of the FDA or other regulatory authorities, we may be unable to obtain regulatory approval of our marketing

 

35


Table of Contents

applications. In addition, we have no control over the ability of our contract manufacturers to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority finds deficiencies with or does not approve these facilities for the manufacture of our product 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 or market our product candidates, if approved.

We may be unable to enter into any agreements with future third-party manufacturers or to do so on acceptable terms. Even if we enter into such agreements, qualifying and validating such manufacturers may take a significant period of time and reliance on third-party manufacturers entails additional risks, including:

 

 

reliance on the third party for regulatory compliance and quality assurance;

 

 

the possible breach of the manufacturing agreement by the third party;

 

 

the incurrence of upfront scale-up costs prior to commercial approval;

 

 

the possible misappropriation of our proprietary information, including our trade secrets and know-how;

 

 

the possible increase in costs for the raw materials for our product candidates; and

 

 

the possible termination or nonrenewal of any agreement by any third party at a time that is costly or inconvenient for us.

Our failure, or the failure of our third-party manufacturers, to comply with applicable regulations could result in sanctions being imposed on us, including clinical holds, fines, injunctions, civil penalties, delays, suspension or withdrawal of approvals, license revocation, seizures or recalls of product candidates or drugs, operating restrictions and criminal prosecutions, any of which could significantly and adversely affect supply of our products.

Our product candidates, and any drugs that we may develop, may compete with other product candidates and drugs for access to manufacturing facilities. The performance of our third-party manufacturers may also be interrupted by production shortages or other supply interruptions resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There are no assurances we would be able to enter into similar commercial arrangements with other manufacturers that operate under cGMP regulations and that might be capable of manufacturing for us in a timely manner. Any performance failure on the part of our existing or future manufacturers could delay clinical development or marketing approval.

We may seek collaborations with third parties for the development or commercialization of our product candidates. If those collaborations are not successful, we may not be able to capitalize on the market potential of these product candidates.

We may seek third-party collaborators for the development and commercialization of our product candidates, including for the commercialization of any of our product candidates that are approved for marketing outside the United States. Our likely collaborators for any such arrangements include regional and national pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies. If we enter into any additional such arrangements with any third parties, we will likely have limited control over the amount and timing of resources that our collaborators dedicate to the development or commercialization of our product candidates. Our ability to generate revenue from these arrangements will depend on our collaborators’ abilities to successfully perform the functions assigned to them in these arrangements.

Collaborations involving our product candidates would pose the following risks to us:

 

 

collaborators have significant discretion in determining the efforts and resources that they will apply to these collaborations;

 

36


Table of Contents
 

collaborators may not perform their obligations as expected;

 

 

collaborators may not pursue development and commercialization of any product candidates that achieve regulatory approval or may elect not to continue or renew development or commercialization programs based on clinical trial results, changes in the collaborators’ strategic focus or available funding, or external factors, such as an acquisition, that divert resources or create competing priorities;

 

 

collaborators may delay clinical trials, provide insufficient funding for a clinical trial program, stop a clinical trial or abandon a product candidate, repeat or conduct new clinical trials or require a new formulation of a product candidate for clinical testing;

 

 

collaborators could independently develop, or develop with third parties, products that compete directly or indirectly with our product candidates if the collaborators believe that competitive products are more likely to be successfully developed or can be commercialized under terms that are more economically attractive than ours;

 

 

product candidates discovered in collaboration with us may be viewed by our collaborators as competitive with their own product candidates or drugs, which may cause collaborators to cease to devote resources to the commercialization of our product candidates;

 

 

a collaborator with marketing and distribution rights to one or more of our product candidates that achieve regulatory approval may not commit sufficient resources to the marketing and distribution of such products;

 

 

disagreements with collaborators, including disagreements over proprietary rights, contract interpretation or the preferred course of development, might cause delays or termination of the research, development or commercialization of product candidates, might lead to additional responsibilities for us with respect to product candidates, or might result in litigation or arbitration, any of which would be time-consuming and expensive;

 

 

collaborators may not properly maintain or defend our or their intellectual property rights or may use our or their proprietary information in such a way as to invite litigation that could jeopardize or invalidate such intellectual property or proprietary information or expose us to potential litigation;

 

 

collaborators may infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties, which may expose us to litigation and potential liability; and

 

 

collaborations may be terminated for the convenience of the collaborator and, if terminated, we could be required to raise additional capital to pursue further development or commercialization of the applicable product candidates.

Collaboration agreements may not lead to development or commercialization of product candidates in the most efficient manner or at all. If any future collaborator of ours were to be involved in a business combination, the continued pursuit and emphasis on our product development or commercialization program could be delayed, diminished or terminated.

We face significant competition in seeking appropriate collaborators. Whether we reach a definitive agreement for any collaboration will depend, among other things, upon our assessment of the collaborator’s resources and expertise, the terms and conditions of the proposed collaboration and the proposed collaborator’s evaluation of a number of factors. Those factors may include the design or results of clinical trials, the likelihood of approval by the FDA or similar regulatory authorities outside the United States, the potential market for the subject product candidate, the costs and complexities of manufacturing and delivering such product candidate to patients, the potential of competing products, the existence of uncertainty with respect to our ownership of

 

37


Table of Contents

technology, which can exist if there is a challenge to such ownership without regard to the merits of the challenge and industry and market conditions generally. The collaborator may also consider alternative product candidates or technologies for similar indications that may be available to collaborate on and whether such a collaboration could be more attractive than the one with us for our product candidate. Collaborations are complex and time-consuming to negotiate and document. In addition, there have been a significant number of recent business combinations among large pharmaceutical companies that have resulted in a reduced number of potential future collaborators.

We may not be able to negotiate additional collaborations on a timely basis, on acceptable terms, or at all. If we are unable to do so, we may have to curtail the development of such product candidate, reduce or delay its development program or one or more of our other development programs, delay its potential commercialization or reduce the scope of any sales or marketing activities, or increase our expenditures and undertake development or commercialization activities at our own expense. If we elect to increase our expenditures to fund development or commercialization activities on our own, we may need to obtain additional capital, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. If we do not have sufficient funds, we may not be able to further develop our product candidates or bring them to market and generate revenue.

Risks related to our intellectual property

If we are unable to obtain or protect intellectual property rights related to any of our product candidates, we may not be able to compete effectively in our market.

We rely upon a combination of patents, trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements to protect the intellectual property related to our product candidates and our LANCE platform. Our success depends in large part on our ability to obtain and maintain patent and other intellectual property protection in the United States and in other countries with respect to our proprietary technology and product candidates.

As of the date of this prospectus, our patent estate contains at least nine patent families that we own or in-license that protect various aspects of our product candidates. We own or have rights in eight United States patents, 12 United States patent applications, nine foreign patents and at least 34 foreign patent applications. We cannot offer any assurances about which of our patent applications will issue, the breadth of any resulting patent or whether any of the issued patents will be found invalid and unenforceable or will be threatened by third parties. We cannot offer any assurances that the breadth of our granted patents will be sufficient to stop a competitor from developing and commercializing a product, including a biosimilar product that would be competitive with one or more of our product candidates. Furthermore, any successful challenge to these patents or any other patents owned by or licensed to us after patent issuance could deprive us of rights necessary for the successful commercialization of any of our product candidates. Further, if we encounter delays in regulatory approvals, the period of time during which we could market a product candidate under patent protection could be reduced.

The patent prosecution process is expensive and time-consuming. We may not be able to prepare, file and prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a commercially reasonable cost or in a timely manner or in all jurisdictions. It is also possible that we may fail to identify patentable aspects of inventions made in the course of development and commercialization activities before it is too late to obtain patent protection on them. Moreover, depending on the terms of any future in-licenses to which we may become a party, we may not have the right to control the preparation, filing and prosecution of patent applications, or to maintain the patents, covering technology in-licensed from third parties. Therefore, these patents and patent applications may not be prosecuted and enforced in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business.

 

38


Table of Contents

In addition to the protection provided by our patent estate, we rely on trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements to protect proprietary know-how that is not amenable to patent protection. Although we generally require all of our employees to assign their inventions to us, and all of our employees, consultants, advisors and any third parties who have access to our proprietary know-how, information, or technology to enter into confidentiality agreements, we cannot provide any assurances that all such agreements have been duly executed, or that our trade secrets and other confidential proprietary information will not be disclosed. Moreover, our competitors may independently develop knowledge, methods and know-how equivalent to our trade secrets. Competitors could purchase our products, if approved, and replicate some or all of the competitive advantages we derive from our development efforts for technologies on which we do not have patent protection. If any of our trade secrets were to be lawfully obtained or independently developed by a competitor, we would have no right to prevent them, or those to whom they communicate it, from using that technology or information to compete with us. If any of our trade secrets were to be disclosed to or independently developed by a competitor, our competitive position would be harmed.

We also seek to preserve the integrity and confidentiality of our data and trade secrets by maintaining physical security of our premises and physical and electronic security of our information technology systems. While we have confidence in these individuals, organizations and systems, our agreements or security measures may be breached, and we may not have adequate remedies for any breach. Also, if the steps taken to maintain our trade secrets are deemed inadequate, we may have insufficient recourse against third parties for misappropriating the trade secret. In addition, others may independently discover our trade secrets and proprietary information. For example, the FDA is considering whether to make additional information publicly available on a routine basis, including information that we may consider to be trade secrets or other proprietary information, and it is not clear at the present time how the FDA’s disclosure policies may change in the future. If we are unable to prevent material disclosure of the non-patented intellectual property related to our technologies to third parties, and there is no guarantee that we will have any such enforceable trade secret protection, we may not be able to establish or maintain a competitive advantage in our market, which could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Patent terms may be inadequate to protect our competitive position on our products for an adequate amount of time, and if we do not obtain protection under the Hatch-Waxman Amendments and similar non-United States legislation for extending the term of patents covering each of our product candidates, our business may be materially harmed.

Given the amount of time required for the development, testing and regulatory review of new product candidates, patents protecting such candidates might expire before or shortly after such candidates are commercialized. Depending upon the timing, duration and conditions of FDA marketing approval of our product candidates, one or more of our United States patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Amendments, and similar legislation in the European Union. The Hatch-Waxman Amendments permit a patent term extension of up to five years for a patent covering an approved product as compensation for effective patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. A patent term extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval. Only one patent may be extended, and only those claims covering the approved drug, a method for using it, or a method for manufacturing it may be extended. However, we may not receive an extension if we fail to apply within applicable deadlines, fail to apply prior to expiration of relevant patents or otherwise fail to satisfy applicable requirements. Moreover, the length of the extension could be less than we request. If we are unable to obtain patent term extension or the term of any such extension is less than we request, the period during which we can enforce our patent rights for that product will be shortened and our competitors may obtain

 

39


Table of Contents

approval to market competing products sooner. As a result, our revenue from applicable products could be reduced and could have a material adverse effect on our business.

If we fail to comply with our obligations in any future intellectual property licenses with third parties, we could lose rights that are important to our business.

Although we do not currently rely upon any licenses to certain patent rights and proprietary technology for the development our product candidates or the LANCE platform, we may choose to enter into license agreements in the future. These license agreements may impose diligence, development and commercialization timelines and milestone payment, royalty, insurance and other obligations on us. If we fail to comply with our obligations, our licensors may have the right to terminate such licenses, in which event we might not be able to develop, manufacture or market any product that is covered by the intellectual property we in-license from such licensor and may face other penalties. Such an occurrence would materially adversely affect our business prospects.

Licenses to additional third-party technology and materials that may be required for our development programs may not be available in the future or may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition. We may require the cooperation of our licensors and any upstream licensor for the prosecution, maintenance and enforcement of the licensed and sublicensed intellectual property relating to relevant product candidates, which may not be forthcoming. Therefore, we cannot be certain that the prosecution, maintenance and enforcement of these patent rights will be in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business. If we or our licensor fail to maintain such patents, or if we or our licensor lose rights to those patents or patent applications, the rights we have licensed may be reduced or eliminated and our right to develop and commercialize any of our product candidates that are the subject of such licensed rights could be adversely affected. In addition to the foregoing, the risks associated with patent rights that we license from third parties will also apply to patent rights we may own in the future. Further, if we fail to comply with our development obligations under our license agreements, we may lose our patent rights with respect to such agreement on a territory-by-territory basis, which would affect our patent rights worldwide.

Termination of any future license agreements would reduce or eliminate our rights under these agreements and may result in our having to negotiate new or reinstated agreements with less favorable terms or cause us to lose our rights under these agreements, including our rights to important intellectual property or technology. Any of the foregoing could prevent us from commercializing relevant product candidates, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and overall financial condition.

In addition, intellectual property rights that we in-license in the future may be sublicenses under intellectual property owned by third parties, in some cases through multiple tiers. The actions of our licensors may therefore affect our rights to use our sublicensed intellectual property, even if we are in compliance with all of the obligations under our license agreements. Should our licensors or any of the upstream licensors fail to comply with their obligations under the agreements pursuant to which they obtain the rights that are sublicensed to us, or should such agreements be terminated or amended, our ability to develop and commercialize our product candidates may be materially harmed.

Patent reform legislation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our future patents.

Our ability to obtain patents is highly uncertain because, to date, some legal principles remain unresolved, and there has not been a consistent policy regarding the breadth or interpretation of claims allowed in patents in the United States. Furthermore, the specific content of patents and patent applications that are necessary to support and interpret patent claims is highly uncertain due to the complex nature of the relevant legal, scientific, and factual issues. Changes in either patent laws or interpretations of patent laws in the United

 

40


Table of Contents

States and other countries may diminish the value of our intellectual property or narrow the scope of our patent protection.

For example, on September 16, 2011, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, or the Leahy-Smith Act, was signed into law. The Leahy-Smith Act included a number of significant changes to United States patent law. These included provisions that affect the way patent applications will be prosecuted and may also affect patent litigation. The United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, has developed new and untested regulations and procedures to govern the full implementation of the Leahy-Smith Act, and many of the substantive changes to patent law associated with the Leahy-Smith Act, and in particular, the first to file provisions, became effective in March 2013. The Leahy-Smith Act has also introduced procedures making it easier for third parties to challenge issued patents, as well as to intervene in the prosecution of patent applications. Finally, the Leahy-Smith Act contained new statutory provisions that require the USPTO to issue new regulations for their implementation, and it may take the courts years to interpret the provisions of the new statute. It is too early to tell what, if any, impact the Leahy-Smith Act will have on the operation of our business and the protection and enforcement of our intellectual property. However, the Leahy-Smith Act and its implementation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our future patents. Further, the United States Supreme Court has ruled on several patent cases in recent years, either narrowing the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances or weakening the rights of patent owners in certain situations. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, this combination of events has created uncertainty with respect to the value of patents, once obtained. Depending on actions by the United States Congress, the federal courts and the USPTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that would weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce patents that we have owned or licensed or that we might obtain in the future. An inability to obtain, enforce, and defend patents covering our proprietary technologies would materially and adversely affect our business prospects and financial condition.

Similarly, changes in patent laws and regulations in other countries or jurisdictions, changes in the governmental bodies that enforce them or changes in how the relevant governmental authority enforces patent laws or regulations may weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce patents that we may obtain in the future. Further, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect proprietary rights to the same extent or in the same manner as the laws of the United States. As a result, we may encounter significant problems in protecting and defending our intellectual property both in the United States and abroad. For example, if the issuance in a given country of a patent covering an invention is not followed by the issuance in other countries of patents covering the same invention, or if any judicial interpretation of the validity, enforceability or scope of the claims or the written description or enablement, in a patent issued in one country is not similar to the interpretation given to the corresponding patent issued in another country, our ability to protect our intellectual property in those countries may be limited. Changes in either patent laws or in interpretations of patent laws in the United States and other countries may materially diminish the value of our intellectual property or narrow the scope of our patent protection.

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

Competitors may infringe the patents we have applied for. To counter infringement or unauthorized use, we may be required to file infringement claims, which can be expensive and time-consuming. If we initiate legal proceedings against a third party to enforce a patent covering one of our product candidates, the defendant could counterclaim that the patent covering our product or product candidate is invalid and/or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the United States, counterclaims alleging invalidity and/or unenforceability are common, and there are numerous grounds upon which a third party can assert invalidity or unenforceability of a patent.

 

41


Table of Contents

In an infringement proceeding, a court may decide that the patent claims we are asserting are invalid and/or unenforceable, or may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patent claims do not cover the technology in question. Third parties may also raise similar claims before administrative bodies in the United States or abroad, even outside the context of litigation. Such mechanisms include re-examination, post grant review, inter partes review and equivalent proceedings in foreign jurisdictions (for example, opposition proceedings). Such proceedings could result in revocation of or amendment to our patents in such a way that they no longer cover our product candidates. The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability is unpredictable. With respect to the validity question, for example, we cannot be certain that there is no invalidating prior art, of which we, our patent counsel, and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution. If a defendant were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity and/or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on our product candidates. An adverse result in any litigation or defense proceedings could put one or more of our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly, could put our patent applications at risk of not issuing and could have a material adverse impact on our business.

Interference proceedings provoked by third parties or brought by us may be necessary to determine the priority of inventions with respect to our patent applications. An unfavorable outcome could require us to cease using the related technology or force us to take a license under the patent rights of the prevailing party, if available. Furthermore, our business could be harmed if the prevailing party does not offer us a license on commercially reasonable terms. Our defense of litigation or interference proceedings may fail and, even if successful, may result in substantial costs and distract our management and other employees. We may not be able to prevent misappropriation of our intellectual property rights, particularly in countries where the laws may not protect those rights as fully as in the United States.

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

We may be unsuccessful in licensing or acquiring intellectual property from third parties that may be required to develop and commercialize our product candidates.

A third party may hold intellectual property, including patent rights that are important or necessary to the development and commercialization of our product candidates. It may be necessary for us to use the patented or proprietary technology of third parties to commercialize our product candidates, in which case we would be required to acquire or obtain a license to such intellectual property from these third parties, and we may be unable to do so on commercially reasonable terms or at all. The licensing or acquisition of third-party intellectual property rights is a competitive area, and several more established companies may pursue strategies to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights that we may consider attractive or necessary. These established companies may have a competitive advantage over us due to their size, capital resources and greater clinical development and commercialization capabilities. In addition, companies that perceive us to be a competitor may be unwilling to assign or license rights to us. We also may be unable to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights on terms that would allow us to make an appropriate return on our investment or at all. If we are unable to successfully obtain rights to required third-party intellectual property rights or maintain the existing intellectual property rights we have, we may have to abandon development of the relevant program or product candidate, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

42


Table of Contents

Third parties may initiate legal proceedings alleging that we are infringing their intellectual property rights, the outcome of which would be uncertain.

As our current and future product candidates progress toward commercialization, the possibility of a patent infringement claim against us increases. We cannot provide any assurance that our current and future product candidates do not infringe other parties’ patents or other proprietary rights, and competitors or other parties may assert that we infringe their proprietary rights in any event. We may become party to, or threatened with, adversarial proceedings or litigation regarding intellectual property rights with respect to our current and future product candidates, including interference or derivation proceedings before the USPTO. Even if we believe such claims are without merit, a court of competent jurisdiction could hold that these third-party patents are valid, enforceable and infringed, which could have a negative impact on our ability to commercialize BT-11, NX-13 or any future product candidates. In order to successfully challenge the validity of any such United States patent in federal court, we would need to overcome a presumption of validity. As this burden is high and requires us to present clear and convincing evidence as to the invalidity of any such United States patent claim, there is no assurance that a court of competent jurisdiction would agree with us and invalidate the claims of any such United States patent. Moreover, given the vast number of patents in our field of technology, we cannot be certain that we do not infringe existing patents or that we will not infringe patents that may be granted in the future.

While we may decide to initiate proceedings to challenge the validity of these or other patents in the future, we may be unsuccessful, and courts or patent offices in the United States and abroad could uphold the validity of any such patent. Furthermore, because patent applications can take many years to issue and may be confidential for 18 months or more after filing, and because pending patent claims can be revised before issuance, there may be applications now pending which may later result in issued patents that may be infringed by the manufacture, use or sale of our product candidates. Regardless of when filed, we may fail to identify relevant third-party patents or patent applications, or we may incorrectly conclude that a third-party patent is invalid or not infringed by our product candidates or activities. If a patent holder believes that one of our product candidates infringes its patent, the patent holder may sue us even if we have received patent protection for our technology. Moreover, we may face patent infringement claims from non-practicing entities that have no relevant drug revenue and against whom our own patent portfolio may thus have no deterrent effect. If a patent infringement suit were threatened or brought against us, we could be forced to stop or delay research, development, manufacturing or sales of the drug or product candidate that is the subject of the actual or threatened suit.

If we are found to infringe a third party’s intellectual property rights, we could be required to obtain a license from such third party to continue commercializing our product candidates. However, we may not be able to obtain any required license on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Even if a license can be obtained on acceptable terms, the rights may be non-exclusive, which could give our competitors access to the same technology or intellectual property rights licensed to us. If we fail to obtain a required license, we may be unable to effectively market product candidates based on our technology, which could limit our ability to generate revenue or achieve profitability and possibly prevent us from generating revenue sufficient to sustain our operations. Alternatively, we may need to redesign our infringing products, which may be impossible or require substantial time and monetary expenditure. Under certain circumstances, we could be forced, including by court orders, to cease commercializing our product candidates. In addition, in any such proceeding or litigation, we could be found liable for substantial monetary damages, potentially including treble damages and attorneys’ fees, if we are found to have willfully infringed the patent at issue. A finding of infringement could prevent us from commercializing our product candidates or force us to cease some of our business operations, which could harm our business. Any claims by third parties that we have misappropriated their confidential information or trade secrets could have a similar negative impact on our business.

 

43


Table of Contents

The cost to us in defending or initiating any litigation or other proceeding relating to patent or other proprietary rights, even if resolved in our favor, could be substantial, and litigation would divert our management’s attention. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of complex patent litigation more effectively than we can because they have substantially greater resources. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of patent litigation or other proceedings could delay our research and development efforts and limit our ability to continue our operations.

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

We employ individuals who were previously employed at other biotechnology or biopharmaceutical companies. Although we try to ensure that our employees, consultants and advisors do not use the proprietary information or know-how of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that we or our employees, consultants, or independent contractors have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed confidential information of our employees’ former employers or other third parties. We may also be subject to claims that former employers or other third parties have an ownership interest in our future patents. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. There is no guarantee of success in defending these claims, and even if we are successful, litigation could result in substantial cost and be a distraction to our management and other employees.

We may be subject to claims challenging the inventorship or ownership of our future patents and other intellectual property.

We may also be subject to claims that former employees, collaborators, or other third parties have an ownership interest in our patent applications, our future patents, or other intellectual property. We may be subject to ownership disputes in the future arising, for example, from conflicting obligations of consultants or others who are involved in developing our product candidates. Although it is our policy to require our employees and contractors who may be involved in the conception or development of intellectual property to execute agreements assigning such intellectual property to us, we may be unsuccessful in executing such an agreement with each party who, in fact, conceives or develops intellectual property that we regard as our own, and we cannot be certain that our agreements with such parties will be upheld in the face of a potential challenge, or that they will not be breached, for which we may not have an adequate remedy. The assignment of intellectual property rights may not be self-executing or the assignment agreements may be breached, and litigation may be necessary to defend against these and other claims challenging inventorship or ownership. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights, such as exclusive ownership of, or right to use, valuable intellectual property. Such an outcome could have a material adverse effect on our business. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management and other employees.

Reliance on third parties requires us to share our trade secrets, which increases the possibility that a competitor will discover them or that our trade secrets will be misappropriated or disclosed.

If we rely on third parties to manufacture or commercialize BT-11, NX-13 or any future product candidates, or if we collaborate with additional third parties for the development of BT-11, NX-13 or any future product candidates, we must, at times, share trade secrets with them. We may also conduct joint research and development programs that may require us to share trade secrets under the terms of our research and development partnerships or similar agreements. We seek to protect our proprietary technology in part by entering into confidentiality agreements and, if applicable, material transfer agreements, consulting agreements or other similar agreements with our advisors, employees, third-party contractors and consultants prior to beginning research or disclosing proprietary information. These agreements typically limit the rights of the third parties to use or disclose our confidential information, including our trade secrets. Despite the

 

44


Table of Contents

contractual provisions employed when working with third parties, the need to share trade secrets and other confidential information increases the risk that such trade secrets become known by our competitors, are inadvertently incorporated into the technology of others, or are disclosed or used in violation of these agreements. Given that our proprietary position is based, in part, on our know-how and trade secrets, a competitor’s discovery of our trade secrets or other unauthorized use or disclosure could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

In addition, these agreements typically restrict the ability of our advisors, employees, third-party contractors and consultants to publish data potentially relating to our trade secrets. Despite our efforts to protect our trade secrets, we may not be able to prevent the unauthorized disclosure or use of our technical know-how or other trade secrets by the parties to these agreements. Moreover, we cannot guarantee that we have entered into such agreements with each party that may have or have had access to our confidential information or proprietary technology and processes. Monitoring unauthorized uses and disclosures is difficult, and we do not know whether the steps we have taken to protect our proprietary technologies will be effective. If any of the collaborators, scientific advisors, employees, contractors and consultants who are parties to these agreements breaches or violates the terms of any of these agreements, we may not have adequate remedies for any such breach or violation, and we could lose our trade secrets as a result. Moreover, if confidential information that is licensed or disclosed to us by our partners, collaborators, or others is inadvertently disclosed or subject to a breach or violation, we may be exposed to liability to the owner of that confidential information. Enforcing a claim that a third party illegally obtained and is using our trade secrets, like patent litigation, is expensive and time consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. In addition, courts outside the United States are sometimes less willing to protect trade secrets.

We may enjoy only limited geographical protection with respect to certain patents and we may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.

Filing and prosecuting patent applications and defending patents covering our product candidates in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive. Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own products and, further, may export otherwise infringing products to territories where we have patent protection, but enforcement rights are not as strong as that in the United States or Europe. These products may compete with our product candidates, and our future patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing.

In addition, we may decide to abandon national and regional patent applications before they are granted. The examination of each national or regional patent application is an independent proceeding. As a result, patent applications in the same family may issue as patents in some jurisdictions, such as in the United States, but may issue as patents with claims of different scope or may even be refused in other jurisdictions. It is also quite common that depending on the country, the scope of patent protection may vary for the same product candidate or technology.

While we intend to protect our intellectual property rights in our expected significant markets, we cannot ensure that we will be able to initiate or maintain similar efforts in all jurisdictions in which we may wish to market our product candidates. Accordingly, our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights in such countries may be inadequate, which may have an adverse effect on our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates in all of our expected significant foreign markets. If we encounter difficulties in protecting, or are otherwise precluded from effectively protecting, the intellectual property rights important for our business in such jurisdictions, the value of these rights may be diminished, and we may face additional competition from others in those jurisdictions.

 

45


Table of Contents

The laws of some jurisdictions do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws or rules and regulations in the United States and Europe, and many companies have encountered significant difficulties in protecting and defending such rights in such jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents, trade secrets, and other intellectual property rights, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our future patents or marketing of competing products in violation of our proprietary rights generally. Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in other 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 future patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and our patent applications at risk of not issuing as patents, 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.

Some countries also have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner may be compelled to grant licenses to third parties. In addition, some countries limit the enforceability of patents against government agencies or government contractors. In those countries, the patent owner may have limited remedies, which could materially diminish the value of such patents. If we are forced to grant a license to third parties with respect to any patents relevant to our business, our competitive position may be impaired.

Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment, and other requirements imposed by government patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.

Periodic maintenance fees, renewal fees, annuity fees and various other government fees on patents and/or applications will be due to be paid to the USPTO and various government patent agencies outside of the United States over the lifetime of our patents and/or applications and any patent rights we may obtain in the future. Furthermore, the USPTO and various non-United States government patent agencies require compliance with several procedural, documentary, fee payment and other similar provisions during the patent application process. In many cases, an inadvertent lapse of a patent or patent application can be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules. There are situations, however, in which non-compliance can result in abandonment or lapse of the patents or patent applications, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. In such an event, potential competitors might be able to enter the market, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Any trademarks we have obtained or may obtain may be infringed or otherwise violated, or successfully challenged, resulting in harm to our business.

We expect to rely on trademarks as one means to distinguish our product candidates, if approved for marketing, from the drugs of our competitors. Once we select new trademarks and apply to register them, our trademark applications may not be approved. Third parties may oppose or attempt to cancel our trademark applications or trademarks, or otherwise challenge our use of the trademarks. In the event that our trademarks are successfully challenged, we could be forced to rebrand our drugs, which could result in loss of brand recognition and could require us to devote resources to advertising and marketing new brands. Our competitors may infringe or otherwise violate our trademarks and we may not have adequate resources to enforce our trademarks. Any of the foregoing events may have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

46


Table of Contents

Intellectual property rights do not necessarily address all potential threats to our competitive advantage.

The degree of future protection afforded by our intellectual property rights is uncertain because intellectual property rights have limitations and may not adequately protect our business or permit us to maintain our competitive advantage. The following examples are illustrative:

 

 

others may be able to make products that are similar to or otherwise competitive with our product candidates but that are not covered by the claims of our current or future patents;

 

 

an in-license necessary for the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale or importation of one or more of our product candidates may be terminated by the licensor;

 

 

we or future collaborators might not have been the first to make the inventions covered by our issued or future issued patents or our pending patent applications;

 

 

we or future collaborators might not have been the first to file patent applications covering certain of our inventions;

 

 

others may independently develop similar or alternative technologies or duplicate any of our technologies without infringing our intellectual property rights;

 

 

it is possible that our pending patent applications will not lead to issued patents;

 

 

issued patents that we own or in-license may be held invalid or unenforceable as a result of legal challenges by our competitors;

 

 

issued patents that we own or in-license may not provide coverage for all aspects of our product candidates in all countries;

 

 

our competitors might conduct research and development activities in countries where we do not have patent rights and then use the information learned from such activities to develop competitive products for sale in our major commercial markets;

 

 

we may not develop additional proprietary technologies that are patentable; and

 

 

the patents of others may have an adverse effect on our business.

Should any of these events occur, they could significantly harm our business, results of operations and prospects.

Risks related to legal and regulatory compliance matters

Our relationships with customers, healthcare providers, physicians and third-party payors are subject, directly or indirectly, to federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws, false claims laws, and other healthcare laws and regulations. If we are unable to comply, or have not fully complied, with such laws, we could face substantial penalties.

Healthcare providers, physicians and third-party payors in the United States and elsewhere will play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. Our current and future arrangements with healthcare professionals, principal investigators, consultants, customers and third-party payors subject us to various federal and state fraud and abuse laws and other healthcare laws, including, without limitation, the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, the federal civil and criminal false claims laws and transparency laws, including the law commonly referred to as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and regulations promulgated under such laws. These laws will impact, among other

 

47


Table of Contents

things, our clinical research, proposed sales, marketing and educational programs, and other interactions with healthcare professionals. The laws that will affect our operations include, but are not limited to:

 

 

the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe or rebate), directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind in return for, or to induce, either the referral of an individual, or the purchase, lease, order or arrangement for or recommendation of the purchase, lease, order or arrangement for any good, facility, item or service for which payment may be made, 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. Although there are a number of statutory exceptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting some common activities from prosecution, the exceptions and safe harbors are drawn narrowly. Practices that involve remuneration that may be alleged to be intended to induce prescribing, purchases or recommendations may be subject to scrutiny if they do not qualify for an exception or safe harbor. A person does not need to have actual knowledge of this statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;

 

 

the federal civil and criminal false claims laws, including, without limitation, the civil False Claims Act, which can be enforced by private citizens through civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, and civil monetary penalty laws which prohibit, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, claims for payment or approval from the federal government, including Medicare, Medicaid and other government payors, that are false or fraudulent or knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim or to avoid, decrease or conceal an obligation to pay money to the federal government. A claim includes “any request or demand” for money or property presented to the United States federal government. Several pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies have been prosecuted under these laws for, among other things, allegedly providing free product to customers with the expectation that the customers would bill federal programs for the product. Other companies have been prosecuted for causing false claims to be submitted because of the companies’ marketing of products for unapproved, and thus non-reimbursable, uses. 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 federal False Claims Act;

 

 

the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, which created additional federal criminal statutes which prohibit, among other things, a person from knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, including private third-party payors and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services. Similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;

 

 

the federal transparency laws, including the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which requires certain manufacturers of drugs, medical devices, biologicals and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, with specific exceptions, to report annually to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, information related to: (1) payments or other “transfers of value’’ made during the previous year to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors), and teaching hospitals, and (2) ownership and investment interests held by such physicians and their immediate family members, and, beginning in 2022, will also require applicable manufacturers to report information related to payments and other transfers of value provided in the previous year to physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives; and

 

48


Table of Contents
 

state and foreign law equivalents of each of the above federal laws and regulations; state laws that require manufacturers to report information related to payments and other transfers of value to physicians and other healthcare providers, marketing expenditures or drug pricing; state laws that require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government, or that otherwise restrict payments that may be made to healthcare providers; and state and local laws that require the registration of pharmaceutical sales representatives.

Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of the statutory exceptions and regulatory safe harbors available, it is possible that some of our business activities could be subject to challenge under one or more of such laws. It is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices may not comply with current or future statutes, regulations or case law involving applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of these laws or any other governmental regulations that may apply to us, we may be subject to significant penalties, including, without limitation, civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, imprisonment, exclusion from participating in federal and state funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, additional reporting requirements and oversight if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or similar agreement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, contractual damages, diminished profits and future earnings, reputational harm and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, any of which could harm our business.

The risk of our being found in violation of these laws is increased by the fact that many of them have not been fully interpreted by the regulatory authorities or the courts, and their provisions are open to a variety of interpretations. Efforts to ensure that our business arrangements with third parties will comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations will involve substantial costs. 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. The shifting compliance environment and the need to build and maintain robust and expandable systems to comply with multiple jurisdictions with different compliance and/or reporting requirements increases the possibility that a healthcare company may run afoul of one or more of the requirements.

Even if we obtain regulatory approval for BT-11, NX-13 or any future product candidates, they will remain subject to ongoing regulatory oversight.

Even if we obtain any regulatory approval for BT-11, NX-13 or any future product candidates, such product candidates, once approved, will be subject to ongoing regulatory requirements applicable to manufacturing, labeling, packaging, storage, advertising, promoting, sampling, record-keeping and submitting of safety and other post-market information, among other things. Any regulatory approvals that we receive for BT-11, NX-13 or any future product candidates may also be subject to a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, limitations on the approved indicated uses for which the drug may be marketed or to the conditions of approval, or requirements that we conduct potentially costly post-marketing testing, including Phase 4 trials and surveillance to monitor the quality, safety and efficacy of the drug. An unsuccessful post-marketing study or failure to complete such a study could result in the withdrawal of marketing approval. We will further be required to immediately report any serious and unexpected adverse events and certain quality or production problems with our products to regulatory authorities along with other periodic reports.

Any new legislation addressing drug safety issues could result in delays in product development or commercialization, or increased costs to assure compliance. We will also have to comply with requirements concerning advertising and promotion for our products. Promotional communications with respect to prescription drug products are subject to a variety of legal and regulatory restrictions and must be consistent

 

49


Table of Contents

with the information in the product’s approved label. As such, we will not be allowed to promote our products for indications or uses for which they do not have approval, commonly known as off-label promotion. Physicians, on the other hand, may prescribe products for off-label uses. Although the FDA and other regulatory agencies do not regulate a physician’s choice of drug treatment made in the physician’s independent medical judgment, they do restrict promotional communications from companies or their sales force with respect to off-label uses of products for which marketing approval has not been issued. However, companies may share truthful and not misleading information that is otherwise consistent with a product’s FDA approved labeling. The holder of an approved NDA must submit new or supplemental applications and obtain prior approval for certain changes to the approved product, product labeling, or manufacturing process. A company that is found to have improperly promoted off-label uses of their products may be subject to significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties.

In addition, drug manufacturers are subject to payment of user fees and continual review and periodic inspections by the FDA and other regulatory authorities for compliance with cGMP requirements and adherence to commitments made in the NDA or foreign marketing application. If we, or a regulatory authority, discover previously unknown problems with a drug, such as adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or problems with the facility where the drug is manufactured or if a regulatory authority disagrees with the promotion, marketing or labeling of that drug, a regulatory authority may impose restrictions relative to that drug, the manufacturing facility or us, including requesting a recall or requiring withdrawal of the drug from the market or suspension of manufacturing.

If we fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements following approval of BT-11, NX-13 or any future product candidates, a regulatory authority may:

 

 

issue an untitled letter or warning letter asserting that we are in violation of the law;

 

 

seek an injunction or impose administrative, civil or criminal penalties or monetary fines;

 

 

suspend or withdraw regulatory approval;

 

 

suspend any ongoing clinical trials;

 

 

refuse to approve a pending NDA or comparable foreign marketing application (or any supplements thereto) submitted by us or our strategic partners;

 

 

restrict the marketing or manufacturing of the drug;

 

 

seize or detain the drug or otherwise require the withdrawal of the drug from the market;

 

 

refuse to permit the import or export of product candidates; or

 

 

refuse to allow us to enter into supply contracts, including government contracts.

Any government investigation of alleged violations of law could require us to expend significant time and resources in response and could generate negative publicity. The occurrence of any event or penalty described above may inhibit our ability to commercialize BT-11, NX-13 or any future product candidates and harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Healthcare legislative or regulatory reform measures may have a negative impact on our business and results of operations.

In the United States and some foreign jurisdictions, there have been, and continue to be, several legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding the healthcare system that could prevent or delay marketing approval of product candidates, restrict or regulate post-approval activities, and affect our ability to profitably sell any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval.

 

50


Table of Contents

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 ACA was passed, which substantially changed the way healthcare is financed by both the government and private insurers, and significantly impacts the United States pharmaceutical industry. The ACA, among other things: (1) established an annual, nondeductible fee on any entity that manufactures or imports certain specified branded prescription drugs and biologic agents apportioned among these entities according to their market share in some government healthcare programs; (2) expanded the entities eligible for discounts under the 340B drug pricing program; (3) increased the statutory minimum rebates a manufacturer must pay under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program to 23.1% and 13% of the average manufacturer price for most branded and generic drugs, respectively, and capped the total rebate amount for innovator drugs at 100% of the Average Manufacturer Price, or AMP; (4) expanded the eligibility criteria for Medicaid programs by, among other things, allowing states to offer Medicaid coverage to additional individuals and by adding new mandatory eligibility categories for individuals with income at or below 133% of the federal poverty level, thereby potentially increasing manufacturers’ Medicaid rebate liability; (5) addressed a new methodology by which rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program are calculated for certain drugs and biologics that are inhaled, infused, instilled, implanted or injected; (6) introduced a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program in which manufacturers must now agree to offer 70% point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period as a condition for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D; (7) created a new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to oversee, identify priorities in, and conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research, along with funding for such research; and (8) established a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation at CMS to test innovative payment and service delivery models to lower Medicare and Medicaid spending, potentially including prescription drug spending.

There remain judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the ACA, as well as efforts by the Trump administration to repeal or replace certain aspects of the ACA. While Congress has not passed comprehensive repeal legislation, several bills affecting the implementation of certain taxes under the ACA have been signed into law. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, or Tax Act, includes a provision that repealed, effective January 1, 2019, the tax-based shared responsibility payment imposed by the ACA on certain individuals who fail to maintain qualifying health coverage for all or part of a year that is commonly referred to as the “individual mandate.” In addition, the 2020 federal spending package permanently eliminated, effective January 1, 2020, the ACA-mandated “Cadillac” tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage and medical device tax and, effective January 1, 2021, also eliminates the health insurer tax. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, or the BBA, among other things, amended the ACA, effective January 1, 2019, to close the coverage gap in most Medicare drug plans, commonly referred to as the “donut hole.” In December 2018, CMS published a new final rule permitting further collections and payments to and from certain ACA qualified health plans and health insurance issuers under the ACA risk adjustment program in response to the outcome of federal district court litigation regarding the method CMS uses to determine this risk adjustment. On April 27, 2020, the United States Supreme Court reversed a Federal Circuit decision that previously upheld Congress’ denial of $12 billion in “risk corridor” funding. On December 14, 2018, a Texas United States District Court Judge ruled that the ACA is unconstitutional in its entirety because the “individual mandate” was repealed by Congress as part of the Tax Act. Additionally, on December 18, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld the District Court ruling 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. On March 2, 2020, the United States Supreme Court granted the petitions for writs of certiorari and held oral argument on November 10, 2020. The case is expected to be decided by mid-2021. It is unclear how such litigation, and other efforts to repeal, replace or challenge the ACA will impact the ACA and our business.

 

51


Table of Contents

Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted since the ACA was enacted. These changes include aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to providers of 2% per fiscal year pursuant to the Budget Control Act of 2011, which began in 2013, and due to subsequent legislative amendments to the statute, will remain in effect through 2030, with the exception of a temporary suspension from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021, unless additional Congressional action is taken. In addition, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, among other things, further reduced Medicare payments to several providers and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years. These laws may result in additional reductions in Medicare and other healthcare funding, which could have an adverse effect on customers for our product candidates, if approved, and, accordingly, our financial operations.

Additionally, there has been heightened governmental scrutiny in the United States of pharmaceutical pricing practices in light of the rising cost of prescription drugs and biologics. Such scrutiny has resulted in several recent congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to product pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for products. At the federal level, the Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2021 includes a $135 billion allowance to support legislative proposals seeking to reduce drug prices, increase competition, lower out-of-pocket drug costs for patients, and increase patient access to lower-cost generic and biosimilar drugs. On March 10, 2020, the Trump administration sent “principles” for drug pricing to Congress, calling for legislation that would, among other things, cap Medicare Part D beneficiary out-of-pocket pharmacy expenses, provide an option to cap Medicare Part D beneficiary monthly out-of-pocket expenses, and place limits on pharmaceutical price increases. Further, the Trump administration previously released a “Blueprint” to lower drug prices and reduce out of pocket costs of drugs that contained proposals to increase drug manufacturer competition, increase the negotiating power of certain federal healthcare programs, incentivize manufacturers to lower the list price of their products, and reduce the out of pocket costs of drug products paid by consumers. On July 24, 2020 and September 13, 2020, President Trump announced a number of executive orders related to prescription drug pricing that collectively attempt to implement several of the administration’s proposals. Further, on November 20, 2020, HHS finalized a regulation removing safe harbor protection for price reductions from pharmaceutical manufacturers to plan sponsors under Part D, either directly or through pharmacy benefit managers, unless the price reduction is required by law. The rule also creates a new safe harbor for price reductions reflected at the point-of-sale, as well as a safe harbor for fixed fees to pharmacy benefit managers for certain services rendered to manufacturers. The probability of success of the other recently announced policies under the Trump administration, which would require additional authorization to be effective, and their impact on our products, if approved, is uncertain, particularly in light of the new incoming Biden administration. The FDA also recently released a final rule, effective November 30, 2020, implementing a portion of President Trump’s Executive Order announced on July 24, 2020 that directed HHS to finalize the Canadian drug importation proposed rule previously issued by HHS and make other changes allowing for personal importation of drugs from Canada. The FDA final rule provides guidance for states to build and submit importation plans for drugs from Canada. At the state level, legislatures have increasingly passed legislation and implemented regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing.

We expect that these and other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future may result in more rigorous coverage criteria and in additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any approved drug. 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 drugs. It is also possible that additional governmental action is taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

52


Table of Contents

In addition, FDA regulations and guidance may be revised or reinterpreted by the FDA in ways that may significantly affect our business and our products. The Trump administration also took several executive actions, including the issuance of a number of Executive Orders, that could impose significant burdens on, or otherwise materially delay, the FDA’s ability to engage in routine oversight activities such as implementing statutes through rulemaking, issuance of guidance, and review and approval of marketing applications. It is difficult to predict whether or how these requirements will be interpreted and implemented or whether they will be rescinded or replaced under a Biden administration. If executive actions impose restrictions on the FDA’s ability to engage in oversight and implementation activities in the normal course, our business may be negatively impacted. Any new regulations or guidance, or revisions or reinterpretations of existing regulations or guidance, may impose additional costs or lengthen FDA review times for BT-11, NX-13 or any future product candidates. We cannot determine how changes in regulations, statutes, policies, or interpretations when and if issued, enacted or adopted, may affect our business in the future. Such changes could, among other things, require:

 

 

additional clinical trials to be conducted prior to obtaining approval;

 

 

changes to manufacturing methods;

 

 

recalls, replacements, or discontinuance of one or more of our products; and

 

 

additional recordkeeping.

Such changes would likely require substantial time and impose significant costs, or could reduce the potential commercial value of BT-11, NX-13 or other product candidates, and could materially harm our business and our financial results. In addition, delays in receipt of or failure to receive regulatory clearances or approvals for any other products would harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Further, we cannot predict the likelihood, nature, or extent of healthcare reform initiatives that may arise from future legislation or administrative action, particularly as a result of the recent U.S. presidential election.

Our business activities will be subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, and similar anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws.

As we expand our business activities outside of the United States, including our clinical trial efforts, we will be subject to the FCPA and similar anti-bribery or anti-corruption laws, regulations or rules of other countries in which we operate. The FCPA generally prohibits offering, promising, giving, or authorizing others to give anything of value, either directly or indirectly, to a non-United States government official in order to influence official action, or otherwise obtain or retain business. The FCPA also requires public companies to make and keep books and records that accurately and fairly reflect the transactions of the corporation and to devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls. Our business is heavily regulated and therefore involves significant interaction with public officials, including officials of non-United States governments. Additionally, in many other countries, the healthcare providers who prescribe pharmaceuticals are employed by their government, and the purchasers of pharmaceuticals are government entities; therefore, our dealings with these prescribers and purchasers will be subject to regulation under the FCPA. Recently the SEC and Department of Justice have increased their FCPA enforcement activities with respect to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. There is no certainty that all of our employees, agents, suppliers, manufacturers, contractors, or collaborators, or those of our affiliates, will comply with all applicable laws and regulations, particularly given the high level of complexity of these laws. Violations of these laws and regulations could result in fines, criminal sanctions against us, our officers, or our employees, the closing down of facilities, including those of our suppliers and manufacturers, requirements to obtain export licenses, cessation of business activities in sanctioned countries, implementation of compliance programs, and prohibitions on the

 

53


Table of Contents

conduct of our business. Any such violations could include prohibitions on our ability to offer our products in one or more countries as well as difficulties in manufacturing or continuing to develop our products, and could materially damage our reputation, our brand, our international expansion efforts, our ability to attract and retain employees, and our business, prospects, operating results, and financial condition.

Risks related to employee matters and managing our growth

Our future success depends on our ability to retain key executives and to attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel.

We are highly dependent on the management, development, clinical, financial and business development expertise of our executive officers, particularly Dr. Josep Bassaganya-Riera, our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. Each of our executive officers may currently terminate their employment with us at any time. We do not maintain “key person” insurance for any of our executives or employees.

Recruiting and retaining qualified scientific and clinical personnel and, if we progress the development of our product pipeline toward scaling up for commercialization, manufacturing and sales and marketing personnel, will also be critical to our success. The loss of the services of our executive officers or other key employees could impede the achievement of our development and commercialization objectives and seriously harm our ability to successfully implement our business strategy. Furthermore, replacing executive officers and key employees may be difficult and may take an extended period of time because of the limited number of individuals in our industry with the breadth of skills and experience required to successfully develop, gain regulatory approval of and commercialize products. Competition to hire from this limited pool is intense, and we may be unable to hire, train, retain or motivate these key personnel on acceptable terms given the competition among numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for similar personnel. We also experience competition for the hiring of scientific and clinical personnel from universities and research institutions. In addition, we rely on consultants and advisors, including scientific and clinical advisors, to assist us in formulating our development and commercialization strategy. Our consultants and advisors may be employed by employers other than us and may have commitments under consulting or advisory contracts with other entities that may limit their availability to us. If we are unable to continue to attract and retain high quality personnel, our ability to pursue our growth strategy will be limited.

We expect to expand our clinical development and regulatory capabilities and potentially implement sales, marketing and distribution capabilities, and as a result, we may encounter difficulties in managing our growth, which could disrupt our operations.

As of September 30, 2020, we had 33 employees. As our development progresses, we expect to experience significant growth in the number of our employees and the scope of our operations, particularly in the areas of clinical product development, regulatory affairs and, if any of our product candidates receives marketing approval, sales, marketing and distribution. To manage our anticipated future growth, we must continue to implement and improve our managerial, operational and financial systems, expand our facilities and continue to recruit and train additional qualified personnel. Due to our limited financial resources and the limited experience of our management team in managing a company with such anticipated growth, we may not be able to effectively manage the expansion of our operations or recruit and train additional qualified personnel. The expansion of our operations may lead to significant costs and may divert our management and business development resources. Any inability to manage growth could delay the execution of our business plans or disrupt our operations.

 

54


Table of Contents

Our employees, independent contractors, consultants, commercial collaborators, principal investigators, CROs, suppliers and vendors may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including non-compliance with regulatory standards and requirements.

We are exposed to the risk that our employees, independent contractors, consultants, commercial collaborators, principal investigators, CROs, suppliers and vendors may engage in fraudulent conduct or other illegal activity. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional, reckless and/or negligent conduct or disclosure of unauthorized activities to us that violates FDA regulations, including those laws requiring the reporting of true, complete and accurate information to the FDA, manufacturing standards, federal and state healthcare laws and regulations, and laws that require the true, complete and accurate reporting of financial information or data. In particular, sales, marketing and business arrangements in the healthcare industry are subject to extensive laws and regulations intended to prevent fraud, kickbacks, self-dealing and other abusive practices. These laws and regulations may restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, sales commission, customer incentive programs and other business arrangements. Misconduct by these parties could also involve the improper use of individually identifiable information, including, without limitation, information obtained in the course of clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions and serious harm to our reputation. We have adopted a code of business conduct and ethics, but it is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to be in compliance with such laws or regulations. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, including, without limitation, damages, fines, disgorgement, imprisonment, exclusion from participation in government healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, additional reporting requirements and oversight if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or similar agreement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations.

Risks related to this offering, ownership of our common stock and our status as a public company

There has been no prior public market for our common stock. An active trading market for our common stock may not develop and you may not be able to resell your shares of our common stock at or above the initial offering price, if at all.

Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for our common stock. The initial public offering price for our common stock was determined through negotiations with the underwriters and may not be indicative of the price at which our common stock will trade after the closing of this offering. Although we have applied to list our common stock has on the Nasdaq Global Market, there is no guarantee that we will be approved for listing and an active trading market for our shares may never develop or be sustained following this offering. If an active market for our common stock does not develop or is not sustained, it may be difficult for you to sell shares you purchased in this offering at an attractive price or at all.

The trading price of the shares of our common stock may be volatile, and purchasers of our common stock could incur substantial losses.

Our stock price may be volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which we cannot control. The stock market in general and the market for biopharmaceutical companies in particular have experienced extreme volatility that has often been unrelated to the operating performance of particular

 

55


Table of Contents

companies. As a result of this volatility, investors may not be able to sell their common stock at or above the price paid for the shares. The market price for our common stock may be influenced by many factors, including:

 

 

the commencement, enrollment or results of our clinical trials of BT-11 or NX-13 or any future clinical trials we may conduct, or changes in the development status of our product candidates;

 

 

any delay in our regulatory filings for BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidate we may develop, and any adverse development or perceived adverse development with respect to the applicable regulatory authority’s review of such filings, including without limitation the FDA’s issuance of a “refusal to file” letter or a request for additional information;

 

 

the success of competitive products or announcements by potential competitors of their product development efforts;

 

 

adverse results from, delays in or termination of clinical trials;

 

 

adverse regulatory decisions, including failure to receive regulatory approval of our product candidates;

 

 

developments or disputes concerning patent applications, issued patents or other proprietary rights;

 

 

unanticipated serious safety concerns related to the use of BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidate;

 

 

changes in financial estimates by us or by any equity research analysts who might cover our stock;

 

 

conditions or trends in our industry;

 

 

changes in the market valuations of similar companies;

 

 

stock market price and volume fluctuations of comparable companies and, in particular, those that operate in the biopharmaceutical industry;

 

 

publication of research reports about us or our industry or positive or negative recommendations or withdrawal of research coverage by securities analysts;

 

 

announcements by us or our competitors of significant acquisitions, strategic collaborations, joint ventures, capital commitments or divestitures;

 

 

announcements of investigations or regulatory scrutiny of our operations or lawsuits filed against us;

 

 

investors’ general perception of our company and our business;

 

 

recruitment or departure of key personnel;

 

 

overall performance of the equity markets;

 

 

trading volume of our common stock;

 

 

sales of common stock by us, our insiders or our other stockholders;

 

 

expiration of market stand-off or lock-up agreements;

 

 

disputes or other developments relating to proprietary rights, including patents, litigation matters and our ability to obtain patent protection for our technologies;

 

 

significant lawsuits, including patent or stockholder litigation;

 

 

changes in the structure of healthcare payment systems;

 

 

general political and economic conditions; and

 

 

other events or factors, many of which are beyond our control.

 

56


Table of Contents

The stock market in general, and the Nasdaq Global Market and biotechnology companies in particular, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of these companies, including very recently in connection with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in decreased stock prices for many companies notwithstanding the lack of a fundamental change in their underlying business models or prospects. Broad market and industry factors, including potentially worsening economic conditions and other adverse effects or developments relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, may negatively affect the market price of our common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance. The realization of any of the above risks or any of a broad range of other risks, including those described in this section, could have a significant and material adverse impact on the market price of our common stock.

In addition, in the past, stockholders have initiated class action lawsuits against pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies following periods of volatility in the market prices of these companies’ stock. Such litigation, if instituted against us, could cause us to incur substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources from our business.

If you purchase shares of our common stock in this offering, you will suffer immediate dilution of your investment.

The initial public offering price of our common stock is substantially higher than the net tangible book value per share of our common stock. Therefore, if you purchase shares of our common stock in this offering, you will pay a price per share that substantially exceeds our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering. Based on the assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, you will experience immediate dilution of $12.94 per share, representing the difference between our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share as of September 30, 2020 and the assumed initial public offering price.

If equity research analysts do not publish research or reports, or publish unfavorable research or reports, about us, our business or our market, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our common stock will be influenced by the research and reports that equity research analysts publish about us, our business and our market. We do not currently have and may never obtain research coverage by securities or industry analysts, and such lack of research coverage may adversely affect the market price of our common stock. In the event we do have equity research analyst coverage, we will not have any control over the analysts or the content and opinions included in their reports. The price of our stock could decline if one or more equity research analysts downgrade our stock or issue other unfavorable commentary or research. If one or more equity research analysts ceases coverage of our company or fails to publish reports on us regularly, demand for our stock could decrease, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.

A significant portion of our total outstanding shares are restricted from immediate resale but may be sold into the market in the near future. This could cause the market price of our common stock to drop significantly, even if our business is doing well.

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market could occur at any time. If our stockholders sell, or the market perceives that our stockholders intend to sell, substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market, the market price of our common stock could decline significantly.

Upon the closing of this offering, we will have outstanding 39,163,174 shares of common stock, after giving effect to the automatic conversion of our redeemable convertible preferred stock outstanding as of December 31, 2019 into 20,549,478 shares of our common stock, and assuming no exercise of outstanding options or other outstanding warrants to purchase shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock. Of these 39,163,174 shares, the shares sold in this offering will be freely tradable and substantially all of the

 

57


Table of Contents

additional shares of common stock will be available for sale in the public market beginning 180 days after the date of this prospectus following the expiration of lock-up agreements between some of our stockholders and the underwriters. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Jefferies LLC and SVB Leerink LLC may release these stockholders from their lock-up agreements with the underwriters at any time and without notice, which would allow for earlier sales of shares in the public market.

In addition, promptly following the closing of this offering, we intend to file one or more registration statements on Form S-8 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, registering the issuance of 5,416,956 shares of common stock subject to options or other equity awards issued or reserved for future issuance under our equity incentive plans. Shares registered under these registration statements on Form S-8 will be available for sale in the public market subject to vesting arrangements and exercise of options, the lock-up agreements described above and the restrictions of Rule 144 in the case of our affiliates.

Additionally, after this offering, the holders of an aggregate of 20,549,478 shares of our common stock, or their transferees, will have rights, subject to some conditions, to require us to file one or more registration statements covering their shares or to include their shares in registration statements that we may file for ourselves or other stockholders. If we were to register the resale of these shares, they could be freely sold in the public market. If these additional shares are sold, or if it is perceived that they will be sold, in the public market, the trading price of our common stock could decline.

Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our existing stockholders or restrict our operations.

We may seek additional capital through a variety of means, including through public or private equity, debt financings or other sources. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt or equity securities, your ownership interest will be diluted, and the terms may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a stockholder. Such financing may result in dilution to stockholders, imposition of debt covenants, increased fixed payment obligations or other restrictions that may affect our business. If we raise additional funds through up-front payments or milestone payments pursuant to strategic collaborations with third parties, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our product candidates, or grant licenses on terms that are not favorable to us. In addition, we may seek additional capital due to favorable market conditions or strategic considerations even if we believe we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans.

Provisions in our corporate charter documents and under Delaware law may prevent or frustrate attempts by our stockholders to change our management and hinder efforts to acquire a controlling interest in us, and the market price of our common stock may be lower as a result.

There are provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws that may make it difficult for a third party to acquire, or attempt to acquire, control of our company, even if a change of control was considered favorable by you and other stockholders. For example, our board of directors has the authority to issue up to 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock. The board of directors can fix the price, rights, preferences, privileges, and restrictions of the preferred stock without any further vote or action by our stockholders. The issuance of shares of preferred stock may delay or prevent a change of control transaction. As a result, the market price of our common stock and the voting and other rights of our stockholders may be adversely affected. An issuance of shares of preferred stock may result in the loss of voting control to other stockholders.

Our charter documents also contain other provisions that could have an anti-takeover effect, including:

 

 

only one of our three classes of directors will be elected each year;

 

 

stockholders will not be entitled to remove directors other than by a 66 2/3% vote and only for cause;

 

 

stockholders will not be permitted to take actions by written consent;

 

 

stockholders cannot call a special meeting of stockholders; and

 

58


Table of Contents
 

stockholders must give advance notice to nominate directors or submit proposals for consideration at stockholder meetings.

In addition, we are subject to the anti-takeover provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which regulates corporate acquisitions by prohibiting Delaware corporations from engaging in specified business combinations with particular stockholders of those companies. These provisions could discourage potential acquisition proposals and could delay or prevent a change of control transaction. They could also have the effect of discouraging others from making tender offers for our common stock, including transactions that may be in your best interests. These provisions may also prevent changes in our management or limit the price that investors are willing to pay for our stock.

Concentration of ownership of our common stock among our existing executive officers, directors and principal stockholders may prevent new investors from influencing significant corporate decisions.

Our executive officers, directors and current beneficial owners of 5% or more of our common stock and their respective affiliates beneficially own 89% of our outstanding common stock. As a result, these persons, acting together, would be able to significantly influence all matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election and removal of directors, any merger, consolidation, sale of all or substantially all of our assets, or other significant corporate transactions.

Some of these persons or entities may have interests different than yours. For example, because many of these stockholders purchased their shares at prices substantially below the current market price of our common stock and have held their shares for a longer period, they may be more interested in selling our company to an acquirer than other investors, or they may want us to pursue strategies that deviate from the interests of other stockholders.

We are an “emerging growth company” and a “smaller reporting company” and, as a result of the reduced disclosure and governance requirements applicable to emerging growth companies and smaller reporting companies, our common stock may be less attractive to investors.

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act, and we intend to take advantage of some of the exemptions from reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, including:

 

 

not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements in the assessment of our internal control over financial reporting;

 

 

not being required to comply with any requirement that may be adopted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding mandatory audit firm rotation or a supplement to the auditor’s report providing additional information about the audit and the financial statements;

 

 

reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports, proxy statements and registration statements; and

 

 

not being required to hold a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved.

We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive because we will rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile. We may take advantage of these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an emerging growth company. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of (1) the last day of the fiscal year (a) following the fifth anniversary of the closing of our initial public offering, (b) in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.07 billion, or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which means the market value of our common stock

 

59


Table of Contents

that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the prior June 30th, and (2) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period.

Under Section 107(b) of the JOBS Act, emerging growth companies can delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have irrevocably elected not to avail ourselves of this exemption from new or revised accounting standards and, therefore, we will be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not emerging growth companies. Even after we no longer qualify as an emerging growth company, we may, under certain circumstances, still qualify as a “smaller reporting company,” which would allow us to take advantage of many of the same exemptions from disclosure requirements, including reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements.

If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, our ability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis could be impaired.

After the closing of this offering, we will be subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the rules and regulations of the stock market on which our common stock is listed. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting.

Commencing with our fiscal year ending December 31, 2020, we must perform system and process evaluation and testing of our internal control over financial reporting to allow management to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in our Form 10-K filing for that year, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This will require that we incur substantial additional professional fees and internal costs to expand our accounting and finance functions and that we expend significant management efforts. Prior to this offering, we have never been required to test our internal control within a specified period, and, as a result, we may experience difficulty in meeting these reporting requirements in a timely manner.

We may identify weaknesses in our system of internal financial and accounting controls and procedures that could result in a material misstatement of our financial statements. Our internal control over financial reporting will not prevent or detect all errors and all fraud. A control system, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the control system’s objectives will be met. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that misstatements due to error or fraud will not occur or that all control issues and instances of fraud will be detected.

If we are not able to comply with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a timely manner, or if we are unable to maintain proper and effective internal controls, we may not be able to produce timely and accurate financial statements. If that were to happen, the market price of our stock could decline and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the stock exchange on which our common stock is listed, the Securities and Exchange Commission or other regulatory authorities.

We will have broad discretion in the use of proceeds from this offering and may invest or spend the proceeds in ways with which you do not agree and in ways that may not increase the value of your investment.

We will have broad discretion over the use of proceeds from this offering. You may not agree with our decisions, and our use of the proceeds may not yield any return on your investment. We expect to use the net proceeds to us from this offering, together with our existing cash and cash equivalents, to advance the development of our lead product candidate, BT-11, and NX-13, and the remainder, if any, for working capital and other general corporate purposes. In addition, we may use a portion of the proceeds from this offering to pursue our strategy to in-license or acquire additional product candidates. Our failure to apply the net proceeds from this offering effectively could compromise our ability to pursue our growth strategy and we might not be able to yield a

 

60


Table of Contents

significant return, if any, on our investment of these net proceeds. You will not have the opportunity to influence our decisions on how to use our net proceeds from this offering.

Our effective tax rate may fluctuate, and we may incur obligations in tax jurisdictions in excess of accrued amounts.

We are subject to taxation in more than one tax jurisdiction. As a result, our effective tax rate is derived from a combination of applicable tax rates in the various places that we operate. In preparing our financial statements, we estimate the amount of tax that will become payable in each of such places. Nevertheless, our effective tax rate may be different than experienced in the past due to numerous factors, including passage of the newly enacted federal income tax law, changes in the mix of our profitability from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the results of examinations and audits of our tax filings, our inability to secure or sustain acceptable agreements with tax authorities, changes in accounting for income taxes and changes in tax laws. Any of these factors could cause us to experience an effective tax rate significantly different from previous periods or our current expectations and may result in tax obligations in excess of amounts accrued in our financial statements.

Our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes to offset future taxable income may be subject to certain limitations.

Our net operating loss carryforwards, or NOLs, and certain other tax attributes could expire unused and be unavailable to offset future income tax liabilities because of their limited duration or because of restrictions under U.S. tax law. Our NOLs generated in the taxable year ended on or before December 31, 2017 are only permitted to be carried forward for 20 taxable years under applicable U.S. federal tax law. As of December 31, 2019, we had U.S. federal and state NOLs of $15.4 million and $15.4 million, respectively. The federal NOLs include $1.9 million that may be used to offset up to 100% of future taxable income and will begin to expire in 2037, unless previously utilized. We have a full valuation allowance for deferred tax assets including NOLs. Under the Tax Act, as modified by the CARES Act, federal net operating losses incurred in taxable years ended after December 31, 2017 and in future years may be carried forward indefinitely, but the deductibility of federal net operating losses generated in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and particularly for tax years beginning after December 31, 2020, is limited.

In addition, under Section 382 of the Code, and corresponding provisions of state law, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change,” which is generally defined as a cumulative change, by value, in our ownership by “5-percent stockholders” that exceeds 50 percentage points over a rolling three-year period, the corporation’s ability to use its pre-change NOLs and other pre-change tax attributes to offset its post-change income or taxes may be limited. We have not determined whether we have undergone an ownership change in the past or if we will undergo an ownership change as a result of this offering. If an ownership change occurs and our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards is materially limited, it would harm our future operating results by effectively increasing our future tax obligations.

Because we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future, capital appreciation, if any, will be your sole source of gains and you may never receive a return on your investment.

You should not rely on an investment in our common stock to provide dividend income. We have not declared or paid cash dividends on our common stock to date. We currently intend to retain our future earnings, if any, to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, capital appreciation, if any, of our common stock will be your sole source of gain for the foreseeable future. Investors seeking cash dividends should not purchase our common stock.

We will incur increased costs and demands upon management as a result of being a public company.

As a public company listed in the United States, we will incur significant additional legal, accounting and other costs, which we anticipate could be between $1.0 million and $2.0 million annually. These additional costs could

 

61


Table of Contents

negatively affect our financial results. In addition, changing laws, regulations and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure, including regulations implemented by the SEC and The Nasdaq Stock Market, may increase legal and financial compliance costs and make some activities more time-consuming. These laws, regulations and standards are subject to varying interpretations and, as a result, their application in practice may evolve over time as new guidance is provided by regulatory and governing bodies. We intend to invest resources to comply with evolving laws, regulations and standards, and this investment may result in increased general and administrative expenses and a diversion of management’s time and attention from revenue-generating activities to compliance activities. If notwithstanding our efforts to comply with new laws, regulations and standards, we fail to comply, regulatory authorities may initiate legal proceedings against us and our business may be harmed.

Failure to comply with these rules might also make it more difficult for us to obtain some types of insurance, including director and officer liability insurance, and we might be forced to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. The impact of these events could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors, on committees of our board of directors or as members of senior management.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forums for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (2) any action asserting a claim for breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders, (3) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws or (4) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation further provides that the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act.

These exclusive forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and other employees. For example, stockholders who do bring a claim in the Court of Chancery could face additional litigation costs in pursuing any such claim, particularly if they do not reside in or near the State of Delaware. The Court of Chancery and federal district courts may also reach different judgments or results than would other courts, including courts where a stockholder considering an action may be located or would otherwise choose to bring the action, and such judgments or results may be more favorable to us than to our stockholders. Some companies that adopted a similar federal district court forum selection provision are currently subject to a suit in the Chancery Court of Delaware by stockholders who assert that the provision is not enforceable. If a court were to find either choice of forum provision contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business and financial condition.

There is uncertainty as to whether a court would enforce such provisions, and the enforceability of similar choice of forum provisions in other companies’ charter documents has been challenged in legal proceedings. While the Delaware courts have determined that such choice of forum provisions are facially valid, a stockholder may nevertheless seek to bring a claim in a venue other than those designated in the exclusive forum provisions, and there can be no assurance that such provisions will be enforced by a court in those other jurisdictions. If a court were to find these types of provisions to be inapplicable or unenforceable, and if a court were to find the exclusive forum provision in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving the dispute in other jurisdictions, which could materially adversely affect our business.

 

62


Table of Contents

Special note regarding forward-looking statements

This prospectus contains forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. Any statements contained herein that are not statements of historical facts may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are contained principally in the sections entitled “Prospectus summary,” “Risk factors,” “ Management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations,” “Business” and elsewhere in this prospectus. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “could,” “intend,” “target,” “project,” “estimate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions intended to identify statements about the future. These statements speak only as of the date of this prospectus and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements about the following:

 

 

the timing, progress and results of our clinical trials of BT-11, NX-13 and any other product candidates, including statements regarding the timing of initiation and completion of studies or trials and related preparatory work, the period during which the results of the trials will become available and our research and development programs;

 

 

the timing of any submission of filings for regulatory approval of, and our ability to obtain and maintain regulatory approvals for, BT-11, NX-13 and any other product candidates for any indication;

 

 

our expectations regarding the size of the patient populations, market acceptance and opportunity for and clinical utility of our product candidates, if approved for commercial use;

 

 

our manufacturing capabilities and strategy, including the scalability and commercial viability of our manufacturing methods and processes;

 

 

our expectations regarding the scope of any approved indication for BT-11, NX-13 or any other product candidate;

 

 

our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates;

 

 

our ability to leverage our LANCE platform to identify and develop future product candidates;

 

 

our estimates of our expenses, ongoing losses, future revenue, capital requirements and our needs for or ability to obtain additional funding;

 

 

our ability to establish or maintain collaborations or strategic relationships;

 

 

our ability to identify, recruit and retain key personnel;

 

 

our ability to protect and enforce our intellectual property position for our product candidates, and the scope of such protection;

 

 

our financial performance;

 

 

our expected use of proceeds from this offering;

 

 

our competitive position and the development of and projections relating to our competitors or our industry;

 

63


Table of Contents
 

the impact of laws and regulations;

 

 

the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; and

 

 

our expectations regarding the time during which we will be an emerging growth company under the JOBS Act.

Because forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified and some of which are beyond our control, you should not rely on these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The events and circumstances reflected in our forward-looking statements may not be achieved or occur and actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. You should refer to the ‘‘Risk factors’’ section of this prospectus for a discussion of important factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors and uncertainties may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties. As a result of these factors, we cannot assure you that the forward-looking statements in this prospectus will prove to be accurate. Except as required by applicable law, we do not plan to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements contained herein, whether as a result of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise. You should, however, review the factors and risks and other information we describe in the reports we will file from time to time with the SEC after the date of this prospectus.

You should read this prospectus and the documents that we reference in this prospectus and have filed as exhibits to the registration statement, of which this prospectus is a part, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

 

64


Table of Contents

Industry and other data

Unless otherwise indicated, the industry, statistical and market data in this prospectus are based on our own internal estimates and research as well as from industry and general publications and research, surveys and studies conducted by third parties. All of the market data used in this prospectus involve a number of assumptions and limitations, and the sources of such data cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information. While we believe that each of these studies and publications is reliable, the industry in which we operate is subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risk due to a variety of important factors, including those described in the section titled “Risk factors.” These and other factors could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed in the estimates made by third parties and by us.

 

65


Table of Contents

Use of proceeds

We estimate that the net proceeds to us from our issuance and sale of 6,250,000 shares of our common stock in this offering will be approximately $91.2 million (or $105.2 million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares), assuming an initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) the net proceeds to us from this offering by approximately $5.8 million, assuming the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Each increase (decrease) of 1.0 million in the number of shares we are offering would increase (decrease) the net proceeds to us from this offering, after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, by approximately $14.9 million, assuming the assumed initial public offering price stays the same.

We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, as follows:

 

 

approximately $55 million to advance the development of our lead product candidate, BT-11;

 

 

approximately $20 million to advance the development of NX-13; and

 

 

the remainder for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

We may also use a portion of the remaining net proceeds to in-license, acquire or invest in complementary businesses, technologies, products or assets, although we have no current agreements, commitments or understandings to do so.

We believe that the net proceeds of this offering, together with through our existing cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, will enable us to fund our operations into 2023. Based on our current operational plans and assumptions, we expect our cash and cash equivalents, together with the net proceeds from this offering, will be sufficient to allow us to complete our Phase 3 trial for BT-11 in UC, Phase 2 trial for CD, Phase 1 trial for NX-13 in CD and Phase 2 trial for NX-13 in UC. We have based this estimate on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could use our available capital resources sooner than we expect. After this offering, we will require substantial capital in order to advance our current and future product candidates through clinical trials, regulatory approval and, if approved, commercialization. We may satisfy our future cash needs through the sale of equity securities, debt financings, working capital lines of credit, corporate collaborations or license agreements, grant funding, interest income earned on invested cash balances, or a combination of one or more of these sources.

This expected use of net proceeds from this offering and our existing cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities represents our intentions based upon our current plans and business conditions, which could change in the future as our plans and business conditions evolve. The amounts and timing of our actual expenditures may vary significantly depending on numerous factors, including the progress of our development, the status of and results from clinical trials, as well as any collaborations that we may enter into with third parties for our drug candidates, and any unforeseen cash needs.

 

66


Table of Contents

As a result, our management will have broad discretion in the application of the net proceeds from this offering, and investors will be relying on the judgment of our management regarding the application of those net proceeds. The timing and amount of our actual expenditures will be based on many factors, including cash flows from operations and the anticipated growth of our business. Pending these uses, we plan to invest these net proceeds in short-term, interest bearing obligations, investment-grade instruments, certificates of deposit or direct or guaranteed obligations of the United States.

 

67


Table of Contents

Dividend policy

We have never declared or paid, and do not anticipate declaring or paying, in the foreseeable future, any cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain all available funds and any future earnings to support our operations and finance the growth and development of our business. Any future determination related to our dividend policy will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon, among other factors, our results of operations, financial condition, capital requirements, contractual restrictions, business prospects and other factors our board of directors may deem relevant.

 

68


Table of Contents

Capitalization

The following table sets forth our cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, and our capitalization as of September 30, 2020:

 

 

on an actual basis;

 

 

on a pro forma basis to give effect to:

 

   

the conversion of all outstanding shares of our convertible preferred stock into an aggregate of 20,549,478 shares of our common stock, which will occur immediately prior to the closing of this offering; and

 

   

the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, which will occur immediately prior to the closing of this offering; and

 

 

on a pro forma as adjusted basis to give further effect to our issuance and sale of 6,250,000 shares of common stock in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

Our capitalization following the closing of this offering will depend on the actual initial public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing. You should read this information in conjunction with our financial statements and the related notes appearing at the end of this prospectus, the “Management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations” section and other financial information contained in this prospectus.

 

   
     As of September 30, 2020  
(in thousands, except share and per share data)    Actual     Pro forma     Pro forma
as adjusted
 
     (unaudited)     (unaudited)     (unaudited)  

Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities

   $ 35,331     $ 35,331     $ 126,660  
  

 

 

 

Convertible preferred stock, $0.01 par value; 11,260,608 shares authorized, issued and outstanding, actual; no shares authorized, issued or outstanding, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted

   $ 73,037     $     $  

Stockholders’ (deficit) equity:

      

Preferred stock, $0.01 par value; no shares authorized, issued or outstanding, actual; 10,000,000 shares authorized and no shares issued or outstanding, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted

      

Common stock, $0.01 par value; 37,410,450 shares authorized, 12,363,697 shares issued and outstanding, actual; 200,000,000 shares authorized, 32,913,174 shares issued and outstanding, pro forma; 200,000,000 shares authorized, 39,163,174 shares issued and outstanding, pro forma as adjusted

     67       272       335  

Additional paid-in capital

     51       72,883       164,038  

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

     36       36       36  

Accumulated deficit

     (44,388     (44,388     (44,388
  

 

 

 

Total stockholders’ (deficit) equity

     (44,234     28,803       120,021  
  

 

 

 

Total capitalization

   $ 28,803     $ 28,803     $ 120,021  

 

 

 

69


Table of Contents

Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) the pro forma as adjusted amount of each of cash and cash equivalents, additional paid in capital, total stockholders’ equity and total capitalization by approximately $5.8 million, assuming that the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Similarly, each increase (decrease) of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares offered by us at the assumed initial public offering price per share of $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) the pro forma as adjusted amount of each of additional paid in capital, total stockholders’ equity and total capitalization by approximately $14.9 million.

The number of shares of our common stock outstanding in the table above excludes:

 

 

7,205,190 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2019 Plan as of the closing of this offering, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under the 2019 Plan;

 

 

388,703 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the ESPP, which will become effective in connection with this offering, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under the ESPP;

 

 

1,653,432 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of options under our 2019 Plan granted subsequent to September 30, 2020, at an exercise price of $1.86 per share; and

 

 

638,076 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of stock options to be granted to certain of our officers and employees on the date hereof under the 2019 Plan at an exercise price equal to the initial public offering price per share.

 

70


Table of Contents

Dilution

If you invest in our common stock in this offering, your ownership interest will be immediately diluted to the extent of the difference between the initial public offering price per share and the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share of our common stock immediately after this offering.

As of September 30, 2020, we had a historical net tangible book value (deficit) of $(44.2) million, or $(3.58) per share of common stock. Our historical net tangible book value per share represents total tangible assets less total liabilities and convertible preferred stock, divided by the number of shares of our common stock outstanding as of September 30, 2020.

Our pro forma net tangible book value as of September 30, 2020 was $28.8 million, or $0.88 per share of our common stock. Pro forma net tangible book value represents the amount of our total tangible assets less our total liabilities, after giving effect to the conversion of all shares of our convertible preferred stock into an aggregate of 20,549,478 shares of our common stock, which will occur immediately prior to the closing of this offering. Pro forma net tangible book value per share represents pro forma net tangible book value divided by the total number of shares outstanding as of September 30, 2020, after giving effect to the pro forma adjustment described above.

After giving further effect to the sale of 6,250,000 shares of common stock in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value as of September 30, 2020 would have been approximately $120.0 million, or approximately $3.06 per share. This amount represents an immediate increase in pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value of $2.18 per share to our existing stockholders and immediate dilution of approximately $12.94 per share to new investors in this offering. We determine dilution by subtracting the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering from the amount of cash that a new investor paid for a share of common stock in this offering.

The following table illustrates this dilution on a per share basis:

 

     

Assumed initial public offering price per share

     $ 16.00  

Historical net tangible book value (deficit) per share as of September 30, 2020

   $ (3.58  

Increase in net tangible book value per share attributable to the pro forma adjustments described above

     4.46    
  

 

 

   

Pro forma net tangible book value per share as of September 30, 2020

     0.88    

Increase in pro forma net tangible book value per share attributable to new investors participating in this offering

     2.18    
  

 

 

   

Pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering

       3.06  
    

 

 

 

Dilution per share to new investors participating in this offering

     $ 12.94  

 

 

Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering by approximately $0.15, and dilution in pro forma net tangible book value per share to new investors by approximately $(0.15), assuming that the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. An increase of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares we are offering would increase the pro forma as

 

71


Table of Contents

adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering by $0.37 and decrease the dilution per share to new investors participating in this offering by $(0.37), assuming no change in the assumed initial public offering price per share and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions. A decrease of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares we are offering would decrease the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering by $(0.39) and increase the dilution per share to new investors participating in this offering by $0.39, assuming no change in the assumed initial public offering price per share and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions.

If the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of our common stock in full, the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value after this offering would be $3.34 per share, the increase in pro forma net tangible book value per share would be $2.46 and the immediate dilution per share to new investors would be $12.66 per share, in each case assuming an initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus.

The following table summarizes, as of September 30, 2020, on the pro forma as adjusted basis described above, the differences between the number of shares purchased from us, the total consideration paid, or to be paid, to us in cash and the average price per share paid by existing stockholders and to be paid by new investors in this offering. The calculation below is based on an assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, before deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

 

       
    

 

Shares purchased

    

 

Total consideration

     Weighted
average
price
per share
 
      Number      Percent      Amount      Percent  

Existing stockholders before this offering

     32,913,174        84.0%      $ 70,253,541        41.3%      $ 2.13  

New investors participating in this offering

     6,250,000        16.0        100,000,000        58.7        16.00  
  

 

 

    

Total

     39,163,174        100%      $ 170,253,541        100%     

 

 

Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) the total consideration paid by new investors and total consideration paid by all stockholders by approximately $5.8 million, assuming that the number of shares of common stock offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

The table above assumes no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares in this offering. If the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares is exercised in full, the number of shares of our common stock held by existing stockholders would be reduced to 82.1% of the total number of shares of our common stock outstanding after this offering, and the number of shares of common stock held by new investors purchasing common stock in this offering would be increased to 17.9% of the total number of shares of our common stock outstanding after this offering.

The foregoing tables and calculations are based on the number of shares of our common stock outstanding as of September 30, 2020, and excludes:

 

 

7,205,190 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2019 Plan, as of the closing of this offering, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under the 2019 Plan;

 

72


Table of Contents
 

388,703 shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under the ESPP, which will become effective in connection with this offering, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under the ESPP; and

 

 

1,653,432 shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of options under our 2019 Plan granted subsequent to September 30, 2020, at an exercise price of $1.86 per share; and

 

 

638,076 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of stock options to be granted to certain of our officers and employees on the date hereof under the 2019 Plan at an exercise price equal to the initial public offering price per share.

To the extent that stock options are exercised, new stock options are issued under our equity incentive plan, or we issue additional shares of common stock in the future, there will be further dilution to investors participating in this offering. In addition, we may choose to raise additional capital because of market conditions or strategic considerations, even if we believe that we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans. If we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, the issuance of these securities could result in further dilution to our stockholders.

 

73


Table of Contents

Selected consolidated financial data

The following tables summarize our selected consolidated financial data. You should read the following selected consolidated financial data together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto included elsewhere in this prospectus and the “Management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations” sections of this prospectus. We have derived the consolidated statement of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019 from our audited consolidated financial statements appearing at the end of this prospectus. We have derived the following consolidated statement of operations data for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020 and the balance sheet data as of September 30, 2020 from our unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements appearing at the end of this prospectus. The unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements reflect, in the opinion of management, adjustments of a normal, recurring nature that are necessary for a fair statement of the unaudited interim consolidated financial statements. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results that should be expected in the future.

 

     

(in thousands, except share and per share data)

   Year ended December 31,     Nine months ended
September  30,
 
   2018     2019     2019     2020  
                 (unaudited)  

Consolidated statement of operations data:

        

Operating expenses:

        

Research and development

   $ 6,803     $ 11,812     $ 8,455     $ 15,379  

General and administrative

     1,136       1,478       1,097       3,898  
  

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     7,939       13,290       9,552       19,277  
  

 

 

 

Loss from operations

     (7,939     (13,290     (9,552     (19,277

Other income (expense):

        

Research and development incentive income

     2,005                    

Interest expense

     (4     (304     (304      

Loss from foreign exchange

     (106     (33     (103     37  

Other income, net

           160             437  
  

 

 

 

Other income (expense), net

     1,895       (177     (407     474  
  

 

 

 

Net loss

   $ (6,044   $ (13,467   $ (9,959   $ (18,803
  

 

 

 

Net loss per share, basic and diluted(1)

   $ (0.59   $ (1.18   $ (0.88   $ (1.56
  

 

 

 

Weighted average common shares outstanding, basic and diluted

     10,288,614       11,393,549       11,296,356       12,068,517  
  

 

 

 

Pro forma net loss per share, basic and diluted (unaudited)(1)

     $ (0.58     $ (0.58
  

 

 

 

Pro forma weighted average common shares outstanding, basic and diluted (unaudited)(1)

       23,103,285         32,618,001  
  

 

 

 

Net loss

   $ (6,044   $ (13,467   $ (9,959   $ (18,803

Unrealized gain (loss) on available-for-sale securities

           (77           113  
  

 

 

 

Comprehensive loss

   $ (6,044   $ (13,544   $ (9,959   $ (18,690

 

 

 

(1)   See Note 10 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for an explanation of the method used to calculate pro forma net loss per share and pro forma weighted average common shares outstanding.

 

74


Table of Contents
     
     As of December 31,     Nine months ended
September 30, 2020
 
(in thousands)    2018      2019  
                  (Unaudited)  

Balance sheet data:

       

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 359      $ 9,808     $ 2,477  

Working capital(1)

     696        47,084       27,618  

Total assets

     2,796        50,480       36,762  

Convertible preferred stock

            73,037       73,037  

Total stockholders’ equity (deficit)

     1,000        (25,583     (44,234

 

 

 

(1)   We define working capital as current assets less current liabilities. See our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

75


Table of Contents

Management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations

Overview

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of oral therapeutics for patients with autoimmune diseases that are the first to target new mechanisms of action, including the LANCL2, NLRX1 and PLXDC2 immunometabolic pathways. Our core expertise is in the development of therapeutic candidates that target novel pathways at the interface of immunity and metabolism. Based on our understanding of the role that a cell’s metabolic pathways have on modulating inflammatory responses, we aim to inhibit these inflammatory responses by changing the metabolic processes in target cells. We leverage our proprietary AI-based precision medicine platform, which we refer to as our LANCE platform, to identify novel therapeutic targets based on predictions of immunometabolic function and create therapeutic candidates to engage those targets in areas of unmet medical need. Through our LANCE platform, we have identified seven novel immunometabolic targets and product candidates to date across 14 indications, including ulcerative colitis, or UC, Crohn’s disease, or CD, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, eosinophilic esophagitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetic neuropathy and type 1 diabetes.

We have completed the induction phase of a Phase 2 clinical trial of our lead product candidate, BT-11, for mild to moderate UC in the United States, Russia and Europe to evaluate the efficacy and safety of BT-11 in UC patients. Data from the induction stage of this Phase 2 trial demonstrated that BT-11 was gut-restricted and well tolerated, with no treatment-related significant adverse events and a similar adverse event profile across placebo and BT-11 groups. In the intent-to-treat population, we observed a positive trend in absolute clinical remission rates as defined by the 3-component modified Mayo Score, using a stool frequency subscore of 0 or 1, a rectal bleeding subscore of 0 and an endoscopic subscore of 0 or 1 following 12 weeks of oral treatment with BT-11 at 1,000 mg once daily, or QD, or 500 mg QD compared to placebo (31.8% and 30.3 versus 22.7%; p=0.340 and 0.235). Although the Phase 2 trial did not include a biologic comparator arm, the resulting placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates of 9.1% and 7.6% for the 1,000 and 500 mg dose groups, respectively, were consistent with standard of care treatments in both mild to moderate and moderate to severe UC. In a more moderate subset of patients (with Mayo score equal to or greater than 7 at baseline) the placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates were 11.5% (p=0.153) and 8.7% (p=0.273) for the 1,000 mg (n=47) and 500 mg (n=44) dose groups, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=50). Additionally, in a small subset of biologic experienced patients, positive placebo-adjusted remission trends were also observed (66.6% and 33.3% in the 1,000 mg (n=3) and 500 mg (n=3) cohorts, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=3, 0%)). Based on these data, we expect to commence an integrated Phase 3 trial of BT-11 in UC patients in the United States, Russia, Asia, and Europe in the first half of 2021, subject to review of the complete Phase 2 data and FDA feedback, and we expect to discuss with the FDA the pathway for further development of BT-11 in UC patients.

Through our LANCE platform, we have progressed BT-11 from initial discovery to an ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial in less than three years, and in a capital efficient manner. We have progressed NX-13 from initial discovery to a Phase 1a clinical trial in less than 18 months. We have initiated a new clinical trial every year for the last three years. In addition to the LANCL2, NLRX1 and PLXDC2 pathways, the LANCE platform has identified four new targets in early preclinical stages of development. We intend to continue to leverage the LANCE platform to further advance a pipeline of product candidates for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, with the potential to file one to two investigational new drug applications, or INDs, per year over the next five years, including three new INDs in 2021.

We have a limited operating history. Since our inception in 2017, our operations have focused on developing our clinical and preclinical product candidates and our LANCE platform, organizing and staffing our company,

 

76


Table of Contents

business planning, raising capital, establishing our intellectual property portfolio and conducting clinical trials and preclinical studies. We do not have any product candidates approved for sale and have not generated any revenue from product sales. We have funded our operations primarily through the sale of equity securities. Since inception, we have raised an aggregate of $70.0 million of gross proceeds from the sale of shares of our preferred stock and convertible promissory notes.

Since inception, we have incurred significant operating losses. Our net loss was $6.0 million and $13.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019, respectively. Our net loss was $9.7 million and $18.8 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020, respectively. As of September 30, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $44.4 million. We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and operating losses for the foreseeable future. We anticipate that our expenses will increase significantly in connection with our ongoing activities, as we:

 

 

conduct our ongoing and planned clinical trials of BT-11 and NX-13, as well as initiate and complete additional clinical trials, as needed;

 

 

pursue regulatory approval of BT-11 and NX-13 for the treatment of UC and CD;

 

 

leverage our LANCE platform to discover and develop additional product candidates for the treatment of autoimmune diseases;

 

 

scale up our clinical and regulatory capabilities;

 

 

establish a commercialization infrastructure and scale up external manufacturing and distribution capabilities to commercialize any product candidates for which we may obtain regulatory approval, including BT-11 and NX-13;

 

 

adapt our regulatory compliance efforts to incorporate requirements applicable to marketed products;

 

 

maintain, expand and protect our intellectual property portfolio;

 

 

hire additional clinical, manufacturing and scientific personnel;

 

 

add operational, financial and management information systems and personnel, including personnel to support our product development and planned future commercialization efforts; and

 

 

incur additional legal, accounting and other expenses in operating as a public company.

Components of our results of operations

Research and development expenses

Research and development expenses consist primarily of costs incurred in connection with our research activities, including our discovery efforts, and the development of our product candidates, and include:

 

 

salaries, benefits, stock-based compensation and other related costs for personnel engaged in research and development functions;

 

 

expenses incurred under agreements with third parties, including CROs and other third parties that conduct research, preclinical activities and clinical trials on our behalf, as well as CMOs that manufacture drug material for use in our clinical trials and preclinical studies;

 

 

costs of outside consultants, including their fees, and related travel expenses;

 

77


Table of Contents
 

the costs of laboratory supplies and acquiring, developing and manufacturing preclinical and clinical trial supply; and

 

 

allocated expenses for rent and maintenance of facilities and other operating costs.

We expense research and development costs as incurred. We track external development costs by product candidate or development program, but we do not allocate personnel costs, or other internal costs to specific development programs or product candidates.

Research and development activities are central to our business model. Product candidates in later stages of clinical development generally have a higher development costs than those in earlier stages of clinical development, primarily due to the increased size and duration of later-stage clinical trials. We expect that our research and development expenses will continue to increase substantially for the foreseeable future and will comprise a larger percentage of our total expenses as we complete our ongoing clinical trials, initiate new clinical trials, continue to discover and develop additional product candidates and prepare regulatory filings for any product candidates that successfully complete clinical development.

The successful development of our product candidates is highly uncertain. At this time, we cannot determine with certainty the duration and costs of our existing and future clinical trials of our product candidates or any other product candidate we may develop or if, when, or to what extent we will generate revenue from the commercialization and sale of any product candidate for which we obtain marketing approval. We may never succeed in obtaining marketing approval for any product candidate. The duration, costs and timing of clinical trials and development of our product candidates and any other product candidate we may develop in the future will depend on a variety of factors, including:

 

 

per patient trial costs;

 

 

the number of patients who enroll in each trial;

 

 

the number of trials required for approval;

 

 

the number of sites included in the trials;

 

 

the countries in which the trials are conducted;

 

 

the length of time required to enroll eligible patients;

 

 

the drop-out or discontinuation rates of patients;

 

 

potential additional safety monitoring requested by regulatory agencies;

 

 

the duration of patient participation in the trials and follow-up;

 

 

the phase of development of the product candidate; and

 

 

the efficacy and safety profile of the product candidate.

Our expenditures are subject to additional uncertainties, including the terms and timing of regulatory approvals, and the expense of filing, prosecuting, defending and enforcing any patent claims or other intellectual property rights. We may never succeed in achieving regulatory approval for our product candidates. We may obtain unexpected results from our clinical trials. We may elect to discontinue, delay or modify clinical trials of our product candidates. A change in the outcome of any of these variables with respect to the development of a product candidate could mean a significant change in the costs and timing associated with the development of that product candidate. For example, if the FDA or another regulatory authority were to require

 

78


Table of Contents

us to conduct clinical trials beyond those that we anticipate will be required for the completion of clinical development of a product candidate, or if we experience significant delays in our clinical trials due to patient enrollment or other reasons, we would be required to expend significant additional financial resources and time on the completion of clinical development.

General and administrative expenses

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries and other related costs for personnel in our executive, finance, business development and administrative functions. General and administrative expenses also include legal fees relating to intellectual property and corporate matters, professional fees for accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services; insurance costs, travel expenses and facility-related expenses, which include direct depreciation costs and allocated expenses for rent and maintenance of facilities and other operating costs.

We expect that our general and administrative expenses will increase in the future as we increase our personnel headcount to support our expanded infrastructure, including the development of a commercialization infrastructure for any product candidates for which we may obtain regulatory approval. We also expect to incur increased expenses associated with being a public company, including costs of accounting, audit, legal, regulatory and tax-related services associated with maintaining compliance with stock exchange and SEC requirements, director and officer insurance costs and investor and public relations costs. We anticipate the additional costs for these services will increase our general and administrative expenses by between $1.0 million and $2.0 million on an annual basis.

Research and development incentive income

Research and development incentive income consists of tax incentive credits that our subsidiary Landos Australia is eligible to receive based on a percentage of certain research and development activities undertaken in Australia.

Interest expense

Interest expense consists of interest due on our convertible promissory notes that were outstanding during the period prior to the conversion of the notes into Series B convertible preferred stock in August 2019.

Income taxes

Since our inception in January 2017, we have generated cumulative federal and state net operating loss for which we have not recorded any net tax benefit due to uncertainty around utilizing these tax attributes within their respective carryforward periods.

As of December 31, 2019, we had federal net operating loss carryforwards, or NOLs, of $15.4 million and state NOLs of $15.4 million that may be available to offset future taxable income. The federal NOLs include $1.9 million available to reduce 100% of future taxable income, which will begin to expire in 2037, if not utilized, and $13.5 million, which can be carried forward indefinitely. The state NOLs will begin to expire in 2037, if not utilized.

Utilization of the net operating losses and credits may be subject to a substantial annual limitation due to ownership change limitations provided by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The annual limitation may result in the expiration of our net operating losses and credits before we can use them. We have

 

79


Table of Contents

recorded a valuation allowance on all of our deferred tax assets, including our deferred tax assets related to our net operating loss and research and development tax credit carryforwards.

Results of operations

Comparison of the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020

The following table summarizes our results of operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020:

 

   
     Nine months ended
September 30,
 
      2019     2020  
     (in thousands)  
     (unaudited)  

Operating expenses

    

Research and development

   $ 8,455     $ 15,379  

General and administrative

     1,097       3,898  
  

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     9,552       19,277  
  

 

 

 

Loss from operations

     (9,552     (19,277
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Other income (expense);

    

Interest expense

     (304      

Loss from foreign exchange

     (103     37  

Other income, net

           437  
  

 

 

 

Other income (expense), net

     (407     474  
  

 

 

 

Net loss

   $ (9,959   $ (18,803

 

 

Research and development expenses

Research and development expenses were $8.5 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 compared to $15.4 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2020. The increase of $6.9 million was primarily attributable to increased costs associated with ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial activities for BT-11.

The following table summarizes our research and development expenses by product candidate or development program for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2020:

 

   
     Nine months ended
September 30,
 
      2019      2020  
     (in thousands)  
     (unaudited)  

BT-11

   $ 7,429      $ 11,971  

BT-104

            104  

NX-13

     604        2,717  

Other discovery pipeline and unallocated costs

     422        587  
  

 

 

 

Total research and development expenses

   $ 8,455      $ 15,379  

 

 

 

80


Table of Contents

General and administrative expenses

General and administrative expenses were $1.0 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 compared to $3.9 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2020. The increase of $2.9 million was primarily attributable to increases in patent costs, related legal fees and other outside professional services.

Comparison of the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019

The following table summarizes our results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019:

 

   
     Year ended
December 31,
 
      2018     2019  
     (in thousands)  

Operating expenses

    

Research and development

   $ 6,803     $ 11,812  

General and administrative

     1,136       1,478  
  

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     7,939       13,290  
  

 

 

 

Loss from operations

     (7,939     (13,290
  

 

 

 

Other income (expense);

    

Research and development incentive income

     2,005        

Interest expense

     (4     (304

Loss from foreign exchange

     (106     (33

Other income, net

           160  
  

 

 

 

Other income (expense), net

     1,895       (177
  

 

 

 

Net loss

   $ (6,044   $ (13,467

 

 

Research and development expenses

Research and development expenses were $6.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to $11.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase of $5.0 million was primarily attributable to increased costs associated with clinical development activities relating to BT-11 and IND-enabling activities for NX-13.

The following table summarizes our research and development expenses by product candidate or development program for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019:

 

   
     Year ended
December 31,
 
      2018      2019  
     (in thousands)  

BT-11

   $ 6,165      $ 10,621  

NX-13

            657  

Other discovery pipeline and unallocated costs

     638        534  
  

 

 

 

Total research and development expenses

   $ 6,803      $ 11,812  

 

 

 

81


Table of Contents

General and administrative expenses

General and administrative expenses were $1.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to $1.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase of $0.4 million was primarily attributable to increases in patent costs, related legal fees and other outside professional services.

Research and development incentive income

Research and development incentive income was $2.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, related to tax incentive credits that our subsidiary Landos Australia received. We did not have any research and development incentive income for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Liquidity and capital resources

Since our inception, we have incurred significant operating losses and negative cash flows from our operations. We expect to incur significant expenses and operating losses for the foreseeable future as we advance the preclinical and clinical development of our research programs and product candidates. We expect that our research and development and general and administrative costs will increase in connection with conducting additional preclinical studies and clinical trials for our current and future research programs and product candidates, including BT-11 and NX-13, discovering and developing new product candidates using the LANCE precision medicine platform, contracting with CMOs to support preclinical studies and clinical trials, expanding our intellectual property portfolio, and providing general and administrative support for our operations. As a result, we will need additional capital to fund our operations, which we may obtain from additional equity or debt financings, collaborations, licensing arrangements, or other sources.

We do not currently have any approved products and have never generated any revenue from product sales. To date, we have financed our operations primarily through private financings. Since we were formed, we have raised a total of $70.0 million in gross proceeds from the sale of shares of our Series A and B convertible preferred stock and convertible promissory notes. As of September 30, 2020, we had $35.3 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities and an accumulated deficit of $44.4 million. We had no indebtedness as of September 30, 2020. As of December 31, 2019, we had $50.0 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities and an accumulated deficit of $25.6 million. We had no indebtedness as of December 31, 2019.

The following table summarizes our sources and uses of cash for each of the periods set forth below:

 

     
     Year ended
December 31,
    Nine months
ended September 30,
 
      2018     2019     2019     2020  
     (in thousands)  
                 (unaudited)  

Net cash used in operating activities

   $ (6,896   $ (9,874   $ (7,058   $ (14,571

Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities

     (43     (40,325     (159     7,201  

Net cash provided by financing activities

     5,000       59,648       59,648        
  

 

 

 

Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

   $ (1,939   $ 9,449     $ 52,431     $ (7,370

 

 

Operating activities

Net cash used in operating activities for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 was $14.6 million, consisting primarily of our net loss of $18.8 million as we incurred expenses associated with research activities

 

82


Table of Contents

for our lead product candidates and incurred general and administrative expenses. Net cash used in operating activities for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 was $7.1 million, consisting primarily of our net loss of $9.9 million as we incurred expenses associated with research activities for our lead product candidates and incurred general and administrative expenses. The net loss was partially offset by a decrease in incentive and tax receivables of $2.1 million.

Net cash used in operating activities for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $9.9 million, consisting primarily of our net loss of $13.5 million as we incurred expenses associated with research activities for our lead product candidates and incurred general and administrative expenses. Net cash used in operating activities for the year ended December 31, 2018 was $6.9 million, consisting primarily of our net loss of $6.0 million as we incurred expenses associated with research activities for our lead product candidates and incurred general and administrative expenses.

Investing activities

Net cash provided by investing activities for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 was $7.2 million, consisting of net proceeds from sales, purchases and return of principal in relation to our available-for-sale marketable securities. Net cash used in investing activities for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 was less than $0.2 million, consisting of purchases of property and equipment.

Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $40.3 million, consisting of purchase of investments and property and equipment. Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2018 was less than $0.1 million, consisting of purchases of property and equipment.

Financing activities

We did not have any financing activities in the nine months ended September 30, 2020. Net cash provided by financing activities in the nine months ended September 30, 2019 was $59.7 million, primarily related to net proceeds from the issuance of convertible promissory notes.

Net cash provided by financing activities in the year ended December 31, 2019 of $59.6 million was related to net proceeds of $51.7 million from the issuance of our Series B convertible preferred stock and $8.0 million from the issuance of our convertible promissory notes that were subsequently converted into Series B convertible preferred stock. Net cash provided by financing activities in the year ended December 31, 2018 of $5.0 million primarily related to net proceeds from the issuance of our Series A convertible preferred stock.

Funding requirements

To date, we have not generated any revenues from the commercial sale of approved drug products, and we do not expect to generate substantial revenue for at least the next few years. If we fail to complete the development of our product candidates in a timely manner or fail to obtain their regulatory approval, our ability to generate future revenue will be compromised. We do not know when, or if, we will generate any revenue from our product candidates, and we do not expect to generate significant revenue unless and until we obtain regulatory approval of, and commercialize, our product candidates. We expect our expenses to increase in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we continue the research and development of, continue or initiate clinical trials of and seek marketing approval for our product candidates. In addition, if we obtain approval for any of our product candidates, we expect to incur significant commercialization expenses related to sales, marketing, manufacturing and distribution. Furthermore, following the completion of this offering, we expect to incur additional costs associated with operating as a public company. We anticipate that

 

83


Table of Contents

we will need substantial additional funding in connection with our continuing operations. If we are unable to raise capital when needed or on attractive terms, we could be forced to delay, reduce or eliminate our research and development programs or future commercialization efforts.

Identifying potential product candidates and conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials is a time-consuming, expensive and uncertain process that takes many years to complete, and we may never generate the necessary data or results required to obtain marketing approval and achieve product sales. In addition, our product candidates, if approved, may not achieve commercial success. Our commercial revenues, if any, will be derived from sales of product candidates that we do not expect to be commercially available in the near term, if at all.

We believe that the anticipated net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash and cash equivalents, will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements into 2023. We have based these estimates on assumptions that may prove to be imprecise, and we could utilize our available capital resources sooner than we expect.

Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with research, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical drugs, it is difficult to estimate with certainty the amount of our working capital requirements. Our future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including:

 

 

the scope, progress, costs and results of our ongoing and planned clinical trials of BT-11 and NX-13;

 

 

the costs and results of discovery work using our LANCE precision medicine platform;

 

 

the scope, progress, costs and results of preclinical development, laboratory testing and clinical trials for any future product candidates we may decide to pursue;

 

 

the extent to which we in-license or acquire rights to other products, product candidates or technologies;

 

 

the costs and timing of process development and manufacturing scale-up activities associated with our product candidates and other programs we advance them through preclinical and clinical development;

 

 

the number and development requirements of other product candidates that we may pursue;

 

 

the costs, timing and outcome of regulatory review of our product candidates;

 

 

the costs and timing of future commercialization activities, including product manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution, for any of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval;

 

 

the revenue, if any, received from commercial sales of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval;

 

 

our ability to establish and maintain strategic collaborations, licensing or other agreements and the financial terms of such agreements; and

 

 

the costs and timing of preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications, maintaining and protecting our intellectual property rights and defending against any intellectual property-related claims.

Further, our operating results may change in the future, and we may need additional funds to meet operational needs and capital requirements associated with such operating plans.

Our future commercial revenue, if any, will be derived from sales of products that we do not expect to be commercially available for several years, if at all. Until such time, if ever, that we can generate product revenue sufficient to achieve profitability, we expect to finance our cash needs through a combination of equity

 

84


Table of Contents

offerings, debt financings, collaboration agreements, other third-party funding, strategic alliances, licensing arrangements and marketing and distribution arrangements. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. We currently have no credit facility or committed sources of capital. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, your ownership interest will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a common stockholder. Debt financing and preferred equity financing, if available, may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends. If we raise additional funds through other third-party funding, collaboration agreements, strategic alliances, licensing arrangements or marketing and distribution arrangements, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, future revenue streams, research programs or product candidates or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. If we are unable to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development or future commercialization efforts or grant rights to develop and market products or product candidates that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves.

Contractual obligations, commitments and contingencies

The following table summarizes our contractual obligations as of December 31, 2019 and the effects that such obligations are expected to have on our liquidity and cash flows in future periods:

 

   
     Payments due by period  
(in thousands)    Total      Less
than 1
year
     1 to 3
years
     4 to 5
years
     More
than 5
years
 

Operating lease commitments(1)

   $ 33      $ 33       

 
             
  

 

 

 

Total

   $ 33      $ 33       

 
             

 

 

 

(1)   Amounts in the table reflect payments due for our headquarters in Blacksburg, Virginia under an operating lease agreement that expires in July 2021.

We enter into contracts in the normal course of business with third-party contract organizations for clinical trials, preclinical studies, manufacturing and other services and products for operating purposes. These contracts generally provide for termination following a certain period after notice and therefore we believe that our non-cancelable obligations under these agreements are not material.

Off-balance sheet arrangements

We have not entered into any off-balance sheet arrangements.

Critical accounting policies and significant judgments and estimates

Our management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations is based on our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States. The preparation of our consolidated financial statements and related disclosures requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, costs and expenses and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities in our consolidated financial statements. We base our estimates on historical experience, known trends and events and various other factors that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. We evaluate our estimates and assumptions on an ongoing basis. Our actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.

 

85


Table of Contents

While our significant accounting policies are described in more detail in the notes to our consolidated financial statements appearing at the end of this prospectus, we believe that the following accounting policies are those most critical to the judgments and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements.

Research and development expenses

The majority of our operating expenses to date have been incurred in research and development activities. As part of the process of preparing our consolidated financial statements, we estimate our accrued research and development expenses at each consolidated balance sheet date. This process involves reviewing purchase orders and open contracts, communicating with our personnel to identify services that have been performed on our behalf and estimating the level of service performed and the associated costs incurred for the services when we have not yet been invoiced or otherwise notified of the actual cost. The majority of our service providers invoice us monthly in arrears for services performed or when contractual milestones are met; however, some require advance payments. We make estimates of our accrued expenses as of each consolidated balance sheet date in our consolidated financial statements based on facts and circumstances known to us at that time. We periodically confirm the accuracy of our estimates with the service providers and make adjustments as necessary. The significant estimates in our accrued research and development expenses include the costs incurred for services performed by CROs with research and development activities for which we have not yet been invoiced.

We base our expenses related to research and development activities on our estimates of the services received and efforts expended pursuant to quotes and contracts with vendors that conduct research and development on our behalf. The financial terms of these agreements are subject to negotiation, vary from contract to contract and may result in uneven payment flows. There may be instances in which payments made to our vendors will exceed the level of services provided and result in a prepayment of the research and development expense. In accruing service fees, we estimate the time period over which services will be performed and the level of effort to be expended in each period. If the actual timing of the performance of services or the level of effort varies from our estimate, we adjust the accrual or prepaid accordingly.

Research and development incentive income

We are eligible to obtain certain research and development tax credits, including the Australian research and development tax incentive credit, or the Australia R&D credit, through a program administered through the Australian Tax Office, or the ATO, which provides for a cash refund based on a percentage of certain research and development activities undertaken in Australia by our Australian subsidiary, Landos Australia. The cash refund currently provides for a 43.5% refundable tax offset if eligible companies meet certain criteria, including annual aggregate revenue of less than $20.0 million (Australian) during the reimbursable period, if the intellectual property being developed is Australian owned or has intercompany agreements to support the Australian ownership, file an research and development tax incentive application to register its research and development activities and analyze its research and development expense to ensure such activities are qualified under Australian Industry guidelines.

The tax incentives are available on the basis of specific criteria with which we must comply. Although the tax incentive may be administered through the local tax authority, we have accounted for the incentives outside of the scope of ASC Topic 740, Income Taxes, since the incentives are not linked to our taxable income and can be realized regardless of whether we have generated taxable income in the respective jurisdictions.

The Australian Tax Office has the right to review the reimbursed amounts for eligibility until February 2023. We may be exposed to risks if the Australian Tax Office determines these expenses to be ineligible. We evaluate the exposure under ASC 450, Commitments and Contingencies.

 

86


Table of Contents

In addition, Landos Australia incurs goods and services tax, or GST, on services provided by Australian vendors. As an Australian entity, Landos Australia is entitled to a refund of the GST paid. Our estimate of the amount of cash refund we expect to receive related to GST incurred is included in incentive and tax receivables in our balance sheet and accompanying financial statement notes.

Quantitative and qualitative disclosures about market risk

Our primary exposure to market risk is interest rate sensitivity, which is affected by changes in the general level of U.S. interest rates, particularly because our cash is held in interest-bearing money market accounts. Due to the short- term maturities of our cash equivalents and the low risk profile of our investments, an immediate 100 basis point change in interest rates would not have a material effect on the fair market value of our cash equivalents.

Inflation generally affects us by increasing our cost of labor and clinical trial costs. We do not believe that inflation had a material effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations during the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019.

Recent accounting pronouncements

A description of recent accounting pronouncements that may potentially impact our financial position, results of operations or cash flows is disclosed in Note 2 to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

Emerging growth company status

We qualify as an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, as amended, or JOBS Act. As an “emerging growth company” we may take advantage of reduced reporting requirements that are otherwise applicable to public companies. These provisions include, but are not limited to:

 

 

the option to present only two years of audited consolidated financial statements and only two years of related “Management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations” in this prospectus;

 

 

not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended;

 

 

not being required to comply with any requirements that may be adopted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding mandatory audit firm rotation or a supplement to the auditor’s report providing additional information about the audit and the consolidated financial statements (i.e., an auditor discussion and analysis);

 

 

reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports, proxy statements and registration statements; and

 

 

exemptions from the requirements of holding a non-binding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved.

We may take advantage of these provisions until the last day of our fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the completion of this offering. However, if any of the following events occur prior to the end of such five-year period, (i) our annual gross revenue exceeds $1.07 billion, (ii) we issue more than $1.0 billion of non-convertible

 

87


Table of Contents

debt in any three-year period or (iii) we become a “large accelerated filer,” (as defined in Rule 12b-2 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act), we will cease to be an emerging growth company prior to the end of such five-year period. We will be deemed to be a “large accelerated filer” at such time that we (a) have an aggregate worldwide market value of common equity securities held by non-affiliates of $700.0 million or more as of the last business day of our most recently completed second fiscal quarter, (b) have been required to file annual and quarterly reports under the Exchange Act, for a period of at least 12 months and (c) have filed at least one annual report pursuant to the Exchange Act. Even after we no longer qualify as an emerging growth company, we may still qualify as a “smaller reporting company,” which would allow us to take advantage of many of the same exemptions from disclosure requirements including reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in this prospectus and our periodic reports and proxy statements.

We have elected to take advantage of certain of the reduced disclosure obligations in the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part and may elect to take advantage of other reduced reporting requirements in future filings. As a result, the information that we provide to our stockholders may be different than you might receive from other public reporting companies in which you hold equity interests.

In addition, the JOBS Act provides that an emerging growth company can take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards. We have elected to take advantage of this extended transition period.

 

88


Table of Contents

Business

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of oral therapeutics for patients with autoimmune diseases that are the first to target new mechanisms of action, including the LANCL2, NLRX1 and PLXDC2 immunometabolic pathways. Our core expertise is in the development of therapeutic candidates targeting novel pathways at the interface of immunity and metabolism. Based on our understanding of the role that a cell’s metabolic pathways have on modulating inflammatory responses, we aim to inhibit these inflammatory responses by changing the metabolic processes in target cells. We leverage our proprietary AI-based precision medicine platform, our LANCE platform, to identify novel therapeutic targets based on predictions of immunometabolic function and create therapeutic candidates to engage those targets in areas of unmet medical need. Through our LANCE platform, we have identified seven novel immunometabolic targets and product candidates to date across 14 indications, including ulcerative colitis, or UC, Crohn’s disease, or CD, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis eosinophilic esophagitis, or EoE, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, diabetic nephropathy and type 1 diabetes.

We have completed the induction phase of a Phase 2 clinical trial of our lead product candidate, BT-11, for mild to moderate UC in the United States, Russia and Europe to evaluate the efficacy and safety of BT-11 in UC patients. Data from the induction stage of this Phase 2 trial demonstrated that BT-11 was gut-restricted and well tolerated, with no treatment-related significant adverse events and a similar adverse event profile across placebo and BT-11 groups. In the intent-to-treat population, we observed a positive trend in absolute clinical remission rates as defined by the 3-component modified Mayo Score, using a stool frequency subscore of 0 or 1, a rectal bleeding subscore of 0 and an endoscopic subscore of 0 or 1 following 12 weeks of oral treatment with BT-11 at 1,000 mg once daily, or QD, or 500 mg QD compared to placebo (31.8% and 30.3 versus 22.7%; p=0.340 and 0.235). As a first-in-patient, proof-of-concept trial to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of BT-11 in ulcerative colitis patients, the trial was not conducted to establish statistical significance but rather to inform the design of the Phase 3 trial. The primary and secondary endpoints did not reach statistical significance in terms of efficacy, but achieved desired outcomes in regards to safety and PK/PD relationships. Although the Phase 2 trial did not include a biologic comparator arm, the resulting placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates of 9.1% and 7.6% for the 1,000 and 500 mg dose groups, respectively, were consistent with standard of care treatments in both mild to moderate and moderate to severe UC. In a more moderate subset of patients (with Mayo score equal to or greater than 7 at baseline) the placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates were 11.5% (p=0.153) and 8.7% (p=0.273) for the 1,000 mg (n=47) and 500 mg (n=44) dose groups, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=50). Additionally, in a small subset of biologic experienced patients, positive placebo-adjusted remission trends were also observed (66.6% and 33.3% in the 1,000 mg (n=3) and 500 mg (n=3) cohorts, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=3, 0%)).

Based on these data, we expect to commence an integrated Phase 3 trial of BT-11 in UC patients in the United States, Russia, Asia, and Europe in the first half of 2021, and we expect to discuss with the FDA the pathway for further development of BT-11 in UC patients. We believe the therapeutics we discover and develop, if approved, will have a significant impact on the quality of life of patients suffering from autoimmune diseases.

Background in autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases generally result from the loss of self-tolerance in the immune system, causing the immune system to attack healthy organs and tissues. This leads to inflammation of the organs and tissues, causing chronic pain and deterioration or destruction of the ability of these organs to function. Current therapies either broadly prevent the immune system from functioning, in the case of corticosteroids, aminosalicylates, or ASA, and immunosuppressants, or systemically block specific molecules that promote

 

89


Table of Contents

inflammation in the case of biologics and JAK inhibitors. While great strides have been made, existing approaches continue to leave unmet patient need, due in part to significant safety concerns.

Our approach

Our mission is to create safe and effective therapeutic candidates to engage targets in areas of unmet medical need where current treatments have limited efficacy and safety and tolerability concerns. To pursue this mission, we are developing novel, disease-specific oral therapeutic candidates that are designed to address the therapeutic gap in the current treatment paradigm for autoimmune diseases. We leverage our AI-based integrated computational and experimental LANCE platform to discover novel therapeutic targets based on prediction and validation of immunometabolic function. Through our LANCE platform, we have identified novel pathways that stand at immunometabolic intersections of multiple well-established immune processes. We believe these pathways have a greater potential to restore the immune tolerance that is lost in patients with autoimmune disease.

We begin our discovery process with an in silico target discovery and drug development platform. The LANCE precision medicine platform analyzes large datasets from autoimmune disease patients to identify novel expression patterns tied to regulatory functions and ranks and prioritizes new immunometabolic targets that are perturbed in human disease and have high potential to serve as selective portals to the coordination of multiple well-categorized downstream responses tied to autoimmune diseases. We then continue evaluation in silico, identifying hundreds of thousands of targets within the human immune system to evaluate and refine possibilities to maximize efficiency of time and cost. We include multi-scale modeling of immune and disease processes in virtual representation of target tissues for a specific disease to prioritize targets capable of exerting control on the immune response to a level providing meaningful change at the tissue and clinical level. In parallel, targets are filtered for druggability and safety parameters, removing those that are difficult to activate or inhibit or have potential to be linked to toxicity. We prioritize selection of targets with applicable mechanisms to numerous autoimmune and inflammatory diseases while generating predictions for disease-specific potency and optimal pharmacokinetic, or PK, profiles. We then conduct experimental target validation of top ranked targets in cells and in mouse models of disease using loss-of-function and constitutive expression methods. Upon successful target identification, an internal medicinal chemistry program is initiated to optimize preliminary scaffolds into leads. We evaluate lead compounds through a series of in-house robust target engagement, in vitro culture, multiple animal models for diseases of interest, PK evaluation, preliminary dose range finding, or DRF, toxicity studies in rats and translational studies in human patient samples. We have used this strategy to identify, evaluate and advance seven product candidates across three targets spanning numerous autoimmune and related disorders. Prioritization of these product candidates occurs based on unmet clinical need, therapeutic market size and opportunity, preclinical safety and efficacy data, and performance in translational biomarkers.

Optimally identifying novel immunometabolic targets with our proprietary LANCE platform

We believe our LANCE platform may have several key advantages as compared to traditional drug discovery paradigm in autoimmune diseases, including improved discovery and significant target generation potential, ability to modulate multiple critical pathways via a single target, and cost advantage. We have leveraged our platform to identify seven novel immunometabolic targets to date, two of which we are evaluating in clinical trials, LANCL2 and NLRX1. Using our LANCE platform, we expect to identify further novel targets and develop new product candidates for additional indications such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, NASH, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetic nephropathy, asthma, psoriasis, EoE and COPD, with the potential to submit one to two investigational new drug applications, or INDs, per year over the next five years, including at least three new INDs in 2021.

 

90


Table of Contents

Our portfolio

We are leveraging our LANCE platform, our proprietary computational target discovery engine, to design and develop a pipeline of oral small molecule product candidates with differentiated profiles that are the first to target novel immunometabolic mechanisms to address autoimmune diseases. We currently own worldwide development and commercialization rights to each of our product candidates. Since our inception, we successfully cleared four INDs with the United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. We expect to submit at least three additional INDs by the end of 2021. Leveraging our LANCE platform, we have reduced our development time, measured from initial target discovery and Phase 1 clinical trial dosing, from 24 months, in the case of BT-11, to 18 months, in the case of NX-13. Our development time from discovery to Phase 2 ready was 30 months, in the case of BT-11, and 24 months, in the case of NX-13. We believe similar timelines are possible with future product candidates; however, the process of clinical development is inherently uncertain and no guarantee can be made that similar timelines will be achieved. Our ability to execute on our strategy of advancing development of our product candidates will depend on the results of our ongoing and planned clinical trials.

 

LOGO

 

*   Subject to feedback from the FDA, we intend to initially submit one IND for each product candidate in order to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials in an indication. We will submit subsequent INDs to proceed to Phase 1 clinical trials in additional indications for that product candidate.

 

**   We define the discovery stage of development as the design, initial synthesis, target binding and preliminary pharmacology testing in in vitro and animal models of disease; the preclinical stage of development as GLP-toxicity and pharmacology studies, metabolism and pharmacokinetics in addition to scale-up chemistry manufacturing and controls for drug substance and drug product; the Phase 1 stage as clinical trials designed to assess safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics in healthy volunteers or small patient cohorts; the Phase 2 stage as placebo-controlled clinical trials designed to provide proof-of-concept efficacy in the target patient population; and the Phase 3 stage as clinical trials designed to provide the final supporting data for the safety and effectiveness of a drug in the proposed indication to support an NDA filing.

 

91


Table of Contents

Numerous anticipated milestones in our portfolio are currently in preparation. For BT-11, a Phase 3 clinical trial in UC is expected to be initiated in the first half of 2021, subject to review of the complete Phase 2 data and FDA feedback, a Phase 2 clinical trial in CD will be initiated in the first half of 2021 and Phase 1b clinical trials in EoE and psoriasis will be initiated in the second half of 2021 in each case assuming acceptance by the FDA of our IND for such program. For NX-13, Phase 2 clinical trials in UC and CD are expected to be initiated in the second half of 2021 and the first half of 2022, respectively. For BT-104, BT-111, and NX-66, IND-enabling studies are expected to be completed in 2021. For PX-69, IND-enabling studies are expected to be completed in the first half of 2022.

The successful clinical development of our product candidates is dependent on many factors beyond our control, including timely and successful completion of preclinical studies and clinical trials required to progress our clinical programs, and the sufficiency of our financial and other internal and external resources to complete such studies and trials, file INDs and NDAs, as appropriate, and commercialize BT-11 for UC, effective INDs from the FDA or comparable foreign applications that allow commencement of our planned clinical trials for discovery or preclinical-stage product candidates, receipt of timely marketing approvals from the FDA or other applicable regulatory authorities, our ability to successfully launch commercial sales of any approved product candidates, whether independently or with partners and our ability to produce and approved product candidates on a commercial scale. See “Risk factors—Risks related to the discovery, development and commercialization of our product candidates,” “Risk factors—Risks related to our dependence on third parties” and “Management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations - Liquidity and capital resources.”

BT-11 program overview

Our lead product candidate, BT-11, a gut-restricted oral therapeutic that is the first candidate designed to engage the novel target lanthionine synthetase C-like protein 2, or LANCL2, a membrane receptor that has been shown to modulate immunological mechanisms that are associated with autoimmune diseases such as UC or CD. Approximately 2 million Americans suffer from UC or CD, and the treatment of these two diseases in the United States accounts for an aggregate annual market size of up to $17 billion. There are currently no approved treatments targeting LANCL2. BT-11 is designed to act locally in the gastrointestinal tract for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. We have designed BT-11 to overcome limitations of existing therapies, including with respect to side effect profile, route of administration (injectables) and sustained efficacy.

We have completed the induction phase of a Phase 2 clinical trial of BT-11 for mild to moderate UC in the United States, Russia and Europe. In the intent-to-treat population, we observed a positive trend in absolute clinical remission rates as defined by the 3-component modified Mayo Score, using a stool frequency subscore of 0 or 1, a rectal bleeding subscore of 0 and an endoscopic subscore of 0 or 1 following 12 weeks of oral treatment with BT-11 at 1000 mg QD or 500 mg QD compared to placebo (31.8% and 30.3 versus 22.7%; p=0.340 and 0.235). Although the Phase 2 trial did not include a biologic comparator arm, the resulting placebo adjusted clinical remission rates of 9.1% and 7.6% for the 1,000 and 500 mg dose groups, respectively, were consistent with standard of care treatments in both mild to moderate and moderate to severe UC. In a more moderate subset of patients (with Mayo score equal to or greater than 7 at baseline) the placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates were 11.5% (p=0.153) and 8.7% (p=0.273) for the 1,000 mg (n=47) and 500 mg (n=44) dose groups, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=50). Additionally, in a small subset of biologic experienced patients, positive placebo-adjusted remission trends were also observed (66.6% and 33.3% in the 1,000 mg (n=3) and 500 mg (n=3) cohorts, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=3, 0%)).

Based on these data, we expect to commence an integrated Phase 3 trial of BT-11 in UC patients in the United States, Russia, Asia, and Europe in the first half of 2021, subject to review of the complete Phase 2 data and FDA feedback, and we expect to discuss with the FDA the pathway for further development of BT-11 in UC patients. We

 

92


Table of Contents

also expect to initiate a Phase 2 trial of BT-11 for the treatment of moderate to severe CD in the first half of 2021. We believe that BT-11, if approved, has the potential to disrupt the treatment paradigm in IBD. In UC, we believe BT-11 has the potential to be utilized as a pre-biologic therapy for mild-to-moderate cases, where 70% to 80% of the patient population exists, due to its novel mechanism of action and tolerability profile, with no dose-limiting toxicities observed in preclinical studies in doses up to 7-fold higher than the proposed clinical therapeutic dose. In CD, we believe that BT-11, if approved, has the potential to serve as a first-line therapy and treat patients prior to their progression into biologics by addressing the main limitations of current therapeutics. We believe that an oral, gut-restricted small molecule delivered once daily in a singular tablet could serve as a first-line therapy in the moderate to severe CD treatment paradigm. We also plan to develop BT-11 for EoE, and expect to initiate a Phase 1b clinical trial in EoE in the second half of 2021. Additionally, we plan to develop BT-11 for psoriasis and expect to initiate a Phase 1b clinical trial in psoriasis in the second half of 2021. We also plan to develop BT-11 for atopic dermatitis.

NX-13 program overview

Our second product candidate, NX-13, is a novel, gut-restricted oral therapeutic that targets NOD-like receptor X1, or NLRX1, a mitochondria-associated receptor that has been associated with the modulation of inflammatory cytokines for UC and CD. There are currently no approved NLRX1-based drugs. NX-13 is designed to target NLRX1 in order to induce anti-inflammatory effects in CD4+ T cells and other immune cells in the gastrointestinal tract. We believe that, if approved, NX-13 could provide an additional treatment option for the up to 50% of UC patients that experience relapse within one year of current therapies and up to 55% of CD patients that relapse within one year of achieving active remission. Mechanistically, NX-13 could provide improvements in fibrosis. We believe NX-13 offers the potential, both as a single agent and in combination with other therapeutics, to address the unmet medical need in UC and CD. We have completed a Phase 1a trial of NX-13 in normal healthy volunteers and identified a maximum tolerated dose, or MTD, that was 10-fold greater than the targeted therapeutic dose, without presentation of serious adverse events.

Discovery programs overview:

Our earlier stage pipeline includes numerous product candidates targeting the LANCL2 pathway (BT-104, BT-111), NLRX1 pathway (NX-66 and NX-73) and PLXDC2 pathway (PX-69):

 

 

BT-104 for the treatment of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. BT-104 is our oral, small molecule agonist of the LANCL2 pathway product candidate being developed for the treatment of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The therapeutic market in lupus is sparsely populated, with sales of the top ten therapeutics for lupus amounting to over $4 billion annually. The therapeutic market in rheumatoid arthritis is fragmented and represents approximately $25 billion annually. We intend to submit an IND for BT-104 in the second half of 2021, and to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial of BT-104 in healthy volunteers thereafter in the second half of 2021.

 

 

BT-111 for the treatment of NASH and type 1 diabetes. BT-111 is our oral, small molecule agonist of the LANCL2 pathway product candidate being developed for the treatment of NASH and type 1 diabetes. NASH has a wide projected market of approximately $25 billion annually by 2025 and is a rapidly expanding public health issue. We intend to submit an IND for BT-111 in the second half of 2021, and to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial of BT-111 in healthy volunteers thereafter in the second half of 2021.

 

 

NX-66 for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. NX-66 is our oral, small molecule agonist of the NLRX1 pathway product candidate being developed for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. The combined CNS market in multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to be $22 billion annually. We believe NX-66, if approved, may address the lack of therapeutic options for

 

93


Table of Contents
 

progressive MS and has the potential to slow cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. We intend to submit an IND for NX-66 in the second half of 2021 and to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers thereafter.

 

 

NX-73 for the treatment of asthma and COPD. NX-73 is our oral, small molecule agonist of the NLRX1 pathway product candidate being developed for the treatment of asthma and COPD. The combined respiratory market in asthma and COPD is estimated at $25 billion annually. We intend to submit an IND for NX-73 in the second half of 2023 and to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers thereafter.

 

 

PX-69 for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy and rheumatoid arthritis. PX-69 is our oral, small molecule agonist of the PLXDC2 pathway product candidate being developed for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy and rheumatoid arthritis. The annual markets for diabetic nephropathy, the leading cause of long-term renal dialysis, and rheumatoid arthritis, are estimated at up to $3 billion and $25 billion, respectively. We intend to submit an IND for PX-69 in the first half of 2022 and to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers thereafter.

Our culture and team

We were founded in January 2017 by Dr. Josep Bassaganya-Riera, our Chairman of our board of directors, President and Chief Executive Officer, who has assembled a management team of biopharmaceutical specialists with extensive experience in building and operating organizations that develop and deliver innovative medicines to patients. Our management team has broad expertise and successful track records in drug discovery, immunology & inflammation, clinical development, regulatory affairs, manufacturing and commercialization of therapies, as well as in business and finance, through previous experiences at leading institutions. We are also guided by our board of directors, and a clinical advisory board composed of key opinion leaders in UC and CD. We are backed by leading life sciences investors, including Perceptive Advisors, or Perceptive, and RTW Investments, or RTW.

Autoimmune market opportunity

We are developing therapeutics for the large and growing autoimmune disease market, which is expected to reach $153 billion by 2025. Our lead product candidates target a multi-billion dollar market opportunity across 13 different indications.

The UC and CD markets are currently dominated by biologic drugs that generated up to $17 billion in U.S. sales in 2019. From 2010 to 2020, the IBD market experienced a compound annual growth rate of 13.1%. Approximately 35% of patients treated with biologics fail to enter remission. Meanwhile, greater than 90% of UC patients with active disease have mild to moderate disease and 50% to 60% of IBD patients are biologic naïve. Current market competition in this space is limited to aminosalicylates, steroids and immunosuppressants which have only low efficacy in induction and maintenance of clinical remission. The primary competition in development, falling into two primary classes (JAK inhibitors, S1P modulators), targets a moderate to severe patient population that is primarily comprised of patients who have not responded to biologics, due to inherent safety concerns with these classes. With the exception of Xeljanz, which is FDA-approved for the treatment of UC, oral agents approved for IBD are limited to aminosalicylates, steroids and immunosuppressants that have limited efficacy. We believe we have the potential to address the large IBD market and specific therapeutic gaps in both UC and CD. However, there is no guarantee that any of our product candidates will be approved by the FDA and, even if approved, there is no guarantee that our product candidates will earn revenues comparable to Entyvio, Humira or Stelara. The graphic and table below depict the large market opportunity in IBD.

 

94


Table of Contents

LOGO

EvaluatePharma® May 2020, Evaluate Ltd.

Large market opportunities for product candidates targeting IBD

 

LOGO

EvaluatePharma® August 2020, Evaluate Ltd.

Our strengths

We believe we are a leader in the discovery of targets through novel multi-modal pathways at the interface of immunity and metabolism. Through our proprietary LANCE precision medicine platform, we have pioneered a promising drug development engine underpinned by advanced computational capabilities applied to the discovery of new therapeutic targets for autoimmune disease.

Our distinctive strengths include:

 

 

We are pioneering a new treatment paradigm in immunometabolism based on novel pathways. Historically, innovation in autoimmune drug discovery has focused on the same known targets creating new molecules

 

95


Table of Contents
 

whose development has been hampered by toxicity issues connected to the mechanism of action or systemic pathways and which have provided only marginal change to efficacy at best. The late-stage development pipeline in IBD can be summarized by JAK/STAT-, cytokine- and adhesion-based mechanisms of action, while our lead product candidate, BT-11, is the most advanced immunometabolic asset in clinical development. Our unique ability to identify novel targets that intersect and provide upstream control of established inflammatory and regulatory pathways supports a clinical path to develop novel drugs. We are further leveraging these novel immunometabolic targets in a disease-specific way with an aim to provide better and more precise care to patients.

 

 

We have discovered and are developing several clinical-stage assets across the LANCL2 and NLRX1 pathways through our LANCE platform and distinctive capabilities. To date, we have identified seven novel immunometabolic targets, of which candidates that target two (LANCL2 and NLRX1) have progressed into the clinic. Our lead asset, BT-11, is an orally-active, gut-restricted, small molecule that is the first therapeutic candidate to target the LANCL2 pathway. We have completed the induction phase of a Phase 2 clinical trial of BT-11 for mild to moderate UC in the United States, Russia and Europe. In the intent-to-treat population, we observed a positive trend in absolute clinical remission rates as defined by the 3-component modified Mayo Score, using a stool frequency subscore of 0 or 1, a rectal bleeding subscore of 0 and an endoscopic subscore of 0 or 1 following 12 weeks of oral treatment with BT-11 at 1000 mg QD or 500 mg QD compared to placebo (31.8% and 30.3 versus 22.7%; p=0.340 and 0.235). Although the Phase 2 trial did not include a biologic comparator arm, the resulting placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates of 9.1% and 7.6% for the 1,000 and 500 mg dose groups, respectively, were consistent with standard of care treatments in both mild to moderate and moderate to severe UC. In a more moderate subset of patients (with Mayo score equal to or greater than 7 at baseline) the placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates were 11.5% (p=0.153) and 8.7% (p=0.273) for the 1,000 mg (n=47) and 500 mg (n=44) dose groups, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=50). Additionally, in a small subset of biologic experienced patients, positive placebo-adjusted remission trends were also observed (66.6% and 33.3% in the 1,000 mg (n=3) and 500 mg (n=3) cohorts, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=3, 0%)). Based on these data, we expect to commence an integrated Phase 3 trial of BT-11 in UC patients in the United States, Russia, Asia, and Europe in the first half of 2021, subject to review of the complete Phase 2 data and FDA feedback, and we expect to discuss with the FDA the pathway for further development of BT-11 in UC patients. We also expect to initiate a Phase 2 trial of BT-11 for the treatment of moderate to severe CD in the first half of 2021. Our second asset, NX-13, targets the NLRX1 pathway and has completed Phase 1a clinical testing without presentation of serious adverse events and a MTD that was 10-fold greater than the targeted therapeutic dose.

 

 

We are developing product candidates with novel mechanisms of action and the potential for use as monotherapy or combination therapy to address therapeutic gaps for IBD patients where current treatments have limited efficacy and safety and tolerability concerns. We believe the LANCL2 pathway is not targeted by any other drug in development for IBD. With a dual effect for pro-regulatory and anti-inflammatory signaling, targeting this pathway may offer a unique advantage for longer maintenance of clinical remission, decreasing the high flare rates in IBD. We believe BT-11, if approved, has the potential to disrupt the treatment paradigm in UC as a pre-biologic therapy for mild-to-moderate cases, where greater than 90% of the patient population with active disease exists, due to its novel mechanism of action and no dose-limiting toxicities in doses up to 7-fold higher than the currently proposed therapeutic dose in our completed Phase 1 clinical trial. Additionally, BT-11 and NX-13 are designed to offer a convenient, once-daily oral dose which we believe may provide competitive advantage over the injectable, systemically distributed biologics. Given the novel targets and limited toxicities, we believe BT-11 and NX-13 have potential to be used as monotherapy or in combination with other therapies in IBD.

 

96


Table of Contents
 

We are targeting several indications characterized by unmet medical need and therapeutic gaps that represent a broad market opportunity. We are developing therapeutics for the large and growing autoimmune disease market, which is expected to reach $153 billion by 2025. Our lead product candidates target a multi-billion dollar market opportunity across 13 different indications. The global UC market was $5.3 billion in 2016, and is expected to grow at a 2.5% compound annual growth rate between 2016 and 2026. The global CD market is estimated at approximately $12 billion and expected to grow at 4% compound annual growth rate between 2019 and 2022. We believe these indications provide a large market opportunity with no established satisfactory standard of care. The primary competition in development targets a moderate-to-severe patient population that is primarily comprised of patients refractory to biologics, due to inherent safety concerns within these classes. Many key opinion leaders expect oral agents to expand the overall autoimmune disease therapeutic market size and accelerate growth in the IBD space. We believe our product candidates, if approved, have the potential to address the large autoimmune disease therapeutic market and specific therapeutic gaps in both UC and CD. Our broad therapeutic pipeline is comprised of potential valuable treatments for other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes, as well as other indications with immunometabolic components, such as NASH, Alzheimer’s disease, and asthma.

 

 

We have a strong intellectual property foundation and we retain global commercial rights to all of our product candidates. Our intellectual property portfolio includes composition of matter and method of use patents covering both BT-11 and NX-13. Our lead product candidates’ patent protection extends until 2035, in the case of BT-11, and 2039, in the case of NX-13. Our intellectual property portfolio includes more than 40 issued patents and patent applications. Furthermore, we have retained exclusive development and commercial rights to all of our product candidates.

 

 

We have assembled an experienced team comprised of industry leaders in the fields of immunology and inflammation and we are backed by prominent life science investors. Our management team has broad expertise and successful track records in drug discovery, immunology & inflammation, clinical development, regulatory affairs, manufacturing and commercialization of therapies, as well as in business and finance, through previous experiences at leading institutions. We are also guided by our board of directors, and a clinical advisory board composed of key opinion leaders in CD and UC. We are backed by leading life sciences investors including Perceptive and RTW.

Our strategy

As a leader in the development of therapeutic candidates addressing immunometabolic mechanisms of action, we believe we are distinctly positioned to advance the discovery and development of potentially safer and more effective novel therapeutics for autoimmune diseases. We are targeting indications characterized by high unmet clinical need, significant likelihood of success in clinical development and the ability to improve the quality of life for large patient populations. Our strategy consists of the following key components:

 

 

Maximize and capture value in our LANCE platform by discovering and developing oral therapeutics that are the first to target novel immunometabolic pathways to improve the lives of patients with autoimmune diseases. We have leveraged our experience in immunology and therapeutic development, underpinned by the guidance of our clinical advisory board, to build the LANCE platform. We will apply our proprietary artificial intelligence, or AI, and advanced computational modeling capabilities to continue to identify novel therapeutic targets based on predictions of immunometabolic function. Through our LANCE platform, we have progressed BT-11 from initial discovery to an ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial in less than three years, and in a capital efficient manner. In addition to LANCL2, NLRX1, and PLXDC2, the LANCE platform has identified four new targets in early preclinical stages of development. We have led the discovery of the immunometabolic mechanisms for these three targets independently of external research and possess the

 

97


Table of Contents
 

capacity to internally discover novel targets. We intend to continue to leverage the LANCE platform to further advance a pipeline of product candidates for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. The LANCE platform has served and, we believe, will continue to serve in the generation of a seamless therapeutic pipeline ranging from early preclinical to lead selection to clinical development and commercialization.

 

 

Advance the development of our lead product candidate, BT-11, into Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of UC and CD. We identified LANCL2 as a critical autoimmune pathway for multiple IBD conditions and have designed BT-11 to overcome limitations of existing therapies including with respect to side effect profile, route of administration, efficacy and bridging the therapeutic gap between ASA failures and biologics. Based on data observed in our preclinical studies and the results of our Phase 1 clinical trials, we believe BT-11, if approved, may offer potent disease modification with favorable tolerability relative to competing injectable biologic therapeutics, as well as an added benefit of oral administration. We have progressed BT-11 from initial discovery to an ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial in less than three years. We have completed the induction phase of a Phase 2 clinical trial of BT-11 for mild to moderate UC in the United States, Russia and Europe. In the intent-to-treat population, we observed a positive trend in absolute clinical remission rates as defined by the 3-component modified Mayo Score, using a stool frequency subscore of 0 or 1, a rectal bleeding subscore of 0 and an endoscopic subscore of 0 or 1 following 12 weeks of oral treatment with BT-11 at 1000 mg QD or 500 mg QD compared to placebo (31.8% and 30.3 versus 22.7%; p=0.340 and 0.235). Although the Phase 2 trial did not include a biologic comparator arm, the resulting placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates of 9.1% and 7.6% for the 1,000 and 500 mg dose groups, respectively, were consistent with standard of care treatments in both mild to moderate and moderate to severe UC. In a more moderate subset of patients (with Mayo score equal to or greater than 7 at baseline) the placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates were 11.5% (p=0.153) and 8.7% (p=0.273) for the 1,000 mg (n=47) and 500 mg (n=44) dose groups, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=50). Additionally, in a small subset of biologic experienced patients, positive placebo-adjusted remission trends were also observed (66.6% and 33.3% in the 1,000 mg (n=3) and 500 mg (n=3) cohorts, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=3, 0%)). Based on these data, we expect to commence an integrated Phase 3 trial of BT-11 in UC patients in the United States, Russia, Asia, and Europe in the first half of 2021, subject to review of the complete Phase 2 data and FDA feedback, and we expect to discuss with the FDA the pathway for further development of BT-11 in UC patients. We also expect to initiate a Phase 2 trial of BT-11 for the treatment of moderate to severe CD in the first half of 2021.

 

 

Advance our second clinical candidate, NX-13, into Phase 1b/2 clinical trials for the treatment of UC and CD. NLRX1 is a novel target at the intersection of the pathogenesis of IBD with the ability to modulate multiple associated complications including deficiencies in the epithelial barrier, interactions with the gut microbiome and underlying inflammation. In less than 18 months, we have advanced our lead NLRX1 product candidate, NX-13, from initial discovery to a Phase 1a clinical trial in healthy volunteers based on robust preclinical data. We have completed a Phase 1a clinical testing of NX-13. We intend to explore NX-13 both as a monotherapy and in combination with other therapeutics for the treatment of UC and CD.

 

 

Continue to develop a franchise of oral therapies from our deep preclinical pipeline of product candidates targeting immunometabolic pathways identified by our LANCE platform. Recognizing the applicability of our novel targets across a range of autoimmune conditions, and the benefits to patients of disease specific molecules, we intend to advance each of our preclinical assets to exploit the full potential of each pathway or target. We are building upon our precision medicine approach to develop disease-specific molecules by exploring the use of biomarkers to identify patients more likely to benefit from therapies. BT-104, BT-111, NX-66, NX-73 and PX-69 have been identified as possible valuable treatments for autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes, as well as other indications with immunometabolic components, such as NASH, Alzheimer’s disease, and asthma. We expect to file at least one to two INDs per year over the next five years, including three new INDs in 2021.

 

98


Table of Contents
 

Maximize the commercial value of our therapeutic pipeline. We have retained worldwide commercial rights to all of our therapeutic programs. We intend to continue advancing more clinical candidates in various therapeutic areas independently. We plan to become a fully integrated pharmaceutical company by selecting promising programs in specialty pharmaceutical and orphan indications for internal development and commercialization and developing a commercial arm to capture value for shareholders. We will also pursue territory deals that enable partnering on commercialization of lead therapeutic assets outside of the U.S. and European markets. Moreover, we will consider partnering with strategics to develop some of the follow on therapeutic assets as a means of monetizing some of our pipeline assets.

Background on immunometabolism

Alterations in the concentration of metabolic enzymes and substrates in the cell often precede changes in the expression of genes that articulate inflammatory responses in autoimmune diseases. These metabolic processes are critical determinants of the function of immune cells. In the course of autoimmune diseases, multiple receptors transmit information about the environment through pathways at the intersection of immunity and metabolism. Over the past decade, this field of study, known as immunometabolism, has revealed the complex metabolic pathways that underlie autoimmune response in disease and has allowed us to focus on developing ways to manipulate these regulatory networks to enhance and control immunity.

Genes with inflammatory functions, such as TNF or IL-6, tend to be overexpressed during autoimmune responses and are easily identified. The metabolic pathways of immune cells must also be configured to meet the demands of their function. For example, the pro-inflammatory subset of immune cells known as T-effector cells (Th1 and Th17) depend upon glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, while cells involved in anti-inflammatory response known as regulatory T-cells utilize predominately fatty acid oxidation. However, genes with immunometabolic roles experience modest change in expression levels though they are critical in modulating inflammation. By altering the signals that drive differentiation and the metabolic pathways that support it, immune tolerance can be reestablished in patients where there is immune dysregulation, such as in autoimmune disease.

We are focused on developing therapeutic interventions based on activating molecular targets within these immunometabolic pathways to correct aberrant inflammatory responses. We have developed an AI platform that allows for efficient identification, segregation and prioritization of these genes from high throughput datasets. This platform is designed to differentiate our program of target discovery and product development.

Our LANCE platform

We have built our LANCE precision medicine platform to identify novel targets at the intersection of immunity and metabolism and to develop new therapeutic products for these new targets. Our innovative approach to immunometabolism applies proprietary AI and advanced computational modeling to identify novel therapeutic targets based on predictions of immunometabolic function and create therapeutics to engage those targets in areas of unmet medical need. Upon target discovery, we have efficient medicinal chemistry and preclinical capabilities, as evidenced by the less than 24 months from discovery to Phase 1 initiation with BT-11 and less than 18 months from discovery to Phase 1 initiation with NX-13. Our development time from discovery to Phase 2 ready was 30 months, in the case of BT-11, and 24 months, in the case of NX-13. Using our LANCE platform, we expect to submit one to two INDs per year over the next five years, including at least three INDs in 2021. We believe similar timelines are possible with future product candidates; however, the process of clinical development is inherently uncertain and no guarantee can be made that similar timelines will be achieved.

We have successfully leveraged this iterative process to identify seven novel immunometabolic targets to date, and product candidates which are designed to target two such targets, LANCL2 and NLRX1, have begun clinical

 

99


Table of Contents

trials pursuant to INDs. Using our LANCE platform, we not only expect to identify further novel targets but to also continue to develop disease-specific product candidates for indications such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, NASH, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, EoE, psoriasis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetic nephropathy, asthma and COPD. We believe our innovative precision medicine approach, in which we develop specific products for disease states, enhances our ability to address existing unmet need for patients.

 

LOGO

We developed our proprietary LANCE platform to revolutionize the target identification, prioritization and selection process as well as facilitate the development of new therapeutic products for those targets. Our leadership team has deep experience in this field, including Dr. Bassaganya-Riera, a pioneer in computational immunology and precision medicine. The team has published over 30 computationally- and AI-focused peer-reviewed publications, such as in Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and PLOS Computational Biology, and has created foundational large-scale models of the immune system, including one of the most widely used ordinary differential equation-based model of CD4+ T cell, or Treg, differentiation. The LANCE platform embodies the re-focusing of this know-how into the application of drug development for autoimmune disease.

Processes of our platform

The LANCE platform is an innovation engine that uses four main processes to identify novel therapeutic immunometabolic pathways with significant potential to exert immunoregulatory control of autoimmune disease:

 

 

Data extraction. We extract data from both proprietary and public omics datasets from human diseases with defined categorical data tied to responders and non-responders, active disease versus remission, and trends and signature patterns over the progression of disease. The output is a disease-agnostic composite database of autoimmune diseases with over 10,000 potential targets. We continually update this database, resulting in new opportunities to identify pathways and the ability to enhance the robustness of previous predictions.

 

 

Computational target analysis. We use proprietary AI-based approaches to analyze our database, compiling and inferring hidden blind spots and linkages in signaling networks that may serve as understudied, yet potent, portals into modulating immunometabolism. Our blind spot algorithm specializes in identifying the targets for which the connections to known downstream functional events were previously undiscovered. The output is a ranked priority list of 80 to 100 targets based on relative impact on prominent immune and metabolic pathways. Based on the weighting of individual pathways and subsetting of data analytical methods, the system is versatile enough to offer cross-validation potential and continuous mining of the high-dimensional data.

 

100


Table of Contents
 

In silico immune system modeling. We perform multiscale modeling of the immune system to link molecular signaling to changes in overall tissue and patient level responses to prioritize targets within a specific disease. The output is narrowed down to five to ten targets identified to have significant in silico impact on intricately calibrated models of human autoimmune disease that capture complex interactions between molecules and cells in disease-specific target tissues. This encompasses the colon for UC and CD, the entire gastrointestinal tract for CD, synovium for rheumatoid arthritis, lung for asthma and COPD, brain for multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease, pancreas for type 1 diabetes, liver and adipose tissue for NASH, and germinal centers and sites of immune complex reactions in spleen, kidney, circulation and a variety of other organs for lupus, and kidney for diabetic nephropathy.

 

 

Preclinical validation and prioritization. We characterize and validate immune responses using in vitro and in vivo systems. We prioritize targets based on:

 

   

Preclinical efficacy: We utilize two or more independent animal models, primary patient cells and organotypic systems, as well as flow cytometry, gene expression, histology and metabolic tests, to evaluate preclinical efficacy.

 

   

Tolerability: We strive for a no-observed-adverse-effect-level, or NOAEL, at 50 times the anticipated clinical therapeutic dose using mouse, rat and pig models.

 

   

Biomarkers: We prioritize targets where there are available translational biomarkers to make early preclinical and clinical go/no-go decisions.

 

   

Indication: We prioritize targets that have a significant market size and a greater potential for success in clinical trials.

 

   

Competition: We seek targets where there is an unmet clinical need in the therapeutic indication.

The result is selection of two to three targets preclinically validated to impact disease pathogenesis, for which medicinal chemistry programs can be established. The graphic below summarizes the selection process of our LANCE platform.

 

 

LOGO

 

101


Table of Contents

Foundations of the LANCE platform

Across autoimmune disease, the current therapeutic strategy is often the same: block a single cytokine, use a broadly immunosuppressive steroid and alter lymphocyte trafficking. We believe this paradigm fails to effectively modulate the massively and dynamically interacting immunological network to provide sustained therapeutic responses during autoimmune disease. As a result, patients that are non-responsive to one class of drugs have a low likelihood to respond to other classes due to the similarity between classes. In addition, despite chronic treatment with immunosuppressive drugs, relapse and flare rates in all autoimmune diseases are high. In UC and CD, half of patients relapse within a year of starting treatment. In rheumatoid arthritis, 90% or more fail to achieve extended remission. In systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, and multiple sclerosis, frequent steroid regimens are needed to address flares.

To address the limitations of current therapies for autoimmune diseases, we utilize our LANCE platform to develop therapeutics based on the following foundational pillars:

Targeting immunometabolism.    An abundance of recent evidence supports that the function and phenotype of immune cells, inclusive of both innate and adaptive immune response, is highly conserved and intertwined with metabolic processes. The synthesis of building blocks for cytokines, antibodies and lipid mediators, the preparation for proliferation, the processes of phagocytosis and autophagy, and the generation of long-enduring memory cells require differential metabolism. The therapeutic manipulation of cellular metabolism is a robust multimodal mechanism to shift the balance between effector and regulatory immune cells. These strategies have resulted in resounding successes in the fields of immuno-oncology (such as pembrolizumab, an anti-PD1, ritonavir, a protease inhibitor, and everolimus, an mTOR inhibitor) and metabolism (such as metformin, an antidiabetic, and statins, lipid-lowering drugs) but remain a yet unexploited opportunity in autoimmune disease. With a multitude of genetic instability characterizing autoimmune disease patients, therapeutics targeting well-conserved and stable immunometabolic processes could prove a successful strategy for therapeutic efficacy.

Prioritizing patient safety.    We have prioritized the development of product candidates targeting LANCL2 and NLRX1 based not only on potent anti-inflammatory effects observed in preclinical studies but also on the observed ability to modulate their signaling without dose-limiting toxicities in completed nonclinical and clinical studies. For BT-11, NX-13 and other product candidates in our pipeline, the primary mechanism of action is designed to result in the activation of immunoregulatory effects, as opposed to complete inhibition of natural immunological processes. As a result, our product candidates are designed to result in a functional immune system in which self-tolerance and immune homeostasis are restored. For the majority of autoimmune diseases, including UC and CD, safety concerns are a primary cause of gaps in the treatment paradigm between patients with mild disease severity and patients treated with biologics and other treatment classes with “black-box” label safety warnings.

Restoring immune tolerance.    We view the immune system as a massively and dynamically interacting complex system. By inhibiting single cytokines and narrow pathways, multiple compensatory mechanisms can emerge, making any therapeutic improvement in disease short-lived. Each of our lead targets is designed to induce regulatory mechanisms that are conserved, meaning the mechanisms have specific effects on intended pathways. These mechanisms are multi-pronged and are tied to contact-mediated suppression, production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-10, and metabolic changes favorable to Tregs; all of which may drive more durable clinical response and remission.

Identifying novel pathways.    A primary objective of our LANCE platform is to identify novel pathways with conserved multi-pronged mechanisms with the potential to elicit effects beyond those observed in current classes of drugs targeting autoimmune disease. In particular, our process focuses on identifying central nodes

 

102


Table of Contents

in the network which emanate multiple spokes to coordinate downstream responses. For example, the activation of LANCL2 interacts with CD25/STAT5 signaling, decreases late-stage glycolysis while enhancing oxidative phosphorylation, and influences secondary messenger signaling. Based on our robust dataset, we believe this coordination will enhance the robustness of response to our product candidates through built-in redundancies capable of maintaining coordination should one spoke be rendered non-functional due to a disease-associated mutation in a specific patient. Despite the novelty of the target and certain downstream pathways, our validation is rooted in well-categorized biomarkers of inflammation, including decreases in TNF expression, NF-kB activity, or fecal calprotectin levels with the activation of LANCL2 and NLRX1. We believe elucidation of these well-validated downstream anchors increases the confidence for the translation of preclinical results when targeting our novel pathways. To date, we have identified seven novel pathways using the LANCE platform with promising potential to innovate the treatment of autoimmune disease.

 

 

LOGO

Benefits of our LANCE platform

We believe our LANCE platform has several key advantages, including:

 

 

Improved drug discovery paradigm in autoimmune diseases: Our LANCE platform is designed to achieve an efficient discovery timeline, from target identification to lead compound in under 12 months. Our seven identified candidates have moved to in vitro and in vivo studies without a single discontinuation for observations related to toxicity, efficacy or non-druggability. Finally, customizable in silico analysis to identify targets agnostically as overall regulators of immunology or focused on a particular indication of interest broadens the breadth of our opportunities to a series of new potential indications.

 

 

Modulating multiple critical pathways via a single target: The LANCE platform provides the potential ability to identify candidates which could coordinate multiple cellular processes into the same overall phenotype to reduce compensatory mechanisms tied to loss of response. The LANCE platform provides robust, well-conserved potential targets in an autoimmune disease space associated with high patient-to-patient variability. The ability to modulate multiple primary targets and several escape mechanisms offers the potential to identify candidates which could be developed to provide a more durable effect of therapy.

 

103


Table of Contents
 

Cost advantage and meaningful target generation potential: Given the demonstrated capital efficiency of the initial drug development programs we have undertaken to date, we believe our LANCE platform is likely to continue providing for a decrease in discovery and development costs relative to licensing new product candidates as we advance the timeline of discovery to IND. We also believe the LANCE platform may provide meaningful potential to discover new targets and re-prioritize identified targets with continually evolving input data. Streamlined target selection and prioritized list of selected targets may also minimize time and cost dedicated to discovery stage. A rational and efficient product prioritization from the large targets pool offered by our platform is bolstered by efficacy studies with two or more animal models, by toxicity and PK data with target tissue engagement in mice, rats and pigs, as well as by the availability of translational biomarkers to make early preclinical and clinical go/no-go decisions. We are targeting indications characterized by high unmet clinical need, significant likelihood of success in clinical development and market size opportunity.

Our LANCL2 pathway product candidates

The LANCL2 pathway

The LANCL2 receptor triggers a unique reaction at the interface of immunity and metabolism. LANCL2 is a surface membrane-associated receptor and one of three members of the LANCL family, which have been previously studied in detail. Our analysis with the LANCE platform has produced a deeper understanding of the role of the LANCL2 pathway in modulating key cellular and molecular genes tied to autoimmune disease. More specifically, activation of LANCL2 is designed to intercept autoimmune disease at multiple levels through extensively-characterized pathways and signaling molecules, including decrease of inflammation-promoting TNFa, IFNg, IL-6 and MCP1 and increase in regulatory Tregs anti-inflammatory activities.

Given the differential metabolic preferences of Th1 and Th17 versus Treg cells, whereby the former prefer glycolytic pathways versus the latter prefer oxidative phosphorylation to produce energy, the rewiring of metabolism between oxidative and glycolytic metabolic pathways mediated by LANCL2 activation is designed to produce a functional switch in immune cells that promotes regulatory functions. For instance, highly proliferative effector cells associated with autoimmune reactions produce strongly inflammatory cytokines, such as TNFa and IFNg, and differentiate into effector Th1 and Th17 CD4+ T cell subsets. Both of these events are associated with lactate, the key metabolite of anaerobic glycolysis. In contrast, when LANCL2 is activated, it promotes the function of enzymes that diminish lactate and favor oxidative phosphorylation. This metabolic switch is supportive of stable expression of FOXP3, the master transcription factor associated with the function of Treg cells.

In inflammatory tissue microenvironments tied to autoimmune disease, loss of CD25 (the IL-2 receptor) is one of the first changes in Tregs to occur, leading to co-production of inflammatory cytokines and an overall weakened suppressive potential. LANCL2 activation provides protection from and restoration of IL-2 signaling by augmenting STAT5 phosphorylation. As a result, LANCL2 activation by BT-11 and other product candidates that target LANCL2 results in stable Tregs that have enhanced suppressive capacity as evidenced by expression of key regulatory molecules such as immune checkpoint inhibitors like PD1. The importance of LANCL2 in Tregs has been independently validated in a proteomics-based screen identifying differential expression of LANCL2 in Tregs compared to non-Treg cells.

 

104


Table of Contents

The graphics below illustrate key elements of LANCL2 activation by BT-11.

 

•  BT-11 Multimodal MoA:

 

•  Decreases the production of inflammatory mediators tied to IBD (TNFa, IFNg, MCP1, IL-6, and IL-8)

 

•  Increases anti-inflammatory molecules in Tregs that protect from autoimmunity (IL-10, FOXP3)

 

•  BT-11 generates suppressive regulatory CD4+ T cells (Tregs) that restore and maintain immune tolerance in the Gl tract

 

•  Decrease proliferation and differentiation of effector CD4+ T cells (Th1 and Th17)

 

•  Aid in epithelial cell and support the reduction of IL-8 and chemokine-dependent neutrophil influx

 

Leber, A., et al. J lmmunol, 2019.

   LOGO

 

•  Multipronged mechanism of action targeting downstream known immunological targets tied to autoimmune diseases, including IBD.

 

•  BT-11 enhances CD25/STAT5 signaling to support the stable differentiation of regulatory CD4+ T cells with greater anti-inflammatory functionality.

 

•  BT-11 increases PDH activity, resulting in increased oxidative metabolism supporting FOXP3 stability.

 

•  BT-11 downregulates glycolytic pathways associated with TNF-a production and effector CD4+ T cells, including production of lactate and over-expression of EN01.

 

•  BT-11 increases suppressive effects of Tregs due to enhanced immune checkpoint surface markers (LAG3 and PD-1).

   LOGO

While critical to functions in Tregs, the LANCL2 receptor is expressed in a wide range of immune cells, epithelial cells and cells from metabolic (muscle, adipose and liver) tissues. The effects within these cell types often mirror the described signaling events within Tregs, whereby the promotion of mitochondrial metabolism parallels potent anti-inflammatory markers. In IBD, mitochondrial metabolism pathways account for the majority of downregulated genes relative to healthy controls. A primary cause of this downregulation is a direct result of defective regulation of mitochondrial metabolism in intestinal epithelial cells. In both mouse models of IBD and intestinal epithelial organoids ex vivo, activation of mitochondrial function has been observed with LANCL2 activation, restoring this metabolism to healthy levels. When this restoration is achieved, chemokine production from intestinal epithelial cells is decreased, leading to suppression of neutrophil recruitment into the intestinal wall. In IBD, neutrophils are crucial histological markers of active disease as well as the primary source for calprotectin, a highly predictive fecal biomarker of response to treatment since the majority of drugs

 

105


Table of Contents

approved for treating IBD cause a drop in fecal calprotectin concentrations. Neutrophils and fecal calprotectin were significantly decreased by LANCL2 activation in all preclinical models tested and in our Phase 1 clinical trial, fecal calprotectin concentrations were also decreased following BT-11 treatment. In phagocytes (macrophages and dendritic cells), LANCL2 activation of mitochondrial metabolism supports the efficient processing of harmless cellular material from the body taken up by these cells leading to increased production of IL-10 from these cells and lower auto-reactivity to self-antigens. In metabolic tissues, LANCL2 activation results in increased AMPK signaling, which increases mitochondrial function and synergizes with insulin to activate efficient energy storage in both muscle and liver.

With robust control of both immune and metabolic signaling, we believe the novel LANCL2 pathway is relevant in a wide range of autoimmune, inflammatory and metabolic diseases, specifically CD, UC, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, NASH, type 1 diabetes and psoriasis. We have prioritized IBD as our first indication in the LANCL2 pathway due to the significant unmet clinical need and major therapeutic gaps in both UC and CD and the mechanistic relevance in both Tregs and epithelial cell metabolism. Validation of the LANCL2 pathway in IBD with BT-11 may have wide-reaching implications on the development of new treatments for other diseases. For example, increased Treg stability and IL-10 production from phagocytes may be critical in restoring self-tolerance in systemic lupus erythematosus. In addition, shifting the balance between Treg and Th17 cells and reducing neutrophil recruitment are highly relevant to improvement of symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis. Correcting the underlying deficiencies in insulin sensitivity and reducing chronic low-grade systemic inflammation has potential to improve NASH. Decreasing Th2 responses might provide a therapeutic benefit in EoE. Modulating T cell responses and TNF in the skin might provide a therapeutic benefit in psoriasis. We are initially focused on developing three product candidates that target the LANCL2 pathway: BT-11, BT-104 and BT-111.

BT-11, an oral LANCL2 agonist for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease

Overview

BT-11 is an oral, gut-restricted, small molecule that is the first product candidate to target LANCL2 which we are evaluating in clinical trials in both UC and CD. UC and CD are chronic autoimmune diseases with significant therapeutic gaps resulting from safety concerns and modest efficacy of current treatments. We believe that an oral, gut-restricted small molecule delivered once daily in a singular tablet could address the therapeutic gaps in the UC and CD treatment paradigms and have a significant impact on quality of life for IBD patients. BT-11 is a wholly-owned product candidate that has successfully completed a Phase 1 clinical trial. We have completed the induction phase of a Phase 2 clinical trial of BT-11 for mild to moderate UC in the United States, Russia and Europe. In the intent-to-treat population, we observed a positive trend in absolute clinical remission rates as defined by the 3-component modified Mayo Score, using a stool frequency subscore of 0 or 1, a rectal bleeding subscore of 0 and an endoscopic subscore of 0 or 1 following 12 weeks of oral treatment with BT-11 at 1000 mg QD or 500 mg QD compared to placebo (31.8% and 30.3 versus 22.7%; p=0.340 and 0.235). Although the Phase 2 trial did not include a biologic comparator arm, the resulting placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates of 9.1% and 7.6% for the 1,000 and 500 mg dose groups, respectively, were consistent with standard of care treatments in both mild to moderate and moderate to severe UC. In a more moderate subset of patients (with Mayo score equal to or greater than 7 at baseline) the placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates were 11.5% (p=0.153) and 8.7% (p=0.273) for the 1,000 mg (n=47) and 500 mg (n=44) dose groups, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=50). Additionally, in a small subset of biologic experienced patients, positive placebo-adjusted remission trends were also observed (66.6% and 33.3% in the 1,000 mg (n=3) and 500 mg (n=3) cohorts, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=3, 0%)). Based on these data, we expect to commence a Phase 3 trial of BT-11 in mild to moderate UC patients in the United States, Russia, Asia, and Europe in the first half of 2021, subject to review of the complete Phase 2 data and FDA feedback, and we expect to discuss with

 

106


Table of Contents

the FDA the pathway for further development of BT-11 in UC patients. We expect to commence a Phase 2 proof-of-concept study in patients with moderate to severe CD in the first half of 2021. We expect to submit an IND for a new BT-11 oral formulation for EoE in the first half of 2021.

Background on UC and current treatments

UC is a chronic, autoimmune, inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation, irritation, and ulcers in the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Symptoms include abdominal pain, rectal pain and bleeding, bloody stools, diarrhea, fever, weight loss, and malnutrition. Having UC puts a patient at increased risk of developing colon cancer. Diagnosis typically occurs in early adulthood and the disease requires maintenance treatment for the remainder of the patient’s life. UC is estimated to affect over 900,000 patients in the United States and over 1 million patients throughout the rest of the world. The global therapeutics market for UC was $5.3 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow at a 2.5% compound annual growth rate between 2016 and 2026. Of this global market, the United States market comprised over $4 billion in 2019. With 70% of addressable patients experiencing a second flare within one year and 30% of patients in remission failing to stay in remission for more than one year, there is an unmet medical need in UC for safer and more efficacious therapeutics.

LOGO

Source: GlobalData Market Research Report

Patients with UC are classified into mild-to-moderate, comprising 70-80% of patients, and moderate-to-severe, based on the level of symptoms experienced. Accordingly, the current therapeutic treatments for UC depend on the severity of the disease and are broadly divided into five classes:

Mild to moderate UC

The following treatments are typically used in the treatment of mild to moderate UC:

 

 

Aminosalicylates or 5-ASA (mesalamine, sulfasalazine) are used as a first-line therapy in UC without a precise mechanism of action. Approximately 80% of patients qualifying as mild to moderate in severity receive mesalamine as a maintenance drug, but many require corticosteroids to address disease flares and

 

107


Table of Contents
 

eventually lose response progressing into immunosuppressants or biologics. Aminosalicylates are commonly preferred by physicians and patients for the treatment of IBD, due to high tolerability in most patients. Common side effects include headache, nausea, dyspepsia, flatulence and diarrhea. Rare but more serious side effects include pleuritis, pericarditis, myocarditis, pancreatitis, cholestic hepatitis, nephritis and renal dysfunction.

 

 

Corticosteroids (budesonide, prednisone) are used as induction agents and are prescribed for short periods to address disease flares in both mild to moderate and moderate to severe patients. Corticosteroids are generally administered through an oral or rectal route of administration. Common side effects are mild to moderate in intensity and include UC, headache, nausea, mood changes and sleep changes.

 

 

Immunosuppressants (methotrexate, thiopurines) are used to wean patients off steroid use and rarely as independent maintenance drugs in moderate to severe patients. Immunosuppressants are orally administered but are systemically distributed agents. Common side effects include a decrease in the number of white blood cells (leucopenia), headache, rash, nausea, and dyspepsia (indigestion), alopecia (hair loss), mild increase in levels of liver enzyme (aspartate aminotransferase), peritoneal abscesses, abnormally low levels of the protein albumin in the blood (hypoalbuminemia).

Moderate to severe UC

The following treatments are typically used in the treatment of moderate to severe UC:

 

 

Biologics (anti-TNF, anti-IL-12/IL-23, anti-integrin) are the primary maintenance therapy in moderate to severe UC and comprised 59% in 2016 of the UC therapeutic market. Biologics are injectable therapies and can be divided into two classes: those targeting cytokines, comprising 80% of the biologics market in UC, and those targeting cell trafficking, comprising the remaining 20%. Side effects include leucopenia, immunosuppression, cancer, infection and death.

 

 

JAK inhibitors (tofacitinib) are an induction and maintenance therapy for severe patients that do not respond to other therapies, including biologics. Similar to immunosuppressants, approved JAK inhibitors are oral agents that are systemically distributed. Common side effects of JAK inhibitors include headache and nasopharyngitis, immunosuppression, increased risk for infections, changes in serum lipid levels, mild neutropenia and anemia, and slight increase in the incidence of malignancies (lymphoma, breast cancer, and lung cancer).

 

LOGO

 

108


Table of Contents

We believe that current therapeutics for the treatment of both mild to moderate and moderate to severe UC have the following limitations that we believe BT-11, if approved, may address:

 

 

Safety and tolerability concerns. The majority of approved therapeutics for maintenance of UC (biologics and JAK inhibitors) are systemically distributed, resulting in effects on the immune system outside of the gastrointestinal tract. These effects result in increased risks for cancers, infections, blood clots and death. Given the chronic nature of these indications, there is a need for a safer long-term option. Despite a lower severity of disease, many of the mechanisms of action for current drugs in mild-to-moderate space are also tied to known toxicities such as drops in white blood cell counts and increased risk for infection in the case of immunosuppressants, and bone loss, weight gain, lowered quality of life and cardiovascular complications in the case of extended corticosteroid use. Thus, it is difficult to develop drugs with better safety profiles without targeting innovative mechanisms.

 

 

Inconvenient and costly route of administration. The main class of therapy in UC is biologics, which are injectable therapies administered through either intravenous or subcutaneous routes. Often, this requires a patient to visit a clinic or specialist care provider which disrupts daily life, increases health care costs and lacks convenience. Aminosalicylates (5-ASAs), the recommended therapy for mild-to-moderate UC by the American Gastroenterological Association, requires 2.4 to 4.8 grams per day, amounting to two to six tablets daily when dosed orally. Depending on the response to oral dosing, rectal dosing of mesalamine is sometimes required.

 

 

Limited efficacy. Resulting from a lack of innovation that repeatedly aims at very narrow targets, current therapeutics in UC have continually faced a capped effect size, achieving no greater than 25% in remission rate. For biologics, in placebo-controlled pivotal studies, the 4-domain remission rate effect size for biologics ranged between approximately 10% and 25%. To illustrate, the Gemini 1 trial for Entyvio provided a remission rate of 16.9% and the Gemini 1 and 2 trials for Humira provided 18.5% and 16.5% remission rates, respectively. Additionally, among patients responsive to treatment with biologics, approximately 40% will lose response within three years due to immunogenicity, development of compensatory inflammatory signaling, or unknown causes. Marketed and late-stage drugs in JAK and sphingosine-1-phoshate, or S1P, classes have achieved similar rates in Phase 3 studies including tofacitinib (18.5% remission in the Octave I trial) and ozanimod (18.4% in a trial conducted by the True North Center). Studies of biomarker normalization in recent studies support these rates. For fecal calprotectin, various cut-off values have been used to predict clinical remission including 250 µg/g such as for ustekinumab (30.3% normalization rate, 8.5% placebo adjusted at week 8) and 150 µg/g such as for vedolizumab (29.3% normalization rate, 12.5% placebo adjusted at week six). Similarly in a real-world scenario, tofacitinib had a 29% normalization rate using a 250 µg/g cutoff. In a complex autoimmune disease with multiple aspects to its pathogenesis, targeting a singular inflammatory pathway may continue to be ineffective in providing extended remission to more than 25% of patients.

 

 

Therapeutic gap. Currently no FDA-approved drugs address the region of the treatment paradigm between the aminosalicylate (5-ASA) failures and biologics, where the majority of patients exist. Patients are faced with the option of staying on a sub-optimal therapy, to which they are losing response, or moving into a class of treatment with drastically higher safety risks. Despite early promise, the emergence of safety concerns for JAK inhibitors and S1P modulators have limited the non-biologic immunomodulators that are currently in development to a biologic-failure class of patients. There is an unmet need for a safer and effective drug that can bridge the treatment paradigm from 5-ASA to biologics.

 

109


Table of Contents

Our solution for treatment of UC

We believe that BT-11, our lead oral UC product candidate, if approved, has the potential to treat patients prior to their progression into biologics and address the main limitations of current therapeutics based on the clinical and preclinical data to date. We believe BT-11, if approved, may offer the following advantages:

 

 

Gut-restricted PK with low systemic exposure. In preclinical and clinical studies, a comparison between the gastrointestinal PK of BT-11 versus the systemic PK in five species (mice, rats, dogs, pigs and humans) indicated that 99% of orally administered BT-11 remains in the gut. In our Phase 1 clinical trial, we validated the translation of the gut-restricted PK in humans since gastrointestinal concentrations of BT-11 human participants were observed to be on average 6,000-fold higher in the colon than the maximum serum concentration, or Cmax, in blood. In these studies, we observed that BT-11 was highly stable in the gastrointestinal environment and reached the colon in high local concentrations that scale proportionally with oral dose.

 

 

Tolerability. In its Phase 1 clinical trial, BT-11 had no differences in presentation of adverse events, or AEs, clinical chemistry, changes in white blood cell counts, electrocardiogram, or ECG, and other clinical measures at doses up to 100 mg/kg (approximately 7,500 mg). Chronic studies in rats for six months and in dogs for nine months have been completed with NOAEL greater than or equal to 1,000 mg/kg, a dose which is 70-fold higher than the highest dose tested in our Phase 2 clinical trials in UC.

 

 

Convenient, once a day oral dosing. We designed BT-11 for IBD to be a single, once-a-day oral tablet. In our ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with mild to moderate UC, we are evaluating BT-11 at two doses (500 and 1,000 mg), each of which are contained in a single tablet.

 

 

Preclinical and translational testing. We have evaluated BT-11 in five mouse models of colitis and a pig model of colitis, and have observed consistent reduction of inflammatory markers and improvement of histological scores across diverse methods of disease induction including genetic, immunological, bacterial and chemical. In side-by-side comparative preclinical testing, BT-11 greatly exceeded the efficacy of other therapeutics (anti-TNF, 5-ASA, tofacitinib) in reduction of disease activity index, leukocytic infiltration and fecal calprotectin in Mdr1a-/- model of colitis. We believe this robust dataset lends substantial support to the validity of LANCL2 as an innovative immunometabolic pathway, with the potential to be targeted via BT-11 without inherent toxicities and which has demonstrated potent therapeutic activity in a broad range of animal models of IBD.

 

 

Innovative immunometabolic target not tied to toxicities. We have designed BT-11 to activate a novel target, LANCL2, to induce immunometabolic effects that favor regulatory responses. In human primary cells and preclinical disease models, BT-11 activated oxidative phosphorylation and promoted FOXP3 stability to enhance the suppressive activity of Tregs and restore local tissue homeostasis and immune tolerance. In addition to potentially being a very powerful monotherapy, given the novel target and lack of toxicities, we believe there is also potential to use BT-11, if approved, as a complementary or combination UC therapy.

 

110


Table of Contents

LOGO

Phase 2 clinical trial of BT-11 in UC

Phase 2 clinical trial design

In August 2019, we initiated dosing in a Phase 2 randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter clinical trial of 195 patients with mild to moderate UC. The primary objective of this trial was to establish efficacy and safety of oral BT-11. The study’s primary endpoint measured clinical remission in mild to moderate UC patients at week 12 of BT-11 treatment initiation, as defined by a 3-component definition of rectal bleeding = 0, stool frequency = 0 or 1, and endoscopic subscore = 0 or 1. The Mayo score is the primary evaluation measure in UC clinical trials, serving as a composite score (0-12) of endoscopic appearance, stool frequency, rectal bleeding and physician assessment. The graphic below shows the design of the Phase 2 clinical trial.

 

LOGO

 

111


Table of Contents

A total of 195 patients with mild to moderate UC (total Mayo Score 4-10; Mayo endoscopic subscore [MES] ³ 2) were targeted to be randomized in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive BT-11 low-dose (500 mg), BT-11 high-dose (1,000 mg) or placebo. In total, 198 patients were randomized with each of the treatment arms comprised of 66 patients. The randomization was stratified by whether the patient has had prior exposure to biologic therapy for UC and whether the patient had corticosteroid use at baseline. The trial consisted of a 28-day screening period, a 12-week induction period, an 18-week maintenance period and a two-week post-treatment safety follow-up period. Patients that were in clinical response or remission at week 12 were eligible to continue into the maintenance period. Patients entering the maintenance period stayed in the same blinded group assignment given in the induction phase.

The trial included endoscopies at baseline, week 12 (end of induction) and week 30 (end of maintenance). Endoscopic scoring was centrally read. During each endoscopy, biopsies were collected for histology, PK and target engagement in addition to other mechanistic and translational evaluations. Blood and stool samples were collected throughout the trial (baseline, weeks two, six, 12, 18, 24 and 30) to assess biomarkers, including calprotectin levels in feces. Rectal bleeding and stool frequency sub-scores were recorded by patient diary.

Secondary endpoints include endoscopic remission rate at week 12 (as defined by a MES of 0 or 1), mucosal healing rate at 12 weeks (defined by an MES of 0 or 1 and a Geboes Histologic Index score of less than 3.1), mean change in fecal calprotectin from baseline over 12 weeks, concentration of BT-11 in feces over 12 weeks and number of participants with treatment-related AEs.

Phase 2 clinical trial topline results

At week 12, in the intent-to-treat population, BT-11 induced clinical remission in 31.8% of patients at 1,000 mg QD and 30.3% at 500 mg QD, compared to 22.7% at placebo. BT-11 had a well-tolerated safety profile with no meaningful difference in AEs relative to placebo during the induction period.

 

   

Primary endpoint definition

   Clinical remission at Week 12 as defined by stool frequency of 0 or 1, rectal bleeding of 0 and Mayo endoscopic subscore of 0 or 1

Analysis population

   All randomized subjects

Analysis method

   Stratified Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel Method

Planned stratifications

  

Previous biologic usage

Baselini Mayo score greater than median value (7)

Subjects with SF ³ 2, RB ³ 1, MES ³ 2

 

       
      Placebo
(n = 66)
     BT-11 500 mg
(n = 66)
     BT-11 1000 mg
(n = 66)
 

Clinical remission (%)

     22.7        30.3        31.8  

P Value

            0.340        0.235  

 

  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

In the intent-to-treat population, we observed a positive trend in absolute clinical remission rates as defined by the 3-component modified Mayo Score, using a stool frequency subscore of 0 or 1, a rectal bleeding subscore of 0 and an endoscopic subscore of 0 or 1 following 12 weeks of oral treatment with BT-11 at 1,000 mg QD or 500 mg QD compared to placebo (31.8% and 30.3% versus 22.7%; p=0.340 and 0.235). The resulting placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates of 9.1% and 7.6% for the 1000 and 500 mg dose groups, respectively, and are consistent with standard of care treatments in both mild-to-moderate and moderate-to-severe UC. In a more moderate subset of patients (with Mayo score equal to or greater than 7 at baseline) the placebo-adjusted

 

112


Table of Contents

clinical remission rates were 11.5%; (p=0.153) and 8.7% (p=0.273) for the 1000 (n=47) and 500 mg (n=44) dose groups, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=50). Additionally, in a small subset of biologic experienced patients, positive placebo-adjusted remission trends were also observed (66% and 33% in the 1,000 (n=3) and 500 mg (n=3) cohorts, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=3, 0%)).

 

Clinical Remission

 

LOGO

  

Clinical Remission

 

LOGO

  

Clinical Remission

 

LOGO

The conventional method for measuring the statistical significance of a result is known as the “p-value,” which represents the probability that random chance caused the result (e.g., a p-value = 0.001 means that there is a 0.1% or less probability that the difference between the control group and the treatment group is purely due to random chance). Generally, a p-value less than 0.05 is considered statistically significant, and may be supportive of a finding of efficacy by regulatory authorities.

During endoscopy at baseline and week 12, biopsies were collected for histological assessment of the colon. Histological samples were scored by a blinded central reader by the Geboes score, which is a histological scoring system for UC. The cutoff for histological remission was set as a Geboes score less than 2B.1, which is indicative of a lack of erosion, ulceration or granulation of the tissue, no crypt destruction, an absence of neutrophils in the epithelium and no noticeable increase of neutrophils in the lamina propria. In subjects with increased chronic inflammatory infiltrate at baseline, histological remission occurred in 42.1% of patients treated with 500 mg BT-11 (D = 16.6; p = 0.069) and 38.5% of patients treated with 1,000 mg BT-11 (D = 13.0; p = 0.158). In all randomized subjects, histological remission occurred in 48.5% of patients treated with 500 mg BT-11 (D = 13.7; p = 0.112) and 43.9% of patients treated with 1,000 mg BT-11 (D= 9.1; p = 0.285). Additionally, in a small subset of biologic experienced patients, positive placebo-adjusted histological remission trends were also observed (33% in both the 1,000 mg (n=3) and 500 mg (n=3) cohorts, respectively, as compared to placebo (n=3, 0%)).

 

LOGO

Pharmacokinetic measurements confirmed that dose proportional increases of BT-11 were observed in stool samples across each dosing group. As illustrated below, oral dosing of BT-11 resulted in stable stool concentrations of approximately 1,600 µg/g at a 500 mg oral dose and 2,600 µg/g at a 1,000 mg oral dose over

 

113


Table of Contents

the 12-week induction period. Similar dose proportionality occurred in biopsy samples collected at week 12, resulting in 3.84 µg/g with the 500 mg oral dose and 5.91 µg/g with the 1,000 mg oral dose. Estimated maximal plasma concentrations were not different than those observed in normal healthy volunteers and displayed no dose proportionality, suggesting no evidence of greater systemic absorption with a compromised intestinal epithelial layer. No change in estimated maximal plasma concentrations occurred through the 12-week induction phase.

 

Stool Concentration

 

LOGO

  

Colon (Tissue) Concentration

 

LOGO

In the overall modified intent-to-treat population, which included all randomized patients in the trial, BT-11 treated patients were more likely to experience normalization of fecal calprotectin at each time point than patients receiving placebo, providing a response as early as two weeks post-treatment, as illustrated below. No significant differences in baseline fecal calprotectin were observed across groups (BT-11 high dose: 403 ± 382 g/g; BT-11 low dose: 462 ± 468 µg/g; placebo 543 ± 420 µ/g [mean ± SD]).

Fecal Calprotectin Normalization

 

 

LOGO

As illustrated below, in patients with elevated fecal calprotectin levels (³ 250 µg/g) at baseline, normalization and mean change in fecal calprotectin was assessed. Normalization of fecal calprotectin levels, commonly cited to be one of the most predictive biomarkers of response to treatment in UC and CD, was detectable in a subset of patients (n=106) with abnormal baseline calprotectin levels (>250 ug/g), after 2 weeks of oral dosing in over 40% of patients treated with BT-11 (n=64), at either dose level, when compared to 21% of patients receiving placebo (n=42). More specifically, normalization of fecal calprotectin occurred in 43.8% (D = 22.4) of patients receiving BT-11 1,000 mg and 40.6% (D = 19.2) of patients receiving BT-11 500 mg after 2 weeks of treatment, compared to 21.4% of patients receiving placebo. On average, patients receiving BT-11 1,000 mg experienced a

 

114


Table of Contents

mean change of -270.0 µg/g (D = -160.6) and patients receiving BT-11 500 mg experienced a mean change of -254.9 µg/g (D = -145.5), in each case after two weeks of treatment, compared to patients receiving placebo, who experienced a mean change of -109.4 µg/g. No significant differences in baseline fecal calprotectin were observed across the treatment groups in the subgroup analysis (BT-11 high dose: 461 ± 397 µg/g; BT-11 low dose: 613 ± 471 µg/g; placebo 639 ± 422 µg/g [mean ± SD]). Notably, in patients with elevated fecal calprotectin at baseline, BT-11 induced a 13.1 placebo-adjusted clinical remission rate at week 12.

 

 

Fecal Calprotectin Normalization

 

LOGO

 

Fecal Calprotectin

 

LOGO

The AEs observed were similar across the three arms of the trial, with 30.3% of the placebo group, 27.3% of the 500 mg BT-11 group, and 30.3% of the 1,000 mg BT-11 group reporting one or more AEs. The most common AE observed was worsening of ulcerative colitis, reported in 9.6% of patients study-wide, with no meaningful differences between the two treatment groups and the placebo group. No other AE was reported in more than 5% of patients. In total, 37 AEs were judged to be possibly or probably related to BT-11, with 11 of these events in patients treated with the highest dose of BT-11 (1,000 mg). No meaningful difference was observed in the presentation of infections and infestations between patients receiving any dose of BT-11 and placebo, with no patient dosed with BT-11 presenting with lymphopenia. Four total SAEs were reported, all of which were judged to be unrelated to BT-11. Overall, no emergent safety or tolerability concerns were identified.

Phase 1 clinical trial of BT-11 by single ascending dose and multiple ascending dose in normal healthy participants

The safety and tolerability of BT-11 was assessed in a two-stage, single-center, double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial in healthy male and female volunteers. The single ascending dose stage consisted of five groups of eight healthy male and female participants per cohort, each receiving a single oral dose of BT-11 or placebo in a six-hour fasted state. The multiple ascending dose stage consisted of three cohorts of ten healthy male and female participants, each receiving an oral dose of BT-11 or placebo once daily for seven days. Doses were tested ranging from 500 mg to approximately 7,500 mg in the highest cohort of each stage.

Safety and tolerability were assessed through types and frequency of AEs, physical examination, ECGs, biochemistry, hematology and urinalysis. No trends in AE presentation were observed in comparison between BT-11 and placebo or between specific cohorts. No serious adverse events were reported. No AEs were identified to have a probable or definite relationship to the study drug. None of the clinical laboratory results, including serum chemistry, hematology, coagulation and urinalysis, outside the reference range were considered to be clinically significant in either the single ascending dose or multiple ascending dose stages. No changes from baseline in white blood cell count or percentages of specific immune cell subsets were observed in blood on day seven of the multiple ascending dose stage relative to placebo in any one cohort or across all participants who received BT-11. No changes in ECG parameters were assessed as clinically significant and no treatment-emergent AEs, or TEAEs, arose from abnormal ECG measurements.

 

115


Table of Contents
Single Ascending Dose    Multiple Ascending Dose
White Cell Count    C-Reactive Protein    White Cell Count    C-Reactive Protein
LOGO    LOGO    LOGO    LOGO

Change from baseline in white blood cell counts and C-reactive protein levels during single ascending dose (n = 10, placebo; n = 6, active) and multiple ascending dose (n = 6, placebo; n = 8, active) arms of the Phase 1 study of BT-11 in normal healthy volunteers.

PK was assessed in blood, at multiple time points post-dosing, and in stool, on day seven in the multiple ascending dose stage. BT-11 concentrations were quantified within feces on day seven of the multiple ascending dose stage. Concentrations of 2.39 mg/g were observed in participants who received 500 mg of BT-11 daily for seven days. Stool BT-11 levels were observed to scale proportionally in a manner similar to the scaling of oral dosage. In contrast to stool concentrations, a plasma Cmax of 372 ng/mL at 1.19 hours post-dose was observed in participants receiving 500 mg daily for seven days, a value that is more than 6,000-fold lower than concentrations observed in feces. Plasma concentrations scaled at a less than dose proportional scale when comparing high-dose to low-dose, with only an 8.2-fold increase in AUC0-24 relative to a dosage increase of 14.3-fold. Plasma BT-11 was quickly cleared with half-life of 2.7 hours. In parallel with PK analysis, calprotectin concentrations were measured in feces. This study was not powered for detecting statistical differences in biomarkers. Mean fecal calprotectin was observed to be lower in the BT-11 500 mg cohort than those observed in placebo.

Mean fecal calprotectin (µg/g)

 

     
      Placebo      BT-11 (500 mg)  

Single ascending dose

     33.8        12.3  

Multiple ascending dose

     34.8        6.4  

 

 

 

Fecal BT-11

SAD, day 2

  

Fecal BT-11

MAD, day 7

LOGO

  

LOGO

Fecal concentrations of BT-11 on day 2 of single ascending dose (n = 6) and day 7 of multiple ascending dose (n = 8) arms of the Phase 1 study of BT-11 in normal healthy volunteers.

 

116


Table of Contents

Clinical development plan

Phase 3 clinical trial design of BT-11 in UC

We intend to initiate an integrated Phase 3 clinical program of BT-11 in patients with mild to moderate UC in the first half of 2021, subject to review of the complete Phase 2 data and subject to FDA feedback. The Phase 3 program is expected to be two independent induction trials feeding into a single maintenance trial. All aspects of these trials will be randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group multicenter designs. The purpose of these trials will be to evaluate the efficacy and safety of oral BT-11 in the induction and maintenance of remission in patients with mild to moderate UC. The trial will use a co-primary endpoint of clinical remission, as defined by a Mayo stool frequency subscore of 0, Mayo rectal bleeding subscore of 0 and a Mayo endoscopy subscore of 0 or 1, at week 12 and week 52. Secondary endpoints will be included to assess mucosal healing by endoscopic and histologic evaluation, improvement in the endoscopic appearance of the mucosa, maintenance of corticosteroid-free remission, clinical response, fecal calprotectin and changes in individual Mayo subscores.

An estimated total of 632 patients with mild to moderate UC (total Mayo Score 4-10; Mayo endoscopic subscore MES ³ 2) will be randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive BT-11 low-dose (500 mg) or placebo into the first induction trial. The second induction trial will include 720 patients (randomized 1:1) with matching treatment groups and inclusion and exclusion criteria. The protocol for the second trial will hold the analysis of the maintenance endpoints. The final number of patients may be adjusted based on the final data package from our Phase 2 clinical trial. The randomization will be stratified by prior exposure to biologic therapy for UC and corticosteroid use at baseline. The trial will consist of a 28-day screening period, a 12-week induction period, a 40-week maintenance period and a 2-week post-treatment safety follow-up period. A mandatory steroid taper will commence at week 12.

The trial will consist of endoscopies at baseline, week 12 (end of induction) and week 52 (end of maintenance). Endoscopic scoring will be conducted centrally. During each endoscopy, biopsies will be collected for histology, PK and target engagement in addition to other mechanistic and translational evaluations. Blood and stool samples will be collected throughout the study (baseline, weeks two, six, 12, 18, 24 and 30) to assess biomarkers, including fecal calprotectin. Rectal bleeding and stool frequency subscores will be recorded by patient diary.

The graphic below depicts the expected design of the Phase 3 clinical trial.

Expected Phase 3 trial design in UC

 

LOGO

 

117


Table of Contents

Preclinical results

BT-11 has been studied in five mouse models and one pig model of IBD. These five mouse models encompass diverse methods of disease induction including chemical (DSS), cellular (adoptive transfer), genetic (Mdr1a-/-, IL10-/-) and bacterial (Citrobacter rodentium). Key findings from our preclinical studies are summarized in the tables below.

Summary of disease activity and histopathology results from BT-11 in five mouse models of IBD

 

           
Model    Challenge    Dose      Length of
treatment
     Reduction in
leukocytic
infiltration
relative to
vehicle
    Reduction in
final DAI
relative to
vehicle
 

DSS

   DSS in drinking water      8 mg/kg, oral        7 days        70%     50%

Adoptive transfer

   4x105 CD45RB hi CD4+ T cells by IP injection      8 mg/kg, oral        6 weeks        65%     80%

Adoptive transfer (cotransfer)

  

4x105 CD45RBhi CD4+ T cells and 1x105 Treg by IP injection

  

 

 

 

8 mg/kg, oral

 

 

  

 

 

 

6 weeks

 

 

  

 

 

 

88%

 

 

 

 

 

95%

 

Mdr1a-/-

   Spontaneous/genetic      8 mg/kg, oral        6 weeks        73%     95%

IL10-/-

   Spontaneous/genetic      8 mg/kg, oral        12 weeks        75%     40%

C. rodentium

   1x109 CFU/mouse (strain DBS100)      8 mg/kg, oral        3 weeks        85%     50%

 

 

 

*   P £ 0.05

Summary of changes in CD4+ T cells and neutrophils in colon from BT-11 in five mouse models of IBD, measured by flow cytometry

 

         
Model    Reduction in Th1
cells relative to vehicle
    Reduction in Th17
cells relative to vehicle
    Change in Treg cells
relative to vehicle
    Reduction in neutrophils
relative to vehicle
 

DSS

     47%     66%     71%     42%

Adoptive transfer

     22%     27%     29%     49%

Adoptive transfer (CD45RBhi, Treg co-transfer)

     46%     44%     68%     88%

Mdr1a-/-

     40%     35%     56%     79%

IL10-/-

     40%     35%     84%     61%

C. rodentium

     71%     87%     140%     95%

 

 

 

*   P £ 0.05

 

118


Table of Contents

Summary of colonic gene expression results from BT-11 in five mouse models of IBD

 

       
Model    Reduction in Tnf
relative to vehicle
    Reduction in Ifng
relative to vehicle
    Increase in Il10
relative to vehicle
 

DSS

     76%     47%     118%

Adoptive transfer

     19%       10%       88%

Adoptive transfer (CD45RBhi, Treg co-transfer)

     31%     69%     145%

Mdr1a-/-

     45%     88%     21%

IL10-/-

     34%     52%     NA  

C. rodentium

     82%     73%     34%

 

 

 

*   P £ 0.05

In the DSS model, correlation between the colonic concentrations of BT-11 with key markers (fecal calprotectin, histologic score and TNF expression) of preclinical efficacy was tested at two doses levels (8 mg/kg, 25 mg/kg). In each marker, an inverse trend was observed with decreasing concentrations or scores with increasing BT-11 concentrations. Fecal calprotectin had the strongest correlation to BT-11 concentration of the parameters tested. Overall, a dose dependent decrease was observed in the colonic expression of TNFa, IL6, and MCP1.

 

LOGO
Colon Tnfa    Colon II6    Colon Mcp1
LOGO    LOGO    LOGO

Preclinical biomarker responses to oral BT-11 (8, 25 mg/kg) during DSS colitis (n = 10, * P £ 0.05).

In the Mdr1a-/- genetic model, BT-11 (oral, 8 mg/kg) was compared to anti-TNF (2 mg/kg, intravenous), 5-ASA (oral, 25 mg/kg), and tofacitinib (oral, 30 mg/kg). Treatments were administered for six weeks. Disease activity index, a composite measure on a scale of 0-4 of rectal inflammation, stool consistency, weight loss and overall physical condition, was monitored throughout the treatment period. BT-11 provided significantly greater response relative to vehicle and the three comparative therapies, based on a side-by-side comparison. After six weeks of treatment, colon sections were prepared for histology and graded for leukocytic infiltration. Stool was collected for measurement of calprotectin. In both measures, the scores of BT-11 were significantly lower than vehicle and the three comparative therapies, as shown in the graphs below.

 

119


Table of Contents

LOGO

Comparative efficacy in disease activity index, leukocytic infiltration, and fecal calprotectin with BT-11 treatment (8 mg/kg) relative to anti-TNF (2 mg/kg), 5-ASA (25 mg/kg) and tofacitinib (30 mg/kg) (n = 9, * P £ 0.05; ** P £ 0.01).

Early validation of the local GI PK was conducted in rodents. While informative, the gastrointestinal tract of rodents is significantly different from humans in transit time, gut microenvironment and overall gastrointestinal physiology. We took an additional step to validate the gut-restricted properties of BT-11 in pigs. Pigs have a nearly 1:1 human equivalent dosing ratio to humans. Twenty-four hours after dosing, colon tissue and colonic stool were collected and assayed for BT-11 content. We observed high, dose-dependent levels of BT-11 in both tissue and stool. The ratio of BT-11 between tissue and stool in pigs was observed to be 1:10. Peak concentrations of less than 150 ng/mL, 3,000-fold lower than tissue and 30,000-fold lower than stool concentrations, were observed in plasma one hour post-dosing. Minimal differences were observed between pigs with IBD and healthy pigs in absorption or local GI PK.

 

 

LOGO

Plasma concentrations of BT-11 from 0 to 24 hours after oral dosing with immediate release tablets (n = 4). Colonic content (stool), ileum and colonic tissue concentrations of BT-11 24 hours after oral dosing with immediate release tablets (50, 100, 200 mg) (n = 4).

 

120


Table of Contents

Plasma PK parameters of BT-11 in pigs

 

       
Parameter    50 mg      100 mg      200 mg  

Cmax (ng/mL)

     64        54        94  

t1/2 (hr)

     0.9        0.9        0.5  

AUC (hr * ng/mL)

     245        200        287  

Vd (L)

     0.29        0.35        0.54  

 

 

 

In addition to the PK studies, we also used the pig IBD model to measure BT-11 efficacy. We used a seven-day DSS challenge with four groups: placebo and BT-11 at 50 mg, 100 mg or 200 mg, given orally in tablets. Colonic tissue and stool samples were collected at the end of the seven-day study. By histology, the amount of inflammatory cells in the colon was significantly decreased at 100 mg and 200 mg of BT-11. Calprotectin was reduced by approximately half in all BT-11-treated groups. Regulatory CD4+ T Foxp3+ cells that help control inflammation were increased in the colonic wall of all three BT-11 treated groups. As minimal increased in efficacy measures were observed beyond 100 mg, the 500 mg and 1,000 mg dose levels were chosen for preliminary examination in clinical studies based on the pigs used in this study being approximately one-tenth the size of an average human.

 

 

LOGO

Reduction of leukocytic infiltration and fecal calprotectin with increase in colonic CD4+ FOXP3+ cells in pigs challenged with DSS for 7 days and treated with BT-11 tablets (50, 100, 200 mg) daily (n = 9, * P £ 0.05).

In initial translational studies, BT-11 was tested in vitro with lamina propria mononuclear cells, or LPMCs, isolated from colonic samples of UC donors. BT-11 significantly reduced TNFa+, IL-4+ and IFNg+, at concentrations of 0.01, 0.1 and 0.5 µM. BT-11 also significantly increased FOXP3+ LPMCs at these concentrations, suggesting that BT-11 remained effective in cells isolated from the afflicted target area. While numerous factors differ between in vivo and in vitro environments, these experiments also provide preliminary insight into the extracellular concentrations of BT-11 necessary to induce immunological changes in human cells.

 

121


Table of Contents

LPMCs were obtained from colonic resections of UC patients. Cells were treated for 24 hours ex vivo with BT-11. Flow cytometry was used to identify TNF+, IL4+, FOXP3+ and IFNg+ CD45+ cells. Statistical significance by treatment group (n = 8) is shown in the tables below.

 

 

LOGO

Reduction of TNF+, IL4+ and IFNg