fate-10k_20201231.htm
0001434316 false --12-31 FY P2Y P2Y P2Y P2Y P2Y P3M P1Y true true P2Y8M12D P9M18D 0.48 P4Y 0 0.48 P3Y us-gaap:LicenseMember us-gaap:LicenseMember us-gaap:LicenseMember P18Y P7Y8M23D P7Y5M23D P7Y5M23D P6Y6M3D P2Y7M20D P2Y7M20D P2Y7M20D P5Y6M P6Y1M6D P6Y 0001434316 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 iso4217:USD 0001434316 2020-06-30 xbrli:shares 0001434316 2021-02-22 0001434316 2020-12-31 0001434316 2019-12-31 iso4217:USD xbrli:shares 0001434316 us-gaap:ConvertiblePreferredStockMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ConvertiblePreferredStockMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ConvertiblePreferredStockMember 2017-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CommonStockMember 2017-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember 2017-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember 2017-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember 2017-12-31 0001434316 2017-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CommonStockMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ConvertiblePreferredStockMember 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CommonStockMember 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember 2018-12-31 0001434316 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CommonStockMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ConvertiblePreferredStockMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CommonStockMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CommonStockMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CommonStockMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AdditionalPaidInCapitalMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:AccumulatedOtherComprehensiveIncomeMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RetainedEarningsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:StockOptionAndIncentivePlan2013Member 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:JuneTwentyTwentyPublicEquityOfferingMember 2020-06-01 2020-06-30 0001434316 fate:JuneTwentyTwentyPublicEquityOfferingMember 2020-06-30 0001434316 fate:SeptemberTwentyNineteenPublicEquityOfferingMember 2019-09-01 2019-09-30 0001434316 fate:SeptemberTwentyNineteenPublicEquityOfferingMember 2019-09-30 0001434316 fate:SeptemberTwentyEighteenPublicEquityOfferingMember 2018-09-01 2018-09-30 0001434316 fate:SeptemberTwentyEighteenPublicEquityOfferingMember 2018-09-30 0001434316 us-gaap:PrivatePlacementMember fate:JohnsonJohnsonInnovationJJDCIncMember us-gaap:CommonStockMember 2020-06-01 2020-06-30 0001434316 us-gaap:PrivatePlacementMember fate:JohnsonJohnsonInnovationJJDCIncMember us-gaap:CommonStockMember 2020-06-30 0001434316 us-gaap:PrivatePlacementMember fate:JohnsonJohnsonInnovationJJDCIncMember us-gaap:CommonStockMember fate:StockPurchaseAgreementMember 2020-04-01 2020-04-30 0001434316 us-gaap:PrivatePlacementMember fate:JohnsonJohnsonInnovationJJDCIncMember us-gaap:CommonStockMember fate:StockPurchaseAgreementMember 2020-04-30 fate:segment 0001434316 us-gaap:LetterOfCreditMember fate:SiliconValleyBankMember 2020-01-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FurnitureAndFixturesMember srt:MinimumMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FurnitureAndFixturesMember srt:MaximumMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ComputerEquipmentMember srt:MinimumMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ComputerEquipmentMember srt:MaximumMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:ScientificEquipmentMember srt:MinimumMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:ScientificEquipmentMember srt:MaximumMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:OfficeEquipmentMember srt:MinimumMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:OfficeEquipmentMember srt:MaximumMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ConstructionInProgressMember srt:MinimumMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ConstructionInProgressMember srt:MaximumMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 srt:MaximumMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:WarrantsForCommonStockMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:StockCompensationPlanMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:StockCompensationPlanMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:StockCompensationPlanMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RestrictedStockUnitsRSUMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RestrictedStockUnitsRSUMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RestrictedStockUnitsRSUMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:SeriesAPreferredStockMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:SeriesAPreferredStockMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:SeriesAPreferredStockMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 fate:JanssenBiotechIncMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:FirstJanssenCancerTargetMember fate:JanssenAgreementMember srt:MaximumMember 2020-04-07 2020-04-07 0001434316 fate:AdditionalCancerTargetsMember fate:JanssenAgreementMember srt:MaximumMember 2020-04-07 2020-04-07 0001434316 fate:StockPurchaseAgreementMember fate:JohnsonJohnsonInnovationJJDCIncMember 2020-04-01 2020-04-02 0001434316 fate:StockPurchaseAgreementMember fate:JohnsonJohnsonInnovationJJDCIncMember 2020-04-02 0001434316 fate:JohnsonJohnsonInnovationJJDCIncMember us-gaap:PrivatePlacementMember fate:StockPurchaseAgreementMember 2020-06-30 0001434316 fate:JohnsonJohnsonInnovationJJDCIncMember us-gaap:PrivatePlacementMember fate:StockPurchaseAgreementMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:JohnsonJohnsonInnovationJJDCIncMember us-gaap:PrivatePlacementMember fate:StockPurchaseAgreementMember 2020-06-01 2020-06-30 0001434316 fate:JanssenBiotechIncMember 2020-04-01 2020-04-02 0001434316 fate:JanssenBiotechIncMember 2020-04-02 0001434316 fate:JanssenBiotechIncMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:JanssenBiotechIncMember us-gaap:ResearchAndDevelopmentExpenseMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:JanssenBiotechIncMember fate:UpfrontFeeAndEquityPremiumMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember fate:OnoLetterAgreementMember 2020-12-04 xbrli:pure 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember srt:MinimumMember 2018-09-13 2018-09-14 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember 2018-09-13 2018-09-14 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember 2018-09-14 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember srt:MaximumMember fate:CandidateTwoMember 2018-09-13 2018-09-14 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember fate:CandidateTwoMember 2018-09-13 2018-09-14 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember 2018-10-01 2018-10-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember fate:SublicenseConsiderationMember fate:OnoLetterAgreementMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember 2020-12-04 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember fate:ResearchServicesMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember fate:ResearchServicesMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember fate:ResearchServicesMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember fate:UpfrontFeeMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember fate:UpfrontFeeMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember fate:UpfrontFeeMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:OnoPharmaceuticalCompanyLtdMember fate:OnoLetterAgreementMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:JunoTherapeuticsIncMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember 2019-05-03 2019-05-04 0001434316 fate:JunoTherapeuticsIncMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember 2019-05-31 0001434316 fate:JunoTherapeuticsIncMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:JunoTherapeuticsIncMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:JunoTherapeuticsIncMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 fate:JunoTherapeuticsIncMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember fate:ResearchServicesMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:JunoTherapeuticsIncMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember fate:ResearchServicesMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 fate:JunoTherapeuticsIncMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember fate:UpfrontFeeAndEquityPremiumMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:JunoTherapeuticsIncMember us-gaap:CollaborativeArrangementMember fate:UpfrontFeeAndEquityPremiumMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 fate:AmendedAndRestatedExclusiveLicenseAgreementMember fate:MemorialSloanKetteringCancerCenterMember 2018-05-15 0001434316 fate:MemorialSloanKetteringCancerCenterMember fate:AmendedAndRestatedExclusiveLicenseAgreementMember 2018-05-14 2018-05-15 0001434316 fate:AmendedMSKLicenseMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:AmendedMSKLicenseMember fate:MilestoneOneMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:AmendedMSKLicenseMember fate:MilestoneTwoMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:AmendedMSKLicenseMember fate:MilestoneThreeMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:AmendedMSKLicenseMember fate:MilestoneOneMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:AmendedMSKLicenseMember fate:MilestoneTwoMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:AmendedMSKLicenseMember fate:MilestoneThreeMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:AmendedMSKLicenseMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:GladstoneMember fate:GladstoneLicenseAgreementMember 2018-09-11 0001434316 fate:GladstoneMember fate:GladstoneLicenseAgreementMember 2018-09-10 2018-09-11 0001434316 fate:CaliforniaInstituteForRegenerativeMedicineMember fate:FTFiveOneSixMember 2018-04-05 2018-04-05 0001434316 fate:CaliforniaInstituteForRegenerativeMedicineMember fate:FTFiveOneSixMember 2018-04-05 fate:Disbursement 0001434316 fate:CaliforniaInstituteForRegenerativeMedicineMember fate:DebtInstrumentRepaymentPhaseOneRateMember 2018-04-05 2018-04-05 0001434316 fate:CaliforniaInstituteForRegenerativeMedicineMember fate:DebtInstrumentRepaymentPhaseTwoRateMember 2018-04-05 2018-04-05 0001434316 fate:CaliforniaInstituteForRegenerativeMedicineMember fate:DebtInstrumentRepaymentPhaseThreeRateMember 2018-04-05 2018-04-05 0001434316 fate:CaliforniaInstituteForRegenerativeMedicineMember fate:DebtInstrumentRepaymentPhaseFourRateMember 2018-04-05 2018-04-05 0001434316 fate:CaliforniaInstituteForRegenerativeMedicineMember us-gaap:LondonInterbankOfferedRateLIBORMember 2018-04-05 0001434316 fate:CaliforniaInstituteForRegenerativeMedicineMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ForeignGovernmentDebtSecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:MunicipalNotesMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CorporateDebtSecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CommercialPaperMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CorporateDebtSecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherNoncurrentAssetsMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CorporateDebtSecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherNoncurrentAssetsMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ForeignGovernmentDebtSecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:MunicipalNotesMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CorporateDebtSecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CommercialPaperMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ShortTermInvestmentsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CorporateDebtSecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherCurrentAssetsMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ShortTermInvestmentsMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherNoncurrentAssetsMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CorporateDebtSecuritiesMember us-gaap:OtherNoncurrentAssetsMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:OtherLongTermInvestmentsMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:PrepaidExpensesAndOtherAssetsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:PrepaidExpensesAndOtherAssetsMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:MoneyMarketFundsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:MoneyMarketFundsMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel1Member 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel1Member 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:ForeignGovernmentDebtSecuritiesMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:ForeignGovernmentDebtSecuritiesMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Member 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:MunicipalNotesMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:MunicipalNotesMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Member 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:CorporateDebtSecuritiesMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:CorporateDebtSecuritiesMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Member 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:CommercialPaperMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:CommercialPaperMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Member 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel1Member 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Member 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember fate:StockPriceAppreciationMilestonesMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember fate:StockPriceAppreciationMilestonesMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:MoneyMarketFundsMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:MoneyMarketFundsMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel1Member 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:USTreasurySecuritiesMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel1Member 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:CorporateDebtSecuritiesMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:CorporateDebtSecuritiesMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Member 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel1Member 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsRecurringMember us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel2Member 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:StockPriceIncreasedByTenPercentPerShareMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:StockPriceDecreasedByTenPercentPerShareMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueInputsLevel3Member 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FairValueMeasurementsNonrecurringMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FurnitureAndFixturesMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:FurnitureAndFixturesMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:ComputerAndOfficeEquipmentMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:ComputerAndOfficeEquipmentMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:SoftwareAndSoftwareDevelopmentCostsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:SoftwareAndSoftwareDevelopmentCostsMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:LeaseholdImprovementsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:LeaseholdImprovementsMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:ScientificEquipmentMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:ScientificEquipmentMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ConstructionInProgressMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ConstructionInProgressMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:LoanAndSecurityAgreementMember 2019-11-13 0001434316 fate:LoanAndSecurityAgreementMember 2019-11-13 2019-11-13 0001434316 srt:MinimumMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 srt:MaximumMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 srt:MaximumMember us-gaap:LeaseAgreementsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:LeaseAgreementsMember 2020-01-01 2020-01-31 0001434316 srt:MaximumMember us-gaap:LeaseAgreementsMember 2020-01-01 2020-01-31 0001434316 us-gaap:LeaseAgreementsMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:LeaseAgreementsMember 2020-01-31 0001434316 fate:November2016PlacementMember us-gaap:PreferredClassAMember 2016-11-30 0001434316 fate:November2016PlacementMember us-gaap:CommonStockMember 2016-11-01 2016-11-30 0001434316 fate:November2016PlacementMember us-gaap:CommonStockMember 2016-11-30 0001434316 us-gaap:PreferredClassAMember srt:MaximumMember fate:RedmileGroupLimitedLiabilityCompanyAndAffiliatesMember 2016-11-30 0001434316 us-gaap:PreferredClassAMember fate:RedmileGroupLimitedLiabilityCompanyAndAffiliatesMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:PreferredClassAMember srt:MaximumMember 2017-05-02 0001434316 fate:StockOptionAndIncentivePlan2013Member 2013-08-28 0001434316 fate:StockOptionAndIncentivePlan2013Member 2017-05-31 0001434316 fate:StockOptionAndIncentivePlan2013Member fate:EmployeeAndNonEmployeeStockOptionMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:InducementPlanMember 2016-05-10 0001434316 fate:InducementPlanMember 2020-03-31 0001434316 fate:InducementPlanMember 2018-01-31 0001434316 fate:InducementPlanMember 2019-01-31 0001434316 us-gaap:EmployeeStockMember 2013-09-13 0001434316 us-gaap:EmployeeStockMember 2013-09-11 2013-09-13 0001434316 2013-09-14 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:StockOptionAndIncentivePlan2013Member fate:EmployeeAndNonEmployeeStockOptionMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:StockOptionAndIncentivePlan2013Member fate:EmployeeAndNonEmployeeStockOptionMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:StockOptionAndIncentivePlan2013Member fate:EmployeeAndNonEmployeeStockOptionMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:StockOptionAndIncentivePlan2013Member fate:EmployeesAndDirectorsStockOptionsMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 fate:StockOptionAndIncentivePlan2013Member 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:StockOptionAndIncentivePlan2013Member 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 fate:StockOptionAndIncentivePlan2013Member fate:EmployeeAndNonEmployeeStockOptionMember 2018-12-31 0001434316 fate:StockOptionAndIncentivePlan2013Member fate:EmployeeAndNonEmployeeStockOptionMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 fate:EmployeeAndNonEmployeeStockOptionMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:EmployeeAndNonEmployeeStockOptionMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:EmployeeAndNonEmployeeStockOptionMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RestrictedStockUnitsRSUMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RestrictedStockUnitsRSUMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RestrictedStockUnitsRSUMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RestrictedStockUnitsRSUMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RestrictedStockUnitsRSUMember 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RestrictedStockUnitsRSUMember 2017-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RestrictedStockUnitsRSUMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:RestrictedStockUnitsRSUMember 2017-01-01 2017-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ResearchAndDevelopmentExpenseMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ResearchAndDevelopmentExpenseMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:ResearchAndDevelopmentExpenseMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:GeneralAndAdministrativeExpenseMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:GeneralAndAdministrativeExpenseMember 2019-01-01 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:GeneralAndAdministrativeExpenseMember 2018-01-01 2018-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:SeriesAPreferredStockMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:SeriesAPreferredStockMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:EmployeeStockOptionMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:EmployeeStockOptionMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:StockCompensationPlanMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:StockCompensationPlanMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 fate:InducementPlanMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 fate:InducementPlanMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:EmployeeStockMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:EmployeeStockMember 2019-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:DomesticCountryMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:StateAndLocalJurisdictionMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:DomesticCountryMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:StateAndLocalJurisdictionMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:DomesticCountryMember us-gaap:ResearchMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:StateAndLocalJurisdictionMember us-gaap:ResearchMember 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:DomesticCountryMember us-gaap:ResearchMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 us-gaap:CaliforniaFranchiseTaxBoardMember 2020-01-01 2020-12-31 0001434316 2009-01-01 2009-01-02 0001434316 fate:JanuaryTwentyTwentyOnePublicEquityOfferingMember us-gaap:SubsequentEventMember 2021-01-01 2021-01-31 0001434316 fate:JanuaryTwentyTwentyOnePublicEquityOfferingMember us-gaap:SubsequentEventMember 2021-01-31 0001434316 fate:PreFundedWarrantsMember us-gaap:SubsequentEventMember 2021-01-31 0001434316 fate:PreFundedWarrantsMember us-gaap:SubsequentEventMember 2021-01-01 2021-01-31

Table of Contents

 

 

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, 2020

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 001-36076

 

FATE THERAPEUTICS, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

65-1311552

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

 

3535 General Atomics Court, Suite 200, San Diego, CA

 

92121

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

(858875-1800

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

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, $0.001 par value

FATE

NASDAQ Global 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      or    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      or    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      or    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  

The aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $2,490,000,000 as of June 30, 2020 based upon the closing sale price on The Nasdaq Global Market reported for such date. Shares of common stock held by each executive officer and director and certain holders of more than 10% of the outstanding shares of the registrant’s common stock have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. Shares of common stock held by other persons, including certain other holders of more than 10% of the outstanding shares of common stock, have not been excluded in that such persons are not deemed to be affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes.

The number of outstanding shares of the registrant’s common stock, par value $0.001 per share, as of February 22, 2021 was 93,783,374.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, on or before the date 120 days after the conclusion of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 pursuant to Regulation 14A in connection with the registrant’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this annual report on Form 10-K.

 


Table of Contents

 

 

FATE THERAPEUTICS, INC.

Annual Report on Form 10-K

For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2020

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

Page

RISK FACTOR SUMMARY

 

1

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

3

PART I

Item 1.

 

Business

 

5

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

 

35

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

67

Item 2.

 

Properties

 

67

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

 

68

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

68

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

 

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

 

69

Item 6.

 

Selected Financial Data

 

70

Item 7.

 

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

 

71

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

84

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

85

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

116

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

116

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

 

118

PART III

 

119

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

119

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

 

119

Item 12.

 

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

 

119

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

119

Item 14.

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

 

119

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

120

Item 16.

 

Form 10-K Summary

 

120

SIGNATURES

 

125

 

 

 


Table of Contents

 

 

RISK FACTOR SUMMARY

 

Below is a summary of the principal factors that make an investment in our common stock speculative or risky. This summary does not address all of the risks that we face. Additional discussion of the risks summarized in this risk factor summary, and other risks that we face, can be found below under the heading “Risk Factors” and should be carefully considered, together with other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and our other filings with the SEC before making investment decisions regarding our common stock.

 

 

The global novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), pandemic could adversely impact various aspects of our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

We may face delays in initiating, conducting or completing our clinical trials, including due to difficulties enrolling patients in our clinical trials, and we may not be able to initiate, conduct or complete them at all.

 

If we fail to complete the preclinical or clinical development of, or to obtain regulatory approval for, our product candidates, our business would be significantly harmed.

 

The manufacture and distribution of our cell product candidates is complex and subject to a multitude of risks. These risks could substantially limit the clinical and commercial supply of our product candidates and increase our costs, and the development and commercialization of our product candidates could be significantly delayed or restricted if the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or other regulatory authorities impose additional requirements on our manufacturing operations or if we are required to change our manufacturing operations to comply with regulatory requirements.

 

Our inability to manufacture sufficient quantities of our product candidates, or the loss of our third-party contract manufacturers, or our or their failure to supply sufficient quantities of our product candidates at acceptable quality levels or prices, or at all, would materially and adversely affect our business.

 

We have limited experience manufacturing our product candidates on a clinical scale, and no experience manufacturing on a commercial scale. Any failure by the third parties on whom we depend to manufacture our product candidates, including third-party cell processing facilities, consistently and under the proper conditions may result in delays to our clinical development plans and impair our ability to obtain approval for, or commercialize, our product candidates.

 

We depend on third party suppliers, including sole source suppliers, for the provision of reagents, materials, devices and equipment that are used by us and our third party contract manufacturers in the production of our product candidates, the loss of which could adversely impact our ability to conduct our clinical trials or commercialize our product candidates, if approved.

 

We depend on strategic partnerships and collaboration arrangements for the development and commercialization of certain of our product candidates in certain indications or geographic territories, and if these arrangements are unsuccessful, this could result in delays and other obstacles in the development, manufacture or commercialization of any of our product candidates and materially harm our results of operations.

 

Development of our product candidates will require substantial additional funding, without which we will be unable to complete preclinical or clinical development of, or obtain regulatory approval for, our product candidates.

 

We have a limited operating history, have incurred significant losses since our inception, and anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future.

 

If we are unable to protect our intellectual property, or obtain and maintain patent protection for our technology and product candidates, other companies could develop products based on our discoveries, which may reduce demand for our products and harm our business.

 

If we fail to comply with our obligations under our license agreements, we could lose rights to our product candidates or key technologies.

 

We may not be successful in obtaining or maintaining necessary rights to product components and processes for development or manufacture of our product candidates which may cause us to operate our business in a more costly or otherwise adverse manner that was not anticipated.

 

We do not have experience marketing any product candidates and do not have a sales force or distribution capabilities, and if our products are approved we may be unable to commercialize them successfully.

1


Table of Contents

 

 

The commercial success of our product candidates will depend upon the degree of market acceptance by physicians, patients, third-party payers and others in the medical community.

 

We face competition from other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and our operating results will suffer if we fail to compete effectively.

 

The success of our existing product candidates is substantially dependent on developments within the field of cellular immunotherapy, some of which are beyond our control.

 

Our principal stockholders and management own a significant percentage of our stock and may be able to exercise significant control over our company.

The summary risk factors described above should be read together with the text of the full risk factors below, in the section entitled “Risk Factors” and the other information set forth in this annual report on Form 10-K, including our consolidated financial statements and the related notes, as well as in other documents that we file with the SEC. The risks summarized above or described in full below are not the only risks that we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not precisely known to us, or that we currently deem to be immaterial may also materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and future growth prospects.


2


Table of Contents

 

 

 

FORWARD–LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, even if they never materialize or prove incorrect, could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. We make such forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other federal securities laws. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would,” or the negative of these words or other comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about:

 

our plans to research, develop and commercialize our product candidates;

 

the initiation, progress, success, cost and timing of our clinical trials and product development activities;

 

our ability and timing to advance our product candidates in, and to successfully initiate, conduct, enroll and complete, clinical trials;

 

the timing and likelihood of, and our ability to obtain and maintain, regulatory clearance of our Investigational New Drug (IND) applications for and regulatory approval of our product candidates;

 

our ability to manufacture our product candidates for clinical development and, if approved, for commercialization, and the timing and costs of such manufacture;

 

our ability to source clinical and, if approved, commercial materials and supplies used to manufacture our product candidates;

 

the therapeutic potential of our product candidates, and the disease indications for which we intend to develop our product candidates;

 

the performance of third parties in connection with the development and manufacture of our product candidates, including third parties conducting our clinical trials as well as third-party suppliers and manufacturers;

 

the potential of our technology platform, including our induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) product platform, and our ability to leverage our platform in our research, development and commercialization activities for our product candidates;

 

our ability to attract and retain strategic collaborators with development, regulatory and commercialization expertise;

 

the potential benefits of strategic collaboration agreements and our ability, and the ability of our collaborators, to successfully develop product candidates under the respective collaborations;

 

our ability to obtain funding for our operations, including funding necessary to initiate and complete clinical trials of our product candidates;

 

our ability to develop sales and marketing capabilities, whether alone or with actual or potential collaborators, to commercialize our product candidates, if approved;

 

our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates, if approved;

 

the size and growth of the potential markets for our product candidates and our ability to serve those markets;

 

regulatory developments and approval pathways in the United States and foreign countries for our product candidates;

 

the potential scope and value of our intellectual property rights;

 

our ability, and the ability of our licensors, to obtain, maintain, defend and enforce intellectual property rights protecting our product candidates, and our ability to develop and commercialize our product candidates without infringing the proprietary rights of third parties;

 

our ability to recruit and retain key personnel;

 

the accuracy of our projections and estimates regarding our revenues, expenses, capital requirements, cash utilization and need for additional financing;

3


Table of Contents

 

 

developments relating to our competitors and our industry; and

 

other risks and uncertainties, including those described under Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Any forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K reflect our current views with respect to future events or to our future financial performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other 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 these forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include, among other things, those listed under Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, even if new information becomes available in the future.

This Annual Report on Form 10-K also contains estimates, projections and other information concerning our industry, our business, and the markets for certain diseases, including data regarding the estimated size of those markets, and the incidence and prevalence of certain medical conditions. Information that is based on estimates, forecasts, projections, market research or similar methodologies is inherently subject to uncertainties and actual events or circumstances may differ materially from events and circumstances reflected in this information. Unless otherwise expressly stated, we obtained this industry, business, market and other data from reports, research surveys, studies and similar data prepared by market research firms and other third parties, industry, medical and general publications, government data and similar sources.

In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, unless the context requires otherwise, “Fate Therapeutics,” “Company,” “we,” “our,” and “us” means Fate Therapeutics, Inc. and its subsidiaries.


4


Table of Contents

 

 

PART I

ITEM 1. Business

Overview

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of programmed cellular immunotherapies for patients with cancer. We are developing first-in-class cell therapy product candidates based on a simple notion: we believe that better cell therapies start with better cells.

To create better cell therapies, we use a therapeutic approach that we generally refer to as cell programming. For certain of our product candidates, we use pharmacologic modulators, such as small molecules, to enhance the biological properties and therapeutic function of allogeneic, or healthy donor-sourced, cells ex vivo before our product candidates are administered to a patient. In other cases, we use human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to generate a clonal master iPSC line having preferred biological properties, and we direct the fate of the clonal master iPSC line to create our cell therapy product candidate. Analogous to master cell lines used to manufacture biopharmaceutical drug products such as monoclonal antibodies, we believe clonal master iPSC lines can be used as a renewable source for manufacturing cell therapy products which are well-defined and uniform in composition, can be repeatedly mass produced at significant scale in a cost-effective manner, and can be delivered off-the-shelf to treat many patients.

Utilizing these therapeutic approaches, we program cells of the blood and immune system and are advancing a pipeline of programmed cellular immunotherapies, including off-the-shelf natural killer (NK) and T-cell product candidates derived from clonal master iPSC lines for the treatment of cancer. The following table summarizes our programmed cellular immunotherapies currently under development:

 

5


Table of Contents

 

 

Our Approach

The use of human cells as therapeutic entities has disease-transforming potential, and compelling evidence of medical benefit for cell therapy exists across a broad spectrum of severe, life-threatening diseases. One of the most successful and widespread applications of cell therapy is hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), with over 60,000 procedures performed worldwide on an annual basis. HSCT holds curative potential for patients afflicted with hematologic malignancies, such as leukemia and lymphoma, and with rare genetic disorders, such as hemoglobinopathies, inherited metabolic disorders and immune deficiencies.

Building upon the success of HSCT, the clinical investigation of cell-based cancer immunotherapy is rapidly expanding. One particular form of cell-based cancer immunotherapy, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, has recently emerged as a revolutionary and potentially curative therapy for patients with certain hematologic malignancies, including refractory cancers. In fact, in 2017, two CAR T-cell therapies were approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of relapsed / refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and relapsed / refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Cell-based cancer immunotherapies undergoing clinical investigation today most often rely on the use of autologous, or a patient’s own, cells. The requirement to source, engineer, expand and deliver cells patient-by-patient is logistically complex, resource intensive and expensive, and can result in significant batch-to-batch variability in product identity, purity and potency as well as in manufacturing failures. Significant hurdles remain to ensure that cell-based cancer immunotherapies can be consistently manufactured and reliably delivered, in a cost-effective manner and at the scale necessary, to support broad patient access and wide-spread commercialization.

Rather than rely on the use of a patient’s own cells, we seek to use allogeneic, or healthy donor-sourced, cells and clonal master iPSC lines to manufacture, develop and commercialize first-in-class cellular immunotherapies. We believe our approach has the potential to improve cell product consistency and potency, reduce manufacturing costs, shorten time to treatment and reach more patients.

Our Strategy

The key pillars of our strategy are to:

 

Exploit our leadership position in iPSC technology to develop and commercialize universal, off-the-shelf cell products for the treatment of cancer. Human iPSCs, with their unique dual capacity to be indefinitely expanded and differentiated in culture into any type of cell in the body, hold revolutionary potential for creating better cell therapies. The groundbreaking discovery that fully differentiated human cells can be induced to a pluripotent state through the expression of certain genes was recognized with the 2012 Nobel Prize in Science and Medicine. We believe iPSCs can be used to overcome key limitations inherent in many of the cell therapy product candidates undergoing development today, including the requirement to source, isolate, engineer and expand cells from an individual patient or healthy donor with each batch of production. These batch-to-batch manufacturing requirements are logistically complex and expensive, and can result in variable cell product identity, purity and potency as well as manufacturing failures.

We are applying our expertise in iPSC biology to genetically engineer, isolate and select single-cell iPSCs for clonal expansion, characterization and cryopreservation as clonal master iPSC lines. Analogous to master cell lines used to manufacture biopharmaceutical drug products such as monoclonal antibodies, we believe clonal master iPSC lines can be made and used as a renewable source for manufacturing cell therapy products that are well-defined and uniform in composition, can be repeatedly mass produced at significant scale in a cost-effective manner, and can be delivered off-the-shelf to treat many patients.

We have amassed significant expertise in the manufacture of natural killer (NK) cells and T cells from clonal master iPSC lines. Our expertise includes: generating, engineering, isolating and characterizing single-cell iPSC clones; creating and cryopreserving clonal master iPSC lines; differentiating these clonal master cell lines to produce NK cells and T cells; and regulatory affairs experience to enable clinical investigation of iPSC-derived cell products. We believe our iPSC-derived NK cell and T-cell product candidates have the potential to be administered in multi-dose, multi-cycle treatment regimens, including in combination with other cancer treatments, to drive deeper and more durable responses.

6


Table of Contents

 

 

Forge collaborations with leading researchers and top medical centers to accelerate development of and rapidly translate our iPSC-derived cell product candidates into first-in-human clinical trials. The research and development of iPSC-derived cell product candidates requires an exceptional team of people and scientific, manufacturing and clinical expertise across a range of disciplines. We have and will continue to seek collaborations with leading researchers, investigators and top medical centers for the research, development, manufacture and clinical translation of our iPSC-derived cell product candidates. Among our collaborations is a partnership with the University of Minnesota, led by Dr. Jeffrey S. Miller, a renowned NK cell biologist and clinical investigator, to support the development of our iPSC-derived NK cell product candidates, including FT500 and FT516. FT500 is the first-ever iPSC-derived cell therapy to be administered to patients in the United States (U.S.), and FT516 is the first-ever engineered iPSC-derived cell therapy administered to patients in the world. We also have a partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, led by Dr. Michel Sadelain, a renowned T-cell biologist and a recognized founder of CAR T-cell therapy, to support the development of our iPSC-derived CAR T-cell product candidates, including FT819. We believe this approach to research and development will maximize our potential to successfully build our iPSC product platform, accelerate the clinical translation and clinical investigation of our iPSC-derived cell product candidates, and efficiently establish clinical proof-of-concept for our iPSC-derived cell product candidates.

 

Selectively share our iPSC product platform with industry-leading strategic partners for the development of iPSC-derived cell therapies. The research, development and clinical investigation of cell therapies for the treatment of human diseases is rapidly expanding. We believe we are uniquely positioned as an expert partner of choice for industry-leading developers seeking to develop iPSC-derived cell therapies for the treatment of human diseases, including cancer. For example, we are collaborating with Ono Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (Ono) to develop and commercialize off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived CAR T-cells for the treatment of certain solid tumors, and we are collaborating with Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen), part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to develop and commercialize off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived CAR NK cell and CAR T-cell product candidates for the treatment of certain hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. Since iPSCs have the unique capacity to be genetically engineered, indefinitely expanded and differentiated in culture into any type of cell in the body, we believe there is significant opportunity to broadly exploit our industry-leading iPSC product platform and intellectual property position in other disease areas beyond cancer. We will continue to seek partnerships with institutions and companies for the research, development and commercialization of iPSC-derived cell therapies for the treatment of human diseases.

 

Efficiently develop and commercialize first-in-class cellular immunotherapies for severe, life-threatening diseases where treatment options are limited. We are clinically developing first-in-class cellular immunotherapies to improve the lives of patients with severe, life-threatening diseases, where the unmet need is significant and where regulatory agencies offer efficient and expedited development and review programs. For example, we are developing our product candidate ProTmune as a first-in-class hematopoietic cell graft for the prevention of life-threatening complications, including graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), in patients undergoing allogeneic HSCT. GvHD is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing allogeneic HSCT, and there are currently no therapies approved by the FDA for the prevention of GvHD. The FDA has granted Fast Track designation, and the FDA and the European Commission have granted Orphan Drug Designation and Orphan Medicinal Product Designation, respectively, for ProTmune. Due to high incidences of morbidity and mortality and the rare disease nature of many of our target indications, we believe clinical trials that we conduct will generally require relatively small numbers of subjects and that our development path to approval may be efficient.

Our Off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived Cellular Immunotherapy Pipeline

NK cells have an innate ability to rapidly seek and destroy abnormal cells, such as cancer or virally-infected cells, and represent one of the body’s first lines of immunological defense. NK cells have the unique ability to selectively identify and destroy abnormal cells through multiple mechanisms while leaving normal healthy cells unharmed. These cytotoxic mechanisms include: direct innate killing by binding to stress ligands expressed by abnormal cells and releasing toxic granules; indirect killing by producing and releasing proinflammatory and chemotactic cytokines that play a pivotal role in orchestrating the adaptive immune response; and antibody-mediated targeted killing by binding to and enhancing the cancer-killing effect of endogenous and therapeutic antibodies through a process known as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC).

7


Table of Contents

 

T cells, or T-lymphocytes, play a critical role in adaptive immunity and are distinguished from other cells of the immune system by the presence of a T-cell receptor (TCR) on their surface. TCRs are generated by DNA rearrangement and positively selected for their capacity to engage host major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. The majority of T cells, termed alpha beta T cells (αβ T cells), rearrange their alpha and beta chains on the TCR, which confers specificity and enables T cells to recognize non-self molecules, known as non-self antigens, expressed on the surface of transformed or foreign cells. Antigens inside a cell are bound to, and are routinely brought to the surface of a cell, by MHC class I molecules. Upon antigen recognition, T cells bind to the MHC-antigen complex, become activated and destroy the targeted cell. Unlike NK cells, T cells are limited by antigen-specific binding of their TCR in order to induce cellular cytotoxicity.

We are developing off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived NK cell and T-cell cancer immunotherapies, including cell product candidates intended to synergize with checkpoint inhibitor and monoclonal antibody therapies and to target tumor-associated antigens.

FT500: iPSC-derived NK Cell Product Candidate for Advanced Solid Tumors

Therapies that block inhibitory immunological signaling pathways have transformed the oncology landscape. For example, the use of monoclonal antibodies known as checkpoint inhibitors, which bind immune checkpoint proteins and block pathways that suppress T cells, has resulted in long term remissions in multiple tumor indications. Unfortunately, more than 60% of patients treated with checkpoint inhibitors will not respond or will relapse. As a result, there is significant unmet need for novel therapeutic approaches to overcome resistance to checkpoint inhibitors.

One common mechanism of resistance to checkpoint inhibitor therapy arises through point mutations, deletions or loss of heterozygosity in beta-2-microglobulin (B2M), an essential component of MHC class I antigen presentation. A recent longitudinal analysis in a cohort of patients treated with checkpoint inhibitor therapy identified B2M expression defects in approximately 30% of patients with progressing disease. In fact, loss of heterozygosity in B2M was found to be enriched three-fold in non-responders (~30%) vs. responders (~10%) and was associated with poor overall survival. Additionally, complete loss of B2M expression was found only in non-responders. These findings suggest that defects in B2M expression can contribute to tumor evasion and disease progression.

One potential strategy to overcome resistance to checkpoint inhibitor therapy, especially in patients whose tumors harbor defects in B2M expression, is through the administration of allogeneic NK cells. NK cells have the inherent capability to recognize and directly kill cells that lack MHC class I antigen presentation. In addition to direct cytotoxicity, NK cells can also secrete proinflammatory and chemotactic cytokines, which can induce tumor-resident T cells to re-engage as well as recruit T cells to the tumor site. As such, allogeneic NK cell therapy may represent a novel therapeutic strategy to overcome resistance to checkpoint inhibitor therapy in certain patients by directly killing tumor cells and by potentiating an adaptive immune response.

FT500 is an investigational off-the-shelf NK cell cancer immunotherapy derived from a clonal master iPSC line. To our knowledge, FT500 is the first-ever iPSC-derived cell therapy cleared for clinical investigation in the United States. We are developing FT500 for the treatment of advanced solid tumors.

FT500 is being studied in an ongoing, multi-center Phase 1 clinical trial. The trial is designed to assess the safety and determine the maximum dose of FT500 in adult patients with advanced solid tumors. The trial includes two treatment regimens: FT500 as a monotherapy in patients that are candidates for salvage therapy (Regimen A); and, in patients who have previously failed or progressed on checkpoint inhibitor therapy, FT500 in combination with the checkpoint inhibitor on which the patient failed or progressed (Regimen B). FT500 is administered in three once-weekly doses following outpatient lympho-conditioning. For those patients that are clinically stable at Day 29, an additional treatment course of three once-weekly doses may be administered.

At the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) annual meeting in November 2020, we reported clinical data from the dose-escalation stage of the Phase 1 clinical trial as of an October 13, 2020 cutoff date. Fifteen heavily pre-treated patients, ten of whom were refractory to their last prior therapy, were administered up to six doses of FT500. In Regimen A, three patients were treated in the first dose cohort of 100 million cells per dose and six patients were treated in the second dose cohort of 300 million cells per dose; in Regimen B, three patients were treated in the first dose cohort of 100 million cells per dose, and three patients were treated in the second dose cohort of 300 million cells per dose, in combination with checkpoint inhibitor therapy. No dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), no FT500-related serious adverse events (SAEs) or Grade ≥ 3 adverse events (AEs), and no events of any grade of cytokine release syndrome (CRS), immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS), or GvHD were reported by investigators. Eleven patients had a best overall response of stable disease.

8


Table of Contents

 

In addition to our clinical assessment, we also evaluated patients’ immune response to FT500 to assess the potential for both T-cell and B-cell mediated immunogenicity. The T-cell compartment of fourteen patients was evaluated for T-cell mediated host-versus-product (FT500) allo-reactivity. A TCR repertoire analysis conducted at multiple time points following treatment with FT500 was not indicative of a robust allo-reactive T-cell response against FT500. In addition, the antibody repertoire of 15 patients was analyzed for targeting of the six HLA class I types expressed by FT500 to assess for B-cell mediated host-versus-product (FT500) allo-reactivity. Among the 15 patients, a single FT500 anti-HLA antibody with a mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) level of ≥ 5,000 was detected in two patients, suggesting that a robust B-cell response against FT500 was not evident. As a point of reference, in patients undergoing haplo-identical hematopoietic stem cell transplant, an MFI level ≥ 5,000 has been correlated with a 5-fold increase in risk of graft rejection.

We are currently enrolling the dose-expansion stage of the FT500 Phase 1 clinical trial for patients with non-small cell lung cancer or classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma who are refractory to, or have relapsed on, checkpoint inhibitor therapy. We intend to treat up to 15 patients, administering up to six doses of FT500 at 300 million cells per dose, each with IL-2 cytokine support, in combination with the checkpoint inhibitor on which the patient failed or relapsed.

FT516: iPSC-derived, hnCD16 Engineered NK Cell Product Candidate

NK cells play a major role in the anti-tumor activity of certain tumor-targeting antibodies. NK cells express CD16, an activating receptor that binds to the Fc domain of IgG antibodies. Once activated through CD16, NK cells are able to destroy antibody-coated tumor cells and secrete cytokines, such as interferon gamma, to potentiate an adaptive immune response. This mechanism of action, referred to as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), is believed to be important for the treatment of a wide range of cancers.

CD16 consists of two genomic variants, 158V and 158F, that elicit high or low binding affinity, respectively, to the Fc domain of IgG antibodies. Numerous clinical studies with FDA-approved tumor-targeting antibodies, including rituximab (FDA-approved for certain cancers of the blood and lymph system), trastuzumab (FDA-approved for certain breast and gastric cancers) and cetuximab (FDA-approved for certain head and neck, non-small cell lung and colorectal cancers), have demonstrated that patients homozygous for the 158V variant, which is present in only about 15% of patients, have improved clinical outcomes. In addition, the expression of CD16 on NK cells has been shown to undergo considerable down-regulation in cancer patients, which can significantly limit anti-tumor activity.

FT516 is an investigational off-the-shelf NK cell cancer immunotherapy derived from a clonal master iPSC line engineered to express a novel CD16 (hnCD16) Fc receptor. Our novel CD16 Fc receptor incorporates two unique features designed to augment the anti-tumor activity of FT516: a high-affinity homozygous 158V variant to promote high binding affinity and a modification to block its cleavage and down-regulation upon NK cell activation.

In preclinical studies, we have shown that FT516 exhibits potent and persistent anti-tumor activity in vitro and in vivo in multiple tumor cell recognition and killing assays:

 

FT516, as compared to conventional NK cells sourced from peripheral blood and from cord blood, exhibits superior direct killing in vitro in combination with rituximab in a human lymphoma cell line killing assay (positive for CD20) and in combination with each of trastuzumab and cetuximab in a human ovarian cancer cell line killing assay (positive for both HER2 and EGFR);

 

FT516 in combination with rituximab shows a dose-dependent killing response in vitro in a CD20+ human lymphoblast-derived B-lymphocyte cell line killing assay;

 

FT516 in combination with trastuzumab, as compared to trastuzumab alone, augments anti-tumor activity in vivo in a HER2+ ovarian cancer model, where the anti-tumor activity at Week 6 of FT516 plus trastuzumab was durable with no tumor detectable by imaging in 80% of the mice as compared to trastuzumab alone where all mice displayed tumor burden; and

 

FT516 in combination with rituximab, as compared to rituximab alone or rituximab in combination with conventional NK cells sourced from peripheral blood, augments anti-tumor activity and promotes prolonged survival in vivo in a human lymphoma cancer model, where the median survival following treatment with FT516 plus rituximab exceeded 100 days as compared to approximately 35 days for rituximab alone and for rituximab in combination with conventional NK cells sourced from peripheral blood.

9


Table of Contents

 

Hematologic Malignancies

FT516 is being studied in an ongoing, multi-center Phase 1 clinical trial. To our knowledge, FT516 is the first-ever engineered iPSC-derived cell therapy cleared for clinical investigation in the United States. The Phase 1 study is designed to assess the safety and determine the maximum dose of FT516 in adult patients with certain hematologic malignancies. The trial includes two treatment regimens: FT516 as a monotherapy in patients with relapsed / refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with three separate dose cohorts (90 million cells per dose; 300 million cells per dose; 900 million cells per dose) (Regimen A); and FT516 in combination with CD20-targeted monoclonal antibody therapy in patients with advanced B-cell lymphoma (BCL) who have previously failed or progressed on CD20-targeted monoclonal antibody therapy with four separate dose cohorts (30 million cells per dose; 90 million cells per dose; 300 million cells per dose; 900 million cells per dose) (Regimen B). The treatment schedule consists of three once-weekly doses of FT516, each with IL-2 cytokine support, following outpatient lympho-conditioning. For those patients that are clinically stable at Day 29, a second treatment cycle may be administered.

Phase 1 Clinical Data in AML. We have reported interim Phase 1 clinical data on two patients in Regimen A in the first dose cohort (90 million cells per dose) as of a May 18, 2020 cutoff date. Each patient was previously treated with three lines of therapy and was refractory to the most recent line of therapy. No DLTs, no FT516-related SAEs, and no events of any grade of CRS, ICANS, or GvHD were reported by investigators. Following completion of the first 30-day cycle of FT516, the first patient showed no morphologic evidence of leukemia by bone marrow biopsy and had evidence of neutrophil recovery. The protocol-defined response assessment following completion of the second 30-day cycle of FT516 showed stable disease per ELN 2017 criteria in both patients. Dose escalation is currently ongoing in Regimen A.

Phase 1 Clinical Data in BCL. We have reported interim Phase 1 clinical data on six patients in Regimen B, including four patients in the second (90 million cells per dose) and third (300 million cells per dose) dose cohorts as of a November 16, 2020 cutoff date. Three of these four patients achieved an objective response, including two complete responses, as assessed by PET-CT scan per Lugano 2014 criteria. No DLTs, no FT516-related SAEs, and no events of any grade of CRS, ICANS, or GvHD were reported by investigators. Additionally, the multi-dose, two-cycle treatment schedule was well-tolerated by each of the four patients, with no FT516-related Grade ≥ 3 AEs reported by investigators. In the first dose cohort (30 million cells per dose), each patient showed progressive disease as assessed by PET-CT scan per Lugano 2014 criteria. Dose escalation is currently ongoing in Regimen B.

Solid Tumors

We are also assessing the safety and maximum dose of FT516 in patients with advanced solid tumors. In December 2019, the FDA allowed our second IND application for the clinical investigation of FT516 in combination with monoclonal antibody therapy, including PDL1-, PD-1, EGFR- and HER2-targeted therapeutic antibodies, across a broad range of advanced solid tumors. In September 2020, we initiated a multi-center Phase 1 clinical trial of FT516 in combination with avelumab, an anti-PDL1 checkpoint inhibitor therapy, in patients with advanced solid tumors. The treatment schedule consists of three once-weekly doses of FT516, each with IL-2 cytokine support, following outpatient lympho-conditioning for up to two 30-day cycles. Dose escalation is currently ongoing.

In April 2020, the FDA allowed a third IND application for the clinical investigation of FT516 in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer. The Phase 1 clinical trial, which is sponsored and managed by investigators from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, is designed to assess the safety and determine the maximum dose of FT516 as a monotherapy and in combination with enoblituzumab, an Fc-optimized monoclonal antibody that targets B7-H3, which is expressed on ovarian cancer cells. The treatment schedule consists of three once-weekly doses of FT516, each with IL-2 cytokine support, following outpatient lympho-conditioning.

FT596: iPSC-derived, hnCD16, CAR19, IL15-RF Engineered NK Cell Product Candidate

CAR T-cell therapy has recently emerged as a revolutionary and potentially curative therapy for patients with certain hematologic malignancies, including refractory cancers. In 2017, two CAR T-cell therapies were approved by the FDA for the treatment of relapsed / refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and relapsed / refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). While most researchers and clinical investigators continue to focus on the development of autologous or allogeneic CAR T-cell therapies, we are developing CAR NK cell product candidates derived from clonal master engineered iPSC lines as off-the-shelf cancer immunotherapies for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.

FT596 is an investigational off-the-shelf CAR NK cell cancer immunotherapy derived from a clonal engineered master iPSC line. FT596 incorporates three anti-tumor functional modalities: a proprietary CAR optimized for NK cell biology that targets B-cell antigen CD19; a novel high-affinity, non-cleavable CD16 (hnCD16) Fc receptor that has been modified to augment antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, enabling targeting of tumor-associated antigens such as CD20; and an IL-15/IL-15 receptor fusion (IL-15RF), a potent cytokine complex that promotes survival, proliferation and trans-activation of NK cells and CD8 T cells. Together, these features are intended to enable multi-antigen targeting, maximize potency and minimize toxicity in treated patients.

10


Table of Contents

 

In preclinical studies, we have shown that FT596 exhibits potent and persistent anti-tumor activity in vitro and in vivo in multiple tumor cell recognition and killing assays:

 

In a mixed co-culture assay, we have shown increased degranulation (CD107a) and cytokine release (interferon-gamma and TNF-alfa) upon concurrent activation of both the CAR and CD16 receptors in CD19+CD20+ Raji cancer cells with rituximab, as compared to activation of each receptor alone, indicating that dual-antigen engagement may elicit synergistic anti-tumor activity;

 

In a humanized mouse model of CD19+ lymphoma, FT596 administered as a monotherapy exhibited durable tumor clearance and extended survival in vivo similar to primary CAR T cells; and

 

In a mixed cellular composition cytotoxicity assay comprised of CD19+ and CD19- tumor cells, FT596 combined with rituximab effectively eliminated the heterogeneous population of tumor cells, a result that was not observed with single-antigen targeted CAR19 T cells.

We believe these preclinical data demonstrate the anti-tumor potency and the unique multi-antigen targeting functionality of FT596, and the product candidate’s potential to effectively overcome CD19 antigen escape.

FT596 is being studied in an ongoing, multi-center Phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of relapsed / refractory B-cell malignancies. To our knowledge, FT596 is the first cellular immunotherapy engineered with three active anti-tumor components to be cleared for clinical investigation by the FDA. The Phase 1 study is designed to assess the safety and determine the maximum dose of FT596 in up to 123 adult patients in up to four dose cohorts (30 million cells; 90 million cells; 300 million cells and 900 million cells). The trial includes five treatment regimens: Regimen A1 as a monotherapy for patients with relapsed / refractory B-cell lymphoma (BCL); Regimen B1 in combination with rituximab for patients with relapsed / refractory BCL who have previously failed or progressed on rituximab; Regimen B2 in combination with obinutuzumab for patients with relapsed / refractory follicular lymphoma (FL) who have previously failed or progressed on obinutuzumab; Regimen A2 as a monotherapy for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL); and Regimen B3 in combination with obinutuzumab for patients with relapsed / refractory CLL. FT596 is administered as a single dose following outpatient lympho-conditioning. Dose escalation in the FT596 Phase 1 study is currently ongoing in Regimens A1, B1 and A2.

We have reported interim Phase 1 clinical data on two patients as of a September 24, 2020 cutoff date. Each patient was treated in Regimen A1 for relapsed / refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in the first single-dose cohort (30 million cells as a monotherapy). Each patient was previously treated with at least four lines of therapy. The first patient most recently had disease progression following treatment with CD19-targeting CAR T-cell therapy, was treated with a single dose of 30 million cells of FT596 as a monotherapy, and the Day 29 protocol-defined response assessment showed progressive disease. The second patient was most recently refractory to an experimental combination therapy comprised of ex vivo expanded allogeneic NK cells, IL-2, and rituximab, was treated with a single dose of 30 million cells of FT596 as a monotherapy, and the Day 29 protocol-defined response assessment showed partial response as assessed by PET-CT scan per Lugano 2014 criteria. The patient was subsequently treated with a second dose of 30 million cells of FT596 following outpatient lympho-conditioning, which resulted in a deepening response as evidenced by further reduction in both tumor size and metabolic activity as assessed by PET-CT scan per Lugano 2014 criteria. The duration of response was 3.7 months. No DLTs, no FT596-related SAEs, and no events of any grade of CRS, ICANS, or GvHD were reported by investigators in either patient.

In April 2020, the FDA allowed a second IND application for the clinical investigation of FT596 for the prevention of relapse in patients with BCL who have undergone autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) and are considered high risk for early relapse. The Phase 1 clinical trial, which is sponsored by investigators from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, is designed to assess the safety and determine the maximum dose of FT596 in combination with CD20-targeted monoclonal antibody therapy. The ongoing clinical trial is expected to enroll up to 18 patients in up to three dose cohorts (90 million cells; 300 million cells and 900 million cells). FT596 is administered as a single dose with CD20-targeted monoclonal antibody therapy approximately 30 days following HSCT.

FT538: iPSC-derived, hnCD16, IL15-RF, CD38KO Engineered NK Cell Product Candidate

Multiple myeloma is a hematologic malignancy characterized by the proliferation of malignant plasma cells. In multiple myeloma, malignant plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and produce abnormal antibodies called M proteins, which can cause kidney damage, bone destruction, and impaired immune function. While multiple approved drugs with novel mechanisms have improved disease management over the past decade, multiple myeloma is rarely curable and a significant number of patients are expected to relapse.

11


Table of Contents

 

Daratumumab is an IgG1 monoclonal antibody approved by the FDA in November 2015 for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Daratumumab effectively targets CD38, which is expressed on multiple myeloma cells, and induces cell death through multiple mechanisms, including ADCC. However, because CD38 is also expressed on activated NK cells, daratumumab treatment can induce NK cell fratricide, which may impair the effectiveness of ADCC. In addition, NK cell function is often suppressed or absent in patients with multiple myeloma as a result of the cancer itself as well as treatment therapy, further reducing the effectiveness of daratumumab. Collectively, preclinical and clinical observations suggest a potential therapeutic benefit of maintaining NK cell numbers and function to support ADCC in patients with multiple myeloma.

FT538 is an investigational off-the-shelf NK cell cancer immunotherapy derived from a clonal engineered master iPSC line. FT538 incorporates three functional modifications: a novel high-affinity, non-cleavable CD16 (hnCD16) Fc receptor that has been modified to augment ADCC; an IL-15/IL-15 receptor fusion (IL-15RF), a potent cytokine complex that promotes survival, proliferation and trans-activation of NK cells and CD8 T cells; and the complete elimination of CD38 expression to mitigate the potential for NK cell fratricide. Together, these features are intended to augment ADCC, enhance cell persistence and prevent anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody-induced fratricide.

FT538 is being studied in an ongoing, multi-center Phase 1 clinical trial designed to assess the safety and determine the maximum dose of FT538 in up to 105 adult patients in up to four dose cohorts (100 million cells per dose; 300 million cells per dose; 1 billion cells per dose; and 1.5 billion cells per dose). The trial includes two treatment regimens: Regimen A as a monotherapy for patients with relapsed / refractory AML; and Regimen B in combination with daratumumab for patients with relapsed / refractory multiple myeloma who have failed at least two lines of therapy. In addition, the clinical protocol allows, at our discretion, the initiation of a third treatment regimen in combination with elotuzumab, an FDA-approved anti-SLAMF7 monoclonal antibody, for patients with relapsed / refractory multiple myeloma who have failed at least two lines of therapy. FT538 is administered in three once-weekly doses following outpatient lympho-conditioning. Dose escalation is currently ongoing in Regimen A.

In December 2020, the FDA allowed a second IND application for the clinical investigation of FT538 for the treatment of relapsed / refractory AML. The Phase 1 clinical trial, which is sponsored and managed by investigators from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, is designed to assess the safety and determine the maximum dose of FT538 in combination with daratumumab following outpatient lympho-conditioning. FT538 is administered in three once-weekly doses following outpatient lympho-conditioning.

FT576: iPSC-derived, hnCD16, IL15-RF, CD38-KO, CAR-BCMA Engineered NK Cell Product Candidate

In addition to CD38 targeting in multiple myeloma, targeting of other tumor-associated antigens expressed on malignant plasma cells has been explored. Of these antigens, the TNF-superfamily member B-cell Maturation Antigen (BCMA) is among the most researched and is under development by multiple groups as a CAR target. Several clinical trials in multiple myeloma have shown promising initial results targeting BCMA with CAR T cells; however, there remains significant opportunity to improve both rates of relapse and treatment of relapsed patients.

In August 2019, we entered into a license agreement with the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) under which we were granted certain exclusive rights to intellectual property covering novel humanized CAR constructs that uniquely and specifically bind BCMA. In data published by MDC scientists, anti-BCMA CAR T cells equipped with its unique humanized extracellular antigen-binding domains show higher affinity and greater specificity than other anti-BCMA antigen-binding domains. These differentiated properties conveyed both greater selectivity in recognizing target B cells and more robust killing of target B cells in vitro, including malignant B cells with low expression levels of BCMA. Additionally, in in vivo proof-of-concept studies, MDC scientists demonstrated that anti-BCMA CAR T cells mediated anti-tumor activity in xenotransplant mouse models of multiple myeloma and of mature B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, where BCMA surface expression is up to 4-fold lower as compared to mouse models of multiple myeloma.

FT576 is an investigational off-the-shelf NK cell cancer immunotherapy derived from a clonal engineered master iPSC line. FT576 incorporates four functional modifications: a proprietary CAR that targets BCMA; a novel high-affinity, non-cleavable CD16 (hnCD16) Fc receptor that has been modified to augment ADCC; an IL-15/IL-15 receptor fusion (IL-15RF), a potent cytokine complex that promotes survival, proliferation and trans-activation of NK cells and CD8 T cells; and the complete elimination of CD38 expression to mitigate the potential for NK cell fratricide. Together, these features are intended to enable multi-antigen targeting of myeloma cells, augment ADCC, enhance cell persistence and prevent anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody-induced fratricide.

In December 2020, the FDA allowed our IND application for the clinical investigation of FT576 for the treatment of patients with relapsed / refractory multiple myeloma who have failed at least two lines of therapy. To our knowledge, FT576 is the first cellular immunotherapy engineered with four active anti-tumor components to be cleared for clinical investigation by the FDA.

We plan to conduct GMP manufacture and product release testing of FT576 in the first half of 2021. Subject to manufacture of FT576 in conformance with its release specifications, and submission of any additional non-clinical data requested by the FDA, we plan to initiate a multi-center Phase 1 clinical trial to assess the safety and determine the maximum dose of FT576 following

12


Table of Contents

 

outpatient lympho-conditioning in up to 168 adult patients. The trial is expected to include four treatment regimens: Regimen A as a single dose of FT576; Regimen A1 as two fractionated doses of FT576; Regimen B as a single dose of FT576 in combination with daratumumab; and Regimen B1 as two fractionated doses of FT576 in combination with daratumumab.

FT536: iPSC-derived, hnCD16, IL15-RF, CD38-KO, CAR-MICA/B Engineered NK Cell Product Candidate

The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I related proteins A (MICA) and B (MICB) are induced by cellular stress, damage or transformation, and the expression of MICA and MICB proteins has been reported for many tumor types. Cytotoxic lymphocytes, such as NK cells and CD8+ T cells, can detect and bind the membrane-distal alpha-1 and -2 domains of MICA/B, activating a potent cytotoxic response. However, advanced cancer cells frequently evade immune cell recognition by proteolytic shedding of these domains. The clinical importance of proteolytic shedding is reflected in the association of high serum concentrations of shed MICA/B with disease progression in many solid tumors.

Several recent publications have shown that therapeutic antibodies targeting the membrane-proximal alpha-3 domain strongly inhibited MICA/B shedding, resulting in a substantial increase in the cell surface density of MICA/B and restoration of NK cell-mediated tumor immunity. In addition, a recent publication by scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) demonstrated that cancers with B2M and JAK1 inactivating mutations resulting in loss of MHC Class I expression can be effectively targeted with alpha-3 domain-specific antibodies to restore NK cell-mediated immunity against solid tumors resistant to cytotoxic T cells. Therapeutic approaches aimed at targeting the alpha-3 domain of MICA/B therefore represent a potentially promising novel strategy to overcome this prominent evasion mechanism as a means of restoring anti-tumor immunity in patients with solid tumors.

In April 2020, we entered into a license agreement with DFCI under which we were granted certain exclusive rights to intellectual property covering novel antibody fragments that uniquely and specifically bind the alpha-3 domain of MICA/B. We are developing FT536, a preclinical product candidate which incorporates four functional modifications: a proprietary CAR that targets the alpha-3 domain of MICA/B; a novel high-affinity, non-cleavable CD16 (hnCD16) Fc receptor that has been modified to augment ADCC; an IL-15/IL-15 receptor fusion (IL-15RF), a potent cytokine complex that promotes survival, proliferation and trans-activation of NK cells and CD8 T cells; and the complete elimination of CD38 expression to mitigate the potential for NK cell fratricide. We plan to submit an IND application during the second half of 2021 to initiate a multi-center Phase 1 clinical trial of FT536 for the treatment of solid tumors.

FT819: iPSC-derived, TCR-KO, TRAC-targeted CAR19 Engineered T-Cell Product Candidate

In addition to our development of iPSC-derived CAR NK cell product candidates, we are also developing CAR T-cell product candidates derived from clonal master engineered iPSC lines as off-the-shelf cancer immunotherapies for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.

In September 2016, we announced a multi-year partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for the development of off-the-shelf engineered T-cell product candidates using clonal master iPSC lines and, in July 2019, we extended the partnership for an additional three years. Research and development activities under the collaboration are being led by Dr. Michel Sadelain, Director of the Center for Cell Engineering and the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Chair at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

In connection with the formation of our partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, we exclusively licensed from Memorial Sloan Kettering foundational intellectual property covering iPSC-derived cellular immunotherapy, including T cells and NK cells derived from iPSCs engineered with CARs, for human therapeutic use. We also secured an exclusive option to exclusively license intellectual property arising from all research and development activities under the partnership. In May 2018, we licensed from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center additional intellectual property covering compositions of novel CAR constructs, including the 1XX CAR construct, and of genetically-engineered CAR T cells, including methods of making these cells using CRISPR for certain targeted gene modifications. Embodiments of this additional intellectual property include preclinical data published by Dr. Sadelain demonstrating that directing a CD19-specific CAR to the T-cell receptor (TCR) alpha constant (TRAC) locus results in uniform CAR expression in human peripheral blood T cells, enhances T-cell potency, and delays effector T-cell differentiation and exhaustion, and that CAR T cells utilizing a novel 1XX CAR signaling domain exhibited enhanced antitumor efficacy, persistence and long-term cytotoxicity as well as a decrease in T-cell exhaustion.

Under our collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, we are developing FT819, an off-the-shelf CAR T-cell cancer immunotherapy derived from a clonal engineered master iPSC line with complete elimination of TCR expression and the novel 1XX CAR targeting CD19 inserted into the TRAC locus. Together, these features are intended to induce antigen-specific cytotoxicity, enhance CAR activity through TRAC-regulated expression and completely eliminate TCR expression to mitigate GvHD.

13


Table of Contents

 

In preclinical studies, we have shown that FT819 cells:

 

display antigen-specific anti-tumor potency in vitro, including cytokine release and targeted cellular cytotoxicity, comparable to peripheral blood CD19-specific CAR T cells;

 

do not respond or proliferate against HLA-mismatched (CD19-) peripheral blood mononuclear cells as targets in a mixed lymphocyte reaction, indicating the risk of GvHD is alleviated;

 

effectively control tumor progression in vivo comparable to peripheral blood CD19-specific CAR T cells in a preclinical mouse model of acute lymphoblastic leukemia; and

 

enhance tumor clearance and durable control of leukemia in vivo, as compared to primary CAR19 T cells, in a xenograft mouse model of disseminated lymphoblastic leukemia.

In 2020, the FDA allowed our IND application for the clinical investigation of FT819 for the treatment of certain relapsed / refractory B-cell leukemias and lymphomas. We have completed the first GMP manufacturing campaign for FT819, and we are currently conducting product release testing of FT819 to assess conformance with its release specifications. Subject to successful release of FT819 and submission of any additional non-clinical data requested by the FDA, we plan to initiate a multi-center Phase 1 clinical trial to assess the safety and determine the maximum dose of FT819 following outpatient lympho-conditioning in up to 297 adult patients across three types of B-cell leukemias and lymphomas. Each disease type will enroll independently and assess three treatment regimens: Regimen A as a single dose of FT819; Regimen B as a single dose of FT819 with IL-2 cytokine support; and Regimen C as three fractionated doses of FT819.

Our Allogeneic Cellular Immunotherapy Pipeline

ProTmune™

Allogeneic HSCT has been performed globally for decades with curative intent in patients with a wide range of hematologic malignancies and rare genetic disorders. The procedure involves transferring hematopoietic cells sourced from a healthy donor to a patient following the administration of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. The biological properties of the various cell populations present in the allogeneic hematopoietic cell graft play an essential role in determining outcomes of HSCT. Donor-sourced CD34+ cells have the unique ability to engraft and reconstitute a new blood and immune system, and donor-sourced immune cells, such as T cells, have an important protective role following HSCT in eradicating residual cancer cells and providing protection against life-threatening infections. The engraftment of donor-sourced CD34+ cells is essential for successful reconstitution, and any delay in, or failure of, engraftment leaves a patient severely immuno-compromised and exposed to exceedingly high risk of early morbidity and mortality. Additionally, while the donor-sourced immune cells impart a critical immunotherapeutic effect, allo-reactive T cells can cause GvHD, a serious complication where donor-sourced T cells recognize antigens on a patient’s cells as foreign and attack the patient’s cells.

According to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, approximately 30,000 allogeneic HSCT procedures are performed globally each year. Hematopoietic cells for use in allogeneic HSCT can be obtained from multiple donor sources including umbilical cord blood, bone marrow and mobilized peripheral blood (mPB). Approximately 65% of allogeneic HSCT procedures utilize mPB as the donor hematopoietic cell source. While the use of mPB is associated with faster rates of neutrophil engraftment compared to other cell sources like bone marrow and umbilical cord blood, approximately 35-60% of patients undergoing mPB HSCT develop acute GvHD and 70-80% of patients undergoing mPB HSCT experience at least one severe infection within the first 180 days following HSCT. Additionally, approximately 50% of patients undergoing HSCT experience cancer relapse or die within the first two years following HSCT. We believe our cell programming approach has the potential to reduce the three leading causes of morbidity and mortality associated with allogeneic HSCT – namely, GvHD, severe infections and disease relapse – and to improve outcomes in patients undergoing allogeneic HSCT.

We are developing ProTmune as an investigational programmed cellular immunotherapy for use as a next-generation allogeneic HSCT cell graft. ProTmune is produced by modulating donor-sourced mPB ex vivo with two small molecules, 16,16-dimethyl prostaglandin E2 (FT1050) and dexamethasone (FT4145), to enhance the biological properties and therapeutic function of the graft’s cells. The programmed mPB graft is administered to a patient as a one-time intravenous therapy. Based on preclinical data, we believe ProTmune has the potential to suppress the GvHD response and maintain the anti-tumor, or graft-versus-leukemia (GvL), activity of donor T cells. We have demonstrated that FT1050-FT4145 programmed CD4+ and CD8+ T cells of mPB are functionally less allo-reactive in vitro, exhibiting a decrease both in the expression levels of T-cell activation markers, including ICOS and 41BB, and in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and an increase in the production of potent anti-inflammatory cytokines including IL-10.

14


Table of Contents

 

We are conducting a multi-center Phase 1/2 clinical trial of ProTmune in adult subjects with hematologic malignancies undergoing mPB HSCT following myeloablative conditioning, a clinical trial which we refer to as the PROTECT study. The primary objectives of the PROTECT study are to evaluate safety and tolerability, and to assess the potential of ProTmune to prevent acute GvHD, which is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing HSCT. There are currently no FDA-approved therapies for the prevention of GvHD in patients undergoing allogeneic HSCT, giving rise to a significant unmet medical need. All subjects in the PROTECT study are being followed for a period of two years following HSCT.

In December 2018, we reported clinical data from the Phase 1 stage of PROTECT. The Phase 1 stage of PROTECT included seven subjects. Underlying hematologic diseases included three subjects with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), three with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and one with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). As of a November 26, 2018 data cut-off, five of seven subjects remained on study with median time on study of 516 days [Day 151 – 616], and the following key safety and efficacy data were reported:

 

ProTmune was well-tolerated. There were no events of graft failure and no serious adverse events related to ProTmune reported by investigators.

 

There were no reported events of cancer relapse.

 

At Day 100, all seven subjects receiving ProTmune were alive and relapse-free; and three subjects experienced acute GvHD during the first 100 days following HSCT, all of whom responded to standard-of-care steroid treatment. The median time to resolution of the maximum GvHD grade was 7 days [range: 5-8 days].

 

At Day 365, five of seven subjects receiving ProTmune were alive and relapse-free, with non-relapse mortality occurring in two subjects (Subject 1 on Day 228; Subject 3 on Day 151); and three of seven subjects were alive, relapse-free and without moderate-to-severe chronic GvHD.

The ongoing Phase 2 stage of PROTECT is a randomized, controlled and double-blinded clinical trial assessing the safety and efficacy of ProTmune in up to 80 adult subjects with hematologic malignancies undergoing matched unrelated donor HSCT following myeloablative conditioning. In November 2019, we reported that the Phase 2 stage of PROTECT was fully enrolled. Subjects were randomized, in a 1:1 ratio, to receive either ProTmune or a conventional matched unrelated donor mobilized peripheral blood cell graft. The primary efficacy endpoint of PROTECT is cumulative incidence of Grades 2-4 acute GvHD by Day 100 following HSCT, where prospective clinical studies have shown that 35% to 60% of patients undergoing matched unrelated donor transplant experience Grades 2-4 acute GvHD. The secondary efficacy endpoint of PROTECT is the proportion of subjects alive without relapse and without moderate or severe chronic GvHD by Day 365 following HSCT. Additional endpoints, such as rates of cancer relapse, chronic GvHD, non-relapse mortality, and overall survival, are also being assessed. We expect to report clinical results of the primary and secondary efficacy endpoints of PROTECT in the first half of 2021.

In June 2016, the FDA granted Fast Track designation for ProTmune for the reduction of incidence and severity of acute GvHD in patients undergoing allogeneic HSCT. In September 2016, the FDA granted Orphan Drug Designation and, in October 2016, the European Commission granted Orphan Medicinal Product Designation, for ProTmune. The orphan designation granted in each jurisdiction broadly covers subjects undergoing allogeneic HSCT across diseases for which the procedure is performed, including blood cancers and genetic disorders.

Our Partnerships

Janssen Biotech

In April 2020, we entered into a collaboration and option agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen), part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, for the development and commercialization of off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived CAR NK cell and CAR T-cell product candidates directed to up to four tumor-associated antigen targets.

We are conducting research and preclinical development of collaboration candidates. We granted to Janssen, during a specified period of time, the right to exercise an exclusive option and obtain an exclusive license under certain intellectual property rights to develop and commercialize each collaboration candidate. Subject to the exercise of such exclusive option, Janssen is solely responsible for the worldwide clinical development and commercialization of such collaboration candidate. Upon attainment of clinical proof-of-concept, we have the right to elect to co-commercialize and share equally in the profits and losses in the United States, subject to sharing in certain development costs, of such collaboration candidate. We are primarily responsible for the manufacture, at Janssen’s cost, of collaboration candidates.

15


Table of Contents

 

Under the terms of the agreement, we received $100.0 million as of the effective date of the agreement, of which $50.0 million was an upfront, non-refundable and non-creditable cash payment and $50.0 million was in the form of an equity investment by Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC, Inc. Additionally, as consideration for our conduct of research, preclinical development and IND-enabling activities for collaboration candidates, Janssen pays us research and development fees as set forth in an annual budget.

We are eligible to receive upon the achievement of specified development, regulatory and sales milestones (i) with respect to the first tumor-associated antigen target, payments of up to $898.0 million for the first collaboration candidate and up to $460.0 million for each additional collaboration candidate; and with respect to each of the second, third and fourth tumor-associated antigen targets, payments of up to $706.0 million for each of the first collaboration candidates and up to $340.0 million for each additional collaboration candidate. Certain milestone payments are subject to reduction in the event we elect to co-commercialize and share equally in the profits and losses in the United States of a collaboration candidate. We are further eligible to receive double-digit tiered royalties ranging up to the mid-teens on net sales of collaboration candidates that are commercialized by Janssen, subject to reduction under certain circumstances. No milestone or royalty payments have been received by us as of December 31, 2020.

Janssen may terminate the agreement with respect to one or more tumor-associated antigen targets, or in its entirety, at any time on or after the second anniversary of the effective date of the agreement, and we may terminate the agreement with respect to a particular tumor-associated antigen target if a collaboration candidate has not been selected for IND-enabling studies for such tumor-associated antigen target within specified time periods under certain conditions. The agreement contains customary provisions for termination by either party in the event of a material breach of the agreement, subject to cure, by the other party and in the event of any bankruptcy, insolvency or similar events with respect to the other party.

Ono Pharmaceutical

In September 2018, we entered into a collaboration and option agreement with Ono Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (Ono) for the joint development and commercialization of two off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived CAR T-cell product candidates. The first off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived CAR T-cell candidate (Candidate 1) targets an antigen expressed on certain lymphoblastic leukemias, and the second off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived CAR T-cell candidate (Candidate 2) targets a novel antigen identified by Ono expressed on certain solid tumors (each a Candidate and, collectively, the Candidates). We granted to Ono, during a specified period of time, an option to obtain an exclusive license under certain intellectual property rights to develop and commercialize (a) Candidate 1 in Asia, where we retained rights for development and commercialization in all other territories of the world and (b) Candidate 2 in all territories of the world, where we retain rights to co-develop and co-commercialize Candidate 2 in the United States and Europe under a joint arrangement with Ono under which we are eligible to share at least 50% of the profits and losses. For each Candidate, the option expires upon the earliest of: (a) the achievement of the pre-defined preclinical milestone, (b) termination by Ono of research and development activities for the Candidate and (c) the date that is the later of (i) four years after the Effective Date and (ii) completion of all applicable activities contemplated under the joint development plan. We maintain worldwide rights of manufacture for Candidates.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ono paid us an upfront, non-refundable and non-creditable payment of $10.0 million in connection with entering into the agreement. Additionally, as consideration for our conduct of research and preclinical development under a joint development plan, Ono pays us annual research and development fees set forth in the annual budget included in the joint development plan, which fees are estimated to be $20.0 million in aggregate over the course of the joint development plan.

In December 2020, we entered into a letter agreement with Ono pursuant to which Ono nominated and delivered to us proprietary antigen binding domains targeting an antigen expressed on certain solid tumors for incorporation into Candidate 2. In connection with such nomination and delivery, Ono paid us a milestone fee of $10.0 million for further research and development of Candidate 2. In addition, Ono terminated further development with respect to Candidate 1, and we retain all rights to research, develop and commercialize Candidate 1 throughout the world without any obligation to Ono.

Ono has agreed to pay us up to an additional $20.0 million, subject to the exercise by Ono of its option to develop and commercialize Candidate 2. Subject to Ono’s exercise of the option and to the achievement of certain clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones with respect to Candidate 2 in specified territories, we are entitled to receive an aggregate of up to $885.0 million in milestone payments for Candidate 2, with the applicable milestone payments for the United States and Europe subject to reduction by 50% if we elect to co-develop and co-commercialize Candidate 2 as described above. We are also eligible to receive tiered royalties ranging from the mid-single digits to the low-double digits based on annual net sales by Ono of Candidate 2 in specified territories, with such royalties subject to certain reductions.

16


Table of Contents

 

The agreement will terminate with respect to a Candidate if Ono does not exercise its option for a Candidate within the option period, or in its entirety if Ono does not exercise any of its options for the Candidates within their respective option periods. In addition, either party may terminate the agreement in the event of breach, insolvency or patent challenges by the other party; provided, that Ono may terminate the agreement in its sole discretion (x) on a Candidate-by-Candidate basis at any time after the second anniversary of the effective date of the agreement or (y) on a Candidate-by-Candidate or country-by-country basis at any time after the expiration of the option period, subject to certain limitations. The agreement will expire on a Candidate-by-Candidate and country-by-country basis upon the expiration of the applicable royalty term, or in its entirety upon the expiration of all applicable payment obligations under the agreement.

Our Intellectual Property

Overview

We seek to protect our product candidates and our cell programming technology through a variety of methods, including seeking and maintaining patents intended to cover our products and compositions, their methods of use and processes for their manufacture, our platform technologies and any other inventions that are commercially important to the development of our business. We seek to obtain domestic and international patent protection and, in addition to filing and prosecuting patent applications in the United States, we typically file counterpart patent applications in additional countries where we believe such foreign filing is likely to be beneficial, including Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia and China. We continually assess and refine our intellectual property strategy in order to best fortify our position, and file additional patent applications when our intellectual property strategy warrants such filings. We also rely on know-how, continuing technological innovation and in-licensing opportunities to develop and maintain our proprietary position. We have entered into exclusive license agreements with various academic and research institutions to obtain the rights to use certain patents for the development and commercialization of our product candidates.

As of February 9, 2021, our intellectual property portfolio is composed of over 350 issued patents and 150 patent applications that we license from academic and research institutions, and over 250 issued patents or pending patent applications that we own. These patents and patent applications generally provide us with the rights to develop our product candidates in the United States and worldwide. This portfolio covers compositions of programmed cellular immunotherapies, our cell programming approach for enhancing the therapeutic function of cells ex vivo, and our platform for industrial-scale iPSC generation and engineering. We believe that we have a significant intellectual property position and substantial know-how relating to the programming of hematopoietic and immune cells and to the derivation, genetic engineering, and differentiation of iPSCs.

We cannot be sure that patents will be granted with respect to any of our owned or licensed pending patent applications or with respect to any patent applications we may own or license in the future, nor can we be sure that any of our existing patents or any patents we may own or license in the future will be useful in protecting our technology. Please see “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property” for additional information on the risks associated with our intellectual property strategy and portfolio.

Intellectual Property Relating to iPSC Technology and Platform

As of February 9, 2021, we own over 20 patent families directed to programming the fate of somatic cells ex vivo, including patent applications pending in the U.S. and internationally related to our platform for industrial-scale iPSC generation and applications related to differentiation of iPSCs into specialized cells with therapeutic potential. These patent applications cover our proprietary small molecule-enhanced iPSC platform, including novel reprogramming factors and methods of reprogramming to obtain iPSCs. Our intellectual property portfolio also includes gene editing compositions and methods of genetic engineering, as well as methods of directing the fate of cells to obtain homogenous cell populations in the hematopoietic lineage, including CD34+ cells, T cells and NK cells. Our proprietary intellectual property enables highly-efficient iPSC derivation, selection, engineering, and clonal expansion while maintaining genomic stability. Any U.S. patents issued from these patent applications will have statutory expiration dates ranging from 2031 to 2041.

Additionally, we have licensed from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research a portfolio of four patent families including issued patents and pending applications broadly applicable to the reprogramming of somatic cells. Our license is exclusive in commercial fields, including for drug discovery and therapeutic purposes. This portfolio covers the generation of human iPSCs from somatic cells and, as of February 9, 2021, includes 16 issued U.S. patents (including U.S. Patents 8,071,369, 7,682,828 and 9,497,943) claiming compositions used in the reprogramming of mammalian somatic cells to a less differentiated state (including to a pluripotent state), and methods of making a cell more susceptible to reprogramming. Specifically, the portfolio includes a composition of matter patent issued in the United States covering a cellular composition comprising a somatic cell having an exogenous nucleic acid that encodes an OCT4 protein. OCT4 is the key pluripotency gene most commonly required for the generation of iPSCs. These issued patents and any U.S. patents that may issue from these pending patent applications will have statutory expiration dates ranging from 2024 to 2029.

17


Table of Contents

 

We also have exclusive licenses from The Scripps Research Institute to a portfolio of seven patent families relating to compositions and methods for reprogramming mammalian somatic cells, which covers non-genetic and viral-free reprogramming mechanisms, including the use of various small molecule classes and compounds and the introduction of cell-penetrating proteins to reprogram mammalian somatic cells. This portfolio includes issued U.S. patents (including U.S. Patents 8,044,201 and 8,691,573) that provide composition of matter protection for a class of small molecules, including thiazovivin, that is critical for inducing the generation, and maintaining the pluripotency, of iPSCs, and compositions and methods of using the small molecule. Any issued U.S. patents and any U.S. patents that may issue from patent applications pending in this portfolio will have statutory expiration dates ranging from 2026 to 2031.

We also have exclusively licensed from the J. David Gladstone Institutes (Gladstone) intellectual property covering the generation of iPSCs using CRISPR-mediated gene activation. This approach for inducing pluripotency uses CRISPR to directly target a specific location of the genome and activate endogenous gene expression, and does not rely on established methods of cellular reprogramming that require the transduction of multiple transcription factors. Any U.S. patents that may issue from patent applications pending in the U.S. and internationally in this portfolio will have a statutory expiration date in 2038.

We also have licensed exclusive rights to four families of patent applications from the University of Minnesota. This portfolio includes over 40 issued patents or pending patent applications in the United States and foreign jurisdictions directed to compositions of NK cells, including adaptive memory NK cells and genetically-engineered NK cells, and therapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer using these NK cells. These applications also describe methods of enhancing NK cell cytotoxicity by genetically engineering the CD16 Fc receptor in immune cells, including iPSC-derived NK cells, and describe methods of increasing NK cell tumor specificity and cytotoxicity by incorporating CARs on NK cells. Any U.S. patents that may issue from patent applications pending in this portfolio will have statutory expiration dates between 2035 and 2038.

We also have exclusively licensed from The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) intellectual property covering the production and composition of iPSC-derived T cells and their use in cellular immunotherapy, and have a license from MSK to two patent families covering novel CAR constructs as well as off-the-shelf CAR T cells, including the use of CRISPR and other innovative technologies for their production. Collectively, this portfolio covers compositions of CAR constructs, compositions of T cells and NK cells derived from pluripotent cells which are engineered with CARs, methods of engineering pluripotent cell lines, methods of deriving CAR-T cells from CAR expressing pluripotent stem cells, and methods of using CRISPR for producing off-the-shelf T-cell immunotherapies. Any U.S. patents that may issue from patent applications pending in this portfolio will have statutory expiration dates between 2034 and 2038.  

In addition, we have licensed exclusive rights from the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) to intellectual property directed to novel humanized antibody fragments, antigen-binding domains and CAR constructs that uniquely target and specifically bind B-cell Maturation Antigen (BCMA).  Under the license agreement, we are granted an exclusive license for use in allogeneic engineered pluripotent stem cells.  Any patents issuing from patent applications pending in the U.S. and internationally in this portfolio will have statutory expiration dates between 2033-2037.

Intellectual Property Relating to CRISPR Engineering

In August 2019, we entered into a license agreement with Inscripta, Inc. Under the license agreement, we obtained a royalty-free, irrevocable license to a patent portfolio covering the composition, production and use of MAD7, a novel gene-editing CRISPR endonuclease from the Eubacterium rectale genome. The intellectual property includes issued patents and pending applications broadly applicable to MAD7 and the editing of mammalian cells. Our license covers the making and using of MAD7 for editing iPSCs, making master engineered iPSC lines and using master engineered iPSC lines to manufacture human therapeutic products. These issued patents and any U.S. patents that may issue from these pending patent applications will have statutory expiration dates around 2037.

Intellectual Property Relating to the Programming of Hematopoietic Cells

As of February 9, 2021, we own 14 families of U.S. and foreign patents and pending patent applications covering our cell programming technology and compositions of programmed cellular immunotherapies. This portfolio includes over 120 issued patents or pending patent applications relating to methods of programming the biological properties and therapeutic function of cells ex vivo, and the resulting therapeutic compositions of hematopoietic and immune cells. Patents and patent applications in this portfolio include claims covering (i) therapeutic compositions of hematopoietic and immune cells, including T cells, NK cells, and CD34+ cells, that have been programmed ex vivo with one or more agents to optimize their therapeutic function for application in oncology and immune disorders and (ii) methods of programming cells including by the activation or inhibition of therapeutically-relevant genes and cell-surface proteins, such as those involved in the homing, proliferation and survival of hematopoietic cells or those involved in the persistence, proliferation and reactivity of immune cells. Any U.S. patents within this portfolio that have issued or may yet issue from pending patent applications will have statutory expiration dates between 2030 and 2041.

18


Table of Contents

 

Additionally, we have an exclusive license to an intellectual property portfolio consisting of two families of issued patents and pending patent applications co-owned by the Children’s Medical Center Corporation and The General Hospital Corporation. As of February 9, 2021, we currently have exclusive rights to over 50 issued patents or patent applications in the United States and worldwide relating to methods for programming hematopoietic stem cells ex vivo using modulators that up-regulate the prostaglandin signaling pathway or its downstream mediators. These patent rights consist of issued patents (including U.S. Patents 8,168,428 and 8,563,310) claiming methods for the ex vivo programming of hematopoietic stem cells using FT1050, including hematopoietic stem cells obtained from mobilized peripheral blood, cord blood, and bone marrow. Pending patent applications in the United States and foreign jurisdictions are directed to therapeutic compositions of hematopoietic stem cells in which the cells have been modulated by increasing prostaglandin activity, methods of preparing these compositions, and methods of promoting hematopoietic reconstitution, expansion and self-renewal using modulators that increase prostaglandin signaling activity. Any U.S. patents within this portfolio that have issued or may yet issue will have a statutory expiration date in 2027.

We have also licensed exclusive rights to two families of issued patents and patent applications from the Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation. This portfolio includes patent applications claiming methods of enhancing HSCT procedures by altering prostaglandin activity in hematopoietic stem cells as well as an issued U.S. patent and patent applications claiming methods of enhancing viral transduction efficiency in the genetic engineering of stem cells, including hematopoietic stem cells. These applications describe methods of increasing mobilization of stem cells from a stem cell donor, and methods for increasing hematopoietic stem cells homing and engraftment in a stem cell transplant recipient. One family of applications is directed to preferentially modulating certain receptors present on hematopoietic stem cells to increase the therapeutic potential of such cells for homing and engraftment. Claims in these applications specifically cover the modulation of mobilized peripheral blood by altering prostaglandin activity and methods for increasing viral transduction efficiency for gene therapy. Any U.S. patents that have issued or that may issue from patent applications in this portfolio will have statutory expiration dates between 2029 and 2030.

Our Material Technology License Agreements

The University of Minnesota

In December 2016, we entered into a license agreement with the Regents of the University of Minnesota for rights relating to compositions and methods relating to NK cells, to modifications of cytotoxic receptors naturally expressed on NK cells including the CD16 Fc receptor, and to CARs for expression on NK cells. Under our agreement with the University of Minnesota, we acquired an exclusive royalty-bearing, sublicensable, worldwide license to make, use and sell licensed products in all fields for commercial purposes. The licensed patent rights are described in more detail above under “Intellectual Property Relating to the Programming of Hematopoietic Cells.” The University of Minnesota retains the right to practice the patent rights for research, teaching and educational purposes, including in corporate-sponsored research subject to certain limitations during the initial three years of the license agreement. The University of Minnesota also retains the right to license other academic and non-profit research institutes to practice the patent rights for research, teaching and educational purposes, but not for corporate-sponsored research. Our license is also subject to pre-existing rights of the U.S. government.

Under the terms of the license agreement, we are required to pay the University of Minnesota an annual license maintenance fee during the term of the agreement, and are also required to make payments of up to $4.6 million for development, regulatory and commercial milestones achieved with respect to each of the first three licensed products. If commercial sales of a licensed product commence, we will also be required to pay royalties at percentage rates in the low-single digits on net sales of licensed products. Our royalty payments are subject to reduction for any third-party payments required to be made until a minimum royalty percentage has been reached. In the event that we sublicense the patent rights, the University of Minnesota is also entitled to receive a percentage of the sublicensing income received by us.

Under the license agreement with the University of Minnesota, we are obligated to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop and make commercially available licensed products. In particular, we are required to conduct activities toward specific development milestones of licensed products on an annual basis.

The agreement will continue until the abandonment of all patent rights or expiration of the last to expire licensed patent. The University of Minnesota may terminate the agreement if we default in the performance of any of our obligations and fail to cure the default within a specified grace period. The University of Minnesota may also terminate the agreement if we cease to carry out our business or become bankrupt or insolvent. We may terminate the agreement for any reason upon prior written notice to the University of Minnesota and payment of all amounts due to the University of Minnesota through the date of termination.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

In May 2018, we entered into an amended and restated license agreement with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The agreement amends and restates the exclusive license agreement we entered into with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in August 2016, under which we obtained rights relating to compositions and methods covering iPSC-derived cellular immunotherapy,

19


Table of Contents

 

including T cells and NK cells derived from iPSCs engineered with CARs. Pursuant to the amended and restated license agreement, we continue to hold exclusive rights to the foregoing patents and patent applications, and obtained additional licenses to certain patents and patent applications relating to compositions and methods covering novel CAR constructs as well as off-the-shelf CAR T cells, including the use of CRISPR and other innovative technologies for their production.

Under our amended and restated agreement with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, we have royalty-bearing worldwide licenses to make, use and sell licensed products in all fields for human therapeutic uses. The licensed patent rights are described in more detail above under “Intellectual Property Relating to iPSC Technology.” For those patent families where our rights are exclusive, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center retains the right to practice the patent rights for research, teaching and non-clinical research purposes, and to license other academic and non-profit research institutes to practice the patent rights for research, teaching and non-clinical research purposes. Our licenses are also subject to pre-existing rights of the U.S. government.

Under the terms of the amended and restated agreement, we are required to pay Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center an annual license maintenance fee during the term of the agreement, and are also required to make payments of up to $12.5 million for development, regulatory and commercial milestones achieved with respect to each licensed products. If commercial sales of a licensed product commence, we will also be required to pay royalties at percentage rates up to the high-single digits on net sales of licensed products. Our royalty payments are subject to reduction for any third-party payments required to be made until a minimum royalty percentage has been reached. In the event that we sublicense the patent rights, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is also entitled to receive a percentage of the sublicensing income received by us. Additionally, in the event a licensed product achieves a specified clinical milestone, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is then eligible to receive additional milestone payments, where the amount of such payments owed to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are contingent upon certain increases in the price of our common stock following the date of achievement of such clinical milestone.

Under the amended and restated agreement with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, we are obligated to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop and make commercially available licensed products. In particular, we are required to conduct activities and commit a minimum amount of funding toward specific development milestones of licensed products on an annual basis.

The agreement will continue until the abandonment of all patent rights or expiration of the last to expire licensed patent. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center may terminate the agreement if we default in the performance of any of our obligations and fail to cure the default within a specified grace period, if we cease to carry out our business or become bankrupt or insolvent, or if we institute a proceeding to challenge the patent rights. We may terminate the agreement for any reason upon prior written notice to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Max Delbruck Center

In December 2018, we entered into a license agreement with Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) for rights relating to novel humanized antibody fragments, antigen-binding domains and CAR constructs that uniquely target and specifically bind B-cell Maturation Antigen (BCMA).  Under our license agreement with MDC, we acquired an exclusive royalty-bearing, sublicensable, worldwide license to make, use and sell products covered by the licensed patent rights, and to perform licensed processes, in each case, using cells derived from allogeneic engineered stem cells.  MDC retains a non-exclusive right to use the technology for its own internal research, teaching, and educational purposes.  

Under the terms of the license agreement, we are required to pay to MDC an annual license maintenance fee during the term of the agreement. We also are required to make product development, regulatory and sales milestones payments to MDC of up to $11 million per product. If commercial sales of a licensed product commence, we will pay MDC royalties at percentage rates ranging in the low single digits on net sales of licensed products in countries where such product is protected by patent rights. Our obligation to pay royalties continues on a country by country basis until the expiration of all licensed patent rights covering licensed products in such country, and our royalty payments will be reduced by other payments we are required to make to third parties in certain circumstances until a minimum royalty percentage has been reached. In the event that we sublicense the patent rights, MDC is also entitled to receive a percentage of the sublicensing income received by us.

Under the license with MDC, we are obligated to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop and obtain approval of a licensed product.  

The agreement will expire concurrently with patent rights on a country-by-country basis. We may terminate the agreement by providing prior written notice to MDC, and MDC has the right to terminate the agreement if we materially breach the agreement and fail to cure such breach within a specified grace period.

20


Table of Contents

 

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

In February 2009, we entered into a license agreement with the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, as amended in October 2009 and September 2010, for rights relating to compositions and methods for reprogramming somatic cells to a less differentiated or pluripotent state. Under our agreement with the Whitehead Institute, we acquired an exclusive royalty-bearing, sublicensable, worldwide license to make, use and sell licensed products in all fields for commercial purposes, excluding the sale or distribution of reagents for basic research use. The licensed patent rights are described in more detail above under “Intellectual Property Relating to iPSC Technology.” The Whitehead Institute retains the right to practice the patent rights for research, teaching and educational purposes, including in corporate-sponsored research under limited circumstances and in some cases only after obtaining our consent. The Whitehead Institute also retains the right to license other academic and non-profit research institutes to practice the patent rights for research, teaching and educational purposes, but not for corporate-sponsored research. Our license is also subject to pre-existing rights of the U.S. government.

Under the terms of the license agreement, we are required to pay the Whitehead Institute an annual license maintenance fee during the term of the agreement, and are also required to make payments of up to $2.3 million for development and regulatory milestones achieved with respect to licensed products. If commercial sales of a licensed product commence, we will also be required to pay royalties at percentage rates in the low-single digits on net sales of licensed products. Our royalty payments are subject to reduction for any third-party payments required to be made until a minimum royalty percentage has been reached. In the event that we sublicense the patent rights, the Whitehead Institute is also entitled to receive a percentage of the sublicensing income received by us.

Under the license agreement with the Whitehead Institute, we are obligated to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop and commercialize licensed products, and to make licensed products or processes reasonably available to the public. In particular, we are required to commit a minimum amount of funding toward the development of a licensed product on an annual basis or conduct activities toward specific development milestones.

The agreement will continue until the abandonment of all patent rights or expiration of the last to expire licensed patent. The Whitehead Institute may terminate the agreement if we default in the performance of any of our obligations and fail to cure the default within a specified grace period, or if we institute a proceeding to challenge the patent rights. The Whitehead Institute may also terminate the agreement if we cease to carry out our business or become bankrupt or insolvent. We may terminate the agreement for any reason upon prior written notice to the Whitehead Institute and payment of all amounts due to the Whitehead Institute through the date of termination.

The Scripps Research Institute

We have entered into various license agreements with The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) for rights relating to compositions and methods for reprogramming somatic cells, including the use of various small molecule classes and compounds in the reprogramming and maintenance of iPSCs. Under our agreements with TSRI (the TSRI License Agreements), we acquired exclusive royalty-bearing, sublicensable, worldwide licenses to make, use and sell products covered by the licensed patent rights, and to perform licensed processes, in each case, in all fields. The licensed patent rights are described in more detail above under “Intellectual Property Relating to iPSC Technology.” TSRI retains a non-exclusive right to practice and use the patent rights for non-commercial educational and research purposes, and to license other academic and non-profit research institutions to practice the patent rights for internal basic research and education purposes. Under certain of our TSRI License Agreements, other third parties maintain a right to practice the patent rights for their internal use only. Our license is also subject to pre-existing rights of the U.S. government.

Under the terms of the TSRI License Agreements, we are required to pay to TSRI annual minimum fees during the term of each agreement. Additionally, upon the achievement of specific regulatory and commercial milestones, we are required to make payments to TSRI of up to approximately $1.8 million under each of the TSRI License Agreements. We will also be required to pay TSRI royalties at percentage rates ranging in the low- to mid-single digits on net sales of licensed products. In the event that we sublicense the patent rights, TSRI is also entitled to receive a percentage of the sublicensing income received by us.

Under the TSRI License Agreements, we are obligated to use commercially reasonable efforts to meet the development benchmarks set out in development plans under each of the TSRI License Agreements, or otherwise expend a minimum specified amount per year for product development. TSRI has the right to terminate any TSRI License Agreement if we fail to perform our obligations under the applicable agreement, including failure to meet any development benchmark or to use commercially reasonable efforts and due diligence to develop a licensed product, or if we otherwise breach the agreement, challenge the licensed patent rights, are convicted of a felony involving the development or commercialization of a licensed product or process, or become insolvent. We may terminate any of our TSRI License Agreements by providing ninety days’ written notice to TSRI. Each TSRI License Agreement otherwise terminates upon the termination of royalty obligations under such agreement.

21


Table of Contents

 

Children’s Medical Center Corporation

In May 2009, we entered into a license agreement with Children’s Medical Center Corporation (CMCC) for rights relating to therapeutic compositions of modulated HSCs and methods for promoting reconstitution of the hematopoietic system using modulators of the prostaglandin pathway, as described in more detail above under “Intellectual Property Relating to the Programming of Hematopoietic Cells.” Under our agreement with CMCC, we acquired an exclusive royalty-bearing, sublicensable, worldwide license to make, use and sell products covered by the licensed patent rights, and to perform licensed processes, in each case, in all fields. CMCC retains a non-exclusive right to practice and use the patent rights for research, educational, clinical or charitable purposes, and also to license other academic and nonprofit organizations to practice the patent rights for research, educational, and charitable purposes (but excluding any clinical use and commercialization of the patent rights to the extent granted to us under the license agreement). Our license is also subject to pre-existing rights of the U.S. government and rights retained by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the General Hospital Corporation to use the patent rights for research purposes. Additionally, if we make any discovery or invention that is described in a patent application and is not within the scope of the licensed patent rights but would not have been made but for the licensed patent rights, we are required to disclose the invention to CMCC and enter into a non-exclusive license agreement with CMCC, for no more than a nominal fee, for CMCC to practice the invention solely for internal research purposes or clinical purposes and not for commercial purposes.

Under the terms of the license agreement, we are required to pay to CMCC an annual license maintenance fee during the term of the agreement. We also are required to make payments to CMCC of up to $5.0 million per product in development, regulatory and sales milestones. If commercial sales of a licensed product commence, we will pay CMCC royalties at percentage rates ranging in the low- to mid-single digits on net sales of licensed products in countries where such product is protected by patent rights. Our obligation to pay royalties continues on a country by country basis until the expiration of all licensed patent rights covering licensed products in such country, and our royalty payments will be reduced by other payments we are required to make to third parties until a minimum royalty percentage has been reached. In the event that we sublicense the patent rights, CMCC is also entitled to receive a percentage of the sublicensing income received by us.

Under the license with CMCC, we are obligated to use commercially reasonable efforts to bring a licensed product to market as soon as practicable, and also to use good faith and diligent efforts to manufacture and distribute a licensed product, and make licensed products reasonably available to the public during the term of the agreement. We are also required to use good faith and diligent efforts to meet the milestones set forth in development plans as part of the agreement, subject to any revisions to the development plans that may be permitted under certain circumstances. Additionally, if a third party expresses interest in an area under the license that we are not pursuing, under the terms of our agreement with CMCC, we may be required to sublicense rights in that area to the third party.

The agreement will continue until the last to expire of the patent rights. We may terminate the agreement by providing prior written notice to CMCC, and CMCC has the right to terminate the agreement if we fail to pay royalties or otherwise materially breach the agreement and fail to cure such breach within a specified grace period. CMCC may also terminate the agreement should we cease operations or in the event of our bankruptcy or insolvency.

Manufacturing

Off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived Cellular Immunotherapies

The manufacture of our off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived cellular immunotherapy product candidates involves a three-stage process:

 

The first stage is intended to generate a clonal master iPSC line and generally consists of the following steps: (i) obtain appropriately-consented healthy human donor cells, such as fibroblasts or hematopoietic cells, and conduct transfusion transmissible disease testing on the donor cells; (ii) induction of pluripotency in the donor cells using a proprietary transgene integration-free and footprint-free method of reprogramming; (iii) genetic engineering, where applicable, of iPSCs; and (iv) isolation and selection of a single iPSC, followed by clonal expansion of the single iPSC to produce a clonal master iPSC line for cell product manufacture.

 

The second stage is intended to derive the cell product population of interest and generally consists of the following steps: (i) expansion and differentiation of the clonal master iPSC line to produce CD34+ definitive hematopoietic progenitor cells; and (ii) further expansion and differentiation of these progenitor cells to produce the cell product population of interest.

 

The third stage is intended to derive the final cell product and generally consists of the following steps: (i) washing the cell product population; (ii) formulating the cell product population in an infusion media for intravenous administration of the final cell product; and (iii) cryopreserving individual aliquots of the final cell product and storing these aliquots in single-dose infusion bags.

22


Table of Contents

 

As part of our manufacturing process, we endeavor to utilize current Good Manufacturing Process (cGMP) grade materials and reagents, if commercially available; however, certain critical materials and reagents are currently qualified for research use only. Additionally, we obtain key components required for the manufacture of our iPSC-derived cell product candidates from third-party manufacturers and suppliers, which include, in some instances, sole source manufacturers and suppliers. We do not currently have long-term commitments or supply agreements in place to obtain certain key components used in the manufacture of our iPSC-derived cell product candidates.

We are manufacturing our iPSC-derived cell product candidates for use in research, preclinical development, and clinical development. In September 2019, we opened our cGMP compliant manufacturing facility for the clinical production of our iPSC-derived cell product candidates. Our cGMP facility, located in San Diego, California, is custom designed for the manufacture of off-the-shelf cell product candidates using clonal master iPSC lines as the starting cell source. The new state-of-the-art facility has been commissioned and qualified, and we have been issued a drug manufacturing license by the State of California, Department of Health Services, Food and Drug Branch. In January 2020, we entered into a new lease agreement for a future headquarters facility, which is designed to include cGMP manufacturing. The lease is expected to commence, subject to certain conditions, in May 2021, and once complete, we intend to manufacture our iPSC-derived cell product candidates at this facility.

We also contract with third parties, including medical center cell therapy facilities and contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs), for the conduct of some or all of the activities required for manufacturing our iPSC-derived cell product candidates for use in clinical investigation. We expect that we will continue to contract with third parties, including medical center cell therapy facilities and CMOs, for the conduct of some or all of the activities required for manufacturing our iPSC-derived cell product candidates.

ProTmune™

ProTmune is a composition of ex vivo programmed human mobilized peripheral blood cells. ProTmune is produced by treating qualified human mobilized peripheral blood with two small molecules, FT1050 and FT4145, in a multi-step process that is performed on the day of HSCT. Currently, the manufacture of ProTmune is performed at clinical cell processing facilities operated by or affiliated with our clinical sites. The manufacturing process consists of functionally closed unit operations. We aim to continue to develop manufacturing processes to further standardize the manufacture of ProTmune across clinical cell processing facilities.

Human peripheral blood cells sourced from a healthy donor, whose tissue type closely matches the patient’s, are used as the starting cellular source material for the manufacture of ProTmune. HSCT centers can electronically access a worldwide network of donor registries, which collect and transfer human peripheral blood cells sourced from healthy donors, to source these cells on behalf of patients. We expect donor registries to continue to collect and transfer, and HSCT centers to continue to source, human peripheral blood cells for our manufacture of ProTmune. Other components used in the manufacture of ProTmune include programming media as well as disposable materials, such as bags and tubing sets. To date, we have obtained all components required for the manufacture of ProTmune, including FT1050, FT4145 and programming media, from third-party manufacturers and suppliers, which include, in some instances, sole source manufacturers and suppliers. We do not currently have long-term commitments or supply agreements in place to obtain human peripheral blood cells and certain components used in the manufacture of ProTmune.

For the conduct of our Phase 1/2 clinical trial of ProTmune, the clinical cell processing facility at each participating site is qualified and trained by our technical staff to manufacture ProTmune. Our technical representative(s) are on-site at the clinical cell processing facility for each of the first two subjects administered ProTmune at a participating site. ProTmune is released immediately by the clinical cell processing facility staff after final processing, including filtration, final packaging, rapid release testing, and labeling. In the future, we may manufacture ProTmune at facilities operated by us, by transplant centers, or by third parties.

Marketing & Sales

We currently intend to commercialize any products that we may successfully develop. We currently have no experience in marketing or selling therapeutic products. To market any of our products independently would require us to develop a sales force with technical expertise along with establishing commercial infrastructure and capabilities. Our commercial strategy for marketing our product candidates also may include the use of strategic partners, distributors, a contract sales force or the establishment of our own commercial infrastructure. We plan to further evaluate these alternatives as we approach approval for the first of our product candidates.

23


Table of Contents

 

Government Regulation

In the United States, the FDA regulates biological products under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FDCA) and the Public Health Service Act (the PHS Act) and related regulations, and drugs under the FDCA and related regulations. Biological products and drugs are also subject to other federal, state, local, and foreign statutes and regulations. The FDA and comparable regulatory agencies in state and local jurisdictions and in foreign countries impose substantial requirements upon the clinical development, manufacture and marketing of biological products and drugs. These agencies and other federal, state, local, and foreign entities regulate research and development activities and the testing, manufacture, quality control, safety, effectiveness, packaging, labeling, storage, distribution, record keeping, reporting, approval or licensing, advertising and promotion, and import and export of our products. Failure to comply with the applicable U.S. regulatory requirements at any time during the product development process or after approval may subject an applicant to administrative or judicial sanctions. FDA sanctions include refusal to approve pending applications, withdrawal of an approval or suspension or revocation of a license, clinical hold, warning or untitled letters, voluntary or mandatory 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. In addition, government regulation may delay or prevent marketing of product candidates for a considerable period of time and impose costly procedures upon our activities.

Marketing Approval

The process required by the FDA before biological products and drugs may be marketed in the United States generally involves the following:

 

completion of nonclinical laboratory and animal tests according to good laboratory practices (GLPs) and applicable requirements for the humane use of laboratory animals or other applicable regulations;

 

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

 

performance of adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials according to the FDA’s regulations commonly referred to as good clinical practices (GCPs) and any additional requirements for the protection of human research subjects and their health information, to establish the safety and efficacy of the proposed biological product or drug for its intended use or uses;

 

for a biological product, submission to the FDA of a Biologics License Application (BLA) for marketing approval that includes substantive evidence of safety, purity, and potency from results of nonclinical testing and clinical trials, and, for a drug, submission of a New Drug Application (NDA) that includes substantive evidence of the product’s safety and efficacy;

 

satisfactory completion of an FDA pre-approval inspection of manufacturing facilities where the product is produced to assess compliance with the FDA’s cGMPs to assure that the facilities, methods and controls are adequate, and, if applicable, current good tissue practices (cGTPs) for the use of human cellular and tissue products to prevent the introduction, transmission or spread of communicable diseases;

 

potential FDA audit of the nonclinical study sites and clinical trial sites that generated the data in support of the BLA or NDA; and

 

FDA review and approval, or licensure, of the BLA and review and approval of the NDA which must occur before a biological product and a drug can be marketed or sold.

U.S. Biological Products and Drug Development Process

Before testing any biological product or drug candidate in humans, nonclinical tests, including laboratory evaluations and animal studies to assess the potential safety and activity of the product candidate, are conducted. The conduct of the nonclinical tests must comply with federal regulations and requirements including GLPs.

Prior to commencing the first clinical trial, the trial sponsor must submit the results of the nonclinical tests, together with manufacturing information, analytical data, any available clinical data or literature and a proposed clinical protocol, to the FDA as part of an initial IND application. Some nonclinical testing may continue even after the IND application is submitted. The IND application automatically becomes effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA unless the FDA, within the 30-day time period, raises concerns or questions about the conduct of the clinical trial and places the trial on a clinical hold. In such case, the sponsor of the IND application must resolve any outstanding concerns with the FDA before the clinical trial may begin. The FDA also may impose a clinical hold on ongoing clinical trials due to safety concerns or non-compliance. If a clinical hold is imposed, a trial may not recommence without FDA authorization and then only under terms authorized by the FDA. A clinical hold may either be a full clinical hold or a partial

24


Table of Contents

 

clinical hold that would limit a trial, for example, to certain doses or for a certain length of time or to a certain number of subjects.  Further, an independent institutional review board (IRB) for each site proposing to conduct the clinical trial must review and approve the plan for any clinical trial before it commences at that site. An IRB is charged with protecting the welfare and rights of study subjects and considers such items as whether the risks to individuals participating in the clinical trials are minimized and are reasonable in relation to anticipated benefits. The IRB also approves the form and content of the informed consent that must be signed by each clinical trial subject or his or her legal representative and must monitor the clinical trial until completed.

Clinical trials involve the administration of the product candidate to healthy volunteers or patients under the supervision of qualified investigators, generally physicians not employed by or under the trial sponsor’s control. Clinical trials are conducted under protocols detailing, among other things, the objectives of the clinical trial, dosing procedures, subject selection and exclusion criteria, and the parameters to be used to monitor subject safety, including rules that assure a clinical trial will be stopped if certain adverse events occur. Each protocol and any amendments to the protocol must be submitted to the FDA and to the IRB. Information about certain clinical studies must be submitted with specific timeframes to the National Institutes of Health for public dissemination at www.clinicaltrials.gov.

For purposes of BLA or NDA approval, human clinical trials are typically conducted in three sequential phases that may overlap:

 

Phase 1—The investigational product is initially introduced into healthy human subjects and tested for safety. In the case of some products for severe or life-threatening diseases, especially when the product may be too inherently toxic to ethically administer to healthy volunteers, the initial human testing is often conducted in patients. These trials may also provide early evidence on effectiveness.

 

Phase 2—These trials are conducted in a limited number of patients in the target population to identify possible adverse effects and safety risks, to preliminarily evaluate the efficacy of the product for specific targeted diseases and to determine dosage tolerance and optimal dosage. Multiple Phase 2 clinical trials may be conducted by the sponsor to obtain information prior to beginning larger and more expensive Phase 3 clinical trials.

 

Phase 3—Phase 3 trials are undertaken to provide statistically significant evidence of clinical efficacy and to further evaluate dosage, potency, and safety in an expanded patient population at multiple clinical trial sites. They are performed after preliminary evidence suggesting effectiveness of the product has been obtained, and are intended to establish the overall benefit-risk relationship of the investigational product, and to provide an adequate basis for product approval and physician labeling.

Post-approval clinical trials, sometimes referred to as Phase 4 clinical trials, may be conducted after initial marketing approval. These trials may be required by the FDA as a condition of approval and are used to gain additional experience from the treatment of patients in the intended indication, particularly for long-term safety follow-up. The FDA has statutory authority to require post-market clinical trials to address safety issues. All of these trials must be conducted in accordance with GCP requirements in order for the data to be considered reliable for regulatory purposes.

During all phases of clinical development, regulatory agencies require extensive monitoring and auditing of all clinical activities, clinical data, and clinical trial investigators. Annual progress reports detailing the results of the clinical trials must be submitted to the FDA. Within 15 calendar days after the sponsor determines that the information qualifies for reporting, written IND safety reports must be submitted to the FDA and the investigators for serious and unexpected adverse events; any findings from other studies, tests in laboratory animals or in vitro testing that suggest a significant risk for human subjects; or any clinically important increase in the rate of a serious suspected adverse reaction over that listed in the protocol or investigator brochure. The sponsor also must notify the FDA of any unexpected fatal or life-threatening suspected adverse reaction within seven calendar days after the sponsor’s initial receipt of the information.

Regulatory authorities, a data safety monitoring board or the sponsor may suspend a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the participants 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 trial is not being conducted in accordance with the IRB’s requirements or if the investigated product has been associated with unexpected serious harm to patients, and the trial may not recommence without the IRB’s authorization.

Typically, if a product is intended to treat a chronic disease, safety and efficacy data must be gathered over an extended period of time, which can range from six months to three years or more.

25


Table of Contents

 

Concurrently with clinical trials, companies usually complete additional animal studies and must also develop additional information about the physical characteristics of the investigational product and finalize a process for manufacturing the product in commercial quantities in accordance with cGMP requirements. To help reduce the risk of the introduction of adventitious agents with the use of biological products, the PHS Act emphasizes the importance of manufacturing control for products whose attributes cannot be precisely defined. The manufacturing process must be capable of consistently producing quality batches of the product candidate and, among other things, the sponsor must develop methods for testing the identity, strength, quality, potency, and purity of the final biological product. Additionally, appropriate packaging must be selected and tested and stability studies must be conducted to demonstrate that the biological product candidate does not undergo unacceptable deterioration over its shelf life.

A drug being studied in clinical trials may be made available to individual patients in certain circumstances. Pursuant to the 21st Century Cures Act (the Cures Act), as amended, the manufacturer of an investigational drug for a serious disease or condition is required to make available, such as by posting on its website, its policy on evaluating and responding to requests for individual patient access to such investigational drug. This requirement applies on the earlier of the first initiation of a Phase 2 or Phase 3 trial of the investigational drug, or as applicable, 15 days after the drug receives a designation as a breakthrough therapy, fast track product, or regenerative advanced therapy. Further, the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017 (the Right to Try Act) among other things, provides a federal framework for certain patients to request access to certain investigational new drug products that have completed a Phase 1 clinical trial and that are undergoing investigation for FDA approval.  There is no obligation for a pharmaceutical manufacturer to make its drug products available to eligible patients as a result of the Right to Try Act. We review each individual request for access through the Cures Act, the Right to Try Act and similar state laws, and may or may not provide access depending upon the facts of each request.

U.S. Review and Approval Processes

In order to obtain approval to market a biological product in the United States, a BLA must be submitted to the FDA that provides data establishing to the FDA’s satisfaction the safety, purity and potency of the investigational product for the proposed indication. Similarly, for a drug, an NDA must be submitted to the FDA that provides data demonstrating the drug is safe and effective. Both a BLA and an NDA include all data available from nonclinical studies and clinical trials, together with detailed information relating to the product’s manufacture and composition, and proposed labeling.

Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), as amended, each BLA and NDA must be accompanied by a user fee. The FDA adjusts the PDUFA user fees on an annual basis. According to the FDA’s fee schedule, effective through September 30, 2021, the user fee for an application requiring clinical data, such as a BLA and an NDA, is $2,875,842. PDUFA also imposes an annual prescription drug product program fee for biologics and drugs ($336,432). Fee waivers or reductions are available in certain circumstances, including a waiver of the application fee for the first application filed by a small business having fewer than 500 employees. Additionally, no user fees are assessed on BLAs or NDAs for products designated as orphan drugs, unless the product also includes a non-orphan indication.

The FDA has 60 days from its receipt of a BLA or NDA to determine whether the application will be accepted for filing based on the agency’s threshold determination that the application is sufficiently complete to permit substantive review. The FDA may refuse to file any BLA or NDA that it deems incomplete or not properly reviewable at the time of submission and may request additional information. In this event, the BLA or NDA must be resubmitted with the additional information. The resubmitted application also is subject to review before the FDA accepts it for filing. After the BLA or NDA submission is accepted for filing, the FDA reviews the BLA or NDA to determine, among other things, whether the proposed product is safe and effective for its intended use, and has an acceptable purity profile, and whether the product is being manufactured in accordance with cGMPs to assure and preserve the product’s identity, safety, strength, quality, potency, and purity, and for a biological product, whether it meets the biological product standards. The FDA may refer applications for novel products or products that present difficult questions of safety or efficacy to an advisory committee, typically comprised of clinicians and other experts, for evaluation and a recommendation as to whether the application should be approved and, if so, 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 a BLA or NDA, the FDA will inspect the facilities at which the product is manufactured. The FDA will not approve the product unless it determines that the manufacturing processes and facilities are in compliance with cGMP requirements and adequate to assure consistent production of the product within required specifications. For a human cellular or tissue product, the FDA also will not approve the product if the manufacturer is not in compliance with cGTPs. FDA regulations also require tissue establishments to register and list their human cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue based products (HCT/Ps) with the FDA and, when applicable, to evaluate donors through screening and testing. Additionally, before approving a BLA or NDA, the FDA may inspect clinical sites to assure that the clinical trials were conducted in compliance with IND study requirements and GCPs. If the FDA determines the manufacturing process or manufacturing facilities are not acceptable, it typically will outline the deficiencies and often will require the facility to take corrective action and provide documentation evidencing the implementation of such corrective action, which may delay further review of the application. If the FDA finds that a clinical site did not conduct the clinical trial in accordance with GCPs, the FDA may determine the data generated by the site should be excluded from the primary efficacy analyses provided in the BLA or NDA, and request additional testing or data. Additionally, the FDA ultimately may still decide that the application does not satisfy the regulatory criteria for approval.

26


Table of Contents

 

The FDA also has authority to require a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) from manufacturers to ensure that the benefits of a biological product or drug outweigh its risks. A sponsor may also voluntarily propose a REMS as part of the BLA or NDA submission. The need for a REMS is determined as part of the review of the BLA or NDA. Based on statutory standards, elements of a REMS may include “dear doctor letters,” a medication guide, more elaborate targeted educational programs, and in some cases restrictions on distribution. These elements are negotiated as part of the BLA or NDA approval, and in some cases may delay the approval date. Once adopted, REMS are subject to periodic assessment and modification.

After the FDA completes its initial review of a BLA or NDA, it will communicate to the sponsor that the biological product will either be approved, or it will issue a complete response letter to communicate that the BLA or NDA will not be approved in its current form. The complete response letter usually describes all of the specific deficiencies in the BLA or NDA identified by the FDA. The deficiencies identified may be minor, for example, requiring labeling changes, or major, for example, requiring additional clinical trials. Additionally, the complete response letter may include recommended actions that the applicant might take to place the applicant in a condition for approval. If a complete response letter is issued, the applicant may either resubmit the BLA or NDA to address all of the deficiencies identified in the letter, or withdraw the application, or request a hearing.

One of the performance goals of the FDA under PDUFA is to review 90% of standard BLAs and NDAs in 10 months and 90% of priority BLAs and NDAs in six months, whereupon a review decision is to be made. The FDA does not always meet its PDUFA goal dates for standard and priority BLAs and NDAs and its review goals are subject to change from time to time. The review process and the PDUFA goal data may be extended by three months if the FDA requests or the BLA or NDA applicant otherwise provides additional information or clarification regarding information already provided in the submission within the last three months before the PDUFA goal date.

Even if a product candidate receives regulatory approval, the approval may be limited to specific disease states, patient populations and dosages, or the indications for use may otherwise be limited. Further, the FDA may require that certain contraindications, warnings, or precautions be included in the product labeling. The FDA may impose restrictions and conditions on product distribution, prescribing, or dispensing in the form of a risk management plan, or otherwise limit the scope of any approval. In addition, the FDA may require Phase 4 post-marketing clinical trials and testing and surveillance programs to monitor the safety of approved products that have been commercialized. Further, even after regulatory approval is obtained, later discovery of previously unknown problems with a product may result in the imposition of new restrictions on the product or complete withdrawal of the product from the market.

Expedited Development and Review Programs

The FDA has a Fast Track program intended to facilitate the development and expedite the review of new drugs and biological products that are intended to treat a serious or life-threatening condition or disease and demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs for the condition. Fast Track designation applies to the combination of the product and the specific indication for which it is being studied. The sponsor of a biological product or drug may request the FDA to designate the biologic or drug as a Fast Track product at any time during clinical development. Unique to a Fast Track product, the FDA may consider for review sections of the marketing application on a rolling basis before the complete application is submitted if the sponsor provides a schedule for the submission of the sections of the application, the FDA agrees to accept sections of the application and determines that the schedule is acceptable, and the sponsor pays any required user fees upon submission of the first section of the application.

Any product submitted to the FDA for marketing, including under a Fast Track program, may be eligible for other types of FDA programs intended to expedite development and review, such as priority review and accelerated approval. Any product is eligible for priority review if it has the potential to provide safe and effective therapy where no satisfactory alternative therapy exists or a significant improvement in the treatment, diagnosis or prevention of a disease compared to marketed products. The FDA will attempt to direct additional resources to the evaluation of an application for a biological product or drug designated for priority review in an effort to facilitate the review. Additionally, a product may be eligible for accelerated approval. Drug or biological products studied for their safety and effectiveness in treating serious or life-threatening illnesses and that provide meaningful therapeutic benefit over existing treatments may receive accelerated approval, which means that they may be approved on the basis of adequate and well-controlled clinical trials establishing that the product has an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is reasonably likely to predict a clinical benefit, or on the basis of an effect 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 may require that a sponsor of a biological product or drug receiving accelerated approval perform adequate and well-controlled post-marketing clinical trials. In addition, the FDA currently requires as a condition for accelerated approval pre-approval of promotional materials.

27


Table of Contents

 

The FDCA also requires FDA to expedite the development and review of a breakthrough therapy. A biological product or drug can be designated as a breakthrough therapy if it is intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that it may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints. A sponsor may request that a biological product or drug be designated as a breakthrough therapy at any time during the clinical development of the product. If so designated, FDA shall act to expedite the development and review of the product’s marketing application, including by meeting with, and providing advice to, the sponsor throughout the product’s development, and taking steps to facilitate an efficient review of the development program and to ensure that the design of the clinical trials is as efficient as practicable.

Fast Track designation, priority review, accelerated approval, and breakthrough therapy designation do not change the standards for approval but may expedite the development or approval process.

Accelerated Approval for Regenerative Advanced Therapies

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

U.S. Patent Term Restoration and Marketing Exclusivity

Under certain circumstances, U.S. patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, commonly referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Amendments. Patent term restoration can compensate for time lost during product development and the regulatory review process by returning up to five years of patent life for a patent that covers a new product or its use. However, patent term restoration cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the product’s approval date. The period of patent term restoration is generally one-half the time between the effective date of an IND application (falling after issuance of the patent) and the submission date of a BLA or NDA, plus the time between the submission date of the BLA or NDA and the approval of that application, provided the sponsor acted with diligence. Only one patent applicable to an approved product is eligible for the extension and the application for the extension must be submitted prior to the expiration of the patent. The application for patent term extension is subject to approval by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in consultation with the FDA. A patent term extension is only available when the FDA approves a biological product or drug for the first time.

With the Hatch-Waxman Amendments, Congress authorized the FDA to approve generic drugs that are the same as drugs previously approved by the FDA under the NDA provisions of the FDCA. To obtain approval of a generic drug, an applicant must submit to the agency an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) which relies on the preclinical and clinical testing previously conducted for a drug approved under an NDA, known as the reference listed drug (RLD). For the ANDA to be approved, the FDA must find that the generic version is identical to the RLD with respect to the active ingredients, the route of administration, the dosage form, and the strength of the drug. The FDA must also determine that the generic drug is bioequivalent to the innovator drug.

An abbreviated approval pathway for biological products shown to be biosimilar to, or interchangeable with, a FDA-licensed reference biological product was created by the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009, which was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA). This amendment to the PHS Act attempts to minimize duplicative testing. Biosimilarity, which requires that there be no clinically meaningful differences between the biological product and the reference product in terms of safety, purity, and potency, can be shown through analytical studies, animal studies, and a clinical trial or trials. Interchangeability requires that a biological product is biosimilar to the reference biological product and the product must demonstrate that it can be expected to produce the same clinical results as the reference product and, for products administered multiple times, the product and the reference product may be switched after one has been previously administered without increasing safety risks or risks of diminished efficacy relative to exclusive use of the reference biological product.

28


Table of Contents

 

A reference biological product is granted twelve years of exclusivity from the time of first licensure of the reference product. The first biological product submitted under the abbreviated approval pathway that is determined to be interchangeable with the reference product has exclusivity against other biologics submitting under the abbreviated approval pathway for the lesser of (i) one year after the first commercial marketing, (ii) 18 months after approval if there is no legal challenge, (iii) 18 months after the resolution in the applicant’s favor of a lawsuit challenging the biologic’s patents if an application has been submitted, or (iv) 42 months after the application has been approved if a lawsuit is ongoing within the 42-month period.

A biological product or drug can obtain pediatric market exclusivity in the United States. Pediatric exclusivity, if granted, adds six months to existing exclusivity periods and patent terms. This six-month exclusivity, which runs from the end of other exclusivity protection or patent term, may be granted based on the voluntary completion of a pediatric study in accordance with an FDA-issued “Written Request” for such a study.

Orphan Designation

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

If a biological product or drug that receives orphan designation is the first such product approved by FDA for the orphan indication, it receives orphan product exclusivity, which for seven years prohibits the FDA from approving another application to market the same product for the same indication. Orphan product exclusivity will not bar approval of another product under certain circumstances, including if the new product is shown to be clinically superior to the approved product on the basis of greater efficacy or safety or a demonstration that the new product otherwise makes a major contribution to patient care. More than one product may also be approved by the FDA for the same orphan indication or disease as long as the products are different. If a biological product or drug designated as an orphan product receives marketing approval for an indication broader than what is designated, it may not be entitled to orphan product exclusivity. Orphan drug status in the European Union has similar, but not identical, benefits.

Pediatric Research Equity Act

Under the Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA), as amended, a BLA or NDA or supplement must contain data to assess the safety and effectiveness of the biological product or drug for the claimed indications in all relevant pediatric subpopulations and to support dosing and administration for each pediatric subpopulation for which the product is safe and effective. The intent of PREA is to compel sponsors whose products have pediatric applicability to study those products in pediatric populations. The FDCA requires manufacturers of biological products and drugs that include a new active ingredient, new indication, new dosage form, new dosing regimen or new route of administration to submit a pediatric study plan to the FDA as part of the IND application. The plan must be submitted not later than 60 days after the end-of-Phase 2 meeting with the FDA; or if there is no such meeting, before the initiation of any Phase 3 trials or a combined Phase 2 and Phase 3 trial; or if no such trial will be conducted, no later than 210 days before submitting a marketing application or supplement. The FDA may grant deferrals for submission of data or full or partial waivers. Generally, PREA does not apply to any biological product or drug for an indication for which orphan designation has been granted.

Healthcare Reform and Other Regulatory Changes

In the United States and some foreign jurisdictions, there have been, and likely will continue to be, a number of legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding the healthcare system directed at broadening the availability of healthcare, improving the quality of healthcare, and containing or lowering the cost of healthcare.

For example, in March 2010, the ACA was enacted in the United States. The ACA includes measures that have significantly changed, and are expected to continue to significantly change, the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers. Among the provisions of the ACA of greatest importance to the pharmaceutical industry are that the ACA:

 

subjects biological products to potential competition by biosimilars;

 

made several changes to the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, including increasing pharmaceutical manufacturers’ rebate liability by raising the minimum basic Medicaid rebate on most branded prescription drugs to 23.1% of average manufacturer price (AMP), and adding a new rebate calculation for “line extensions” (i.e., new formulations, such as extended release formulations) of solid oral dosage forms of branded products, as well as potentially impacting their rebate liability by modifying the statutory definition of AMP;

29


Table of Contents

 

 

imposed a requirement on manufacturers of branded drugs to provide a 70% point-of-sale discount off the negotiated price of branded drugs dispensed to Medicare Part D beneficiaries in the coverage gap (i.e., “donut hole”) as a condition for a manufacturer’s outpatient drugs being covered under Medicare Part D;

 

extended a manufacturer’s Medicaid rebate liability to covered drugs dispensed to individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations;

 

expanded the entities eligible for discounts under the 340B Drug Discount Program;

 

established 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;

 

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

 

imposed new reporting requirements on drug manufacturers for payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. Failure to submit required information may result in significant civil monetary penalties for all payments, transfers of value or ownership or investment interests that are not timely, accurately and completely reported in an annual submission; and

 

established a new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to oversee, identify priorities in, and conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research, along with funding for such research. The research conducted by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute may affect the market for certain pharmaceutical products. The ACA established the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (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 numerous judicial, administrative, executive, and legislative challenges to certain aspects of the ACA, and we expect there will be additional challenges and amendments to the ACA in the future. Various portions of the ACA are currently undergoing legal and constitutional challenges in the United States Supreme Court; the former administration issued various Executive Orders which eliminated cost sharing subsidies and various provisions that would impose a fiscal burden on states or a cost, fee, tax, penalty or regulatory burden on individuals, healthcare providers, health insurers, or manufacturers of pharmaceuticals or medical devices; and Congress has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at significantly revising or repealing the ACA. The United States Supreme Court is expected to rule on a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the ACA in early 2021. The implementation of the ACA is ongoing, and the law appears likely to continue the downward pressure on pharmaceutical pricing, especially under the Medicare program, and may also increase our regulatory burdens and operating costs. Litigation and legislation related to the ACA are likely to continue, with unpredictable and uncertain results.

Congress may consider additional legislation to repeal, replace, or further modify elements of the ACA. In addition, the Biden administration may take steps to repeal, replace, or further modify elements of the ACA and regulatory actions taken by the previous administration. Thus, the full impact of the ACA, or any law repealing, replacing or modifying elements of it, and the political uncertainty regarding any repeal, replacement or modification of the ACA, on our business remains unclear. We expect that additional federal healthcare reform measures may be adopted in the future, any of which could limit the amounts that federal and state governments will pay for healthcare drugs, biologics and services.

There has been increasing legislative and enforcement interest in the United States with respect to specialty drug pricing practices. Specifically, there have been several recent U.S. Congressional inquiries and proposed federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to product pricing, reduce the cost of prescription drugs under Medicare, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for products. At the federal level, the previous administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2021 includes a $135 billion allowance to support legislative proposals seeking to reduce drug prices, increase competition, lower out-of-pocket drug costs for patients, and increase patient access to lower-cost generic and biosimilar drugs. On March 10, 2020, the previous administration sent “principles” for drug pricing to Congress, calling for legislation that would, among other things, cap Medicare Part D beneficiary out-of-pocket pharmacy expenses, provide an option to cap Medicare Part D beneficiary monthly out-of-pocket expenses, and place limits on pharmaceutical price increases. Additionally, the Trump administration released a “Blueprint” to lower drug prices and reduce out of pocket costs of drugs that contains additional proposals to increase manufacturer competition, increase the negotiating power of certain federal healthcare programs, incentivize manufacturers to lower the list price of their products and reduce the out of pocket costs of drug products paid by consumers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, has already implemented certain measures. For example, in May 2019, CMS issued a final rule to allow Medicare Advantage Plans the option of using step therapy for Part B drugs beginning January 1, 2020. Although a number of these, and other proposed measures may require authorization through additional legislation to become effective, Congress has indicated that it will continue to seek new legislative measures to control drug costs. Additionally, it is unclear whether the Biden administration will challenge, reverse, revoke or

30


Table of Contents

 

otherwise modify previous administrative and executive actions. 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.

Other Healthcare Laws and Compliance Requirements

In the United States, our activities are potentially subject to regulation by various federal, state and local authorities in addition to the FDA, CMS, other divisions of HHS, (e.g., the Office of Inspector General, or OIG), the United States Department of Justice and individual United States Attorney offices within the Department of Justice, and state and local governments. For example, our clinical research, sales, marketing and scientific/educational grant programs may have to comply with the anti-fraud and abuse provisions of the Social Security Act, the false claims laws, the privacy and security provisions of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and similar state laws, each as amended, as applicable, including:

 

the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe, or rebate), directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to induce, or in return for, either the referral of an individual, or the purchase, lease, order, arrangement or recommendation of any good, facility, item or service for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under a federal healthcare program, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs; a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute or specific intent to violate it to have committed a violation. In addition, the government may assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the federal False Claims Act or federal civil money penalties statute;

 

the federal civil and criminal false claims laws and civil monetary penalty laws, including the False Claims Act, which prohibit, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, false or fraudulent claims for payment to, or approval by Medicare, Medicaid, or other federal healthcare programs, knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim or an obligation to pay or transmit money to the federal government, or knowingly concealing or knowingly and improperly avoiding or decreasing or concealing an obligation to pay money to the federal government. Manufacturers can be held liable under the False Claims Act even when they do not submit claims directly to government payors if they are deemed to “cause” the submission of false or fraudulent claims. The False Claims Act also permits a private individual acting as a “whistleblower” to bring actions on behalf of the federal government alleging violations of the False Claims Act and to share in any monetary recovery;

 

the anti-inducement law, which prohibits, among other things, the offering or giving of remuneration, which includes, without limitation, any transfer of items or services for free or for less than fair market value (with limited exceptions), to a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary that the person knows or should know is likely to influence the beneficiary’s selection of a particular supplier of items or services reimbursable by a federal or state governmental program;

 

HIPAA, which created new federal criminal statutes that prohibit knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or control of, any healthcare benefit program, regardless of the payor (e.g., public or private) and knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up by any trick or device a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations in connection with the delivery of, or payment for, healthcare benefits, items or services relating to healthcare matters; similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;

 

HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, and their respective implementing regulations, which impose requirements on certain covered healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses as well as their respective business associates that perform services for them that involve the use, or disclosure of, individually identifiable health information, relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information;

 

the federal transparency requirements under the ACA, including the provision commonly referred to as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and its implementing regulations, which requires applicable manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program to report annually to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CMS, information related to payments or other transfers of value made to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors) and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by the physicians described

31


Table of Contents

 

 

above and their immediate family members. Effective January 1, 2022, these reporting obligations will extend to include transfers of value made to certain non-physician providers such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners;

 

federal government price reporting laws, which require us to calculate and report complex pricing metrics in an accurate and timely manner to government programs; and

 

federal consumer protection and unfair competition laws, which broadly regulate marketplace activities and activities that potentially harm consumers.

In addition to the above, on November 20, 2020, OIG finalized further modifications to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. Under the final rules, OIG added safe harbor protections under the Anti-Kickback Statute for certain coordinated care and value-based arrangements among clinicians, providers, and others. Simultaneously, HHS removed safe harbor protection for price reductions from pharmaceutical manufacturers to plan sponsors under Part D, either directly or through pharmacy benefit managers, unless the price reduction is required by law. The rule also creates a new safe harbor for price reductions reflected at the point-of-sale, as well as a safe harbor for certain fixed fee arrangements between pharmacy benefit managers and manufacturers. HHS has delayed the implementation of the removal of safe harbor protection for price reductions from pharmaceutical manufacturers and creation of a new safe harbor for certain fixed fees rule to March 22, 2021. We continue to evaluate what effect, if any, these rules will have on our business.

Additionally, we may be subject now or in the future to state and foreign equivalents of each of the healthcare laws and regulations described above, among others, some of which may be broader in scope and may apply regardless of the payor. Many U.S. states have adopted laws similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act, and may apply to our business practices, including, but not limited to, research, distribution, sales or marketing arrangements and claims involving healthcare items or services reimbursed by non-governmental payors, including private insurers. In addition, some states have passed laws that require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the April 2003 OIG Compliance Program Guidance for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and/or the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals. Several states also impose other marketing restrictions or require pharmaceutical companies to make marketing or price disclosures to the state. There are ambiguities as to what is required to comply with these state requirements and if we fail to comply with an applicable state law requirement, we could be subject to penalties.

Regulations Governing Data Collection and the Use, Processing and Cross-Border Transfer of Personal Information

We also may be or may become subject to various state and foreign laws governing the privacy and security of health information, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and often are not preempted by HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts.

For example, California has enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which creates new individual privacy rights for California consumers (as defined in the law) and places increased privacy and security obligations on entities handling personal data of consumers or households. Effective as of January 2020, the CCPA requires covered companies to provide certain disclosures to consumers about its data collection, use and sharing practices, and to provide affected California residents with ways to opt out of certain sales or transfers of personal information, and also regulates employee information. Further, a new California privacy law, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), was passed by California voters in November 2020. The CPRA will create additional obligations with respect to processing and storing personal information that are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2023 (with certain provisions having retroactive effect to January 1, 2022). While there is currently an exception in the CCPA and CPRA for protected health information that is subject to HIPAA, the CCPA and CPRA may impact our business activities. Other U.S. states also are considering omnibus privacy legislation, and industry organizations regularly adopt and advocate for new standards in these areas.

In addition, as of May 25, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulates the collection and use of personal data in the European Union (EU). The GDPR covers any business, regardless of its location, that provides goods or services to residents in the EU and, thus, could incorporate any activities we undertake in EU member states. The GDPR imposes strict requirements on controllers and processors of personal data, including special protections for “sensitive information,” which includes health and genetic information of individuals residing in the EU. GDPR grants individuals the opportunity to object to the processing of their personal information, allows them to request deletion of personal information in certain circumstances, and provides the individual with an express right to seek legal remedies in the event the individual believes his or her rights have been violated. Further, the GDPR imposes strict rules on the transfer of personal data out of the EU to regions that have not been deemed to offer “adequate” privacy protections, such as the U.S. currently. Failure to comply with the requirements of the GDPR and the related national data protection laws of the EU member states, which may deviate slightly from the GDPR, may result in warning letters, mandatory audits and financial penalties, including fines of up to 4% of global revenues, or €20,000,000, whichever is greater.

32


Table of Contents

 

Further to the United Kingdom's (UK) exit from the EU on January 31, 2020, the GDPR ceased to apply in the UK at the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020. However, as of January 1, 2021, the UK’s European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 incorporated the GDPR (as it existed on December 31, 2020 but subject to certain UK specific amendments) into UK law (referred to as the 'UK GDPR'). The UK GDPR and the UK Data Protection Act 2018 set out the UK’s data protection regime, which is independent from but aligned to the EU’s data protection regime. Non-compliance with the UK GDPR may result in monetary penalties of up to £17.5 million or 4% of worldwide revenue, whichever is higher. The UK, however, is now regarded as a third country under the EU’s GDPR which means that transfers of personal data from the EEA to the UK will be restricted unless an appropriate safeguard, as recognized by the EU’s GDPR, has been put in place. Although under the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement it is lawful to transfer personal data between the UK and the EEA for a 6 month period following the end of the transition period, with a view to achieving an adequacy decision from the European Commission during that period. Like the EU GDPR, the UK GDPR restricts personal data transfers outside the UK to countries not regarded by the UK as providing adequate protection (this means that personal data transfers from the UK to the EEA remain free flowing). There is significant uncertainty related to the manner in which data protection authorities will seek to enforce compliance with GDPR. For example, it is unclear whether the authorities will conduct random audits of companies doing business in the EU or UK, or act solely after complaints are filed claiming a violation of the GDPR or UK GDPR

Other Regulations

We are also subject to numerous federal, state and local laws relating to such matters as safe working conditions, manufacturing practices, environmental protection, fire hazard control, and disposal of hazardous or potentially hazardous substances. We may incur significant costs to comply with such laws and regulations now or in the future.

Competition

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are characterized by rapid innovation, intense and dynamic competition and a strong emphasis on proprietary products. While we believe that our technology, scientific knowledge and experience in the field of cellular immunotherapy provide us with competitive advantages, we face potential competition from many different sources, including major pharmaceutical, specialty pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic institutions and governmental agencies and public and private research institutions, as well as standard-of-care treatments, new products undergoing development and combinations of existing and new therapies. Any product candidates that we successfully develop and commercialize will compete with existing therapies and new therapies, including combinations thereof, that may become available in the future.

Cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer have recently been an area of significant research and development by academic institutions and biopharmaceutical companies. Novartis AG (Novartis) and Kite Pharma, Inc. (Kite) were the first to obtain FDA approval for autologous CAR T-cell therapies for the treatment of certain cancers. Novartis obtained FDA approval to commercialize Kymriah in August 2017 for the treatment of children and young adults with relapsed / refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and, in May 2018, for the treatment of adults with relapsed / refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. In October 2017, Kite obtained FDA approval to commercialize Yescarta for the treatment of adults with relapsed / refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

We are developing our off-the-shelf NK- and T-cell product candidates for the treatment of cancer. While we believe our use of clonal master iPSC lines for the production of our off-the-shelf NK- and T-cell product candidates is highly differentiated, a number of companies are currently focused on the development of cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer including Allogene Therapeutics, Inc., Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc., bluebird bio, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Cellectis SA, CRISPR Therapeutics AG, Gilead Sciences, Inc., Intellia Therapeutics, Inc., Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Legend Biotech Corporation, NantKwest, Inc., Nkarta, Inc., Novartis AG, Sanofi SA, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies.

We are developing ProTmune as a next-generation mobilized peripheral blood graft for patients undergoing allogeneic HSCT. ProTmune is designed to prevent GvHD and other life-threatening complications that compromise the procedure’s curative potential. There are currently no FDA-approved therapies for the prevention of acute GvHD. Corticosteroids, or steroids, remain the first-line of treatment for GvHD, and second-line therapy consists of off-label use of immunosuppressive agents. We are aware of other companies and medical centers that are developing prophylaxes for GvHD and treatments for acute GvHD and other life-threatening complications of HSCT, including AbbVie Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, and Incyte Corporation.

We compete against our competitors in recruiting and retaining qualified scientific and management personnel and establishing clinical study sites and subject enrollment for clinical studies, as well as in acquiring technologies complementary to, or necessary for, our programs. Many of our competitors, either alone or with their collaboration partners, have substantially greater financial, technical and human resources than we do and significantly greater experience in the discovery and development of product candidates,

33


Table of Contents

 

obtaining FDA and other regulatory approvals of treatments and commercializing those treatments. Accordingly, our competitors may be more successful than us in obtaining approval for treatments and achieving widespread market acceptance.

We anticipate that we will face intense and increasing competition as new products enter the market and advanced technologies become available. We expect any treatments that we develop and commercialize to compete on the basis of, among other things, efficacy, safety, convenience of administration and delivery, price, the level of generic competition and the availability of reimbursement from government and other third-party payers. Our commercial opportunity could be reduced or eliminated if our competitors develop and commercialize products that are safer, more effective, have fewer or less severe side effects, are more convenient or are less expensive than any products that we may develop. Our competitors also may obtain FDA or other regulatory approval for their products more rapidly than we may obtain approval for ours, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market.

Insurance

We maintain product liability insurance for our clinical trials. We intend to expand our insurance coverage to include the sale of commercial products if marketing approval is obtained for products in development. However, insurance coverage is becoming increasingly expensive, and we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or in sufficient amounts to protect us against losses due to liability. In addition, we may not be able to obtain commercially reasonable product liability insurance for any products approved for marketing.

Human Capital

As of December 31, 2020, we employed 279 employees, all of whom are full-time employees, including 127 in research and development, 113 in clinical development, manufacturing and regulatory affairs and 39 in general and administrative. We have never had a work stoppage, and none of our employees is represented by a labor organization or under any collective bargaining arrangements. We consider our employee relations to be good.

We focus on identifying, recruiting, developing and retaining a team of highly talented and motivated employees. 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, as well providing our employees with the opportunity to participate in our employee stock purchase plan, 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. The success of our business is fundamentally connected to the well-being, health and safety of our employees. In an effort to protect the health and safety of our employees, we took proactive action from the earliest signs of the COVID-19 outbreak, which included implementing social distancing policies at our facilities, facilitating remote working arrangements and imposing employee travel restrictions.

Corporate Information

We were incorporated in Delaware in 2007, and are headquartered in San Diego, CA. Our principal executive office is located at 3535 General Atomics Court, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92121, and our telephone number is (858) 875-1800. Our website address is www.fatetherapeutics.com. We do not incorporate the information on or accessible through our website into this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and you should not consider any information on, or that can be accessed through, our website a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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

Available Information

We post our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, on the Investors section of our public website (www.fatetherapeutics.com) as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. In addition, you can read our SEC filings over the Internet at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. The contents of these websites are not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Further, our references to the URLs for these websites are intended to be inactive textual references only.

 

 

34


Table of Contents

 

Item 1A.  Risk Factors

You should carefully consider the following risk factors, as well as the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and in our other public filings. The occurrence of any of these risks could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and/or growth prospects or cause our actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements we have made in this report and those we may make from time to time. You should consider all of the risk factors described in our public filings when evaluating our business.

Risks Related to the Discovery, Development and Regulation of Our Product Candidates

If we fail to complete the preclinical or clinical development of, or to obtain regulatory approval for, our product candidates, our business would be significantly harmed.

All of our product candidates are currently in research or early clinical development. We have not completed clinical development of or obtained regulatory approval for any of our product candidates. Only a small percentage of research and development programs ultimately result in commercially successful products, and we cannot assure you that any of our product candidates will demonstrate the safety, purity and potency, or efficacy profiles necessary to support further preclinical study, clinical development or regulatory approval.

We may delay or cancel our ongoing and planned clinical development activities or research and development activities for any of our product candidates for a variety of reasons, including:

 

determining that a product candidate is ineffective, causes harmful side effects, or otherwise presents unacceptable safety risks during clinical trials or has an unfavorable toxicity profile in preclinical studies to support clinical investigation;

 

difficulties in manufacturing or distributing a product candidate, including the inability to manufacture and distribute a product candidate in a sufficient quantity, suitable form, or in a cost-effective manner, or under protocols and processes and with materials and facilities acceptable to the FDA for the conduct of clinical trials or for marketing approval;

 

our prioritization of other product candidates for advancement or the emergence of competing product candidates developed by others, including a decision to cease research and development of any existing product candidate due to the potential obsolescence of our product candidate by a competing product or product candidate or our determination that another of our existing or future product candidates has greater potential for clinical development, regulatory approval, or commercialization, including potentially greater therapeutic benefit, a more favorable safety or efficacy profile, a more consistent or more cost effective manufacturing process, or more a favorable commercial profile, including greater market acceptance or commercial potential, or more advantageous intellectual property position;

 

the proprietary rights of third parties, which may preclude us from developing, manufacturing or commercializing a product candidate;

 

determining that a product candidate may be uneconomical to develop, manufacture, or commercialize, or may fail to achieve market acceptance or an adequate pricing and reimbursement profile;

 

our inability to secure or maintain relationships with strategic partners that may be necessary for advancement of a product candidate into or through clinical development, regulatory approval and commercialization in any particular indication(s) or geographic territory(ies); or

 

difficulty establishing predictive preclinical models for demonstration of safety and efficacy of a product candidate in one or more potential therapeutic areas for clinical development.

 

Additionally, we will only be able to obtain regulatory approval to market a product candidate if we can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, in well-designed and conducted clinical trials that such product candidate is manufactured in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements, is safe, pure and potent, or effective, and otherwise meets the appropriate standards required for approval for a particular indication. Our ability to obtain regulatory approval of our product candidates depends on, among other things, completion of additional preclinical studies, process development and manufacturing activities, and clinical trials, whether our clinical trials demonstrate statistically significant efficacy with safety profiles that do not potentially outweigh the therapeutic benefit, and whether regulatory agencies agree that the data from our clinical trials and our manufacturing operations are sufficient to support approval. Securing regulatory approval also requires the submission of information about product manufacturing operations to, and inspection of manufacturing facilities by, the relevant regulatory authority. The final results of our current and future clinical trials may not meet the FDA’s or other regulatory agencies’ requirements to approve a product candidate for marketing, and the regulatory agencies may otherwise determine that our manufacturing operations are insufficient to support approval. We may need to conduct preclinical studies and clinical trials that we currently do not anticipate. If we fail to complete preclinical or clinical development of, or obtain regulatory approval for, our product candidates, we will not be

35


Table of Contents

 

able to generate any revenues from product sales and our ability to receive milestone or other payments under any collaboration agreements may be impaired, which will harm our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

We may face delays in initiating, conducting or completing our clinical trials, and we may not be able to initiate, conduct or complete them at all.

We are heavily dependent on our ability to complete the clinical development of, and obtain regulatory approval for, our product candidates. We have not completed the clinical trials necessary to support an application for approval to market any of our product candidates. We, or any investigators who initiate or conduct clinical trials of our product candidates, may experience delays in our current or future clinical trials, and we do not know whether we or our investigators will be able to initiate, enroll patients in, or complete, clinical trials of our product candidates on time, if at all. Current and future clinical trials of our product candidates may be delayed, unsuccessful or terminated, or not initiated at all, as a result of many factors, including factors related to:

 

difficulties in identifying eligible patients for participation in clinical trials of our product candidates, due in part to our focus on the development of certain of our product candidates for the treatment of rare diseases;

 

difficulties enrolling a sufficient number of suitable patients to conduct clinical trials of our product candidates, including difficulties resulting from patients enrolling in studies of therapeutic product candidates sponsored by our competitors and difficulties resulting from patient availability as a result of shelter-in-place orders, mandated travel restrictions, prioritization of hospital and other medical resources toward pandemic efforts, policies and procedures implemented at clinical sites with respect to the conduct of clinical trials, and other precautionary measures taken in treating patients or in practicing medicine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

difficulties determining suitable doses of our novel cell product candidates for evaluation in clinical trials;

 

difficulties in obtaining agreement from regulatory authorities on study endpoints and/or study duration, achieving study endpoints, the amount and sufficiency of data demonstrating efficacy and safety, and completing data analysis in clinical trials for any of our product candidates;

 

difficulties in obtaining agreement from regulatory authorities on the preclinical safety and efficacy data, the manufacturing requirements, and the clinical trial design and parameters necessary for an IND application to go into effect to initiate and conduct clinical trials for any of our current product candidates and any other product candidates that we may identify;

 

the occurrence of unexpected safety issues or adverse events in any ongoing or future clinical trials of our product candidates, including in trials of our product candidates conducted by investigator-sponsors;

 

securing and maintaining the support of clinical investigators and investigational sites, including investigators and sites who may conduct clinical trials under an investigator-sponsored IND with our financial support, and obtaining IRB approval at each site for the conduct of our clinical trials;

 

governmental or regulatory delays, including any delays due to limitations on the availability of governmental and regulatory agency personnel to review regulatory filings, conduct site inspections or engage in discussions with us as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, failure to obtain regulatory approval, or uncertainty or changes in U.S. or foreign regulatory requirements, policy or guidelines;

 

limitations on clinical trial conduct at our clinical trial sites resulting from prioritization of hospital and other medical resources toward COVID-19 pandemic efforts, policies and procedures implemented at clinical sites with respect to the conduct of clinical trials including those relating to site initiation, study monitoring, and data collection and analysis, and other precautionary measures taken in treating patients or in practicing medicine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

reaching agreement on acceptable terms with third-party service providers and clinical trial sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different service providers and clinical trial sites;

 

failure, by us, cell processing facilities at our clinical trial sites, or third parties that we contract with, to manufacture certain of our product candidates consistently, and in sufficient quantities, in accordance with our protocol-specified manufacturing requirements and applicable regulatory requirements;

 

our failure, or the failure of investigators, third-party service providers, or clinical trial sites, to ensure the proper and timely conduct of and analysis of data from clinical trials of our product candidates;

 

inability to reach agreement on clinical trial design and parameters with regulatory authorities, investigators, and IRBs;

36


Table of Contents

 

 

 

failure or delays in obtaining sufficient quantities of suitable raw materials, components, and equipment necessary for the manufacture of any product candidate, including any inability to obtain materials as a result of possible supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

challenges in distributing our product candidates to clinical trial sites, or failure to establish effective protocols for the supply and transport of our product candidates;  

 

the costs of conducting clinical trials or manufacturing of our product candidates being greater than we anticipate or the timelines for these activities being longer than we anticipate;

 

data monitoring committees recommending suspension, termination or a clinical hold for various reasons, including concerns about patient safety;

 

the serious, life-threatening diseases of the patients enrolled in our clinical trials, who may die or suffer adverse medical events during the course of the trials for reasons that may not be related to our product candidates;

 

failure of patients to complete clinical trials or adhere to study protocols due to safety issues, side effects, disruptions in study conduct, including study monitoring, data collection and analysis, restrictions on hospital visits or travel relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, or other reasons; and

 

approval of competitive agents that may materially alter the standard of care or otherwise render our product candidates or clinical trial designs obsolete.

If there are delays in initiating or conducting any clinical trials of our product candidates or any of these clinical trials are terminated before completion, the commercial prospects of our product candidates will be harmed. In addition, any delays in initiating, conducting or completing our clinical trials or adjustments to certain of our study protocols and procedures, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, will increase our costs, slow down our product candidate development and regulatory approval process, and jeopardize our ability to gain regulatory approval, commence product sales and generate revenues. Furthermore, many of the factors that cause, or lead to, a delay in the initiation, conduct or completion of clinical trials may also ultimately lead to the denial of regulatory approval of our product candidates. Any of these occurrences would significantly harm our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations, and market price of shares of our common stock.

The manufacture and distribution of our cell product candidates, particularly our iPSC-derived cell product candidates, is complex and subject to a multitude of risks. These risks could substantially increase our costs and limit the clinical and commercial supply of our product candidates, and the development and commercialization of our product candidates could be substantially delayed or restricted if the FDA or other regulatory authorities impose additional requirements on our manufacturing operations or if we are required to change our manufacturing operations to comply with regulatory requirements.

The manufacture and supply of our cell product candidates involve novel processes that are more complex than those required for most small molecule drugs and other cellular immunotherapies, and accordingly present significant challenges and are subject to multiple risks. For our iPSC-derived product candidates, these complex processes include reprogramming human fibroblasts to obtain iPSCs, in some cases genetically engineering these iPSCs, and differentiating the iPSCs to obtain the desired cell product candidate. As a result of the complexities in manufacturing biologics and distributing cell therapies, the cost to manufacture and distribute biologics and cell therapies in general, and our cell product candidates in particular, is generally higher than traditional small molecule chemical compounds. In addition, our cost of goods development is at an early stage. The actual cost to manufacture and process our product candidates could be greater than we expect and could materially and adversely affect the commercial viability of our product candidates.

We have limited experience in the manufacture of cell-based therapies. We are still developing optimized and reproducible manufacturing processes for clinical and commercial-scale manufacturing of our product candidates, and none of our manufacturing processes have been validated for commercial production of our product candidates. In addition, we are still optimizing our protocols for the supply and transport of our product candidates for distribution to clinical trial sites. Although we are working to develop reproducible and commercially viable manufacturing processes for our product candidates, and effective protocols for the supply and transport of our product candidates, doing so is a difficult and uncertain task.

We may make changes as we continue to develop and refine the manufacturing and distribution processes for our product candidates for advanced clinical trials and commercialization, and we cannot be sure that even minor changes in these processes will not cause our product candidates to perform differently and affect the results of our ongoing and planned clinical trials or the performance of the product once commercialized. In some circumstances, changes in our manufacturing operations, including to our protocols, processes, materials or facilities used, may require us to perform additional preclinical or comparability studies, or to collect additional clinical data from patients prior to undertaking additional clinical studies or filing for regulatory approval for a product candidate. These requirements may lead to delays in our clinical development and commercialization plans for our product candidates, and may increase our development costs substantially.

 

37


Table of Contents

 

 

The manufacturing processes for any products that we may develop are subject to FDA and foreign regulatory authority approval requirements, and we will need to meet, and our contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) or other third party manufacturers will need to meet, all applicable FDA and foreign regulatory authority requirements on an ongoing basis. The requirements to manufacture ProTmune in close proximity to transplant centers within a short period of time before transplantation present unprecedented complexities associated with ensuring consistent manufacture in compliance with regulatory requirements as necessary for marketing approval and in sufficient quantities for commercial use, if approved. Our existing product candidates are currently manufactured by us or by third-party cell processing facilities or CMOs, including facilities operated by or affiliated with our clinical sites, and we may be required to identify alternative protocols, processes, materials or facilities for the manufacture of any of these product candidates in compliance with applicable regulatory requirements. In addition, we may be required to make changes to our protocols for the supply and transport of our product candidates to enable effective distribution of our product candidates. Any modifications to our manufacturing and supply protocols, processes, materials or facilities, and any delays in, or inability to, establish acceptable manufacturing and supply operations for our product candidates could require us to incur additional development costs or result in delays to our clinical development. If we or our CMOs or other third-party manufacturers are unable to reliably produce products to specifications acceptable to the FDA or other regulatory authorities, we may not obtain or maintain the regulatory approvals we need to commercialize such products. Even if we obtain regulatory approval for any of our product candidates, there is no assurance that either we or our CMOs or other third-party manufacturers will be able to manufacture the approved product to specifications acceptable to the FDA or other regulatory authorities, to produce it in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements for the potential launch of the product, or to meet potential future demand. Additionally, changes in regulatory requirements may require us or our third-party manufacturers to perform additional studies or to modify protocols, processes, materials or facilities for the manufacture of our product candidates or any components thereof. Any of these challenges could delay initiation or completion of clinical trials, require bridging clinical trials or the repetition of one or more clinical trials, increase clinical trial costs, delay approval of our product candidates, impair commercialization efforts, increase our cost of goods, and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Our inability to manufacture sufficient quantities of our product candidates, or the loss of our suppliers or third-party contract manufacturers, or our or their failure to supply sufficient quantities of our product candidates at acceptable quality levels or prices, or at all, would materially and adversely affect our business.

Developing manufacturing processes to support clinical studies and commercialization requirements is a difficult and uncertain task, and there are risks associated with scaling to the level required for clinical trials or commercialization, including, among others, cost overruns, potential problems with process scale-out, process reproducibility, stability and purity issues, lot consistency, and timely availability of acceptable reagents and raw materials. If we are unable to scale to the level required for the conduct of clinical trials or commercialization, we may not be able to produce our product candidates in a sufficient quantity to meet demand.

While certain components required for the production of our product candidates are currently manufactured internally at our facilities, we rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties for the manufacture of other components and also to manufacture our product candidates for use in conducting clinical trials. As such, we are required to transfer certain manufacturing process know-how and certain intermediates to third parties, including clinical cell processing facilities operated by our clinical trial sites, and larger-scale facilities operated by either a CMO, or by us, to facilitate manufacture of our product candidates for clinical trials and commercialization. Transferring manufacturing testing and processes and know-how is complex and involves review and incorporation of both documented and undocumented processes that may have evolved over time. In addition, transferring production to different facilities may require utilization of new or different processes to meet the specific requirements of a given facility. We and any CMOs or third parties that we engage for manufacturing our product candidates will need to conduct significant development work to transfer these processes and manufacture each of our product candidates for clinical trials and commercialization. In addition, we may be required to demonstrate the comparability of material generated by any CMO or third parties that we engage for manufacturing our product candidates with material previously produced and used in testing. Any inability to manufacture comparable drug product by us or our CMOs could delay the continued development of our product candidates.

Further, we depend in some instances on third party suppliers, including sole source suppliers, for the provision of reagents, materials, devices and equipment that are used by us and our third party contract manufacturers in the production of our product candidates, including certain of our iPSC-derived cell therapy product candidates and ProTmune. Any disruption to or loss of supply from any of these suppliers could delay our clinical development and commercialization efforts.

In addition to relying on third parties for the manufacture of our product candidates, we also manufacture certain of our product candidates ourselves, and intend to manufacture some or all of the clinical supply of our iPSC-derived NK cell and T-cell product candidates for our ongoing and planned clinical trials. To do so, we will need to scale up our own manufacturing operations, as we do not currently have the infrastructure or capability internally to manufacture sufficient quantities of each of our product candidates to support the conduct of each of our clinical trials or commercialization of each of our product candidates, if approved. Accordingly, we will be required to make significant investments to expand our existing GMP manufacturing capabilities and facilities, establish additional GMP manufacturing facilities, conduct GMP production, and process and scale up development and technology transfer

38


Table of Contents

 

activities for the manufacture of our product candidates, and our efforts to scale our own manufacturing operations may not succeed. For example, in response to governmental shelter-in-place orders resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we may from time to time be required to limit our on-site staff’s availability to conduct manufacturing activities at our facility, and we may encounter problems with shortages of qualified personnel, key contractors, laboratory equipment, and materials and supplies for the manufacture of our product candidates. These problems may include employee absenteeism and supply chain failures or delays relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two vaccines for COVID-19 were granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA in late 2020, and more are likely to be authorized in the coming months. The resultant demand for vaccines and potential for manufacturing facilities and materials to be commandeered under the Defense Production Act of 1950, or equivalent foreign legislation, may make it more difficult to obtain materials or manufacturing slots for the product candidates needed for our clinical trials, which could lead to delays in these trials.  Further, delays in regulatory inspections, commissioning and receiving regulatory approvals for our manufacturing capabilities or facilities, including new facilities, as a result of limited governmental resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise, could delay our development plans, including the initiation and conduct of our ongoing and planned clinical trials, and thereby limit our opportunities for growth. In addition, we and our third-party manufacturers may have limited manufacturing capacity for certain product candidates or components, and we may not be able to locate additional or replacement manufacturing capacity on a reasonable basis or at all.

Even if we are successful in developing manufacturing capabilities sufficient for clinical and commercial supply, problems with manufacturing operations, including difficulties with production costs and yields, quality control, stability of the product, quality assurance testing, operator error, shortages of qualified personnel, as well as compliance with strictly enforced federal, state and foreign regulations, could result in product defects or manufacturing failures that result in lot failures, product recalls, product liability claims or insufficient supplies of our product candidates for our ongoing and planned clinical trials or eventual commercialization. Furthermore, certain of the components currently used in manufacturing our product candidates are research-grade only, and we may encounter problems obtaining or achieving adequate quantities and quality of clinical grade materials that meet FDA, European Medicines Agency, or other applicable standards or specifications with consistent and acceptable production yields and costs. In addition, if contaminants are discovered in our supply of product candidates or in the manufacturing facilities, such manufacturing facilities may need to be closed for an extended period of time to investigate and remedy the contamination. Any such events could delay or prevent our ability to obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates, which would adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to risks associated with the spread of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), and the global pandemic could seriously impact the research and development of our product candidates.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has broadly affected the global economy, resulted in significant travel and work restrictions in many regions and put a significant strain on healthcare resources. The pandemic has had, and we expect it will continue to have, an impact on our operations and on the operations of our collaborators, third-party contractors and other entities, including governmental agencies with which we interact.  In particular, the requirement that a significant portion of our employees work remotely has had an impact on our operations and research and development of our product candidates. Additionally, we have been subject to temporary pauses in enrollment and dosing implemented by some clinical trial sites due to COVID-19, and some clinical trial sites have also restricted initiation of new trials as well as visits by sponsors and clinical research organizations (CROs) for ongoing trials to protect both site staff and patients from possible COVID-19 exposure.

The COVID-19 pandemic may in the future impact the clinical development of our product candidates if we are subject to restrictions or limitations on, or delays in, the performance of study procedures (particularly any procedures that may be deemed non-essential), participant dosing, distribution of our product candidates or clinical trial materials, study monitoring, or site inspections and data analysis, including as a result of changes in hospital or research institution policies, federal, state or local regulations, prioritization of hospital and other medical resources toward pandemic efforts, reduced availability of site staff supporting the conduct of clinical trials, heightened risks of exposure of study participants, principal investigators or site staff to COVID-19 if an outbreak occurs in their geographic region, or other reasons related to the pandemic. Quarantine or other travel limitations (whether voluntary or required) also may impede participant movement, affect access to study sites, or interrupt healthcare services.

Furthermore, the pandemic could cause delays in review and response times by the FDA and other regulatory agencies, or such health regulatory agencies may refuse to accept data from our clinical trials due to mitigation strategies we implement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and current regulatory guidance. In addition, our ability to manufacture and ship our product candidates for our clinical trials may be impacted if we, or any third parties which manufacture and supply materials used in either the manufacture of our product candidates or the conduct of our research and development activities, or which perform certain testing relating to our product candidates, are adversely impacted by restrictions resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.

39


Table of Contents

 

The extent to which the pandemic affects our operations and the research and development of our product candidates will depend on continuously changing circumstances, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, such as the duration of the pandemic, including future waves of infection, and the actions taken to contain the pandemic or mitigate its impact.  While the ultimate impact of COVID-19 on our business is highly uncertain, any negative impacts that materialize could materially adversely affect our clinical development and operations, financial performance and stock price.

Because our approach to the development of product candidates is based on novel and unproven technologies, it is subject to a substantial degree of technological uncertainty and we may not succeed in developing any of our product candidates.

All of our product candidates are currently in research, preclinical or clinical development. Only a small number of research and development programs ultimately result in commercially successful drugs. The development of cell therapies is a relatively new and emerging field, and the scientific research that forms the basis of our efforts to discover and develop programmed cellular immunotherapies is ongoing. We may determine to incorporate information learned from this research into the design of our ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial of ProTmune and our ongoing Phase 1 clinical trials of our iPSC product candidates, as well as our planned future clinical trials, which could delay or impair our clinical development activities. We may ultimately discover that our product candidates do not possess certain properties required for therapeutic effectiveness or protection from toxicity in our target patient populations. In addition, our product candidates may demonstrate different chemical and pharmacological properties in patients than they do in laboratory studies. It may take many years before we develop a full understanding of the pharmacological properties of our product candidates, and we may never know precisely how they function in vivo. As with any new biologic or product developed using novel technologies, our product candidates have an unknown immunogenicity profile. As a result, our product candidates may trigger immune responses that inhibit their therapeutic effects or cause adverse side effects. In addition, one or more of our product candidates may: 

 

be found ineffective or cause harmful side effects during preclinical studies or clinical trials;

 

 

fail to receive necessary regulatory approvals on a timely basis or at all;

 

 

be precluded from commercialization by proprietary rights of third parties;

 

 

be difficult to manufacture on a large scale; or

 

 

be uneconomical to commercialize or fail to achieve market acceptance.

Any such problems that affect one of our product candidates may have an unfavorable impact on all of our product candidates. As a result, we may never succeed in developing a marketable product and we may never become profitable, which would have an adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations, and market price of shares of our common stock.

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

We are required to identify and enroll a sufficient number of patients with the disease under investigation for each of our ongoing and planned clinical trials of our product candidates, and we may not be able to identify and enroll a sufficient number of patients, or those with required or desired characteristics and who meet certain criteria, in a timely manner. In addition, we will be competing with other clinical trials of product candidates being developed by our competitors in the same therapeutic areas, and potential patients who might be eligible for enrollment in one of our clinical trials may instead choose to enroll in a trial being conducted by one of our competitors.

Our ability, and the ability of investigators, to enroll patients in our ongoing and planned clinical trials of our product candidates is affected by factors including:

 

the ability to identify, solicit and recruit a sufficient number of patients;

 

severity of the disease under investigation;

 

design of the trial protocol;

 

the relatively small size and nature of the patient populations for certain of our clinical trials;

 

eligibility criteria for the trials in question;

 

perceived risks and benefits of the product candidate under study, including any perceived risks associated with iPSC-derived product candidates, which we believe are the first ever iPSC-derived cell therapies cleared by the FDA for clinical investigation in the United States;

40


Table of Contents

 

 

the availability of competing therapies and clinical trials;

 

efforts to facilitate timely enrollment in clinical trials;

 

the availability of time and resources at the limited number of institutions at which our clinical trials are or will be conducted, including any constraints on resources, or policies and procedures implemented, at hospitals and clinical trial sites as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

the availability of cells suitable for the manufacture of our clinical product candidates from eligible and qualified donors for certain of our product candidates, including ProTmune;

 

the ability to monitor patients adequately during and after treatment, including through remote monitoring if required as a result of precautionary changes implemented at certain clinical trial sites as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and

 

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

In addition, certain of our clinical trial sites have delayed or paused patient enrollment in clinical trials as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and quarantines or other travel limitations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic may impede patient movement and affect access to study sites, which may further impact patient enrollment in our clinical trials. The extent and duration of such delays and disruptions, and the overall impact on the timing and conduct of our clinical trials, are uncertain. If we have difficulty enrolling a sufficient number of patients to conduct our clinical trials as planned, we may need to delay or terminate ongoing or planned clinical trials, either of which would have an adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations, and market price of shares of our common stock.

The clinical development of our product candidates could be substantially delayed if we are required to conduct unanticipated studies, including preclinical studies or clinical trials, or if the FDA imposes other requirements or restrictions including on the manufacture, of our product candidates.

The FDA may require us to generate additional preclinical, product, manufacturing, or clinical data as a condition to continuing our current clinical trials, or initiating and conducting any future clinical trials of our current product candidates or other cell product candidates that we may identify. Additionally, the FDA may in the future have comments, or impose requirements, on the conduct of our clinical trials or the initiation of clinical trials or any of our other iPSC-derived cell product candidates, including the protocols, processes, materials and facilities we use to manufacture our product candidates and potential future product candidates in support of clinical trials. Any requirements to generate additional data, or redesign or modify our protocols, processes, materials or facilities, or other additional comments, requirements or impositions by the FDA, may cause delays in the initiation or conduct of the current or future clinical trials for our product candidates and subsequent development activities for our product candidates, and could require us to incur additional development or manufacturing costs and resources, seek funding for these increased costs or resources or delay our timeline for, or cease, our preclinical or clinical development activities for our product candidates, or could create uncertainty and additional complexity in our ability to obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates.

Further, if the results of our clinical trials are inconclusive, or if there are safety concerns or adverse events associated with our existing product candidates or any other product candidates we may identify, we may:

 

be delayed in obtaining, or unable to obtain, regulatory approval for such product candidates;

 

be required to amend the protocols for our clinical trials, perform additional nonclinical studies or clinical trials to support approval or be subject to additional post-marketing testing requirements;

 

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

 

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

 

in the event a product candidate is approved, have regulatory authorities withdraw their approval of the product or impose restrictions on its use.

Even if our current and planned clinical trials are successful, we will need to conduct additional clinical trials, which may include registrational trials, trials in additional patient populations or under different treatment conditions, and trials using different manufacturing protocols, processes, materials or facilities or under different manufacturing conditions, before we are able to seek approvals for our product candidates from the FDA and regulatory authorities outside the United States to market and sell these product candidates. If we fail to meet the requirements to support continued clinical development, our clinical development activities for any of our product candidates are delayed or suspended, or we fail to obtain or maintain regulatory approvals with an acceptable scope, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations will be harmed.

41


Table of Contents

 

We are pursuing multiple programs and product candidates in our novel cell therapy development pipeline using an approach that is designed to enable rapid incorporation of new product features. If we elect to incorporate these new features into next-generation product candidates, this may render our existing product candidates obsolete, and we may devote our limited resources in pursuit of a particular program for which there is a greater potential for success and fail to capitalize on development opportunities or product candidates including those which may be more advanced in development.

We focus on the development of programmed cellular immunotherapies for patients with cancer, including off-the-shelf NK- and T-cell product candidates derived from clonal master engineered iPSC lines. Because our iPSC product platform is designed to enable rapid incorporation of novel functional product features in an evolving clinical setting, we may elect to incorporate these discoveries into next-generation product candidates that render our existing product candidates, including product candidates under clinical development, obsolete. Additionally, because we have limited financial and personnel resources, we may elect or be required to abandon or delay the pursuit of opportunities with existing or future product candidates, including those that may be more advanced in development than those we ultimately elect to pursue. Due to these factors, our spending on current and future research and development programs and product candidates and the scientific innovation arising from these expenditures, may not yield commercially viable product candidates.

We study our product candidates in patient populations with significant comorbidities that may result in deaths or serious adverse events or unacceptable side effects and require us to abandon or limit our clinical development activities.

Patients treated with our current product candidates may also receive chemotherapy, radiation, and/or other high dose or myeloablative treatments in the course of treatment of their disease, and may therefore experience side effects or adverse events, including death, that are unrelated to our product candidates. While these side effects or adverse events may be unrelated to our product candidates, they may still affect the success of our clinical studies. The inclusion of critically ill patients in our clinical studies may result in deaths or other adverse medical events due to underlying disease or to other therapies or medications that such patients may receive. Any of these events could prevent us from advancing our product candidates through clinical development, and from obtaining regulatory approval, and would impair our ability to commercialize our product candidates. Any inability to advance our existing product candidates or any other product candidate through clinical development would have a material adverse effect on our business, and the value of our common stock would decline.

Because our product candidates are based on novel technologies, it is difficult to predict the regulatory approval process and the time, the cost and our ability to successfully initiate, conduct and complete clinical development, and obtain the necessary regulatory and reimbursement approvals, required for commercialization of our product candidates.

Our cell programming technology and platform for generating cell therapy products using iPSCs represent novel therapeutic approaches, and to our knowledge there are currently no iPSC-derived cell products approved anywhere in the world for commercial sale. As such, it is difficult to accurately predict the type and scope of challenges we may incur during development of our product candidates, and we face uncertainties associated with the preclinical and clinical development, manufacture and regulatory requirements for the initiation and conduct of clinical trials, regulatory approval, and reimbursement required for successful commercialization of these product candidates. In addition, because our iPSC-derived cell product candidates are all in the early clinical or preclinical stage, we are currently assessing safety in humans and have not yet been able to assess the long-term effects of treatment. Animal models and assays may not accurately predict the safety and efficacy of our product candidates in our target patient populations, and appropriate models and assays may not exist for demonstrating the safety and purity of our product candidates, as required by the FDA and other regulatory authorities for ongoing clinical development and regulatory approval.

The preclinical and clinical development, manufacture, and regulatory requirements for approval of novel product candidates such as ours can be more expensive and take longer than for other more well-known or extensively studied pharmaceutical or biopharmaceutical product candidates due to a lack of prior experiences on the side of both developers and regulatory agencies. Additionally, due to the uncertainties associated with the preclinical and clinical development, manufacture, and regulatory requirements for approval of our product candidates, we may be required to modify or change our preclinical and clinical development plans or our manufacturing activities and plans, or be required to meet stricter regulatory requirements for approval. Any such modifications or changes could delay or prevent our ability to develop, manufacture, obtain regulatory approval or commercialize our product candidates, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Cellular immunotherapies, and stem cell therapies and iPSC-derived cell therapies in particular, represent relatively new therapeutic areas, and the FDA has cautioned consumers about potential safety risks associated with cell therapies. To date, there are relatively few approved cell therapies. As a result, the regulatory approval process for product candidates such as ours is uncertain and may be more expensive and take longer than the approval process for product candidates based on other, better known or more extensively studied technologies and therapeutic approaches. For example, there are currently no FDA approved products with a label designation that supports the use of a product to prevent acute graft-versus-host disease in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic

42


Table of Contents

 

stem cell transplantation (HSCT), which makes it difficult to determine the clinical endpoints and data required to support an application for regulatory approval, and the time and cost required to obtain regulatory approval in the United States for ProTmune.

Regulatory requirements in the United States and in other countries governing cell therapy products have changed frequently and the FDA or other regulatory bodies may change the requirements, or identify different regulatory pathways, for approval for any of our product candidates. For example, within the FDA, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, or CBER, restructured and created a new Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies to better align its oversight activities with FDA Centers for Drugs and Medical Devices. It is possible that over time new or different divisions may be established or be granted the responsibility for regulating cell and/or gene therapy products, including iPSC-derived cell products, such as ours. As a result, we may be required to change our regulatory strategy or to modify our applications for regulatory approval, which could delay and impair our ability to complete the preclinical and clinical development and manufacture of, and obtain regulatory approval for, our product candidates. Changes in regulatory authorities and advisory groups, or any new requirements or guidelines they promulgate, may lengthen the regulatory review process, require us to perform additional studies, increase our development and manufacturing costs, lead to changes in regulatory pathways, positions and interpretations, delay or prevent approval and commercialization of our product candidates or lead to significant post-approval limitations or restrictions. As we advance our product candidates, we will be required to consult with the FDA and other regulatory authorities, and our product candidates will likely be reviewed by an FDA advisory committee. We also must comply with applicable requirements, and if we fail to do so, we may be required to delay or discontinue development of our product candidates. Delays or unexpected costs in obtaining, or the failure to obtain, the regulatory approval necessary to bring a potential product to market could impair our ability to generate sufficient product revenues to maintain our business.

Preliminary data and interim results we disclose may change as more patient data becomes available or as we make changes to our protocols or manufacturing processes, and such interim results and results from earlier studies may not be predictive of the final results, or of later studies or future clinical trials.

We may from time to time disclose results from preclinical testing or preliminary data or interim results from clinical studies of our product candidates. Such results from preclinical testing, process development and manufacturing activities, and clinical studies, including interim clinical trial results as of specified data cutoff dates and results of earlier clinical studies with similar product candidates, are not necessarily predictive of future results, including later clinical trial results. While we have demonstrated in preclinical models that a single administration of ProTmune resulted in a statistically-significant reduction in GvHD score and improvement in survival, as compared to vehicle-treated cells, we may not observe similar results in future preclinical or clinical studies of ProTmune, including our Phase 1/2 PROTECT study. Additionally, the data reported from the Phase 1 stage of PROTECT as of the November 26, 2018 data cut-off date may not continue for these subjects or be repeated or observed in ongoing or future studies involving ProTmune, including in the Phase 2 stage of the PROTECT study. It is possible that subjects for whom events of acute GvHD have been reduced or eliminated may experience acute GvHD in the future, as there is limited data concerning long-term safety and efficacy following treatment with ProTmune. Accordingly, ProTmune may not demonstrate in the Phase 2 stage of PROTECT, or in subsequent trials, an adequate safety or efficacy profile to support further development or commercialization.

The results of our current and future clinical trials may differ from results achieved in earlier preclinical and clinical studies for a variety of reasons, including:

 

we may not demonstrate the potency and efficacy benefits observed in previous studies;

 

our efforts to improve, standardize and automate the manufacture and supply of our product candidates and any resulting deviations in the manufacture of our product candidates, may adversely affect the safety, purity, potency, stability, or efficacy of such product candidates;

 

differences in study design, including differences in conditioning regimens, eligibility criteria, and patient populations;

 

advancements in the standard of care may affect our ability to demonstrate efficacy or achieve study endpoints in our current or future clinical trials; and

 

safety issues or adverse events in patients that enroll in our current or future clinical trials.

Additionally, some clinical trials of our product candidates performed to date were generated from open-label studies and are being conducted at a limited number of clinical sites on a limited number of patients. An “open-label” clinical trial is one where both the patient and investigator know whether the patient is receiving the investigational product candidate or either an existing approved drug or placebo. Most typically, open-label clinical trials test only the investigational product candidate and sometimes may do so at different dose levels. Open-label clinical trials are subject to various limitations that may exaggerate any therapeutic effect as patients in open-label clinical trials are aware when they are receiving treatment. Open-label clinical trials may be subject to a “patient bias” where patients perceive their symptoms to have improved merely due to their awareness of receiving an experimental treatment. In addition, open-label clinical trials may be subject to an “investigator bias” where those assessing and reviewing the physiological

43


Table of Contents

 

outcomes of the clinical trials are aware of which treatment regimen patients have received and may interpret the information of the treated group more favorably given this knowledge. Accordingly, the preliminary data from our Phase 1 clinical trials of certain of our product candidates may not be predictive of future clinical trials results for these or other product candidates when studied in a controlled environment or larger patient populations.

From time to time, we also publish interim, “top-line,” or preliminary data from our clinical studies based on a preliminary analysis of then-available data. Preliminary or interim data from clinical trials that we are conducting are subject to the risk that one or more of the clinical outcomes may materially change as patient enrollment continues, the duration of treatment increases and more patient data become available. These preliminary or interim results and related conclusions also are subject to change following a more comprehensive review of the data related to the particular study or trial.  Preliminary or “top-line” data also remain subject to audit and verification procedures that may result in the final data being materially different from the preliminary data we previously published. As a result, interim and preliminary data should be viewed with caution until the final data are available. Material adverse changes between preliminary, “top-line,” or interim data and final data could significantly harm our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Even if we obtain regulatory approval for a product candidate, our products will remain subject to regulatory scrutiny.

Any product candidate for which we obtain marketing approval, along with the manufacturing protocols, processes, materials and facilities, qualification testing, post-approval clinical data, labeling and promotional activities for such product, will be subject to continual and additional requirements of the FDA and other regulatory authorities. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information, reports, registration and listing requirements, requirements relating to current cGMP, quality control, quality assurance and corresponding maintenance of records and documents, and recordkeeping. Even if marketing approval of a product candidate is granted, the approval may be subject to limitations on the indicated uses for which the product may be marketed or to conditions of approval, or contain requirements for costly post-marketing testing and surveillance to monitor the safety or efficacy of the product. The FDA closely regulates the post-approval marketing and promotion of pharmaceutical and biological products to ensure such products are marketed only for the approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved labeling. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with our product candidates, manufacturing operations, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may lead to various adverse conditions, including significant delays in bringing our product candidates to market and or being precluded from manufacturing or selling our product candidates, any of which could significantly harm our business.

We expect to rely on orphan drug status to develop and commercialize certain of our product candidates, but our existing orphan drug designations may not confer marketing exclusivity or other expected commercial benefits and we may not be able to obtain orphan drug designations for our other product candidates.

We expect to rely on orphan drug exclusivity for ProTmune and may rely on orphan drug exclusivity for other product candidates that we may develop. Orphan drug status confers seven years of marketing exclusivity in the United States under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and up to ten years of marketing exclusivity in Europe for a particular product in a specified indication, subject to certain conditions. We have been granted orphan drug designation in the United States for ex vivo programmed mobilized peripheral blood for the prevention of GvHD in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, and in the European Union for ProTmune for treatment in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. While we have been granted these orphan designations, even if we are the first to obtain marketing approval of our product candidates for the applicable indications, we will not be able to rely on these designations to exclude other companies from manufacturing or selling biological products using the same principal molecular structural features for the same indication beyond these timeframes. Furthermore, any marketing exclusivity in Europe can be reduced from ten years to six years if the initial designation criteria have significantly changed since the market authorization of the orphan product. In addition, we may be unable to obtain orphan drug designations for any other product candidates that we are currently developing or may pursue.

For any product candidate for which we are granted orphan drug designation in a particular indication, it is possible that another company also holding orphan drug designation for the same product candidate will receive marketing approval for the same indication before we do. If that were to happen, our applications for that indication may not be approved until the competing company’s period of exclusivity expires. Even if we are the first to obtain marketing authorization for an orphan drug indication in the United States, there are circumstances under which a competing product may be approved for the same indication during the seven-year period of marketing exclusivity, such as if the later product is shown to be clinically superior to our orphan product, or if the later product is deemed a different product than ours. Further, the seven-year marketing exclusivity would not prevent competitors from obtaining approval of the same product candidate as ours for indications other than those in which we have been granted orphan drug designation, or for the use of other types of products in the same indications as our orphan product.

44


Table of Contents

 

We may be subject to certain regulations, including federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse laws, physician payment transparency laws, anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws and health information privacy and security laws. Any actual or perceived failure to comply with these regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.

If we obtain FDA approval for any of our product candidates and begin commercializing those products in the United States, our operations may be subject to various federal and state healthcare laws, including, without limitation, fraud and abuse laws, false claims laws, data privacy and security laws, as well as transparency laws regarding payments or other items of value provided to healthcare providers. These laws may impact, among other things, our proposed sales, marketing and education programs. Additionally, we may be subject to state and foreign equivalents of such healthcare laws and regulations, some of which may be broader in scope and may apply regardless of the payor, as well as patient privacy regulation by both the federal government and the states in which we conduct our business. Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of the statutory exceptions and safe harbors available, it is possible that some of our business activities could be subject to challenge and may not comply under one or more of such laws, regulations, and guidance. Law enforcement authorities are increasingly focused on enforcing fraud and abuse laws, and it is possible that some of our practices may be challenged under these laws. Efforts to ensure that our current and future business arrangements with third parties, and our business generally, will comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations will involve substantial costs. If our operations, including our arrangements with physicians and other healthcare providers are found to be in violation of any of such laws or any other governmental regulations that apply to us, we may be subject to penalties, including, without limitation, administrative, civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, the curtailment or restructuring of our operations, exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs (such as Medicare and Medicaid), and imprisonment, as well as additional reporting obligations and oversight if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or other agreement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our financial results.

Risks Related to Our Reliance on Third Parties

We have limited experience manufacturing our product candidates on a clinical scale, and no experience manufacturing on a commercial scale. We are, and expect to continue to be, dependent on third parties to conduct some or all aspects of manufacturing of our product candidates for use in clinical trials and for commercial sale, if approved. Our business could be harmed if those third parties fail to perform satisfactorily.

We currently rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties, including cell processing facilities associated with clinical trial sites, to manufacture our product candidates, or certain components required for the manufacture of our product candidates, for use in conducting clinical trials and for commercial sale upon approval of any of our product candidates. In addition, we have not yet caused our product candidates to be manufactured or processed on a commercial scale and may not be able to do so for any of our product candidates.

The facilities used to manufacture our product candidates, including our own facilities, must be evaluated by the FDA or other foreign regulatory agencies pursuant to inspections that will be conducted after we submit an application to the FDA or other foreign regulatory agencies. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority finds deficiencies with or does not approve these facilities for the manufacture of our product candidates or if it later finds deficiencies or withdraws any such approval in the future, or in the event of problems with any of the manufacturing facilities that we rely on to manufacture our product candidates or materials, we may not be able to locate additional or replacement facilities for such product candidates or materials in a timely manner and on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. This would significantly impact our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval for or market our product candidates, if approved.

Reliance on third parties for manufacture of our product candidates and components utilized in manufacturing our product candidates entails certain risks, including reliance on the third party for regulatory compliance and quality assurance, the possibility that the third-party manufacturer does not maintain the financial, personnel or other resources to meet its obligations, the possibility that the third party fails to manufacture such components, or our product candidates or any products we may eventually commercialize, in accordance with our specifications, misappropriation of our proprietary information, including our trade secrets and know-how, and the possibility of termination of our manufacturing relationship by the third party, based on its own business priorities, at a time that is costly or damaging to us. In addition, the FDA and other regulatory authorities require that our product candidates and any products that we may eventually commercialize be manufactured according to cGMP, cGTP and similar jurisdictional standards. These requirements include, among other things, quality control, quality assurance and the maintenance of records and documentation. The FDA or similar foreign regulatory agencies may also implement new standards at any time, or change their interpretations and enforcement of existing standards for manufacture, packaging or testing of products. We have little control over our manufacturers’ compliance with these regulations and standards.

45


Table of Contents

 

In some cases, the technical skills required to manufacture our product candidates may be unique or proprietary to a particular CMO, and we may have difficulty, or there may be contractual restrictions prohibiting us from, transferring such skills to a back-up or alternate supplier if needed, or we may be unable to transfer such skills at all. In addition, if we are required to change contract manufacturers for any reason, we will be required to verify that the new CMO maintains facilities and procedures that comply with quality standards and with all applicable regulations. We will also need to verify, such as through a manufacturing comparability study, that any new manufacturing process will produce our product candidate according to the specifications previously submitted to the FDA or another regulatory authority. The delays associated with the verification of a new CMO could negatively affect our ability to develop product candidates or commercialize our products in a timely manner or within budget. In addition, changes in manufacturers often involve changes in manufacturing procedures and processes, which could require that we conduct bridging studies between our prior clinical supply used in our clinical trials and that of any new manufacturer. We may be unsuccessful in demonstrating the comparability of clinical supplies, which could require the conduct of additional clinical trials.

In addition, the operations of our third-party manufacturers may be disrupted or delayed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may impact such third-party manufacturers’ ability to obtain materials for manufacture or to continue ongoing operations under shelter-in-place orders. We and our third-party manufacturers do not know yet the full extent of potential impacts on our ability to conduct our operations, including manufacture of our product candidates, and so we and our manufacturers are continuing to monitor the situation closely. However, any failure by third parties that are manufacturing our product candidates, or components for such product candidates, to comply with cGMP or cGTP or failure to scale up manufacturing processes, including any failure to deliver sufficient quantities of such components or product candidates in a timely manner, including as a result of any disruption, delay, or closure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, could lead to a delay in, or failure to obtain, regulatory approval of any of our product candidates. In addition, such failure could be the basis for the FDA to issue a warning letter, withdraw approvals for product candidates previously granted to us, or take other regulatory or legal action, including recall or seizure of outside supplies of the product candidate, total or partial suspension of production, suspension of ongoing clinical trials, refusal to approve pending applications or supplemental applications, detention of product, refusal to permit the import or export of products, injunction or imposing civil and criminal penalties.

Our continued development of ProTmune may depend on third-party cell processing facilities for the manufacture of ProTmune under specific conditions. Any failure by these facilities to manufacture our product candidates consistently and under the proper conditions may result in delays to our clinical development plans and impair our ability to obtain approval for, or commercialize, these product candidates.

Clinical cell processing facilities operated by or affiliated with our clinical sites have manufactured ProTmune for use in our clinical trials of ProTmune to date. We will be required by the FDA to standardize the manufacture of ProTmune, and any other product candidates we may develop, including our oversight for facility and raw material and vendor qualification through to final product analytical testing and release. The manufacture of ProTmune for use in registrational clinical trials and commercialization will be subject to the requirements of applicable regulatory authorities, including the FDA, and the anticipated manufacture of these product candidates for commercialization may require each of the clinical cell processing facilities at which ProTmune is manufactured to comply with cGMP and other regulatory requirements, and be subject to inspections by the FDA or other applicable regulatory authorities that would be conducted after the submission of a BLA or other marketing application. Although we are responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable regulatory requirements and for overseeing all aspects of product manufacture and release prior to applying for marketing approval, we do not control the activities of these third-party cell processing facilities and are completely dependent on their ability to comply with regulatory requirements and to properly execute the protocol for the manufacture of any of our product candidates. In particular, if the FDA requires each of the clinical cell processing facilities to comply with cGMP, there can be no guarantee that they will be able to do so. Because of these manufacturing requirements, if the applicable clinical cell processing facilities are unable to manufacture any of our product candidates, including ProTmune, in a manner that conforms to our specifications and the FDA’s strict regulatory requirements, we may be required to identify alternative processes or facilities for the manufacture of such product candidate, which may require us to spend significant additional time and resources, and would impair our ability to manufacture, complete the clinical development of, and to commercialize, such product candidate. To comply with applicable regulatory and manufacturing requirements, the clinical cell processing facility may be required to possess or obtain certain equipment, including but not limited to biosafety cabinets, warming devices, cell washing devices, freezers or other materials, or to modify aspects of its operations, including its physical facility or layout, environmental systems, monitoring systems, quality systems or training procedures. If a clinical cell processing facility is unwilling or unable to comply with these regulatory or manufacturing requirements, it will be restricted or prohibited from manufacturing such product candidate and making it available for administration to patients. Any failure by these clinical cell processing facilities to properly manufacture ProTmune may adversely affect the safety and efficacy profile of such product candidate or cause the FDA or other regulatory authorities to impose restrictions or prohibitions on the manufacture and use of ProTmune in both the clinical and the commercial setting, which would have an adverse effect on our business.

46


Table of Contents

 

We depend on strategic partnerships and collaboration arrangements, such as our collaboration arrangements with Janssen and Ono, for the development and commercialization of certain of our product candidates in certain indications or geographic territories, and if these arrangements are unsuccessful, this could result in delays and other obstacles in the development, manufacture or commercialization of any of our product candidates and materially harm our results of operations.

Our strategy for fully developing and commercializing our product candidates is dependent upon maintaining our current arrangements and establishing new arrangements with research collaborators, corporate collaborators and other third parties. We currently have corporate collaboration agreements with Janssen and Ono. These corporate collaboration agreements provide for, among other things, research funding and significant future payments should certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones be achieved. Under these arrangements, our corporate collaborators are typically responsible for:

 

electing to advance product candidates through preclinical and into clinical development;

 

conducting clinical development and obtaining required regulatory approvals for product candidates; and

 

commercializing any resulting products.

As a result, we may not be able to conduct these corporate collaborations in the manner or on the time schedule we currently contemplate, which may negatively impact our business operations.

This lack of control over the research funding for, and the development and commercialization of, certain of our product candidates could cause delays or other difficulties in the development and commercialization of any of our product candidates, which may prevent completion of research and development activities and intended regulatory filings in a timely fashion, if at all. Because we expect to continue to rely on our current corporate collaborators and to enter into new collaborations in the future, the development and commercialization of any of our product candidates could be substantially delayed, and our ability to receive future funding could be substantially impaired if one or more of our current or future collaborators:

 

shifts its priorities and resources away from our collaborations due to a change in business strategies, or a merger, acquisition, sale or downsizing of its company or business unit;

 

ceases development in therapeutic areas which are the subject of our collaboration;

 

fails to select a product candidate for advancement into preclinical development, clinical development, or subsequent clinical development into a marketed product;

 

changes the success criteria for a particular product candidate, thereby delaying or ceasing development of such product candidate;

 

significantly delays the initiation or conduct of certain activities which could delay our receipt of milestone payments tied to such activities, thereby impacting our ability to fund our own activities;

 

develops a product candidate that competes, either directly or indirectly, with our product candidates;

 

does not obtain the requisite regulatory approval of a product candidate;

 

does not successfully commercialize a product candidate;

 

encounters regulatory, resource or quality issues and be unable to meet demand requirements;

 

exercises its rights under the agreement to terminate the collaboration, or otherwise withdraws support for, or otherwise impairs development under the collaboration;

 

disagrees on the research, development or commercialization of a product candidate resulting in a delay in milestones, royalty payments or termination of such product candidate; and

 

uses our proprietary information or intellectual property in such a way as to jeopardize our rights in such property.

In addition, the termination of the Janssen Agreement or the Ono Agreement or any future strategic partnership or collaboration arrangement that we enter into may prevent us from receiving any milestone, royalty payment, sharing of profits, and other benefits under such agreement. Furthermore, disagreements with these parties could require or result in litigation or arbitration, which would be time-consuming and expensive. Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our ability to develop and commercialize any of our product candidates and may adversely impact our business, prospects, financial condition, and results of operations.

47


Table of Contents

 

Cell-based therapies depend on the availability of reagents and specialized materials and equipment which in each case are required to be acceptable to the FDA and foreign regulatory agencies, and such reagents, materials, and equipment may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. We rely on third-party suppliers for various components, materials and equipment required for the manufacture of our product candidates and do not have supply arrangements for certain of these components.

Manufacturing our product candidates requires many reagents and other specialty materials and equipment, some of which are manufactured or supplied by small companies with limited resources and experience to support commercial biologics production. To date, we and our clinical cell processing facilities and CMOs have purchased equipment, materials and disposables, such as automated cell washing devices, automated cell warming units, commercially available media and cell transfer and wash sets, used for the manufacture of our existing product candidates from third-party suppliers. Some of these suppliers may not have the capacity to support commercial products manufactured under cGMP by biopharmaceutical firms or may otherwise be ill-equipped to support our needs. Reagents and other key materials from these suppliers may have inconsistent attributes and introduce variability into our manufactured product candidates, which may contribute to variable patient outcomes and possible adverse events. We rely on the general commercial availability of materials required for the manufacture of our product candidates, and do not have supply contracts with many of these suppliers and may not be able to obtain supply contracts with them on acceptable terms or at all. Even if we are able to enter into such contracts, we may be limited to a sole third-party for the supply of certain required components, including our pharmacologic modulators and components for our cell processing media. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business and operations of our suppliers may be disrupted or delayed, and we in turn may experience disruptions or delays in our supply chain. An inability to continue to source product from any of these suppliers, which could be due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, regulatory actions or requirements affecting the supplier, adverse financial or other strategic developments experienced by a supplier, labor disputes or shortages, unexpected demands, or quality issues, could adversely affect our ability to satisfy demand for our product candidates, which could adversely and materially affect our product sales and operating results or our ability to conduct clinical trials, either of which could significantly harm our business.

If we are required to change suppliers, or modify the components, equipment, materials or disposables used for the manufacture of our product candidates, we may be required to change our manufacturing operations or clinical trial protocols or to provide additional data to regulatory authorities in order to use any alternative components, equipment, materials or disposables, any of which could set back, delay, or increase the costs required to complete our clinical development and commercialization of our product candidates. Additionally, any such change or modification may adversely affect the safety, efficacy, stability, or potency of our product candidates, and could adversely affect our clinical development of our product candidates and harm our business.

We face a variety of challenges and uncertainties associated with our dependence on human donor material for the manufacture of ProTmune.

ProTmune is manufactured from the blood of third-party donors, and therefore, the manufacture of ProTmune is subject to the availability and quality of the third-party donor material. The selection of the appropriate donor material for manufacture of ProTmune requires close coordination between clinical and manufacturing personnel.

ProTmune is manufactured using mobilized peripheral blood (mPB), which is currently procured directly by the clinical cell processing facilities from the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) for our ongoing Phase 1/2 PROTECT clinical study. The availability of mPB for the manufacture of ProTmune depends on a number of regulatory, political, economic and technical factors outside of our control, including:

 

government policies relating to the regulation of mPB for clinical use;

 

NMDP and individual blood bank policies and practices relating to mPB acquisition and banking;

 

the pricing of mPB;

 

the methods used in searching for and matching mPB to patients, which involve emerging technology related to current and future mPB parameters that guide the selection of an appropriate unit of mPB for transplantation; and

 

methods for the procurement and shipment of mPB and its handling and storage at clinical sites.

Additionally, we do not have control over the supply, availability, price or types of mPB that these clinical cell processing facilities use in the manufacture of ProTmune. We rely heavily, and expect to continue to rely heavily, on these third parties to procure mPB that is collected in compliance with government regulations and within the current standard of care. In addition, we may identify specific characteristics of specific units of mPB, such as the volume and red blood cell content, which may limit the ability to use such units in the manufacture of ProTmune even though this mPB may otherwise be suitable for use in allogeneic transplant. As a result, the requirement for mPB to meet our specifications may limit the potential inventory of mPB eligible for use in the manufacture of ProTmune for our ongoing and any future clinical trials and for commercial supplies of ProTmune, if approved.

48


Table of Contents

 

In the United States, the banking and use of mPB does not require a BLA, and mPB is not an FDA licensed product. However, the FDA does require that units of mPB adhere to and meet the standards set forth by the Foundation for Accreditation for Cell Therapy (FACT), the NMDP, and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), as applicable. In our current Phase 1/2 PROTECT clinical trial of ProTmune, ProTmune is manufactured using unlicensed mPB units. It may be possible that in the future, regulatory policy could change, and the FDA may later require that mPB units be licensed, and that ProTmune be manufactured using only licensed mPB units. Any inability to procure sufficient supplies of mPB will adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize ProTmune.

Further, manufacture of ProTmune from donor material involves complex processes, with specialized equipment and highly skilled and trained personnel. The processes for manufacturing ProTmune are susceptible to additional risks, given the need to maintain aseptic conditions throughout the manufacturing process. Contamination with viruses or other pathogens in either the donor material or materials utilized in the manufacturing process or ingress of microbiological material at any point in the process may result in contaminated or unusable product. Such contaminations increase the risk of adverse side effects and may result in delays in the development of ProTmune.

We currently rely on third parties to conduct certain research and development activities and clinical trials of our product candidates. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, we may not be able to timely develop, manufacture, obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates and our business could be substantially harmed.

We rely upon third parties, including medical institutions, clinical investigators, cell processing laboratories, and CROs for the conduct of certain research and preclinical development activities, process development and manufacturing activities, and for the conduct, management, and supervision of clinical trials of our product candidates. We do not have direct control over the activities of these third parties, and may have limited influence over their actual performance. Our reliance on these third parties and CROs does not relieve us of our responsibilities to ensure that our clinical studies are conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol, legal and regulatory requirements and scientific standards.

We are responsible for complying, and we are responsible for ensuring that our third-party service providers and CROs comply, with applicable GCP for conducting activities for all of our product candidates in clinical development, including conducting our clinical trials, and recording and reporting data from these trials. Regulatory authorities enforce these regulations through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, principal investigators and trial sites. We cannot assure that upon inspection by a given regulatory authority, such regulatory authority will determine that any of our clinical trials comply with applicable GCP requirements. In addition, our registrational clinical trials must be conducted with product produced under applicable regulatory requirements.

If these third parties and CROs do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or obligations, meet expected deadlines or successfully complete activities as planned, or if the quality or accuracy of the research, preclinical development, process development, manufacturing, or clinical data they obtain is compromised due to the failure to adhere to applicable regulatory and manufacturing requirements or for other reasons, our research, preclinical development, process development and manufacturing activities, and clinical trials, and the development of our product candidates, may be extended, delayed or terminated, and we may not be able to obtain regulatory approval for or successfully commercialize our product candidates. Further, if our agreements with third parties or CROs are terminated for any reason, the development of our product candidates may be delayed or impaired, and we may be unable to advance our product candidates. As a result, our results of operations and the commercial prospects for our product candidates would be harmed, our costs could increase and our ability to generate revenues could be delayed.

If conflicts arise between us and our collaborators or strategic partners, these parties may act in a manner adverse to us and could limit our ability to implement our strategies.

If conflicts arise between our corporate or academic collaborators or strategic partners and us, the other party may act in a manner adverse to us and could limit our ability to implement our strategies. Some of our academic collaborators and strategic partners are conducting multiple product development efforts within each area that is the subject of the collaboration with us. Our collaborators or strategic partners, however, may develop, either alone or with others, products in related fields that are competitive with the products or potential products that are the subject of these collaborations. Competing products, either developed by the collaborators or strategic partners or to which the collaborators or strategic partners have rights, may result in the withdrawal of our collaborator’s or partner’s support for our product candidates.

Some of our collaborators or strategic partners could also become our competitors in the future. Our collaborators or strategic partners could develop competing products, preclude us from entering into collaborations with their competitors, fail to obtain timely regulatory approvals, terminate their agreements with us prematurely, or fail to devote sufficient resources to the development and commercialization of our product candidates. Any of these developments could harm our product development efforts.

49


Table of Contents

 

Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property

If we are unable to protect our intellectual property, or obtain and maintain patent protection for our technology and product candidates, other companies could develop products based on our discoveries, which may reduce demand for our products and harm our business.

Our commercial success will depend in part on our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for our product candidates, the operations used to manufacture them and the methods for using them, and also for our cell programming technology in order to prevent third parties from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing our product candidates or otherwise exploiting our cell programming approach. The scope of patent protection in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical field involves complex legal and scientific questions and can be uncertain. One aspect of the determination of patentability of our inventions depends on the scope and content of the “prior art,” information that was or is deemed available to a person of skill in the relevant art prior to the priority date of the claimed invention. There may be prior art of which we are not aware that may affect the patentability of our patent claims or, if issued, affect the validity or enforceability of a patent claim. Further, we may not be aware of all third-party intellectual property rights potentially relating to our product candidates or their intended uses, and as a result the impact of such third-party intellectual property rights upon the patentability of our own patents and patent applications, as well as the impact of such third-party intellectual property upon our freedom to operate, is highly uncertain. Because patent applications in the United States and most other countries are confidential for typically a period of 18 months after filing, or may not be published at all, we cannot be certain that we were the first to file any patent application related to our product candidates. As a result, the issuance, scope, validity, enforceability, and commercial value of our patent rights are uncertain. We own and have exclusive licenses to patent portfolios for our product candidates and cell programming technology, although we cannot be certain that our existing patents and patent applications provide adequate protection or that any additional patents will issue to us with claims that provide adequate protection of our other product candidates. Further, we cannot predict the breadth of claims that may be enforced in our patents if we attempt to enforce them or if they are challenged in court or in other proceedings. If we are unable to secure and maintain protection for our product candidates and cell programming technology, or if any patents we obtain or license are deemed invalid and unenforceable, our ability to commercialize or license our technology could be adversely affected.

Others have filed, and in the future are likely to file, patent applications covering products and technologies that are similar, identical or competitive to ours or important to our business. Since patent applications in the United States and most other countries are confidential for a period of time after filing, and some remain so until issued, we cannot be certain that any patent application owned by a third party will not have priority over patent applications filed or in-licensed by us, or that we or our licensors will not be involved in interference, opposition, reexamination, review, reissue, post grant review or invalidity proceedings before U.S. or non-U.S. patent offices. The scope, validity or enforceability of our patents or the patents of our licensors may be challenged in such proceedings in either the courts or patent offices in the United States and abroad, and our business may be harmed if the coverage of our patents or the patents of our licensors is narrowed, or if a patent of ours or our licensors is judged invalid or unenforceable, in any such proceedings.

We depend on our licensors to prosecute and maintain patents and patent applications that are material to our business. Any failure by our licensors to effectively protect these intellectual property rights could adversely affect our business and operations.

Certain rights to our key technologies and product candidates, including intellectual property relating to ProTmune and our iPSC technology are licensed from third parties. As a licensee of third-party intellectual property, we rely on our licensors to file and prosecute patent applications and maintain patents, and otherwise protect the licensed intellectual property under some of our license agreements. We have not had and do not have primary control over these activities for certain of our licensed patents, patent applications and other intellectual property rights, and we cannot be certain that such activities will result in valid and enforceable patents and other intellectual property rights. Additionally, our licensors may have the right to control enforcement of our licensed patents or defense of any claims asserting the invalidity of these patents and we cannot be certain that our licensors will allocate sufficient resources or prioritize enforcement of such patents or defense of such claims to protect our interests in the licensed patents. Even if we are not a party to these legal actions, an adverse outcome could harm our business because it might prevent us from continuing to license intellectual property that we may need to operate our business.

If we fail to comply with our obligations under our license agreements, we could lose rights to our product candidates or key technologies.

We have obtained rights to develop, market and sell some of our product candidates through intellectual property license agreements with third parties. These license agreements impose various diligence, milestone payment, royalty and other obligations on us. In particular, under our Amended and Restated Exclusive License Agreement dated May 15, 2018 (the Amended MSK License) with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), in the event a licensed product achieves a specified clinical milestone, MSK is eligible to receive from us certain milestone payments totaling up to $75.0 million based on the price of our common stock, where the amount of such payments owed to MSK is contingent upon certain increases in the price of our common stock following the date of

50


Table of Contents

 

achievement of such clinical milestone. If we fail to comply with our obligations under our license agreements, including any payment obligations, we could lose some or all of our rights to develop, market and sell products covered by these licenses, and our ability to form collaborations or partnerships may be impaired. In addition, disputes may arise under our license agreements with third parties, which could prevent or impair our ability to maintain our current licensing arrangements on acceptable terms and to develop and commercialize the affected product candidates.

We may be involved in litigation or other proceedings relating to the enforcement or defense of patent and other intellectual property rights, which could cause us to divert our resources and could put our intellectual property at risk.

If we choose to go to court to stop another party from using the inventions claimed in any patents we obtain, that individual or company has the right to ask the court to rule that such patents are invalid or should not be enforced against that third party. In addition to patent infringement lawsuits, we may be required to file interferences, oppositions, ex parte reexaminations, post-grant review, or inter partes review proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the USPTO) and corresponding foreign patent offices. Litigation and other proceedings relating to intellectual property are unpredictable and expensive, and would consume time and resources and divert the attention of managerial and scientific personnel even if we were successful in any such proceeding. Such litigation or proceedings could substantially increase our operating losses and reduce the resources available for research, development, and other activities. We may not have sufficient financial or other resources to adequately conduct such litigation or proceedings or may be required to divert such resources from our ongoing and planned research and development activities. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of such litigation or proceedings more effectively than we can because of their greater financial resources. Accordingly, despite our efforts, we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing or misappropriating or successfully challenging our intellectual property rights. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of patent litigation or other proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our ability to compete in the marketplace.

There also is a risk that a court or patent office in such proceeding will decide that our patents or the patents of our licensors are not valid or are not enforceable, and that we do not have the right to stop the other party from using the inventions. There is also the risk that, even if the validity of such patents is upheld, the court will refuse to stop the other party on the ground that such other party’s activities do not infringe our rights to such patents. If we were not successful in defending our intellectual property, our competitors could develop and market products based on our discoveries, which may reduce demand for our products.

We or our strategic partners may infringe the intellectual property rights of others, which may prevent or delay our product development efforts and stop us from commercializing, or increase the costs of commercializing, our product candidates.

Our success will depend, in part, on our ability to operate without infringing the proprietary rights of third parties. There is a substantial amount of litigation, both within and outside the United States, involving patent and other intellectual property rights in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, including patent infringement lawsuits, interferences, oppositions, ex parte reexaminations, post-grant review, and inter partes review proceedings before the USPTO and corresponding foreign patent offices. Numerous U.S. and foreign issued patents and pending patent applications, which are owned by third parties, exist in the fields in which we are developing product candidates. As the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries expand and more patents are issued, the risk increases that our product candidates may be subject to claims of infringement of the patent rights of third parties.

We cannot be certain that any of our patent searches or analyses, including the identification of relevant patents, the scope of patent claims or the expiration of relevant patents, are complete or thorough, nor can we be certain that we have identified each and every third-party patent and pending application in the United States and abroad that is relevant to or necessary for the commercialization of our product candidates in any jurisdiction. The scope of a patent claim is determined by an interpretation of the law, the written disclosure in a patent and the patent’s prosecution history. Our interpretation of the relevance or the scope of a patent or a pending application may be incorrect, which may negatively impact our ability to market our products. We may incorrectly determine that our products are not covered by a third-party patent or may incorrectly predict whether a third-party’s pending application will issue with claims of relevant scope. Our determination of the expiration date of any patent in the United States or abroad that we consider relevant may be incorrect, which may negatively impact our ability to develop and market our product candidates. Our failure to identify and correctly interpret relevant patents may negatively impact our ability to develop and market our products.

We cannot guarantee that the manufacture, use or marketing of our existing product candidates or any other product candidates that we develop, or the use of our cell programming technology, will not infringe third-party patents. There may be third-party patents or patent applications with claims to materials, cell compositions, methods of manufacture or methods for treatment related to the use or manufacture of our product candidates. Our competitors may have filed, and may in the future file, patent applications covering products and technologies similar to ours. Because patent applications can take many years to issue, there may be currently pending patent applications which may later result in issued patents that our product candidates may infringe. In addition, third parties may obtain patents in the future and claim that use of our technologies infringes upon these patents.

51


Table of Contents

 

Third parties asserting their patent or other intellectual property rights against us may seek and obtain injunctive or other equitable relief, which could effectively block our ability to further develop and commercialize our product candidates or force us to cease some of our business operations. Defense of these claims, regardless of their merit, would involve substantial litigation expense and would be a substantial diversion of management and other employee resources from our business, cause development delays, and may impact our reputation. In the event of a successful claim of infringement against us, we may have to pay substantial damages, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees for willful infringement, obtain one or more licenses from third parties, pay royalties, or redesign our infringing products, which may be impossible on a cost-effective basis or require substantial time and monetary expenditure. In that event, we would be unable to further develop and commercialize our product candidates, which could harm our business significantly. Claims that we have misappropriated the confidential information or trade secrets of third parties could have a similar negative impact on our business.

We may not be successful in obtaining or maintaining necessary rights to product components and processes for development or manufacture of our product candidates which may cause us to operate our business in a more costly or otherwise adverse manner that was not anticipated.

We own or license from third parties certain intellectual property rights necessary to develop and manufacture our product candidates. The growth of our business will likely depend in part on our ability to acquire or in-license additional proprietary rights, including to advance our research or allow commercialization of our product candidates. In that event, we may be required to expend considerable time and resources to develop or license replacement technology. For example, our programs may involve additional technologies or product candidates that may require the use of additional proprietary rights held by third parties. Furthermore, other pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies and academic institutions may also have filed or are planning to file patent applications potentially relevant to our business. From time to time, in order to avoid infringing these third-party patents, we may be required to license technology from additional third parties to further develop or commercialize our product candidates. We may be unable to acquire or in-license any relevant third-party intellectual property rights, including any such intellectual property rights required to manufacture, use or sell our product candidates, that we identify as necessary or important to our business operations. We may fail to obtain any of these licenses at a reasonable cost or on reasonable terms, if at all, and as a result we may be unable to develop or commercialize the affected product candidates, which would harm our business. We may need to cease use of the compositions or methods covered by such third-party intellectual property rights, and may need to seek to develop alternative approaches that do not infringe on such intellectual property rights which may entail additional costs and development delays, even if we were able to develop such alternatives, which may not be feasible. Even if we are able to obtain a license under such intellectual property rights, any such license may be non-exclusive, which may allow our competitors’ access to the same technologies licensed to us.

Additionally, we sometimes collaborate with academic institutions to accelerate our preclinical research or development under written agreements with these institutions. Typically, these institutions provide us with an option to negotiate a license to any of the institution’s rights in technology resulting from the collaboration. Regardless of such option, we may be unable to negotiate a license within the specified timeframe or under terms that are acceptable to us. If we are unable to do so, the institution may offer the intellectual property rights to other parties, potentially blocking our ability to pursue our program. If we are unable to successfully obtain rights to required third-party intellectual property or to maintain the existing intellectual property rights we have, we may have to abandon development of such program and our business and financial condition could suffer.

The licensing and acquisition of third-party intellectual property rights is a competitive practice, and companies that may be more established, or have greater resources than we do, may also be pursuing strategies to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights that we may consider necessary or attractive in order to commercialize our product candidates. More established companies may have a competitive advantage over us due to their larger size and cash resources or greater clinical development and commercialization capabilities. In addition, it may be more costly for us to secure and maintain the necessary patent protection to block third parties from using our technology than to negotiate out-licenses or similar agreements with these parties to provide them with limited rights to use our technology. There can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully complete any such negotiations and ultimately acquire or maintain, on commercially viable terms, the rights to the intellectual property required for the successful development and commercialization of our product candidates.

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

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

 

others may be able to make product candidates that are similar to ours but that are not covered by the claims of the patents that we own or have exclusively licensed;

 

we or our licensors or future collaborators might not have been the first to make the inventions covered by the issued patent or pending patent application that we own or have exclusively licensed;

52


Table of Contents

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

issued patents that we own or have exclusively licensed may be held invalid or unenforceable, as a result of legal challenges by our competitors;

 

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

 

we may not develop additional proprietary technologies that are patentable;

 

we cannot predict the scope of protection of any patent issuing based on our patent applications, including whether the patent applications that we own or in-license will result in issued patents with claims that cover our product candidates or uses thereof in the United States or in other foreign countries;

 

the claims of any patent issuing based on our patent applications may not provide protection against competitors or any competitive advantages, or may be challenged by third parties;

 

if enforced, a court may not hold that our patents are valid, enforceable and infringed;

 

we may need to initiate litigation or administrative proceedings to enforce and/or defend our patent rights which will be costly whether we win or lose;

 

we may choose not to file a patent in order to maintain certain trade secrets or know-how, and a third party may subsequently file a patent covering such intellectual property;

 

we may fail to adequately protect and police our trademarks and trade secrets; and

 

the patents of others may have an adverse effect on our business, including if others obtain patents claiming subject matter similar to or improving that covered by our patents and patent applications.

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

We may be subject to claims that our employees, consultants or independent contractors have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged trade secrets.

In conducting our business operations, we have obtained confidential and proprietary information from third parties. In addition, we employ individuals who were previously employed at other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Although we try to ensure that our employees, consultants and independent contractors do not use the proprietary information or know-how of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that we or our employees, consultants or independent contractors have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed trade secrets or other proprietary information of their former employers or other parties. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we could lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel, which could adversely affect our business. Even if we are successful in defending against these claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management.

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

We may be subject to claims that former employees, collaborators, or other third parties have an interest in our patents or other intellectual property as an inventor or co-inventor. If we fail in defending any such claims, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights, such as exclusive ownership of, or right to use, valuable intellectual property. We may also be subject to monetary damages, and any of these outcomes could have a material adverse impact on our business.

53


Table of Contents

 

Proprietary information and invention assignment agreements with our employees and third parties may not prevent unauthorized disclosure of our trade secrets and other proprietary information.

In addition to the protection afforded by patents, we also rely upon unpatented trade secrets and improvements, proprietary know-how, and continuing technological innovation to develop and maintain our competitive position, which we seek to protect, in part, through confidentiality agreements with our collaborators, employees and consultants. We also have invention or patent assignment agreements with our employees and some, but not all, of our collaborators and consultants. Because we expect to rely on third parties in the development and manufacture of our product candidates, we must, at times, share trade secrets with them, which increases the possibility that a competitor will discover them or that our trade secrets will be misappropriated or disclosed.  

Trade secrets, however, may be difficult to protect, and any disclosure, either intentional or unintentional, by our employees or third-party consultants and vendors that we engage to perform research, clinical trials or manufacturing activities, or misappropriation by third parties (such as through a cybersecurity breach) of our trade secrets or proprietary information could enable competitors to duplicate or surpass our technological achievements, thus eroding our competitive position in our market. Although we use reasonable efforts to protect our trade secrets, our employees, consultants, outside scientific advisors, contractors, and collaborators might intentionally or inadvertently disclose our trade secret information to competitors. In addition, competitors may otherwise gain access to our trade secrets or independently develop substantially equivalent information and techniques. Despite these efforts, any of these parties may breach the agreements and disclose our proprietary information, including our trade secrets, and we may not be able to obtain adequate remedies for such breaches. Enforcing a claim that a party illegally disclosed or misappropriated a trade secret is difficult, expensive and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. If any of our trade secrets were to be lawfully obtained or independently developed by a competitor or other third-party, we would have no right to prevent them from using that technology or information to compete with us. Furthermore, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect proprietary rights to the same extent or in the same manner as the laws of the United States. As a result, we may encounter significant problems in protecting and defending our intellectual property both in the United States and abroad. If we are unable to prevent unauthorized material disclosure of our intellectual property to third parties, or misappropriation of our intellectual property by third parties, we will not be able to establish or maintain a competitive advantage in our market, which could materially adversely affect our business, operating results, and financial condition.

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

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

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

Changes in the patent law in the United States could diminish the value of patents in general, thereby impairing our ability to protect our product candidates and technology.

As is the case with other biotechnology companies, our success is heavily dependent on intellectual property rights, particularly patents. Obtaining and enforcing patents in the biotechnology industry involve both technological and legal complexity, and is therefore obtaining and enforcing biotechnology patents is costly, time-consuming and inherently uncertain. In addition, the United States has recently enacted and is currently implementing wide-ranging patent reform legislation. Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have narrowed the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances and weakened the rights of patent owners in certain situations. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, this combination of events has

54


Table of Contents

 

created uncertainty with respect to the value of patents, once obtained. Depending on decisions by the U.S. Congress, the federal courts, and the USPTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that would weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce our existing patents and patents that we might obtain in the future.

The term of our patents may not be sufficient to effectively protect our market position and products.

Patents have a limited lifespan. In the United States, the natural expiration of a patent is generally 20 years after it is filed. Various extensions may be available; however, the life of a patent, and the protection it affords, is limited. Even if we obtain patents covering our product candidates, once the patent life has expired for a product, we may be open to competition from other products. If the lives of our patents are not sufficient to effectively protect our products and business, our business and results of operations will be adversely affected.

Risks Related to the Commercialization of Our Product Candidates

We do not have experience marketing any product candidates and do not have a sales force or distribution capabilities, and if our products are approved we may be unable to commercialize them successfully.

We currently have no experience in marketing and selling therapeutic products. If any of our product candidates are approved for marketing, we intend to establish marketing and sales capabilities internally or we may selectively seek to enter into partnerships with other entities to utilize their marketing and distribution capabilities. If we are unable to develop adequate marketing and sales capabilities on our own or effectively partner with third parties, our ability to generate product revenues will suffer.

The commercial success of our product candidates will depend upon the degree of market acceptance by physicians, patients, third-party payers and others in the medical community.

The commercial success of our products, if approved for marketing, will depend in part on the medical community, patients and third-party payers accepting our product candidates as effective and safe. If these products do not achieve an adequate level of acceptance, we may not generate significant product revenue and may not become profitable. The degree of market acceptance of our products, if approved for marketing, will depend on a number of factors, including:

 

the safety and efficacy of the products, and advantages over alternative treatments;

 

the labeling of any approved product;

 

the prevalence and severity of any side effects, including any limitations or warnings contained in a product’s approved labeling;

 

the emergence, and timing of market introduction, of competitive products;

 

the effectiveness of our marketing strategy; and

 

sufficient third-party insurance coverage or governmental reimbursement, which may depend on our ability to provide compelling evidence that a product meaningfully improves health outcomes to support such insurance coverage or reimbursement.

Even if a potential product displays a favorable efficacy and safety profile in preclinical studies and clinical trials, market acceptance of the product will not be known until after it is launched. Any failure to achieve market acceptance for our product candidates will harm our business, results and financial condition.

We expect to face uncertainty regarding the pricing of our existing product candidates and any other product candidates that we may develop. If pricing policies for our product candidates are unfavorable, our commercial success will be impaired.

Due to the novel nature of our product candidates, and the targeted indication of HSCT procedures in general and our cellular immunotherapy product candidates in particular, we face significant uncertainty as to the pricing of any such products for which we may receive marketing approval. While we anticipate that pricing for any cellular immunotherapy product candidates that we develop will be relatively high due to their anticipated use in the prevention or treatment of life-threatening diseases where therapeutic options are limited, the biopharmaceutical industry has recently experienced significant pricing pressures, including in the area of orphan drug products. In particular, drug pricing and other healthcare costs continue to be subject to intense political and societal pressures, which we anticipate will continue and escalate on a global basis. These pressures may result in harm to our business and reputation, cause our stock price to decline or experience periods of volatility and adversely affect results of operations and our ability to raise funds.

55


Table of Contents

 

The insurance coverage and reimbursement status of newly-approved products is uncertain. Failure to obtain or maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement for new products could limit our product revenues.

Our ability to commercialize any of our product candidates successfully will depend in part on the extent to which reimbursement for these products and related treatments will be available from government health administration authorities, private health insurers, and other organizations. In the United States, the principal decisions about reimbursement for new medicines are typically made by CMS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CMS decides whether and to what extent a new medicine will be covered and reimbursed under Medicare, and private payors tend to follow CMS determinations to a substantial degree. The availability and extent of reimbursement by governmental and private payers is essential for most patients to be able to afford expensive treatments, such as HSCT or cellular immunotherapy. There is significant uncertainty related to the insurance coverage and reimbursement of newly approved products by government and third-party payers. In particular, there is no body of established practices and precedents for reimbursement of cellular immunotherapies, and it is difficult to predict what the regulatory authority or private payer will decide with respect to reimbursement levels for novel products such as ours. Our products may not qualify for coverage or direct reimbursement, or may be subject to limited reimbursement. If reimbursement or insurance coverage is not available, or is available only to limited levels, we may not be able to successfully commercialize our product candidates. Even if coverage is provided, the approved reimbursement amount may not be sufficient to allow us to establish or maintain pricing to generate income.

In addition, reimbursement agencies in foreign jurisdictions may be more conservative than those in the United States. 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 revenues and profits. Moreover, increasing efforts by governmental and third-party payers, in the United States and abroad, to cap or reduce healthcare costs may cause such organizations to limit both coverage and level of reimbursement for new products approved and, as a result, they may not cover or provide adequate payment for our product candidates. Failure to obtain or maintain adequate reimbursement for any products for which we receive marketing approval will adversely affect our ability to achieve commercial success, and could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, our ability to raise capital needed to commercialize products, and our overall financial condition.

If the market opportunities for our product candidates are smaller than we believe they are, our revenues may be adversely affected and our business may suffer. Because the target patient populations of our product candidates are small, we must be able to successfully identify patients and capture a significant market share to achieve and maintain profitability.

We focus our research and development on product candidates for orphan indications and other rare diseases. 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 with our product candidates, are based on estimates. These estimates may prove to be incorrect, and new studies may change the estimated incidence or prevalence of these diseases. The number of patients in the United States, Europe and elsewhere may turn out to be lower than expected or 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. Additionally, because our target patient populations are small, we will be required to capture a significant market share to achieve and maintain profitability.

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

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

Among policy makers and payors in the United States and elsewhere, there is significant interest in promoting changes in healthcare systems with the stated goals of containing healthcare costs, improving quality and/or expanding access. In the United States, the pharmaceutical industry has been a particular focus of these efforts and has been significantly affected by major legislative initiatives. In March 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, which substantially changed the way healthcare is financed by both the government and private insurers, and significantly impacts the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. Since its enactment, there have been many judicial, executive, and Congressional challenges to numerous aspects of the ACA. For example, various portions of the ACA are currently undergoing legal and constitutional challenges in the United States Supreme Court, who is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the ACA in early 2021. Additionally, the previous administration issued various Executive Orders that eliminated cost sharing subsidies and various provisions that would impose a fiscal burden on states or a cost, fee, tax, penalty or regulatory burden on individuals, healthcare providers, health insurers, or manufacturers of pharmaceuticals or medical devices; and Congress has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at significantly revising or repealing the ACA. As a result, the full impact on our business of the ACA, the potential impacts of any challenges including any laws repealing and/or replacing elements of it, as well as the political uncertainty surrounding any repeal or replacement legislation, remain unclear, particularly given potential actions taken under the Biden administration and the pending Supreme Court decision.

56


Table of Contents

 

In July 2018, CMS published a final rule permitting further collections and payments to and from certain ACA qualified health plans and health insurance issuers under the ACA risk adjustment program. At the state level, legislatures are increasingly passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. The full impact of these federal and state laws and regulations, as well as other new laws and reform measures that may be proposed and adopted in the future, remains uncertain, but may result in additional reductions in Medicare and other healthcare funding, which could have an adverse effect on customers for our product candidates, if approved, and, accordingly, our financial operations.

Additionally, there has been heightened governmental scrutiny in the United States of pharmaceutical and biologics pricing practices in light of the rising cost of prescription drugs and biologics. Such scrutiny has resulted in various 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.

We expect that these and other healthcare reform measures that may be adopted in the future, may result in more rigorous coverage criteria and in additional downward pressure on the price that we receive for any approved drug. Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors. The implementation of cost containment measures or other healthcare reforms may prevent us from being able to generate revenue, attain profitability, or commercialize our drugs.

In addition, FDA regulations and guidance may be revised or reinterpreted by the FDA in ways that may significantly affect our business and our products. Any new regulations or guidance, or revisions or reinterpretations of existing regulations or guidance, may impose additional costs or lengthen FDA review times for our existing product candidates or any future product candidates we may develop. We cannot determine how changes in regulations, statutes, policies, or interpretations when and if issued, enacted or adopted, may affect our business in the future. Such changes could, among other things, require:

 

additional non-clinical or clinical trials to be conducted prior to obtaining approval;

 

changes to manufacturing methods;

 

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

 

additional recordkeeping.

Such changes would likely require substantial time and impose significant costs, or could reduce the potential commercial value of our existing product candidates or other product candidates we may develop, and could materially harm our business and our financial results. In addition, delays in receipt of or failure to receive regulatory clearances or approvals for any other products would harm our business, prospects, financial condition, and results of operations.

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

The success of our existing product candidates is substantially dependent on developments within the field of HSCT and cellular immunotherapy, some of which are beyond our control.

Our product candidates are designed and are being developed as therapeutic entities for use as cellular immunotherapies. Any adverse developments in the field of cellular immunotherapy generally, and in the practice of HSCT in particular, will negatively affect our ability to develop and commercialize our product candidates. If the market for HSCT procedures declines or fails to grow at anticipated levels for any reason, or if the need for patients to undergo HSCT procedures is obviated due to the development and commercialization of therapeutics targeting the underlying cause of diseases addressed by HSCT, our business prospects will be significantly harmed.

We face competition from other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and our operating results will suffer if we fail to compete effectively.

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are intensely competitive and subject to rapid and significant technological change. We face competition from biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, universities, and other research institutions, and many of our competitors have greater financial and other resources, such as larger research and development staff and more experienced marketing and manufacturing organizations and facilities. In particular, there are several companies and institutions developing products that may obviate the need for HSCT, may be competitive to our iPSC-derived product candidates or candidates in our research and development pipeline, or may render our product candidates obsolete or noncompetitive. Should one or more of these products be successful, the market for our products may be reduced or eliminated, and we may not achieve commercial success.

57


Table of Contents

 

We may not be able to manage our business effectively if we are unable to attract and retain key personnel and consultants.

We may not be able to retain or attract qualified management, finance, scientific and clinical personnel and consultants due to the intense competition for qualified personnel and consultants among biotechnology, pharmaceutical and other businesses. If we are not able to retain and attract necessary personnel and consultants to perform the requisite operational roles and 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 expect to continue to expand our development and manufacturing operations, and as a result, we may encounter difficulties in managing our growth, which could disrupt our operations.

We are experiencing rapid growth and as of December 31, 2020, we had 279 employees. We expect continued growth in the number of our employees and the scope of our operations, particularly to continue our clinical and research operations, and to expand our regulatory, quality, and manufacturing operations. Our rapid growth imposes significant added responsibilities on members of management, including: identifying, recruiting, integrating, maintaining, and motivating additional employees; managing our internal development efforts effectively, including the clinical and FDA review process for our product candidates, while complying with our contractual obligations to contractors and other third parties; and improving our operational, financial and management controls, reporting systems, and procedures.

To manage our anticipated future growth, we will continue to implement and improve our managerial, operational, and financial systems, expand our facilities, and continue to recruit and train additional qualified personnel. Due to our limited financial resources and the complexity in managing a company with such anticipated growth, we may not be able to effectively manage the expansion of our operations or recruit and train additional qualified personnel. The expansion of our operations may lead to significant costs and may divert our management and business development resources. Any inability to manage growth could delay the execution of our business plans or disrupt our operations.

The global COVID-19 pandemic could adversely impact various aspects of our business, results of operations and financial condition.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, various aspects of our business operations have been, and could continue to be, disrupted. In response to the pandemic, we have implemented a work from home policy, with our administrative employees continuing their work outside of our offices, and imposed onsite occupancy limits, restricting on-site staff to only those required to execute certain laboratory, manufacturing and related support activities, and requiring self-health testing prior to coming onsite. The increase in working remotely could increase our cybersecurity risk, create data accessibility concerns, and make us more susceptible to communication disruptions, any of which could adversely impact our business operations or delay necessary interactions with local and federal regulators, ethics committees, manufacturing sites, and clinical trial sites. In addition, as a result of shelter-in-place orders or other mandated travel restrictions, our on-site staff conducting research and development, preclinical studies, and manufacturing activities may not be able to access our laboratories or manufacturing space, and these core activities may be significantly limited or curtailed, possibly for an extended period of time, which could impair our ability to complete IND-enabling studies or select future development candidates. Our business operations may be further disrupted if any of our employees, officers or directors, or their respective personal or business contacts, contract an illness related to COVID-19 and render them unable to perform their duties as a result.

In addition, the trading prices for our common stock and other biopharmaceutical companies have been highly volatile as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we may face difficulties raising capital through equity or debt financings, or such financing transactions may be on unfavorable terms. While the potential economic impact brought by and the duration of the pandemic may be difficult to assess or predict, it has already caused, and is likely to result in further, significant disruptions and uncertainties in global financial markets, which may reduce our ability to access capital either at all or on favorable terms. In addition, a recession, depression or other sustained adverse market event resulting from the spread of COVID-19 could materially and adversely affect our business and the value of our common stock.

The ultimate impact of the current pandemic, or any other health epidemic, is highly uncertain and subject to change. We do not yet know the full extent of potential delays or impacts on our business, our clinical and preclinical programs, our research, manufacturing, and regulatory activities, healthcare systems or the global economy as a whole. However, these effects could have a material adverse impact on our operations, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

58


Table of Contents

 

If we engage in an acquisition, reorganization or business combination, we will incur a variety of risks that could adversely affect our business operations or our stockholders.

From time to time, we have considered, and we will consider in the future, strategic business initiatives intended to further the expansion and development of our business. These initiatives may include acquiring businesses, technologies or products or entering into business combinations with other companies. If we pursue such a strategy, we could, among other things:

 

issue equity securities that would dilute our current stockholders’ percentage ownership;

 

incur substantial debt that may place strains on our operations;

 

spend substantial operational, financial and management resources to integrate new businesses, technologies and products;

 

assume substantial actual or contingent liabilities;

 

reprioritize our development programs and even cease development and commercialization of our product candidates; or

 

merge with, or otherwise enter into a business combination with, another company in which our stockholders would receive cash or shares of the other company on terms that certain of our stockholders may not deem desirable.

Although we intend to evaluate and consider acquisitions, reorganizations and business combinations in the future, we have no agreements or understandings with respect to any acquisition, reorganization or business combination at this time.

We face potential product liability exposure far in excess of our limited insurance coverage.

The use of our product candidates in clinical trials, and the sale of any products for which we obtain marketing approval, exposes us to the risk of product liability claims. Product liability claims might be brought against us by participants in clinical trials, hospitals, medical centers, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, and consumers, or by others selling, manufacturing or otherwise coming into contact with our product candidates. We carry product liability insurance and we believe our product liability insurance coverage is sufficient in light of our current clinical programs. In addition, if and when we obtain marketing approval for product candidates, we intend to expand our insurance coverage to include the sale of commercial products; however, we may be unable to obtain insurance coverage for any approved products on commercially reasonable terms or in sufficient amounts to protect us against losses due to liability.

On occasion, large judgments have been awarded in class action lawsuits based on drugs or medical treatments that had unanticipated adverse effects. In addition, under some of our agreements with clinical trial sites, we are required to indemnify the sites and their personnel against product liability and other claims. A successful product liability claim, or a series of claims, brought against us or any third parties whom we are required to indemnify could cause our stock price to decline and, if judgments exceed our insurance coverage, could adversely affect our results of operations and business.

Patients with the diseases targeted by our product candidates are often already in severe and advanced stages of disease and have both known and unknown significant pre-existing and potentially life-threatening health risks. During the course of treatment, patients may suffer adverse events, including death, for a variety of reasons. Such events, whether or not resulting from our product candidates, could subject us to costly litigation, require us to pay substantial amounts of money to injured patients, delay, negatively affect or end our opportunity to receive or maintain regulatory approval to market our products, or require us to suspend or abandon our commercialization efforts. Even in a circumstance in which we do not believe that an adverse event is related to our products, the investigation into the circumstance may be time-consuming or inconclusive. These investigations may interrupt our development and commercialization efforts, delay our regulatory approval process, or impact and limit the type of regulatory approvals our product candidates receive or maintain. As a result of these factors, a product liability claim, even if successfully defended, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Our employees may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with regulatory standards and requirements and insider trading.

We are exposed to the risk of employee fraud or other misconduct. Misconduct by employees could include intentional failures to comply with the regulations of the FDA or foreign regulators, to provide accurate information to the FDA or foreign regulators, to comply with healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations in the United States and abroad, to report financial information or data accurately or to disclose unauthorized activities to us. In particular, sales, marketing and business arrangements in the healthcare industry are subject to extensive laws and regulations intended to prevent fraud, misconduct, kickbacks, self-dealing and other abusive practices. Employee and independent contractor misconduct could also involve the improper use of information obtained in the course of clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions and cause serious harm to our reputation. If any actions alleging such conduct are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant effect on our business, including the imposition of significant fines or other sanctions.

59


Table of Contents

 

We face risks of potential liability related to the privacy of personal information, including health information we utilize in the development of our products, as well as information we obtain from clinical trials sponsored by us from research institutions and directly from individuals.

We and our partners and vendors may be subject to various federal, state, and foreign data protection laws and regulations (i.e., laws and regulations that address privacy and data security). In the United States, numerous federal and state laws and regulations, including federal health information privacy laws, state data breach notification laws, state health information privacy laws, and federal and state consumer protection laws (e.g., Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act), that govern the collection, use, disclosure and protection of health-related and other personal information could apply to our operations or the operations of our collaborators, including the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and privacy and security requirements under HIPAA, as amended by Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH). Depending on the facts and circumstances, we could be subject to civil, criminal, and administrative penalties if we knowingly obtain, use, or disclose individually identifiable health information maintained by a HIPAA-covered entity in a manner that is not authorized or permitted by HIPAA. There is no certainty that all of our employees, agents, suppliers, manufacturers, contractors, or collaborators, or those of our affiliates, will comply with all applicable laws and regulations, particularly given the high level of complexity of these laws. Even when HIPAA does not apply, failing to take appropriate steps to keep consumers’ personal information secure may constitute a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act. In addition, certain of the materials we use as starting material in our iPSC-derived product candidates are derived from human sources, which potentially contain sensitive identifiable personal information regarding the donor. In addition, in conducting our clinical trials, we may maintain sensitive identifiable personal information, including health information, that we receive throughout the clinical trial process, in the course of our research collaborations, and directly from individuals (or their healthcare providers) who enroll in our clinical trials. As such, we may become subject to further obligations under HIPAA. Our collection of personal information generally (e.g., of employees currently and/or of patients in the future) may subject us to state data privacy laws governing the processing of personal information and requiring notification of affected individuals and state regulators in the event of a breach of such personal information. These state laws include the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and its related regulations, and (once effective) the recently approved California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) amending the CCPA, which establish additional data privacy rights for residents of the State of California, with corresponding obligations on businesses related to transparency, deletion rights, and opt-out of the selling of personal information, and grants a private right of action for individuals in the event of certain security breaches. Similar laws relating to data privacy and security have been proposed in other states and at the federal level, and if passed, such laws may have potentially conflicting requirements that would make compliance challenging, require us to expend significant resources to come into compliance, and restrict our ability to process certain personal information.

Certain state laws may be more stringent or broader in scope than the CPRA, or offer greater individual rights, with respect to confidential, sensitive and personal information than federal, international or other state laws, and such laws may differ from each other, which may complicate compliance efforts.

We are likely to be required to expend significant capital and other resources to ensure ongoing compliance with applicable data privacy and security laws. Claims that we have violated individuals’ privacy rights or breached our contractual obligations, even if we are not found liable, could be expensive and time-consuming to defend, and could result in adverse publicity that could harm our business. Moreover, even if we take all necessary action to comply with legal and regulatory requirements, we could be subject to a data breach or other unauthorized access of personal information, which could subject us to fines and penalties, as well as litigation and reputational damage. If we fail to keep apprised of and comply with applicable international, federal, state, or local regulatory requirements, we could be subject to a range of regulatory actions that could affect our or any collaborators’ ability to seek to commercialize our clinical candidates. Any threatened or actual government enforcement action or litigation where private rights of action are available could also generate adverse publicity, damage our reputation, result in liabilities, fines and loss of business, and require that we devote substantial resources that could otherwise be used in other aspects of our business.

Our internal computer systems, or those used by our third-party research institution collaborators, CROs or other contractors or consultants, may fail or suffer security breaches.

Despite the implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems and those of our future CROs and other contractors, vendors, and consultants may be vulnerable to damage from computer viruses and unauthorized access. In addition, these vulnerabilities may be heightened as a result of remote work policies implemented by us and our third-party contractors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have from time to time experienced, and may continue to experience in the future, cyber-attacks on our information technology systems despite our best efforts to prevent them. Although such breaches have been immaterial to our business to date, investigations into and remedial efforts in connection with any breaches, even those with immaterial impact, can be costly and time-consuming, and any future breaches could be material, or cause significant disruption, to our business. For example, the loss of clinical trial data from completed, ongoing or future clinical trials could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. Likewise, we rely on third parties for research and development, the manufacture and supply of drug product and drug substance and to conduct clinical trials, and similar events relating to their computer

60


Table of Contents

 

systems could also have a material adverse effect on our business. To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of, or damage to, our data or systems, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability and the further development and commercialization of our product candidates could be delayed.

Certain data breaches must also be reported to affected individuals and the government, and in some cases to the media, under provisions of HIPAA, as amended by HITECH, other U.S. federal and state law, and requirements of non-U.S. jurisdictions, including the European Union Data Protection Directive, and financial penalties may also apply.

Our insurance policies may not be adequate to compensate us for the potential losses arising from breaches, failures or disruptions of our infrastructure, catastrophic events and disasters or otherwise. In addition, such insurance may not be available to us in the future on economically reasonable terms, or at all. Further, our insurance may not cover all claims made against us and defending a suit, regardless of its merit, could be costly and divert management’s attention.

Furthermore, the loss of clinical trial data from completed or future clinical trials could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data.

Risks Related to Our Financial Condition and the Ownership of Our Common Stock

Our ongoing and planned operations, including the development of our product candidates, will require substantial additional funding, without which we will be unable to complete preclinical or clinical development of, or obtain regulatory approval for, our product candidates.

We are currently advancing multiple product candidates through clinical development, and conducting preclinical research and development activities in our other programs. Drug development is expensive, and we expect our research and development expenses to increase substantially in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we advance our current product candidates in clinical trials and seek to initiate clinical development for additional product candidates.

As of December 31, 2020, our cash and cash equivalents and investments were $482.9 million. We intend to use our cash and cash equivalents and investments primarily to fund the advancement and clinical development of our current product candidates and our ongoing preclinical, discovery and research programs, and for working capital and general corporate purposes. However, our operating plan 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, government or other third-party funding, marketing and distribution arrangements and other collaborations, strategic and licensing arrangements or a combination of these approaches. In any event, we will require additional capital to obtain regulatory approval for, and to commercialize our existing product candidates and any other product candidates we may identify and develop. Even if we believe we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans, we may seek additional capital if market conditions are favorable or if we have specific strategic considerations. Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including, but not limited to:

 

the progress, results, size, timing and costs of our ongoing and planned clinical trials, and any additional clinical trials we may initiate, conduct or support for our product candidates;

 

the progress, results, size, timing and costs of our preclinical, process development and manufacturing studies, and activities necessary to initiate and conduct clinical trials for our product candidates and to establish and maintain manufacturing capabilities necessary to support such trials;

 

continued progress in our research and development programs, including preclinical studies, process development, manufacturing and other research activities that may be necessary in order for an IND application to go into effect for a prospective clinical development candidate, as well as potential future clinical trials of any additional product candidates we may identify for development;

 

the extent to which we are required to pay milestone or other payments under our existing in-license agreements and any in-license agreements that we may enter into in the future, and the timing of such payments, including payments owed to Memorial Sloan-Kettering in connection with the stock price appreciation milestones;

 

our ability and the ability of our investigators to initiate and conduct, and the progress, results, size, timing and costs of, clinical trials of our product candidates that will be necessary to support any application for regulatory approval;

 

our ability to manufacture, or enter into arrangements with third parties for the manufacture of our existing product candidates, as well as potential future clinical development candidates, both for clinical development and commercialization, and the timing and costs associated with such manufacture;

 

our ability to maintain, expand and defend the scope of our intellectual property portfolio, including the amount and timing of any payments we may be required to make, or that we may receive, or other costs we may incur, in connection with the licensing, filing, prosecution, defense and enforcement of any patents or other intellectual property rights;

61


Table of Contents

 

 

the cost of manufacturing, distribution, and commercialization activities and arrangements, including the manufacturing of our product candidates, establishment of effective protocols for the supply and transport of our product candidates, and the establishment of a sales and marketing organization either internally or in partnership with a third party; and

 

our ability to establish and maintain strategic arrangements and alliances with third-party collaborators including our existing collaborations with Janssen Biotech, Inc., Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., the University of Minnesota, and Memorial Sloan Kettering, to advance the research, development and commercialization of therapeutic products.

Any additional fundraising efforts may divert our management from their day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize our product candidates. In addition, we cannot guarantee that future financing will be available in sufficient amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all. Moreover, the terms of any financing may adversely affect the holdings or the rights of our stockholders and the issuance of additional securities, whether equity or debt, by us, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of our shares to decline. The sale of additional equity or convertible securities would dilute all of our stockholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased fixed payment obligations and we may be required to agree to certain restrictive covenants, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt, limitations on our ability to acquire, sell or license intellectual property rights and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. We could also be required to seek funds through arrangements with collaborative partners or otherwise at a different stage than otherwise would be desirable and we may be required to relinquish rights to some of our technologies or product candidates or otherwise agree to terms unfavorable to us, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and prospects. In addition, while the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy is currently unknown and difficult to predict, the pandemic has caused significant disruptions and created uncertainties in the global financial markets, and the economic impacts of the pandemic could materially and adversely affect our ability to raise capital through equity or debt financings in the future.

If we cannot raise additional capital or obtain adequate funds, we may be required to curtail significantly our research and clinical programs or may not be able to continue our research or clinical development of our product candidates. Our failure to raise additional capital, or obtain adequate funds, will have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations, and market price of shares of our common stock.

We have a limited operating history, have incurred significant losses since our inception, and anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future.

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company formed in 2007 with a limited operating history. We have not yet obtained regulatory approval for any of our product candidates or generated any revenues from therapeutic product sales. Since inception, we have incurred significant net losses in each year and, as of December 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $556.9 million. We expect to continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future as we continue to fund our ongoing and planned clinical trials of our product candidates, and our other ongoing and planned research and development activities. We also expect to incur significant operating and capital expenditures as we continue our research and development of, and seek regulatory approval for, our product candidates, in-license or acquire new product candidates for development, implement additional infrastructure and internal systems, and hire additional scientific, clinical, and administrative personnel. We anticipate that our net losses for the next several years could be significant as we conduct our planned operations.

Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with pharmaceutical, biological, and cell therapy 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. In addition, our expenses could increase if we are required by the FDA, or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, to perform studies or trials in addition to those currently expected, or if there are any delays in completing our clinical trials, preclinical studies, process development, manufacturing activities, or the research and development of any of our product candidates. The amount of our future net losses will depend, in part, on the rate of increase in our expenses, our ability to generate revenues and our ability to raise additional capital. These net losses have had, and will continue to have, an adverse effect on our stockholders’ equity and working capital.

Our stock price is subject to fluctuation based on a variety of factors.

The market price of shares of our common stock could be subject to wide fluctuations as a result of many risks listed in this section, and other risks beyond our control, including:

 

the timing of the initiation of, and progress in, our current and planned clinical trials;

 

the results of our clinical trials and preclinical studies, and the results of clinical trials and preclinical studies by others for product candidates or indications similar to ours;

62


Table of Contents

 

 

developments related to the FDA or to regulations applicable to cellular immunotherapies generally or our product candidates in particular including, but not limited to, regulatory pathways and clinical trial requirements for approvals;

 

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