10-K
--12-310.000208two yearsfalseFY00017831830001783183us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2020-12-310001783183phat:EmployeeStockPurchasePlanMember2021-12-310001783183phat:SiliconValleyBankTermLoanMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:TwoThousandNineteenEquityIncentivePlanMember2019-01-012019-12-310001783183phat:CommercialSupplyAgreementsMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsNonrecurringMember2021-12-310001783183country:JE2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:OverAllotmentOptionMemberus-gaap:CommonStockMember2019-10-292019-10-290001783183phat:PCIPharmaServicesMemberphat:ClinicalManufacturingServicesMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:DrugProductOrSubstanceMemberphat:CommercialSupplyAgreementsMemberphat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMember2020-12-310001783183phat:StockOptionsAndPerformanceBasedUnitsMemberphat:TwoThousandNineteenIncentiveAwardPlanMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:DomesticCountryMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberphat:EmployeeStockPurchasePlanMember2019-10-310001783183us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183us-gaap:PerformanceSharesMemberphat:TwoThousandNineteenIncentiveAwardPlanMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:SubsequentEventMemberphat:EmployeeStockPurchasePlanMember2022-01-010001783183us-gaap:PrincipalOwnerMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183us-gaap:PrimeRateMemberphat:SiliconValleyBankTermLoanMember2019-05-142019-05-140001783183us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember2019-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMember2019-11-300001783183us-gaap:LeaseholdImprovementsMember2020-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMember2019-03-012019-03-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMember2019-03-3100017831832019-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberphat:TakedaLicenseAgreementMember2019-05-012019-05-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberus-gaap:IPOMember2019-10-290001783183phat:LoanAgreementMemberphat:TermLoanAdvanceMember2021-09-172021-09-170001783183phat:UnvestedSharesMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183phat:CommercialSupplyAgreementsMember2020-05-052020-05-050001783183phat:TwoThousandNineteenIncentiveAwardPlanMember2020-12-310001783183phat:TwoThousandNineteenIncentiveAwardPlanMember2021-12-310001783183phat:PrepaidLeasePaymentsMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:LoanAgreementMemberphat:TermLoanMemberphat:PaymentInKindPikInterestRateMember2021-09-170001783183us-gaap:LeaseholdImprovementsMember2021-12-310001783183srt:MaximumMemberphat:LoanAgreementMemberphat:TermLoanAdvanceMember2021-09-172021-09-1700017831832020-01-012020-12-310001783183phat:LoanAgreementMember2021-09-170001783183phat:LoanAgreementMemberphat:TermLoanAdvanceMember2021-12-310001783183phat:DrugProductOrSubstanceMemberphat:CommercialSupplyAgreementsMemberphat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMember2021-12-310001783183phat:PCIPharmaServicesMemberphat:ClinicalManufacturingServicesMember2021-12-310001783183phat:TwoThousandNineteenEquityIncentivePlanMember2019-12-310001783183us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMemberphat:LenderWarrantsMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183phat:TemporaryServicesAgreementMemberphat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:OverAllotmentOptionMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183us-gaap:DomesticCountryMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:EmployeeStockPurchasePlanMember2019-10-310001783183us-gaap:OverAllotmentOptionMemberus-gaap:CommonStockMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183phat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMemberphat:TakedaLicenseAgreementMember2019-10-112019-10-110001783183us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember2020-12-310001783183us-gaap:RestrictedStockMemberphat:TwoThousandNineteenEquityIncentivePlanMember2019-01-012019-12-310001783183phat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMemberphat:TakedaLicenseAgreementMember2020-12-310001783183phat:PCIPharmaServicesMemberphat:ClinicalManufacturingServicesMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMember2019-05-060001783183phat:TermLoanMember2020-03-110001783183phat:CommonStockWarrantMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:FurnitureAndFixturesMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183country:JE2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:TwoThousandNineteenIncentiveAwardPlanMember2019-10-012019-10-310001783183us-gaap:ComputerEquipmentMember2021-12-3100017831832022-02-240001783183phat:EmployeeStockPurchasePlanMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183stpr:IL2021-12-310001783183phat:TwoThousandNineteenEquityIncentivePlanMember2019-10-310001783183phat:DrugProductOrSubstanceMemberphat:CommercialSupplyAgreementsMemberphat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183phat:TemporaryServicesAgreementMemberphat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMember2020-12-3100017831832021-01-312021-01-310001783183phat:StockOptionsAndPerformanceBasedAwardsMember2021-12-310001783183phat:TermLoansAggregatePrincipalAmountTranchesThreeMemberphat:LoanAgreementMember2021-09-170001783183phat:ATMOfferingProgramMemberphat:OpenMarketSaleAgreementWithJefferiesLLCMember2020-11-012020-11-300001783183phat:LoanAgreementMemberphat:TermLoanMemberus-gaap:BaseRateMember2021-09-172021-09-170001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:TermLoansAggregatePrincipalAmountTranchesFourMemberphat:LoanAgreementMember2021-09-170001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberphat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMemberphat:TakedaLicenseAgreementMember2021-12-310001783183phat:LoanAgreementMemberus-gaap:CommonStockMember2021-09-170001783183us-gaap:SubsequentEventMembercountry:JE2022-02-280001783183srt:MinimumMemberphat:ComputerEquipmentAndSoftwareMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:PrincipalOwnerMember2021-12-310001783183srt:MinimumMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183phat:TermLoanFirstAdvanceMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:EmployeeStockPurchasePlanMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:EmployeeStockPurchasePlanMember2021-01-010001783183phat:EmployeeStockPurchasePlanMember2020-01-010001783183us-gaap:EmployeeStockOptionMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberus-gaap:ShareBasedCompensationAwardTrancheOneMember2019-05-060001783183us-gaap:AccountingStandardsUpdate201912Member2021-12-310001783183phat:TemporaryServicesAgreementMemberphat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberphat:EmployeesMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:PerformanceSharesMemberphat:TwoThousandNineteenIncentiveAwardPlanMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberphat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMemberphat:TakedaLicenseAgreementMember2019-05-070001783183us-gaap:ResearchAndDevelopmentExpenseMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:EmployeeStockPurchasePlanMember2019-10-012019-10-310001783183phat:TakedaWarrantsMemberphat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMemberphat:TakedaLicenseAgreementMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:HerculesAndSvbTermLoanMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:TwoThousandNineteenIncentiveAwardPlanMember2021-01-0100017831832021-08-012021-08-310001783183phat:SiliconValleyBankTermLoanMember2019-05-140001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberphat:TwoThousandNineteenIncentiveAwardPlanMember2019-10-012019-10-310001783183phat:LoanAgreementMemberphat:TermLoanMember2021-09-172021-09-170001783183us-gaap:OverAllotmentOptionMember2020-12-162020-12-160001783183us-gaap:PerformanceSharesMemberphat:TwoThousandNineteenIncentiveAwardPlanMember2020-12-310001783183srt:MaximumMemberphat:SiliconValleyBankTermLoanMember2019-05-142019-05-140001783183phat:WarrantsLiabilitiesMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member2020-01-012020-12-310001783183phat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMemberphat:TakedaLicenseAgreementMember2019-05-070001783183us-gaap:PrincipalOwnerMember2020-12-310001783183phat:PrepaidLeasePaymentsMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183phat:HerculesAndSvbTermLoanMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMember2019-11-012019-11-300001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMember2019-12-310001783183phat:ShareBasedPaymentArrangementEmployeeAndNonemployeeMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:PCIPharmaServicesMemberphat:ClinicalManufacturingServicesMember2020-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMember2020-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberphat:FoundersMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:GeneralAndAdministrativeExpenseMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:SiliconValleyBankTermLoanMember2019-05-142019-05-1400017831832021-12-310001783183phat:TwoThousandNineteenIncentiveAwardPlanMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMemberus-gaap:OverAllotmentOptionMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183phat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMemberphat:TakedaLicenseAgreementMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:ComputerEquipmentMember2020-12-3100017831832021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:DomesticCountryMember2020-12-3100017831832019-10-110001783183phat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMemberphat:TakedaLicenseAgreementMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberus-gaap:IPOMember2019-10-292019-10-290001783183us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:FurnitureAndFixturesMember2020-12-310001783183phat:WarrantsLiabilitiesMemberus-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member2019-12-3100017831832020-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberphat:FrazierLifeSciencesIXLimitedPartnerMember2019-03-012019-03-310001783183stpr:IL2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:PrimeRateMemberphat:LoanAgreementMemberphat:TermLoanMember2021-09-172021-09-170001783183us-gaap:SubsequentEventMemberphat:TwoThousandNineteenIncentiveAwardPlanMember2022-01-010001783183us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:ResearchAndDevelopmentExpenseMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183us-gaap:StateAndLocalJurisdictionMember2021-12-310001783183phat:LoanAgreementMember2021-09-172021-09-1700017831832022-01-012022-01-310001783183phat:SiliconValleyBankTermLoanMember2021-12-310001783183phat:TermLoansAggregatePrincipalAmountTranchesTwoMemberphat:LoanAgreementMember2021-09-170001783183phat:TermLoansAggregatePrincipalAmountTranchesOneMemberphat:LoanAgreementMember2021-09-170001783183us-gaap:OverAllotmentOptionMember2020-12-160001783183phat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMemberphat:TakedaLicenseAgreementMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183phat:TemporaryServicesAgreementMemberphat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:FurnitureAndFixturesMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:HerculesAndSvbTermLoanMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember2021-12-310001783183phat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMemberphat:TakedaLicenseAgreementMember2019-05-072019-05-070001783183us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2019-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMember2019-01-012019-05-060001783183us-gaap:PerformanceSharesMemberphat:TwoThousandNineteenIncentiveAwardPlanMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberphat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMemberphat:TakedaLicenseAgreementMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:DrugProductOrSubstanceMemberphat:CommercialSupplyAgreementsMemberphat:TakedaPharmaceuticalCompanyLimitedMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2021-12-310001783183us-gaap:StateAndLocalJurisdictionMember2021-01-012021-12-3100017831832021-06-300001783183phat:LoanAgreementMemberphat:TermLoanMember2021-09-170001783183srt:MaximumMemberphat:ComputerEquipmentAndSoftwareMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:LenderWarrantsMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:GeneralAndAdministrativeExpenseMember2020-01-012020-12-310001783183srt:MaximumMemberphat:ATMOfferingProgramMemberphat:OpenMarketSaleAgreementWithJefferiesLLCMember2020-11-012020-11-300001783183us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:CommonStockMemberphat:FollowOnPublicOfferingMember2020-12-012020-12-310001783183phat:TermLoanMember2019-05-162020-03-160001783183phat:UnvestedSharesMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183phat:ATMOfferingProgramMember2021-01-012021-12-310001783183us-gaap:PrincipalOwnerMember2021-01-012021-12-31xbrli:purephat:Optionutr:sqftxbrli:sharesiso4217:USDxbrli:sharesphat:Segmentiso4217:USD

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

 

(Mark One)

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

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021

OR

 

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

 

For the transition period from to

Commission file number: 001-39094

 

PHATHOM PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

82-4151574

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

Incorporation or Organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

 

100 Campus Drive, Suite 102

Florham Park, New Jersey

 

07932

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

(Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code: (877) 742-8466

 

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

 

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share

 

PHAT

 

The Nasdaq Global Select Market

 

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

 

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

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No

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

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

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or 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 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

 

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

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No

As of June 30, 2021, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $684.2 million, based on the closing price of the registrant’s common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market of $33.85 per share.

 

As of February 24, 2022, the registrant had 31,712,742 shares of common stock ($0.0001 par value) outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Certain sections of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for the 2022 annual meeting of stockholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A not later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this Form 10-K are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.

 

 


 

PHATHOM PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FORM 10-K

For the Year Ended December 31, 2021

INDEX

 

PART I

 

 

 

Item 1.

 

Business

4

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

54

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

120

Item 2.

 

Properties

120

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

120

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

120

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

Item 5.

 

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

121

Item 6.

 

Reserved

122

Item 7.

 

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

123

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

136

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

136

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

136

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

137

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

137

Item 9C.

 

Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections

137

 

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

138

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

138

Item 12.

 

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

138

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

138

Item 14.

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

138

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

139

Item 16.

 

Form 10-K Summary

139

 

 

Signatures

169

 

2


 

PART I

This annual report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this annual report, including statements regarding our future results of operations and financial position, business strategy, research and development plans and costs, the timing and likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals, commercialization plans, pricing and reimbursement, the potential to develop future product candidates, the timing and likelihood of success of the plans and objectives of management for future operations, and future results of anticipated product development efforts, are forward-looking statements. These statements 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. This annual report on Form 10-K also contains estimates and other statistical data made by independent parties and by us relating to market size and growth and other data about our industry. This data involves a number of assumptions and limitations, and you are cautioned not to give undue weight to such estimates. In addition, projections, assumptions and estimates of our future performance and the future performance of the markets in which we operate are necessarily subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risk.

In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “could,” “intend,” “target,” “project,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions. The forward-looking statements in this annual report are only predictions. 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 financial condition, operating results, business strategy, and short term and long term business operations and objectives. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this annual report and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including those described in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors.” 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. 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. 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.

This annual report includes trademarks, tradenames and service marks that are the property of other organizations. Solely for convenience, trademarks and tradenames referred to in this annual report appear without the ® and ™ symbols, but those references are not intended to indicate, in any way, that we will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights, or that the applicable owner will not assert its rights, to these trademarks and tradenames.

We maintain a website at www.phathompharma.com, to which we regularly post copies of our press releases as well as additional information about us. Our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, are available free of charge through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after being electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. Information contained in our website does not constitute a part of this report or our other filings with the SEC.

3


 

Item 1. Business

Overview

We are a late clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing novel treatments for gastrointestinal, or GI, diseases. Our initial product candidate, vonoprazan, is an oral small molecule potassium-competitive acid blocker, or P-CAB. P-CABs are a novel class of medicines that block acid secretion in the stomach. Vonoprazan has shown rapid, potent, and durable anti-secretory effects and has demonstrated clinical benefits over the current standard of care as a single agent in the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and in combination with antibiotics for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, infection. Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, or Takeda, developed vonoprazan and has received marketing approval in numerous countries in Asia and Latin America as well as Russia. Vonoprazan generated approximately $850 million in net sales in its seventh full year on the market since its approval in Japan in late 2014. In May 2019, we in-licensed the U.S., European, and Canadian rights to vonoprazan from Takeda.

In 2021 we reported topline data from two pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials for vonoprazan: one for the treatment of H. pylori infection, or PHALCON-HP, and a second for the treatment of erosive GERD, also known as erosive esophagitis or EE, or PHALCON-EE. In April 2021, we reported positive topline data from PHALCON-HP, and in October 2021, we reported positive topline data from PHALCON-EE. These data are supplemented by the extensive existing clinical data generated by Takeda as part of their development program for vonoprazan in Japan and other markets. In September 2021, we submitted two new drug applications, or NDAs, for the use of vonoprazan in combination with amoxicillin and clarithromycin (vonoprazan triple therapy) and vonoprazan in combination with amoxicillin (vonoprazan dual therapy) for the treatment of H. pylori in adults, and in November 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, accepted both NDAs for filing, granted each of them Priority Review, and assigned us a Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, action date of May 3, 2022. Based on the results of the PHALCON-EE trial, we expect to submit an NDA for vonoprazan for the healing of all grades of erosive esophagitis and relief of heartburn, and maintenance of healing of all grades of erosive esophagitis and relief of heartburn in March 2022. In August 2019, we received Qualified Infectious Disease Product, or QIDP, and Fast Track designations from the FDA, for vonoprazan tablets in combination with amoxicillin tablets and clarithromycin tablets and with amoxicillin tablets alone for the treatment of H. pylori infection. In January 2021 and May 2021, respectively, we received additional Fast Track and QIDP designations to include amoxicillin capsules in addition to amoxicillin tablets. QIDP designation provides potential extension of any regulatory exclusivity awarded, if approved. We have also initiated development of vonoprazan for the treatment of symptomatic non-erosive GERD, or NERD. In February 2022, we commenced enrollment of patients in a Phase 3 trial studying vonoprazan, dosed on a once-daily basis, for the treatment of NERD, with topline data expected in 2023. Also in February 2022, we reported positive topline data from a Phase 2 trial studying vonoprazan for on-demand treatment of NERD. Vonoprazan has the potential to be the first gastric anti-secretory agent from a novel class approved in the United States, Europe, or Canada in over 30 years.

If approved, we plan to independently commercialize vonoprazan in the United States. We also plan to seek commercial partnerships for vonoprazan in Europe and Canada, expand development of vonoprazan into other indications, dosing regimens and alternative formulations and packaging, and in-license or acquire additional clinical or commercial stage product candidates for the treatment of GI diseases in a capital efficient manner.

GERD and H. pylori infection are two of the most common acid-related GI diseases and impact millions of people. The prevalence of GERD is estimated to be 20% of the U.S. population and 15% of the population in the five major countries in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) (collectively, the "EU5"). GERD is a disease that develops when the reflux of acidic stomach contents causes troublesome symptoms and/or complications. Approximately 30% of GERD patients have erosive esophagitis. H. pylori is a bacterial pathogen that infects approximately 35% of the U.S. population and 45% of the EU5 population. As a result of the chronic inflammation induced by H. pylori infection, approximately 20% of infected patients will develop a range of pathologies, including dyspepsia, peptic ulcer disease, gastric cancer, and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma.

4


 

Over the last thirty years, the proton pump inhibitor, or PPI, class, has been the standard of care for the treatment of acid-related GI diseases. PPIs are generally used as a single agent for the treatment of GERD and in combination with antibiotics for the treatment of H. pylori infection. The PPI class includes drugs such as Prilosec (omeprazole), Nexium (esomeprazole), and Prevacid (lansoprazole). Prior to the introduction of generic and over-the-counter, or OTC, alternatives, annual PPI class sales reached approximately $12.5 billion in the United States, and peak sales for individual brands were approximately $3.7 billion for Prilosec, $3.5 billion for Nexium, and $3.4 billion for Prevacid in the United States.

While PPIs are the current standard of care and have experienced significant commercial success, they have significant limitations that result in a large unmet medical need. In GERD, PPI therapy is suboptimal for many patients due to the slow onset and insufficient duration of acid control which can lead to inadequate symptom relief. Approximately 15% to 45% of GERD patients remain inadequately treated with PPIs. In the treatment of H. pylori infection, the standard of care consists of a combination of a PPI and at least two oral antibiotics. However, increasing antibiotic resistance has resulted in declining eradication rates with PPI-based therapy. We believe these unmet medical needs are in part driven by limitations associated with the mechanism of action and pharmacokinetics of PPIs.

PPIs reduce gastric acid secretion by irreversibly binding to and inhibiting active proton pumps expressed on the parietal cells. PPIs require activation by gastric acid, but they are unstable in the presence of acid. This instability, combined with the short circulating half-life of PPIs, limits their efficacy. Additionally, because proton pumps continuously switch between active and inactive states, multiple doses of PPIs are required to inhibit enough proton pumps to achieve a clinical benefit. As a result, PPIs have a relatively slow onset of action and limited potency and duration of effect, which may result in patients experiencing only partial relief, increasing PPI dosage, and/or cycling through multiple PPIs seeking relief.

Vonoprazan has a differentiated mechanism of action from PPIs. Unlike PPIs, vonoprazan:

does not require activation by gastric acid;
is stable in the presence of acid;
is designed to selectively concentrate in the parietal cells in both the resting and stimulated states, bind to the active pumps and remain associated with the active and inactive pumps;
binds to the pumps in a noncovalent and reversible manner; and
has a long plasma half-life that replenishes the drug at the site of action over the course of the day.

These factors have enabled vonoprazan to demonstrate more rapid and potent acid suppression versus the PPIs esomeprazole and lansoprazole in human subjects two hours after oral dosing and maintain target acid inhibition over a 24-hour period in randomized, open-label, crossover clinical trials. In contrast, PPIs require three to five days to reach steady state acid suppression and do not reliably maintain target acid inhibition over a 24-hour period. In addition, vonoprazan demonstrated approximately 10-to-100-fold better acid control compared to lansoprazole and esomeprazole.

We believe that vonoprazan’s anti-secretory profile may demonstrate clinically meaningful advantages over PPIs, such as:

faster, more complete, and more durable healing of erosive esophagitis;
faster, more complete, and more durable control of GERD symptoms;
higher H. pylori eradication rates in combination with antibiotics compared to standard of care triple therapy and the potential for antibiotic-sparing dual therapy; and
more flexible dosing, including dosing independent of food and time of day, and, in the treatment of patients with non-erosive esophagitis, the potential for rapid symptom relief through on-demand dosing.

5


 

Vonoprazan has demonstrated clinical advantages over the PPI lansoprazole in the treatment of erosive esophagitis and H. pylori infection in completed Phase 3 clinical trials conducted in the United States, Europe, Japan and other Asian countries.

Erosive esophagitis. In PHALCON-EE, a Phase 3 clinical trial conducted in the United States and Europe assessing vonoprazan versus lansoprazole in the healing and maintenance of healing of erosive esophagitis, vonoprazan met its primary healing endpoint demonstrating non-inferiority to lansoprazole in the number of patients who showed complete healing of erosive esophagitis after eight weeks of treatment. Further, in a pre-specified secondary endpoint, vonoprazan demonstrated superior healing after two weeks of treatment in patients with moderate to severe erosive esophagitis compared to lansoprazole. After two weeks of treatment, 70% of patients with moderate to severe erosive esophagitis were healed after treatment with vonoprazan versus 53% with lansoprazole (p=0.0004). In the maintenance phase of the trial both doses of vonoprazan (10 mg and 20 mg) met the primary endpoint of non-inferiority compared to lansoprazole in the number of all patients who maintained healing of erosive esophagitis through week 24. Further, both vonoprazan doses also met a pre-specified secondary endpoint demonstrating superiority of maintenance of healing versus lansoprazole (79% for vonoprazan 10 mg, 81% for vonoprazan 20 mg compared to 72% for lansoprazole 15 mg) (p<0.0001 for both non-inferiority comparisons; p=0.0218 for vonoprazan 10 mg superiority comparison; p=0.0068 for vonoprazan 20 mg superiority comparison). Both vonoprazan doses also met the pre-specified secondary endpoint of demonstrating superiority of the percentage of patients with moderate-to-severe disease who maintained healing of erosive esophagitis through week 24 (75% vonoprazan 10 mg, 77% vonoprazan 20 mg v. 61% lansoprazole 15 mg) (p=0.0245 for vonoprazan 10 mg superiority comparison; p=0.0098 for vonoprazan 20 mg superiority comparison).

In PHALCON-EE, vonoprazan 20 mg met the secondary endpoint of showing non-inferiority to lansoprazole 30 mg in the mean percentage of 24-hour heartburn free days over the healing period, and both vonoprazan doses met the secondary endpoint of showing non-inferiority to lansoprazole 15 mg in the mean percentage of 24-hour heartburn free days over the maintenance period. Finally, vonoprazan 20 mg was also compared to lansoprazole 30 mg in a superiority test for onset of sustained resolution of heartburn by day 3 of the healing phase but did not achieve statistical significance (p=0.2196).

A p-value is the probability that the reported result was achieved purely by chance, such that a p-value of less than or equal to 0.05 or 0.01 means that there is a 5.0% or 1.0% or less probability, respectively, that the difference between the control group and the treatment group is purely due to chance. A p-value of 0.05 or less typically represents a statistically significant result.

The results from PHALCON-EE were consistent with the results of four Phase 3 clinical trials previously conducted by Takeda, two in each of Japan and China, assessing vonoprazan versus lansoprazole in the healing and maintenance of healing of erosive esophagitis in which vonoprazan met its primary endpoint in demonstrating non-inferiority to lansoprazole.

Non-erosive esophagitis. In PHALCON-NERD, a Phase 2 study evaluating three doses of vonoprazan (10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg) as an on-demand therapy for relief of episodic heartburn in subjects with NERD, all three vonoprazan doses successfully met the primary endpoint evaluating the percentage of heartburn episodes completely relieved within three hours with relief sustained for over 24 hours and were statistically significant (p<0.0001) when compared to placebo. Within three hours, vonoprazan 10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg achieved complete and sustained relief in 56.0%, 60.6% and 70.0% of evaluable heartburn episodes, respectively, as compared to 27.3% of episodes for placebo. An evaluable heartburn episode is a heartburn episode for which the participant completes a minimum of one timed assessment after taking study medication.

In February 2022, we initiated a Phase 3 study evaluating vonoprazan 10 mg and 20 mg as daily dosing, or QD, therapy for the treatment of NERD, and we expect topline results from this study in 2023. Further, based on the positive Phase 2 NERD on-demand data, we plan to discuss with the FDA a Phase 3 trial design to support the novel dosing regimen for vonoprazan as an on-demand treatment for episodic heartburn relief in patients with NERD, a dosing treatment regimen not approved in the U.S. for PPIs.

6


 

H. pylori. We also conducted PHALCON-HP, a Phase 3 clinical trial in the United States and Europe studying two vonoprazan-based treatment regimens for the eradication of H. pylori infection, both of which successfully met their primary endpoints and all secondary endpoints. The trial studied vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy compared to lansoprazole in combination with amoxicillin and clarithromycin, or lansoprazole triple therapy. The objective of the PHALCON-HP trial was to compare eradication rates in all treated subjects as well as in two pre-identified subgroups of patients: those patients with clarithromycin resistant strains of H. pylori, and those patients who did not have clarithromycin or amoxicillin resistant strains of H. pylori. For regulatory purposes, the primary endpoint of this study was a non-inferiority comparison in the non-resistant subgroup for each of vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy compared to lansoprazole triple therapy.

In PHALCON-HP, both vonoprazan-based regimens successfully met their primary endpoints. In the modified intent-to-treat (mITT) population, H. pylori eradication rates were 84.7% for vonoprazan triple therapy and 78.5% for vonoprazan dual therapy compared to 78.8% with lansoprazole triple therapy (p<0.0001 and p=0.0037, respectively, for non-inferiority). In the pre-specified per protocol population, a subset of the mITT population comprised of patients who were protocol compliant, H. pylori eradication rates were 90.4% with vonoprazan triple therapy and 81.2% with vonoprazan dual therapy compared to 82.1% with lansoprazole triple therapy (p<0.0001 and p=0.0077, respectively, for non-inferiority).

In PHALCON-HP vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy also met all secondary endpoints, demonstrating superior eradication rates versus lansoprazole triple therapy in all patients and in the subgroup of patients with clarithromycin resistant strains of H. pylori. Among all patients, the H. pylori eradication rate of vonoprazan triple therapy was superior to that of lansoprazole triple therapy in both the mITT population (80.8% vs. 68.5%; p=0.0001) and the per protocol population (85.7% vs. 70.0%; p<0.0001). In the subset of patients with H. pylori strains resistant to clarithromycin, the H. pylori eradication rate with vonoprazan triple therapy was superior to that of lansoprazole triple therapy in both the mITT population (65.8% vs. 31.9%; p<0.0001) and the per protocol population (67.2% vs. 29.0%; p<0.0001).

Among all patients, the H. pylori eradication rate of vonoprazan dual therapy was superior to that of lansoprazole triple therapy in both the mITT population (77.2% vs. 68.5%; p=0.0063) and the per protocol population (81.1% vs. 70.0%; p=0.0013). The H. pylori eradication rate of vonoprazan dual therapy was also superior to that of lansoprazole triple therapy in the subset of patients with H. pylori strains resistant to clarithromycin in both the mITT population (69.6% vs. 31.9%; p<0.0001) and the per protocol population (79.5% vs. 29.0%; p<0.0001).

The vonoprazan triple therapy results of PHALCON-HP were consistent with the results of a Phase 3 clinical trial previously conducted by Takeda in Japan assessing vonoprazan in combination with the antibiotics amoxicillin and clarithromycin versus lansoprazole in combination with these same antibiotics in first line treatment of H. pylori infection at antibiotic doses and treatment duration (7 days) consistent with local practice in Japan. Vonoprazan dual therapy was not tested in this study.

Our management team has deep expertise in developing GI therapeutics, including anti-secretory agents, and direct experience developing vonoprazan at Takeda. Our Chief Executive Officer, Terrie Curran, has more than 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. Ms. Curran served as President, Global Inflammation and Immunology (I&I) Franchise and as a member of the Executive Committee at Celgene Corporation from 2017 to 2019. Ms. Curran joined Celgene in 2013 as the U.S. Commercial Head of the I&I Franchise, built the capabilities and recruited the teams that executed the successful launch of OTEZLA, which was sold to Amgen in November 2019 for $13.4 billion.

Azmi Nabulsi, M.D., M.P.H., our Chief Operating Officer, is the former Deputy Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at Takeda. Our Head of Regulatory, Tom Harris, is the former Senior Vice President and Head of Global Regulatory at Takeda. Dr. Nabulsi and Mr. Harris were extensively involved with the development of vonoprazan at Takeda.

 

7


 

Our Pipeline

The following chart summarizes our current development programs.

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_0.jpg 

Our Strategy

Our mission is to improve the lives of people suffering from gastrointestinal diseases. Our strategy is initially focused on developing and commercializing vonoprazan as a potential first-in-class P-CAB in the United States, Europe, and Canada for the treatment of acid-related GI diseases. Key elements of this strategy include:

Obtain marketing approval of, and commercially launch, vonoprazan in erosive esophagitis and H. pylori infection. In 2021, we reported positive topline data from Phase 3 clinical trials of vonoprazan in each of erosive esophagitis and H. pylori infection. In September 2021, we submitted, and in November 2021, the FDA accepted for filing and granted Priority Review to our NDAs for vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy with a PDUFA action date of May 3, 2022. In March 2022 we plan to submit an NDA for vonoprazan in healing of all grades of erosive esophagitis and relief of heartburn, and maintenance of healing of all grades of erosive esophagitis and relief of heartburn. If the NDAs are approved by the PDUFA date, we expect to launch vonoprazan in the treatment of H. pylori infection in the second half of 2022, and in erosive esophagitis in 2023. Further, if vonoprazan is approved by the FDA as a new chemical entity, we expect that vonoprazan would receive a five-year period of marketing exclusivity within the United States and QIDP designation could extend the U.S. marketing exclusivity for an additional five years.
Advance the clinical development of vonoprazan in non-erosive reflux disease or NERD and seek marketing approval. Non-erosive reflux disease, or NERD, is a major subcategory of GERD and is characterized by reflux-related symptoms in the absence of esophageal mucosal erosions. We are pursuing development of vonoprazan for treatment of NERD as both an on-demand and as a continuously dosed (daily) therapy for patients with NERD. In February 2022, we initiated a Phase 3 trial of vonoprazan in patients with NERD that is evaluating a once-daily dosing regimen and expect to report topline results from that trial in 2023. Also in February 2022, we reported positive topline data from a Phase 2 trial evaluating various doses of vonoprazan as an on-demand therapy for NERD. We intend to discuss the results from this Phase 2 trial with FDA prior to finalizing the design of our Phase 3 NERD on-demand trial.

8


 

Commercialize vonoprazan in the United States. We plan to independently commercialize vonoprazan, if approved, in the United States by building a leading specialty gastroenterology commercial infrastructure to support the adoption of vonoprazan. We believe we can successfully launch vonoprazan in the United States with a focused sales force targeting prescribers of treatments for H. pylori and GERD, particularly gastroenterologists. Prescriptions for treatments for H. pylori and GERD are both highly concentrated, with approximately 75% of prescriptions in H. pylori and 65% of prescriptions in erosive esophagitis being written by 10% of physicians We believe we have an opportunity to achieve significant share of voice and exposure to physicians given the scarcity of actively marketed anti-secretory medicines. Given the limitations of PPIs and current unmet need, we believe the commercial opportunity for vonoprazan is substantial.
Seek commercial partnerships to maximize the vonoprazan opportunity outside of the United States. To address the opportunity for vonoprazan in Europe and Canada, we plan to seek one or more partners with existing commercial infrastructure and expertise in these markets. We believe this strategy will allow us to realize the value of the market opportunity in Europe and Canada while focusing our resources on the U.S. market.
Further expand the development of vonoprazan across indications, dosing regimens, and alternative formulations and packaging. In addition to NERD, we plan to pursue vonoprazan lifecycle extension strategies in areas with clear unmet need, clinical rationale, and commercial justification. These strategies may include: (i) additional potential indications, including treatment of gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers, Barrett’s esophagus, and eosinophilic esophagitis; and (ii) alternative formulations and packaging, such as orally disintegrating tablets and other oral dosage forms for patients with difficulty swallowing, and an intravenous formulation for in-hospital applications. Additionally, we believe that vonoprazan has the ideal profile for an OTC product because of the potential for on-demand symptom relief and a well-tolerated safety profile.
In-license or acquire additional clinical or commercial stage product candidates for the treatment of GI diseases in a capital efficient manner. We intend to take advantage of our management team’s GI expertise to opportunistically in-license or acquire additional innovative therapies for diseases treated by gastroenterologists. We plan to leverage our development and planned commercial infrastructure to support multiple assets targeting GI indications.

Acid-Related GI Diseases

Overview

Gastric acid is a digestive fluid formed in the stomach. The highly acidic environment of the stomach causes the unfolding, or denaturing, of food proteins that are subsequently broken down by gastric enzymes. Gastric acid is secreted by the hydrogen potassium ATPase enzyme, which is known as the proton pump. Proton pumps are expressed on the channeled surfaces, or canaliculi, of parietal cells in the stomach, which secrete acid. Proton pumps are continuously synthesized and switch between active and inactive states in response to various stimuli, such as food. When activated, proton pumps increase acid secretion.

GI diseases where treatment is related to acid control, such as GERD, peptic ulcer disease, Zollinger Ellison syndrome, and H. pylori infection, are significant medical problems because of their high prevalence, chronic nature and clinical sequelae. GERD results from the effects of acid on compromised mucosal defenses in the gastrointestinal tract. The reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus produces frequent and/or severe heartburn, indigestion, and reflux symptoms. Chronic GERD may damage esophageal tissue and progress to more severe diseases including erosive esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal cancer. GERD and related diseases are associated with impaired quality of life and substantial costs to the healthcare system given their chronic nature and sequelae. In H. pylori infection, gastric acid limits the effectiveness of antibiotics used to eradicate infection. Chronic H. pylori infection can lead to dyspepsia, peptic ulcer disease, gastric cancer, and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma.

9


 

Prevalence

The prevalence of GI diseases is high. Approximately 20% to 40% of Western adults report chronic heartburn or regurgitation symptoms potentially related to GERD. We estimate that there are approximately 65 million individuals in the United States and 50 million individuals in the EU5 with GERD. In the United States, GERD is the most common gastroenterology-related outpatient diagnosis. Additionally, approximately 35% of the U.S. population and 45% of the EU5 population are infected with H. pylori. We estimate that there are approximately 115 million individuals in the United States and 145 million individuals in the EU5 infected with H. pylori.

Prevalence of GERD and H. pylori Infection

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_1.jpg 

Treatments

Treatments of acid-related GI diseases aim to provide relief of acute symptoms, healing of damaged tissue, and prevention of long-term clinical sequelae associated with chronic acid exposure. Gastric acidity is measured by the pH scale, a logarithmic scale where 7.0 describes a neutral state and lower levels indicate a higher level of acidity. The pH of the stomach typically ranges from 1.5 to 3.5. In patients with acid-related GI diseases, increasing gastric pH has been shown to improve mucosal healing rates and provide more rapid symptom relief for patients. For example, the duration of time that intra-gastric acidity is greater than pH 3.0 correlates with the healing of duodenal and gastric ulcers, and pH greater than 4.0 is correlated with the healing of erosive esophagitis. Similarly, in patients with H. pylori infection, a more neutral gastric pH of 6.0 to 8.0 preserves antibiotic function and is optimal for successful eradication.

Drug-induced gastric acid suppression is a key component of the management of acid-related GI diseases. Three classes of drugs with distinct mechanisms of action are principally used for treatment in the United States and Europe: antacids, histamine receptor antagonists, or H2RAs, and PPIs.

Antacids

Antacids, first commercially available in the 1930s, directly neutralize gastric acid to raise intra-gastric pH and can alleviate intermittent, mild symptoms of acid-related GI diseases, such as heartburn, but they are only effective for a short duration and require frequent administrations per day. In addition, antacids do not significantly help heal or prevent complications of acid-related diseases. Antacids include commonly-known OTC products, such as Alka-Seltzer, Pepto-Bismol, Rolaids, and TUMS.

10


 

Histamine Receptor Antagonists (H2RAs)

H2RAs, first commercially available in the 1970s, decrease gastric acid secretion in order to raise gastric pH. H2RAs represented a dramatic improvement over antacids in the control of gastric acid and consequently in the management of acid-related GI diseases. H2RAs are also generally safe and well-tolerated. Among the H2RA class were the first commercial blockbuster drugs, Pepcid (famotidine), Tagamet (cimetidine), and Zantac (ranitidine). Zantac was the world’s highest-selling prescription drug in the mid-1990s, with peak global sales of $3.7 billion and U.S. sales of $2.2 billion. Prior to the launch of generic H2RAs and increasing competition from PPIs, the H2RA class achieved sales of approximately $3.5 billion in the United States. H2RAs achieved commercial success despite clinical limitations, including unreliable 24-hour acid control, poor control of post-meal symptoms, and loss of efficacy over time.

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

PPIs, first commercially available in 1989, offered improved acid control over H2RAs. Pharmacodynamic data demonstrated that PPIs maintain gastric pH above target levels for a longer duration than H2RAs. A commonly used benchmark of anti-secretory activity is the percentage of time in a 24-hour period that gastric pH exceeds 4.0, which we refer to as time above pH 4.0, which ranges from 40% to 71% for PPIs versus 33% for H2RAs.

Given this improved pharmacodynamic profile, PPIs demonstrated improved clinical symptom relief and healing over H2RAs. In a meta-analysis of results from 33 randomized clinical trials with over 3,000 GERD patients, a reduction in symptoms was achieved in 83% of patients taking PPIs versus 60% of those on H2RAs. In a second meta-analysis, the eight-week healing rate in patients with erosive esophagitis was 82% for PPIs versus 52% for H2RAs.

The PPI class is currently the first-line treatment of acid-related GI diseases. Prior to the introduction and adoption of generic and OTC alternatives, annual PPI class sales reached approximately $12.5 billion in the United States, and peak sales for individual brands were approximately $3.7 billion for Prilosec, $3.5 billion for Nexium, and $3.4 billion for Prevacid. As recently as 2015, the last branded PPI, Dexilant (dexlansoprazole), reached approximately $530 million in sales in the United States despite limited differentiation from other PPIs. While Dexilant demonstrated a modest improvement in time above pH 4.0 compared to other PPIs, the approved dose did not demonstrate consistent superiority in Phase 3 trials against other PPIs on the healing of erosive esophagitis and has not been tested against PPIs in other indications. We believe that the commercial success of Dexilant highlights the value to physicians and patients of even incremental improvements over other PPIs.

History of Pharmaceutical Agents for Control of Gastric Acid

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_2.jpg 

11


 

PPI Limitations

While PPIs provide clinically meaningful symptom relief and healing for millions of patients suffering from acid-related GI diseases, they are inadequate for many patients. The suboptimal anti-secretory profile of PPIs results in slow onset of symptom relief, breakthrough nighttime or postprandial heartburn, and treatment failure. A recent population-based survey with over 70,000 participants in the United States showed that 55% of patients who reported having GERD symptoms were taking PPIs, with 68% taking them daily, and 54% of daily PPI users reported persistent symptoms. This is consistent with earlier studies that have shown that approximately 15% to 45% of GERD patients are inadequately treated with PPIs, experiencing persistent, troublesome symptoms, such as heartburn and regurgitation. In approximately two-thirds of symptomatic GERD patients, reflux symptoms are not adequately controlled after the first dose of a PPI, and nearly 50% of patients still suffer from symptoms three days later. Given these limitations, more than 20% of GERD patients on PPI therapy take their PPI twice daily, which is not FDA approved, or purchase OTC heartburn treatments in addition to their prescription medicine. In a survey of approximately 1,000 GERD patients and 1,000 physicians, approximately one third of GERD patients reported persistent symptoms and were dissatisfied with PPI therapy and 35% of physicians perceived patients as somewhat satisfied to completely dissatisfied with PPI treatment. In addition, in a real world study conducted in 2020 and 2021 evaluating the perspectives and unmet needs of over 400 physicians and patients in the U.S. in the management of acid related disorders, fewer than one-third of the physician participants were satisfied with current treatment options for their patients. Moreover, fewer than 50% of patients in the study reported they were satisfied with their current treatment.

In patients with more severe grades of erosive esophagitis, studies with PPIs have reported failure rates of healing of esophageal erosions exceeding 25%. Additionally, recurrence of erosions is common in healed erosive esophagitis patients receiving maintenance PPI therapy. One study reported recurrence in 15% to 23% of patients with less severe erosive esophagitis and 24% to 41% of patients with more severe erosive esophagitis. We believe that these limitations of PPIs are in part driven by their mechanism of action and pharmacokinetics.

Mechanistic Differences Between PPIs and Vonoprazan

PPIs

After oral dosing, PPIs reach the gastric parietal cells through the bloodstream. PPIs are prodrugs that are converted to their active form in the acidic environment of the secretory canaliculus of the parietal cell but degrade quickly because their active form is unstable in acid. For example, the half-life of omeprazole (Prilosec) is less than 10 minutes at pH 2.0. The active form of a PPI blocks acid production by covalently binding to active proton pumps that have moved to the surface of the secretory canaliculi after activation of the parietal cell with stimuli, such as a meal. Because PPIs bind only to actively secreting pumps, it is generally recommended that they be administered 30 to 60 minutes before a meal to achieve maximal efficacy. Once covalently bound to the proton pumps, the active PPI molecule is no longer available to bind to newly synthesized or activated proton pumps. Furthermore, given the relatively short plasma half-life of most PPIs of one to two hours, resupply of additional PPI molecules from the bloodstream is limited, and newly activated pumps are not inhibited. Due to this profile, PPI dosing over several days is required to inhibit enough proton pumps to increase gastric pH to a clinically meaningful threshold, and PPIs have a limited window of efficacy leading to incomplete acid suppression over the 24-hour dosing interval. In addition, PPIs are primarily metabolized by CYP2C19, an enzyme which has significant interpatient metabolic variability based on genotype. As a result, PPI exposure levels in some patients may not achieve target levels, potentially reducing clinical efficacy.

12


 

Vonoprazan

Vonoprazan has a differentiated mechanism of action from PPIs. Vonoprazan is designed to selectively concentrate in the parietal cell in both the resting and stimulated states. In contrast to most PPIs, vonoprazan does not require gastric acid for activation, remains stable in the presence of gastric acid, binds to the active proton pumps in a noncovalent and reversible manner and remains associated with the active and inactive proton pumps, and remains in the secretory canaliculus where it continues to inhibit acid secretion over an extended period. Vonoprazan’s prolonged effect is also maintained through a slow dissociation rate from the proton pumps and resupply from the bloodstream due to its seven-hour half-life. These characteristics allow vonoprazan to rapidly achieve target 24-hour acid suppression within two hours of a single dose, unlike PPIs that require three to five days to achieve stable acid suppression. In addition, vonoprazan is primarily metabolized by CYP3A4/5, an enzyme which has less genetic variability than CYP2C19, and may exhibit more consistent activity than PPIs across U.S. and European populations.

The mechanistic and pharmacologic differences of PPIs and vonoprazan are summarized in the table below.

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_3.jpg 

Vonoprazan Pharmacodynamics vs. PPIs

Vonoprazan’s more rapid, potent, and durable anti-secretory effects versus the PPI lansoprazole (Prevacid) were demonstrated in a randomized, open-label, crossover clinical trial comparing 20 mg of once daily, or QD, vonoprazan to 30 mg QD of lansoprazole for 7 days in 41 healthy volunteers. As shown below, vonoprazan had a significantly higher 24-hour holding time ratio than lansoprazole for pH>4 on Day 1 (62.4% vs. 22.6%) and Day 7 (87.8% vs. 42.3%) and for pH>6 on Day 1 (33.1 vs. 7.4) and Day 7 (62.5% vs. 16.4%). Mean 24-hour intragastric pH for vonoprazan and lansoprazole was 4.6 and 2.8, respectively, on Day 1, and 5.9 and 3.8, respectively, on Day 7. Gastric pH levels are measured on a logarithmic scale from 0.0 to 14.0, in which each point represents a 10-fold change in acidity and higher pH values represent lower acidity. In this study, vonoprazan maintained an average pH approximately two points higher than lansoprazole at Day 7.

13


 

Improved Onset and Potency of pH Control of Vonoprazan vs. Lansoprazole at Day 1 and Day 7

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_4.jpg 

This improved potency and duration of pH control with vonoprazan, as measured by twenty-four hour pH hold time and time above pH 4.0, was evident not only at Day 1, but also at Day 7 when lansoprazole had reached its steady state (see table below).

24-hr Hold Time and Time Above pH 4.0 of Vonoprazan vs. Lansoprazole at Day 1 and Day 7

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_5.jpg 

Vonoprazan demonstrated similarly greater time above pH 4.0 versus the PPI esomeprazole (Nexium) in a randomized, open-label, crossover clinical trial comparing 20 mg QD vonoprazan to 20 mg QD of esomeprazole in 20 healthy volunteers. In that trial, greater duration of pH control with vonoprazan, as measured by time above pH 4.0 was observed both on Day 1 and Day 7 (see table below).

Improved Time Above pH 4.0 of Vonoprazan vs. Esomeprazole at Day 1 and Day 7

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_6.jpg 

14


 

Vonoprazan for the Potential Treatment of Acid-Related GI Diseases

Given the shortcomings of PPI therapy, we believe that there is a significant unmet medical need for a safe and effective anti-secretory agent with rapid, potent, and durable activity. Vonoprazan was developed in markets outside of the United States by Takeda through an extensive clinical program, including 19 Phase 3 clinical trials. As of December 2021, over 8,000 subjects were exposed to vonoprazan in completed and ongoing clinical trials. In head-to-head Phase 3 trials versus a PPI conducted in the U.S. and Europe, vonoprazan demonstrated faster onset of healing in patients with moderate to severe erosive esophagitis, superior maintenance of healing of erosive esophagitis patients across all levels of severity, and superior eradication rates in combination with antibiotics in patients with H. pylori infection than PPI-based triple therapy. Vonoprazan received marketing approval in Japan in late 2014 and generated approximately $850 million in net sales in its seventh full year on the market in Japan. In April 2021, we reported positive top-line data from our H. pylori trial, and in October 2021, we reported positive top-line data from our erosive esophagitis trial. In September 2021, we submitted NDAs for vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy, each for the treatment of H. pylori infection in adults, which were granted priority review and received a PDUFA action date of May 3, 2022, and we expect to submit an NDA for vonoprazan for the healing of all grades of erosive esophagitis and relief of heartburn, and maintenance of healing of all grades of erosive esophagitis and relief of heartburn, in March 2022.

Vonoprazan in GERD

Based on the significant unmet medical need, previous Phase 3 trial results from Japan and Asia, and commercial potential, we have prioritized the development and commercialization of vonoprazan in GERD, specifically:

the healing of erosive esophagitis and relief of heartburn; and
the maintenance of healing of erosive esophagitis and relief of heartburn.

We also initiated our first Phase 3 trial for vonoprazan in symptomatic non-erosive GERD, or NERD, in February 2022.

GERD Disease Overview

GERD is one of the most prevalent diseases of any kind and is the most prevalent GI disease, affecting approximately 20% of the U.S. population and approximately 15% of the European population. We estimate there are approximately 65 million individuals with GERD in the United States and 50 million individuals with GERD in the EU5. GERD is a disease that develops when the reflux of acidic stomach contents into the esophagus causes troublesome symptoms and/or complications, and the term covers a spectrum of diseases, the main categories of which are erosive esophagitis and non-erosive reflux disease. These diseases are detailed below:

Erosive esophagitis: Approximately 30% of GERD patients have erosive esophagitis, which is classified by erosions in the gastric mucosa caused by acidic reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. Erosive esophagitis is commonly graded by the Los Angeles classification system, which characterizes the extent of erosions in the esophagus and is graded on a scale of increasing severity from A to D, with D being the most severe. Approximately 20% to 30% of erosive esophagitis patients have the moderate to severe Los Angeles Class C or D disease. Erosive esophagitis can have serious consequences. If left untreated, esophagitis may develop into peptic stricture, Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer.
Non-erosive reflux disease (NERD): Approximately 70% of GERD patients have NERD, which is classified by an endoscopically normal esophagus, but abnormal gastric acid exposure in the esophagus and persistent symptoms.

15


 

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_7.jpg 

GERD patients typically present with heartburn and reflux symptoms. Based on these symptoms, patients are typically treated first-line with PPIs prior to a diagnostic endoscopy for specific disease classification of erosive esophagitis or NERD. Clinical guidelines suggest that endoscopy be performed in patients who continue to have symptoms despite a four- to-eight-week course of daily PPIs or have alarm symptoms, including GI bleeding, anemia, weight loss, chest pain, or difficult or painful swallowing. Our market research suggests that most patients are treated empirically based on symptoms rather than based on endoscopic characterization of disease.

GERD Treatment Paradigm

Approximately 80% of GERD patients are pharmacologically treated with prescription or OTC medications. PPIs are currently the most effective anti-secretory agents available in the United States and Europe for relieving GERD symptoms and healing erosions in gastric mucosa. Our market research suggests that approximately 80% of patients who are pharmacologically treated receive PPIs, and more than 80% of PPI use is prescription rather than OTC. The majority of PPI use is chronic, with more than 70% of patients prescribed PPIs for daily use. According to IQVIA NDTI, there were approximately 7.2 billion PPI doses prescribed for the 12 months ended December 31, 2021.

There are few treatment options for GERD patients who are inadequately managed on PPI therapy. In a real world study conducted in 2020 and 2021 evaluating the perspectives and unmet needs of over 400 physicians and patients in the U.S. in the management of acid related disorders, only half of physicians reported that their patients are getting long-lasting relief from a PPI resulting in approximately 25% of patients taking a PPI more than once a day despite patients’ concerns about long term side effects of PPI use. A limited number of patients proceed to a surgical procedure, such as Nissen fundoplication. However, this procedure results in postoperative morbidity of 5% to 20%, as well as a two- to six-week recovery period and a median hospital stay of two days.

Vonoprazan has the potential to be the first gastric anti-secretory agent from a novel class approved in the United States, Europe, or Canada in over 30 years. Our U.S. market research survey reported that 55% to 60% of physicians included in the survey believed that vonoprazan has demonstrated superior efficacy in the healing and maintenance of healed esophageal erosions compared to existing EE treatments, provides faster onset of action compared to existing GERD treatments, and has superior duration and magnitude of gastric pH control compared to existing GERD treatments.

Clinical Data for Vonoprazan in GERD

Five Phase 3 clinical trials have been completed comparing vonoprazan to PPIs in erosive esophagitis: our healing and maintenance of healing trial in the United States and Europe; a healing trial in Japan; a maintenance of healing trial in Japan; a healing trial in Asia (China, Taiwan, and Korea); and a maintenance of healing trial in Asia. In addition to these Phase 3 trials, several published investigator-sponsored studies have compared vonoprazan to PPIs across dosing regimens and endpoints. Results of these clinical trials are summarized below.

16


 

Healing and Maintenance of Healing of Erosive Esophagitis in the United States and Europe (PHALCON-EE)

In October 2021, we announced that vonoprazan successfully met its primary endpoints and key secondary superiority endpoints in PHALCON-EE, our pivotal Phase 3 trial evaluating vonoprazan versus lansoprazole for the treatment of erosive esophagitis.

Design for PHALCON-EE Phase 3 Erosive Esophagitis Clinical Trial

PHALCON-EE was a randomized, double-blind, two-phase, multicenter, Phase 3 trial that enrolled 1,024 patients with EE in the U.S. and Europe. PHALCON-EE was modeled after the successful Phase 3 clinical trials conducted in Japan and Asia with limited differences, including the combination of the healing and maintenance phases into one single study whereas in Japan and Asia separate clinical trials were conducted for each of these indications.

The first phase of the trial, the Healing Phase, evaluated the efficacy and safety of vonoprazan 20 mg QD compared to lansoprazole 30 mg QD for the healing of EE for up to eight weeks. In the Healing Phase, patients were assessed via endoscopy to determine complete healing following 2 weeks of treatment and, if complete healing was not achieved, a second endoscopy occurred at 8 weeks of treatment. Patients who achieved complete healing were re-randomized into the second phase of the trial, the Maintenance Phase, where vonoprazan 10 mg and 20 mg were compared to lansoprazole 15 mg to assess maintenance of healing of EE via endoscopy following 24 weeks of treatment. Heartburn symptom relief was assessed via secondary endpoints in both the Healing and Maintenance Phases of the study based on twice daily e-diary data collection.

Design of US/EU Phase 3 Clinical Trial for the Healing and Maintenance of Healing of Erosive Esophagitis

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_8.jpg 

Healing Phase

The primary endpoint analysis of the Healing Phase was non-inferiority of vonoprazan 20 mg compared to lansoprazole 30 mg in the percentage of all patients who have complete healing of EE by Week 8. Vonoprazan met the non-inferiority criteria for the primary comparison with a healing rate of 93% compared to 85% for lansoprazole (np<0.0001). Based on a prespecified exploratory comparison test, the difference in healing rates in all patients between vonoprazan and lansoprazole was also significant (nominal p<0.0001). Non-inferiority analyses are conducted to evaluate whether the effect of an agent is not worse than the active control by more than a specified margin, while superiority analyses are conducted to evaluate whether an agent outperformed a comparator by a statistically significant margin.

17


 

Vonoprazan met the secondary superiority endpoint of healing in patients with moderate-to-severe disease, defined as patients with esophageal erosions classified as Grades C or D by the Los Angeles (LA) Classification System, at Week 2, demonstrating significantly faster healing than lansoprazole (70% for vonoprazan 20 mg and 53% for lansoprazole 30 mg) (p=0.0004). Vonoprazan also met the secondary endpoint of showing non-inferiority to lansoprazole 30 mg in the mean percentage of 24-hour heartburn free days over the healing period. In additional pre-specified secondary endpoint superiority comparisons, vonoprazan 20 mg healing rates were numerically greater than lansoprazole 30 mg in all patients at Week 2 (nominal p=0.0174) and in moderate-to-severe patients by Week 8 (nominal p<0.0001), although these superiority comparisons were not tested in the pre-specified testing hierarchy.

Vonoprazan 20 mg was also compared to lansoprazole 30 mg in a superiority test for onset of sustained resolution of heartburn by day 3 but did not achieve statistical significance (p=0.2196).

Results of US/EU Phase 3 Clinical Trial in the Healing of Erosive Esophagitis

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_9.jpg 

Maintenance Phase

Vonoprazan met the primary and all secondary endpoints in the Maintenance Phase. The primary endpoint of the Maintenance Phase was non-inferiority of vonoprazan 10 mg and 20 mg compared to lansoprazole 15 mg in the percentage of all patients who maintained healing of EE through Week 24.

Both vonoprazan doses met the Maintenance Phase primary endpoint of non-inferiority while also meeting the pre-specified secondary comparison demonstrating superiority of maintenance of healing versus lansoprazole (79% for vonoprazan 10 mg, 81% for vonoprazan 20 mg compared to 72% for lansoprazole 15 mg) (p<0.0001 for both non-inferiority comparisons; p=0.0218 for vonoprazan 10 mg superiority comparison; p=0.0068 for vonoprazan 20 mg superiority comparison).

Both vonoprazan doses also met the secondary endpoint of demonstrating superiority of the percentage of patients with moderate-to-severe disease who maintained healing of EE through Week 24 (75% vonoprazan 10 mg, 77% vonoprazan 20 mg v. 61% lansoprazole 15 mg) (p=0.0245 for vonoprazan 10 mg superiority comparison; p=0.0098 for vonoprazan 20 mg superiority comparison). Additionally, both vonoprazan doses also met the secondary endpoint of showing non-inferiority to lansoprazole 15 mg in the mean percentage of 24-hour heartburn free days over the maintenance period.

18


 

Results of US/EU Phase 3 Clinical Trial in Maintenance of Healing of Erosive Esophagitis

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_10.jpg 

Healing and Maintenance of Healing of Erosive Esophagitis Clinical Trials in Japan and Asia

The results of PHALCON-EE were consistent with the results of earlier Phase 3 trials of vonoprazan in healing and maintenance of healing of erosive esophagitis after which it was modeled. These trials were conducted in Japan as well as other countries in Asia.

In two Phase 3 trials in healing of erosive esophagitis comparing vonoprazan 20 mg QD to lansoprazole 30 mg QD for up to eight weeks, one conducted in Japan and the other in several countries in Asia, vonoprazan achieved the primary endpoint of non-inferiority versus lansoprazole on the percent of patients with healed erosive esophagitis up to Week 8. Exploratory testing suggested higher healing rates for vonoprazan versus lansoprazole in the moderate to severe patients at Week 2 in both studies.

Similarly, in two Phase 3 trials in maintenance of healing of erosive esophagitis comparing two doses of vonoprazan (10 mg and 20 mg QD) to lansoprazole 15 mg QD for 24 weeks, one conducted in Japan and the other in several countries in Asia, both vonoprazan doses achieved the primary endpoint of non-inferiority versus lansoprazole on the percent of patients with recurrence of erosive esophagitis during the 24-week maintenance period. In both studies, exploratory testing suggested higher maintenance of healing rates for both vonoprazan doses versus lansoprazole in all patients and in the moderate to severe patients.

Our Development Program in Symptomatic Non-Erosive Reflux Disease (NERD)

We believe that there is opportunity to broadly position vonoprazan’s use in GERD with an indication in symptomatic GERD in patients without erosions, or NERD, in addition to an indication in erosive esophagitis. We are evaluating vonoprazan as a treatment for NERD with both daily and on-demand, or as-needed, dosing regimens. NERD patients do not have esophageal erosions which require chronic treatment to prevent recurrence of erosions and its potential sequelae. We believe the rapid onset of acid control of vonoprazan may enable on-demand use for the management of heartburn in NERD patients as an alternative to chronic daily treatment with PPIs.

On Demand Dosing of Vonoprazan for the Treatment of NERD

In February 2022, we announced that vonoprazan (10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg), successfully met the primary endpoint in PHALCON-NERD, a Phase 2 trial evaluating three doses of vonoprazan versus placebo as an on-demand treatment of NERD.

19


 

Design for PHALCON-NERD Phase 2 NERD On-Demand Clinical

PHALCON-NERD was a Phase 2, randomized, double-blind, multicenter study that enrolled 458 subjects in the U.S. to evaluate the efficacy and safety of vonoprazan 10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg administered on demand for relief of episodic heartburn compared to placebo in subjects with symptomatic NERD (as confirmed by endoscopy). After an initial four week vonoprazan 20 mg QD dose open-label run-in period, two hundred and seven subjects with no heartburn on the last 7 days of the run-in period who also met drug and diary compliance requirements were randomized to receive vonoprazan 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg or placebo on-demand for six weeks. Subjects completed an electronic diary to assess presence and severity of heartburn symptoms and use of rescue antacid (if needed).

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_11.jpg 

In this Phase 2 proof -of-concept trial, the primary endpoint was the percentage of heartburn episodes completely relieved within 3 hours and with no further heartburn reported for 24 hours after taking study drug. Within three hours, vonoprazan 10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg achieved complete and sustained relief in 56.0%, 60.6% and 70.0% of evaluable heartburn episodes, respectively, as compared to 27.3% of episodes for placebo.

The PHALCON-NERD open-label daily dosing run-in phase, where all participants enrolled received vonoprazan 20 mg QD for four weeks, the mean percentage of 24-hour heartburn free days observed was 65.4% (median 76.0%) over this treatment period.

20


 

Results of Phase 2 NERD On Demand Dosing Trial

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_12.jpg 

Daily Dosing of Vonoprazan for the Treatment of NERD (NERD-301)

We initiated a single Phase 3 clinical trial of vonoprazan in symptomatic NERD in February 2022. Our trial explores both vonoprazan10 mg and 20 mg doses in the Phase 3 daily dosing study. The primary endpoint of this trial is the percentage of 24-hour heartburn-free days (without daytime or nighttime heartburn as assessed by daily diary) for each vonoprazan treatment group compared to placebo. This is the same endpoint used in other Phase 3 trials for PPIs that are approved for the treatment of NERD.

Design for NERD-301 Phase 3 NERD Continuous Dosing Clinical Trial

NERD-301 is a Phase 3, multicenter, double-blind study of vonoprazan versus placebo assessing the relief of heartburn. Approximately 750 subjects with NERD (as confirmed by endoscopy) and heartburn symptoms will be randomized to receive vonoprazan 10 mg, vonoprazan 20 mg, or placebo QD for 4 weeks. Subjects will complete an electronic diary twice daily to record the presence and maximum severity of daytime and nighttime heartburn symptoms and use of study-supplied rescue antacid throughout the study. After the placebo-controlled treatment period, all subjects will receive blinded vonoprazan (10 mg or 20 mg QD) in a 20 week extension period.

21


 

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_13.jpg 

We expect to report topline data from this clinical trial in 2023.

Prior Clinical Trials of Vonoprazan for the Treatment of NERD

Takeda conducted two Phase 3 multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel group trials with vonoprazan in Japanese patients with endoscopically confirmed NERD. In the first clinical trial, vonoprazan demonstrated a significant reduction in symptom severity versus placebo (p=0.0139), and in the second trial, vonoprazan demonstrated a faster onset of symptom relief versus placebo (p=0.0003). However, the studies did not show a statistically significant difference in the primary endpoint of proportion of days over a 4-week period without heartburn between vonoprazan and placebo (p=0.0504 and p=0.0643). We believe that the design of these trials may have contributed to their results. For example, the first trial, which studied vonoprazan 10 mg and 20 mg, included a 1-week single blind antacid run-in period where patients were instructed to take antacids after each meal, 3 times per day. Only those patients who did not respond to the antacid treatment were randomized into the double-blind portion of the trial. We believe this design unintentionally enriched the study with patients with non-acid related, or functional disease. In contrast, none of the PPI placebo-controlled continuous dosing studies that were used for U.S. registration employed an antacid run-in period. A high number of subjects suffering from functional heartburn might explain the unusually low response rates seen in this trial both for placebo (7%) and the vonoprazan test regimens (10-12%). In addition, nearly 40% of all patients in this study did not experience a single heartburn free day during the 4 weeks of the study, which in our view is suggestive of a highly prevalent functional heartburn patient population.

In the second study, the single-blind run-in period was changed to be a placebo run-in, where responders would not be eligible for double-blind period; added a specific exclusion criterion for functional heartburn; reduced the diary collection period from twice daily to once daily; and dropped the 20 mg dose choosing to study the 10 mg dose. In contrast to the first study, this study produced historically high placebo response rate (62%). Nevertheless, the data in this study show a clearer benefit of vonoprazan (73%) over placebo than the first study. While the primary endpoint of heartburn free days missed significance (p= 0.0643) due to the high placebo response, we believe this study shows that vonoprazan demonstrates improvement in NERD compared to placebo. We believe that reducing the diary to once daily may have contributed to a higher placebo response, and that not including the 20 mg dose prevented this trial from having its best chance at succeeding.

PPI NERD trials conducted in Japan have generally seen higher placebo response rates and reduced effect sizes than the U.S. PPI NERD counterpart studies. We think this is related to regional variations in identifying true heartburn over other GI related symptoms. Accordingly, we have decided to conduct our initial NERD study only at sites located in the United States.

22


 

Further, in a Phase 2 clinical trial in European patients with NERD who were partial responders to high dose PPIs, vonoprazan did not demonstrate superiority versus esomeprazole in the primary endpoint of the percentage of heartburn free days over the four-week treatment period. As was the case with the NERD trials conducted by Takeda in Japanese patients, we believe this result may have been due to inclusion of patients with GI disorders unrelated to acid.

Vonoprazan in Combination with Antibiotics for the Treatment of H. pylori Infection

Disease Burden and Outcomes

H. pylori is a bacterial pathogen that infects approximately 35% of the U.S. population, 45% of the EU5 population, and more than 50% of the global population. We estimate that there are approximately 115 million individuals in the United States and 145 million individuals in the EU5 infected with H. pylori, and we believe there are approximately 2.5 million patients treated for H. pylori infection in the United States each year. As a result of the chronic inflammation induced by H. pylori infection, approximately 20% of infected patients develop a range of pathologies including dyspepsia, peptic ulcer disease, gastric cancer, and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma. Gastric cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related death worldwide, and over 80% of gastric cancers are attributed to H. pylori infection. Globally there are more than one million new cases of gastric cancer and approximately 782,000 deaths each year. Eradication of H. pylori infection has been proven to reduce the incidence of gastric cancer, and the American College of Gastroenterologists, or ACG, guidelines recommend treatment for all patients diagnosed with H. pylori infection.

H. pylori eradication rates from the 1990s have fallen to current rates of <80% due to increasing antibiotic resistance. In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed H. pylori among the 16 antibiotic-resistant bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health and designated H. pylori as a Class 1 carcinogen, meaning that it is a definite known cause of cancer. In 2014, the FDA added H. pylori to the agency’s list of qualifying pathogens that have the potential to pose a serious threat to public health under the GAIN Act. We believe that vonoprazan-based treatment regimens have the potential to restore eradication rates to their original rates in the United States and Europe given the clinical and post-marketing experience in the Japanese market.

A recent study compiled real-world health insurance claims data in Japan from 2008 to 2016 for H. pylori eradication. Prior to vonoprazan’s approval in late 2014, the H. pylori eradication rate across Japan fell to below 80% as shown in the figure below. Approximately one year after vonoprazan’s launch, the eradication rate increased to greater than 85%. From January 2015 to March 2016, the eradication rate with PPI-containing regimens in Japan was between 78% and 82% while the eradication rate with vonoprazan-containing regimens was 91% across all patients in this analysis. Results are similar in an ongoing real-world study we are conducting using a different Japanese health insurance claims database. Among patients initiating vonoprazan or a PPI between January 2015 and January 2020 to treat H. pylori infection, 80% of PPI-treated patients and 93% of vonoprazan-treated patients did not receive a second line of triple therapy.

23


 

Eradication Rate of H. pylori Infection in Japan Before and After Launch of Vonoprazan

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_14.jpg 

In Japan, vonoprazan-containing regimens have become the most common first line treatment. One-year post launch, approximately 80% of all treated H. pylori-infected patients received vonoprazan-based regimens. In the ongoing study of H. pylori-infected patients, vonoprazan-based regimens overtook PPI-based regimens as the most common first-line treatment between 2015 and 2019. Within this Japanese database, the number of patients using vonoprazan-based regimens increased from 6,594 to 28,956 patients, while the number of patients using a PPI-based regimen decreased from 11,238 to 2,629, shown in the figure below.

Uptake of Vonoprazan-Based vs. PPI-Based Therapy for First Line Treatment of H. pylori Infection in Japan from 2015-2019

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_15.jpg 

24


 

Current Treatment Paradigm in the United States and Europe

The ACG treatment guidelines for H. pylori infection recommend using PPIs in conjunction with antibiotics to improve antibiotic efficacy against H. pylori infection. The use of anti-secretory agents enhances the effect of antibiotics in two ways. First, anti-secretory agents increase gastric pH, which in turn increases the stability of the antibiotics. For example, amoxicillin and clarithromycin are chemically unstable at the low pH typically found in the human stomach. Second, several antibiotics, including amoxicillin and clarithromycin, are most potent against H. pylori at the time of maximum bacterial replication, which occurs at pH 6.0 to 8.0. H. pylori is in a dormant state at lower pH values, which reduces the effectiveness of the antibiotics.

The table below shows the minimum inhibitory concentration of antibiotic required to eradicate 90% of H. pylori in vitro, or MIC90. As pH increases, the amount of antibiotic required for 90% eradication decreases substantially.

H. pylori MIC90 Values as a Function of pH

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_16.jpg 

A triple therapy regimen (PPI, clarithromycin, and either amoxicillin or metronidazole) is the regimen most commonly used in clinical practice for the first-line treatment of H. pylori infection. However, H. pylori eradication rates with PPI triple therapy in the 1990s have fallen to current levels of <80%, primarily due to increased resistance of H. pylori to clarithromycin and metronidazole. A recent meta-analysis indicates that U.S. resistance rates measured from 2012 to 2016 were 20% for clarithromycin, 29% for metronidazole, and 19% for levofloxacin. Additionally, in a U.S.-based study from 2021, 65.6% of tested H. pylori was resistant to at least one antibiotic currently used for treatment, with resistance rates of 33% clarithromycin and approximately 30% for metronidazole and levofloxacin. These figures represent a marked increase from 2009 to 2011 for both clarithromycin and metronidazole, for which resistance was 9% for clarithromycin, 21% for metronidazole, and 11% for levofloxacin. H. pylori resistance to amoxicillin remains low despite its use in most triple therapy regimens; resistance is generally <2% among isolates in the United States and Europe. There is a similar trend of increasing resistance to key antibiotics in Europe.

Given the declining eradication rates for H. pylori, quadruple therapy is recommended as first-line treatment in areas with known high rates of clarithromycin or metronidazole resistance; however, our U.S. market research study reported that physicians prescribe quadruple therapy to only 17% of first-line patients. Due predominantly to considerations of convenience and patient compliance, approximately 75% physicians surveyed in our market research expressed a preference for convenience, or combination packs compared to individual bottles for both dual and triple therapy. Further, geographic patterns of resistance in the United States are poorly understood and treatment is largely empiric, with susceptibility testing rarely conducted prior to first-line treatment. Our U.S. market research study reported that only 8% and 16% of physicians conduct resistance testing prior to prescribing treatment for first-line and second-line H. pylori infection, respectively.

In our U.S. market research study, physicians highlighted the need for more effective and simpler first-line treatment options. For the treatment of H. pylori infection, surveyed physicians highlighted the need for improved eradication rates and more convenient dosing as key unmet needs. Over 50% of surveyed physicians agreed that vonoprazan dual or triple therapy provided a superior eradication rate in patients with clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori, and, on average, 48% and 47% reported a preference to use vonoprazan first line in patients with H. pylori infection, and patients with refractory H. pylori infection, respectively.

25


 

Our H. pylori Phase 3 Clinical Trial in the United States and Europe – PHALCON-HP

In April 2021, we announced that in PHALCON-HP, our pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial for the eradication of H. pylori infection, both vonoprazan-based regimens successfully met their primary endpoints and met all secondary endpoints. The trial studied vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy compared to lansoprazole triple therapy. We believe PHALCON-HP is the largest U.S. Phase 3 registration trial ever conducted in H. pylori infection, randomizing 992 patients with confirmed H. pylori infection.

PHALCON-HP was a randomized, multicenter, Phase 3 trial that enrolled 1046 patients of which 992 patients with a confirmed H. pylori infection were randomized to one of three arms:

vonoprazan dual therapy: vonoprazan 20 mg BID and amoxicillin 1 g TID for 14 days (n=324);
vonoprazan triple therapy: vonoprazan 20 mg BID, amoxicillin 1000 mg BID and clarithromycin 500 mg BID for 14 days (n=338); and
PPI triple therapy: lansoprazole 30 mg BID, amoxicillin 1000 mg BID and clarithromycin 500 mg BID for 14 days (n=330).

The objective of the PHALCON-HP trial was to compare eradication rates in all treated subjects as well as in two pre-identified subgroups of patients: those patients with clarithromycin resistant strains of H. pylori, and those patients who did not have clarithromycin or amoxicillin resistant strains of H. pylori. For regulatory purposes, the primary endpoint of this study was a non-inferiority comparison in the non-resistant subgroup for each of vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy compared to lansoprazole triple therapy. All endpoints measured the percentage of patients with successful eradication of H. pylori infection as assessed by 13C-urea breath test four weeks after completion of treatment. The primary analysis in the non-resistant population assessed the non-inferiority of vonoprazan dual therapy compared to lansoprazole triple therapy and vonoprazan triple therapy compared to lansoprazole triple therapy. Secondary analyses for superiority were conducted in all patients and in the subgroup of patients with clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori infection. Further efficacy analyses were conducted using the pre-specified per protocol population (n=822), which is comprised of patients who were protocol compliant as defined by FDA established criteria.

Design for PHALCON-HP Phase 3 H. pylori Clinical Trial

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_17.jpg 

Primary endpoint analysis

Both vonoprazan-based regimens successfully met their primary endpoints in the subset of patients with H. pylori strains that were not shown to be resistant to clarithromycin or amoxicillin. In the mITT population, H. pylori eradication rates were 84.7% with vonoprazan triple therapy and 78.5% for vonoprazan dual therapy compared to 78.8% with lansoprazole triple therapy (p<0.0001 and p=0.0037, respectively, for non-inferiority).

26


 

In the per protocol population, H. pylori eradication rates were 90.4% with vonoprazan triple therapy and 81.2% with vonoprazan dual therapy compared to 82.1% with lansoprazole triple therapy (p<0.0001 and p=0.0077, respectively, for non-inferiority).

Secondary endpoint analysis

Vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy also met all secondary endpoints, and demonstrated superior eradication rates versus lansoprazole triple therapy in all patients and patients with clarithromycin resistant strains of H. pylori. Patients with clarithromycin resistant strains comprised 20.3% of the PHALCON-HP study population.

Vonoprazan triple therapy

The H. pylori eradication rate of vonoprazan triple therapy was superior to that of lansoprazole triple therapy among all patients in both the mITT population (80.8% vs. 68.5%; p=0.0001) and the per protocol population (85.7% vs. 70.0%; p<0.0001).

The H. pylori eradication rate with vonoprazan triple therapy was superior to that of lansoprazole triple therapy in the subset of patients with H. pylori strains resistant to clarithromycin in both the mITT population (65.8% vs. 31.9%; p<0.0001) and the per protocol population (67.2% vs. 29.0%; p<0.0001).

Vonoprazan dual therapy

The H. pylori eradication rate of vonoprazan dual therapy was superior to that of lansoprazole triple therapy among all patients in both the mITT population (77.2% vs. 68.5%; p=0.0063) and the per protocol population (81.1% vs. 70.0%; p=0.0013).

The H. pylori eradication rate of vonoprazan dual therapy was superior to that of lansoprazole triple therapy in the subset of patients with H. pylori strains resistant to clarithromycin in both the mITT population (69.6% vs. 31.9%; p<0.0001) and the per protocol population (79.5% vs. 29.0%; p<0.0001).

Results of US/EU Phase 3 Clinical Trial in H. Pylori Infection

Primary Endpoint Analysis –Subjects without clarithromycin or amoxicillin resistant strains

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_18.jpg 

27


 

Secondary Endpoint Analyses – All subject and subjects with clarithromycin resistant strains

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_19.jpg 

Antibiotic resistance and declining eradication rates are significant clinical issues, and we believe that vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy have the potential to provide improvements over PPI-based therapies in addressing each of these issues. Vonoprazan dual therapy also has potential to spare the use of clarithromycin, representing an opportunity both for effective treatment and sound antibiotic stewardship through the avoidance of an additional antibiotic. As an alternative to multi-antibiotic drug regimens, vonoprazan dual therapy might also help to limit the spread of resistance among other pathogenic bacteria within populations. In addition, the vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy will both be available in daily dosing blister cards inclusive of the appropriate antibiotic. We believe this convenience pack has the potential to enhance compliance in a category where full adherence to treatment regimen is often a challenge.

Convenience Pack for H. pylori.

In September 2021, we submitted NDAs for vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy for the treatment of H. pylori infection in adults, each as a pre-packaged convenience or combination pack with either clarithromycin and amoxicillin or amoxicillin alone. In November 2021, the FDA accepted our NDAs for filing and granted Priority Review with a PDUFA action date of May 3, 2022. If approved by the PDUFA date, we expect to launch convenience packs with vonoprazan dual therapy and vonoprazan triple therapy in the second half of 2022.

Convenience packs have the potential to improve patient adherence and treatment outcomes, and we believe there is a meaningful market opportunity for such a product. In the United States, PrevPac was formerly marketed as a pre-packaged convenience pack of lansoprazole, clarithromycin, and amoxicillin and achieved peak sales of $150 million. In Japan, vonoprazan is marketed both as a stand-alone medicine as well as in pre-packaged convenience packs with either clarithromycin and amoxicillin (Vonosap) or metronidazole and amoxicillin (Vonopion).

Phase 3 Clinical Trial in Japan of Vonoprazan in Combination with Antibiotics to Treat H. pylori Infection

The results of PHALCON-HP were consistent with the results of a Phase 3 clinical trial in H. pylori-positive patients completed in Japan. In that trial, patients were treated with either vonoprazan triple therapy (vonoprazan 20 mg BID, amoxicillin 750 mg BID, and clarithromycin (200 mg or 400 mg) BID) or lansoprazole triple therapy (lansoprazole 30 mg BID, amoxicillin 750 mg BID, and clarithromycin (200 mg or 400 mg) BID) for seven days as is customary in Japan. The primary endpoint of the clinical trial was confirmed H. pylori eradication determined by 13C-urea breath test. The primary analysis was non-inferiority, and additional analyses in the second line eradication rate and eradication rate in antibiotic-resistant subgroups were also conducted.

28


 

Vonoprazan-based triple therapy demonstrated a non-inferior eradication rate of 93% compared to 76% for lansoprazole-based triple therapy (p<0.0001). Post hoc analyses suggested that vonoprazan-based triple therapy was superior to lansoprazole-based triple therapy (p<0.0001). Patients who were not eradicated on vonoprazan-based triple therapy or lansoprazole-based triple therapy were treated with a triple therapy regimen of vonoprazan, amoxicillin, and metronidazole. In this second-line setting, the H. pylori eradication rate with vonoprazan triple therapy was 98%. Exploratory analysis suggested that vonoprazan-based triple therapy had significantly higher eradication rates versus the lansoprazole-based triple therapy in the subgroup of subjects with clarithromycin resistant strains of H. pylori.

Summary of Vonoprazan Safety Data

Safety in Clinical Studies

As of December 2021, over 8,000 subjects have been exposed to vonoprazan in completed and ongoing Phase 1 to 3 clinical trials. The doses studied have ranged from 1 to 120 mg with durations up to one year.

In PHALCON-HP, both vonoprazan-based regimens were generally well tolerated with safety results comparable to patients who received lansoprazole triple therapy. The most common adverse events (≥2.0%) reported in the vonoprazan triple therapy, vonoprazan dual therapy, and lansoprazole triple therapy arms, respectively, were diarrhea (4.0%, 5.2%, and 9.6%), dysgeusia (4.3%, 0.6%, and 6.1%), abdominal pain (2.3%, 2.6% and 2.9%), headache (2.6%, 1.4%, 1.4%), vulvovaginal candidiasis (2.3%, 1.4%, 1.2%), hypertension (2.0%, 1.1%, 0.9%), and nasopharyngitis (0.3%, 2.0%, 0.9%). Overall rates of discontinuation due to adverse events were 2.3% for vonoprazan triple therapy-treated patients, 0.9% for vonoprazan dual therapy-treated patients, and 1.2% for lansoprazole triple therapy-treated patients.

Additionally, the safety results for vonoprazan observed in PHALCON-EE were consistent with the results observed in prior clinical studies. In the healing phase of the study, the most common adverse events (≥2%) were abdominal pain (2.1% for vonoprazan and 1.2% for lansoprazole), diarrhea (2.1% for vonoprazan and 2.5% for lansoprazole). Rates of discontinuation due to adverse events in the healing phase were 1% for vonoprazan 20 mg and 2.2% for lansoprazole 30 mg.

In the maintenance phase of the study, the most common adverse events (≥2%) were gastritis (2.7% vonoprazan 10 mg, 6.4% vonoprazan 20 mg, 2.7% lansoprazole), diarrhea (1.0% vonoprazan 10 mg, 2.7% vonoprazan 20 mg, 4.4% lansoprazole), abdominal pain (4.1% vonoprazan 10 mg, 5.4% vonoprazan 20 mg, 2.4% lansoprazole), dyspepsia (3.7% vonoprazan 10 mg, 4.1% vonoprazan 20 mg, 2.7% lansoprazole), gastroesophageal reflux disease (2.4% vonoprazan 10 mg, 3.7% vonoprazan 20 mg, 2.0 lansoprazole), hypertension (3.0% vonoprazan 10 mg, 3.4% vonoprazan 20 mg, 2.0% lansoprazole), liver function test (1.0% vonoprazan 10 mg, 2.0% vonoprazan 20 mg, 3.0% lansoprazole), and nausea (2.0% vonoprazan 10 mg, 1.4% vonoprazan 20 mg, 1.0% lansoprazole). Rates of discontinuation due to adverse events in the maintenance phase were 0.7% for vonoprazan10 mg, 2.7% for vonoprazan 20 mg, and 0.7% for lansoprazole.

Frequency of serious adverse events, or SAEs, in the healing phase were similar between vonoprazan 20 mg and lansoprazole 30 mg at 0.6%. In the maintenance phase, SAEs were reported in 4.7% of patients for vonoprazan 20 mg, 3.4% for vonoprazan 10 mg and 2.4% for lansoprazole 15 mg. Further, this clinical trial was conducted during the 2020-2021 global pandemic, and coronavirus infection was reported in 2.1% of the vonoprazan 20 mg-treated patients and 1.8% of the lansoprazole-treated patients in the healing phase whereas in 6.1% of the vonoprazan 10 mg-treated patients, 10.1% of the vonoprazan 20 mg-treated patients and 6.7% of the lansoprazole-treated patients in the maintenance phase. There were 2 deaths in the vonoprazan 20 mg-treated patients due to coronavirus infection. None of the coronavirus infection events reported were considered related by the investigator.

In PHALCON-NERD, vonoprazan was generally well tolerated. In both phases of the trial, no adverse event was reported in more than three percent of the participants in a treatment group. There was a total of four SAEs in the daily dosing phase and no SAEs in the on-demand phase. The safety data for all vonoprazan arms were comparable to placebo and consistent with what was reported in previous studies.

29


 

Certain earlier generation P-CABs previously under development by other companies may have been discontinued in-part due to their hepatic safety profile. These hepatic safety concerns may be compound-specific and not generalizable to the P-CAB class. It is notable that vonoprazan is based on a pyrrole chemical structure and is chemically distinct from previously discontinued P-CABs that were based on an imidazole structure. Vonoprazan has had a similar hepatic safety profile to lansoprazole across all clinical studies conducted by Takeda, in which 1.0% of subjects treated with vonoprazan 10 mg or 20 mg and 0.8% of subjects treated with lansoprazole 15 mg or 30 mg had ALT or AST elevations greater than three times the upper limit of normal or bilirubin elevations greater than two times the upper limit of normal. Similarly, in the healing phase of PHALCON-EE, transient elevations in ALT or AST greater than 3 times the upper limit of normal were observed in 0.4% of subjects treated with vonoprazan 20 mgs and 0.2% of subjects treated with lansoprazole. In the maintenance phase, transient ALT or AST elevations greater than three times the upper limit of normal were observed in 1% of subjects treated with vonoprazan 10 mg, 0.3% of subjects treated with vonoprazan 20 mg, and 2% of subjects treated with lansoprazole.

Vonoprazan Post-Marketing Safety in Japan and Asia

The most recent post-marketing safety report from December 2021 includes an estimate of over 50 million patients who have received vonoprazan in Japan and other countries in Asia since its launch. Based on the post-marketing experience, the clinically significant adverse reactions section of the Japanese prescribing information for vonoprazan was updated to include shock, anaphylaxis, hepatic impairment, skin reactions such as toxic epidermal necrolysis, Steven-Johnson syndrome, and erythema multiforme; and events of pancytopenia, agranulocytosis, leukocytopenia, and thrombocytopenia. The incidence of these reactions was considered extremely rare (less than 1 in 100,000 patients) and a causal relationship to vonoprazan could not be ruled out. Although serious hepatic adverse events have been observed among patients exposed to vonoprazan in Japan in the post-marketing setting, these cases were typically confounded by comorbidities or other concomitant medications and believed to be idiosyncratic reactions. Post-marketing safety data, including the December 2021 post-marketing safety report, has been submitted to the PMDA.

Vonoprazan Launch in Japan

Vonoprazan Regulatory Status

Vonoprazan first received approval in Japan on December 26, 2014 as TAKECAB® for the following indications:

Healing and maintenance of healing of erosive esophagitis;
Adjunct to antibiotics in H. pylori treatment;
Gastric ulcer;
Duodenal ulcer;
Prevention of recurrence of gastric ulcer or duodenal ulcer during low-dose aspirin administration; and
Prevention of recurrence of gastric ulcer or duodenal ulcer during nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) administration.

Vonoprazan was subsequently approved in Japan in February 2016 for the treatment of H. pylori in combination packs with antibiotics (Vonosap Pack 400, Vonosap Pack 800, and Vonopion Pack), and has since been approved in numerous other countries in Asia and Latin America as well as Russia.

Vonoprazan Commercialization in Japan

Vonoprazan was approved in Japan in December 2014. In 2021, its seventh full year on the market, vonoprazan generated approximately $850 million in net sales in Japan, a 17% increase over the prior year. In addition, in the quarter ended December 31, 2021, vonoprazan generated over $249 million in net sales, a 16% increase over the corresponding quarter from the prior year.

30


 

https://cdn.kscope.io/137413664ee4670109d9241023c13509-img45497886_20.jpg 

We believe that the market dynamic for anti-secretory agents in Japan is similar to that in the United States. In both countries, the anti-secretory market is largely genericized. Ahead of the vonoprazan launch in Japan, all PPIs, other than Nexium, were available as generics. As of September 2020, generic drugs in Japan represent approximately 80% of the market by volume, compared to the United States where generics are currently approximately 90% of the market by volume. Although vonoprazan and Dexilant are priced at a premium to generic PPIs in Japan and the United States, respectively, both have experienced commercial success.

Vonoprazan Commercial Opportunity and Strategy

The market for prevention and treatment of acid-related GI diseases in the United States and Europe is large. There were approximately 7.2 billion PPI doses prescribed for the 12 months ended December 31, 2021. We estimate that there are approximately 65 million individuals with GERD in the United States and 50 million individuals with GERD in the EU5, of whom 15% to 45% are inadequately treated with PPIs. In addition, we estimate that there are approximately 115 million individuals in the United States infected with H. pylori, of which 2.5 million are treated each year, and 145 million individuals in the EU5 infected with H. pylori.

Over many decades of use, multiple drug classes and individual drugs have demonstrated the substantial commercial opportunity for therapies treating acid-related GI diseases. H2RAs including Axid, Pepcid, Tagamet, and Zantac provided the first significant improvement in disease management over antacids and as a class reached $3.5 billion in annual sales. After H2RAs, PPIs emerged as the new standard of care. Prior to the introduction of generic and OTC alternatives, annual PPI class sales reached approximately $12.5 billion in the United States, and peak sales for individual brands were approximately $3.7 billion for Prilosec, approximately $3.5 billion for Nexium, and $3.4 billion for Prevacid.

31


 

As recently as 2015, the last branded PPI, Dexilant, reached approximately $530 million in sales in the United States despite limited differentiation from other PPIs. As of December 31, 2021, Dexilant was priced at a significant premium to generic PPIs on the market. Even with premium pricing, Dexilant obtained broad insurance coverage and favorable access. As of December 2021, approximately 87% of commercially covered lives and 82% of Medicare covered lives had access to Dexilant. Furthermore, of those commercially covered lives, 48% had unrestricted access to the drug without prior authorization or step edits and 28% of patients had access at the lowest branded cost tier. We believe that, if approved in our markets, vonoprazan will be the first of the next generation of anti-secretory therapies to improve the standard of care for acid-related GI diseases by providing a safe and effective treatment option for the millions of patients in need of more potent, rapid, or durable acid suppression. Additionally, we believe the results of our Phase 3 clinical trials in H. pylori and erosive esophagitis support the potential differentiation of vonoprazan compared to a standard of care PPI, and if vonoprazan is approved, could result in attractive market access and formulary positioning.

In May 2021, we conducted a U.S. market research study with 100 gastroenterologists, 102 primary care physicians, and 40 gastroenterology advanced practice providers who treat H. pylori infection. These clinicians stated a preference to prescribe vonoprazan dual or triple therapy first line to 53% of their patients with H. pylori infection, and to 52% of their patients with refractory H. pylori infection. In the same study, in terms of aspects of vonoprazan that positively impacted the intention to prescribe, 69% of clinicians said mechanism of action, and 52% said the efficacy in patients with clarithromycin-resistant strains of H. pylori, respectively. In December 2021, we conducted a separate U.S. market research study with 151 gastroenterologists, 100 primary care physicians, and 50 advanced practice providers who treat GERD. For the treatment of erosive esophagitis, 65% - 67% of respondents believed that vonoprazan is differentiated from standard of care PPIs, has demonstrated superior efficacy in the healing and maintenance of healing of esophageal erosions compared to lansoprazole, and delivers symptom relief.

Sales and Marketing

We are in the process of building marketing, sales, and distribution capabilities. We plan to independently commercialize vonoprazan in the United States by building a leading specialty gastroenterology-focused commercial infrastructure to support the adoption of vonoprazan. We believe we can successfully launch vonoprazan in the United States with a focused sales force targeting high prescribers of PPIs, particularly gastroenterologists and primary care physicians. PPI prescribing is highly concentrated with approximately 75% of prescriptions in H. pylori and 65% of prescriptions in erosive esophagitis being written by 10% of the PPI prescribers (approximately 51,400 prescribers), according to IQVIA data. We believe we have an opportunity to achieve significant share of voice and exposure to physicians given the scarcity of actively marketed anti-secretory medicines.

To address the commercial opportunity for vonoprazan in Europe and Canada, we plan to seek one or more partners with existing commercial infrastructure and expertise in these markets.

Additional Vonoprazan Development Opportunities

Indications

While we are initially focused on the development of vonoprazan for the treatment of GERD and H. pylori infection, we believe there are opportunities to expand the use of vonoprazan to other indications in our licensed territories. For example, in Japan, vonoprazan is also approved for the treatment of gastric ulcers, treatment of duodenal ulcers, prevention of recurrence of gastric ulcer or duodenal ulcer during low-dose aspirin administration, and prevention of recurrence of gastric ulcer or duodenal ulcer during NSAID administration. Barrett’s esophagus and Zollinger Ellison syndrome are severe diseases related to acid secretion where PPIs are the current standard of care. The improved acid control of vonoprazan relative to PPIs may lead to improved results over PPIs.

32


 

Eosinophilic esophagitis is an autoimmune disease with significant unmet need. Although not approved for this indication, PPIs are prescribed for the treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis. Vonoprazan demonstrated similar efficacy to PPIs in an investigator-sponsored clinical trial in Japan. In this clinical trial, 112 patients with eosinophilic esophagitis were treated with vonoprazan, or the PPI rabeprazole or esomeprazole. Of patients treated with vonoprazan, 82% had complete relief of symptoms compared to 70% for esomeprazole and 76-78% for rabeprazole. Similarly, 35% of patients treated with vonoprazan demonstrated complete remission of eosinophilic esophagitis by histology, compared to 37% for esomeprazole and 31-38% for rabeprazole.

Formulations and Packaging

Orally Disintegrating Tablet. An orally disintegrating tablet, or ODT, formulation for vonoprazan is currently in development by Takeda. We may conduct one or more Phase 1 trials to support potential approval of the ODT formulation. We believe that the ODT represents a meaningful commercial opportunity for patients with difficulty swallowing, as estimated peak U.S. sales of the lansoprazole ODT formulation were over $450 million.

Intravenous Formulation. We are exploring the potential to develop an intravenous formulation of vonoprazan for use in acute bleeding, critically ill patients, or other in-hospital applications. Several PPIs have approved intravenous formulations.

Pediatric Formulation. We are exploring the potential to develop an oral formulation, in addition to an ODT formulation, for pediatric use.

Over the Counter Use

We believe that vonoprazan has the ideal profile for an OTC product, including the potential for on-demand symptom relief and a well-tolerated safety profile. Sales of OTC heartburn relief products in the United States are substantial, constituting a multi-billion-dollar market.

Competition

The biopharmaceutical industry is characterized by rapidly advancing technologies, intense competition and strong emphasis on proprietary products. We face potential competition from many sources, including major pharmaceutical, specialty pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic institutions and government agencies and public and private research institutions. If vonoprazan receives marketing approval in the United States, Europe or Canada, it will compete with existing therapies and new therapies that may become available in the future.

Some of our competitors, either alone or with their strategic partners, have substantially greater financial, technical and human resources and significantly greater experience in the discovery and development of product candidates, obtaining FDA and other regulatory approvals of treatments and commercializing those treatments. These same competitors may invent technology that competes with vonoprazan. Mergers and acquisitions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries may result in even more resources being concentrated among a smaller number of our competitors. These competitors also compete with us in recruiting and retaining qualified scientific and management personnel and establishing clinical trial sites and subject recruitment for clinical trials, as well as in acquiring technologies complementary to, or necessary for, our programs. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies.

Our commercial opportunity could be reduced or eliminated if our competitors develop and commercialize products that are more effective, have fewer or less severe side effects, are more convenient or are less expensive than any products that we may develop. Our competitors also may obtain FDA or other regulatory approval for their products more rapidly than we may obtain approval for vonoprazan, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market. In addition, we expect that vonoprazan, if approved, will be priced at a premium over competitive generic products and our ability to compete may be affected in many cases by insurers or other third-party payors seeking to encourage the use of generic products.

33


 

We expect that vonoprazan, if approved for the treatment of patients with erosive esophagitis and treatment of H. pylori infection in adults, will primarily compete with generic PPIs marketed by multiple pharmaceutical companies in both the prescription and OTC markets. Additionally, in March 2020, RedHill Biopharma Ltd. launched Talicia, a co-formulated capsule comprising generic omeprazole, amoxicillin, and rifabutin for the treatment of H. pylori infection.

We are aware of one other P-CAB in development in the United States, as well as a number of other P-CABs in territories outside of the United States that if developed and approved in our territories may compete with vonoprazan. In the United States, Neurogastrx intends to commence a Phase 3 erosive esophagitis trial for fexuprazan, under an exclusive license from Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., or Daewoong, sometime in 2022. Outside the United States, Daewoong recently received regulatory approval of, and plans for a first half of 2022 launch for fexuprazan in South Korea, and has out-licensed rights to develop fexuprazan in China to Shanghai Haini, a subsidiary of China’s Yangtze River Pharmaceutical Group. Also outside the United States, revaprazan is marketed by Yuhan Corporation in South Korea, and tegoprazan is marketed by CJ Healthcare Corp. in South Korea and is currently in development in Japan by RaQualia Pharma, Inc. Additionally, Jeil Pharm has received authorization to conduct a Phase 3 trial in South Korea of its P-CAB candidate, JP-1366, in erosive esophagitis, and Cinclus Pharma AG’s linaprazan glurate has completed a Phase 1 clinical trial in Europe and is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials. To our knowledge, none of these compounds have demonstrated superiority to PPIs on clinical endpoints.

Additionally, we are aware of several clinical-stage PPIs in territories outside of the United States that if developed and approved in our licensed territories may compete with vonoprazan. These include Dexa Medica’s DLBS-2411, currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in Indonesia, Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s anaprazole, currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in China, Eisai’s azeloprazole, currently in a Phase 2 clinical trial in Japan, and Sidem Pharma’s tenatoprazole, currently in Phase 2 clinical trials in Europe and Canada.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property, including patents, trade secrets, trademarks and copyrights, is important to our business. Our commercial success depends in part on our ability to obtain and maintain proprietary intellectual property protection for vonoprazan, as well as for future product candidates and novel discoveries, product development technologies, and know-how. Our commercial success also depends in part on our ability to operate without infringing on the proprietary rights of others and to prevent others from infringing our proprietary rights. Our policy is to develop and maintain protection of our proprietary position by, among other methods, licensing or filing U.S. and foreign patents and applications relating to our technology, inventions, and improvements that are important to the development and implementation of our business.

Our patent portfolio, comprising patents and patent applications exclusively licensed to us, is built with a goal of establishing broad protection that generally includes, for the product candidate compound, claims directed to composition of matter, pharmaceutical compositions or formulations, methods of synthesis, and methods of treatment using such pharmaceutical compositions or formulations. As of December 31, 2021, our patent portfolio covering vonoprazan consists solely of exclusively licensed patents and patent applications from Takeda. Subject to the terms of the license agreement we entered into with Takeda on May 7, 2019, or the Takeda License, we have licensed from Takeda exclusive rights in the United States, Europe, and Canada to patents and patent applications covering the composition of matter, formulation, use and/or manufacture of vonoprazan. Our patent portfolio comprises 11 distinct patent families protecting the technology relating to the compound vonoprazan and its synthetic intermediates, methods of synthesizing vonoprazan and related compounds, various formulations of vonoprazan products, as well as methods of treating diseases with vonoprazan and related compounds. As of December 31, 2021, our portfolio consists of approximately 22 issued U.S. patents, 5 pending U.S. applications, 13 issued European patents subsequently validated in individual European countries, 4 pending European applications, 5 issued Canadian patents, and 3 pending Canadian applications. The issued patents and pending applications have nominal expiration dates ranging from 2024 to 2038, without accounting for any available patent term adjustments or extensions. The issued U.S. patent covering the composition of matter of vonoprazan is expected to expire in August 2028, not including patent term extension. The issued U.S. patent covering the formulation of vonoprazan is expected to expire in August 2030, not including patent term extension.

34


 

The term of individual patents in our portfolio depends upon the legal term of patents in the countries in which they are obtained. In most countries in which we file, including the United States, the patent term is 20 years from the earliest date of filing a non-provisional patent application. In the United States, the term of a patent may be eligible for patent term adjustment, which permits patent term restoration as compensation for delays incurred at the USPTO during the patent prosecution process. In addition, for patents that cover an FDA-approved drug, the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, or the Hatch-Waxman Act, permits a patent term extension of up to five years beyond the expiration of the patent. While the length of the patent term extension is related to the length of time the drug is under regulatory review, patent term extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval, and only one patent per approved drug may be extended under the Hatch-Waxman Act. Similar provisions are available in Europe and other foreign jurisdictions to extend the term of a patent that covers an approved drug. In the future, if and when our products receive FDA approval, we expect to apply for patent term extensions on patents covering those products. We plan to seek any available patent term extension to any issued patents we may be granted in any jurisdiction where such extensions are available; however, there is no guarantee that the applicable authorities, including the FDA in the United States, will agree with our assessment of whether such extensions should be granted, and if granted, the length of such extensions.

The patent positions of companies like ours are generally uncertain and involve complex legal and factual questions. The relevant patent laws and their interpretation outside of the United States is also uncertain. Changes in either the patent laws or their interpretation in the United States and other countries may diminish our ability to protect our technology or product candidates and could affect the value of such intellectual property. In particular, our ability to stop third parties from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing products that infringe our intellectual property will depend in part on our success in obtaining and enforcing patent claims that cover our technology, inventions and improvements. We cannot guarantee that patents will be granted with respect to any of our licensed pending patent applications or with respect to any patent applications we may file in the future, nor can we be sure that any patents that may be granted to us or Takeda in the future will be commercially useful in protecting our products, the methods of use or manufacture of those products. Moreover, issued patents do not guarantee the right to practice our technology in relation to the commercialization of our products. Issued patents only allow us to block potential competitors from practicing the claimed inventions of the issued patents.

Further, patents and other intellectual property rights in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology space are evolving and involve many risks and uncertainties. For example, third parties may have blocking patents that could be used to prevent us from commercializing vonoprazan and any future product candidates and practicing our proprietary technology, and any issued patents may be challenged, invalidated or circumvented, which could limit our ability to stop competitors from marketing related products or could limit the term of patent protection that otherwise may exist for vonoprazan and any future product candidates. In addition, the scope of the rights granted under any issued patents may not provide us with protection or competitive advantages against competitors with similar technology. Furthermore, our competitors may independently develop similar technologies that are outside the scope of the rights granted under any issued patents. For these reasons, we may face competition with respect to vonoprazan and any future product candidates. Moreover, because of the extensive time required for development, testing and regulatory review of a potential product, it is possible that, before any particular product candidate can be commercialized, any patent protection for such product may expire or remain in force for only a short period following commercialization, thereby reducing the commercial advantage the patent provides.

It is our policy to require our employees, consultants, outside scientific collaborators, sponsored researchers and other advisors to execute confidentiality agreements upon the commencement of employment or consulting relationships with us, and for employees and consultants to enter into invention assignment agreements with us. These agreements provide that all confidential information developed or made known to the individual during the course of the individual’s relationship with us is to be kept confidential and not disclosed to third parties except in specific circumstances. Where applicable, the agreements provide that all inventions to which the individual contributed as an inventor shall be assigned to Phathom, and as such, will become our property. There can be no assurance, however, that these agreements will provide meaningful protection or adequate remedies for our trade secrets in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure of such information.

35


 

Further, we have filed for and have received trademark registrations for our company name “Phathom Pharmaceuticals” in the United States, European Union, and other foreign jurisdictions, and are pursuing trademark protection in certain other foreign jurisdictions.

License Agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

On May 7, 2019, we and Takeda entered into the Takeda License, pursuant to which, Takeda granted us an exclusive, sublicensable (with Takeda’s reasonable consent) license under certain patents and know how relating to vonoprazan and owned or controlled by Takeda during the term of the Takeda License to commercialize vonoprazan products using specified formulations for all human therapeutic uses in the United States, Europe and Canada, and a non-exclusive license under such patents and know how to develop and manufacture such vonoprazan products anywhere in the world (subject to Takeda’s consent as to each country) for the purposes of commercializing the vonoprazan products in the United States, Europe and Canada. We granted Takeda a non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable license under our rights in any patents and know-how that are necessary or useful to enable Takeda to develop and manufacture vonoprazan products anywhere in the world for the purposes of commercialization outside United States, Europe and Canada. We also granted Takeda an exclusive, royalty-free license under our rights in certain patents and know-how owned or controlled by us and necessary for the exploitation of vonoprazan products, in each case for Takeda to commercialize any vonoprazan product outside of the United States, Canada, and Europe and for purposes other than human therapeutic use.

During the term of the Takeda License, we and our affiliates are not permitted to commercialize any pharmaceutical product, other than vonoprazan, that treats acid-related disorders, except for certain generic and OTC competing products in specified circumstances. We will be responsible, at our cost, for the development, manufacture and commercialization of the vonoprazan products. We are required to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop and commercialize the vonoprazan products in our licensed territory.

Under the Takeda License, Takeda has the sole right and authority, with our input, to prepare, file, prosecute, and maintain all Takeda and joint patents on a worldwide basis at its own cost. We are responsible, at our cost, for preparing, filing, prosecuting, and maintaining patents on inventions made solely by us in connection with vonoprazan, subject to input from Takeda. We have the first right to enforce the licensed patent rights with respect to certain infringing products in the United States, Europe and Canada.

We paid Takeda upfront consideration consisting of a cash payment of $25.0 million, 1,084,000 shares of common stock and a warrant to purchase 7,588,000 shares of common stock, or the Takeda Warrant. We agreed to make milestone payments to Takeda upon achieving certain tiered aggregate annual net sales of licensed products in the United States, Europe and Canada up a total maximum milestone amount of $250.0 million. We also agreed to make tiered royalty payments in the low double digits to the mid-teens on net sales of licensed products, subject to specified offsets and reductions. Royalties will be payable, on a product-by-product and country-by-country basis from the first commercial sale of such product in such country, until the latest of expiration of the licensed patents covering the applicable product, expiration of regulatory exclusivity in such country, or 15 years following first commercial sale in such country.

The Takeda License will continue until the expiration of the obligation to pay royalties in all countries and on all products. We may terminate the Takeda License in its entirety without cause upon six months’ prior written notice. We and Takeda may terminate the Takeda License in the case of the other party’s insolvency, or upon prior written notice within a specified time period for the other party’s material uncured breach. Takeda may terminate the Takeda License in its entirety if we challenge the licensed patents, or if we assist any third party in challenging such patents.

Manufacturing

We do not currently own or operate manufacturing facilities for the production of clinical or commercial quantities of vonoprazan. Vonoprazan is a small molecule that can be manufactured using commercially available technologies. We currently rely on Takeda to supply us with vonoprazan drug product for clinical use.

36


 

With respect to any future product candidates, we expect to continue to rely on third-party contract manufacturers to manufacture clinical supplies and commercial quantities of any approved product. Although we rely on contract manufacturers, we have personnel with manufacturing experience to oversee our relationships with Takeda, Sandoz and Catalent.

Takeda Commercial Supply Agreement

In April 2020, we entered into a Commercial Supply Agreement with Takeda , or the Takeda Supply Agreement, pursuant to which Takeda will supply us with commercial quantities of vonoprazan bulk drug. Pursuant to the Commercial Supply Agreement, Takeda has agreed to supply us certain quantities of vonoprazan bulk drug product according to approved specifications at a fixed price per batch of bulk drug product in order to commercialize vonoprazan in accordance with the Takeda License. The Takeda Supply Agreement sets forth a minimum and maximum number of batches of vonoprazan bulk drug product that we are required to order each year, and if we do not purchase the minimum number of batches in a year, other than as a result of Takeda’s inability to supply such batches for any reason, or as a result of force majeure, we are required to pay Takeda the amount corresponding to the shortfall. Takeda has no obligation to supply bulk drug product above the maximum number of batches specified in the Takeda Supply Agreement.

In addition, under the Takeda Supply Agreement, Takeda will provide certain services and materials, including vonoprazan drug substance, to support the transfer of technology and Takeda manufacturing know-how to our contract manufacturing organizations, or CMOs, that we designate. Takeda has agreed to negotiate in good faith to provide reasonable additional support, including technical advice and supply of materials, to assist us with technology transfers to the CMOs.

The Takeda Supply Agreement will continue until the earlier of (a) two years from the date we place an order for bulk drug product for the first commercial launch of vonoprazan in any jurisdiction in the United States, Europe or Canada, and (b) December 31, 2023. The Takeda Supply Agreement may be terminated upon written notice by either party if the other party has failed to remedy a material breach within a specified cure period following written notice of such breach. The Takeda Supply Agreement will terminate immediately upon the termination of the Takeda License in accordance with its terms. We are exploring additional options for commercial supply of vonoprazan API from other third-party contract manufacturers.

Sandoz Supply and Packaging Agreement

In December 2020, we entered into a Supply and Packaging Services Agreement with Sandoz GmbH, or the Sandoz Supply Agreement, pursuant to which Sandoz has agreed to supply commercial quantities of amoxicillin capsules and clarithromycin tablets, to package these antibiotics with vonoprazan drug product in finished convenience packs, and to supply us with these convenience packs.

Pursuant to the Sandoz Supply Agreement, we agreed to purchase certain quantities of convenience packs from Sandoz at an agreed upon price per pack. The price per pack is fixed for the first two (2) years following launch of the convenience pack in the United State and may be adjusted thereafter based on Sandoz’s cost increases, subject to an annual cap. The Sandoz Supply Agreement sets forth an annual minimum number of convenience packs that we must purchase each year following launch of the convenience pack product, and if we do not meet the minimum order in a given year, we are required to pay Sandoz the amount corresponding to the shortfall. Sandoz has no obligation to supply convenience packs above a maximum number of packs above a certain percentage of our forecasts. We have agreed to purchase convenience packs, amoxicillin capsules and clarithromycin tablets, in each case intended for sale in the United States, exclusively from Sandoz during the five-year period following launch.

The Sandoz Supply Agreement will continue for five years from launch of the convenience pack in the U.S. and may be terminated effective at the end of the initial five-year term upon written notice by either party prior to the end of the third year following launch. In the absence of such notice, the Sandoz Supply Agreement will extend automatically for an additional three-year period, and thereafter as mutually agreed upon by the parties. The Sandoz Supply Agreement may also be terminated at any time upon written notice by either party for uncured material breach following written notice of such breach.

37


 

Catalent Commercial Supply Agreement

In July 2021, we entered into a Commercial Supply Agreement, or the Tablet Supply Agreement, with Catalent Pharma Solutions, LLC, or Catalent, pursuant to which Catalent has agreed to supply us with commercial quantities of vonoprazan fumarate tablets.

Pursuant to the Tablet Supply Agreement, Catalent has agreed to supply us with, and the Company has agreed to purchase from Catalent, finished vonoprazan tablets at an agreed upon price per unit. The price per unit may be adjusted annually based on increases in costs incurred by Catalent. The Tablet Supply Agreement requires us to purchase a specified percentage of its requirements of finished vonoprazan tablets from Catalent, which percentage is subject to adjustment following the third anniversary of the first day of the calendar quarter during which Catalent is scheduled to deliver the initial finished vonoprazan tablets to us intended for commercial sale, excluding validation batches, or the Commencement Date.

Unless terminated earlier, the term of the Tablet Supply Agreement extends for a period of five years from the Commencement Date. The Tablet Supply Agreement will extend automatically for additional two year periods unless terminated by either party upon at least 24months prior written notice. The Tablet Supply Agreement may also be terminated at any time upon written notice by either party if the other party has failed to remedy a material breach of the terms of the Tablet Supply Agreement within a specified period following receipt of written notice of such breach.

Government Regulation

Government authorities in the United States, at the federal, state and local level, and other countries extensively regulate, among other things, the research, development, testing, manufacture, quality control, approval, labeling, packaging, storage, record-keeping, promotion, advertising, distribution, marketing and export and import of products such as those we are developing. A new drug must be approved by the FDA through the NDA process before it may be legally marketed in the United States.

U.S. Drug Development Process

In the United States, the FDA regulates drugs under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or the FDCA, and its implementing regulations. The process of obtaining regulatory approvals and the subsequent compliance with appropriate federal, state, local and foreign statutes and regulations require the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources.

The process required by the FDA before a drug may be marketed in the United States generally involves the following:

completion of preclinical laboratory tests, animal studies and formulation studies in accordance with Good Laboratory Practice, or GLP, regulations and other applicable regulations;
submission to the FDA of an investigational new drug application, or IND, which must become effective before human clinical trials may begin;
approval by an independent institutional review board, or IRB, at each clinical site before each trial may be initiated;
performance of adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials in accordance with Good Clinical Practice, or GCP, regulations to establish the safety and efficacy of the proposed drug for its intended use;
submission to the FDA of an NDA;
satisfactory completion of an FDA advisory committee review, if applicable;

38


 

satisfactory completion of an FDA inspection of the manufacturing facility or facilities at which the drug is produced to assess compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practice, or cGMP, requirements to assure that the facilities, methods and controls are adequate to preserve the drug’s identity, strength, quality and purity, and of selected clinical investigation sites to assess compliance with GCPs; and
FDA review and approval of the NDA to permit commercial marketing of the product for particular indications for use in the United States.

Once a pharmaceutical candidate is identified for development, it enters the preclinical testing stage. Preclinical tests include laboratory evaluations of product chemistry, toxicity and formulation, as well as animal studies. The conduct of preclinical studies is subject to federal regulations and requirements, including GLP regulations. Prior to beginning the first clinical trial with a product candidate in the United States, a sponsor must submit an IND to the FDA. The sponsor must submit the results of the preclinical tests, together with manufacturing information and analytical data, to the FDA as part of the IND. An IND is a request for authorization from the FDA to administer an investigational new drug product to humans. The sponsor will also include a protocol detailing, among other things, the objectives of the first phase of the clinical trial, the parameters to be used in monitoring safety, and the effectiveness criteria to be evaluated, if the first phase lends itself to an efficacy evaluation. Some preclinical testing may continue even after the IND is submitted. The IND automatically becomes effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless the FDA, within the 30-day time period, places the clinical trial on a clinical hold. In such a case, the IND sponsor and the FDA must resolve any outstanding concerns before the clinical trial can begin. Clinical holds also may be imposed by the FDA at any time before or during clinical trials due to safety concerns about on-going or proposed clinical trials or non-compliance with specific FDA requirements, and the trials may not begin or continue until the FDA notifies the sponsor that the hold has been lifted. Submission of an IND therefore may or may not result in FDA authorization to begin a clinical trial.

Clinical trials involve the administration of the investigational product to human subjects under the supervision of one or more qualified investigators in accordance with GCP regulations, which include the requirement that all research subjects provide their informed consent in writing for their participation in any clinical trial. Clinical trials are conducted under protocols detailing, among other things, the objectives of the trial, dosing procedures, subject selection and exclusion criteria and the safety and effectiveness criteria to be evaluated. Each protocol must be submitted to the FDA as part of the IND as well as any subsequent protocol amendments, and timely safety reports must be submitted to the FDA and the investigators for serious and unexpected adverse events. An IRB at each institution participating in the clinical trial must review and approve each protocol before a clinical trial commences at that institution and must also approve the information regarding the trial and the consent form that must be provided to each trial subject or his or her legal representative, monitor the study until completed and otherwise comply with IRB regulations. There are also requirements governing the reporting of ongoing clinical studies and clinical study results to public registries.

Human clinical trials are typically conducted in three sequential phases that may overlap or be combined:

Phase 1: The product candidate is initially introduced into healthy human volunteers or patients with the target disease or condition. These studies test for safety, dosage tolerance, absorption, metabolism, distribution and excretion and, if possible, to gain an early indication of its effectiveness.
Phase 2: The product candidate is administered to a limited patient population with a specified disease or condition to evaluate the preliminary efficacy, optimal dosages and dosing schedule and to identify possible adverse side effects and safety risks.
Phase 3: The product candidate is administered to an expanded patient population to further evaluate dosage, to provide statistically significant evidence of the product’s effectiveness for its intended use(s) and to further test for safety, generally at multiple geographically dispersed clinical trial sites. These clinical trials are intended to establish the overall risk-benefit ratio of the product candidate and provide, if appropriate, an adequate basis for product labeling.

39


 

Post-approval trials, sometimes referred to as Phase 4 studies, may be conducted after initial marketing approval. These trials are used to gain additional experience from the treatment of patients in the intended therapeutic indication. In certain instances, the FDA may mandate the performance of Phase 4 clinical trials as a condition of approval of an NDA.

While the IND is active, progress reports summarizing the results of the clinical trials and nonclinical studies performed since the last progress report, among other information, must be submitted at least annually to the FDA, and written IND safety reports must be submitted to the FDA and investigators for serious and unexpected suspected adverse events, findings from other studies suggesting a significant risk to humans exposed to the drug, findings from animal or in vitro testing suggesting a significant risk to humans exposed to the drug, and any clinically important increased rate of a serious suspected adverse reaction compared to that listed in the protocol or investigator brochure.

The FDA or the sponsor may suspend a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the research subjects or patients are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk. Similarly, an IRB can suspend or terminate approval of a clinical trial at its institution if the clinical trial is not being conducted in accordance with the IRB’s requirements or if the drug has been associated with unexpected serious harm to patients. In addition, some clinical trials are overseen by an independent group of qualified experts organized by the sponsor, known as a data safety monitoring board or committee. Depending on its charter, this group may determine whether a trial may move forward at designated check points based on access to certain data from the trial.

During the development of a new drug, sponsors are given opportunities to meet with the FDA at certain points. These points may be prior to submission of an IND, at the end of Phase 2, and before an NDA is submitted. Meetings at other times may be requested. These meetings can provide an opportunity for the sponsor to share information about the data gathered to date, for the FDA to provide advice, and for the sponsor and the FDA to reach agreement on the next phase of development. Sponsors typically use the meetings at the end of the Phase 2 trial to discuss Phase 2 clinical results and present plans for the pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials that they believe will support approval of the new drug.

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

There are also requirements governing the reporting of ongoing clinical trials and completed trial results to public registries. Sponsors of certain clinical trials of FDA-regulated products are required to register and disclose specified clinical trial information, which is publicly available at www.clinicaltrials.gov. Information related to the product, patient population, phase of investigation, trial sites and investigators and other aspects of the clinical trial is then made public as part of the disclosure.

NDA Review and Approval Process

Assuming successful completion of all required testing in accordance with all applicable regulatory requirements, the results of product development, preclinical and other non-clinical studies and clinical trials, along with descriptions of the manufacturing process, analytical tests conducted on the chemistry of the drug, proposed labeling and other relevant information are submitted to the FDA as part of an NDA requesting approval to market the product. The submission of an NDA is subject to the payment of substantial user fees; a waiver of such fees may be obtained under certain limited circumstances.

40


 

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

The FDA may refer an application for a novel drug to an advisory committee. An advisory committee is a panel of independent experts, including clinicians and other scientific experts, that reviews, evaluates and provides a recommendation as to whether the application should be approved and under what conditions. The FDA is not bound by the recommendations of an advisory committee, but it considers such recommendations carefully when making decisions.

Before approving an NDA, the FDA will inspect the facility or facilities where the product is manufactured. The FDA will not approve an application unless it determines that the manufacturing processes and facilities are in compliance with cGMP requirements and adequate to assure consistent production of the product within required specifications. Additionally, before approving an NDA, the FDA may inspect one or more clinical trial sites to assure compliance with GCP requirements.

After the FDA evaluates an NDA, it will issue an approval letter or a Complete Response Letter. An approval letter authorizes commercial marketing of the drug with prescribing information for specific indications. A Complete Response Letter indicates that the review cycle of the application is complete and the application will not be approved in its present form. A Complete Response Letter usually describes the specific deficiencies in the NDA identified by the FDA and may require additional clinical data, such as additional clinical trials or other significant and time-consuming requirements related to clinical trials, nonclinical studies or manufacturing. If a Complete Response Letter is issued, the sponsor must resubmit the NDA, addressing all of the deficiencies identified in the letter, or withdraw the application. Even if such data and information are submitted, the FDA may decide that the NDA does not satisfy the criteria for approval.

If a product receives regulatory approval, the approval may be significantly limited to specific diseases and dosages or the indications for use may otherwise be limited, which could restrict the commercial value of the product. In addition, the FDA may require a sponsor to conduct Phase 4 testing, which involves clinical trials designed to further assess a drug’s safety and effectiveness after NDA approval, and may require testing and surveillance programs to monitor the safety of approved products which have been commercialized. The FDA may also place other conditions on approval including the requirement for a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS, to assure the safe use of the drug. If the FDA concludes a REMS is needed, the sponsor of the NDA must submit a proposed REMS. The FDA will not approve the NDA without an approved REMS, if required. A REMS could include medication guides, physician communication plans or elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools. Any of these limitations on approval or marketing could restrict the commercial promotion, distribution, prescription or dispensing of products. Marketing approval may be withdrawn for non-compliance with regulatory requirements or if problems occur following initial marketing.

41


 

The Pediatric Research Equity Act, or PREA, requires a sponsor to conduct pediatric clinical trials for most drugs, for a new active ingredient, new indication, new dosage form, new dosing regimen or new route of administration. Under PREA, original NDAs and supplements must contain a pediatric assessment unless the sponsor has received a deferral or waiver. The required assessment must evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the product for the claimed indications in all relevant pediatric subpopulations and support dosing and administration for each pediatric subpopulation for which the product is safe and effective. The sponsor or FDA may request a deferral of pediatric clinical trials for some or all of the pediatric subpopulations. A deferral may be granted for several reasons, including a finding that the drug is ready for approval for use in adults before pediatric clinical trials are complete or that additional safety or effectiveness data needs to be collected before the pediatric clinical trials begin. The FDA must send a non-compliance letter to any sponsor that fails to submit the required assessment, keep a deferral current or fails to submit a request for approval of a pediatric formulation.

Expedited Development and Review Programs

The FDA offers a number of expedited development and review programs for qualifying product candidates. The FDA has a Fast Track designation program that is intended to expedite or facilitate the process for reviewing new drug products that meet certain criteria. Specifically, product candidates are eligible for Fast Track designation if they are intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs for the disease or condition. Fast Track designation applies to the combination of the product candidate and the specific indication for which it is being studied. The sponsor of a Fast Track product candidate has opportunities for more frequent interactions with the applicable FDA review team during product development and, once an NDA is submitted, the product candidate may be eligible for priority review. A Fast Track product candidate may also be eligible for rolling review, where the FDA may consider for review sections of the NDA on a rolling basis before the complete application is submitted, if the sponsor provides a schedule for the submission of the sections of the NDA, the FDA agrees to accept sections of the NDA and determines that the schedule is acceptable, and the sponsor pays any required user fees upon submission of the first section of the NDA.

A product candidate intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition may also be eligible for Breakthrough Therapy designation to expedite its development and review. A product candidate can receive Breakthrough Therapy designation if preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the product candidate, alone or in combination with one or more other drugs or biologics, may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development. The designation includes all of the Fast Track program features, as well as more intensive FDA interaction and guidance beginning as early as Phase 1 and an organizational commitment to expedite the development and review of the product candidate, including involvement of senior managers.

Any marketing application for a drug submitted to the FDA for approval, including a product candidate with a Fast Track designation or Breakthrough Therapy designation, may also be eligible for other types of FDA programs intended to expedite development and review, such as priority review and accelerated approval. A product candidate is eligible for priority review if it is designed to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition, and if approved, would provide a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness compared to available alternatives for such disease or condition. The FDA will attempt to direct additional resources to the evaluation of an application designated for priority review in an effort to facilitate the review. The FDA endeavors to review applications with priority review designations within six months of the filing date as compared to ten months for review of new molecular entity NDAs under its current PDUFA review goals.

42


 

In addition, a product candidate may be eligible for accelerated approval. Drug products intended to treat serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions may be eligible for accelerated approval upon a determination that the product candidate has an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit, or on a clinical endpoint that can be measured earlier than irreversible morbidity or mortality, that is reasonably likely to predict an effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality or other clinical benefit, taking into account the severity, rarity, or prevalence of the condition and the availability or lack of alternative treatments. As a condition of approval, the FDA will generally require that a sponsor of a drug receiving accelerated approval perform adequate and well-controlled post-marketing clinical trials verify and describe the anticipated effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality or other clinical benefit. Products receiving accelerated approval may be subject to expedited withdrawal procedures if the sponsor fails to conduct the required post-marketing studies or if such studies fail to verify the predicted clinical benefit. In addition, the FDA currently requires as a condition for accelerated approval pre-approval of promotional materials, which could adversely impact the timing of the commercial launch of the product.

Fast Track designation, Breakthrough Therapy designation, accelerated approval, and priority do not change the standards for approval but may expedite the development or approval process. Even if a product qualifies for one or more of these programs, the FDA may later decide that the product no longer meets the conditions for qualification or decide that the time period for FDA review or approval will not be shortened.

Post-Approval Requirements

Once an approval is granted, the FDA may withdraw the approval if compliance with regulatory standards is not maintained or if problems occur after the product reaches the market. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with a product may result in restrictions on the product or even complete withdrawal of the product from the market. After approval, some types of changes to the approved product, such as adding new indications, certain manufacturing changes and additional labeling claims, are subject to further FDA review and approval. Drug manufacturers and other entities involved in the manufacture and distribution of approved drugs are required to register their establishments with the FDA and certain state agencies, and are subject to periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA and certain state agencies for compliance with cGMP regulations and other laws and regulations. In addition, the FDA may impose a number of post-approval requirements as a condition of approval of an NDA. For example, the FDA may require post-marketing testing, including Phase 4 clinical trials, and surveillance to further assess and monitor the product’s safety and effectiveness after commercialization.

Any drug products manufactured or distributed pursuant to FDA approvals are subject to pervasive and continuing regulation by the FDA, including, among other things, record-keeping requirements, reporting of adverse experiences with the drug, providing the FDA with updated safety and efficacy information, drug sampling and distribution requirements, complying with certain electronic records and signature requirements, and complying with FDA promotion and advertising requirements. The FDA strictly regulates labeling, advertising, promotion and other types of information on products that are placed on the market and imposes requirements and restrictions on drug manufacturers, such as those related to direct-to-consumer advertising, the prohibition on promoting products for uses or in patient populations that are not described in the product’s approved labeling (known as “off-label use”), industry-sponsored scientific and educational activities, and promotional activities involving the Internet. Physicians may prescribe, in their independent professional medical judgment, legally available products for uses that are not described in the product’s labeling and that differ from those tested by us and approved by the FDA. Physicians may believe that such off-label uses are the best treatment for many patients in varied circumstances. The FDA does not regulate the behavior of physicians in their choice of treatments. The FDA does, however, restrict manufacturer’s communications on the subject of off-label use of their products. However, companies may share truthful and not misleading information that is otherwise consistent with a product’s FDA-approved labelling.

43


 

Discovery of previously unknown problems or the failure to comply with the applicable regulatory requirements may result in restrictions on the marketing of a product or withdrawal of the product from the market as well as possible civil or criminal sanctions. Failure to comply with the applicable U.S. requirements at any time during the product development process, approval process or after approval, may subject an applicant or manufacturer to administrative or judicial civil or criminal sanctions and adverse publicity. FDA sanctions could include refusal to approve pending applications, withdrawal of an approval, clinical holds on post-approval clinical trials, warning or untitled letters, product recalls, product seizures, total or partial suspension of production or distribution, injunctions, fines, refusals of government contracts, mandated corrective advertising or communications with doctors, debarment, restitution, disgorgement of profits, or civil or criminal penalties.

Marketing Exclusivity

Market exclusivity provisions under the FDCA can delay the submission or the approval of certain marketing applications. The FDCA provides a five-year period of non-patent marketing exclusivity within the United States to the first applicant to obtain approval of an NDA for a new chemical entity. A drug is a new chemical entity if the FDA has not previously approved any other new drug containing the same active moiety, which is the molecule or ion responsible for the action of the drug substance. During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not approve or even accept for review an abbreviated new drug application, or ANDA, or an NDA submitted under Section 505(b)(2), or 505(b)(2) NDA, submitted by another company for another drug based on the same active moiety, regardless of whether the drug is intended for the same indication as the original innovative drug or for another indication, where the applicant does not own or have a legal right of reference to all the data required for approval. However, an application may be submitted after four years if it contains a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement to one of the patents listed with the FDA by the innovator NDA holder.

The FDCA alternatively provides three years of marketing exclusivity for an NDA, or supplement to an existing NDA if new clinical investigations, other than bioavailability studies, that were conducted or sponsored by the applicant are deemed by the FDA to be essential to the approval of the application, for example new indications, dosages or strengths of an existing drug. This three-year exclusivity covers only the modification for which the drug received approval on the basis of the new clinical investigations and does not prohibit the FDA from approving ANDAs or 505(b)(2) NDAs for drugs containing the active agent for the original indication or condition of use. Five-year and three-year exclusivity will not delay the submission or approval of a full NDA. However, an applicant submitting a full NDA would be required to conduct or obtain a right of reference to all of the preclinical studies and adequate and well-controlled clinical trials necessary to demonstrate safety and effectiveness.

Pediatric exclusivity is another type of marketing exclusivity available in the United States. Pediatric exclusivity provides for an additional six months of marketing exclusivity attached to another period of exclusivity if a sponsor conducts clinical trials in children in response to a written request from the FDA. The issuance of a written request does not require the sponsor to undertake the described clinical trials.

Additionally, under the GAIN Act, the FDA may designate a product as a “qualified infectious disease product,” or QIDP. In order to receive this designation, a drug must qualify as an antibacterial or antifungal drug for human use intended to treat serious or life-threatening infections, including those caused by either (1) an antibacterial or antifungal resistant pathogen, including novel or emerging infectious pathogens, or (2) a so-called “qualifying pathogen” found on a list of potentially dangerous, drug-resistant organisms established and maintained by the FDA under the law. The FDA interprets QIDP designation to apply to a specific drug product, including a specific dosage form of the product. A sponsor must request such designation before submitting a marketing application, and the FDA will respond to a request for QIDP designation within 60 days of the date the FDA receives the request. The GAIN Act permits the FDA to revoke a QIDP designation only if the request for such designation contained an untrue statement of material fact.

44


 

The benefits of QIDP designation include potential eligibility for priority review and Fast Track designation, and an extension by an additional five years of any non-patent marketing exclusivity period awarded, such as a five-year exclusivity period awarded for a new molecular entity. This extension is in addition to any pediatric exclusivity extension that may be awarded, and the extension will be awarded only to a drug first approved on or after the date of enactment. The GAIN Act provisions prohibit the grant of an exclusivity extension where the application is a supplement to an application for which an extension is in effect or has expired, is a subsequent application for a specified change to an approved product, or is an application for a product that does not meet the definition of QIDP based on the uses for which it is ultimately approved.

U.S. Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Laws and Compliance Requirements

In addition to FDA regulation of pharmaceutical products, U.S. federal and state healthcare laws and regulations restrict business practices in the pharmaceutical industry. These laws may impact, among other things, our current and future business operations, including our clinical research activities, and constrain the business or financial arrangements and relationships with healthcare providers and other parties. These laws include anti-kickback and false claims laws, civil monetary penalties laws, and transparency laws regarding drug pricing and payments or other items of value provided to physicians and other healthcare providers.

The federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly and willfully offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind to induce or in return for purchasing, leasing, ordering or arranging for or recommending the purchase, lease or order of any item or service reimbursable under Medicare, Medicaid or other federal healthcare programs. A person or entity 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 the civil False Claims Act, and civil monetary penalties laws prohibit, among other things, any individual or entity from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false claim for payment to the federal government, knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim to the federal government, or from knowingly making a false statement to avoid, decrease or conceal an obligation to pay money to the federal government. 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 civil False Claims Act.

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, created additional federal criminal statutes that prohibit, among other things, knowingly and willfully executing 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 U.S. federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the healthcare fraud statute implemented under HIPAA or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation.

The federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act requires certain manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics 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 payments or other transfers of value made to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors), certain other non-physician practitioners (physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, anesthesiologist assistants, certified registered nurse anesthetists, anesthesiology assistants and certified nurse midwives), and teaching hospitals, and applicable manufacturers and applicable group purchasing organizations to report annually to CMS ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members.

45


 

Similar state and local laws and regulations may also restrict business practices in the pharmaceutical industry, such as state anti-kickback and false claims laws, which may apply to business practices, including but not limited to, research, distribution, sales and marketing arrangements and claims involving healthcare items or services reimbursed by non-governmental third-party payors, including private insurers, or by patients themselves; 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 otherwise restrict payments that may be made to healthcare providers and other potential referral sources; state laws and regulations that require drug manufacturers to file reports relating to pricing and marketing information or which require tracking gifts and other remuneration and items of value provided to physicians, other healthcare providers and entities; and state and local laws that require the registration of pharmaceutical sales representatives.

Violation of any of such laws or any other governmental regulations that apply may result in significant criminal, civil and administrative penalties including damages, fines, imprisonment, disgorgement, 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, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, disgorgement, exclusion from participation in government healthcare programs and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations.

U.S. Coverage and Reimbursement

Significant uncertainty exists as to the coverage and reimbursement status of any product candidate for which we may seek regulatory approval. Sales in the United States will depend, in part, on the availability of sufficient coverage and adequate reimbursement from third-party payors, which include government health programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE and the Veterans Administration, as well as managed care organizations and private health insurers. Prices at which we or our customers seek reimbursement for vonoprazan and any future product candidates can be subject to challenge, reduction or denial by third-party payors.

The process for determining whether a third-party payor will provide coverage for a product is typically separate from the process for setting the reimbursement rate that the payor will pay for the product. In the United States, there is no uniform policy among payors for coverage or reimbursement. Decisions regarding whether to cover a product, the extent of coverage and amount of reimbursement to be provided are made on a plan-by-plan basis. Third-party payors often rely upon Medicare coverage policy and payment limitations in setting their own coverage and reimbursement policies, but also have their own methods and approval processes. Therefore, coverage and reimbursement for products can differ significantly from payor to payor. As a result, the coverage determination process is often a time-consuming and costly process that can require manufacturers to provide scientific and clinical support for the use of a product to each payor separately, with no assurance that coverage and adequate reimbursement will be applied consistently or obtained in the first instance.

Third-party payors are increasingly challenging the price and examining the medical necessity and cost-effectiveness of medical products and services, in addition to their safety and efficacy. Adoption of price controls and cost-containment measures, and adoption of more restrictive policies in jurisdictions with existing controls and measures, could further limit sales of any product that receives approval. Third-party payors may not consider vonoprazan and any future product candidates to be medically necessary or cost-effective compared to other available therapies, or the rebate percentages required to secure favorable coverage may not yield an adequate margin over cost or may not enable us to maintain price levels sufficient to realize an appropriate return on our investment in drug development. Additionally, decreases in third-party reimbursement for any product or a decision by a third-party payor not to cover a product could reduce physician usage and patient demand for the product.

46


 

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program administered by the states for low‑income and disabled beneficiaries. Medicare is a federal program that is administered by the federal government covering individuals age 65 and over as well as those with certain disabilities. Under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, or MDRP, as a condition of having federal funds being made available to the states for covered outpatient drugs under Medicaid, pharmaceutical manufacturers must enter into an agreement with the Secretary of Health and Human Services to pay a rebate to state Medicaid programs for each unit of covered outpatient drug dispensed to a Medicaid beneficiary and paid for by the state Medicaid program. Medicaid drug rebates are based on pricing data that pharmaceutical manufacturers report on a monthly and quarterly basis to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, which is the federal agency that administers the MDRP and Medicare programs. For the MDRP, these data include the average manufacturer price, or AMP, for each drug and, in the case of innovator products, the Best Price, or BP, which represents the lowest price available from the manufacturer to any entity in the United States in any pricing structure, calculated to include all applicable sales and associated rebates, discounts and other price concessions. If a manufacturer becomes aware that its MDRP government price reporting submission for a prior quarter was incorrect or has changed as a result of recalculation of the pricing data, the manufacturer must resubmit the corrected data for up to three years after those data originally were due. If a manufacturer fails to provide information timely or is found to have knowingly submitted false information to the government, the manufacturer may be subject to civil monetary penalties and other sanctions, including termination from the MDRP.

Federal law requires that a manufacturer that participates in the MDRP also participate in the Public Health Service’s 340B drug pricing program, or the 340B program, in order for federal funds to be available for the manufacturer’s drugs under Medicaid. The 340B program is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA, and requires participating manufacturers to agree to charge statutorily defined covered entities no more than the 340B “ceiling price” for the manufacturer’s covered outpatient drugs used in an outpatient setting. These 340B covered entities include a variety of community health clinics and other entities that receive health services grants from the Public Health Service, as well as hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of low‑income patients. The 340B ceiling price is calculated using a statutory formula, which is based on the AMP and rebate amount for the covered outpatient drug as calculated under the MDRP. In general, products subject to Medicaid price reporting and rebate liability are also subject to the 340B ceiling price calculation and discount requirement. Manufacturers must report 340B ceiling prices to HRSA on a quarterly basis, and HRSA publishes them to 340B covered entities. HRSA has finalized regulations regarding the calculation of the 340B ceiling price and the imposition of civil monetary penalties on manufacturers that knowingly and intentionally overcharge covered entities for 340B‑eligible drugs. HRSA has also finalized an administrative dispute resolution process through which 340B covered entities may pursue claims against participating manufacturers for overcharges, and through which manufacturers may pursue claims against 340B covered entities for engaging in unlawful diversion or duplicate discounting of 340B drugs. In addition, legislation may be introduced that, if passed, would further expand the 340B program, such as adding further covered entities or requiring participating manufacturers to agree to provide 340B discounted pricing on drugs used in an inpatient setting.

In order to be eligible to have drug products paid for with federal funds under Medicaid and purchased by certain federal agencies and grantees, a manufacturer must also participate in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, Federal Supply Schedule, or FSS, pricing program. Under the VA/FSS program, a manufacturer must report the Non-Federal Average Manufacturer Price, or Non-FAMP, for its covered drugs to the VA and charge certain federal agencies no more than the Federal Ceiling Price, which is calculated based on Non-FAMP using a statutory formula. These four agencies are the VA, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Public Health Service (including the Indian Health Service). The manufacturer must also pay rebates on products purchased by military personnel and dependents through the TRICARE retail pharmacy program. If a manufacturer participating in the FSS program fails to provide timely information or is found to have knowingly submitted false information, the manufacturer may be subject to civil monetary penalties.

47


 

Individual states continue to consider and have enacted legislation to limit the growth of healthcare costs, including the cost of prescription drugs and combination products. A number of states have either implemented or are considering implementation of drug price transparency legislation. Requirements under such laws include advance notice of planned price increases, reporting price increase amounts and factors considered by manufacturers in taking such increases, wholesale acquisition cost disclosure to prescribers, purchasers, and state agencies, and new product notice and reporting. Such legislation could limit the price or payment for certain drugs, and a number of states are authorized to impose civil monetary penalties or pursue other enforcement mechanisms against manufacturers who fail to comply with drug price transparency requirements, including the untimely, inaccurate, or incomplete reporting of drug pricing information

U.S. Healthcare Reform

In the United States, there has been, and continues 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 the profitable sale of product candidates.

Among policy makers and payors in the United States, there is significant interest in promoting changes in healthcare systems with the stated goals of containing healthcare costs, improving quality and/or expanding access. In the United States, the pharmaceutical industry has been a particular focus of these efforts and has been significantly affected by major legislative initiatives. In March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or the Affordable Care Act, was passed, which substantially changed the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers, and significantly affected the pharmaceutical industry. The Affordable Care Act, increased the minimum level of Medicaid rebates payable by manufacturers of brand name drugs from 15.1% to 23.1%; required collection of rebates for drugs paid by Medicaid managed care organizations; required manufacturers to participate in a coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period, as a condition for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D; imposed a non-deductible annual fee on pharmaceutical manufacturers or importers who sell certain “branded prescription drugs” to specified federal government programs, implemented a new methodology by which rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program are calculated for drugs that are inhaled, infused, instilled, implanted, or injected; expanded eligibility criteria for Medicaid programs; creates 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 established a Center for Medicare Innovation at the CMS to test innovative payment and service delivery models to lower Medicare and Medicaid spending, potentially including prescription drug spending.

Since its enactment, there have been judicial and political challenges to certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. On June 17, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the most recent judicial challenge to the ACA without specifically ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA. Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, President Biden issued an executive order to initiate a special enrollment period from February 15, 2021, through August 15, 2021, for purposes of obtaining health insurance coverage through the ACA marketplace. The executive order also instructed certain governmental agencies to review and reconsider their existing policies and rules that limit access to healthcare, including among others, reexamining Medicaid demonstration projects and waiver programs that include work requirements, and policies that create unnecessary barriers to obtaining access to health insurance coverage through Medicaid or the ACA.

In addition, other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. These changes included aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to providers of 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect on April 1, 2013, and, due to subsequent legislative amendments to the statute will remain in effect through 2030, with the exception of a temporary suspension from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2022, unless additional Congressional action is taken. On January 2, 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was signed into law, which, among other things, reduced Medicare payments to several providers, including hospitals, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years.

48


 

Moreover, there has been heightened governmental scrutiny over the manner in which manufacturers set prices for their marketed products, which has resulted in several 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 pharmaceutical products. For example, the Build Back Better Act, if enacted, would introduce substantial drug pricing reforms, including the establishment of a drug price negotiation program within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would require manufacturers to charge a negotiated “maximum fair price” for certain selected drugs or pay an excise tax for noncompliance, and the establishment of rebate payment requirements on manufacturers of certain drugs payable under Medicare Parts B and D. If the Build Back Better Act is not enacted, similar or other drug pricing proposals could appear in future legislation.

The likelihood of implementation of these and other reform initiatives is uncertain. Moreover, in the coming years, additional legislative and regulatory changes could be made to governmental health programs that could significantly impact pharmaceutical companies and the success of our product candidates. Individual states in the United States have also become increasingly active in implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access, marketing cost disclosure and other transparency measures, and, in some cases, measures designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. It is possible that additional governmental action is taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, regional healthcare authorities and individual hospitals are increasingly using bidding procedures to determine which drugs and suppliers will be included in their healthcare programs. Furthermore, there has been increased interest by third party payors and governmental authorities in reference pricing systems and publication of discounts and list prices.

Foreign Regulation

In order to market any product outside of the United States, we would need to comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements of other countries and jurisdictions regarding quality, safety and efficacy and governing, among other things, clinical trials, marketing authorization, commercial sales and distribution of our products. Whether or not we obtain FDA approval for a product, we would need to obtain the necessary approvals by the comparable foreign regulatory authorities before we can commence clinical trials or marketing of the product in foreign countries and jurisdictions. Although many of the issues discussed above with respect to the United States apply similarly in the context of the European Union, or EU, the approval process varies between countries and jurisdictions and can involve additional product testing and additional administrative review periods. The time required to obtain approval in other countries and jurisdictions might differ from and be longer than that required to obtain FDA approval. Regulatory approval in one country or jurisdiction does not ensure regulatory approval in another, but a failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approval in one country or jurisdiction may negatively impact the regulatory process in others.

Regulation and Procedures Governing Marketing Authorization of Medicinal Products in the EU

Non-clinical studies and clinical trials

Similarly to the United States, the various phases of non-clinical and clinical research in the EU are subject to significant regulatory controls.

Non-clinical studies are performed to demonstrate the health or environmental safety of new biological substances. Non-clinical studies must be conducted in compliance with the principles of good laboratory practice, or GLP, as set forth in EU Directive 2004/10/EC. In particular, non-clinical studies, both in vitro and in vivo, must be planned, performed, monitored, recorded, reported and archived in accordance with the GLP principles, which define a set of rules and criteria for a quality system for the organizational process and the conditions for non-clinical studies. These GLP standards reflect the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development requirements.

49


 

Clinical trials of medicinal products in the EU must be conducted in accordance with EU and national regulations and the International Conference on Harmonization, or ICH, guidelines on good clinical practices, or GCP, as well as the applicable regulatory requirements and the ethical principles that have their origin in the Declaration of Helsinki. If the sponsor of the clinical trial is not established within the EU, it must appoint an EU entity to act as its legal representative. The sponsor must take out a clinical trial insurance policy, and in most EU member states, the sponsor is liable to provide ‘no fault’ compensation to any study subject injured in the clinical trial.

A clinical trial application, or CTA, must be submitted to competent national health authorities and independent ethics committees, much like the FDA and IRB, respectively. Once the CTA is approved by the national health authority and the ethics committee has granted a positive opinion in relation to the conduct of the trial in the relevant member state(s), in accordance with a country’s requirements, clinical study development may proceed. The CTA must include, among other things, a copy of the trial protocol and an investigational medicinal product dossier containing information about the manufacture and quality of the medicinal product under investigation.

Currently, CTAs must be submitted to the competent authority in each EU member state in which the trial will be conducted. Under the new Clinical Trials Regulation, which will become applicable on January 31, 2022, there will be a centralized application procedure where one national authority takes the lead in reviewing the application and the other national authorities have only limited involvement. The extent to which ongoing clinical trials will be governed by the Clinical Trials Regulation will depend on the duration of the individual clinical trial from January 31, 2022 onward. If an ongoing clinical trial continues for more than three years from January 31, 2022 the Clinical Trials Regulation will begin to apply to the clinical trial as of January 31, 2025.

Medicines used in clinical trials must be manufactured in accordance with good manufacturing practice, or GMP. Other national and EU-wide regulatory requirements may also apply.

Marketing Authorizations

In the EU, medicinal product candidates can only be commercialized after obtaining a marketing authorization, or MA. To obtain regulatory approval of a product candidate in the EU, we must submit a Marketing Authorization Application, or MAA. The process for doing this depends, among other things, on the nature of the medicinal product.

There are two types of MAs:

"Centralized MAs" are issued by the European Commission through the centralized procedure, based on the opinion of the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, or CHMP, of the EMA and are valid throughout the EU. The centralized procedure is mandatory for certain types of products, such as (i) medicinal products derived from biotechnological processes, (ii) designated orphan medicinal products, (iii) advanced medicinal therapy products, or ATMPs, such as gene therapy, somatic cell-therapy or tissue-engineered medicines and (iv) medicinal products containing a new active substance indicated for the treatment certain diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, auto-immune and other immune dysfunctions and viral diseases. The centralized procedure is optional for any products containing a new active substance not yet authorized in the EU, or for products that constitute a significant therapeutic, scientific or technical innovation or for which the granting of a MA would be in the interest of public health in the EU.
"National MAs" are issued by the competent authorities of the EU member states, only cover their respective territory, and are available for product candidates not falling within the mandatory scope of the centralized procedure. Where a product has already been authorized for marketing in an EU member state, this National MA can be recognized in another member state through the mutual recognition procedure. If the product has not received a National MA in any member state at the time of application, it can be approved simultaneously in various member states through the decentralized procedure. Under the decentralized procedure an identical dossier is submitted to the competent authorities of each of the member states in which the MA is sought, one of which is selected by the applicant as the reference member state.

50


 

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

MAs have an initial duration of five years. After these five years, the authorization may be renewed for an unlimited period on the basis of a reevaluation of the risk-benefit balance. Under the centralized procedure and in exceptional cases, the CHMP might perform an accelerated review of a MA in no more than 150 days (not including clock stops).

Data and marketing exclusivity

The EU also provides opportunities for market exclusivity. Upon receiving MA reference medicinal product, generally receive eight years of data exclusivity and an additional two years of market exclusivity. If granted, the data exclusivity period prevents generic or biosimilar applicants from relying on the pre-clinical and clinical trial data contained in the dossier of the reference product when applying for a generic or biosimilar MA in the EU during a period of eight years from the date on which the reference product was first authorized in the EU. The market exclusivity period prevents a successful generic or biosimilar applicant from commercializing its product in the EU until 10 years have elapsed from the initial MA of the reference product in the EU. The overall 10-year market exclusivity period can be extended to a maximum of eleven years if, during the first eight years of those 10 years, the MA holder obtains an authorization for one or more new therapeutic indications which, during the scientific evaluation prior to their authorization, are held to bring a significant clinical benefit in comparison with existing therapies. However, there is no guarantee that a product will be considered by the EU’s regulatory authorities to be a new chemical entity, and products may not qualify for data exclusivity.

Pediatric investigation plan

In the EU, MAAs for new medicinal products have to include the results of trials conducted in the pediatric population, in compliance with a pediatric investigation plan, or PIP, agreed with the EMA’s Pediatric Committee, or PDCO. The PIP sets out the timing and measures proposed to generate data to support a pediatric indication of the drug for which MA is being sought. The PDCO can grant a deferral of the obligation to implement some or all of the measures of the PIP until there are sufficient data to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of the product in adults. Further, the obligation to provide pediatric clinical trial data can be waived by the PDCO when these data is not needed or appropriate because the product is likely to be ineffective or unsafe in children, the disease or condition for which the product is intended occurs only in adult populations, or when the product does not represent a significant therapeutic benefit over existing treatments for pediatric patients. Once the MA is obtained in all EU member states and study results are included in the product information, even when negative, the product is eligible for six months’ supplementary protection certificate extension (if any is in effect at the time of approval) or, in the case of orphan pharmaceutical products, a two year extension of the orphan market exclusivity is granted.

The advertising and promotion of medicinal products is also subject to laws concerning promotion of medicinal products, interactions with physicians, misleading and comparative advertising and unfair commercial practices. All advertising and promotional activities for the product must be consistent with the approved summary of product characteristics, and therefore all off-label promotion is prohibited. Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines is also prohibited in the EU. Although general requirements for advertising and promotion of medicinal products are established under EU directives, the details are governed by regulations in each member state and can differ from one country to another.

Outside of the United States, the pricing of pharmaceutical products and medical devices is subject to governmental control in many countries. In the EU, pricing and reimbursement schemes vary widely from country to country. Some countries provide that products may be marketed only after a reimbursement price has been agreed. Some countries may require the completion of additional studies that compare the cost effectiveness of a particular therapy to currently available therapies or so-called health technology assessments, in order to obtain reimbursement or pricing approval. Other countries may allow companies to fix their own prices for products, but monitor and control product volumes and issue guidance to physicians to limit prescriptions. Efforts to control prices and utilization of pharmaceutical products and medical devices will likely continue as countries attempt to manage healthcare expenditures. Historically, products launched in the EU do not follow price structures of the United States and generally prices tend to be significantly lower.

51


 

Failure to comply with the aforementioned EU and member state laws may result in administrative, civil or criminal penalties. These penalties could include delays or refusal to authorize the conduct of clinical trials, or to grant MA, product withdrawals and recalls, product seizures, suspension, withdrawal or variation of the MA, total or partial suspension of production, distribution, manufacturing or clinical trials, operating restrictions, injunctions, suspension of licenses, fines and criminal penalties.

The aforementioned EU rules are generally applicable in the European Economic Area, or EEA, which consists of the 27 EU member states plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.

Brexit and the Regulatory Framework in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom, or UK, left the EU on January 31, 2020, following which existing EU medicinal product legislation continued to apply in the United Kingdom during the transition period under the terms of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. The transition period, which ended on December 31, 2020, maintained access to the EU single market and to the global trade deals negotiated by the EU on behalf of its members. The transition period provided time for the UK and EU to negotiate a framework for partnership for the future, which was then crystallized in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, or TCA, and became effective on the January 1, 2021. The TCA includes specific provisions concerning pharmaceuticals, which include the mutual recognition of GMP inspections of manufacturing facilities for medicinal products and GMP documents issued but does not foresee wholesale mutual recognition of UK and EU pharmaceutical regulations.

EU laws which have been transposed into UK law through secondary legislation continue to be applicable as “retained EU law”. However, new legislation such as the EU Clinical Trials Regulation or in relation to orphan medicines will not be applicable. The UK government has passed a new Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021, which introduces delegated powers in favor of the Secretary of State or an ‘appropriate authority’ to amend or supplement existing regulations in the area of medicinal products and medical devices. This allows new rules to be introduced in the future by way of secondary legislation, which aims to allow flexibility in addressing regulatory gaps and future changes in the fields of human medicines, clinical trials and medical devices.

As of January 1, 2021, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, or MHRA, is the UK’s standalone medicines and medical devices regulator. As a result of the Northern Ireland protocol, different rules will apply in Northern Ireland than in England, Wales, and Scotland, together, Great Britain, or GB; broadly, Northern Ireland will continue to follow the EU regulatory regime, but its national competent authority will remain the MHRA. The MHRA has published a guidance on how various aspects of the UK regulatory regime for medicines will operate in GB and in Northern Ireland following the expiry of the Brexit transition period on December 31, 2020. The guidance includes clinical trials, importing, exporting, and pharmacovigilance and is relevant to any business involved in the research, development, or commercialization of medicines in the UK. The new guidance was given effect via the Human Medicines Regulations (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, or the Exit Regulations.

The MHRA has introduced changes to national licensing procedures, including procedures to prioritize access to new medicines that will benefit patients, including a 150-day assessment and a rolling review procedure. All existing EU MAs for centrally authorized products were automatically converted or grandfathered into UK MAs, effective in GB (only), free of charge on January 1, 2021, unless the MA holder chooses to opt-out. After Brexit, companies established in the UK cannot use the centralized procedure and instead must follow one of the UK national authorization procedures or one of the remaining post-Brexit international cooperation procedures to obtain an MA to commercialize products in the UK. The MHRA may rely on a decision taken by the European Commission on the approval of a new (centralized procedure) MA when determining an application for a GB authorization; or use the MHRA’s decentralized or mutual recognition procedures which enable MAs approved in EU member states (or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) to be granted in GB.

52


 

Data privacy and security laws

Pharmaceutical companies may be subject to federal, state and foreign data privacy, security and data breach notification laws governing the collection, use, disclosure and protection of health-related and other personal information. For example, in the U.S., HIPAA imposes privacy, security and breach reporting obligations with respect to individually identifiable health information upon “covered entities” (health plans, health care clearinghouses and certain health care providers), and their respective business associates, individuals or entities that create, received, maintain or transmit protected health information in connection with providing a service for or on behalf of a covered entity. HIPAA mandates the reporting of certain breaches of health information to the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, to affected individuals and if the breach is large enough, to the media. Entities that are found to be in violation of HIPAA as the result of a breach of unsecured PHI, a complaint about privacy practices or an audit by the HHS may be subject to significant civil, criminal and administrative fines and penalties and/or additional reporting and oversight obligations if required to enter into a resolution agreement and corrective action plan with HHS to settle allegations of HIPAA non-compliance. Even when HIPAA does not apply, according to the Federal Trade Commission or the FTC, failing to take appropriate steps to keep consumers’ personal information secure may constitute unfair acts or practices in or affecting commerce in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission 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. In addition, certain state and non-U.S. laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, the California Privacy Rights Act, or CPRA, and the EU General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, govern the privacy and security of personal information, including health-related information in certain circumstances, some of which are more stringent than HIPAA and many of which differ from each other in significant ways and may not have the same effect, thus complicating compliance efforts. Failure to comply with these laws, where applicable, can result in the imposition of significant civil and/or criminal penalties and private litigation. Privacy and security laws, regulations, and other obligations are constantly evolving, may conflict with each other to complicate compliance efforts, and can result in investigations, proceedings, or actions that lead to significant civil and/or criminal penalties and restrictions on data processing.

Human Capital

As of February 24, 2022, we had 77 full-time employees, 11 of whom have a Ph.D. or M.D. None of our employees are represented by labor unions or covered by collective bargaining agreements. We consider our relationship with our employees to be good.

Our human capital resources objectives include, as applicable, identifying, recruiting, retaining, incentivizing and integrating our existing and new employees, advisors and consultants. The principal purposes of our equity and cash incentive plans are to attract, retain and reward personnel through the granting of stock-based and cash-based compensation awards in order to increase stockholder value and the success of our company by motivating such individuals to perform to the best of their abilities and achieve our objectives.

Corporate Information

We were originally incorporated under the laws of the state of Delaware on January 9, 2018 under the name North Bridge IV, Inc. On March 13, 2019, we changed our name to Phathom Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and merged YamadaCo IIA, Inc., a Delaware corporation, or YamadaCo, with and into our company, with Phathom Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as the surviving entity, or the Merger. References throughout this annual report to Phathom Pharmaceuticals, Inc. include North Bridge IV, Inc. prior to the Merger. Our principal executive offices are located at 100 Campus Drive, Suite 102, Florham Park, New Jersey 07932, and our telephone number is (877) 742-8466.

53


 

Available Information

Our internet address is www.phathompharma.com. Our investor relations website is located at https://investors.phathompharma.com.com. We make available free of charge on our investor relations website under “Financials and Filings” our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, our directors’ and officers’ Section 16 reports and any amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after filing or furnishing such materials to the SEC. They are also available for free on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

We use our investor relations website as a means of disclosing material non-public information and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. Investors should monitor such website, in addition to following our press releases, SEC filings and public conference calls and webcasts, information relating to our corporate governance is also included on our investor relations website. The information in or accessible through the SEC and our website are not incorporated into, and are not considered part of, this filing.

Item 1A. Risk Factors

You should carefully consider the following risk factors, together with the other information contained in this annual report on Form 10-K, including our financial statements and the related notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” before making a decision to purchase or sell shares of our common stock. We cannot assure you that any of the events discussed in the risk factors below will not occur. These risks could have a material and adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects. If that were to happen, the trading price of our common stock could decline. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial also may impair our business operations or financial condition. In this section, we first provide a summary of the more significant risks and uncertainties we face and then provide a full set of risk factors and discuss them in greater detail.

SUMMARY RISKS FACTORS

We have a limited operating history, have incurred significant operating losses since our inception and expect to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future;
We may never generate any revenue or become profitable or, if we achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain it;
We will require substantial additional financing to achieve our goals, and a failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed on acceptable terms, or at all, could force us to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development programs, commercialization efforts or other operations;
We currently depend entirely on the success of vonoprazan, which is our only product candidate. If we are unable to advance vonoprazan in clinical development, obtain regulatory approval and ultimately commercialize vonoprazan, or experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be materially harmed;
Clinical drug development involves a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome, and the results of prior clinical trials and other investigator-initiated clinical trials of vonoprazan are not necessarily predictive of our future results. Vonoprazan may not have favorable results in our clinical trials, or receive regulatory approval on a timely basis, if at all;
Vonoprazan and any future product candidates are subject to extensive regulation and compliance obligations, which is costly and time consuming, and such regulation may cause unanticipated delays or prevent the receipt of the required approvals to commercialize vonoprazan and any future product candidates;

54


 

We may not be successful in our efforts to expand our pipeline by identifying additional indications and formulations for which to investigate vonoprazan in the future. We may expend our limited resources to pursue a particular indication or formulation for vonoprazan and fail to capitalize on product candidates, indications or formulations that may be more profitable or for which there is a greater likelihood of success;
We currently have a limited marketing and no sales organization and have no experience as a company in commercializing products, and we may have to invest significant resources to develop these capabilities. If we are unable to establish marketing and sales capabilities or enter into agreements with third parties to market and sell our products, we may not be able to generate product revenue;
We rely on third parties to conduct our preclinical and clinical trials and perform other tasks for us. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties, meet expected deadlines or comply with regulatory requirements, we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize vonoprazan and our business could be harmed;
We currently engage third-party manufacturers for clinical and commercial supplies. The loss of any of these suppliers, or any future single source suppliers, could harm our business;
We rely on the Takeda License to provide us rights to develop and commercialize vonoprazan in the United States, Europe, and Canada. If the license agreement is terminated, we would lose our rights to develop and commercialize vonoprazan;
If the scope of any patent protection we obtain is not sufficiently broad, if we lose any of our patent protection, or if we are unable to maintain our existing Qualified Infectious Disease Product, or QIDP, designations for vonoprazan in combination with amoxicillin and clarithromycin for the treatment of H. pylori infection, our ability to prevent our competitors from commercializing similar or identical product candidates would be adversely affected;
The successful commercialization of vonoprazan or any future product candidates, if approved, will depend in part on the extent to which governmental authorities and health insurers establish coverage, adequate reimbursement levels and favorable pricing policies. Failure to obtain or maintain coverage and adequate reimbursement for our products could limit our ability to market those products and decrease our ability to generate revenue;
If following commercialization of vonoprazan (or any future product candidates, if approved) we fail to comply with reporting and payment obligations under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program or other governmental pricing programs, we could be subject to additional reimbursement requirements, penalties, sanctions and fines, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects;
We are subject to various foreign, federal, and state healthcare and privacy laws and regulations, and our failure to comply with these laws and regulations could harm our results of operations and financial condition;
Our business is subject to risks arising from epidemic diseases, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic;
We are highly dependent on the services of our key executives and personnel, and if we are not able to retain these members of our management or recruit additional management, clinical and commercial personnel, our business will suffer; and
The trading price of our securities is likely to be volatile, and purchasers of our securities could incur substantial losses.

55


 

Risks Related to Our Limited Operating History, Financial Position and Capital Requirements

We have a limited operating history, have incurred significant operating losses since our inception and expect to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future. We may never generate any revenue or become profitable or, if we achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain it.

Biopharmaceutical product development is a highly speculative undertaking and involves a substantial degree of risk. We are a late clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a limited operating history upon which you can evaluate our business and prospects. We commenced operations in 2018, and to date, we have focused primarily on organizing and staffing our company, business planning, raising capital, in-licensing our initial product candidate, vonoprazan, meeting with regulatory authorities, conducting our Phase 3 clinical trials of vonoprazan, preparing applications for regulatory approval for vonoprazan and preparing for a potential commercial launch. As a company, we have not yet demonstrated an ability to obtain regulatory approvals, manufacture a commercial scale product or arrange for a third party to do so on our behalf, or conduct sales and marketing activities necessary for successful product commercialization. Consequently, any predictions made about our future success or viability may not be as accurate as they could be if we had a history of successfully obtaining regulatory approvals for and commercializing biopharmaceutical products.

We have incurred significant operating losses since our inception. If vonoprazan is not successfully developed and approved in the United States, Europe and/or Canada, we may never generate any revenue. We have incurred cumulative net losses since our inception and, as of December 31, 2021, we had an accumulated deficit of $529.4 million. Substantially all of our losses have resulted from expenses incurred in connection with in-licensing and developing vonoprazan, commercial activities in preparation for a potential product launch, and from general and administrative costs associated with our operations. Vonoprazan will require substantial additional time and resources before we will be able to begin generating revenue from product sales, and any future product candidates will require substantial additional development time and resources before we will be able to apply for or receive regulatory approvals and begin generating revenue from product sales. We expect to continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future, and we anticipate these losses will increase substantially as we continue our development of, seek additional regulatory approvals for, and potentially commercialize vonoprazan and seek to identify, assess, acquire, in-license, or develop additional product candidates.

To become and remain profitable, we must succeed in developing and eventually commercializing products that generate significant revenue. This will require us to be successful in a range of challenging activities, including completing clinical trials and preclinical studies of vonoprazan and any future product candidates, obtaining regulatory approval for these product candidates and manufacturing, marketing and selling any products. We are still in the early stages of a number of these activities. We may never succeed in these activities and, even if we do, may never generate revenues that are significant enough to achieve profitability. In addition, we have not yet demonstrated an ability to successfully overcome many of the risks and uncertainties frequently encountered by companies in new and rapidly evolving fields, particularly in the biopharmaceutical industry. Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with biopharmaceutical product development, we are unable to accurately predict the timing or amount of increased expenses or when, or if, we will be able to achieve profitability. Even if we do 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, continue our product development efforts, diversify our product candidate pipeline or even continue our operations. A decline in the value of our company could also cause you to lose all or part of your investment.

56


 

We will require substantial additional financing to achieve our goals, and a failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed on acceptable terms, or at all, could force us to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our product development programs, commercialization efforts or other operations.

The development and commercialization of biopharmaceutical product candidates is capital-intensive. We expect our expenses to increase in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we prepare to commercialize vonoprazan for H. pylori and erosive esophagitis and progress our NERD development program. In addition, if vonoprazan receives approval and is commercialized, we will be required to make milestone and royalty payments to Takeda, from whom we have in-licensed the rights to develop and commercialize vonoprazan in the United States, Europe, and Canada pursuant to the Takeda License. Furthermore, if and to the extent we seek to acquire or in-license additional product candidates in the future, we may be required to make significant upfront payments, milestone payments, and/or royalty payments. If we obtain regulatory approval for vonoprazan or any future product candidate, we also expect to incur significant commercialization expenses related to product manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution. Because the outcome of any clinical trial is highly uncertain, we cannot reasonably estimate the actual amounts necessary to successfully complete the development and commercialization of vonoprazan or any future product candidate. Accordingly, we will need to obtain 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 any future commercialization efforts.

We believe that our existing cash and cash equivalents together with the drawdown of the remaining $100 million under our loan and security agreement, or the Loan Agreement, with Hercules Capital, or Hercules, will enable us to fund our operations into mid-2023. In particular, we expect that these funds will allow us to complete our Phase 3 clinical trial studying vonoprazan for NERD (daily dosing), and launch vonoprazan for H. pylori and erosive esophagitis. We have based these estimates on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could use our capital resources sooner than we currently expect. Our operating plans and other demands on our cash resources may change as a result of many factors currently unknown to us, and we may need to seek additional funds sooner than planned, through public or private equity or debt financings or other capital sources, including potentially collaborations, licenses and other similar arrangements. 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. Attempting to secure additional financing may divert our management from our day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our ability to develop vonoprazan or any future product candidates.

Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including:

the costs and timing of establishing or securing sales and marketing capabilities if vonoprazan or any future product candidate is approved;
the initiation, type, number, scope, results, costs and timing of, our clinical trials of vonoprazan, and preclinical studies or clinical trials of other potential product candidates we may choose to pursue in the future, including feedback received from regulatory authorities;
delays and cost increases as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic;
the costs and timing of manufacturing for vonoprazan or any future product candidates, including commercial scale manufacturing if any product candidate is approved;
the costs, timing and outcome of regulatory review of vonoprazan or any future product candidates;
the costs of obtaining, maintaining and enforcing our patents and other intellectual property rights;
our efforts to enhance operational systems and hire additional personnel to satisfy our obligations as a public company, including enhanced internal controls over financial reporting;
the costs associated with hiring additional personnel and consultants as our business grows particularly commercial personnel;

57


 

the timing and amount of the milestone or other payments we must make to Takeda and any future licensors;
our ability to achieve sufficient market acceptance, coverage and adequate reimbursement from third-party payors and adequate market share and revenue for any approved products;
patients’ willingness to pay out-of-pocket for any approved products in the absence of coverage and/or adequate reimbursement from third-party payors;
the terms and timing of establishing and maintaining collaborations, licenses and other similar arrangements; and
the costs associated with any products or technologies that we may in-license or acquire.

Conducting clinical trials and preclinical studies 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. In addition, vonoprazan and other potential product candidates, if approved, may not achieve commercial success. Our commercial revenues, if any, would initially be derived from sales of vonoprazan, which we do not expect to be commercially available in our licensed territories until 2022, if at all.

Accordingly, we will need to continue to rely on additional financing to achieve our business objectives. Adequate additional financing may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. 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.

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 product revenues, we expect to finance our cash needs through equity offerings, our Loan Agreement with Hercules, other debt financings, or other capital sources, including potential collaborations, licenses and other similar arrangements. 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. Our Loan Agreement includes, and any future 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 funds through future collaborations, licenses and other similar arrangements, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our future revenue streams, research programs or product candidates or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us and/or that may reduce the value of our common stock.

58


 

Risks Related to the Development and Regulatory Approval of Product Candidates

We currently depend entirely on the success of vonoprazan, which is our only product candidate. If we are unable to advance vonoprazan in clinical development, obtain regulatory approval and ultimately commercialize vonoprazan, or experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be materially harmed.

We currently only have one product candidate, vonoprazan, which we in-licensed from Takeda. Our business presently depends entirely on our ability to successfully develop, obtain regulatory approval for, and commercialize vonoprazan in a timely manner. This may make an investment in our company riskier than similar companies that have multiple product candidates in active development that may be able to better sustain failure of a lead product candidate. In April 2021, we reported positive results from a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial for vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy for the treatment of H. pylori infection, and in September 2021 we submitted NDAs for vonoprazan triple therapy and vonoprazan dual therapy for the treatment of H. pylori infection in adults to the FDA, which granted the NDAs Priority Review and set a PDUFA action date of May 3, 2022. In October 2021, we reported positive results from a pivotal Phase 3 trial for vonoprazan for the treatment of erosive esophagitis, and in March 2022, we plan to submit an NDA to the FDA for vonoprazan for healing of all grades of erosive esophagitis and relief of heartburn, and maintenance of healing of all grades of erosive esophagitis and relief of heartburn. In February 2022, we initiated a Phase 3 trial for vonoprazan using a daily dosing regimen for the treatment of NERD and expect to report topline results in 2023. Our assumptions about vonoprazan’s commercial potential are based in large part on the commercial experience of vonoprazan in Japan. However, our assumptions may prove to be wrong, and we may encounter a materially and adversely different development and commercial experience. The success of vonoprazan will depend on several factors, including the following:

acceptance by the FDA or by comparable foreign regulatory authorities of our proposed design of our clinical trials;
successful enrollment in clinical trials and completion of clinical trials with favorable results;
the willingness of the FDA, the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, and other comparable foreign regulatory authorities to accept the data from the clinical trials and preclinical studies and clinical trials conducted outside of our licensed territories by Takeda and independent investigators as part of the basis for review and approval of vonoprazan;
demonstrating safety and efficacy to the satisfaction of applicable regulatory authorities;
the outcome, timing and cost of meeting regulatory requirements established by the FDA, EMA, and other comparable foreign regulatory authorities;
receipt of marketing approvals from applicable regulatory authorities, including one or more NDAs from the FDA and maintaining such approvals;
making and/or maintaining arrangements with Takeda, Catalent, Sandoz, or any future third-party manufacturers for, or establishing, commercial manufacturing capabilities and receiving/importing commercial supplies approved by FDA and other regulators from Takeda, Catalent or any future third-party manufacturer;
establishing sales, marketing and distribution capabilities and commercializing vonoprazan, if approved, whether alone or in collaboration with others;
establishment and maintenance of patent and trade secret protection or regulatory exclusivity for vonoprazan;
maintaining an acceptable safety profile of vonoprazan following approval; and
maintaining and growing an organization of people who can develop and, if approved, commercialize, market, and sell vonoprazan to physicians, patients, healthcare payors, and others in the medical community.

59


 

The success of our business, including our ability to finance our company and generate any revenue in the future, will primarily depend on the successful completion of clinical development, regulatory approval and commercialization of vonoprazan, which may never occur. We have not yet succeeded in obtaining marketing approval for vonoprazan. If we are unable to develop or obtain regulatory approval for, or, if approved, successfully commercialize vonoprazan, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to continue our business.

Clinical drug development involves a lengthy and expensive process with an uncertain outcome, and the results of preclinical studies and early clinical trials are not necessarily predictive of future results.

Clinical drug development is expensive and can take many years to complete, and its outcome is inherently uncertain. Even if we believe the results of our clinical trials are positive, obtaining regulatory approval may not occur on a timely basis, if at all. The results from clinical trials or preclinical studies of a product candidate may not predict the results of later clinical trials of the product candidate, and interim results of a clinical trial are not necessarily indicative of final results. Product candidates in later stages of clinical trials may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy characteristics despite having progressed through preclinical studies and initial clinical trials. A number of companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have suffered significant setbacks in clinical development even after the product candidate achieved promising results in earlier clinical trials. The results of our trials may not be comparable to those achieved previously, whether as a result of differences in trial design, patient population or otherwise.

For example, in our Phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of H. pylori infection, the vonoprazan dual therapy arm was not double-blinded because patients in this arm were administered amoxicillin three times daily, versus twice daily for the triple therapy regimens. Both triple therapy regimens were double-blinded. The inability to double-blind the dual therapy arm may impact how regulatory agencies or healthcare payors interpret such results. For example, the EMA has noted that it expects additional analyses of treatment compliance and drop-out rates in the dual therapy arm because it will not be double-blinded.

Further, in July 2019, we received scientific advice from the EMA on our Phase 3 clinical trial of vonoprazan in the healing and maintenance of healing of erosive esophagitis. For the healing phase of the study, the EMA recommended that we include an endoscopy to assess healing at Week 4 in addition to the planned endoscopies at Week 2 and Week 8 because the summary of product characteristics for lansoprazole suggests four weeks of treatment to assess healing in erosive esophagitis. We decided not to incorporate this change into the study design given the additional burden on study subjects to return for a third endoscopy in an eight-week period. This decision may impact the future summary of product characteristics for vonoprazan or may cause the EMA to require us to conduct additional clinical trials for vonoprazan to support marketing approval.

In addition, Takeda, a third party over which we have no control, has the right to develop and commercialize vonoprazan outside of the United States, Europe, and Canada. Takeda has marketing approval for vonoprazan in certain countries in Asia and Latin America, and Takeda has ongoing clinical trials of vonoprazan in certain indications that we are also pursuing. If such ongoing trials fail to meet their primary endpoints, have serious adverse events or encounter other problems, the development potential of vonoprazan could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, if serious adverse events or other problems occur with patients using vonoprazan marketed outside of our licensed territories, or if the results of ongoing or future clinical trials of vonoprazan conducted by Takeda or others generate negative results or results that conflict with the results of our clinical trials, the FDA or other regulatory authorities may delay, limit, or deny approval of vonoprazan, require us to conduct additional clinical trials as a condition to marketing approval, or withdraw their approval of vonoprazan or otherwise restrict our ability to market and sell vonoprazan, if approved. In addition, treating physicians may be less willing to prescribe vonoprazan due to concerns over such trial results or adverse events, which would limit our ability to commercialize vonoprazan.

For the foregoing reasons, our clinical trials and our efforts to obtain regulatory approval for vonoprazan may not be successful. Further, any safety concerns observed in any one of our clinical trials in our targeted indications could limit the prospects for regulatory approval of vonoprazan or any future product candidates in those and other indications, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

60


 

Any difficulties or delays in the commencement or completion, or termination or suspension, of our clinical trials could result in increased costs to us, delay or limit our ability to generate revenue and adversely affect our commercial prospects.

Before obtaining marketing approval from regulatory authorities for the sale of vonoprazan or any future product candidates, we must conduct extensive clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of vonoprazan or any future product candidates in humans. We do not know whether any ongoing studies will be completed on schedule, if at all, or if any future clinical trials will begin on time. The commencement and completion of clinical trials can be delayed for a number of reasons, including delays related to:

the FDA, EMA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities disagreeing as to the design or implementation of our clinical trials and reaching consensus among the FDA and EMA over the design of the same clinical trial;
any failure or delay in obtaining regulatory authorizations to commence a trial;
any failure or delay in reaching an agreement with contract research organizations, or CROs, and clinical trial sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and trial sites;
institutional review boards, or IRBs, or other reviewing bodies refusing to approve, suspending or terminating the trial at an investigational site, precluding enrollment of additional subjects, or withdrawing their approval of the trial;
changes to clinical trial protocols;
clinical sites deviating from trial protocols or dropping out of a trial;
manufacturing or obtaining sufficient quantities of vonoprazan and any future product candidates;
inability to obtain and deliver sufficient quantities of vonoprazan and any future product candidates to clinical sites;
subjects failing to enroll or remain in our trials at the rate we expect, or failing to return for post- treatment follow-up;
subjects choosing an alternative treatment for the indication for which we are developing vonoprazan and any future product candidates, or participating in competing clinical trials;
lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial;
subjects experiencing severe or unexpected drug-related adverse effects;
occurrence of serious adverse events in trials of the same class of agents conducted by other companies;
selection of clinical endpoints that require prolonged periods of clinical observation or analysis of the resulting data;
a facility manufacturing vonoprazan or any future product candidates or any of their components being ordered by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities to temporarily or permanently shut down due to violations of current good manufacturing, or cGMP, regulations or other applicable requirements, or infections or cross-contaminations of product candidates in the manufacturing process;
any changes to our manufacturing process that may be necessary or desired;

61


 

third-party clinical investigators losing the licenses or permits necessary to perform our clinical trials, not performing our clinical trials on our anticipated schedule or consistent with the clinical trial protocol, good clinical practices, or GCP, or other regulatory requirements;
third-party contractors not performing data collection or analysis in a timely or accurate manner; or
third-party contractors becoming debarred or suspended or otherwise penalized by the FDA or other government or regulatory authorities for violations of regulatory requirements, in which case we may need to find a substitute contractor, and we may not be able to use some or all of the data produced by such contractors in support of our marketing applications.

In addition, disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may increase the likelihood that we encounter such difficulties or delays in initiating, enrolling, conducting or completing our planned and ongoing clinical trials. For example, in March 2020, due to global efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, we announced a temporary pause in randomization of new patients in our Phase 3 trials and did not recommence randomizations for approximately three months.

We could also encounter delays if a clinical trial is suspended or terminated by us, by the IRBs of the institutions in which such trials are being conducted or by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may impose a suspension or termination due to a number of factors, including failure to conduct the clinical trial in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical protocols, inspection of the clinical trial operations or trial site by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, unforeseen safety issues or adverse side effects, failure to demonstrate a benefit from using a drug, changes in governmental regulations or administrative actions or lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial. In addition, changes in regulatory requirements and policies may occur, and we may need to amend clinical trial protocols to comply with these changes. Amendments may require us to resubmit our clinical trial protocols to IRBs for reexamination, which may impact the costs, timing, or successful completion of a clinical trial.

Further, conducting clinical trials in foreign countries, as we have done for vonoprazan and may do for any future product candidates, presents additional risks that may delay completion of our clinical trials. These risks include the failure of enrolled patients in foreign countries to adhere to clinical protocol as a result of differences in healthcare services or cultural customs, managing additional administrative burdens associated with foreign regulatory schemes, as well as political and economic risks relevant to such foreign countries.

Moreover, principal investigators for our clinical trials currently serve and may continue to 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 or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority may conclude that a financial relationship between us and a principal investigator has created a conflict of interest or otherwise affected interpretation of the clinical trial. The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority 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 or comparable foreign regulatory authority, as the case may be, and may ultimately lead to the denial of marketing approval of vonoprazan or any future product candidates.

If we experience delays in the completion of, or termination of, any clinical trial of vonoprazan or any future product candidates, the commercial prospects of vonoprazan and any future product candidates will be harmed, and our ability to generate product revenues from any of these product candidates will be delayed. Moreover, 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.

62


 

In addition, many of the factors that cause, or lead to, termination or suspension of, or a delay in the commencement or completion of, clinical trials may also ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of a product candidate. We may make formulation or manufacturing changes to vonoprazan or any future product candidates, in which case we may need to conduct additional preclinical studies to bridge our modified product candidates to earlier versions. Any delays to our clinical trials that occur as a result could shorten any period during which we may have the exclusive right to commercialize vonoprazan or any future product candidates and our competitors may be able to bring products to market before we do, and the commercial viability of vonoprazan and any future product candidates could be significantly reduced. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition, and prospects significantly.

We may find it difficult to enroll patients in our clinical trials. If we encounter difficulties enrolling patients in our clinical trials, our clinical development activities could be delayed or otherwise adversely affected.

We may not be able to initiate or continue clinical trials for vonoprazan or any future product candidates if we are unable to identify and enroll a sufficient number of eligible patients to participate in these trials as required by the FDA or similar regulatory authorities outside the United States. Subject enrollment, a significant factor in the timing of clinical trials, is affected by many factors including the size and nature of the patient population, the proximity of patients to clinical sites, the eligibility and exclusion criteria for the trial, the design of the clinical trial, the risk that enrolled patients will not complete a clinical trial, our ability to recruit clinical trial investigators with the appropriate competencies and experience, competing clinical trials and clinicians’ and patients’ perceptions as to the potential advantages and risks of the product candidate being studied in relation to other available therapies, including any new drugs that may be approved for the indications we are investigating as well as any drugs under development. We will be required to identify and enroll a sufficient number of patients for each of our clinical trials. Potential patients for any planned clinical trials may not be adequately diagnosed or identified with the diseases which we are targeting or may not meet the entry criteria for such trials. We also may encounter difficulties in identifying and enrolling patients with a stage of disease appropriate for our clinical trials and monitoring such patients adequately during and after treatment. We may not be able to initiate or continue clinical trials if we are unable to locate a sufficient number of eligible patients to participate in the clinical trials required by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities.

The timing of our clinical trials depends, in part, on the speed at which we can recruit patients to participate in our trials, as well as completion of required follow-up periods. The eligibility criteria of our clinical trials further limits the pool of available trial participants. If patients are unwilling to participate in our trials for any reason, including the existence of concurrent clinical trials for similar patient or the availability of approved therapies, or we otherwise have difficulty enrolling a sufficient number of patients, the timeline for recruiting patients, conducting trials and obtaining regulatory approval of vonoprazan and any future product candidates may be delayed. Further, public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic have and may continue to negatively affect site activation, as well as patient enrollment and retention. Our inability to enroll a sufficient number of patients for any of our future clinical trials would result in significant delays or may require us to abandon one or more clinical trials altogether.

Our assumptions used in determining expected clinical trial timelines may not be correct, and we may experience delays in enrollment, which would result in the delay of completion of such trials beyond our expected timelines.

63


 

Use of vonoprazan or any future product candidates could be associated with side effects, adverse events or other properties or safety risks, which could delay or preclude approval, cause us to suspend or discontinue clinical trials, abandon a product candidate, limit the commercial profile of an approved label or result in other significant negative consequences that could severely harm our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition.

As is the case with pharmaceuticals generally, it is likely that there may be side effects and adverse events associated with vonoprazan’s or any future product candidates’ use. Results of our ongoing or future clinical trials could reveal a high and unacceptable severity and prevalence of side effects or unexpected characteristics. Undesirable side effects caused by vonoprazan and any future product candidates could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay or halt clinical trials and could result in a more restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. The drug-related side effects could affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the trial or result in potential product liability claims. Any of these occurrences may harm our business, financial condition, and prospects significantly.

Moreover, if vonoprazan or any other future product candidates are associated with undesirable side effects in clinical trials or have characteristics that are unexpected, we may elect to abandon their development or limit their development to more narrow uses or subpopulations in which the undesirable side effects or other characteristics are less prevalent, less severe or more acceptable from a risk-benefit perspective, which may limit the commercial expectations for the product candidate, if approved. We may also be required to modify our study plans based on findings in our clinical trials.

As of December 2021, more than 8,000 subjects have been exposed to vonoprazan in completed and ongoing Phase 1 to 3 clinical trials. The doses studied have ranged from 1 to 120 mg with durations up to one year. In our Phase 3 clinical trial for EE, the most common adverse reactions (≥2%) in vonoprazan-treated patients in the healing phase were abdominal pain and diarrhea and in the maintenance phase were gastritis, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, hypertension, abnormal liver function test, and nausea. Of these, only two adverse events, both in the maintenance phase, exceeded 5%: gastritis (6.4%, vonoprazan 10 mg) and abdominal pain (5.4%, vonoprazan 20 mg). In our Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating vonoprazan in combination with amoxicillin and clarithromycin or amoxicillin, most common adverse reactions (≥2%) in vonoprazan triple therapy-treated patients were dysgeusia, diarrhea, headache, abdominal pain, vulvovaginal candidiasis and hypertension and with vonoprazan dual therapy-treated patients were diarrhea, abdominal pain and nasopharyngitis.

Certain earlier generation P-CABs previously under development by other companies may have been discontinued in part due to their hepatic safety profile. These hepatic safety concerns may be compound-specific and not generalizable to the P-CAB class. Vonoprazan has shown similar hepatic safety results to lansoprazole across all comparative clinical studies conducted by Takeda, in which 1.0% of subjects treated with vonoprazan 10 mg or 20 mg and 0.8% of subjects treated with lansoprazole 15 mg or 30 mg had ALT or AST elevations greater than three times the upper limit of normal or bilirubin elevations greater than two times the upper limit of normal. Similarly, in the healing phase of PHALCON-EE, transient elevations in ALT or AST greater than 3 times the upper limit of normal were observed in 0.4% of subjects treated with vonoprazan 20 mgs and 0.2% of subjects treated with lansoprazole. In the maintenance phase, ALT or AST greater than three times the upper limit of normal were observed in 1% of subjects treated with vonoprazan 10 mg, 0.3% of subjects treated with vonoprazan 20 mg, and 2% of subjects treated with lansoprazole. The most recent post-marketing safety report from December 2021 includes an estimate of over 50 million patients who have received vonoprazan in Japan and other countries in Asia since launch. Based on the post-marketing experience, the clinically significant adverse reactions section of the Japanese prescribing information for vonoprazan was updated to include shock, anaphylaxis, hepatic impairment, skin reactions such as toxic epidermal necrolysis, Steven- Johnson syndrome, and erythema multiforme, and events of pancytopenia, agranulocytosis, leukocytopenia, and thrombocytopenia. The incidence of these reactions was considered extremely rare (less than 1 in 100,000 patients) and a causal relationship to vonoprazan could not be ruled out. Although serious hepatic adverse events have been observed among patients exposed to vonoprazan in Japan in the post-marketing setting, these cases were typically confounded by comorbidities or other concomitant medications and are believed to be idiosyncratic reactions.

64


 

The post-marketing safety data, including the December 2021 post-marketing safety report and the reported hepatic safety events, have been submitted to the PMDA. We may also observe hepatic-related events in our clinical trials.

It is possible that as we continue to test vonoprazan and any future product candidates in our clinical trials, or as the use of vonoprazan and any future product candidates becomes more widespread if they receive regulatory approval, illnesses, injuries, discomforts and other adverse events that were observed in earlier trials, as well as conditions that did not occur or went undetected in previous trials, will be reported by patients. If any such side effects become known later in development or upon approval, such findings may harm our business, financial condition and prospects significantly. Further, if a serious safety issue is identified in connection with use of vonoprazan commercially or in third-party clinical trials in Asia or elsewhere, such issues may adversely affect the development potential of vonoprazan or result in regulatory authorities restricting our ability to develop vonoprazan.

In addition, if vonoprazan or any future product candidate receives marketing approval, and we or others later identify undesirable side effects caused by such products, a number of potentially significant negative consequences could result, including:

regulatory authorities may withdraw, suspend or limit approvals of such product, or seek an injunction against its manufacturer;
we may be required to recall a product or change the way such product is administered to patients;
regulatory authorities may require additional warnings on the label, such as a “black box” warning or a contraindication;
we may be required to implement a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, or similar risk management measures or create a medication guide outlining the risks of such side effects for distribution to patients;
we may be required to change the way a product is distributed or administered, conduct additional clinical trials or change the labeling of a product or be required to conduct additional post-marketing studies or surveillance;
we could be sued and held liable for harm caused to patients;
sales of the product may decrease significantly or the product could become less competitive; and
our reputation may suffer.

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 a company, we have never obtained regulatory approval for a product candidate and may be unable to do so for vonoprazan or any future product candidates.

Although we have completed our pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials for vonoprazan for treatment of H. pylori infection and erosive esophagitis, and have submitted NDAs for the use of vonoprazan dual therapy and vonoprazan triply therapy for the treatment of H. pylori in adults, we still need to obtain regulatory approvals from the FDA. As a company, we have not previously obtained any regulatory approvals and consequently we may be unable to successfully obtain approval of vonoprazan or any 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 timely obtain regulatory approvals could delay us in commercializing vonoprazan or any future product candidates.

65


 

Vonoprazan and any future product candidates are subject to extensive regulation and compliance obligations, which is costly and time consuming, and such regulation may cause unanticipated delays or prevent the receipt of the required approvals to commercialize vonoprazan and any future product candidates.

The clinical development, manufacturing, labeling, storage, record-keeping, advertising, promotion, import, export, marketing and distribution of vonoprazan and any future product candidates are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA in the United States and by comparable foreign regulatory authorities in other foreign markets. In the United States, we are not permitted to market vonoprazan and any future product candidates until we receive regulatory approval from the FDA and in the EU, we are not permitted to market vonoprazan and any future product candidates until we receive a marketing authorization from the European Commission or competent authorities of the EU member states. The process of obtaining regulatory approval is expensive, often takes many years following the commencement of clinical trials and can vary substantially based upon the type, complexity and novelty of the product candidates involved, as well as the target indications and patient population. The ability of the FDA and foreign regulatory authorities to review and approve new products can be affected by a variety of factors, including government budget and funding levels and the ability to hire and retain key personnel. In addition, approval policies or regulations may change, and the FDA and EMA and comparable regulatory authorities have substantial discretion in the drug approval process, including the ability to delay, limit or deny approval of a product candidate for many reasons. Despite the time and expense invested in clinical development of product candidates, regulatory approval is never guaranteed.

Prior to obtaining approval to commercialize a product candidate in the United States or internationally, we must demonstrate with substantial evidence from adequate and well-controlled clinical trials, and to the satisfaction of the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, that such product candidates are safe and effective for their intended uses. Results from nonclinical studies and clinical trials can be interpreted in different ways. Even if we believe the nonclinical or clinical data for vonoprazan and any future product candidates are promising, such data may not be sufficient to support approval by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities. The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, as the case may be, may also require us to conduct additional preclinical studies or clinical trials for vonoprazan and any future product candidates either prior to or post- approval, or may object to elements of our clinical development program.

The FDA, EMA or other comparable foreign regulatory authorities can delay, limit or deny approval of a product candidate for many reasons, including:

such authorities may disagree with the design or implementation of our clinical trials;
negative or ambiguous results from our clinical trials or results may not meet the level of statistical significance required by the FDA, EMA, or other comparable foreign regulatory agencies for approval;
serious and unexpected drug-related side effects may be experienced by participants in our clinical trials or in clinical trials conducted by Takeda or others outside of our licensed territories, or by patients using vonoprazan or drugs similar to vonoprazan;
the population studied in the clinical trial may not be sufficiently broad or representative to assure safety in the full population for which we seek approval;
such authorities may not accept clinical data from trials which are conducted at clinical facilities or in countries where the standard of care is potentially different from that of the United States;
we may be unable to demonstrate to the satisfaction of such authorities that a product candidate is safe and effective for its proposed indication and that a product candidate’s clinical and other benefits outweigh its safety risks;
such authorities may disagree with our interpretation of data from preclinical studies or clinical trials;

66


 

such authorities may not agree that the data collected from clinical trials of vonoprazan, including data collected from clinical trials conducted by Takeda and independent investigators outside of our licensed territories, and any future product candidates are acceptable or sufficient to support the submission of an NDA or other submission or to obtain regulatory approval, and such authorities may impose requirements for additional preclinical studies or clinical trials;
such authorities may disagree regarding the formulation, labeling and/or the specifications of vonoprazan and any future product candidates;
approval may be granted only for indications that are significantly more limited than what we apply for and/or with other significant restrictions on distribution and use;
such authorities may find deficiencies in the manufacturing processes or facilities of Takeda, Sandoz, Catalent or any future third-party manufacturers with which we contract for clinical and commercial supplies;
regulations of such authorities may significantly change in a manner rendering our or any of our potential future collaborators’ clinical data insufficient for approval; or
such authorities may not accept a submission due to, among other reasons, the content or formatting of the submission.

With respect to foreign markets, approval procedures vary among countries and, in addition to the foregoing risks, may involve additional product testing, administrative review periods and agreements with pricing authorities. In addition, events raising questions about the safety of certain marketed pharmaceuticals may result in increased cautiousness by the FDA, EMA, and other comparable foreign regulatory authorities in reviewing new drugs based on safety, efficacy, or other regulatory considerations and may result in significant delays in obtaining regulatory approvals. Any delay in obtaining, or inability to obtain, applicable regulatory approvals would prevent us or any of our potential future collaborators from commercializing vonoprazan and any future product candidates.

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

Even if we eventually receive approval of an NDA or foreign marketing application for vonoprazan and any future product candidates, the FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authority may grant approval contingent on the performance of costly additional clinical trials, including confirmatory Phase 3 clinical trials, Phase 4 clinical trials, and/or the implementation of a REMS or risk management measures, which may be required to ensure safe use of the drug after approval. The FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authority also may approve a product candidate for a more limited indication or patient population than we originally requested, and the FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authority may not approve the labeling that we believe is necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of a product. Any delay in obtaining, or inability to obtain, applicable regulatory approval would delay or prevent commercialization of that product candidate and would materially adversely impact our business and prospects.

67


 

Designation of vonoprazan in combination with both amoxicillin and clarithromycin, and with amoxicillin alone as a QIDP, receipt of Fast Track designation, and the potential to receive priority review, may not actually lead to faster development or regulatory review or other benefits, and do not assure FDA approval of vonoprazan or any future product candidates which may receive such designations.

The Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now, or GAIN, Act established certain programs intended to incentivize the development of antibacterial and antifungal drugs for human use to treat serious or life-threatening infections. Specifically, pursuant to the GAIN Act, the FDA may designate certain antimicrobial products as QIDPs, which would qualify them for certain benefits. A QIDP is an antibacterial or antifungal drug for human use intended to treat serious or life-threatening infections, including those caused by either (1) an antibacterial or antifungal resistant pathogen, including novel or emerging infectious pathogens, or (2) a so-called “qualifying pathogen” found on a list of potentially dangerous, drug-resistant organisms established and maintained by the FDA under the GAIN Act. The FDA interprets QIDP designation to apply to a specific drug product, including a specific dosage form of the product, and the FDA does not apply the designation to the drug substance in general or beyond the specified indications identified in the designation. The benefits of QIDP designation include eligibility for Fast Track designation, eligibility for priority review, and an extension by an additional five years of any non-patent exclusivity period awarded, such as a five-year exclusivity period awarded for a new chemical entity. This extension is in addition to any pediatric exclusivity extension that may be awarded. Receipt of QIDP designation does not assure ultimate approval by the FDA or related GAIN Act exclusivity benefits. A sponsor must request such designation before submitting a marketing application, and the FDA will respond to a request for QIDP designation within 60 days of the date the FDA receives the request.

In August 2019, the FDA granted QIDP designation to vonoprazan tablets in combination with both amoxicillin tablets and clarithromycin tablets, and with amoxicillin tablets alone, for the treatment of H. pylori infection. Further, in May 2021, the FDA granted QIDP designations to vonoprazan tablets in combination with both amoxicillin capsules and clarithromycin tablets, and with amoxicillin capsules alone, respectively, for the treatment of H. pylori infection. Under the GAIN Act, the FDA may only revoke a QIDP designation if the request for such designation contained an untrue statement of material fact. While we believe that our request for our QIDP designations did not contain any untrue statement of material fact, if the FDA were to seek to revoke our QIDP designations covering our products containing vonoprazan in combination with both amoxicillin and clarithromycin, and with amoxicillin alone, and if FDA were successful in doing so, we would not obtain the GAIN Act exclusivity benefits for such products. If this were to occur, it could have a material, adverse effect on our business prospects.

Vonoprazan in combination with both amoxicillin and clarithromycin and with amoxicillin alone has received Fast Track designation for the treatment of H. pylori infection and the NDAs we submitted for each of these combinations have received priority review.

The Fast Track designation program is intended to expedite or facilitate the process for reviewing new drug candidates that meet certain criteria.

Specifically, new drugs are eligible for Fast Track designation if they are intended, alone or in combination with one or more drugs, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs for the disease or condition. Fast Track designation applies to the combination of the drug candidate and the specific indication for which it is being studied. With a Fast Track designated drug candidate, the FDA may consider for review sections of the NDA on a rolling basis before the complete application is submitted, if the sponsor provides a schedule for the submission of the sections of the NDA, the FDA agrees to accept sections of the NDA and determines that the schedule is acceptable, and the sponsor pays any required user fees upon submission of the first section of the NDA.

Priority review means the FDA’s goal is to take action on an application within 6 months (compared to 10 months under standard review) following the NDA filing date. The FDA automatically grants priority review to the first application or efficacy supplement submitted for a specific drug and indication that has received the QIDP designation.

68


 

Obtaining a QIDP designation, priority review, or Fast Track designation does not change the standards for product approval but may expedite the development or approval process. Accordingly, such QIDP designations, Fast Track designations, and priority review may not actually result in faster clinical development or regulatory review or approval. Furthermore, QIDP designation, Fast Track designation, and priority review would not increase the likelihood that vonoprazan will receive marketing approval in the United States.

We may not be successful in our efforts to expand our pipeline by identifying and successfully developing vonoprazan for additional indications and formulations. We may expend our limited resources to pursue a particular indication or formulation for vonoprazan and fail to capitalize on product candidates, indications or formulations that may be more profitable or for which there is a greater likelihood of success.

Because we have limited financial and managerial resources, we focus on specific indications and formulations for vonoprazan. As a result, we may fail to generate additional clinical development opportunities for vonoprazan for a number of reasons, including, vonoprazan may in certain indications, on further study, be shown to have harmful side effects, limited to no efficacy, or other characteristics that suggest it is unlikely to receive marketing approval and achieve market acceptance in such additional indications.

For example, we believe vonoprazan may be suitable for use on a continuous (or daily) basis for the management of NERD and in February 2022 commenced a Phase 3 trial for vonoprazan daily-dosing for NERD. In addition, we believe the rapid onset of action of vonoprazan may enable on-demand, or as needed, use for the management of NERD. However, two Phase 3 clinical trials of vonoprazan in Japanese patients with endoscopically confirmed NERD conducted by Takeda did not demonstrate a statistically significant difference in symptom scores between vonoprazan and placebo. We believe that this result may be due to patient selection. In addition, Takeda conducted a Phase 2 clinical trial in Europe in 256 patients with NERD who were partial responders to high dose PPIs. Patients were randomized to receive vonoprazan 20 mg, vonoprazan 40 mg, or esomeprazole 40 mg for four weeks. Neither vonoprazan dose demonstrated a benefit versus esomeprazole on the primary endpoint of the percentage of heartburn free days over the treatment period. We believe this result may also be due to patient selection. Specifically, the above trials may not have been adequately designed to achieve appropriate patient selection. We may be incorrect in our beliefs regarding the results of such trials and any future clinical trials we conduct in NERD patients may not succeed for similar or other reasons, including as a result of our design and enrollment criteria.

Furthermore, research programs to identify additional indications for vonoprazan require substantial technical, financial and human resources. We may also pursue additional formulations and packaging for vonoprazan, such as orally disintegrating tablets and other oral dosage forms for patients with difficulty swallowing, and an intravenous formulation for in-hospital applications. However, we may not successfully develop these additional formulations for chemistry-related, stability-related or other reasons. If we do not accurately evaluate the commercial potential or target market for vonoprazan or any future product candidates, we may relinquish valuable rights to that product candidate through future collaborations, licenses and other similar arrangements in cases in which it would have been more advantageous for us to retain sole development and commercialization rights to such product candidate.

Additionally, we may pursue additional in-licenses or acquisitions of development-stage assets or programs, which entails additional risk to us. Identifying, selecting and acquiring promising product candidates requires substantial technical, financial and human resources expertise. Efforts to do so may not result in the actual acquisition or license of a particular product candidate, potentially resulting in a diversion of our management’s time and the expenditure of our resources with no resulting benefit.

69


 

We enrolled patients in Europe in our erosive esophagitis and H. pylori trials. Additionally, we may conduct future clinical trials outside of the United States. However, the FDA and other comparable foreign regulatory authorities may not accept data from such trials, in which case our development plans will be delayed, which could materially harm our business.

We enrolled patients in Europe in our erosive esophagitis and H. pylori trials, and we may conduct one or more of our future clinical trials outside the United States. Although the FDA may accept data from clinical trials conducted outside the United States and not subject to an IND, acceptance of this data is subject to certain conditions imposed by the FDA. For example, where data from foreign clinical trials are intended to serve as the sole basis for marketing approval in the United States, the FDA will not approve the application on the basis of foreign data alone unless those data are applicable to the United States population and United States medical practice; the trials were performed by clinical investigators of recognized competence; and the data are considered valid without the need for an on-site inspection by the FDA or, if the FDA considers such an inspection to be necessary, the FDA is able to validate the data through an on-site inspection or other appropriate means. Similar requirements may apply in foreign jurisdictions.

For trials that are conducted only at sites outside of the United States and not subject to an IND, the FDA requires the clinical trial to have been conducted in accordance with GCP and the FDA must be able to validate the data from the clinical trial through an on-site inspection if it deems such inspection necessary. For such trials not subject to an IND, the FDA generally does not provide advance comment on the clinical protocols for the trials, and therefore there is an additional potential risk that the FDA could determine that the trial design or protocol for a non-United States clinical trial was inadequate, which could require us to conduct additional clinical trials. In addition, such foreign trials would be subject to the applicable local laws of the foreign regulatory agency and legal requirements where the trials are conducted. There can be no assurance the FDA will accept data from clinical trials conducted outside of the United States. If the FDA or comparable regulatory authority does not accept data from our clinical trials of vonoprazan and any future product candidates, it would likely result in the need for additional clinical trials, which would be costly and time consuming and delay or permanently halt our development of vonoprazan and any future product candidates.

Conducting clinical trials outside the United States also exposes us to additional risks, including risks associated with:

additional foreign regulatory requirements;
foreign exchange fluctuations;
compliance with foreign manufacturing, customs, shipment and storage requirements;
cultural differences in medical practice and clinical research; and
diminished protection of intellectual property in some countries.

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

70


 

From time to time, we or others may also disclose interim data from clinical trials. Interim data from clinical trials are subject to the risk that one or more of the clinical outcomes may materially change as patient enrollment continues and more patient data become available. Adverse differences between preliminary, top-line or interim data and final data could significantly harm our business prospects.

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 you or others may not agree with what we determine is the material or otherwise appropriate information to include in our disclosure, and any information we determine not to disclose may ultimately be deemed significant with respect to future decisions, conclusions, views, activities or otherwise regarding a particular drug, drug candidate or our business. If the top-line data that we report differ from actual results, or if others, including regulatory authorities, disagree with the conclusions reached, our ability to obtain approval for, and commercialize, vonoprazan and any future product candidates may be harmed, which could harm our business, operating results, prospects, or financial condition.

Disruptions at the FDA and other government agencies caused by funding shortages or global health concerns could hinder their ability to hire and retain key leadership and other personnel, or otherwise prevent new products and services from being developed or commercialized in a timely manner, which could negatively impact our business.

The ability of the FDA and other government agencies to review and approve new products can be affected by a variety of factors, including government budget and funding levels, statutory, regulatory and policy changes, a government agency’s ability to hire and retain key personnel and accept the payment of user fees, and other events that may otherwise affect the government agency’s ability to perform routine functions. Average review times at the FDA and other government agencies have fluctuated in recent years as a result. In addition, government funding of other government agencies that fund research and development activities is subject to the political process, which is inherently fluid and unpredictable. Disruptions at the FDA and other agencies, such as the EMA, may also slow the time necessary for new drugs and or modifications to approved drugs or to be reviewed and/or approved by necessary government agencies, which would adversely affect our business. For example, over the last several years, the United States government has shut down several times and certain regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, have had to furlough critical FDA employees and stop critical activities.

Separately, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, the FDA announced its intention to postpone most inspections of foreign manufacturing facilities, and on March 18, 2020, the FDA temporarily postponed routine surveillance inspections of domestic manufacturing facilities. Subsequently, in July 2020, the FDA resumed certain on-site inspections of domestic manufacturing facilities subject to a risk-based prioritization system. The FDA utilized this risk-based assessment system to assist in determining when and where it was safest to conduct prioritized domestic inspections. Additionally, on April 15, 2021, the FDA issued a guidance document in which the FDA described its plans to conduct voluntary remote interactive evaluations of certain drug manufacturing facilities and clinical research sites, among other facilities. According to the guidance, the FDA may request such remote interactive evaluations where the FDA determines that remote evaluation would be appropriate based on mission needs and travel limitations. In May 2021, the FDA outlined a detailed plan to move toward a more consistent state of inspectional operations, and in July 2021, the FDA resumed standard inspectional operations of domestic facilities and was continuing to maintain this level of operation as of September 2021. More recently, the FDA has continued to monitor and implement changes to its inspectional activities to ensure the safety of its employees and those of the firms it regulates as it adapts to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Regulatory authorities outside the United States may adopt similar restrictions or other policy measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. If a prolonged government shutdown occurs, or if global health concerns continue to hinder or prevent the FDA or other regulatory authorities from conducting their regular inspections, reviews, or other regulatory activities, it could significantly impact the ability of the FDA or other regulatory authorities to timely review and process our regulatory submissions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

71


 

Risks Related to Our Reliance on Third Parties

We rely on the Takeda License to provide us rights to develop and commercialize vonoprazan in the United States, Europe, and Canada. If the license agreement is terminated, we would lose our rights to develop and commercialize vonoprazan.

Pursuant to the Takeda License, we have secured an exclusive license from Takeda to commercialize vonoprazan products using specified formulations for all human therapeutic uses in the United States, Europe, and Canada, and a non-exclusive license to develop and manufacture vonoprazan products anywhere in the world (subject to Takeda’s consent as to each country) for the purposes of commercializing the vonoprazan products in the United States, Europe, and Canada.

The Takeda License will continue until the expiration of the obligation to pay royalties in all countries and on all products, unless terminated earlier. We may terminate the Takeda License in its entirety without cause upon prior written notice. We and Takeda may terminate the Takeda License in the case of the other party’s insolvency or for the other party’s material uncured breach. Takeda may terminate the Takeda License in its entirety if we challenge the licensed patents, or if we assist any third party in challenging such patents. In addition, if any of the commercial milestones or other cash payments become due under the terms of the Takeda License, we may not have sufficient funds available to meet our obligations, which would allow Takeda to terminate the Takeda License. If the license agreement is terminated, we would lose our rights to develop and commercialize vonoprazan, which in turn would have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and prospects.

We rely on third parties to conduct our clinical trials. Any failure by a third party to conduct the clinical trials according to GCPs and other requirements and in a timely manner may delay or prevent our ability to seek or obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize vonoprazan and any future product candidates.

We are dependent on third parties to conduct our preclinical and clinical trials, including our completed and ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial of vonoprazan. Specifically, we have used and relied on, and intend to continue to use and rely on, medical institutions, clinical investigators, CROs and consultants to conduct our clinical trials in accordance with our clinical protocols and regulatory requirements. These CROs, investigators and other third parties will play a significant role in the conduct and timing of these trials and subsequent collection and analysis of data. While we have agreements governing the activities of our third-party contractors, we have limited influence over their actual performance. Nevertheless, we are responsible for ensuring that each of our clinical trials is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol and legal, regulatory and scientific standards, and our reliance on the CROs and other third parties does not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities. We and our CROs are required to comply with GCP requirements, which are regulations and guidelines enforced by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities for vonoprazan and any future product candidates that reach clinical development. Regulatory authorities enforce these GCPs through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators and trial sites. If we or any of our CROs or trial sites fail to comply with applicable GCPs, the clinical data generated in our clinical trials may be deemed unreliable, and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional clinical trials before approving our marketing applications. In addition, our clinical trials must be conducted with product produced under cGMP or similar regulations. Our failure to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process.

72


 

CROs, investigators or other third parties may not devote adequate time and resources to such trials or perform as contractually required. If any of these third parties fail to meet expected deadlines, adhere to our clinical protocols or meet regulatory requirements, or otherwise performs in a substandard manner, our clinical trials may be extended, delayed, or terminated. In addition, many of the third parties with whom we contract may also have relationships with other commercial entities, including our competitors, for whom they may also be conducting clinical trials or other drug development activities that could harm our competitive position. In addition, principal investigators for our clinical trials may serve as scientific advisors or consultants to us from time to time and may receive cash or equity compensation in connection with such services. If these relationships and any related compensation result in perceived or actual conflicts of interest, or the FDA or comparable regulatory authority concludes that the financial relationship may have affected the interpretation of the study, the integrity of the data generated at the applicable clinical trial site may be questioned and the utility of the clinical trial itself may be jeopardized, which could result in the delay or rejection of any NDA or similar marketing application we submit by the FDA or by comparable regulatory authority. Any such delay or rejection could prevent us from commercializing vonoprazan and any future product candidates.

If any of our relationships with these third parties terminate, we may not be able to enter into arrangements with alternative third parties or do so on commercially reasonable terms. Switching or adding additional CROs, investigators and other third parties involves additional 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 carefully manage our relationships with our CROs, investigators and other third parties, we may encounter challenges or delays in the future and these delays or challenges may have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and prospects.

73


 

We currently rely on Takeda for the manufacture of vonoprazan for clinical development and expect to continue to rely on Takeda, Catalent or other third parties for clinical supplies for the foreseeable future, and we will rely on Takeda, Catalent and other third parties to produce commercial supplies of vonoprazan drug substance and drug product, and on Sandoz for commercial supplies of amoxicillin and clarithromycin for our convenience packs. This reliance on third parties increases the risk that we will not have sufficient quantities of vonoprazan, amoxicillin, and/or clarithromycin, which could delay, prevent or impair our development or commercialization efforts.

We do not own or operate manufacturing facilities and have no plans to build our own clinical or commercial scale manufacturing capabilities. Pursuant to the Takeda License, we entered into a clinical manufacturing and supply agreement with Takeda for the supply of vonoprazan for our clinical trials. In addition, we entered into a commercial supply agreement with Takeda for the commercial supply of bulk drug product and/or drug substance, a commercial supply agreement with Catalent for the commercial supply of drug product, and a commercial supply and packaging agreement with Sandoz for commercial supply of amoxicillin, clarithromycin and finished convenience packs containing vonoprazan and one or both of those antibiotics. As a result, we currently rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties for the manufacture of vonoprazan and related raw materials for clinical development and commercial supply. If Takeda, Catalent or Sandoz fails to fulfill its obligations under its respective supply agreement(s), or if any of the vonoprazan drug product or drug substance supplied by Takeda or Catalent cannot be utilized due to quality or cGMP or similar concerns, adverse findings during regulatory inspections or other reasons, our development plans and commercialization of vonoprazan, if approved, could be significantly delayed or otherwise adversely affected. The facilities used by Takeda or Catalent to manufacture vonoprazan and by Sandoz to manufacture amoxicillin and clarithromycin and to package the antibiotics and vonoprazan must be approved by the FDA and foreign regulatory authority pursuant to inspections that may be conducted after we submit marketing authorizations to the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities. We do not control the manufacturing process of, and are completely dependent on, Takeda, Catalent and Sandoz for compliance with applicable cGMP or similar requirements. If Takeda, Catalent, Sandoz, or any other third-party manufacturer we contract with in the future, cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our specifications and the strict regulatory requirements of the FDA or others, including requirements related to the manufacturing of high potency compounds, they will not be able to secure and/or maintain regulatory approval for their manufacturing facilities. In addition, we have no control over Takeda’s, Catalent’s, Sandoz’s, or any other third-party manufacturer’s ability to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority does not approve of facilities of the third-party manufacturer for the manufacture of vonoprazan 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 vonoprazan, if approved. For example, in June 2020, the FDA issued a warning letter to Takeda following a routine inspection of aseptic (sterile) drug product manufacturing at Takeda’s manufacturing facility located in Hikari, Yamaguchi, or the Hikari Facility. Although it is not an aseptic product, Takeda also manufactures vonoprazan drug substance and drug product at the Hikari Facility. The warning letter indicated that the FDA was not satisfied with Takeda’s response to an FDA Form 483 issued to Takeda following the inspection and cited significant violations of cGMP for finished aseptic pharmaceuticals. Due to the issues relating to the Hikari Facility, we did not include the Hikari Facility, as a contract manufacturing site in the H. pylori NDAs we submitted to FDA in September 2021. In October 2021, the FDA revised the inspection classification of the Hikari Facility to Voluntary Action Indicated, or VAI. Takeda has reported that this revision means the FDA determined that the conditions in the warning letter dated June 2020 have been sufficiently addressed. We have not experienced any clinical supply constraints to date as a result of the issues at the Hikari Facility, and we currently do not expect these issues will have an effect on our ongoing or future clinical trials or commercial supplies. Our failure, or Takeda’s, Catalent’s. Sandoz’s or any other third-party manufacturer’s failure, 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, seizures or recalls of product candidates or products, operating restrictions and criminal prosecutions, any of which could significantly and adversely affect supplies of our products. Furthermore, Takeda may choose to prioritize the manufacture of vonoprazan for its markets over the manufacture of vonoprazan for our licensed markets.

74


 

Our or Takeda’s, Catalent’s or Sandoz’s failure, or the failure of any future third-party manufacturer, to execute on our manufacturing requirements, to do so on commercially reasonable terms and comply with cGMP could adversely affect our business in a number of ways, including:

an inability to initiate and continue clinical trials of vonoprazan or any future product candidates;
delay in submitting regulatory applications, or receiving marketing approvals, for vonoprazan and any future product candidates;
subjecting third-party manufacturing facilities or our manufacturing facilities to additional inspections by regulatory authorities;
requirements to cease development or to recall batches of vonoprazan and any future product candidates; and
in the event of approval to market and commercialize vonoprazan or any future product candidates, an inability to meet commercial demands for vonoprazan or any future product candidates.

Reliance on third-party manufacturers entails additional risks, including:

failure of third-party manufacturers to comply with regulatory requirements and maintain quality assurance;
breach of the manufacturing agreement by the third party;
failure to manufacture our product according to our specifications;
failure to manufacture our product according to our schedule or at all;
misappropriation of our proprietary information, including our trade secrets and know-how; and
termination or nonrenewal of the agreement by the third party at a time that is costly or inconvenient for us.

Vonoprazan and any products that we may develop may compete with other product candidates and products for access to manufacturing facilities. Moreover, there may be a limited number of manufacturers that operate under cGMP or similar regulations and that might be capable of manufacturing for us

Any performance failure on the part of Takeda, Catalent, Sandoz or any future manufacturers could delay clinical development or marketing approval, and any related remedial measures may be costly or time consuming to implement. We do not currently have arrangements in place for redundant supply or a second source for all required raw materials used in the manufacture of vonoprazan and any future product candidates. If Takeda, Catalent, or Sandoz cannot perform as agreed, we may be required to replace them and we may be unable to replace them on a timely basis or at all. Further, Takeda, Catalent, Sandoz and any other third-party manufacturers we may use may experience manufacturing or shipping difficulties due to resource constraints or as a result of natural disasters, labor disputes, unstable political environments, or public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak. If Takeda, Catalent, Sandoz or other third-party manufacturers were to encounter any manufacturing or shipping difficulties or delays due to these factors, our ability to provide vonoprazan to patients in clinical trials, or to provide product for treatment of patients if approved, would be jeopardized.

Our current and anticipated future dependence upon others for the manufacture of vonoprazan or any future product candidates or products may adversely affect our future profit margins and our ability to commercialize any products that receive marketing approval on a timely and competitive basis.

75


 

Our reliance on third parties, including Takeda and Catalent, 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.

Because we currently rely on Takeda and Catalent to manufacture vonoprazan and to perform quality testing, we must, at times, share our proprietary technology and confidential information, including trade secrets, with them. We seek to protect our proprietary technology, in part, by entering into confidentiality agreements, consulting agreements or other similar agreements with our advisors, employees 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. Despite the 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 intentionally or 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 and despite our efforts to protect our trade secrets, a competitor’s discovery of our proprietary technology and confidential information or other unauthorized use or disclosure would impair our competitive position and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We may seek to enter into collaborations, licenses and other similar arrangements and may not be successful in doing so, and even if we are, we may not realize the benefits of such relationships.

We may seek to enter into collaborations, joint ventures, licenses and other similar arrangements for the development or commercialization of vonoprazan and any future product candidates, due to capital costs required to develop or commercialize vonoprazan and any future product candidates or manufacturing constraints. We may not be successful in our efforts to establish such collaborations for vonoprazan and any future product candidates because vonoprazan and any future product candidates may be deemed to be at too early of a stage of development for collaborative effort or third parties may not view vonoprazan and any future product candidates as having the requisite potential to demonstrate safety and efficacy or significant commercial opportunity. In addition, we face significant competition in seeking appropriate strategic partners, and the negotiation process can be time consuming and complex. Further, any future collaboration agreements may restrict us from entering into additional agreements with potential collaborators. Following a strategic transaction or license, we may not achieve an economic benefit that justifies such transaction.

Even if we are successful in our efforts to establish such collaborations, the terms that we agree upon may not be favorable to us, and we may not be able to maintain such collaborations if, for example, development or approval of a product candidate is delayed, the safety of a product candidate is questioned or sales of an approved product candidate are unsatisfactory.

In addition, any potential future collaborations may be terminable by our strategic partners, and we may not be able to adequately protect our rights under these agreements. Furthermore, strategic partners may negotiate for certain rights to control decisions regarding the development and commercialization of vonoprazan and any future product candidates, if approved, and may not conduct those activities in the same manner as we do. Any termination of collaborations we enter into in the future, or any delay in entering into collaborations related to vonoprazan or any future product candidates, could delay the development and commercialization of vonoprazan or any future product candidates and reduce their competitiveness if they reach the market, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

76


 

Risks Related to Commercialization of Vonoprazan and Any Future Product Candidates

Even if we receive regulatory approval for vonoprazan and any future product candidates, we will be subject to ongoing regulatory obligations and continued regulatory review, which may result in significant additional expense. Additionally, vonoprazan and any future product candidates, if approved, could be subject to labeling and other restrictions on marketing or withdrawal from the market, and we may be subject to penalties if we fail to comply with regulatory requirements or if we experience unanticipated problems with vonoprazan and any future product candidates, if approved.

Following potential approval of vonoprazan or any future product candidates, the FDA, EMA or other comparable regulatory authority may impose significant restrictions on a product’s indicated uses or marketing or impose ongoing requirements for potentially costly and time-consuming post-approval studies, post-market surveillance or clinical trials to monitor the safety and efficacy of the product. The FDA and comparable regulatory authorities may also require a REMS or similar risk management measures as a condition of approval of vonoprazan or any future product candidates, which could include requirements for a medication guide, physician communication plans or additional elements to ensure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools. In addition, if the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority approves vonoprazan or any future product candidates, the manufacturing processes, labeling, packaging, distribution, adverse event reporting, storage, advertising, promotion, import, export and recordkeeping for our products will be subject to extensive and ongoing regulatory requirements. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration, as well as continued compliance with cGMPs and similar requirements and GCP requirements for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with our products, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or with our third-party manufacturers or manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in, among other things:

restrictions on the marketing or manufacturing of our products, withdrawal of the product from the market or voluntary or mandatory product recalls;
restrictions on product distribution or use, or requirements to conduct post-marketing studies or clinical trials
fines, restitutions, disgorgement of profits or revenues, warning letters, untitled letters or holds on clinical trials;
refusal by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications filed by us or suspension or revocation of approvals;
product seizure or detention, or refusal to permit the import or export of our products; and
injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.

77


 

The occurrence of any event or penalty described above may inhibit our ability to commercialize vonoprazan and any future product candidates and generate revenue and could require us to expend significant time and resources in response and could generate negative publicity.

The FDA’s and other regulatory authorities’ policies may change, and additional government regulations may be enacted that could prevent, limit or delay regulatory approval of vonoprazan and any future product candidates. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any marketing approval that we may have obtained, may be subject to enforcement action, and we may not achieve or sustain profitability.

For instance, the EU has adopted the Clinical Trials Regulation, or CTR, in April 2014, which will become applicable on 31 January 2022. The CTR will be directly applicable in all EU member states, repealing the current Clinical Trials Directive. Conduct of all clinical trials performed in the EU will continue to be bound by currently applicable provisions until the new CTR becomes applicable. The extent to which ongoing clinical trials will be governed by the CTR will depend on when the CTR becomes applicable and on the duration of the individual clinical trial. If a clinical trial continues for more than three years from the day on which the CTR becomes applicable the CTR will at that time begin to apply to the clinical trial. The CTR harmonizes the assessment and supervision processes for clinical trials throughout the EU via a Clinical Trials Information System, which will notably contain a centralized EU portal and database.

It is currently unclear to what extent the United Kingdom, or UK, will seek to align its regulations with the EU. The UK regulatory framework in relation to clinical trials is derived from existing EU legislation (as implemented into UK law, through secondary legislation). A decision by the UK not to closely align its regulations with the new approach that will be adopted in the EU may have an effect on the cost of conducting clinical trials in the UK as opposed to other countries and/or make it harder to seek a marketing authorization in the EU for our product candidates on the basis of clinical trials conducted in the UK.

Additionally, the EU pharmaceutical legislation is currently undergoing a complete review process, in the context of the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe initiative, launched by the European Commission in November 2020. A proposal for revision of several legislative instruments related to medicinal products (potentially revising the duration of regulatory exclusivity, eligibility for expedited pathways, etc.) is expected to be adopted by the European Commission by the end of 2022. The proposed revisions, once they are agreed and adopted by the European Parliament and European Council (not expected before the end of 2024) may have a significant impact on the biopharmaceutical industry in the long term.

78


 

The commercial success of vonoprazan or any future product candidates will depend upon the degree of market acceptance of such product candidates by physicians, patients, healthcare payors and others in the medical community.

Vonoprazan and any future product candidates may not be commercially successful. The commercial success of vonoprazan or any future product candidates, if approved, will depend significantly on the broad adoption and use of such product by physicians and patients for approved indications. The degree of market acceptance of vonoprazan or any future products, if approved, will depend on a number of factors, including:

demonstration of clinical efficacy and safety compared to other more-established products;
the indications for which vonoprazan or any future product candidates are approved;
the limitation of our targeted patient population and other limitations or warnings contained in any FDA-approved labeling or comparable approved labeling;
acceptance of a new drug for the relevant indication by healthcare providers and their patients;
the pricing and cost-effectiveness of our products, as well as the cost of treatment with our products in relation to alternative treatments and therapies;
our ability to obtain and maintain sufficient third-party coverage and adequate reimbursement from government healthcare programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, private health insurers and other third-party payors;
the willingness of patients to pay all, or a portion of, out-of-pocket costs associated with our products in the absence of sufficient third-party coverage or adequate reimbursement;
any restrictions on the use of our products, and the prevalence and severity of any adverse effects;
potential product liability claims;
the timing of market introduction of our products as well as competitive drugs;
the effectiveness of our or any of our potential future collaborators’ sales and marketing strategies; and
unfavorable publicity relating to the product.

If vonoprazan or any future product candidate is approved but does not achieve an adequate level of acceptance by physicians, hospitals, healthcare payors or patients, we may not generate sufficient revenue from that product and may not become or remain profitable. Our efforts to educate the medical community and third-party payors regarding the benefits of our products may require significant resources and may never be successful.

With respect to vonoprazan, Takeda has the right to develop and commercialize the product outside of the United States, Europe, and Canada and has received marketing approval for vonoprazan in certain countries in Asia and Latin America. We have little or no control over Takeda’s commercialization activities with respect to vonoprazan outside of our licensed territories even though those activities could impact our ability to successfully commercialize vonoprazan. For example, Takeda can make statements or use promotional materials with respect to vonoprazan outside of our licensed territories that are inconsistent with our positioning of the product in the United States, Europe, and Canada, and could sell vonoprazan in foreign countries at prices that are dramatically lower than the prices we would charge in our licensed territories. These activities and decisions, while occurring outside of our licensed territories, could harm our commercialization strategy. In addition, product recalls or safety issues with vonoprazan outside our licensed territories could result in serious damage to the brand and impair our ability to successfully market vonoprazan in our licensed territories.

79


 

The FDA and other regulatory agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses. If we are found or alleged to have improperly promoted off-label uses, we may become subject to significant liability.

The FDA and other regulatory agencies strictly regulate the promotional claims that may be made about prescription products, as vonoprazan and any future product candidates would be, if approved. In particular, a product may not be promoted for uses that are not approved by the FDA or such other regulatory agencies as reflected in the product’s approved labeling. If we receive marketing approval for a product candidate, physicians may nevertheless prescribe it to their patients in a manner that is inconsistent with the approved label. If we are found to have promoted such off-label uses, we may become subject to significant liability. The federal government has levied large civil and criminal fines against companies for alleged improper promotion and has enjoined several companies from engaging in off-label promotion. The FDA has also requested that companies enter into consent decrees or permanent injunctions under which specified promotional conduct is changed or curtailed. If we cannot successfully manage the promotion of vonoprazan or any future product candidates, if approved, we could become subject to significant liability, which would materially adversely affect our business and financial condition.

The successful commercialization of vonoprazan or any future product candidates, if approved, will depend in part on the extent to which governmental authorities and health insurers establish coverage, adequate reimbursement levels and favorable pricing policies. Failure to obtain or maintain coverage and adequate reimbursement for our products could limit our ability to market those products and decrease our ability to generate revenue.

The availability of coverage and the adequacy of reimbursement by governmental healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, private health insurers and other third-party payors are essential for most patients to be able to afford prescription medications such as vonoprazan or any future product candidate, if approved. Our ability to achieve coverage and acceptable levels of reimbursement for our products by third-party payors will have an effect on our ability to successfully commercialize those products. Even if we obtain coverage for a given product by a third-party payor, the resulting reimbursement payment rates may not be adequate or may require co-payments that patients find unacceptably high. We cannot be sure that coverage and reimbursement in the United States, the European Union or elsewhere will be available for any product that we may develop, and any reimbursement that may become available may be decreased or eliminated in the future.

Third-party payors increasingly are challenging prices charged for pharmaceutical products and services, and many third-party payors may refuse to provide coverage and reimbursement for particular drugs when an equivalent generic drug or a less expensive therapy is available. It is possible that a third-party payor may consider our products as substitutable and only offer to reimburse patients for the less expensive product. Even if we are successful in demonstrating improved efficacy or improved convenience of administration with our products, pricing of existing drugs may limit the amount we will be able to charge for our products. These payors may deny or revoke the reimbursement status of a given product or establish prices for new or existing marketed products at levels that are too low to enable us to realize an appropriate return on our investment in product development. If reimbursement is not available or is available only at limited levels, we may not be able to successfully commercialize our products and may not be able to obtain a satisfactory financial return on products that we may develop.

There is significant uncertainty related to third-party payor coverage and reimbursement of newly approved products. In the United States, third-party payors, including private and governmental payors, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs, play an important role in determining the extent to which new drugs will be covered. Some third-party payors may require pre-approval of coverage for new or innovative devices or drug therapies before they will reimburse healthcare providers who use such therapies. It is difficult to predict at this time what third-party payors will decide with respect to the coverage and reimbursement for our products.

80


 

Obtaining and maintaining reimbursement status is time consuming, costly and uncertain. The Medicare and Medicaid programs increasingly are used as models for how private payors and other governmental payors develop their coverage and reimbursement policies for drugs. However, no uniform policy for coverage and reimbursement for products exists among third-party payors in the United States. Therefore, coverage and reimbursement for products can differ significantly from payor to payor. As a result, the coverage determination process will require us to provide scientific and clinical support for the use of our products to each payor separately, with no assurance that coverage and adequate reimbursement will be applied consistently or obtained in the first instance. Furthermore, rules and regulations regarding reimbursement change frequently, in some cases at short notice, and we believe that changes in these rules and regulations are likely.

Outside the United States, international operations are generally subject to extensive governmental price controls and other market regulations, and we believe the increasing emphasis on cost-containment initiatives in Europe and other countries has and will continue to put pressure on the pricing and usage of our products. In many countries, the prices of medical products are subject to varying price control mechanisms as part of national health systems. Other countries allow companies to fix their own prices for medical products but monitor and control company profits. Additional foreign price controls or other changes in pricing regulation could restrict the amount that we are able to charge for our products. Accordingly, in markets outside the United States, the reimbursement for our products may be reduced compared with the United States and may be insufficient to generate commercially reasonable revenue and profits.

Moreover, increasing efforts by governmental and third-party payors in the United States and abroad to cap or reduce healthcare costs may cause such organizations to limit both coverage and the level of reimbursement for newly approved products and, as a result, they may not cover or provide adequate payment for our products. We expect to experience pricing pressures in connection with the sale of any of our products due to the trend toward managed healthcare, the increasing influence of health maintenance organizations and additional legislative changes. The downward pressure on healthcare costs in general, particularly prescription drugs and surgical procedures and other treatments, has become very intense. As a result, increasingly high barriers are being erected to the entry of new products.

If following commercialization of vonoprazan (or any future product candidates, if approved) we fail to comply with reporting and payment obligations under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program or other governmental pricing programs, we could be subject to additional reimbursement requirements, penalties, sanctions and fines, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

If we successfully commercialize vonoprazan and any future product candidates, if approved, we will likely participate in governmental programs, such as Medicaid, that impose extensive drug price reporting and payment obligations on pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that is administered by the states for low-income and disabled beneficiaries. Medicare is a federal program that is administered by the federal government covering individuals age 65 and over as well as those with certain disabilities. Under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, or MDRP, as a condition of having federal funds being made available to the states for covered outpatient drugs under Medicaid, pharmaceutical manufacturers must enter into an agreement with the Secretary of Health and Human Services to pay a rebate to state Medicaid programs for each unit of covered outpatient drug dispensed to a Medicaid beneficiary and paid for by the state Medicaid program. Medicaid drug rebates are based on pricing data that pharmaceutical manufacturers report on a monthly and quarterly basis to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, which is the federal agency that administers the MDRP and Medicare programs. For the MDRP, these data include the average manufacturer price, or AMP, for each drug and, in the case of innovator products, the Best Price, or BP, which represents the lowest price available from the manufacturer to any entity in the United States in any pricing structure, calculated to include all applicable sales and associated rebates, discounts and other price concessions. If a manufacturer becomes aware that its MDRP government price reporting submission for a prior quarter was incorrect or has changed as a result of recalculation of the pricing data, the manufacturer must resubmit the corrected data for up to three years after those data originally were due. If a manufacturer fails to provide information timely or is found to have knowingly submitted false information to the government, the manufacturer may be subject to civil monetary penalties and other sanctions, including termination from the MDRP.

81


 

Federal law requires that any company that participates in the MDRP also participate in the Public Health Service’s 340B drug pricing program, or the 340B program, in order for federal funds to be available for the manufacturer’s drugs under Medicaid. The 340B program is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA, and requires participating manufacturers to agree to charge statutorily defined covered entities no more than the 340B “ceiling price” for the manufacturer’s covered drugs used in an outpatient setting. These 340B covered entities include a variety of community health clinics and other entities that receive health services grants from the Public Health Service, as well as hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of low‑income patients. The 340B ceiling price is calculated using a statutory formula, which is based on the average manufacturer price and rebate amount for the covered outpatient drug as calculated under the MDRP. In general, products subject to Medicaid price reporting and rebate liability are also subject to the 340B ceiling price calculation and discount requirement. Manufacturers must report 340B ceiling prices to HRSA on a quarterly basis, and HRSA publishes them to 340B covered entities. HRSA has finalized regulations regarding the calculation of the 340B ceiling price and the imposition of civil monetary penalties on manufacturers that knowingly and intentionally overcharge covered entities for 340B‑eligible drugs. HRSA has also finalized an administrative dispute resolution process through which 340B covered entities may pursue claims against participating manufacturers for overcharges, and through which manufacturers may pursue claims against 340B covered entities for engaging in unlawful diversion or duplicate discounting of 340B drugs. In addition, legislation may be introduced that, if passed, would further expand the 340B program, such as adding further covered entities or requiring participating manufacturers to agree to provide 340B discounted pricing on drugs used in an inpatient setting.

In order to be eligible to have drug products paid for with federal funds under Medicaid and purchased by certain federal agencies and grantees, a manufacturer must also participate in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, Federal Supply Schedule, or FSS, pricing program. Under the VA/FSS program, a manufacturer must report the Non-Federal Average Manufacturer Price, or Non-FAMP, for its covered drugs to the VA and charge certain federal agencies no more than the Federal Ceiling Price, which is calculated based on Non-FAMP using a statutory formula. These four agencies are the VA, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Public Health Service (including the Indian Health Service). The manufacturer must also pay rebates on products purchased by military personnel and dependents through the TRICARE retail pharmacy program. If a manufacturer participating in the FSS program fails to provide timely information or is found to have knowingly submitted false information, the manufacturer may be subject to civil monetary penalties.

Individual states continue to consider and have enacted legislation to limit the growth of healthcare costs, including the cost of prescription drugs and combination products. A number of states have either implemented or are considering implementation of drug price transparency legislation that may prevent or limit our ability to take price increases at certain rates or frequencies. Requirements under such laws include advance notice of planned price increases, reporting price increase amounts and factors considered by manufacturers in taking such increases, wholesale acquisition cost disclosure to prescribers, purchasers, and state agencies, and new product notice and reporting. Such legislation could limit the price or payment for certain drugs, and a number of states are authorized to impose civil monetary penalties or pursue other enforcement mechanisms against manufacturers who fail to comply with drug price transparency requirements, including the untimely, inaccurate, or incomplete reporting of drug pricing information. If we are found to have violated state law requirements, we may become subject to penalties or other enforcement mechanisms, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Pricing and rebate calculations vary across products and programs, are complex, and are often subject to interpretation by pharmaceutical manufacturers, governmental or regulatory agencies, and the courts, which can change and evolve over time. Such pricing calculations and reporting, along with any necessary restatements and recalculations, could increase costs for complying with the laws and regulations governing the MDRP and other governmental programs, and under the MDRP could result in an overage or underage in Medicaid rebate liability for past quarters. Price recalculations under the MDRP also may affect the ceiling price at which manufacturers are required to offer products under the 340B program. Civil monetary penalties can be applied if we are found to have knowingly submitted any false price or product information to the government, if we are found to have made a misrepresentation in the reporting of ASP, if we fail to submit the required price data on a timely basis, or if we are found to have charged 340B covered entities more than the statutorily mandated ceiling price. CMS could also terminate our Medicaid drug rebate agreement, in which case federal payments may not be available under Medicaid for our covered outpatient drugs. We cannot assure you that our submissions will not be found to be incomplete or incorrect.

82


 

We face significant competition, and if our competitors develop technologies or product candidates more rapidly than we do or their technologies are more effective, our ability to develop and successfully commercialize products may be adversely affected.

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are characterized by rapidly advancing technologies, intense competition and a strong emphasis on proprietary and novel products and product candidates. Our competitors have developed, are developing or may develop products, product candidates and processes competitive with vonoprazan. Any product candidates that we successfully develop and commercialize will compete with existing therapies and new therapies that may become available in the future. We believe that a significant number of products are currently under development, and may become commercially available in the future, for the treatment of GI diseases for which we may attempt to develop vonoprazan or any future product candidates. Our competitors include larger and better funded pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, biotechnological and therapeutics companies. Moreover, we may also compete with universities and other research institutions who may be active in the indications we are targeting and could be in direct competition with us. We also compete with these organizations to recruit management, scientists and clinical development personnel, which could negatively affect our level of expertise and our ability to execute our business plan. We will also face competition in establishing clinical trial sites, enrolling patients for clinical trials and in identifying and in-licensing new product candidates. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies.

We expect that vonoprazan, if approved for the treatment of erosive esophagitis and treatment of H. pylori infection, will primarily compete with generic PPIs marketed by multiple pharmaceutical companies in both the prescription and OTC markets. Additionally, in March 2020, RedHill Biopharma Ltd. launched Talicia, a co-formulated capsule comprising generic omeprazole, amoxicillin, and rifabutin for the treatment of H. pylori infection.

We are aware of one other P-CAB in development in the United States, as well as a number of other P-CABs in territories outside of the United States that, if developed and approved in our territories, may compete with vonoprazan. In the United States, Neurogastrx intends to commence a Phase 3 erosive esophagitis trial for fexuprazan, under an exclusive license from Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., or Daewoong, sometime in 2022. Outside the United States, Daewoong recently received regulatory approval of, and plans for a first half of 2022 launch for fexuprazan in South Korea, and has out-licensed rights to develop fexuprazan in China to Shanghai Haini, a subsidiary of China’s Yangtze River Pharmaceutical Group. Also, outside the United States, revaprazan is marketed by Yuhan Corporation in South Korea, tegoprazan is marketed by CJ Healthcare Corp. in South Korea and is currently in development in Japan by RaQualia Pharma, Inc. Additionally, Jeil Pharm has received authorization to conduct a Phase 3 trial in South Korea of its P-CAB candidate, JP-1366, in erosive esophagitis, and Cinclus Pharma AG’s linaprazan glurate has completed a Phase 1 clinical trial in Europe and is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials. To our knowledge, none of these compounds have demonstrated superiority to PPIs on clinical endpoints.

Additionally, we are aware of several clinical-stage PPIs in territories outside of the United States that if developed and approved in our licensed territories may compete with vonoprazan. These include Dexa Medica’s DLBS-2411, currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in Indonesia, Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s anaprazole, currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in China, Eisai’s azeloprazole, currently in a Phase 2 clinical trial in Japan, and Sidem Pharma’s tenatoprazole, currently in Phase 2 clinical trials in Europe and Canada.

In July 2012, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act was passed, which included the GAIN Act. The GAIN Act is intended to provide incentives for the development of new, qualified infectious disease products. In December 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act was passed, providing additional support for the development of new infectious disease products. These incentives may result in more competition in the market for new antibiotics and may cause pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with more resources than we have to shift their efforts towards the development of product candidates that could be competitive with vonoprazan or any future product candidates.

83


 

Many of our competitors have significantly greater financial, technical, manufacturing, marketing, sales and supply resources or experience than we do. If we successfully obtain approval for vonoprazan or any future product candidate, we will face competition based on many different factors, including the safety and effectiveness of our products, the ease with which our products can be administered and the extent to which patients accept relatively new routes of administration, the timing and scope of regulatory approvals for these products, the availability and cost of manufacturing, marketing and sales capabilities, price, reimbursement coverage and patent position. Competing products could present superior treatment alternatives, including by being more effective, safer, more convenient, less expensive or marketed and sold more effectively than any products we may develop. Competitive products may make any products we develop obsolete or noncompetitive before we recover the expense of developing and commercializing vonoprazan or any future product candidates. If we are unable to compete effectively, our opportunity to generate revenue from the sale of our products we may develop, if approved, could be adversely affected.

If the market opportunities for vonoprazan or any future products are smaller than we believe they are, our revenue may be adversely affected, and our business may suffer.

The precise incidence and prevalence for all the conditions we aim to address with vonoprazan or any future product candidates are unknown. Our projections of both the number of people who have these diseases, as well as the subset of people with these diseases who have the potential to benefit from treatment of vonoprazan or any future product candidates, are based on our beliefs and estimates. These estimates have been derived from a variety of sources, including the scientific literature, surveys of clinics or market research, and may prove to be incorrect. Further, new trials may change the estimated incidence or prevalence of these diseases. The total addressable market across vonoprazan and any future product candidates will ultimately depend upon, among other things, the diagnosis criteria included in the final label for each of vonoprazan and any future product candidates approved for sale for these indications, the availability of alternative treatments and the safety, convenience, cost and efficacy of vonoprazan and any future product candidates relative to such alternative treatments, acceptance by the medical community and patient access, drug pricing and reimbursement. The number of patients in the United States and other major markets and elsewhere may turn out to be lower than expected, patients may not be otherwise amenable to treatment with our products or new patients may become increasingly difficult to identify or gain access to, all of which would adversely affect our results of operations and our business.

We currently have a limited marketing and sales organization and have no experience as a company in commercializing products, and we may have to invest significant resources to develop these capabilities. If we are unable to establish marketing and sales capabilities or enter into agreements with third parties to market and sell our products, we may not be able to generate product revenue.

We have limited internal marketing, sales or distribution capabilities, and we have never commercialized a product. If vonoprazan or any future product candidates ultimately receive regulatory approval, we must build a marketing and sales organization with technical expertise and supporting distribution capabilities to commercialize each such product in major markets, which will be expensive and time consuming, or collaborate with third parties that have direct sales forces and established distribution systems, either to augment our own sales force and distribution systems or in lieu of our own sales force and distribution systems. We plan to independently commercialize vonoprazan in the United States by building a leading specialty gastroenterology commercial infrastructure to support the adoption of vonoprazan and we plan to seek one or more partners with existing commercial infrastructure and expertise in Europe and Canada. We have no prior experience as a company in the marketing, sale and distribution of biopharmaceutical products and there are significant risks involved in building and managing a marketing and sales organization, including our ability to hire, retain and incentivize qualified individuals, generate sufficient sales leads, provide adequate training to sales and marketing personnel and effectively manage a geographically dispersed sales and marketing team.

84


 

Any failure or delay in the development of our internal sales, marketing and distribution capabilities would adversely impact the commercialization of these products. We may not be able to enter into collaborations or hire consultants or external service providers to assist us in sales, marketing and distribution functions on acceptable financial terms, or at all. In addition, our product revenues and our profitability, if any, may be lower if we rely on third parties for these functions than if we were to market, sell and distribute any products that we develop ourselves. 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 are not successful in commercializing vonoprazan or any future product candidates, either on our own or through arrangements with one or more third parties, we may not be able to generate any future product revenue and we would incur significant additional losses.

Our future growth may depend, in part, on our ability to operate in foreign markets, particularly Europe and Canada, where we would be subject to additional regulatory burdens and other risks and uncertainties.

Our future growth may depend, in part, on our ability to develop and commercialize vonoprazan and any future product candidates in foreign markets, particularly Europe and Canada. We are not permitted to market or promote vonoprazan and any future product candidates before we receive regulatory approval from applicable regulatory authorities in foreign markets, and we may never receive such regulatory approvals for vonoprazan or any future product candidates. To obtain separate regulatory approval in any other countries we must comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements regarding safety and efficacy and governing, among other things, clinical trials, commercial sales, pricing and distribution of vonoprazan and any future product candidates. If we obtain regulatory approval of vonoprazan and any future product candidates and ultimately commercialize our products in foreign markets, we would be subject to additional risks and uncertainties, including:

different regulatory requirements for approval of drugs in foreign countries;
reduced protection for intellectual property rights;
the existence of additional third-party patent rights of potential relevance to our business;
unexpected changes in tariffs, trade barriers and regulatory requirements;
economic weakness, including inflation, public health emergencies or political instability in particular foreign economies and markets;
compliance with tax, employment, immigration and labor laws for employees living or traveling internationally;
foreign currency fluctuations, which could result in increased operating expenses and reduced revenues, and other obligations incident to doing business in another country;
foreign reimbursement, pricing and insurance regimes;
workforce uncertainty in countries where labor unrest is common;
production shortages resulting from any events affecting raw material supply or manufacturing capabilities internationally; and
business interruptions resulting from geopolitical actions, including war and terrorism, or natural disasters including earthquakes, typhoons, floods and fires.

85


 

Risks Related to Our Business Operations and Industry

Our operating results may fluctuate significantly, which makes our future operating results difficult to predict and could cause our operating results to fall below expectations or any guidance we may provide.

Our quarterly and annual operating results may fluctuate significantly, which makes it difficult for us to predict our future operating results. These fluctuations may occur due to a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control, including, but not limited to:

the timing and cost of, and level of investment in, research, development, regulatory approval and commercialization activities relating to vonoprazan or any future product candidates, which may change from time to time;
coverage and reimbursement policies with respect to vonoprazan or any future product candidates, if approved, and potential future drugs that compete with such products, if approved;
the cost of manufacturing vonoprazan or any future product candidates, which may vary depending on the quantity of production and the terms of our agreements with Takeda, Catalent, Sandoz and any future third-party manufacturers;
business interruptions resulting from geopolitical actions, including war and terrorism, or natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, floods and fires or public health emergencies or pandemics such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic;
the timing and amount of the milestone or other payments we will be required to pay to Takeda pursuant to the Takeda License;
expenditures that we may incur to acquire, develop or commercialize additional product candidates and technologies;
the level of demand for any approved products, which may vary significantly;
future accounting pronouncements or changes in our accounting policies; and
the timing and success or failure of preclinical studies or clinical trials for vonoprazan or any future product candidates or competing product candidates, or any other change in the competitive landscape of our industry, including consolidation among our competitors or partners.

The cumulative effects of these factors could result in large fluctuations and unpredictability in our quarterly and annual operating results. As a result, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful. Investors should not rely on our past results as an indication of our future performance.

This variability and unpredictability could also result in our failing to meet the expectations of industry or financial analysts or investors for any period. If our revenue or operating results fall below the expectations of analysts or investors or below any forecasts we may provide to the market, or if the forecasts we provide to the market are below the expectations of analysts or investors, the price of our common stock could decline substantially. Such a stock price decline could occur even when we have met any previously publicly stated revenue or earnings guidance we may provide.

86


 

Our business is subject to risks arising from epidemic diseases, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact worldwide economic activity. A pandemic, including COVID-19 or other public health epidemic, poses the risk that we or our employees, contractors, including our CROs, suppliers, and other partners may be prevented from conducting business activities for an indefinite period of time, including due to spread of the disease within these groups or due to shutdowns that may be requested or mandated by governmental authorities. In March 2020, due to efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, we announced a temporary pause in randomization of new patients in our Phase 3 trials and did not recommence randomizations in either trial until June 2020. While it is not possible at this time to estimate the full impact that COVID-19 could have on our business, the continued spread of new variants of COVID-19 and the measures taken by the governments of countries affected could, in addition to disrupting our clinical trials, disrupt the supply chain and the manufacture or shipment of drug substance and finished drug product of vonoprazan for use in our clinical trials or in commercial distribution, which could delay our ongoing clinical trials and increase development costs, or impair our ability to successfully commercialize vonoprazan following regulatory approval, and in either case have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. The COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures have also had an adverse impact on global economic conditions which could have an adverse effect on our business and financial condition, including impairing our ability to raise capital when needed. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our results will depend on future developments that are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including new information that may emerge concerning the severity of the virus and the actions to contain its impact.

Our indebtedness may limit our flexibility in operating our business and adversely affect our financial health and competitive position, and all of our obligations under our indebtedness are secured by substantially all of our assets, excluding our intellectual property and certain other assets. If we default on these obligations, our lenders could foreclose on our assets.

In September 2021, we entered into the Loan Agreement with Hercules. We borrowed $100.0 million at the inception of the Loan Agreement and may be eligible to borrow up to an additional $100.0 million. All obligations under the Loan Agreement are secured by a first priority lien on substantially all of our assets, including intellectual property and certain other assets. As a result, if we default on any of our obligations under the Loan Agreement, Hercules could foreclose on its security interest and liquidate some or all of the collateral, which would harm our business, financial condition and results of operations and could require us to reduce or cease operations.

In order to service this indebtedness and any additional indebtedness we may incur in the future, we need to generate cash from our operating activities or other financings. Our ability to generate cash is subject, in part, to our ability to successfully execute our business strategy, as well as general economic, financial, competitive, regulatory and other factors beyond our control. Our business may not be able to generate sufficient cash flow from operations, and future borrowings or other financings may not be available to us in an amount sufficient to enable us to service our indebtedness and fund our other liquidity needs. To the extent we are required to use cash from operations or the proceeds of any future financing to service our indebtedness instead of funding working capital or other general corporate purposes, we will be less able to plan for, or react to, changes in our business, industry and in the economy generally. This could place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less indebtedness.

The Loan Agreement contains customary affirmative and negative covenants that limit our ability to engage in certain transactions that may be in our long-term best interest. The affirmative covenants include, among others, covenants requiring us to maintain certain levels of cash subject to a control agreement in favor of Hercules, and commencing on May 15, 2023, certain levels of trailing three-month net product revenue from the sale of vonoprazan and products containing vonoprazan, deliver certain financial reports, maintain insurance coverage and satisfy certain requirements regarding our operating accounts. The negative covenants include, among others, limitations on our ability to incur additional indebtedness and liens, merge with other companies or consummate certain changes of control, acquire other companies, engage in new lines of business, make certain investments, pay dividends, transfer or dispose of assets, amend certain material agreements or enter into various specified transactions.

87


 

While we believe we are currently in compliance with the covenants contained in the Loan Agreement, we may breach these covenants in the future. Our ability to comply with these covenants may be affected by events and factors beyond our control. In the event that we breach one or more covenants, the lenders may choose to declare an event of default and require that we immediately repay all amounts outstanding under the Loan Agreement, terminate any commitment to extend further credit and foreclose on the collateral. The occurrence of any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We are dependent on the services of our current management and other clinical and scientific personnel, and if we are not able to retain these individuals or recruit additional management or clinical and scientific personnel, our business will suffer.

Our success depends in part on our continued ability to attract, retain and motivate highly qualified management, clinical and scientific personnel. We are highly dependent upon our current senior management team and our development personnel. The loss of services of any of these individuals or personnel could delay or prevent the successful development of our product pipeline, completion of our ongoing clinical trials, initiation or completion of future clinical trials, or the commercialization of vonoprazan or any other future product candidates. Although we have executed employment agreements or offer letters with each member of our senior management team, these agreements are terminable at will with or without notice and, therefore, we may not be able to retain their services as expected. We do not currently maintain “key person” life insurance on the lives of our executives or any of our employees. This lack of insurance means that we may not have adequate compensation for the loss of the services of these individuals.

We will continue to expand and need to effectively manage our managerial, operational, financial and other resources in order to successfully pursue our clinical development and commercialization efforts. We may not be successful in maintaining our unique company culture and continuing to attract or retain qualified management and scientific and clinical personnel in the future due to the intense competition for qualified personnel among pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other businesses. Our industry has experienced a high rate of turnover of management personnel in recent years. If we are not able to attract, integrate, retain and motivate necessary personnel to accomplish our business objectives, we may experience constraints that will significantly impede the achievement of our development objectives, our ability to raise additional capital and our ability to implement our business strategy.

We have recently substantially increased the size of our organization, and we may encounter difficulties in managing our growth and expanding our operations successfully.

We have substantially increased our organization from forty-seven full-time employees in December 2020 to seventy-three full-time employees as of December 31, 2021. As we continue development and pursue the potential commercialization of vonoprazan and any future product candidates, as well as function as a public company, we will continue to expand our marketing, sales, financial, regulatory, and manufacturing capabilities or contract with third parties to provide these capabilities for us. As our operations expand, we expect that we will need to manage additional relationships with various strategic partners, suppliers and other third parties. Our future financial performance and our ability to develop and commercialize vonoprazan and any future product candidates and to compete effectively will depend, in part, on our ability to manage our recent substantial growth and any future growth effectively.

88


 

We are subject to various foreign, federal, and state healthcare laws and regulations, and our failure to comply with these laws and regulations could harm our results of operations and financial condition.

Our business operations and current and future arrangements with investigators, healthcare professionals, consultants, third-party payors, patient organizations and customers expose us to broadly applicable foreign, federal and state fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations. These laws may constrain the business or financial arrangements and relationships through which we conduct our operations, including how we research, market, sell and distribute any products for which we obtain marketing approval. Such laws include, but are not limited to:

the U.S. federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons or entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, offering, receiving or providing any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe or certain rebates), directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward, or in return for, either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, lease, or order, or arranging for or recommending the purchase, lease, or order of any good, facility, item or service, for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under any U.S. federal healthcare program, such as Medicare and Medicaid. A person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;
the U.S. civil and criminal federal false claims laws, including the civil False Claims Act, which can be enforced through civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, and civil monetary penalties laws, which prohibit, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, to the federal government, claims for payment or approval that are false or fraudulent, knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim, or from knowingly making or causing to be made a false statement to avoid, decrease or conceal an obligation to pay money to the U.S. federal government. In addition, the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the False Claims Act;
the U.S. federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, which imposes criminal and civil liability for, among other things, knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, or knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making any materially false statement, in connection with the delivery of, or payment for, healthcare benefits, items or services. Similar to the U.S. federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the healthcare fraud statute implemented under HIPAA or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;
the U.S. federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which requires certain manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (with certain exceptions) to report annually to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, information related to certain payments and other “transfers of value” made to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors) , certain non-physician practitioners (physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, anesthesiologist assistants, certified registered nurse anesthetists, anesthesiology assistants and certified nurse midwives)and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by the physicians described above and their immediate family members; and

89


 

analogous state and foreign laws and regulations, such as state anti-kickback and false claims laws, which may apply to our business practices, including but not limited to, research, distribution, sales and marketing arrangements and claims involving healthcare items or services reimbursed by non-governmental third-party payors, including private insurers, or by the patients themselves; 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 otherwise restrict payments that may be made to healthcare providers and other potential referral sources; and state laws and regulations that require drug manufacturers to file reports relating to pricing and marketing information or which require tracking gifts and other remuneration and items of value provided to physicians, other healthcare providers and entities.

We may also be subject to additional regulation in the conduct of our business. For example, we may be subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, which prohibits, among other things, U.S. companies and their employees and agents from authorizing, promising, offering, or providing, directly or indirectly, corrupt or improper payments or anything else of value to foreign government officials, employees of public international organizations and foreign government owned or affiliated entities, candidates for foreign political office, and foreign political parties or officials thereof.

Ensuring that our internal operations and business arrangements with third parties comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations could involve substantial costs. It is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices do not comply with current or future statutes, regulations, agency guidance 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 the laws described above or any other governmental laws and regulations that may apply to us, we may be subject to significant penalties, including civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, fines, exclusion from U.S. government funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, or similar programs in other countries or jurisdictions, disgorgement, imprisonment, contractual damages, reputational harm, 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, diminished profits and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations. Further, defending against any such actions can be costly, time consuming and may require significant financial and personnel resources. Therefore, even if we are successful in defending against any such actions that may be brought against us, our business may be impaired. If any of the physicians or other providers or entities with whom we expect to do business are found not to be in compliance with applicable laws, they may be subject to significant criminal, civil or administrative sanctions, including exclusion from government funded healthcare programs and imprisonment. If any of the above occur, it could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our results of operations.

Enacted and future legislation and healthcare reform measures may increase the difficulty and cost for us to obtain marketing approval for and commercialize vonoprazan and any future product candidates and may affect the prices we may set.

In the United States and some foreign jurisdictions, there have been, and we expect there will continue to be, a number of legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes to the healthcare system, including cost-containment measures that may reduce or limit coverage and reimbursement for newly approved drugs and affect our ability to profitably sell any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. In particular, there have been and continue to be a number of initiatives at the U.S. federal and state levels that seek to reduce healthcare costs and improve the quality of healthcare.

90


 

For example, in March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, collectively the Affordable Care Act, was enacted in the United States. Among the provisions of the Affordable Care Act of importance to our potential product candidates, the Affordable Care Act includes:

an annual, nondeductible fee on any entity that manufactures or imports specified branded prescription drugs and biologic agents, which is apportioned among these entities according to their market share in certain government healthcare programs;
a Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period, as a condition for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D;
an increase in the statutory minimum rebates a manufacturer must pay under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program to 23.1% and 13.0% of the average manufacturer price for branded and generic drugs, respectively;
a methodology by which rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program are calculated for drugs that are inhaled, infused, instilled, implanted or injected;
an extension of a manufacturers’ Medicaid rebate liability to covered drugs dispensed to individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations;
expansion of the entities eligible for discounts under the Public Health Service pharmaceutical pricing program;
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
establishment of a Center for Medicare Innovation at CMS to test innovative payment and service delivery models to lower Medicare and Medicaid spending, potentially including prescription drug spending.

Since its enactment, there have been judicial and political challenges to certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act. On June 17, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the most recent judicial challenge to the ACA without specifically ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA. Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, President Biden issued an executive order to initiate a special enrollment period from February 15, 2021 through August 15, 2021 for purposes of obtaining health insurance coverage through the ACA marketplace. The executive order also instructed certain governmental agencies to review and reconsider their existing policies and rules that limit access to healthcare, including among others, reexamining Medicaid demonstration projects and waiver programs that include work requirements, and policies that create unnecessary barriers to obtaining access to health insurance coverage through Medicaid or the ACA.

91


 

In addition, other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. These changes included aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to providers of 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect on April 1, 2013 and, due to subsequent legislative amendments to the statute will remain in effect through 2030, with the exception of a temporary suspension from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2022, unless additional Congressional action is taken. On January 2, 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was signed into law, which, among other things, reduced Medicare payments to several providers, including hospitals, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years. Further, there has been heightened governmental scrutiny in the United States of pharmaceutical pricing practices in light of the rising cost of prescription drugs. At the federal level, 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. For example, the Build Back Better Act, if enacted, would introduce substantial drug pricing reforms, including the establishment of a drug price negotiation program within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would require manufacturers to charge a negotiated “maximum fair price” for certain selected drugs or pay an excise tax for noncompliance, and the establishment of rebate payment requirements on manufacturers of certain drugs payable under Medicare Parts B and D. If the Build Back Better Act is not enacted, similar or other drug pricing proposals could appear in future legislation.

The likelihood of implementation of these and other reform initiatives is uncertain. In the coming years, additional legislative and regulatory changes could be made to governmental health programs that could significantly impact pharmaceutical companies and the success of our product candidates.

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. In addition, regional healthcare authorities and individual hospitals are increasingly using bidding procedures to determine what pharmaceutical products and which suppliers will be included in their prescription drug and other healthcare programs. Furthermore, there has been increased interest by third party payors and governmental authorities in reference pricing systems and publication of discounts and list prices. These reforms could reduce the ultimate demand for vonoprazan and any future product candidates, if approved, or put pressure on our product pricing, which could negatively affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

We expect that these healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future may result in more rigorous coverage criteria, new payment methodologies and additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any approved product. 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 vonoprazan and any future product candidates, if approved.

We and any of our third-party manufacturers or suppliers may use potent chemical agents and hazardous materials, and any claims relating to improper handling, storage or disposal of these materials could be time consuming or costly.

We and any of our third-party manufacturers or suppliers will use biological materials, potent chemical agents and may use hazardous materials, including chemicals and biological agents and compounds that could be dangerous to human health and safety of the environment. Our operations and the operations of our third-party manufacturers and suppliers also produce hazardous waste products. Federal, state and local laws and regulations govern the use, generation, manufacture, storage, handling and disposal of these materials and wastes. Compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations may be expensive, and current or future environmental laws and regulations may impair our product development efforts. In addition, we cannot eliminate the risk of accidental injury or contamination from these materials or wastes. We do not carry specific biological or hazardous waste insurance coverage, and our property, casualty and general liability insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for damages and fines arising from biological or hazardous waste exposure or contamination. In the event of contamination or injury, we could be held liable for damages or be penalized with fines in an amount exceeding our resources, and our clinical trials or regulatory approvals could be suspended.

92


 

Although we maintain workers’ compensation insurance for certain costs and expenses we may incur due to injuries to our employees resulting from the use of hazardous materials or other work- related injuries, this insurance may not provide adequate coverage against potential liabilities. We do not maintain insurance for toxic tort claims that may be asserted against us in connection with our storage or disposal of biologic, hazardous or radioactive materials.

In addition, we may incur substantial costs in order to comply with current or future environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, which have tended to become more stringent over time. These current or future laws and regulations may impair our research, development or production efforts. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations also may result in substantial fines, penalties or other sanctions or liabilities, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

If product liability lawsuits are brought against us, we may incur substantial liabilities and may be required to limit commercialization of our products.

We face an inherent risk of product liability as a result of the clinical trials of vonoprazan and any future product candidates and will face an even greater risk if we obtain regulatory approval for and commercialize vonoprazan or any future product candidates. For example, we may be sued if vonoprazan or any future product candidates allegedly cause injury or are found to be otherwise unsuitable during product testing, manufacturing, marketing or sale. Any such product liability claims may include allegations of defects in manufacturing, defects in design, a failure to warn of dangers inherent in the product candidate, negligence, strict liability and a breach of warranties. Claims may be brought against us by clinical trial participants, patients or others using, administering or selling products that may be approved in the future. Claims could also be asserted under state consumer protection acts.

If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims, we may incur substantial liabilities or be required to limit or cease the commercialization of our products. Even a successful defense would require significant financial and management resources. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:

decreased demand for our products;
injury to our reputation and significant negative media attention;
withdrawal of clinical trial participants;
costs to defend the related litigation;
a diversion of management’s time and our resources;
substantial monetary awards to trial participants or patients;
product recalls, withdrawals or labeling, marketing or promotional restrictions;
significant negative financial impact;
the inability to commercialize vonoprazan and any future product candidates; and
a decline in our stock price.

93


 

We currently maintain product liability insurance coverage in connection with our clinical trials, but do not maintain such insurance coverage for commercialization of vonoprazan and any future product candidates. Insurance coverage is increasingly expensive. Our inability to obtain and retain sufficient product liability insurance at an acceptable cost to protect against potential product liability claims could prevent or inhibit the commercialization of vonoprazan and any future product candidates. Although we plan to maintain such insurance, any claim that may be brought against us could result in a court judgment or settlement in an amount that is not covered, in whole or in part, by our insurance or that is in excess of the limits of our insurance coverage. Our insurance policies have, and future policies will also have, various exclusions, and we may be subject to a product liability claim for which we have no coverage. We may have to pay any amounts awarded by a court or negotiated in a settlement that exceed our coverage limitations or that are not covered by our insurance, and we may not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient capital to pay such amounts.

We and others, including any of our potential future collaborators, will be required to report to regulatory authorities if any of our approved products cause or contribute to adverse medical events, and any failure to do so would result in sanctions that would materially harm our business.

If we or any of our potential future collaborators are successful in commercializing vonoprazan or any future product candidates, the FDA and foreign regulatory authorities would require that we and Takeda (with respect to vonoprazan) and any of our current or potential future collaborators, report certain information about adverse medical events if those products may have caused or contributed to those adverse events. The timing of our obligation to report would be triggered by the date we become aware of the adverse event as well as the nature of the event. We, Takeda and any of our potential future collaborators or CROs may fail to report adverse events within the prescribed timeframe. If we, Takeda or any of our potential future collaborators or CROs fail to comply with such reporting obligations, the FDA or a foreign regulatory authority could take action, including criminal prosecution, the imposition of civil monetary penalties, seizure of our products or delay in approval of future products.

Actual or perceived failures to comply with applicable data protection, privacy and security laws, regulations, standards and other requirements could adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

The global data protection landscape is rapidly evolving, and we are or may become subject to numerous state, federal and foreign laws, requirements and regulations governing the collection, use, disclosure, retention, and security of personal data, such as information that we may collect in connection with clinical trials in the U.S. and abroad. Implementation standards and enforcement practices are likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future, and we cannot yet determine the impact future laws, regulations, standards, or perception of their requirements may have on our business. This evolution may create uncertainty in our business, affect our ability to operate in certain jurisdictions or to collect, store, transfer use and share personal information, necessitate the acceptance of more onerous obligations in our contracts, result in liability or impose additional costs on us. The cost of compliance with these laws, regulations and standards is high and is likely to increase in the future. Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with federal, state or foreign laws or regulations, our internal policies and procedures or our contracts governing our processing of personal information could result in negative publicity, government investigations and enforcement actions, claims by third parties and damage to our reputation, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our operations, financial performance and business.

94


 

As our operations and business grow, we may become subject to or affected by new or additional data protection laws and regulations and face increased scrutiny or attention from regulatory authorities. In the U.S., HIPAA imposes, among other things, certain standards relating to the privacy, security, transmission and breach reporting of individually identifiable health information. Certain states have also adopted comparable privacy and security laws and regulations, some of which may be more stringent than HIPAA. Such laws and regulations will be subject to interpretation by various courts and other governmental authorities, thus creating potentially complex compliance issues for us and our future customers and strategic partners. In addition, California enacted the CCPA on June 28, 2018, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA creates individual privacy rights for California consumers and increases the privacy and security obligations of entities handling certain personal information. It 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. Further, the CPRA recently passed in California. The CPRA will impose additional data protection obligations on covered businesses, including additional consumer rights processes, limitations on data uses, new audit requirements for higher risk data, and opt outs for certain uses of sensitive data. It will also create a new California data protection agency authorized to issue substantive regulations and could result in increased privacy and information security enforcement. The majority of the provisions will go into effect on January 1, 2023, and additional compliance investment and potential business process changes may be required. Similar laws have passed in Virginia and Colorado and have been proposed in other states and at the federal level, reflecting a trend toward more stringent privacy legislation in the United States. The enactment of such laws could have potentially conflicting requirements that would make compliance challenging. In the event that we are subject to or affected by HIPAA, the CCPA, the CPRA or other domestic privacy and data protection laws, any liability from failure to comply with the requirements of these laws could adversely affect our financial condition.

Furthermore, the FTC and many state Attorneys General continue to enforce federal and state consumer protection laws against companies for online collection, use, dissemination and security practices that appear to be unfair or deceptive. For example, according to the FTC, failing to take appropriate steps to keep consumers’ personal information secure can constitute unfair acts or practices in or affecting commerce in violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission 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.

95


 

In Europe, GDPR, went into effect in May 2018 and imposes strict requirements for processing the personal data of individuals within the EEA. Companies that must comply with the GDPR face increased compliance obligations and risk, including more robust regulatory enforcement of data protection requirements and potential fines for noncompliance of up to €20 million or 4% of the annual global revenues of the noncompliant company, whichever is greater. In addition, the GDPR increases the scrutiny of transfers of personal data from the EEA to the United States and other jurisdictions that the European Commission does not recognize as having “adequate” data protection laws. In 2016, the EU and United States agreed to a transfer framework for data transferred from the EU to the United States called the Privacy Shield, but in July 2020 the Court of Justice of the EU, or the CJEU, limited how organizations could lawfully transfer personal data from the EEA to the United States by invalidating the Privacy Shield for purposes of international transfers and imposing further restrictions on use of the standard contractual clauses, or SCCs. While the CJEU upheld the adequacy of the SCCs, it made clear that reliance on them alone may not necessarily be sufficient in all circumstances. Use of the SCCs 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 and additional measures and/or contractual provisions may need to be put in place, however, the nature of these additional measures is currently uncertain. The CJEU went on to state that if a competent supervisory authority believes that the SCCs cannot be complied with in the destination country and the required level of protection cannot be secured by other means, such supervisory authority is under an obligation to suspend or prohibit that transfer. The European Commission issued revised SCCs on June 4, 2021 to account for the decision of the CJEU and recommendations made by the European Data Protection Board. The revised SCCs must be used for relevant new data transfers from September 27, 2021; existing standard contractual clauses arrangements must be migrated to the revised clauses by December 27, 2022. There is some uncertainty around whether the revised clauses can be used for all types of data transfers, particularly whether they can be relied on for data transfers to non-EEA entities subject to the GDPR. The revised SCCs apply only to the transfer of personal data outside of the EEA and not the UK; the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office launched a public consultation on its draft revised data transfers mechanisms in August 2021. As supervisory authorities issue further guidance on personal data export mechanisms, including circumstances where the SCCs cannot be used, and/or start taking enforcement action, we could suffer additional costs, complaints and/or regulatory investigations or fines, and/or if we are otherwise unable to transfer personal data between and among countries and regions in which we operate, it could affect the manner in which we provide our services, the geographical location or segregation of our relevant systems and operations, and could adversely affect our financial results. The European Commission issued revised SCCs on June 4, 2021 to account for the decision of the CJEU and recommendations made by the European Data Protection Board. The revised SCCs must be used for relevant new data transfers from September 27, 2021; existing standard contractual clauses arrangements must be migrated to the revised clauses by December 27, 2022. The new SCCs apply only to the transfer of personal data outside of the EEA and not the United Kingdom; the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office launched a public consultation on its draft revised data transfers mechanisms in August 2021. There is some uncertainty around whether the revised clauses can be used for all types of data transfers, particularly whether they can be relied on for data transfers to non-EEA entities subject to the GDPR. As supervisory authorities issue further guidance on personal data export mechanisms, including circumstances where the SCCs cannot be used, and/or start taking enforcement action, we could suffer additional costs, complaints and/or regulatory investigations or fines, and/or if we are otherwise unable to transfer personal data between and among countries and regions in which we operate, it could affect the manner in which we provide our services, the geographical location or segregation of our relevant systems and operations, and could adversely affect our financial results.

96


 

Our internal computer systems, or those of any of our CROs, manufacturers, service providers, other contractors or consultants or potential future collaborators, may fail or suffer security breaches, which could result in a material disruption of our product development programs.

The United States federal and various state and foreign governments have adopted or proposed requirements regarding the collection, distribution, use, security, and storage of personally identifiable information and other data relating to individuals, and federal and state consumer protection laws are being applied to enforce regulations related to the online collection, use, and dissemination of data. Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems and those of our current and any future CROs and other service providers, contractors, consultants and collaborators are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, cybersecurity threats, unauthorized access, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication and electrical failures. Attacks upon information technology systems are increasing in their frequency, levels of persistence, sophistication and intensity, and are being conducted by sophisticated and organized groups and individuals with a wide range of motives and expertise. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may also face increased cybersecurity risks due to our reliance on internet technology and the increased number of our employees who are working remotely, which may create additional opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities. Furthermore, because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access to, or to sabotage, systems change frequently and often are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or implement adequate preventative measures. We may also experience security breaches that may remain undetected for an extended period. If such an event were to occur and cause interruptions in our operations or result in the unauthorized disclosure of or access to personally identifiable information or individually identifiable health information (violating certain privacy laws such as GDPR), it could result in a material disruption of our development programs and our business operations, whether due to a loss of our trade secrets or other similar disruptions. Some of the federal, state and foreign government requirements include obligations of companies to notify individuals of security breaches involving particular personally identifiable information, which could result from breaches experienced by us or by our vendors, contractors, or organizations with which we have formed strategic relationships. Even though we may have contractual protections with such vendors, contractors, or other organizations, notifications and follow-up actions related to a security breach could impact our reputation, cause us to incur significant costs, including legal expenses, harm customer confidence, hurt our expansion into new markets, cause us to incur remediation costs, or cau