0001193125-22-070467.txt : 20220309 0001193125-22-070467.hdr.sgml : 20220309 20220309145213 ACCESSION NUMBER: 0001193125-22-070467 CONFORMED SUBMISSION TYPE: 10-K PUBLIC DOCUMENT COUNT: 124 CONFORMED PERIOD OF REPORT: 20211231 FILED AS OF DATE: 20220309 DATE AS OF CHANGE: 20220309 FILER: COMPANY DATA: COMPANY CONFORMED NAME: DBV Technologies S.A. CENTRAL INDEX KEY: 0001613780 STANDARD INDUSTRIAL CLASSIFICATION: BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS (NO DIAGNOSTIC SUBSTANCES) [2836] IRS NUMBER: 000000000 STATE OF INCORPORATION: I0 FISCAL YEAR END: 1231 FILING VALUES: FORM TYPE: 10-K SEC ACT: 1934 Act SEC FILE NUMBER: 001-36697 FILM NUMBER: 22725105 BUSINESS ADDRESS: STREET 1: 177-181 AVENUE PIERRE BROSSOLETTE CITY: MONTROUGE STATE: I0 ZIP: 92120 BUSINESS PHONE: 33(0)155427878 MAIL ADDRESS: STREET 1: 177-181 AVENUE PIERRE BROSSOLETTE CITY: MONTROUGE STATE: I0 ZIP: 92120 10-K 1 d170742d10k.htm 10-K 10-K
Table of Contents
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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
 
FORM
10-K
 
 
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended
 
December 31
, 2021
or
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from
                    
to
                    
Commission file number
001-36697
 
 
DBV TECHNOLOGIES S.A.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
 
 
France
 
Not applicable
State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
 
 
177-181
avenue Pierre Brossolette
   
 
 
 
Montrouge
France
 
92120
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
 
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code +33
1 55 42 78 78
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
Title of each class
 
Trading
 
Symbol(s)
 
Name of each exchange
 
on which registered
American Depositary Shares, each representing one-half of one ordinary share, nominal value €0.10 per share
 
DBVT
 
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ordinary shares, nominal value €0.10 per share*
 
n/a
 
 
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
 
 
 
*
Not for trading, but only in connection with the registration of the American Depositary Shares.
Securities registered pursuant to section 12(g) of the Act: None.
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
 
  ☐  Yes     ☒  
No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act
.    
☐  Yes     ☒  
No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past
90 days
.    ☒  
Yes
     
☐  No
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files
).    ☒  
Yes
     ☐  No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
 
Large accelerated filer
 
  
Accelerated filer
 
       
Non-accelerated filer
 
  
Smaller reporting company
 
 
 
 
 
        
Emerging growth company
 
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).
    ☐  Yes     
  No 
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates based on the closing price per American Depositary Share, or ADS, of the registrant’s ADSs on The Nasdaq Global Select Market on June 30, 2021 (the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was
 
$601.8
million.
As of March 9, 2022, the registrant had
 
55,095,762
 
ordinary shares, nominal value €0.10 per share, outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement, or Proxy Statement, for its 2022 Combined Ordinary and Extraordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting, which the registrant intends to file pursuant to Regulation 14A with the Securities and Exchange Commission not later than 120 days after the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
 
 
 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS.
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). These statements may be identified by such forward-looking terminology as “may,” “should,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential,” “continue” or variations of these words or similar expressions that are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. Any forward-looking statement involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statement. Forward-looking statements include statements, other than statements of historical fact, about, among other things:
 
   
the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the emergence of new variant strains of COVID-19, and its effects on our operations, research and development, clinical trials and ability to obtain financing and potential disruption in the operations and business of third-party manufacturers, contract research organizations, or CROs, other service providers and collaborators with whom we conduct business;
 
   
our expectations regarding the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals, including with respect to our anticipated re-submission of a Biologics License Application, or a BLA, for ViaskinTM Peanut to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA;
 
   
the initiation, timing, progress and results of our pre-clinical studies and clinical trials, and our research and development programs;
 
   
the sufficiency of existing capital resources;
 
   
our business model and our other strategic plans for our business, product candidates and technology;
 
   
our ability to manufacture clinical and commercial supplies of our product candidates and comply with regulatory requirements related to the manufacturing of our product candidates;
 
   
our ability to build our own sales and marketing capabilities, or seek collaborative partners, to commercialize Viaskin Peanut and/or our other product candidates, if approved;
 
   
the commercialization of our product candidates, if approved;
 
   
our expectations regarding the potential market size and the size of the patient populations for Viaskin Peanut and/or our other product candidates, if approved, and our ability to serve such markets;
 
   
the pricing and reimbursement of our product candidates, if approved;
 
   
the rate and degree of market acceptance of Viaskin Peanut and/or our other product candidates, if approved, by physicians, patients, third-party payors and others in the medical community;
 
   
our ability to advance product candidates into, and successfully complete, clinical trials;
 
   
the scope of protection we are able to establish and maintain for intellectual property rights covering our product candidates and technology;
 
   
estimates of our expenses, future revenues, capital requirements and our needs for additional financing;
 
   
the potential benefits of strategic collaboration agreements and our ability to enter into strategic arrangements;
 
   
our ability to maintain and establish collaborations or obtain additional grant funding;
 
   
our financial performance;
 
i

   
developments relating to our competitors and our industry, including competing therapies; and
 
   
other risks and uncertainties, including those listed under the caption “Risk Factors.”
Although we believe that we have a reasonable basis for each forward-looking statement contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, these statements are based on our estimates or projections of the future that are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, level of activity, performance, experience or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by any forward-looking statement. These risks, uncertainties and other factors are described in greater detail under the caption “Risk Factors” in Part I. Item 1A and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. As a result of the risks and uncertainties, the results or events indicated by the forward-looking statements may not occur. Undue reliance should not be placed on any forward-looking statement.
In addition, any forward-looking statement in this Annual Report represents our views only as of the date of this annual report and should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date. We anticipate that subsequent events and developments may cause our views to change. Although we may elect to update these forward-looking statements publicly at some point in the future, we specifically disclaim any obligation to do so, except as required by applicable law. Our forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers, dispositions, joint ventures or investments we may make.
 
ii

RISK FACTOR SUMMARY
The below summary risk factors provide an overview of certain of the risks we are exposed to in the normal course of our business activities. The below summary risk factors do not contain all of the information that may be important to investors, and investors should read the summary risk factors together with the more detailed discussion of risks set forth in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” of this Annual Report.
 
   
We have incurred significant losses since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future. These factors raise substantial doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern.
 
   
We will require substantial additional funding, which may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. Failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed may force us to delay, limit, or terminate our product development efforts or other operations.
 
   
We are limited in our ability to raise additional share capital, which may make it difficult for us to raise capital to fund our operations.
 
   
COVID-19 may materially and adversely affect our business and our financial results.
 
   
We are obligated to develop and maintain a system of effective internal controls over financial reporting. These internal controls may be determined to be not effective, which may adversely affect investor confidence in our company and, as a result, the value of our ordinary shares and ADSs.
 
   
We depend almost entirely on the successful development of our novel Viaskin technology. We cannot be certain that we will be able to obtain regulatory approval for, or successfully commercialize, Viaskin products.
 
   
Our product candidates have undergone and/or will be required to undergo clinical trials that are time-consuming and expensive, the outcomes of which are unpredictable, and for which there is a high risk of failure. If clinical trials of our product candidates fail to satisfactorily demonstrate safety and efficacy to the FDA and other regulators, we, or our collaborators, may incur additional costs or experience delays in completing, or ultimately be unable to complete, the development and commercialization of these product candidates.
 
   
In our clinical trials, we utilize an oral food challenge procedure intentionally designed to trigger an allergic reaction, which could be severe or life-threatening.
 
   
Delays, suspensions and terminations in our clinical trials could result in increased costs to us and delay or prevent our ability to generate revenues.
 
   
If our product candidates are not approved by the FDA, we will be unable to commercialize them in the United States.
 
   
The approval process outside the United States varies among countries and may limit our ability to develop, manufacture and sell our products internationally. Failure to obtain marketing approval in international jurisdictions would prevent our product candidates from being marketed abroad.
 
   
Even if we, or our collaborators, obtain marketing approvals for our product candidates, the terms of approvals and ongoing regulation of our products may limit how we or they market our products, which could materially impair our ability to generate revenue.
 
   
Any of our product candidates for which we, or our collaborators, obtain marketing approval in the future could be subject to postmarketing restrictions or withdrawal from the market and we, and our collaborators, may be subject to substantial penalties if we, or they, fail to comply with regulatory requirements or if we, or they, experience unanticipated problems with our products following approval.
 
iii

   
If we do not achieve our projected development and commercialization goals in the timeframes we announce and expect, the commercialization of our product candidates may be delayed, and our business will be harmed.
 
   
Access to raw materials and products necessary for the conduct of clinical trials, for commercialization, if approved, and manufacturing of our product candidates and product, if any, is not guaranteed.
 
   
Relying on third-party manufacturers may result in delays in our clinical development or commercialization efforts.
 
   
We rely, and will rely in the future, on third parties to conduct our clinical trials and perform data collection and analysis, which may result in costs and delays that prevent us from successfully commercializing product candidates.
 
   
Even if collaborators with which we contract in the future successfully complete clinical trials of our product candidates, those candidates may not be commercialized successfully for other reasons.
 
   
Currently, we do not have commercial-ready marketing and sales infrastructure. If we are unable to establish effective sales or marketing capabilities or enter into agreements with third parties to sell or market our product candidates, we may not be able to effectively sell or market our product candidates, if approved, or generate product revenues.
 
   
Our product candidates are regulated as biological products, or biologics, which may subject them to competition sooner than anticipated.
 
   
Our product candidates may cause undesirable side effects that could delay or prevent their regulatory approval, limit the commercial profile of an approved label, or result in significant negative consequences following marketing approval, if any.
 
   
Changes in regulatory requirements, FDA guidance or guidance from certain European regulatory authorities or unanticipated events during our clinical trials of Viaskin patch products may occur, which may result in changes to clinical trial protocols or additional clinical trial requirements, which could result in increased costs to us and could delay our development timeline.
 
   
If we do not secure collaborations with strategic partners to test, commercialize and manufacture certain product candidates outside of food allergies, we may not be able to successfully develop products and generate meaningful revenues.
 
   
Our ability to compete may decline if we do not adequately protect our proprietary rights.
 
   
Biopharmaceutical patents and patent applications involve highly complex legal and factual questions, which, if determined adversely to us, could negatively impact our patent position.
 
   
We will not seek to protect our intellectual property rights in all jurisdictions throughout the world and we may not be able to adequately enforce our intellectual property rights even in the jurisdictions where we seek protection.
 
   
Failure or perceived failure to comply with existing or future laws, regulations, contracts, self-regulatory schemes, standards, and other obligations related to data privacy and security (including security incidents) could harm our business. Compliance or the actual or perceived failure to comply with such obligations could negatively affect our operating results and business.
 
   
Our failure to maintain certain tax benefits applicable to French technology companies may adversely affect our results of operations.
 
   
We may be forced to repay conditional advances prematurely if we fail to comply with our contractual obligations under the applicable innovation grant agreements.
 
iv

   
We will need to develop and implement sales, marketing and distribution capabilities before we are able to bring any product candidate to market, and as a result, we may encounter difficulties in managing this development and expansion, which could disrupt our operations.
 
   
If we are not able to comply with the applicable continued listing requirements or standards of the Nasdaq Global Select Market, or Nasdaq, our ADSs could be delisted.
 
   
The dual listing of our ordinary shares and our ADSs may adversely affect the liquidity and value of the ADSs.
 
v

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
     i  
     iii  
PART I   
     1  
     33  
     81  
     81  
     81  
     82  
PART II   
     82  
     83  
     83  
     100  
     100  
     100  
     100  
     101  
     101  
PART III   
     101  
     101  
     101  
     101  
     101  
PART IV   
     102  
     106  
Unless the context otherwise requires, we use the terms “DBV,” “DBV Technologies,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, or Annual Report, to refer to DBV Technologies S.A. and, where appropriate, its consolidated subsidiaries. “Viaskin™”, “EPIT™” and our other registered and common law trade names, trademarks and service marks are the property of DBV Technologies S.A. or our subsidiaries. All other trademarks, trade names and service marks appearing in this prospectus are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, the trademarks and trade names in this prospectus may be referred to without the
®
and symbols, but such references should not be construed as any indicator that their respective owners will not assert their rights thereto.
 
vi

PART I
 
Item 1.
Business.
Overview
DBV Technologies is a clinical-stage specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on changing the field of immunotherapy by developing a novel technology platform called Viaskin. Our therapeutic approach is based on epicutaneous immunotherapy, or EPIT™, our proprietary method of delivering biologically active compounds to the immune system through intact skin using Viaskin, an epicutaneous patch (i.e., a skin patch). We have generated significant data demonstrating that Viaskin’s mechanism of action is novel and differentiated, as it targets specific antigen-presenting immune cells in the skin, called Langerhans cells, that capture the antigen and migrate to the lymph node in order to activate the immune system without passage of the antigen into the bloodstream, minimizing systemic exposure in the body. We are advancing this unique technology to treat patients, including infants and children, suffering from food allergies, for whom safety is paramount, since the introduction of the offending allergen into their bloodstream can cause severe or life-threatening allergic reactions, such as anaphylactic shock. We believe Viaskin may offer convenient, self-administered, non-invasive immunotherapy to patients.
Our most advanced product candidate is Viaskin Peanut, which has been evaluated in nine clinical trials, including four Phase II trials and two Phase III trials, as a potential therapy for children ages four to eleven with peanut allergy. We also have an ongoing Phase III trial of Viaskin Peanut in children ages one to three with peanut allergy.
We have two earlier-stage food allergy programs: Viaskin Milk, which is in Phase II of clinical development, and Viaskin Egg, which is in preclinical development. We are also exploring potential applications of our Viaskin platform in vaccines and other immune diseases such as Eosinophilic Esophagitis, or EoE.
Our Strategy
Our goal is to change the field of immunotherapy by developing and commercializing safe, effective, and convenient therapies for patients with food allergies and other immunological conditions. Key elements of our strategy are:
 
   
Pursue the continued development of Viaskin Peanut for toddlers and children with peanut allergy.
 
   
Seek marketing approval for Viaskin Peanut in the United States and the European Union
 
   
Advance the clinical development of additional Viaskin product candidates in the United States and other major markets.
 
   
Build a broad immunotherapy product pipeline with our innovative Viaskin technology platform.
Peanut Allergy
Unmet Medical Need
Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies globally with an overall prevalence across all age groups of approximately 1%, which increases up to 2% in the pediatric population. Based on a 2018 publication, an estimated 2.2% of the pediatric population in the United States, approximately 1.6 million children, is allergic to peanuts. This reflects an increasing prevalence, as has been shown by several epidemiologic studies, including a cross-sectional survey-based study in the United States in which the prevalence of peanut allergy more than tripled between 1997 and 2008 from 0.4% to 1.4%. Studies indicate that most children do not outgrow their peanut allergy, with resolution occurring in only about 20% of young children, making this allergy a life-long affliction in most cases.
 
1

Clinically, peanut allergy is characterized by rapid onset of symptoms which are triggered by the release of mediators from mast cells and basophils and typically involves one or more target organs. Presentation and severity of allergic reactions are unpredictable and may vary from mild to severe (anaphylaxis) within populations and within individuals over time. In the case of peanut allergy, all individuals are therefore considered at risk for severe allergic reactions, irrespective of their past history.
Current Challenges in the Management of Peanut Allergy Patients
The standard of care for the management of peanut allergy is strict allergen avoidance and the use of epinephrine in case of an allergic reaction. However, since peanut is a common ingredient in many foods, strict avoidance is difficult to achieve, and accidental exposures in peanut-allergic children remains a common issue. The estimated rate of accidental peanut exposure in peanut-allergic children is estimated to be 12.4% per year, with approximately 40% of children experiencing an accidental exposure within 3 years of diagnosis. In addition, the constant vigilance required to avoid allergen exposure can affect the quality of life of peanut-allergic children and their parents/caregivers. Daily family activities and social events are negatively impacted by the anxiety and fear of accidental peanut ingestion. According to a 2020 publication, a recent survey conducted across eight European countries reported high rates of frustration, stress and isolation in peanut-allergic individuals and their caregivers. The current management of peanut allergy has significant limitations and highlights the need for safe and effective treatments that can induce clinical desensitization (i.e., increased tolerance to peanut allergen), thus minimizing the risk of reaction due to accidental ingestion. Current and Emerging Peanut Allergy Treatments
Several non-specific and allergen-specific treatment approaches are in various stages of clinical development for the treatment of peanut allergy. Food allergen-specific approaches include epicutaneous immunotherapy, or EPIT, oral immunotherapy, or OIT, (both with and without adjunctive therapies), and sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT. EPIT is an emerging therapeutic approach to food allergy that utilizes the unique immune properties of the skin to deliver allergen directly to antigen-presenting cells in the epidermis and dermis to initiate desensitization. Although efficacious, peanut OIT may not be suitable or a preferred option for all children with peanut allergy because of its relatively high rate of systemic side effects and the limitations the treatment places on activities of daily living, including exercise, and unpredictability of tolerance in the setting of intercurrent illness. A proprietary form of OIT, Palforzia, was recently approved in the US and the European Union for the treatment of peanut allergy in children aged 4–17 years. SLIT for peanut allergy has demonstrated evidence of clinical success, with a more satisfactory side effect profile compared to OIT. Despite the evident interest of clinicians to further evaluate these treatment procedures, OIT and SLIT may not be applicable across all ages and risk categories of peanut-allergic children and adults.
There remains an unmet need for additional therapies for patients with peanut allergy. In most other therapeutic areas, healthcare providers, patients and their families have several treatment options, and they are able to choose the treatment that best fits their needs. For example, in the case of respiratory allergies, symptomatic and maintenance allergy treatments, such as antihistamines, bronchodilators and corticosteroids, are available and all among the most widely used treatments in the world.
Our Viaskin Technology Platform
Over the last decade, we have developed an innovative immunotherapy technology platform, with the potential for sustained therapeutic effect, by delivering biologically active compounds, including antigens, via intact skin. Epicutaneous, also known as on the skin, immunotherapy, or EPIT, exposes tolerance-promoting immune cells in the skin to an adhesive dermal patch containing a small (micrograms) dose of food protein. This technology platform, which we call Viaskin, is an innovative approach to potentially treating food allergy. In EPIT, intact skin is exposed to allergen via the Viaskin technology using a patch that contains microgram amounts of food protein. Allergen applied via EPIT is captured in the superficial layers of the skin by Langerhans cells, as well as dermal dendritic cells, thus limiting exposure to the bloodstream. In experimental models, EPIT induced a population of regulatory T cells, or Tregs, with specific properties that resulted in suppression of allergic
 
2

symptoms and protection against further sensitizations. EPIT-induced epigenetic modifications favored a Treg-mediated immune response and a downregulated Th2 response and may play a role in the sustainability of effect. Based on our trials and research, we believe that EPIT has the potential to provide all of the intended benefits of a disease-modifying treatment in allergy, while avoiding severe or life-threatening allergic reactions.
The key elements of the Viaskin patch mechanism of action, which are illustrated below, are the following:
 
   
Containing a dry layer of allergen in its center, the patch is positioned on intact skin, without prior preparation.
 
   
The condensation chamber formed between the skin and the center of the patch creates hyperhydration of the skin and an accumulation of water.
 
   
The accumulation of water solubilizes the allergen. Due to this condensation chamber, the epidermis becomes more permeable allowing passage of the allergen into the epidermis.
 
   
Once in the epidermis, the allergen is captured by a population of highly specialized cells: Langerhans cells. These cells can take the protein at the surface of the skin, process it and present its epitopes to the lymphocytes in the lymph nodes.
 
 
 
3

Our Product Candidates
Our product development strategy is based on leveraging Viaskin’s scientific profile. We select our target product candidates with the aim to address allergies that have high unmet medical needs. The following table summarizes the current development status of our product candidates:
 
 
Viaskin Peanut for children ages 4-11
Our lead product candidate, Viaskin Peanut, has completed a global Phase III development program for the treatment of peanut allergic patients four to 11 years of age. The program comprised the following clinical trials:
 
   
PEPITES (
P
eanut
EPIT E
fficacy and
S
afety Study)
, a randomized, placebo-controlled pivotal Phase III trial investigating the safety and efficacy of Viaskin Peanut 250 µg in 356 patients after 12 months of treatment.
 
   
REALISE (REAL Life Use and Safety of EPIT),
a randomized, placebo-controlled Phase III trial designed to generate safety data after six months of blinded treatment, as well as to evaluate the use of Viaskin Peanut 250 µg in routine clinical practice.
 
   
PEOPLE (
P
EPITES
OP
en
L
abel
E
xtension
S
tudy)
, a long-term, open-label extension trial of Viaskin Peanut 250 µg. In the PEOPLE trial, patients who were randomized and received active treatment during PEPITES received Viaskin Peanut 250 µg for two additional years, while patients who received placebo during PEPITES were treated with Viaskin Peanut 250 µg for three years.
 
4

The results from PEPITES and REALISE formed the basis for our 2019 regulatory submission in the United States, a Biologics License Application, or BLA, for the use of Viaskin Peanut in peanut-allergic patients four to 11 years of age. The results from PEPITES, REALISE and PEOPLE formed the basis for our 2020 regulatory submission in the European Union, a Marketing Authorization Application, or MAA, for the use of Viaskin Peanut in peanut- allergic patients four to 11 years of age.
United States Regulatory History and Current Status
Viaskin Peanut has obtained fast track designation and breakthrough therapy designation in children from the FDA, which are regulatory designations intended to expedite or facilitate the process of reviewing new drugs and biological products that are intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs for the disease or condition.
In August 2019, we announced the submission of a BLA to the FDA for Viaskin Peanut for the treatment of peanut allergy in children four to 11 years of age.
In October 2019, we announced the FDA’s acceptance for review of our BLA for Viaskin Peanut, with a target action date, provided by the FDA, of August 5, 2020.
In February 2020, the FDA announced an Allergenic Products Advisory Committee meeting to be held on May 15, 2020 to discuss the BLA for Viaskin Peanut. On March 16, 2020, we announced that the FDA had informed us that during its ongoing review of our BLA for Viaskin Peanut, it had identified questions regarding efficacy, including the impact of patch-site adhesion. Therefore, the Advisory Committee meeting to discuss the BLA originally scheduled on May 15, 2020 was cancelled.
In August 2020, we received a Complete Response Letter, or CRL, in which the FDA indicated it could not approve the Viaskin Peanut BLA in its current form. The FDA identified concerns regarding the impact of patch-site adhesion on efficacy and indicated the need for patch modifications, and subsequently a new human factor study. The FDA also indicated that supplementary clinical data would need to be generated to support the modified patch. In addition, the FDA requested additional Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls, or CMC, data. The FDA did not raise any safety concerns related to Viaskin Peanut.
In January 2021, we received written responses from the FDA to questions provided in the Type A meeting request we submitted in October 2020 following the CRL. The FDA agreed with our position that a modified Viaskin Peanut patch should not be considered as a new product entity provided the occlusion chamber of the current Viaskin Peanut patch and the peanut protein dose of 250 µg (approximately 1/1,000 of one peanut) remains unchanged and performs in the same way it has performed previously. In order to confirm the consistency of efficacy data between the existing and a modified patch, FDA requested an assessment comparing the uptake of allergen (peanut protein) between the patches in peanut allergic children ages 4-11. We named that assessment EQUAL, which stands for Equivalence in Uptake of Allergen. The FDA also recommended conducting a 6-month, well-controlled safety and adhesion trial to assess a modified Viaskin Peanut patch in the intended patient population. We later named this clinical trial STAMP, which stands for Safety, Tolerability, and Adhesion of Modified Patches.
Based on the January 2021 FDA feedback, we defined three parallel workstreams:
 
  1.
Identify a modified Viaskin patch (which we call mVP).
 
  2.
Generate the 6-month safety and adhesion clinical data FDA requested via STAMP, which we expected to be the longest component of the mVP clinical plan. We prioritized the STAMP protocol submission so we could begin the clinical trial as soon as possible.
 
  3.
Demonstrate the equivalence in allergen uptake between the current and modified patches in the intended patient population via EQUAL. The complexity of EQUAL hinged on the lack of established
 
5

  clinical and regulatory criteria to characterize allergen uptake via an epicutaneous patch. To support those exchanges, we outlined our proposed approach to demonstrate allergen uptake equivalence between the two patches, and allotted time to generate informative data through two additional Phase I clinical trials in healthy adult volunteers:
 
  a.
PREQUAL, a Phase I trial with adult healthy volunteers to optimize the allergen sample collection methodologies and validate the assays we intend to use in EQUAL. The data collection phase of the trial is complete, and the data analysis phase is ongoing.
 
  b.
‘EQUAL in adults,’ a second Phase I trial with adult healthy volunteers to compare the allergen uptake of cVP and mVP.
In March 2021, we commenced CHAMP (Comparison of adHesion Among Modified Patches), a Phase I trial in healthy adult volunteers to evaluate the adhesion of five modified Viaskin Peanut patches. We completed CHAMP in the second quarter of 2021. All modified Viaskin Peanut patches demonstrated better adhesion performance as compared to the then-current Viaskin Peanut patch, and based on the results of CHAMP, we then selected two modified patches that performed best out of the five modified patches studied for further development. We then selected the circular patch for further development, which is approximately 50% larger in size relative to the current patch and circular in shape.
In May 2021, we submitted our proposed STAMP protocol to the FDA, and on October 14, 2021, we received an Advice/Information Request letter from the FDA. In this letter, the FDA requested a stepwise approach to the modified Viaskin patch development program and provided partial feedback on the STAMP protocol. Specifically, the FDA requested that we conduct allergen uptake comparison trials (i.e., ‘EQUAL in Adults,’ EQUAL), and submit the allergen uptake comparison data for FDA review and feedback prior to starting the STAMP study. The FDA’s explanation was that the results from the allergen uptake trials might affect the design of the STAMP study.
After careful review of the FDA’s information requests, in December 2021, we decided not to pursue the sequential approach to the development plans for Viaskin Peanut as requested by the FDA in the October 2021 feedback. We estimated that the FDA’s newly proposed sequential approach would require at least five rounds of exchanges that necessitate FDA alignment prior to initiating STAMP, the 6-month safety and adhesion study. As such, in December 2021, we announced we plan to initiate a pivotal Phase III placebo-controlled efficacy trial for a modified Viaskin Peanut patch (mVP) in children in the intended patient population. The clinical trial will also include updates to the Instructions for Use (IFU). We consider this approach the most straightforward to potentially demonstrate effectiveness, safety, and improved in vivo adhesion of the modified Viaskin Peanut system. The FDA has confirmed our change in strategy is agreeable via oral and written exchanges. The protocol for the new Phase III pivotal study of the modified Viaskin Peanut (mVP) patch was completed at the end of February 2022 and has been prepared for FDA submission. We are currently engaged in discussions with FDA in preparation for protocol submission and review. We expect to complete protocol submission following further alignment with FDA.
European Union Regulatory History and Current Status
In November 2020, we announced that our Marketing Authorization Application, or MAA, for Viaskin Peanut had been validated by the European Medicines Agency, or EMA. The validation of the MAA confirmed that the submission was sufficiently complete to begin the formal review process for Viaskin Peanut to treat peanut allergies in children ages four to 11 years. Following the MAA validation, the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, or CHMP, will review the application and provide a recommendation to the European Commission, or EC, on whether to grant a marketing authorization. On March 11, 2021, we announced that we had received the EMA’s Day 120 questions, which were consistent with both our expectations and pre- filing conversations with the EMA. We did not receive questions about the impact of adhesion on efficacy.
On August 2, 2021, we announced we had received from the EMA the Day 180 list of outstanding issues, which is an established part of the prescribed EMA review process. It is a letter that is meant to include any remaining
 
6

questions or objections at that stage in the process. The EMA indicated many of their objections and major objections from the Day 120 list of questions had been answered. One major objection remained at Day 180. The Major Objection questioned the limitations of the data, for example, the clinical relevance and effect size supported by a single pivotal study.
On December 20, 2021, we announced we had withdrawn the MAA for Viaskin Peanut and formally notified the EMA of our decision. The initial filing was supported by data from a single, placebo-controlled Phase III pivotal trial known as PEPITES (V712-301). The decision to withdraw was based on the view of CHMP that the data available to date from a single pivotal clinical trial were not sufficient to preclude a Major Objection at Day 180 in the review cycle. We believe data from a second Viaskin Peanut pivotal clinical trial will support a more robust path for licensure of Viaskin Peanut in the EU. We intend to resubmit the MAA when that data set is available.
PEPITES (
P
eanut
EPIT E
fficacy and
S
afety Study)
In December 2015, we initiated a pivotal Phase III trial designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Viaskin Peanut 250
m
g in children four to 11 years of age suffering from peanut allergy. PEPITES was a global, randomized 2:1, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III trial, in which 356 pediatric peanut-allergic patients were treated with Viaskin Peanut 250
m
g or placebo for 12 months. A new patch was applied each day, and after 2 weeks, each patch was worn for 24 hours. During the trial, patients’ sensitivity to peanut protein was assessed using a double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge, or DBPCFC, at baseline and again after 12 months of treatment. The DBPCFC was halted once the patient exhibited an objective symptom, as described on a pre-specified scale, thus establishing a subject’s peanut reactivity level, also known as the patient’s eliciting dose, or ED. The median baseline reactive dose in PEPITES was 100 mg at baseline.
 
 

The primary responder analysis was conducted after 12 months of treatment. For patients with a baseline peanut protein ED equal to or less than 10 mg, a responder was defined as a patient with a peanut protein ED equal to or greater than 300 mg of peanut protein after 12 months of treatment. For patients with a baseline ED greater than 10 mg, a responder was defined as a patient with a peanut protein ED equal to or greater than 1,000 mg of peanut protein after 12 months of treatment. Secondary endpoints included the change from baseline of mean and median cumulative reactive dose of peanut protein, or CRD, which is used to establish the total quantity of peanut protein consumed during the DBPCFC. Serological markers were also measured at baseline, three, six and 12 months to characterize the immunological changes observed in patients.
Results of PEPITES Trial
In October 2017, we announced topline results from PEPITES, in which we observed a statistically significant response with a favorable tolerability profile, with (based on “responder” definitions above) 35.3% of patients
 
7

responding to Viaskin Peanut 250
m
g after 12 months of treatment as compared to 13.6% of patients in the placebo arm (difference in response rates = 21.7%; p=0.00001; 95% CI = 12.4%—29.8%). However, the primary endpoint, which evaluated the 95% CI in the difference in response rates between the active and placebo arms, did not reach the 15% lower bound of the CI that was proposed in the study’s Statistical Analysis Plan submitted to the FDA. Detailed results were published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in February 2019.
 
 

With respect to CRD, a key secondary endpoint which measures threshold reactivity during the DBPCFC, we observed that at month 12, patients treated with Viaskin Peanut 250
m
g and placebo reached a mean CRD of 906 mg (median 444 mg) and 361 mg (median 144 mg) of peanut protein, respectively. Patients in the active and placebo arms entered the trial at similar sensitivity levels; mean CRD at baseline was 211.7 mg (median 144 mg) in the Viaskin Peanut arm and 212.5 mg (median 144 mg) in the placebo arm. A difference in the CRD was observed between Viaskin Peanut and placebo (nominal p-value < 0.001) following 12 months of treatment.
 
 

Exploratory analyses showed that changes in peanut-specific biomarkers, including immunoglobulin E, orIgE, and immunoglobulin G4, orIgG4, support the immunomodulatory effect with Viaskin Peanut. The median observed increase from baseline in peanut-specific IgE was greater in the Viaskin Peanut group vs placebo group, respectively, at month 3 (70.1 kilounits of antibody per liter, or kUA/L vs. 9.8 kUA/L) and month 6 (27.4 kUA/L vs. 1.32 kUA/L). However, at month 12, peanut-specific IgE levels were observed to return to near baseline in both groups (1.1 kUA/L vs. -1.1 kUA/L). Median peanut-specific IgG4 were observed to increase over time in the Viaskin Peanut group (change from baseline at month 3: 0.81 mg/L; month 6: 1.79 mg/L; month 12: 3.27 mg/L), while levels remained unchanged from baseline in the placebo group. The change from baseline in peanut-specific IgG4 was greater at all time points with Viaskin Peanut vs placebo, and the groups were observed to be highly distinguished by this marker, given a flat trend in the placebo arm. These changes are consistent with trends that have been observed with other forms of immunotherapy such as for venom and inhalant allergies.
 
8

PEPITES Immunological Responses
 
 

In a post-hoc analysis, the majority of patients on Viaskin Peanut exhibited an increased ED compared to the placebo group (62.6% in active vs. 28% in placebo) at 12 months. An additional post-hoc analysis showed that 53.1% of patients treated with Viaskin Peanut increased their baseline ED from 100 mg or less to 300 mg or more, compared to 19% in the placebo group. Based on this analysis, we believe that increasing the ED should translate to a reduction in the risk of reaction to accidental peanut exposures, as it will take a higher ingestion quantity to trigger a reaction. Indeed, based on quantitative risk analysis, or QRA, modeling from Baumert et al using national databases of consumption and contamination amounts, this improvement in ED from ≤100 mg to ≥300 mg is predicted to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction due to accidental peanut exposure through a group of common contaminated packaged foods by over 95%.
 
 

A favorable safety and tolerability profile was observed with Viaskin Peanut. Treatment adherence was high (98.5%), and similar discontinuation rates between treatment groups were reported, with 89.9% of patients completing the trial. There was a low discontinuation rate due to treatment-emergent adverse events, or TEAEs, (1.7%), and the overall rate of TEAEs, regardless of relatedness to the treatment, was comparable between treatment and placebo groups, at 95.4% and 89.0%, respectively. The most commonly reported TEAEs were mild to moderate application-site reactions that decreased after month one in both frequency and severity. There were no treatment-related gastrointestinal adverse events or cases of eosinophilic esophagitis in this trial.
There were no cases of severe anaphylaxis in the trial. SAEs were balanced between the Viaskin Peanut and placebo group, at 4.2% vs. 5.1%, respectively. Four SAEs reported in three Viaskin Peanut patients (1.3%) were determined by the investigator as possibly or probably related to treatment. A low rate of treatment-related epinephrine use was reported (2.9% treatment group vs. 0.8% placebo group). Ten cases in eight Viaskin Peanut patients (3.4%) of possibly or probably treatment-related anaphylaxis occurred, and all were classified as mild or
 
9

moderate without evidence of cardiovascular, neurologic, or respiratory compromise. Six of these ten cases were treated with epinephrine, and five of the eight patients continued on Viaskin Peanut in the trial.
Following the completion of PEPITES, all patients were eligible to enroll in PEOPLE (
Open-Label Follow-Up Study of the PEPITES Study to Evaluate the Long-term Efficacy and Safety of Viaskin Peanut
), a long-term, open-label extension trial of Peanut 250 µg in children. In the PEOPLE trial, patients who were randomized and received active treatment during PEPITES received Viaskin Peanut 250 µg for two additional years, while patients who previously received placebo during PEPITES will be treated with Viaskin Peanut 250 µg for three years. In August 2017, we announced the completion of enrollment of the PEOPLE trial, with 298 (92%) patients who completed PEPITES enrolling in this follow-up trial.
PEOPLE (
P
EPITES
Op
en
L
abel
E
xtension
S
tudy)
In January 2020, we announced positive topline results of the three-year, open-label extension of our Phase III PEPITES trial, or PEOPLE trial, evaluating the long-term efficacy and safety of investigational Viaskin Peanut in peanut-allergic children ages four to 11 years. The results demonstrated long-term clinical benefit as shown by an increase in eliciting dose, or ED, which may decrease the chance of reacting to an accidental peanut exposure.
The PEOPLE trial is an ongoing open-label extension study evaluating the long-term safety, tolerability and efficacy of Viaskin Peanut 250 µg in patients who have completed the Phase III PEPITES trial. Of the 213 patients who were randomized in the active treatment arm of PEPITES and completed the 12-month trial, 198 patients opted to enter the PEOPLE clinical trial (safety population). Of these patients, 148 were considered completers after 36 months and 141 patients completed all treatment according to the clinical trialprotocol without major deviations. Efficacy data were analyzed from these 141 patients (per-protocol).
Topline results from PEOPLE support the long-term tolerability and clinical benefit of Viaskin Peanut, demonstrating desensitization over 36 months of treatment, with 75.9% (107/141) of patients increasing their ED from baseline. After 36 months, 51.8% (73/141) of patients reached an ED of at least 1,000 mg peanut protein, an increase of 40.4% (57/141) relative to Month 12. In addition, 13.5% (19/141) of patients completed the food challenge without meeting stopping criteria at 36 months (cumulative dose of 5,444 mg). At Month 36, the mean cumulative reactive dose (CRD) was 1,768.8 mg (median 944 mg) compared to 223.8 mg (median 144 mg) at baseline.
 
 

The safety profile of Viaskin Peanut was consistent with that observed in the clinical program to date in over 1,000 patients. During the PEOPLE trial, the most common adverse events were mild to moderate skin reactions localized to the administration site, and there was no epinephrine use deemed related to treatment. No treatment related serious adverse events were reported. One patient experienced one case of mild anaphylaxis that was determined by the investigator to be possibly related to treatment and resolved without treatment. Treatment
 
10

compliance remained high throughout the trial at a mean of 98% over three years of treatment. Low discontinuations due to adverse events were observed, with two children discontinuing the trial due to treatment- related TEAEs during PEOPLE.
Exploratory analyses suggest Viaskin Peanut may offer sustained effect even after a period without treatment. All participants who reached an ED ≥1,000 mg at Month 36 were eligible to continue the trial for two additional months without treatment while maintaining a peanut-free diet. A further double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge to determine ED was administered at the end of this period (Month 38). The analysis showed that 77.8% (14/18) of the children who completed the oral food challenge at Month 38 maintained desensitization with an ED ≥ 1,000 mg.
REALISE (REAL Life Use and Safety of EPIT)
In November 2016, we initiated a Phase III trial in peanut-allergic children four to 11 years of age designed to assess the use and safety of Viaskin Peanut 250 µg in routine clinical practice. REALISE is a multicenter, randomized 3:1, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III trial, in which pediatric peanut allergic patients were treated with Viaskin Peanut 250 µg or placebo for six months. Treatment course with Viaskin Peanut consists of a daily application of the patch on the backs of the patients.
No DBPCFCs were required for entry or during the trial, in order to replicate routine clinical practice. Patients in the clinical trial were selected, as per clinical practice, based on a well-documented medical history of IgE-mediated reactions to peanut, including children with a history of severe anaphylaxis, along with skin and serum test results highly predictive of peanut allergy. As no DBPCFCs were required, the primary endpoint of the clinical trial is safety as measured by adverse events, treatment-emergent adverse events and serious adverse events after six months of blinded treatment. Secondary endpoints included evolution of peanut-specific serological markers over time, including IgE, IgG and skin prick test wheal. Exploratory criteria also included scores from patients’ Food Allergy Quality of Life Questionnaire, or FAQLQ, and the Food Allergy Independent Measure, FAIM.
In March 2017, we announced the completion of enrollment in REALISE, which randomized 393 patients in 32 centers across North America.
After the initial blinded six-month period, 97.5% of patients in both the placebo and active arms opted into an open-label portion of the study, which continued monitoring patients for a total of 36 months of active treatment.
Results of REALISE Trial
Results from the 6-month blinded portion of this trial were comparable with outcomes from previous trials of Viaskin Peanut 250 µg. The most commonly reported adverse events were local application site reactions, which were mostly mild and moderate in nature. No imbalance in SAEs was observed in the trial, with three cases in three patients in the active arm (1.0%) and two cases in two patients in the placebo arm (2.0%). One case in one patient in the active arm was qualified by the investigator as moderate anaphylaxis probably related to treatment. The patient responded to standard outpatient therapy. In the six-month blinded period, the discontinuation rate was 2.5%, with a 1.0% dropout related to adverse events. The mean patient compliance was above 95%.
In November 2021, long-term results of from REALISE, including the safety of Viaskin Peanut over three years and potential impact on health-related quality of life (HRQL), were presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting.
Viaskin Peanut for Children ages 1-3
We are also developing Viaskin Peanut for the treatment of peanut allergy in toddlers one to three years of age. In August 2017, we initiated Part A of the EPITOPE (EPIT
®
in Toddlers with Peanut Allergy) trial of Viaskin Peanut. EPITOPE is a two-part, pivotal Phase III clinical trial assessing the safety and efficacy of Viaskin Peanut 250 µg for the treatment of peanut-allergic toddlers one to three years of age.
 
11

In September 2018, we announced that the independent data safety and monitoring board, or DSMB, completed its review of Part A of EPITOPE and recommended that the dose of Viaskin Peanut 250 µg be evaluated in Part B. On October 26, 2018, we announced that the first patient was enrolled in Part B of EPITOPE.
On June 26, 2020, we announced that in Part A, patients in both treatment arms showed consistent treatment effect after 12 months of therapy, as assessed by a double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge and biomarker results. Part A subjects were not included in Part B and the efficacy analyses from Part A were not statistically powered to demonstrate superiority of either dose versus placebo. These results validate the ongoing investigation of the 250 µg dose in this age group, which is the dose being studied in Part B of the study. Enrollment of Part B of EPITOPE was complete in first quarter of 2021, and top-line results are expected
mid-year
2022.
Viaskin Milk
Our second product candidate, Viaskin Milk, is in development for the treatment of cow’s milk protein allergy, or CMPA, in children two to 17 years of age, and received fast track designation from the FDA in September 2016. In November 2014, we initiated a multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized Phase I/II dose-finding trial to study the safety and efficacy of Viaskin Milk in 198 patients with Immunoglobulin E, or IgE, mediated CMPA, which we refer to as the Milk Efficacy and Safety, or MILES, trial. The MILES (Milk Efficacy and Safety) clinical trial was designed to determine a safe and effective dose in two age groups: children ages two to 11 and adolescents ages 12 to 17. In June 2015, we announced completion of Part A of the MILES study, or Phase I, for which the DSMB recommended to continue the trial as planned and did not raise any safety concerns, and we launched Part B, or Phase II, in October 2015.
In February 2018, we announced topline results from Part B of the MILES study. Following analyses of the data, the 300 µg dose of Viaskin Milk was identified as the dose with the greatest observed clinical activity for children (intent-to-treat, or ITT, p=0.042). We believe these results support further advancement of the Viaskin Milk program, and we intend to discuss findings with regulatory authorities to determine the design of future clinical trials
Viaskin Egg & Other Applications
In February 2015, we announced the development of a third product candidate, Viaskin Egg, for the treatment of patients suffering from hen’s egg allergy. Preclinical development for Viaskin Egg commenced in the first half of 2015.
In addition to our development programs in food allergies, we have also explored the use of our Viaskin technology for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases with high unmet medical need. Human proof-of-concept trials have been conducted with Viaskin in EoE and as a booster vaccination against Bordetella pertussis, or whooping cough, in healthy adults. Our other earlier stage research programs include vaccination for respiratory syncytial virus, as well as potential treatments for Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and type I diabetes.
Following receipt of the CRL from the FDA in August 2020, we scaled down our Viaskin Egg and other clinical and pre-clinical programs in order to enable us to focus on the regulatory and clinical advancement of Viaskin Peanut in the United States and the European Union.
Diagnostic Tool Development
In an effort to continue diversifying our product candidate pipeline, we are also exploring the use of our technology platform in the development of diagnostic tools for food allergies. In May 2016, we announced our entry into an exclusive global collaboration with Nestlé Health Science to develop MAG1C, a ready-to-use and standardized atopy patch test tool for the diagnosis of CMPA in infants and toddlers. Under the terms of the
 
12

exclusive collaboration, we are responsible for leading the development activities of MAG1C up through a pivotal Phase III clinical program, and if the appropriate regulatory approvals are received, Nestlé Health Science will support the commercialization of MAG1C globally. We are eligible to receive up to €100.0 million in potential development, clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones, inclusive of a non-refundable upfront payment of €10.0 million that we received in July 2016. We are currently conducting a Phase II clinical trial of MAG1C.
We may explore selective collaborations with parties who have relevant clinical and commercial expertise in other geographies, including certain European countries, and indications outside of food allergies.
Potential Biomarker Applications
We are continuing to explore other cellular mechanisms modulated by EPIT™, such as biomarkers, in collaboration with Mount Sinai Hospital in the United States and Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives, or CEA, in France. We believe that with improved knowledge about the evolution of immunological biomarkers and epigenetic modulation, we may be able to determine the level of patient response earlier during treatment, ensure follow-up and measure tolerance maintained once treatment is completed. At the 2016 EAACI meeting in Vienna, Austria, we presented initial findings from some of these collaborations, which suggest that proprietary biomarker modeling may be used to help monitor patient responses to Viaskin Peanut. Additional research is being performed to further strengthen the results of these early findings.
Manufacturing and Supply
Our Proprietary Viaskin Technology
We have engineered a proprietary manufacturing technology for Viaskin patch, which is designed to comply with the most stringent pharmaceutical production standards, including those promulgated by the FDA, in order to enable Viaskin to deliver proteins via intact skin. This novel pharmaceutical process, which was fully developed by us, uses an electrospray to spray homogeneous, thin, dry protein layers onto the Viaskin patch.
This process sprays a liquid solution of electrically charged proteins onto the patch’s backing, which is then turned into dry solid charged layers, which remain stuck onto the patch’s backing. It deposits very small and precise quantities of the active substance, devoid of adjuvants. The patch can then be stored at room temperature. We believe this patented technology is highly scalable and complies with cGMP requirements.
The principles of the Viaskin electrospray technology are the following:
 
   
A constant flow of liquid in a capillary is subjected to a high voltage electric field.
 
   
With our electrospray machine, we can transform these electrically charged liquid droplets into dry solid layers, deposited onto the patch’s backing.
 
   
The electric field directs particles precisely toward the Viaskin patch’s backing.
With Viaskin manufacturing technology, we believe we can achieve:
 
   
a homogeneous layer of protein on the Viaskin patch;
 
   
a specific mass of active substance per Viaskin patch;
 
   
an adjustable active substance dosage and size for clinical trials;
 
   
instant drying of the active substance;
 
   
a high solubility of the active substance; and
 
   
the possibility of spraying on the Viaskin patch both biological and chemical substances.
 
13

Viaskin is a Highly Scalable Manufacturing Technology
We currently rely on a contract manufacturer, Sanofi, to manufacture the active pharmaceutical ingredients used in our Viaskin product candidates, such as peanut protein extract.
Our manufacturing machine then uses an electrospray technology to deposit the active pharmaceutical ingredient onto the Viaskin patch.
 
 

  
ES GEN3.1 (2009)
10 or 18 nozzles
Used for Phase I and Phase II trials
   

  
ES GEN3.2 (2014)
54 nozzles
Used for Phase III trials
Improved electrospray process, forerunner of ES GEN4.0
   

  
ES GEN4.0 (2017 & 2020)
288 nozzles
To be used for clinical batches and commercial products Scalable to produce more patches annually
We believe our proprietary Viaskin manufacturing technology creates high barriers to entry to our line of business, particularly in the engineering and manufacturing of our Viaskin product candidates. We have designed, developed, and built our manufacturing tools, and contract third- party manufacturers to operate it. We have entered into an agreement with a contract manufacturer, FAREVA, to manufacture clinical and commercial batches of Viaskin Peanut patches.
Intellectual Property
Our patent portfolio includes pending patent applications and issued patents in the United States and in foreign countries. To date, all patents directed at the Viaskin electrostatic patch, as well as food allergen desensitization methods, have been issued in the major markets, including in particular the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia.
These patents and applications generally fall into four broad categories:
 
   
patents and patent applications we co-own with AP-HP and the Université de Paris-Descartes relating to the Viaskin electrostatic patch and its use, half of which may expire as early as 2022;
 
   
patents and patent applications which we own relating to our electrospray method of manufacturing the Viaskin electrostatic patch, which may expire as early as 2029;
 
   
patents and patent applications we co-own with AP-HP and the Université de Paris-Descartes relating to the treatment of peanut allergies using our Viaskin patch technology, which may expire as early as 2028; and
 
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a variety of other patent applications that we own or co-own relating, for example, to prophylactic uses of the Viaskin patch technology and to treatment of other indications using the Viaskin patch technology.
U.S. Patent Term Restoration and Marketing Exclusivity
Depending upon the timing, duration, and specifics of the FDA approval of our product candidates, some of our U.S. patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, commonly referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Amendments. The Hatch-Waxman Amendments permit a patent restoration term of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. However, patent term restoration cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the product’s approval date. The patent term restoration period is generally one-half the time between the effective date of an IND and the submission date of
a BLA plus the time between the submission date of a BLA and the approval of that application, except that the review period is reduced by any time during which the applicant failed to exercise due diligence. Only one patent applicable to an approved drug is eligible for the extension and the application for the extension must be submitted prior to the expiration of the patent. The U.S. PTO, in consultation with the FDA, reviews and
approves the application for any patent term extension or restoration. In the future, we may apply for restoration of patent term for our currently owned or licensed patents to add patent life beyond its current expiration date, depending on the expected length of the clinical trials and other factors involved in the filing of the relevant BLA. Some foreign jurisdictions have analogous patent term extension provisions that allow for extension of the term of a patent that covers a device approved by the applicable foreign regulatory agency. In the future, if a Viaskin patch receives FDA approval, we expect to apply for a patent term extension on the patent that we believe will provide the best exclusivity position if extended. We also have extensive know-how and trade secrets covering part of the Viaskin patch manufacturing method using electrospray technology.
An abbreviated approval pathway for biological products shown to be similar to, or interchangeable with, an FDA-licensed reference biological product was created by the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009, or BPCIA. Biosimilarity, which requires that the biological product be highly similar to the reference product notwithstanding minor differences in clinically inactive components and that there be no clinically meaningful differences between the product and the reference product in terms of safety, purity, and potency, can be shown through analytical studies, animal studies, and a clinical trial or trials. Interchangeability requires that a biological product be biosimilar to the reference product and the product can be expected to produce the same clinical results as the reference product in any given patient and, for products administered multiple times, the product and the reference product may be alternated or 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. A reference biological product is granted twelve years of exclusivity from the time of first licensure of the product, and the FDA will not accept an application for a biosimilar or interchangeable product based on the reference biological product until four years after the date of first licensure. “First licensure” typically means the initial date the particular product at issue was licensed in the United States. This does not include a supplement for the biological product or a subsequent application by the same sponsor or manufacturer of the biological product (or licensor, predecessor in interest, or other related entity) for a change that results in a new indication, route of administration, dosing schedule, dosage form, delivery system, delivery device, or strength, unless that change is a modification to the structure of the biological product and such modification changes its safety, purity, or potency. Whether a subsequent application, if approved, warrants exclusivity as the “first licensure” of a biological product is determined on a case-by-case basis with data submitted by the sponsor.
Pediatric exclusivity is another type of regulatory market exclusivity in the United States. Pediatric exclusivity, if granted, adds six months to existing exclusivity periods and patent terms. This six-month exclusivity, which runs from the end of other exclusivity protection or patent term, may be granted based on the voluntary completion of a pediatric trial in accordance with an FDA-issued “Written Request” for such a trial.
 
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In the European Union, article 14 (11) of the regulation (EC) No. 726/2004 provides that, without prejudice to the law on the protection of industrial and commercial property, medicinal products for human use which have been authorized in accordance with the provisions of this regulation shall benefit from an eight-year period of data protection and a ten-year period of marketing protection, in which connection the latter period shall be extended to a maximum of 11 years if, during the first eight years of those ten years, the marketing authorization holder obtains an authorization for one or more new therapeutic indications which, during the scientific evaluation prior to their authorization, are held to bring a significant clinical benefit in comparison with existing therapies.
Co-Ownership Agreement
AP-HP and Université de Paris-Descartes
In December 2008, we entered into an assignment, development and co-ownership agreement with AP-HP and Université Paris-Descartes, or UPD, by which we agreed to terms of co-ownership with AP-HP and UPD of certain U.S. and foreign patents and patent applications, referred to herein as the shared patents. We, and any licensees or sublicensees that we designate, have the exclusive right to commercial uses of the shared patents. AP-HP and UPD agreed to use the shared patents only for internal research purposes and not to license the shared patents to any third party. Upon commercialization of any product covered by the shared patents, which we expect would include our Viaskin product candidates, we will be obligated to pay AP-HP and UPD a percentage of net sales as a royalty. This royalty is in the low single digits and varies depending on the particular patent used in the product. Additionally, if we license any of the shared patents to a third party and a licensee commercializes products covered by such shared patents, we will be obligated to pay AP-HP and UPD a percentage in the low single digits of the money that we receive from our licensee.
If we do not sell any of our product candidates covered by the shared patents within 30 months from the date we first market such product candidates, AP-HP may, upon six months’ notice and subject to certain exceptions, convert our exclusive right to the commercial use of the shared patents to a non-exclusive right.
Any party may terminate the license in the event of another party’s substantial breach which remains uncured after six months of receiving written notice of such breach. The agreement will also terminate in the event we cease operations or are subject to a dissolution or bankruptcy proceedings.
Absent early termination, the agreement will automatically terminate upon the expiration of the last shared patent. In the event the agreement is terminated, we would no longer have the exclusive right to commercial use of the shared patents, though we would retain our shared ownership rights. In addition, our ownership stake in certain jointly made improvements covered by the shared patents would survive termination of the agreement. The longest lived patent rights licensed to us under the agreement are currently expected to expire in 2029.
Competition
The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are highly competitive and subject to significant and rapid change as researchers learn more about diseases and develop new technologies and treatments. Differentiating competitive factors in the pharmaceutical industry include product efficacy and safety; quality and breadth of an organization’s technology; skill of an organization’s employees and its ability to recruit and retain key employees; timing and scope of regulatory approvals; government reimbursement rates for, and the average selling price of, products; the availability of raw materials and qualified manufacturing capacity; manufacturing and distribution costs; intellectual property and patent rights and their protection; and sales and marketing capabilities.
Our competitors may succeed in obtaining FDA or other regulatory approvals for their product candidates more rapidly than we are able to do, which could place us at a significant competitive disadvantage. Market acceptance of our product candidates will depend on a number of factors, including: (1) potential advantages over existing or
 
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alternative therapies or tests; (2) the actual or perceived safety and efficacy of similar classes of products; (3) the effectiveness of selling, marketing, and distribution capabilities; and (4) the scope of any approval provided by the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities.
Although we believe our product candidates possess attractive attributes, we cannot assure you that our product candidate will achieve regulatory or market acceptance, or that we will be able to compete effectively in the biopharmaceutical drug markets. If our product candidates fail to gain regulatory approvals and acceptance in their intended markets, we may not generate meaningful revenues or achieve profitability.
Numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, universities and other research entities are actively involved in the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutic options to treat allergies. There are competitors in the food allergy space that have greater resources and experience than we do.
We are aware of several food allergy studies and pharmaceutical developmental efforts connected with such studies that are currently being conducted in major medical centers and hospitals worldwide. These studies are evaluating forms of allergen desensitization treatments such as oral, or OIT; sublingual, or SLIT; subcutaneous, or SCIT; or intranasal immunotherapy, synthetic or denatured allergens, medicinal herbs, or combinations of medicines or methods.
Studies combining methods of allergen immunotherapy, such as OIT, with monoclonal antibodies also are being conducted currently. These types of co-administrations may significantly improve the safety of specific allergen immunotherapies administered orally or subcutaneously. In addition, the use of monoclonal antibodies as monotherapy for certain food allergies, including peanut allergy, is being studied in clinical trials. Monoclonal antibodies, used alone or in combination with allergen immunotherapy, may become significant competitors to our products.
There is one FDA- and EMA-approved treatment for peanut allergy: Palforzia, a formulation of peanut flour developed by Aimmune Therapeutics, Inc., or Aimmune. Nestlé S.A., with whom we have an existing license and collaboration agreement, acquired Aimmune in October 2020. Aimmune continues to function as a stand- alone business unit that will manage all of Nestlé’s global pharmaceutical business.
Government Regulation
Government authorities in the United States at the federal, state and local level and in other countries extensively regulate, among other things, the research, development, testing, manufacture, quality control, approval, labeling, packaging, storage, record-keeping, promotion, advertising, distribution, post-approval monitoring and reporting, marketing and export and import of drug and biological products, or biologics, such as our product candidates. Generally, before a new drug or biologic can be marketed, considerable data demonstrating its quality, safety and efficacy must be obtained, organized into a format specific to each regulatory authority, submitted for review and approved by the regulatory authority.
U.S. Biological Product Development
In the United States, the FDA regulates biologics under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or FDCA, and the Public Health Service Act, or PHSA, and their implementing regulations. Biologics are also subject to other federal, state and local statutes and regulations. The process of obtaining regulatory approvals and the subsequent compliance with appropriate federal, state, local and foreign statutes and regulations require the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources. Failure to comply with the applicable U.S. requirements at any time during the product development process, approval process or after approval, may subject an applicant to administrative or judicial sanctions. These sanctions could include, among other actions, the FDA’s refusal to approve pending applications, withdrawal of an approval, a clinical hold, untitled or warning letters, product recalls or withdrawals from the market, product seizures, total or partial suspension of production or distribution injunctions, fines, refusals of government contracts, restitution, disgorgement, or civil or criminal penalties. Any agency or judicial enforcement action could have a material adverse effect on us.
 
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Our product candidates must be approved by the FDA through the Biologics License Application, or BLA, process before they may be legally marketed in the United States. The process required by the FDA before a biologic may be marketed in the United States generally involves the following:
 
   
completion of extensive nonclinical, sometimes referred to as pre-clinical laboratory tests, pre-clinical animal studies and formulation studies in accordance with applicable regulations, including the FDA’s Good Laboratory Practice, or GLP, regulations;
 
   
submission to the FDA of an IND, which must become effective before human clinical trials may begin;
 
   
performance of adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials in accordance with applicable IND and other clinical trial-related regulations, sometimes referred to as good clinical practices, or GCPs, to establish the safety and efficacy of the proposed product candidate for its proposed indication;
 
   
submission to the FDA of a BLA;
 
   
satisfactory completion of an FDA pre-approval inspection of the manufacturing facility or facilities where the product is produced to assess compliance with the FDA’s current good manufacturing practice, or cGMP, requirements to assure that the facilities, methods and controls are adequate to preserve the product’s identity, strength, quality, purity and potency;
 
   
potential FDA audit of the pre-clinical and/or clinical trial sites that generated the data in support of the BLA; and
 
   
FDA review and approval of the BLA prior to any commercial marketing or sale of the product in the United States.
The data required to support a BLA is generated in two distinct development stages: pre-clinical and clinical. The pre-clinical development stage generally involves laboratory evaluations of drug chemistry, formulation and stability, as well as studies to evaluate toxicity in animals, which support subsequent clinical testing. The conduct of the pre-clinical studies must comply with federal regulations, including GLPs. The sponsor must submit the results of the pre-clinical studies, together with manufacturing information, analytical data, any available clinical data or literature and a proposed clinical protocol, to the FDA as part of the IND. An IND is a request for authorization from the FDA to administer an investigational drug product to humans. The central focus of an IND submission is on the general investigational plan and the protocol(s) for human trials. The IND automatically becomes effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless the FDA raises concerns or questions regarding the proposed clinical trials and places the IND on clinical hold within that 30-day time period. In such a case, the IND sponsor and the FDA must resolve any outstanding concerns before the clinical trial can begin. The FDA may also impose clinical holds on a product candidate at any time before or during clinical trials due to safety concerns or non-compliance. Accordingly, we cannot be sure that submission of an IND will result in the FDA allowing clinical trials to begin, or that, once begun, issues will not arise that could cause the trial to be suspended or terminated.
The clinical stage of development involves 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, in accordance with GCPs, which include the requirement that all research subjects provide their informed consent for their participation in any clinical trial. Clinical trials are conducted under protocols detailing, among other things, the objectives of the clinical trial, dosing procedures, subject selection and exclusion criteria, and the parameters to be used to monitor subject safety and assess efficacy. Each protocol, and any subsequent amendments to the protocol, must be submitted to the FDA as part of the IND. Further, each clinical trial must be reviewed and approved by an independent institutional review board, or IRB, at or servicing each institution at which the clinical trial will be conducted. An IRB is charged with protecting the welfare and rights of trial participants and considers such items as whether the risks to individuals participating in the clinical trials are minimized and are reasonable in relation to anticipated benefits. The IRB also approves the informed consent form that must be provided to each clinical trial subject or his or her legal representative and must monitor the clinical trial until completed. There are also requirements governing the reporting of ongoing clinical
 
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trials and completed clinical trial results to public registries. Sponsors of certain clinical trials of FDA-regulated products, including biologics, are required to register and disclose specified clinical trial information, which is publicly available at www.clinicaltrials.gov. Information related to the product, patient population, phase of investigation, study sites and investigators, and other aspects of the clinical trial is then made public as part of the registration. Sponsors are also obligated to disclose the results of their clinical trials after completion.
Clinical trials are generally conducted in three sequential phases that may overlap, known as Phase I, Phase II and Phase III clinical trials. Phase I clinical trials generally involve a small number of healthy volunteers who are initially exposed to a single dose and then multiple doses of the product candidate. The primary purpose of these clinical trials is to assess the metabolism, pharmacologic action, side effect tolerability and safety of the product candidate and, if possible, to gain early evidence on effectiveness. Phase II clinical trials typically involve studies in disease-affected patients to determine the dose required to produce the desired benefits. At the same time, safety and further pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic information is collected, as well as identification of possible adverse effects and safety risks and preliminary evaluation of efficacy. Phase III clinical trials generally involve large numbers of patients at multiple sites, in multiple countries (from several hundred to several thousand subjects) and are designed to provide the data necessary to demonstrate the efficacy of the product for its intended use, its safety in use, and to establish the overall benefit/risk relationship of the product and provide an adequate basis for product approval. Phase III clinical trials may include comparisons with placebo and/or other comparator treatments. The duration of treatment is often extended to mimic the actual use of a product during marketing. Generally, two adequate and well-controlled Phase III clinical trials are required by the FDA for approval of a BLA.
Post-approval trials, sometimes referred to as Phase IV clinical trials, may be conducted after initial marketing approval. These trials are used to gain additional experience from the treatment of patients in the intended therapeutic indication. In certain instances, FDA may condition approval of a BLA on the sponsor’s agreement to conduct additional clinical trials to further assess the biologic’s safety and effectiveness after BLA approval.
Progress reports detailing the results of the clinical trials must be submitted at least annually to the FDA and written IND safety reports must be submitted to the FDA and the investigators for serious and unexpected suspected adverse, findings from other studies suggesting a significant risk to humans exposed to the drug, findings from animal or
in vitro
testing suggesting a significant risk to humans, and any clinically important rate increase of a serious suspected adverse reaction over that listed in the protocol or investigator brochure. Phase I, Phase II and Phase III clinical trials may not be completed successfully within any specified period, if at all. The FDA, the IRB, or the sponsor may suspend or terminate a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the research subjects or patients are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk. Similarly, an IRB can suspend or terminate approval of a clinical trial at its institution if the clinical trial is not being conducted in accordance with the IRB’s requirements or if the drug has been associated with unexpected serious harm to patients. Additionally, some clinical trials are overseen by an independent group of qualified experts organized by the clinical trial sponsor, known as a data safety monitoring board or committee. This group provides authorization for whether or not a trial may move forward at designated intervals based on access to certain data from the trial. We may also suspend or terminate a clinical trial based on evolving business objectives and/or competitive climate. Concurrent with clinical trials, companies usually complete additional animal studies and must also develop additional information about the chemistry and physical characteristics of the product candidate as well as finalize a process for manufacturing the product in commercial quantities in accordance with cGMP requirements. The manufacturing process must be capable of consistently producing quality batches of the product candidate and, among other things, must develop methods for testing the identity, strength, quality and purity of the final product. Additionally, appropriate packaging must be selected and tested and stability studies must be conducted to demonstrate that the product candidate does not undergo unacceptable deterioration over its shelf life.
 
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BLA and FDA Review Process
Following trial completion, trial data is analyzed to assess safety and efficacy. The results of pre-clinical studies and clinical trials are then submitted to the FDA as part of a BLA, along with proposed labeling for the product and information about the manufacturing process and facilities that will be used to ensure product quality, results of analytical testing conducted on the chemistry of the product candidate, and other relevant information. The BLA is a request for approval to market the biologic for one or more specified indications and must contain proof of safety, purity, potency and efficacy, which is demonstrated by extensive pre-clinical and clinical testing. The application includes both negative or ambiguous results of pre-clinical and clinical trials and positive findings. Data may come from company-sponsored clinical trials intended to test the safety and efficacy of a use of a product, or from a number of alternative sources, including studies initiated by investigators. To support marketing approval, the data submitted must be sufficient in quality and quantity to establish the safety and efficacy of the investigational product to the satisfaction of the FDA. FDA approval of a BLA must be obtained before a biologic may be marketed in the United States.
Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, as amended, each BLA must be accompanied by a significant user fee, which is adjusted on an annual basis. PDUFA also imposes an annual program fee for approved drugs. Fee waivers or reductions are available in certain circumstances, including a waiver of the application fee for the first application filed by a small business.
Once a BLA has been accepted for filing, which occurs, if at all, sixty days after the BLA’s submission, the FDA’s goal is to review BLAs within ten months of the filing date for standard review or six months of the filing date for priority review, if the application is for a product intended for a serious or life-threatening condition and the product, if approved, would provide a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness. The review process is often significantly extended by FDA requests for additional information or clarification. If not accepted for filing, the sponsor must resubmit the BLA and begin the FDA’s review process again, including the initial
sixty-day
review to determine if the application is sufficiently complete to permit substantive review.
After the BLA submission is accepted for filing, the FDA reviews the BLA to determine, among other things, whether the proposed product candidate is safe and effective for its intended use, and whether the product candidate is being manufactured in accordance with cGMP to assure and preserve the product candidate’s identity, strength, quality, purity and potency. The FDA may refer applications for novel drug product candidates or drug product candidates which present difficult questions of safety or efficacy to an advisory committee, typically a panel that includes clinicians and other experts, for review, evaluation and a recommendation as to whether the application should be approved and under what conditions. The FDA is not bound by the recommendations of an advisory committee, but it considers such recommendations carefully when making decisions. The FDA will likely re-analyze the clinical trial data, which could result in extensive discussions between the FDA and us during the review process. The review and evaluation of a BLA by the FDA is extensive and time consuming and may take longer than originally planned to complete, and we may not receive a timely approval, if at all.
Before approving a BLA, the FDA will conduct a pre-approval inspection of the manufacturing facilities for the new product to determine whether they comply with cGMPs. The FDA will not approve the product unless it determines that the manufacturing processes and facilities are in compliance with cGMP requirements and adequate to assure consistent production of the product within required specifications. In addition, before approving a BLA, the FDA may also audit data from clinical trials to ensure compliance with GCP requirements. After the FDA evaluates the application, manufacturing process and manufacturing facilities, it may issue an approval letter or a Complete Response Letter. An approval letter authorizes commercial marketing of the product with specific prescribing information for specific indications. A Complete Response Letter indicates that the review cycle of the application is complete and the application will not be approved in its present form. A Complete Response Letter usually describes all of the specific deficiencies in the BLA identified by the FDA. The Complete Response Letter may require additional clinical data and/or an additional pivotal Phase III clinical
 
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trial(s), and/or other significant and time-consuming requirements related to clinical trials, pre-clinical studies or manufacturing. If a Complete Response Letter is issued, the applicant may either resubmit the BLA, addressing all of the deficiencies identified in the letter, or withdraw the application. Even if such data and information is submitted, the FDA may ultimately decide that the BLA does not satisfy the criteria for approval. Data obtained from clinical trials are not always conclusive and the FDA may interpret data differently than we interpret the same data.
There is no assurance that the FDA will ultimately approve a product for marketing in the United States and we may encounter significant difficulties or costs during the review process. If a product receives marketing approval, the approval may be significantly limited to specific populations, severities of allergies, and dosages or the indications for use may otherwise be limited, which could restrict the commercial value of the product. Further, the FDA may require that certain contraindications, warnings or precautions be included in the product labeling or may condition the approval of the BLA on other changes to the proposed labeling, development of adequate controls and specifications, or a commitment to conduct post-market testing or clinical trials and surveillance to monitor the effects of approved products. For example, the FDA may require Phase IV testing which involves clinical trials designed to further assess the product’s safety and effectiveness and may require testing and surveillance programs to monitor the safety of approved products that have been commercialized. The FDA may also place other conditions on approvals including the requirement for a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, to assure the safe use of the product. If the FDA concludes a REMS is needed, the sponsor of the BLA must submit a proposed REMS. The FDA will not approve the BLA without an approved REMS, if required. A REMS could include medication guides, physician communication plans, or elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools. Any of these limitations on approval or marketing could restrict the commercial promotion, distribution, prescription or dispensing of products. Product approvals may be withdrawn for non-compliance with regulatory standards or if problems occur following initial marketing.
Review and Approval of Combination Products in the United States
Certain products may be comprised of components that would normally be regulated under different types of regulatory authorities, and frequently by different centers at the FDA. These products are known as combination products. Specifically, under regulations issued by the FDA, a combination product may be:
 
   
a product comprised of two or more regulated components that are physically, chemically, or otherwise combined or mixed and produced as a single entity;
 
   
two or more separate products packaged together in a single package or as a unit and comprised of drug and device products;
 
   
a drug, device, or biological product packaged separately that according to its investigational plan or proposed labeling is intended for use only with an approved individually specified drug, device or biological where both are required to achieve the intended use, indication, or effect and where upon approval of the proposed product the labeling of the approved product would need to be changed, e.g., to reflect a change in intended use, dosage form, strength, route of administration, or significant change in dose; or
 
   
any investigational drug, device, or biological packaged separately that according to its proposed labeling is for use only with another individually specified investigational drug, device, or biological product where both are required to achieve the intended use, indication, or effect. Our Viaskin product candidates are combination products comprising a device for delivery of a biologic. Under the FDCA, the FDA is charged with assigning a center with primary jurisdiction, or a lead center, for review of a combination product. That determination is based on the “primary mode of action” of the combination product, which means the mode of action expected to make the greatest contribution to the overall intended therapeutic effects. Thus, if the primary mode of action of a device-biologic combination product is attributable to the biologic product, that is, if it acts by means of a virus, therapeutic serum,
 
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toxin, antitoxin, vaccine, blood, blood component or derivative, allergenic product, or analogous product, the FDA center responsible for premarket review of the biologic product would have primary jurisdiction for the combination product.
Expedited Development and Review Programs
The FDA has a fast track program that is intended to expedite or facilitate the process for reviewing new drugs and biological products that meet certain criteria. Specifically, new drugs and biological products are eligible for fast track designation if they are intended to treat a serious or life-threatening condition and nonclinical or clinical data demonstrate the potential to address an unmet medical need. Fast track designation applies to the combination of the product and the specific indication for which it is being studied. The sponsor of a new drug or biologic may request the FDA to designate the drug or biologic as a fast track product concurrently with the submission of an IND or at any time before a pre-NDA meeting, and the FDA must determine if the product qualifies for fast track designation within 60 days of receipt of the sponsor’s request. 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, or review within a six-month timeframe from the date a complete BLA is accepted for filing, if it treats a serious condition and has the potential to provide a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness. The FDA will attempt to direct additional resources to the evaluation of an application for a new drug or biological product designated for priority review in an effort to facilitate the review.
Additionally, a product may be eligible for accelerated approval. 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 other than survival or irreversible morbidity. As a condition of approval, the FDA may require that a sponsor of a drug or biological product receiving accelerated approval perform adequate and well-controlled post-marketing clinical trials. If the FDA concludes that a drug shown to be effective can be safely used only if distribution or use is restricted, it will require such post-marketing restrictions as it deems necessary to assure safe use of the drug, such as:
 
   
distribution restricted to certain facilities or physicians with special training or experience; or
 
   
distribution conditioned on the performance of specified medical procedures.
The limitations imposed would be commensurate with the specific safety concerns presented by the product. In addition, the FDA currently requires as a condition for accelerated approval pre-approval of promotional materials, which could adversely impact the timing of the commercial launch of the product. Fast track designation, priority review and accelerated approval do not change the standards for approval but may expedite the development or approval process.
Breakthrough Designation
The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, or FDASIA, amended the FDCA to require the FDA to expedite the development and review of a breakthrough therapy. A product can be designated as a breakthrough therapy if it is intended to treat a serious or life-threatening condition and preliminary clinical
 
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evidence indicates that it may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints. A sponsor may request that a product candidate be designated as a breakthrough therapy concurrently with the submission of an IND or any time before an end-of-Phase-II meeting, and the FDA must determine if the product candidate qualifies for breakthrough therapy designation within 60 days of receipt of the sponsor’s request. If so designated, the FDA shall act to expedite the development and review of the product’s marketing application, including by meeting with the sponsor throughout the product’s development, providing timely advice to the sponsor to ensure that the development program to gather pre-clinical and clinical data is as efficient as practicable, involving senior managers and experienced review staff in a cross-disciplinary review, assigning a cross-disciplinary project lead for the FDA review team to facilitate an efficient review of the development program and to serve as a scientific liaison between the review team and the sponsor, and taking steps to ensure that the design of the clinical trials is as efficient as practicable.
Pediatric Trials
Under the Pediatric Research Equity Act, or PREA, a BLA or supplement to a BLA must contain data to assess the safety and efficacy of the product for the claimed indications in all relevant pediatric subpopulations and to support dosing and administration for each pediatric subpopulation for which the product is safe and effective. FDASIA requires that a sponsor who is planning to submit a marketing application for a drug or biological product that includes a new active ingredient, new indication, new dosage form, new dosing regimen or new route of administration submit an initial Pediatric Study Plan, or PSP, within sixty days of an end-of-Phase II meeting or as may be agreed between the sponsor and FDA. The initial PSP must include an outline of the pediatric study or studies that the sponsor plans to conduct, including study objectives and design, age groups, relevant endpoints and statistical approach, or a justification for not including such detailed information, and any request for a deferral of pediatric assessments or a full or partial waiver of the requirement to provide data from pediatric studies along with supporting information. FDA and the sponsor must reach agreement on the PSP. A sponsor can submit amendments to an agreed-upon initial PSP at any time if changes to the pediatric plan need to be considered based on data collected from nonclinical studies, early phase clinical trials, and/or other clinical development programs. The FDA may, on its own initiative or at the request of the applicant, grant deferrals for submission of data or full or partial waivers.
Post-Marketing Requirements
Following approval of a new product, a manufacturer and the approved product are subject to continuing regulation by the FDA, including, among other things, monitoring and recordkeeping activities, reporting to the applicable regulatory authorities of adverse experiences with the product, providing the regulatory authorities with updated safety and efficacy information, product sampling and distribution requirements, and complying with promotion and advertising requirements, which include, among others, standards for direct-to-consumer advertising, restrictions on promoting products for uses or in patient populations that are not described in the product’s approved labeling, also known as off-label use, limitations on industry-sponsored scientific and educational activities, and requirements for promotional activities involving the internet. Although physicians may prescribe legally available drugs and biologics for off-label uses, manufacturers may not market or promote such off-label uses. Modifications or enhancements to the product or its labeling or changes of the site of manufacture are often subject to the approval of the FDA and other regulators, which may or may not be received or may result in a lengthy review process. Prescription drug promotional materials must be submitted to the FDA in conjunction with their first use. Any distribution of prescription drug products and pharmaceutical samples must comply with the U.S. Prescription Drug Marketing Act, or the PDMA, a part of the FDCA.
In the United States, once a product is approved, its manufacture is subject to comprehensive and continuing regulation by the FDA. The FDA regulations require that products be manufactured in specific approved facilities and in accordance with cGMP. Moreover, the constituent parts of a combination product retain their regulatory status, for example, as a biologic or device, and as such, we may be subject to additional requirements in the Quality System Regulation, or QSR, applicable to medical devices, such as design controls, purchasing
 
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controls, and corrective and preventive action. We rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties for the production of clinical and commercial quantities of our products in accordance with cGMP regulations. cGMP regulations require, among other things, quality control and quality assurance as well as the corresponding maintenance of records and documentation and the obligation to investigate and correct any deviations from cGMP. Manufacturers and other entities involved in the manufacture and distribution of approved products are required to register their establishments with the FDA and certain state agencies, and are subject to periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA and certain state agencies for compliance with cGMP and other laws. Accordingly, manufacturers must continue to expend time, money, and effort in the area of production and quality control to maintain cGMP compliance. These regulations also impose certain organizational, procedural and documentation requirements with respect to manufacturing and quality assurance activities. BLA holders using contract manufacturers, laboratories or packagers are responsible for the selection and monitoring of qualified firms, and, in certain circumstances, qualified suppliers to these firms. These firms and, where applicable, their suppliers are subject to inspections by the FDA at any time, and the discovery of violative conditions, including failure to conform to cGMP, could result in enforcement actions that interrupt the operation of any such facilities or the ability to distribute products manufactured, processed or tested by them. Discovery of problems with a product after approval may result in restrictions on a product, manufacturer, or holder of an approved BLA, including, among other things, recall or withdrawal of the product from the market.
The FDA also may require post-approval testing, sometimes referred to as Phase IV testing, REMS and post- marketing surveillance to monitor the effects of an approved product or place conditions on an approval that could restrict the distribution or use of the product. Discovery of previously unknown problems with a product or the failure to comply with applicable FDA requirements can have negative consequences, including adverse publicity, judicial or administrative enforcement, warning letters from the FDA, mandated corrective advertising or communications with doctors, and civil or criminal penalties, among others. Newly discovered or developed safety or effectiveness data may require changes to a product’s approved labeling, including the addition of new warnings and contraindications, and also may require the implementation of other risk management measures. Also, new government requirements, including those resulting from new legislation, may be established, or the FDA’s policies may change, which could delay or prevent regulatory approval of our products under development.
Other Regulatory Matters
Manufacturing, sales, promotion and other activities following product approval are also subject to regulation by numerous regulatory authorities in addition to the FDA, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, other divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and state and local governments. In the United States, sales, marketing and scientific/educational programs, among other activities, must also comply with state and federal fraud and abuse laws, data privacy and security laws, transparency laws, and pricing and reimbursement requirements in connection with governmental payor programs, among others. The handling of any controlled substances must comply with the U.S. Controlled Substances Act and Controlled Substances Import and Export Act. Products must meet applicable child-resistant packaging requirements under the U.S. Poison Prevention Packaging Act. Manufacturing, sales, promotion and other activities are also potentially subject to federal and state consumer protection and unfair competition laws.
The distribution of pharmaceutical products is subject to additional requirements and regulations, including extensive record-keeping, licensing, storage and security requirements intended to prevent the unauthorized sale of pharmaceutical products.
The failure to comply with regulatory requirements subjects firms to possible legal or regulatory action. Depending on the circumstances, failure to meet applicable regulatory requirements can result in civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, injunctions, recall or seizure of products, total or
 
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partial suspension of production, denial or withdrawal of product approvals, the exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs or refusal to allow a firm to enter into supply contracts, including government contracts, integrity obligations and individual imprisonment. In addition, even if a firm complies with FDA and other requirements, new information regarding the safety or efficacy of a product could lead the FDA to modify or withdraw product approval. Prohibitions or restrictions on sales or withdrawal of future products marketed by us could materially affect our business in an adverse way. Changes in regulations, statutes or the interpretation of existing regulations could impact our business in the future by requiring, for example: (i) changes to our manufacturing arrangements; (ii) additions or modifications to product labeling; (iii) the recall or discontinuation of our products; or (iv) additional record-keeping requirements. If any such changes were to be imposed, they could adversely affect the operation of our business.
European Union Drug Development
In the European Union, our future product candidates may also be subject to extensive regulatory requirements. As in the United States, medicinal products can only be marketed if a marketing authorization from the competent regulatory agencies has been obtained.
Similar to the United States, the various phases of pre-clinical and clinical research in the European Union are subject to significant regulatory controls. Although the EU Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC has sought to harmonize the European Union clinical trials regulatory framework, setting out common rules for the control and authorization of clinical trials in the European Union, the European Union Member States have transposed and applied the provisions of the Directive differently. This has led to significant variations in the Member State regimes. To improve the current system, a new Regulation No. 536/2014 on clinical trials on medicinal product candidates for human use, which repealed Directive 2001/20/EC, was adopted on April 16, 2014 and published in the European Official Journal on May 27, 2014. The new Regulation aims at harmonizing and streamlining the clinical trials authorization process, simplifying adverse event reporting procedures, improving the supervision of clinical trials, and increasing their transparency. The new Regulation was published on June 16, 2014 but should only be applied from January 31, 2022 (its entry into application will occur after the publication of a notice delivered by the European Commission on the European Union clinical trial portal and database). Until then, the Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC will still apply. In addition, the transitory provisions of the new Regulation offer the sponsors the possibility to choose between the requirements of the Directive and the Regulation for one year from the entry into application of the Regulation.
Under the current regime, before a clinical trial can be initiated, it must be approved in each of the European Union countries where the trial is to be conducted by two distinct bodies: the National Competent Authority, or NCA, and one or more Ethics Committees, or Ecs. Under the current regime all suspected unexpected serious adverse reactions, or SUSARs, to the investigated drug that occur during the clinical trial have to be reported to the NCA and Ecs of the Member State where they occurred.
As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the regulatory authorities in various countries (including the
Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé
, or ANSM, in France) have published general recommendations and set up transitional measures during the first wave of the epidemic aimed at guaranteeing the continuity of drug development while ensuring the safety of clinical trial participants. The transitional measures may be reactivated depending on the evolution of the healthcare context and the needs identified for the various research sites.
Finally, a proposal for a Regulation on Health Technology Assessment (HTA) was adopted in first reading on June 22, 2021. The purpose of this proposal for a Regulation is to establish a permanent and viable European cooperation on the common clinical evaluation of new medicines (and certain new medical devices). Member States will be able to use common HTA methods, procedures and tools across the European Union. The Regulation will facilitate the exchange of information with health technology developers on their development plans for a given health technology. Through HTA, national health authorities will be able to make informed
 
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decisions about pricing or reimbursement of health technologies that remain within the national competence of Member States (see section 1.2.9.3 below).
European Union Drug Review and Approval
In the European Economic Area, or EEA, which is comprised of the 27 Member States of the European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, medicinal products can only be commercialized after obtaining a Marketing Authorization, or MA (though there are other cases of regulatory authorizations derogating from the MA system which are exceptional and do not currently apply to us).
There are four types of marketing authorizations procedures.
For the registration of a drug in more than one European Union Member State, the applicant can choose:
 
   
The Centralized Procedure: an MA is issued by the European Commission through the Centralized Procedure, based on the opinion of the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, or CHMP, of the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, and is valid throughout the entire territory of the EEA. The Centralized Procedure is mandatory for certain types of products, such as biotechnology medicinal products, orphan medicinal products, and medicinal products containing a new active substance indicated for the treatment of AIDS, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, auto-immune and viral diseases. The Centralized Procedure is optional for products containing a new active substance not yet authorized in the EEA on the date on which Regulation No. 726/2004 enters into force or for products that constitute a significant therapeutic, scientific or technical innovation or which are in the interest of public health in the European Union.
 
   
The Mutual Recognition Procedure is mandatory when a product has already been authorized for marketing in a Member State of the EEA, known as the reference Member State, or RMS. This National MA needs to be recognized by the other Member States through the Mutual Recognition Procedure.
 
   
The Decentralized Procedure: when the product has not received a National MA in any Member State at the time of application, it can be approved simultaneously in various Member States through the Decentralized Procedure. Under the Decentralized Procedure an identical dossier is submitted to the competent authorities of each of the Member States in which the MA is sought, one of which is selected by the applicant as the Reference Member State, or RMS. The competent authority of the RMS prepares a draft assessment report, a draft summary of the product characteristics, or SPC, and a draft of the labeling and package leaflet, which are sent to the other Member States (referred to as the Concerned Member States) for their approval. If the Concerned Member States raise no objections, based on a potential serious risk to public health, to the assessment, SPC, labeling, or packaging proposed by the RMS, the product is subsequently granted a national MA in all the Member States (i.e. in the RMS and the Concerned Member States).
For the registration of a medicinal product in only one Member State of the European Union, the applicant must use the national procedure.
 
   
National marketing authorizations are issued by the competent authorities of the EEA Member States (e.g., for France, ANSM) and only cover their respective territories. They are available for products that are not covered by the compulsory scope of Community procedures.
Under the above described procedures, before granting the MA, the EMA or the competent authorities of the Member States of the EEA make an assessment of the risk-benefit balance of the product on the basis of scientific criteria concerning its quality, safety and efficacy.
The EEA currently consists of the 27 Member States of the European Union as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
 
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The pharmaceutical legislation of the European Union is no longer applicable in the United Kingdom as of January 1, 2021.
An Economic and Trade Partnership Agreement was concluded between the European Union and the United Kingdom on December 24, 2020. To date, this agreement does not provide for a principle of mutual recognition (i.e. the marketing authorization of a drug obtained in the European Union is not recognized in the United Kingdom, and vice versa). However, the Agreement does contain facilitation and cooperation arrangements, including an annex dedicated to medicinal products (
Annex TBT-2 on Medicinal Products
). In the meantime, regulatory authorities (such as the EMA at the European Union level or the ANSM in France) have published recommendations intended for industrial stakeholders likely to be affected by Brexit, pending eventual technical agreements. Many aspects related to the development, marketing and commercialization of drugs (including drug manufacturing and supply chain) have been and are expected to continue to be impacted by Brexit.
Other Regulatory Matters
French Regulatory Framework
In the European Union—pending the effectiveness of Regulation No. 536/2014—the regulation governing clinical trials is currently based on European Directive No. 2001/20/EC of April 4, 2001 with respect to the implementation of good clinical practices in the conduct of clinical trials on medicinal products for human use. Each European Union Member State had to transpose this Directive into national law by eventually adapting it to its own regulatory framework.
In France, for example, Directive No. 2001/20/EC has been transposed by Act No. 2004-806 of August 9, 2004 relative to the public health policy and Decree No. 2006-477, April 26, 2006, modifying chapter I, Title II, Book I of the first part of the Code of Public Health dedicated to biomedical research. This regulation replaces the notification procedure arising from the Huriet-Sérusclat Act of December 20, 1988. The Act of August 9, 2004 was notably amended by the Act of March 5, 2012 and by the ordinance of June 16, 2016, which mostly aims at (i) adapting the provisions relating to clinical research to the new European Regulation No. 536/2014, (ii) a better response coordination among Ethical Research Committees in charge of reviewing research agreements and (iii) harmonizing data protection provisions with the latest legislative developments (Jardé Act).
Article L. 1121-4 of the Public Health Code, as amended by the Ordinance of June 16, 2016, establishes a system of prior authorization issued by the ANSM and/or of a favorable opinion of a competent Ethical Research Committee, depending on the type of clinical trial. Since the entry into force of the Jardé Act, the competent Ethical Research Committee is selected randomly among available committees having the required jurisdiction to review the project by drawing lots (article L.1123-6 of the Public Health Code as amended by Law No. 2020-1525 of December 7, 2020). On the basis of Article L. 1123-7 of the same code, the Ethical Research Committee shall deliver its opinion on the research’s conditions of validity, particularly with respect to participant protection, their information and how they collect informed consent, as well as the project’s general relevance, the satisfactory nature of the assessment of benefits and risks and the adequacy between the objectives pursued and the means implemented. The ANSM, after submission of the complete file containing not only information on the clinical protocol, but also specific product data and its quality control, as well as results of pre-clinical studies may inform the sponsor that it objects to the implementation of the research. The sponsor can then modify the contents of his research project and submit this amended or supplemented request to the ANSM. If the sponsor does not alter the content of its request, the request is considered rejected.
Under the terms of the Decree of April 26, 2006 (as modified by Decree No. 2016-1537 of November 16, 2016), the time limit for the examination of a request for authorization cannot exceed 60 days from the receipt of the complete file (Article R.1123-32 of the Public Health Code). Finally, under Article L. 1123-11, in the event of risk to public health or if the ANSM considers that the conditions in which the research is implemented no longer correspond to the conditions indicated in the request for authorization or does not comply with the provisions of
 
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the Public Health Code, it may at any time request changes to procedures for the realization of research, and suspend or ban this research. As of October 15, 2018, the ANSM has implemented a fast-track system for the authorization of clinical trials (“Fast Track”), which will reduce the time required to process applications for authorization of clinical trials for medicines (for sponsors who meet the eligibility criteria) and for innovative therapy medicines, or ITMs, as of February 18, 2019. Fast Track 1, “Access to Innovation”, provides for a maximum review time of 40 days for trials of new medicines and 110 days for ITMs. Fast Track 2, “Development Support”, provides for a maximum review time of 25 days for trials of new medicines and 60 days for ITMs.
The decision of November 24, 2006 sets the rules for Good Clinical Practice, or GCP, for biomedical research on medicines for human use provided for in Article L. 1121-3 of the Public Health Code. The purpose of Good Clinical Practice is to ensure both the reliability of data arising from clinical trials and the protection of persons participating in these clinical trials. GCPs shall apply to all clinical trials, including pharmacokinetics, bioavailability and bioequivalence studies in healthy volunteers and Phase II to IV clinical trials.
Personal data collected during clinical trials must be reported to the French data protection authority, and kept in the record of processing activities held by the data processor pursuant to the Regulation 2016/679 of April 27, 2016 (GDPR), French Act No. 78-17 of January 6, 1978, concerning computing, files and freedoms, and its implementing legislation. However, for certain types of research, the formalism is lightened if the data processing is carried out in compliance with one of the reference methodologies (RM) in force. In particular, the data controller who wishes to implement one or more processing operations in compliance with one of these RM must send the CNIL a declaration attesting to this compliance for each RM applicable to its projects. On the other hand, if the study does not fall within the scope of these RM , the sponsor is obliged to submit a research authorization request to the CNIL. According to the aforementioned regulations, patients have, among others, a right to their data and a right of rectification of such data, as the case may be.
Regarding transfers of personal data between the European Union and the United States, the European Court of Justice has (i) invalidated the data protection shield known as the “Privacy Shield”, but (ii) held the European Commission’s standard contractual clauses regarding personal data transfers to be valid (as set forth in Commission Decision 2010/87/EU of February 5, 2010, amended in 2016) in the “Schrems II” decision of July 16, 2020 (CJUE, July 16, 2020, C-311/18).
Reimbursement
Significant uncertainty exists as to the coverage and reimbursement status of any product candidates for which we or our collaborators obtain regulatory approval. Sales of our products will depend, in part, on the extent to which our products, once approved, will be covered and reimbursed by third-party payors, such as government health programs, commercial insurance and managed healthcare organizations. These third-party payors are increasingly reducing reimbursements for medical products and services. The process for determining whether a third-party payor will provide coverage for a drug product typically is separate from the process for setting the price of a drug product or for establishing the reimbursement rate that a payor will pay for the drug product once coverage is approved. Third-party payors may limit coverage to specific drug products on an approved list, also known as a formulary, which might not include all of the FDA approved drugs for a particular indication.
In order to secure coverage and reimbursement for any product candidate that might be approved for sale, we may need to conduct expensive pharmacoeconomic studies in order to demonstrate the medical necessity and cost- effectiveness of the product candidate, in addition to the costs required to obtain FDA or other comparable regulatory approvals. Whether or not we conduct such studies, our product candidates may not be considered medically necessary or cost-effective. A third-party payor’s decision to provide coverage for a drug product does not imply that an adequate reimbursement rate will be approved. Further, one payor’s determination to provide coverage for a product does not assure that other payors will also provide coverage, and adequate reimbursement, for the product. Third party reimbursement may not be sufficient to enable us to maintain price levels high enough to realize an appropriate return on our investment in product development.
 
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The containment of healthcare costs has become a priority of federal and state governments, and the prices of drugs have been a focus in this effort. The U.S. government, state legislatures and foreign governments have shown significant interest in implementing cost-containment programs, including price controls, restrictions on reimbursement and requirements for substitution of generic products. Adoption of price controls and cost-containment measures, and adoption of more restrictive policies in jurisdictions with existing controls and measures, could further limit our net revenue and results. Decreases in third-party reimbursement for our product candidate or a decision by a third-party payor to not cover our product candidate could reduce physician usage of the product candidate and have a material adverse effect on our sales, results of operations and financial condition.
For example, the ACA, enacted in March 2010, has significantly impacted the health care industry. The ACA was expansive health reform legislation designed to expand coverage for the uninsured while at the same time containing overall healthcare costs enhance remedies against fraud and abuse, add new transparency requirements for health care and health insurance industries, impose new taxes and fees on the health industry and impose additional health policy reforms, and other changes. With regard to biopharmaceutical products, among other things, the ACA expanded and increased industry rebates for drugs covered under Medicaid programs and made changes to the coverage requirements under the Medicare Part D program. However, there have been executive, judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the ACA.
While Congress has not passed comprehensive repeal legislation, several bills affecting the implementation of certain taxes under the ACA have been signed into law. For example, on December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, or Tax Act, which included a provision repealing the individual mandate to maintain health insurance coverage under the ACA, effective January 1, 2019. In addition, the 2020 federal spending package permanently eliminated, effective January 1, 2020, the ACA-mandated “Cadillac” tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage and medical device tax and, effective January 1, 2021, also eliminated the health insurer tax. On June 17, 2021 the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge on procedural grounds that argued the ACA is unconstitutional in its entirety because the “individual mandate” was repealed by Congress. Thus, the ACA will remain in effect in its current form. Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, on January 28, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order that initiated a special enrollment period for purposes of obtaining health insurance coverage through the ACA marketplace. The executive order also instructed certain governmental agencies to review and reconsider their existing policies and rules that limit access to healthcare, including among others, reexamining Medicaid demonstration projects and waiver programs that include work requirements, and policies that create unnecessary barriers to obtaining access to health insurance coverage through Medicaid or the ACA. It is possible that the ACA will be subject to judicial or Congressional challenges in the future. It is unclear how such challenges and the healthcare reform measures of the Biden administration will impact the ACA.
In addition, other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the ACA was enacted. On August 2, 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011 among other things, created measures for spending reductions by Congress. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was tasked with recommending to Congress proposals in spending reductions. Because they did not achieve a targeted deficit reduction of at least $1.2 trillion for fiscal years 2012 through 2021, it triggered the legislation’s automatic reduction to several government programs. This includes aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to providers of up to 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect in April 2013 and, due to subsequent legislative amendments, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will stay in effect through 2031 with the exception of a temporary suspension from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2022 unless additional Congressional action is taken. Under current legislation the actual reduction in Medicare payments will vary from 1% in 2022 to up to 3% in the final fiscal year of this sequester. On January 2, 2013, President Obama signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, or the ATRA, which among other things, also reduced Medicare payments to several providers, including hospitals, imaging centers and cancer treatment centers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years. We expect that additional federal healthcare reform measures will be adopted in the future, any of which could limit the amounts that
 
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federal and state governments will pay for healthcare products and services, and in turn could significantly reduce the projected value of certain development projects and reduce our profitability.
Additionally, in the United States, there have been several recent Congressional inquiries and federal and state legislative activity designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drugs. At the federal level, the Trump administration used several means to propose or implement drug pricing reform, including through federal budget proposals, executive orders and policy initiatives. For example, on July 24, 2020 and September 13, 2020, the Trump administration announced several executive orders related to prescription drug pricing that seek to implement several of the administration’s proposals. As a result, the FDA concurrently released a final rule and guidance in September 2020, providing pathways for states to build and submit importation plans for drugs from Canada. Further, on November 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, finalized a regulation removing safe harbor protection for price reductions from pharmaceutical manufacturers to plan sponsors under Medicare Part D, either directly or through pharmacy benefit managers, unless the price reduction is required by law. The implementation of the rule has been delayed by the Biden administration from January 1, 2022 to January 1, 2023 in response to ongoing litigation. The rule also creates a new safe harbor for price reductions reflected at the point-of-sale, as well as a new safe harbor for certain fixed fee arrangements between pharmacy benefit managers and manufacturers, the implementation of which have also been delayed until January 1, 2023. On November 20, 2020, CMS issued an interim final rule implementing the Trump administration’s Most Favored Nation executive order, which would tie Medicare Part B payments for certain physician-administered drugs to the lowest price paid in other economically advanced countries, effective January 1, 2021. As a result of litigation challenging the Most Favored Nation model, on December 27, 2021, CMS published a final rule that rescinded the Most Favored Nation model interim final rule. In July 2021, the Biden administration released an executive order “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” with multiple provisions aimed at prescription drugs. In response to Biden’s executive order, on September 9, 2021, HHS released a Comprehensive Plan for Addressing High Drug Prices that outlines principles for drug pricing reform and sets out a variety of potential legislative policies that Congress could pursue as well as potential administrative actions HHS can take to advance these principles. No legislation or administrative actions have been finalized to implement these principles. It is unclear whether these or similar policy initiatives will be implemented in the future. 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. Additional legislative proposals to reform healthcare and government insurance programs, along with the trend toward managed healthcare in the United States, could influence the purchase of medicines and reduce demand and prices for our products, if approved. This could harm our or our collaborators’ ability to market any products and generate revenues. Cost containment measures that healthcare payors and providers are instituting and the effect of further healthcare reform could significantly reduce potential revenues from the sale of any of our product candidates approved in the future, and could cause an increase in our compliance, manufacturing, or other operating expenses. It is also possible that additional governmental action will be taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, in some foreign countries, the proposed pricing for a drug must be approved before it may be lawfully marketed. The requirements governing drug pricing vary widely from country to country. For example, the European Union provides options for its Member States to restrict the range of medicinal products for which their national health insurance systems provide reimbursement and to control the prices of medicinal products for human use. A Member State may approve a specific price for the medicinal product or it may instead adopt a system of direct or indirect controls on the profitability of the company placing the medicinal product on the market. In France, for example, effective access to the market can be achieved either at a free price, decided by the pharmaceutical company, or with a system of cover/reimbursement with a price regulated by the authorities. In this case, the future products must be included, for coverage by hospitals, on the list of proprietary medicinal
 
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products approved for use by local authorities and various public services (known as the “
Liste Collectivités
”) (Article L. 5123-2 of the Public Health Code) or included on the list of proprietary medicinal products reimbursable to insured persons (known as the “
Liste Sécurité Sociale
”) for reimbursement by the Social Security system (Article L. 162-17 of the Social Security Code).
Indeed, in France, the manufacturer’s price excluding tax of medicines reimbursable to insured persons (registered on the Social Security List) is the subject of a multi-year agreement negotiated between each pharmaceutical company and the Economic Committee for Health Products, or CEPS (failing this, by unilateral decision of the CEPS). A framework agreement has been concluded between LEEM (the trade union representing the pharmaceutical industries) and CEPS. The last framework agreement was signed on March 5, 2021 and has a three-year term. In addition, the transfer prices of medicines on the Sus List and the Retrocession List are also set by agreement between the operating laboratory and the CEPS.
There can be no assurance that any country that has price controls or reimbursement limitations for pharmaceutical products will allow favorable reimbursement and pricing arrangements for any of our product candidates. Historically, products launched in the European Union do not follow price structures of the United States and generally tend to be significantly lower.
Other Healthcare Laws and Compliance Requirements
Our business operations in the United States and our arrangements with clinical investigators, healthcare providers, consultants, third-party payors and patients may expose us to broadly applicable federal, state, and foreign fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws. These laws may impact, among other things, our research, proposed sales, marketing and education programs of our product candidates that obtain marketing approval. The healthcare laws and regulations that may affect our ability to operate include, among others:
 
   
the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or paying remuneration (including any kickback, bribe or rebate), directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward, or in return for, either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, lease, order, or recommendation of, an item, good, facility or service reimbursable under a federal healthcare program, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Although there are a number of statutory exceptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting some common activities from prosecution, the exceptions and safe harbors are drawn narrowly. Practices that involve remuneration that may be alleged to be intended to induce prescribing, purchases or recommendations may be subject to scrutiny if they do not qualify for an exception or safe harbor. The intent standard under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute was amended by the ACA to a stricter standard such that a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. Moreover, 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 civil False Claims Act;
 
   
federal civil and criminal false claims laws, including the federal civil False Claims Act, which impose penalties and provide for civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, and civil monetary penalty laws, which prohibit, among other things, knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, claims for payment from Medicare, Medicaid, or other third-party payors that are false or fraudulent, or making a false statement or record material to payment of a false claim or avoiding, decreasing, or concealing an obligation to pay money to the federal government, including for example, providing inaccurate billing or coding information to customers or promoting a product off-label;
 
   
HIPAA, which created additional federal criminal statutes that prohibit knowingly and willfully executing or attempting to execute a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making false statements relating to healthcare matters, knowingly and willfully embezzling or stealing from a healthcare benefit program,
 
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or willfully obstructing a criminal investigation of a healthcare offense. Similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it to have committed a violation;
 
   
the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act, enacted as part of the ACA, which requires applicable manufacturers of covered drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, with specific exceptions, to track and annually report to CMS payments and other transfers of value provided to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors), other healthcare professionals (such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners), and teaching hospitals and information regarding certain ownership and investment interests held by physicians or their immediate family members;
 
   
HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH, and its implementing regulations, which imposes certain requirements on covered entities and their business associates, and their covered subcontractors, relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information; and
 
   
state, local and foreign law equivalents of each of the above federal laws, such as state anti- kickback and false claims laws which may apply to items or services reimbursed by any third- party payor, including commercial insurers; state and local marketing and/or transparency laws applicable to manufacturers that may be broader in scope than the federal requirements; state laws that require biopharmaceutical companies to comply with the biopharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government; state and local laws that require licensure or registration by pharmaceutical sales representatives; state laws that require disclosure of information related to drug pricing; and state and foreign laws governing the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and may not have the same effect as HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts.
Efforts to ensure that our business arrangements with third parties will comply with applicable healthcare laws will involve substantial costs. It is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices may not comply with current or future statutes, regulations or case law involving applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of these laws or any other governmental regulations that may apply to us, we may be subject to significant administrative, civil, and/or criminal penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, individual imprisonment, exclusion from government funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, integrity obligations, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations. If the physicians or other healthcare providers or entities with whom we expect to do business are found to be not in compliance with applicable laws, they may be subject to significant administrative, civil, and/or criminal sanctions, including individual imprisonment and exclusion from government funded healthcare programs.
Within the European Union, there are also national anti-corruption procedures and specific rules on ethics.
Employees
As of December 31, 2021, we had 92 full-time employees, including around 24 with M.D. or Ph.D. degrees, and no part-time employees. Of these employees, 4 employees are engaged in research and development activities and 27 employees are engaged in general and administrative activities. We consider the relationship with our employees to be good. Our human capital resources objectives include, as applicable, identifying, recruiting, retaining, incentivizing and integrating our existing and additional employees. The principal purposes of our equity incentive plans are to attract, retain and motivate selected employees, consultants and directors through the granting of equity-based compensation awards.
 
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Corporate Information
Our legal and commercial name is DBV Technologies S.A. We were incorporated as a
société par actions simplifiée (S.A.S.)
under the laws of the French Republic on March 29, 2002 for a period of 99 years and subsequently converted on March 13, 2003 into a
société anonyme
. We are registered at the Nanterre Commerce and Companies Register under the number 441 772 522. Our principal executive offices are located at 177-181 avenue Pierre Brossolette, 92120 Montrouge, France, and our telephone number is +33 1 55 42 78 78. Our agent for service of process in the United States is Cogency Global Inc.
Available Information
Our website address is
http://www.dbv-technologies.com
. We make available on our website, free of charge, our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and our 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, or the Exchange Act, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC. The SEC maintains a website that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding our filings at www.sec.gov. Information contained on or accessible through our website is not a part of our Annual Report on Form 10-K, and the inclusion of our website address in this Annual Report on Form 10-K is an inactive textual reference only. The information found on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any other report we file with or furnish to the SEC.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. The following information about these risks, together with the other information appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on form 10-K, including our consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto and management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operation, should be carefully considered before a decision to invest in our securities. The occurrence of any of the following risks could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and future 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. Additional risks that are currently unknown to us or that we currently believe to be immaterial may also impair our business. In these circumstances, the market price of our securities could decline, and holders of our securities may lose all or part of their investment. We cannot provide assurance that any of the events discussed below will not occur.
Risks Related to Our Financial Condition and Capital Requirements
We have incurred significant losses since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future. These factors raise substantial doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern.
We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, and we have not yet generated significant income from operating activities. We have incurred net losses in each year since our inception in 2002, including net losses of
$97.8 million and $159.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 respectively. As of December 31, 2021, we had an accumulated deficit of $258.5 million. We have devoted most of our financial resources to research and development, including our clinical and pre-clinical development activities. To date, we have financed our operations primarily through the sale of equity securities, obtaining public assistance in support of innovation, such as conditional advances from OSEO Innovation, or OSEO, reimbursements of research tax credit claims and strategic collaborations. The amount of our future net losses will depend, in part, on the pace and amount of our future expenditures and our ability to obtain funding through equity or debt financings, strategic collaborations, or additional grants or tax credits. To date, we have not generated any product revenue and we continue to advance the clinical and regulatory development of Viaskin Peanut in the
 
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United States and European Union. Even if we obtain regulatory approval to market Viaskin Peanut or any other product candidate, our future revenues will depend upon the size of any markets in which our product candidates have received approval, and our ability to achieve sufficient market acceptance, reimbursement from third-party payors and adequate market share for any approved products in those markets.
Our near-term prospects, including our ability to finance our company and generate revenue, will depend heavily on the successful development, regulatory approval and commercialization of Viaskin Peanut. We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and increasing operating losses for the foreseeable future. We anticipate that our expenses will increase substantially if and as we:
 
   
seek regulatory and marketing approvals and pursue commercial activities for Viaskin Peanut, and for which we continue to seek regulatory and marketing approvals in the United States;
 
   
continue our research, pre-clinical and clinical development of our product candidates, including additional trials related to our pursuit of regulatory approval of Viaskin Peanut in the United States;
 
   
seek regulatory and marketing approvals for our other product candidates that successfully complete clinical trials;
 
   
establish a sales, marketing and distribution infrastructure to commercialize Viaskin Peanut, if approved, and any other products for which we may obtain marketing approval, especially in North America;
 
   
further develop the manufacturing process for our product candidates, including any modifications to our patch technology;
 
   
change or add additional manufacturers or suppliers;
 
   
expand the scope of our current clinical trials for our product candidates;
 
   
initiate and conduct any post-approval clinical trials, if required by the FDA, for our approved products, if any;
 
   
initiate additional pre-clinical, clinical or other studies for our other product candidates;
 
   
seek to identify and validate additional product candidates;
 
   
acquire or in-license other product candidates and technologies;
 
   
make milestone or other payments under any in-license agreements;
 
   
maintain, protect and expand our intellectual property portfolio;
 
   
attract and retain new and existing skilled personnel;
 
   
add operational, financial and management information systems and personnel, including personnel to support our product development and commercialization efforts, as well as a company listed on both the U.S. and French stock markets; and
 
   
experience any delays or encounter issues with any of the above.
The net losses we incur may fluctuate significantly from year to year, such that a period-to-period comparison of our results of operations may not be a good indication of our future performance. In any particular period or periods, our operating results could be below the expectations of securities analysts or investors, which could cause the price of our ADSs or ordinary shares to decline.
Based on our current operations, as well as our plans and assumptions as revised pursuant to our change of strategy announced in December 2021, we expect that our balance of cash and cash equivalents of $77.3 million as of December 31, 2021 will be sufficient to fund our operations into the first quarter of 2023.
 
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As of the date of the filing, our available cash is not projected to be sufficient to support our operating plan for at least the next 12 months. As such, there is substantial doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern. We intend to seek additional capital as we prepare for the launch of Viaskin Peanut, if approved, and continue other research and development efforts. We may seek to finance our future cash needs through a combination of public or private equity or debt financings, collaborations, license and development agreements and other forms of non-dilutive financings.
We cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain the necessary financing to meet our needs or to obtain funds at attractive terms and conditions, including as a result of disruptions to the global financial markets due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has already caused extreme volatility and disruptions in the capital and credit markets. A severe or prolonged economic downturn could result in a variety of risks to us, including reduced ability to raise additional capital when needed or on acceptable terms, if at all.
If we are not successful in our financing objectives, we could have to scale back our operations, notably by delaying or reducing the scope of our research and development efforts or obtain financing through arrangements with collaborators or others that may require us to relinquish rights to our product candidates that we might otherwise seek to develop or commercialize independently.
If we are unable to continue as a going concern, we may have to liquidate our assets and may receive less than the value at which those assets are carried on our financial statements, and it is likely that investors will lose all or a part of their investment. Further, the perception that we may be unable to continue as a going concern may impede our ability to pursue strategic opportunities or operate our business due to concerns regarding our ability to discharge our contractual obligations.
We will require substantial additional funding, which may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. Failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed may force us to delay, limit, or terminate our product development efforts or other operations.
We are currently advancing our product candidates through pre-clinical and clinical development. Developing product candidates is expensive, lengthy and risky, and we expect our research and development expenses to increase substantially in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we seek regulatory approval for Viaskin Peanut. Furthermore, if we obtain marketing approval for Viaskin Peanut or any other product candidate that we may develop, we expect our commercialization expenses related to product sales, marketing, distribution and manufacturing to increase significantly as we develop the appropriate infrastructure to commercialize. In addition, our expenses could increase beyond expectations if the FDA requires us to perform nonclinical studies, clinical trials or post-approval clinical trials for our approved products, if any, in addition to those that we currently anticipate.
As of December 31, 2021, our cash and cash equivalents were $77.3 million. Since our inception, we have primarily funded our operations with equity financings, and, to a lesser extent, public assistance aimed at supporting innovation and payments associated with research tax credits (Crédit d’Impôt Recherche). We do not generate product revenue and continues to prepare for the potential launch of our first product in the United States and in the European Union, if approved.
We expect our operating losses to continue for the foreseeable future. Based on our current operations, as well as our plans and assumptions as revised pursuant to our change of strategy announced in December 2021, we expect that our current cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to fund our operations into the first quarter of 2023.
We expect that we will need to raise substantial additional capital as we prepare for the launch of Viaskin Peanut, if approved, and continue other research and development efforts. We may seek to finance our future cash needs through a combination of public or private equity or debt financings, collaborations, license and development agreements and other forms of non-dilutive financings.
 
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We cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain the necessary financing to meet our needs or to obtain funds at attractive terms and conditions, including as a result of disruptions to the global financial markets due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has already caused extreme volatility and disruptions in the capital and credit markets. A severe or prolonged economic downturn could result in a variety of risks to us, including reduced ability to raise additional capital when needed or on acceptable terms, if at all.
If we cannot conduct necessary operations or otherwise capitalize on our business opportunities because we lack sufficient capital, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
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. Moreover, the terms of any financing may adversely affect the holdings or the rights of our shareholders 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 ADSs or ordinary shares to decline. The sale of additional equity or convertible securities would dilute all of our shareholders. 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 an earlier stage than otherwise would be desirable and we may be required to relinquish rights to some of our technologies or product candidate or otherwise agree to terms unfavorable to us, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and prospects.
If we are unable to obtain sufficient funding on a timely basis, we may be required to scale back our operating plan, significantly curtail, delay or discontinue one or more of our research or development programs or the commercialization of any product candidate, or be unable to expand our operations or otherwise capitalize on our business opportunities, as desired, which could materially affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are limited in our ability to raise additional share capital, which may make it difficult for us to raise capital to fund our operations.
Under French law, our share capital may be increased only with shareholders’ approval at an extraordinary general shareholders’ meeting following the recommendation of our board of directors. The shareholders may delegate to our board of directors either the authority (
de´le´gation de compe´tence
) or the power (
de´le´gation de pouvoir
) to carry out any increase in share capital.
In addition, the French Commercial Code imposes certain limitations on our ability to price any offering of our share capital without preferential subscription right (
sans droit pre´fe´rentiel de souscription
), which limitation may prevent us from successfully completing any such offering. Specifically, under the French Commercial Code, unless the offering is less than 10% of issued share capital, securities cannot be sold in an offering at a price that is more than a 5% discount to the volume weighted average trading price on Euronext Paris over the last three trading days preceding the commencement of the marketing of the transaction. In addition, the combined shareholders’ meeting dated May 19, 2021 granted authority to our board of directors to increase our share capital up to 30% of issued share capital, if the investors in such offering fit within a category of persons meeting certain characteristics. In this case securities cannot be sold in such an offering at a price that is more than a 15% discount to (i) the average trading price on Euronext Paris over five consecutive trading days chosen among the last thirty trading sessions preceding the commencement of the marketing of the transaction or (ii) the weighted average trading price the day preceding the commencement of the marketing of the transaction.
COVID-19 may materially and adversely affect our business and our financial results
Our business could be materially and adversely affected by the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in regions where we or third parties on which we rely have significant manufacturing facilities, concentrations of
 
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clinical trial sites or other business operations. The COVID-19 pandemic could materially affect our operations as well as causing significant disruption in the operations and business of third-party manufacturers, CROs, other services providers, and collaborators with whom we conduct business.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many state, local and foreign governments, including the French and U.S. governments, put in place quarantines, executive orders, shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders and similar government orders and restrictions in order to control the spread of the disease. While some restrictions have recently been relaxed, others have re-imposed following prior relaxation as a result of continually evolving incidence and rates of infection. Such orders or restrictions, or the perception that such orders or restrictions could occur or continue for a protracted period of time, have resulted in business closures, work stoppages, slowdowns and delays, work- from-home policies, travel restrictions and cancellation of events, among other effects that could negatively impact productivity and disrupt our business and those of third-party manufacturers, CROs, other services providers, and collaborators with whom we conduct business. While the rollout of vaccines has begun, the timing of vaccinations, lifting of movement restrictions, and reinstitution of in-person events is unknown.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our ability to conduct clinical trials has been and may continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, we have experienced slower than anticipated clinical site activation and patient enrollment in our MAG1C trial conducted as part of our collaboration with Nestlé. Clinical site initiation, patient enrollment and patient visits (including food challenges) in any of our clinical trials may be suspended or delayed due to prioritization of hospital resources toward the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccination efforts, or new or renewed shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders. Some patients may not be able to comply with clinical trial protocols if quarantines impede patient movement or interrupt healthcare services. Similarly, our ability to recruit and retain patients and principal investigators and site staff who, as healthcare providers, may have heightened exposure to COVID-19, may adversely impact our future clinical trial operations.
The pandemic and related government and private sector responsive actions have affected the broader economies and financial markets, triggering an economic downturn, which has at points adversely affected, and could again adversely affect, our ability to access capital, which could negatively affect our business. In addition, a recession or resulting adverse impacts on the capital markets resulting from the ongoing spread of COVID-19 could materially affect our business.
It is impossible to predict all effects and the ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the situation continues to evolve. The full extent of COVID-19’s impact on our clinical development and other operations and financial performance depends on future developments that are uncertain and unpredictable, including the timing of vaccine rollouts and herd immunity, virus mutations and variants, and any new information that may emerge concerning the virus, vaccines, and containment, all of which may vary across regions. Any of these factors could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, operating results, and ability to execute and capitalize on our strategies.
We are obligated to develop and maintain a system of effective internal controls over financial reporting. These internal controls may be determined to be not effective, which may adversely affect investor confidence in our company and, as a result, the value of our ordinary shares and ADSs.
We have been and are required, pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, to furnish a report by management on, among other things, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting on an annual basis. This assessment includes disclosure of any material weaknesses identified by our management in our internal control over financial reporting. During the evaluation and testing process, if we identify one or more material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we will be unable to assert that our internal controls are effective and would be required to disclose any material weaknesses identified in Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. While we have established certain procedures and control over our financial reporting processes, we cannot assure you that these efforts will prevent restatements of our financial statements in the future.
 
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Depending on our future filer status with the SEC, our independent registered public accounting firm may also require, pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. This assessment will include disclosure of any material weaknesses identified by our management in our internal control over financial reporting. For future reporting periods, our independent registered public accounting firm may issue a report that is adverse in the event it is not satisfied with the level at which our controls are documented, designed or operating. We may not be able to remediate any future material weaknesses, or to complete our evaluation, testing and any required remediation in a timely fashion.
If we are unable to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or if our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion that our internal controls over financial reporting are effective if and when a report from such accounting firm is required, investors could lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, which could cause the price of our ordinary shares and ADSs to decline, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by regulatory authorities, including the SEC and Nasdaq. Failure to remediate any material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, or to maintain other effective control systems required of public companies, could also restrict our future access to the capital markets.
If we do not obtain the capital necessary to fund our operations, we will be unable to successfully commercialize, develop or pursue regulatory approval for our biopharmaceutical products.
The development of biopharmaceutical products is capital-intensive. We anticipate that we will require additional financing to continue to fund our operations. Our future capital requirements will depend on, and could increase significantly as a result of, many factors including:
 
   
the scope, progress in, results and the costs of, our pre-clinical studies and clinical trials and other research and development programs, particularly as we seek regulatory and marketing approvals for our product candidates that successfully complete clinical trials;
 
   
the approval of Viaskin Peanut by the EMA, FDA or other regulatory agencies;
 
   
the costs of commercialization activities, including product sales, marketing, manufacturing and distribution, for any of our product candidates for which we receive marketing approval, especially in North America;
 
   
the costs of securing manufacturing arrangements for commercial production;
 
   
revenue, if any, received from commercial sales of our product candidates, should any of our product candidates receive marketing approval;
 
   
the scope, prioritization and number of our research and development programs;
 
   
the costs, timing and outcome of regulatory review of our product candidates;
 
   
the achievement of milestones or occurrence of other developments that trigger payments under our existing collaboration agreements, and any additional collaboration agreements we may enter into;
 
   
the extent to which we are obligated to reimburse, or entitled to reimbursement of, clinical trial costs under our existing collaboration agreements and future collaboration agreements, if any; and
 
   
the costs involved in filing, prosecuting, enforcing and defending patent claims and other intellectual property rights.
Until we can generate significant continuing revenues, we expect to satisfy our future cash needs through a combination of public or private equity or debt financings, collaborations, license and development agreements and other forms of non-dilutive financings. Uncertainty and dislocations in the financial markets have generally made equity and debt financing more difficult to obtain, and may have a material adverse effect on our ability to meet our future fundraising needs. We cannot be certain that additional funding will be available to us on
 
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acceptable terms, if at all. If funds are not available, we may be required to delay, reduce the scope of, or eliminate one or more of our research or development programs or our commercialization efforts. Additional funding, if obtained, may significantly dilute existing shareholders if that financing is obtained through issuing equity or instruments convertible into equity. We could also be required to seek funds through collaborations or licensing arrangements with third parties, and we could be required to do so at an earlier stage than otherwise would be desirable. In connection with any such collaborations or licensing arrangements, we may be required to relinquish valuable rights to our intellectual property, future revenue streams, research programs or product candidates, grant rights to develop and market product candidates that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves, or otherwise agree to terms unfavorable to us, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and prospects.
The requirements of being a U.S. public company may strain our resources, divert management’s attention and affect our ability to attract and retain executive management and qualified board members.
As a U.S. public company, we have incurred and will continue to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not previously incur. We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Nasdaq listing requirements and other applicable securities rules and regulations. Compliance with these rules and regulations will continue to increase our legal and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming or costly and increase demand on our systems and resources, particularly as we now qualify as a domestic filer. The Exchange Act requires that, as a public company that no longer qualifies as a foreign private issuer, we file annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business, financial condition and result of operations. Because we are no longer a foreign private issuer, we will also be required to file proxy statements in connection with any meetings of our shareholders. As a result of being a U.S. public company, and particularly during 2021, our first year filing reports with the SEC on U.S. domestic issuer forms, management’s attention may be diverted from other business concerns, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective internal controls for financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures. In particular, we must perform system and process evaluations and testing of our internal controls over financial reporting to allow management to report on the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We have limited experience complying with Section 404, and such compliance may require that we incur substantial accounting expenses and expend significant management efforts. Our independent registered public accounting firm may also be required, pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting.
Our testing may reveal deficiencies in our internal controls over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses. In the event we identify significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in our internal controls that we cannot remediate in a timely manner, or if our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion that our internal controls over financial reporting are effective, the market price of our ordinary shares and ADSs could decline if investors and others lose confidence in the reliability of our financial statements, we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the SEC or other applicable regulatory authorities and our business could be harmed.
As a U.S. public company that is subject to these rules and regulations, we may find it is more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our board of directors, particularly to serve on our audit committee and
compensation committee, and qualified executive officers.
As a result of disclosure of information in filings required of a U.S. public company, particularly as we are no longer a foreign private issuer, our business and financial condition will become more visible than they would be
 
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if we were a privately-owned company or if our securities were listed only on Euronext Paris, which we believe may result in threatened or actual litigation, including by competitors and other third parties. If such claims are successful, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected, and even if the claims do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor, these claims, and the time and resources necessary to resolve them,
could divert the resources of our management and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Further, being a U.S. public company and a French public company has an impact on disclosure of information and compliance with two sets of applicable rules. This could result in continuing uncertainty regarding compliance matters and higher costs necessitated by ongoing revisions to disclosure and governance practices.
Risks Related to Product Development, Regulatory Approval and Commercialization
We depend almost entirely on the successful development of our novel Viaskin technology. We cannot be certain that we will be able to obtain regulatory approval for, or successfully commercialize, Viaskin products.
We currently have no drug or biological product approved for sale and may never be able to develop a marketable drug or biological product.
We may not be successful in developing and commercializing Viaskin Peanut and our other product candidates, including Viaskin Milk, and our commercial opportunities may be limited.
We are currently engaged in discussions with the FDA in preparation for protocol submission and review for our Phase III pivotal study of the modified Viaskin Peanut, or mVP, patch, which will require additional clinical development and regulatory approval before we are permitted to commence its commercialization, if ever. Viaskin Milk will also require substantial additional clinical development, testing, and regulatory approval before we are permitted to commence its commercialization, if ever. Our other product candidates, such as Viaskin Egg or Viaskin rPT, are still in pre-clinical or early proof-of-concept phase development. The clinical trials of our product candidates are, and the manufacturing and marketing of our product candidates will be, subject to extensive and rigorous review and regulation by numerous government authorities in the United States and in other countries where we intend to test and, if approved, market any product candidate. Before obtaining regulatory approvals for the commercial sale of any product candidate, we must demonstrate through preclinical testing and clinical trials that, among other things, the product candidate is safe and effective for use in each target indication. This process can take many years and may include post-marketing requirements and surveillance, including the completion of pediatric clinical trials to satisfy both U.S. and EMA requirements, which will require the expenditure of substantial resources. Of the large number of drugs in development in the United States, only a small percentage successfully completes the FDA regulatory approval process and is commercialized. Accordingly, even if we are able to obtain the requisite financing to continue to fund our development and clinical programs, we cannot assure you that any of our product candidates will be successfully developed or commercialized.
We are not permitted to market any of our product candidates in the United States or in any other country until we receive the requisite approval from the applicable regulators. Obtaining requisite marketing approval in any country is a complex, lengthy, expensive and uncertain process, and the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency may delay, limit or deny approval of a Viaskin product, for many reasons, including, among others:
 
   
we may not be able to demonstrate that a product candidate is a safe and effective treatment, to the satisfaction of the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency;
 
   
the results of our clinical trials or the clinical trials conducted by third party academic institutions and included in our application package may not meet the level of statistical or clinical significance required by the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency for marketing approval;
 
   
the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency may disagree with the number, design, size, conduct or implementation of our clinical trials;
 
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the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency may require that we conduct additional clinical trials; 
 
   
the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency may not approve the formulation, labeling or specifications of a product candidate;
 
   
the clinical research organizations, or CROs, that we retain to conduct our clinical trials may take actions outside of our control that materially adversely impact our clinical trials;
 
   
the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency may find the data from pre-clinical studies and clinical trials from a product candidate insufficient to demonstrate that the clinical or other benefits of either product candidate outweighs its respective safety risks;
 
   
the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency may disagree with our analysis or interpretation of data from our pre-clinical studies and clinical trials;
 
   
the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency may not accept data generated at our clinical trial sites;
 
   
an advisory committee, or similar body, may recommend against approval of our application or may recommend that the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency require, as a condition of approval, additional pre-clinical studies or clinical trials, limitations on approved labeling or distribution and use restrictions;
 
   
the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency may require development of a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, as a condition of approval or post-approval;
 
   
the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency may restrict the use of our products to a narrow population;
 
   
the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency may not approve the manufacturing processes or facilities of our own or of third-party manufacturers with which we contract, or may issue inspectional findings that require significant expense and time to address; or
 
   
the FDA or the applicable foreign regulatory agency may change its approval policies or adopt new regulations. Any of these factors, many of which are beyond our control, could jeopardize our ability to obtain regulatory approval for and successfully market any of our product candidates based on our Viaskin technology platform. Moreover, because our business is almost entirely dependent upon Viaskin technology, any such setback in our pursuit of regulatory approval would have a material adverse effect on our business and prospects.
Our product candidates have undergone and/or will be required to undergo clinical trials that are time-consuming and expensive, the outcomes of which are unpredictable, and for which there is a high risk of failure. If clinical trials of our product candidates fail to satisfactorily demonstrate safety and efficacy to the FDA and other regulators, we, or our collaborators, may incur additional costs or experience delays in completing, or ultimately be unable to complete, the development and commercialization of these product candidates.
Pre-clinical testing and clinical trials are long, expensive and unpredictable processes that can be subject to extensive delays. We cannot guarantee that any clinical trials will be conducted as planned or completed on schedule, if at all. It may take several years to complete the pre-clinical testing and clinical development necessary to commercialize a drug or biologic, and delays or failure can occur at any stage. Interim results of clinical trials do not necessarily predict final results, and success in pre-clinical testing and early clinical trials does not ensure that later clinical trials will be successful. A number of companies in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industries have suffered significant setbacks in advanced clinical trials even after promising results in earlier trials, and we cannot be certain that we will not face similar setbacks. The design of a clinical trial can determine whether its results will support approval of a product, and flaws in the
 
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design of a clinical trial may not become apparent until the clinical trial is well advanced. An unfavorable outcome in one or more trials would be a major setback for our product candidates and for us. Due to our limited financial resources, an unfavorable outcome in one or more trials may require us to delay, reduce the scope of, or eliminate one or more product development programs, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition and on the value of our ADSs and ordinary shares.
In connection with clinical testing and trials, we face a number of risks, including:
 
   
a product candidate is ineffective, inferior to existing approved medicines, unacceptably toxic, or has unacceptable side effects;
 
   
patients may die or suffer other adverse effects for reasons that may or may not be related to the product candidate being tested, especially during the double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges;
 
   
extension studies on long-term tolerance could invalidate the use of our product, showing Viaskin does not generate a sustained protective effect;
 
   
the results may not confirm the positive results of earlier testing or trials; and
 
   
the results may not meet the level of statistical significance required by the FDA or other regulatory agencies to establish the safety and efficacy of our product candidates.
The results of pre-clinical studies do not necessarily predict clinical success, and larger and later-stage clinical trials may not produce the same results as earlier-stage clinical trials. As a result, we may not observe a similarly favorable safety and efficacy profile as our prior clinical trials. For example, in August 2020, we received a Complete Response Letter, or CRL, in which the FDA indicated it could not approve the Viaskin Peanut BLA in its current form. The FDA identified concerns regarding the impact of patch-site adhesion on efficacy and indicated the need for patch modifications, and subsequently a new human factor study. The FDA also indicated that supplementary clinical data would need to be generated to support the modified patch, and requested additional Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls, or CMC, data. We are currently engaged in discussions with the FDA in preparation for protocol submission and review for our Phase III pivotal study of the mVP patch. In addition, we cannot assure you that in the course of potential widespread use in future, some drawbacks would not appear in maintaining production quality, protein stability or allergenic strength. Frequently, product candidates developed by pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have shown promising results in early pre-clinical studies or clinical trials,but have subsequently suffered significant setbacks or failed in later clinical trials. In addition, clinical trials of potential products often reveal that it is not possible or practical to continue development efforts for these product candidates.
If we do not successfully complete pre-clinical and clinical development, we will be unable to market and sell our product candidates and generate revenues. Even if we do successfully complete clinical trials, those results are not necessarily predictive of results of additional trials that may be needed before a marketing application may be submitted to the FDA or an applicable foreign regulatory agency. Although there are a large number of drugs and biologics in development in the United States and other countries, only a small percentage result in the submission of a marketing application to a regulatory agency, such as an NDA or a BLA to the FDA, even fewer are approved for commercialization, and only a small number achieve widespread physician and consumer acceptance following regulatory approval. If our clinical trials are substantially delayed or fail to prove the safety and effectiveness of our product candidates in development, we may not receive regulatory approval of any of these product candidates and our business and financial condition will be materially harmed.
In our clinical trials, we utilize an oral food challenge procedure intentionally designed to trigger an allergic reaction, which could be severe or life-threatening.
In accordance with our food allergy clinical trial protocols, we utilize a double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge procedure. This consists of giving the offending food protein to patients to assess the sensitivity of
 
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their food allergy, and thus evaluate the safety and efficacy of our product candidates versus placebo. The food challenge protocol is meant to induce objective symptoms of an allergic reaction. These oral food challenge procedures can potentially trigger anaphylaxis or potentially life-threatening systemic allergic reactions. Even though these procedures are well-controlled, standardized and performed in highly specialized centers with intensive care units, there are inherent risks in conducting a trial of this nature. An uncontrolled allergic reaction could potentially lead to serious or even fatal reactions. Any such serious clinical event could potentially adversely affect our clinical development timelines, including a complete clinical hold on our food allergy clinical trials. We may also become liable to patients who participate in our clinical trials and experience any such serious or fatal reactions. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, stock price or financial condition.
Delays, suspensions and terminations in our clinical trials could result in increased costs to us and delay or prevent our ability to generate revenues.
Human clinical trials are very expensive, time-consuming, and difficult to design, implement and complete. The completion of trials for Viaskin Peanut or our other product candidates may be delayed for a variety of reasons, including delays in:
 
   
demonstrating sufficient safety and efficacy to obtain regulatory approval to commence a clinical trial;
 
   
reaching agreement on acceptable terms with prospective CROs, and clinical trial sites;
 
   
validating test methods to support quality testing of the drug substance and drug product;
 
   
obtaining sufficient quantities of the drug substance or other materials necessary to conduct clinical trials;
 
   
manufacturing sufficient quantities of a product candidate;
 
   
obtaining permission to proceed from the FDA under an investigational new drug, or IND, application, or foreign equivalent approval from regulatory authorities outside the United States;
 
   
obtaining institutional review board, or IRB, or independent ethics committee approval to conduct a clinical trial at a prospective clinical trial site;
 
   
determining dosing and clinical design and making related adjustments; and
 
   
patient enrollment, which is a function of many factors, including the size of the patient population, the nature of the protocol, the proximity of patients to clinical trial sites, the availability of effective treatments for the relevant disease and the eligibility criteria for the clinical trial, and which has been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The commencement and completion of clinical trials for our product candidates may be delayed, suspended or terminated due to a number of factors, including:
 
   
lack of effectiveness of product candidates during clinical trials;
 
   
adverse events, safety issues or side effects relating to the product candidates or their formulation;
 
   
serious adverse events relating to the double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge procedure when testing patients for the sensitivity of their allergies;
 
   
inability to raise additional capital in sufficient amounts to continue clinical trials or development programs, which are very expensive;
 
   
the need to sequence clinical trials as opposed to conducting them concomitantly in order to conserve resources;
 
   
our inability to enter into collaborations relating to the development and commercialization of our product candidates;
 
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failure by us or our collaborators to conduct clinical trials in accordance with regulatory requirements;
 
   
our inability or the inability of our collaborators to manufacture or obtain from third parties materials sufficient for use in pre-clinical studies and clinical trials;
 
   
governmental or regulatory delays and changes in regulatory requirements, policy and guidelines, including mandated changes in the scope or design of clinical trials or requests for supplemental information with respect to clinical trial results;
 
   
failure of our collaborators to advance our product candidates through clinical development;
 
   
delays in patient enrollment, variability in the number and types of patients available for clinical trials, and lower-than anticipated retention rates for patients in clinical trials;
 
   
difficulty in patient monitoring and data collection due to failure of patients to maintain contact after treatment;
 
   
a regional disturbance where we or our collaborative partners are enrolling patients in our clinical trials, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic or any other pandemic, terrorist activities or war, or a natural disaster; and
 
   
varying interpretations of our data, and regulatory commitments and requirements by the FDA and similar foreign regulatory agencies.
Many of these factors may also ultimately lead to denial of our marketing applications for our product candidates. If we experience delay, suspensions or terminations in a clinical trial, the commercial prospects for the related product candidate will be harmed, and our ability to generate product revenues will be delayed or such revenues could be reduced or fail to materialize.
In addition, we may encounter delays or product candidate rejections based on new governmental regulations, future legislative or administrative actions, or changes in FDA or other similar foreign regulatory agency policy or interpretation during the period of product development. If we obtain required regulatory approvals, such approvals may later be withdrawn. Delays or failures in obtaining regulatory approvals may result in:
 
   
varying interpretations of data and commitments by the FDA and similar foreign regulatory agencies; and
 
   
diminishment of any competitive advantages that such product candidates may have or attain.
Furthermore, if we fail to comply with applicable FDA and other regulatory requirements at any stage during this regulatory process, we may encounter or be subject to:
 
   
diminishment of any competitive advantages that such product candidates may have or attain;
 
   
delays or termination in clinical trials or commercialization;
 
   
refusal by the FDA or similar foreign regulatory agencies to review pending applications or supplements to approved applications;
 
   
product recalls or seizures;
 
   
suspension of manufacturing;
 
   
withdrawals of previously approved marketing applications; and
 
   
fines, civil penalties, and criminal prosecutions.
If our product candidates are not approved by the FDA, we will be unable to commercialize them in the United States.
The FDA must approve any new drug or biologic before it can be commercialized, marketed, promoted or sold in the United States. We must provide the FDA with data from pre-clinical studies and clinical trials that demonstrate that, among other things, our product candidates are safe and effective for a defined indication
 
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before they can be approved for commercial distribution. Clinical testing is expensive, difficult to design and implement, can take many years to complete and is inherently uncertain as to outcome. We must provide data to ensure the identity, strength, quality and purity of the drug substance and drug product. Also, we must assure the FDA that the characteristics and performance of the clinical batches will be replicated consistently in the commercial batches. We will not obtain approval for a product candidate unless and until the FDA approves a BLA, if at all.
The processes by which regulatory approvals are obtained from the FDA to market and sell a new or repositioned product are complex, require a number of years and involve the expenditure of substantial resources. We have already experienced several setbacks and delays in our previously anticipated ability to obtain FDA approval of Viaskin Peanut, and we may experience additional delays in the future. We cannot assure you that any of our product candidates will receive FDA approval in the future, and the time for receipt of any such approval is currently incapable of estimation.
A fast track designation by the FDA may not actually lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process, and it does not increase the likelihood that our product candidates will receive marketing approval.
We have obtained fast track designation from the FDA for the development of Viaskin Peanut and Viaskin Milk in pediatric populations, and we may pursue that designation for other product candidates as well. If a product is intended for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening condition and nonclinical or clinical data demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs for this condition, the sponsor may apply for FDA fast track designation. The FDA has broad discretion to grant this designation, and even if we believe our product candidates are eligible for this designation, we cannot be sure that the FDA would decide to grant it. Even if we do have fast track designation, we may not experience a faster development process, review or approval compared to conventional FDA procedures. A fast track designation affords the possibility of rolling review, enabling the FDA to review portions of our marketing application before submission of a complete application, and priority review if supported by clinical data at the time of our BLA submission. The FDA may withdraw fast track designation if it believes that the designation is no longer supported by data from our clinical development program.
The approval process outside the United States varies among countries and may limit our ability to develop, manufacture and sell our products internationally. Failure to obtain marketing approval in international jurisdictions would prevent our product candidates from being marketed abroad.
In order to market and sell our product candidates in the European Union and many other jurisdictions, we, and our collaborators, must obtain separate marketing approvals and comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements. The approval procedure varies among countries and may involve additional testing.
We may, in the future, conduct clinical trials for, and seek regulatory approval to market, product
candidates in countries other than the United States. Depending on the results of clinical trials and the process for obtaining regulatory approvals in other countries, we may decide to first seek regulatory approvals of a product candidate in countries other than the United States, or we may simultaneously seek regulatory approvals in the United States and other countries. If we or our collaborators seek marketing approvals for a product candidate outside the United States, we will be subject to the regulatory requirements of health authorities in each country in which we seek approvals. With respect to marketing authorizations in Europe, we will be required to submit an MAA to the EMA which conducts a validation and scientific approval process in evaluating a product for safety and efficacy. The approval procedure varies among regions and countries and may involve additional testing, and the time required to obtain approvals may differ from that required to obtain FDA approval.
Pursuing regulatory approvals from health authorities in countries outside the United States is likely to subject us to all of the risks associated with pursuing FDA approval described above. In addition, marketing approval by the
 
45

FDA does not ensure approval by the health authorities of any other country, and approval by foreign health authorities does not ensure marketing approval by the FDA.
Even if we, or our collaborators, obtain marketing approvals for our product candidates, the terms of approvals and ongoing regulation of our products may limit how we or they market our products, which could materially impair our ability to generate revenue.
Even if we receive regulatory approval for Viaskin Peanut or any of our other product candidates, this approval may carry conditions that limit the market for the product or put the product at a competitive disadvantage relative to alternative therapies. For instance, a regulatory approval may limit the indicated uses for which we can market a product or limit the patient population that may utilize the product or require a product to carry a warning in its labeling and on its packaging. Products with boxed warnings are subject to more restrictive advertising regulations than products without such warnings. These restrictions could make it more difficult to market any product candidate effectively. Accordingly, assuming we, or our collaborators, receive marketing approval for Viaskin Peanut or any of our other product candidates, we and our collaborators will continue to expend time, money and effort in all areas of regulatory compliance.
Any of our product candidates for which we, or our collaborators, obtain marketing approval in the future could be subject to post-marketing restrictions or withdrawal from the market and we, and our collaborators, may be subject to substantial penalties if we, or they, fail to comply with regulatory requirements or if we, or they, experience unanticipated problems with our products following approval.
Any of our product candidates for which we, or our collaborators, obtain marketing approval in the future, as well as the manufacturing processes, post-marketing requirements and commitments, labeling, advertising and promotional activities for such products, among other things, will be subject to continual requirements of and review by the FDA and other regulatory authorities. These requirements include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information and reports, registration and listing requirements, requirements relating to manufacturing, quality control, quality assurance and corresponding maintenance of records and documents and requirements regarding the distribution of samples to physicians and recordkeeping. Even if marketing approval of a product candidate is granted, the approval will be subject to limitations on the indicated uses for which the product may be marketed or may be subject to other conditions of approval, including the FDA requirement to implement a REMS to ensure that the benefits of a drug or biological product outweigh its risks.
The FDA or foreign regulatory authorities may also impose requirements for costly post-marketing studies or clinical trials and surveillance to monitor the safety or efficacy of a product, such as long-term observational studies on natural exposure. The FDA and other agencies, including the Department of Justice, closely regulate and monitor the post-approval marketing and promotion of products to ensure that they are manufactured, marketed, and distributed only for the approved indications and in accordance with the provisions of the approved labeling. The FDA imposes stringent restrictions on manufacturers’ communications regarding off-label use and if we, or our collaborators, market any of our product candidates for which we, or they, receive marketing approval for treatment other than their approved indications, we, or they, may be subject to warnings or enforcement action for off-label marketing. Violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or FDCA, and other statutes, including the False Claims Act, relating to the promotion and advertising of prescription drugs may lead to investigations or allegations of violations of federal and state health care fraud and abuse laws and state consumer protection laws.
If we do not achieve our projected development and commercialization goals in the timeframes we announce and expect, the commercialization of our product candidates may be delayed, and our business will be harmed.
We sometimes estimate the timing of the accomplishment of various scientific, clinical, regulatory, and other product development objectives for planning purposes. These milestones may include our expectations regarding the commencement or completion of scientific studies, clinical trials, the submission of regulatory filings, or
 
46

commercialization objectives. From time to time, we may publicly announce the expected timing of some of these milestones, such as the completion of an ongoing clinical trial, the initiation of other clinical programs, receipt of marketing approval, or a commercial launch of a product. The achievement of many of these milestones may be outside of our control. All of these milestones are based on a variety of assumptions which may cause the timing of achievement of the milestones to vary considerably from our estimates, including:
 
   
our available capital resources or capital constraints we experience;
 
   
our receipt of approvals, if any, by the FDA and other regulatory agencies and the timing thereof;
 
   
the rate of progress, costs and results of our clinical trials and research and development activities, including the extent of scheduling conflicts with participating clinicians and collaborators, and our ability to identify and enroll patients who meet clinical trial eligibility criteria;
 
   
other actions, decisions or rules issued by regulators;
 
   
our ability to access sufficient, reliable and affordable supplies of compounds used in the manufacture of our product candidates;
 
   
the efforts of our collaborators with respect to the commercialization of our products;
 
   
the securing of, costs related to, and timing issues associated with, product manufacturing, as well as sales and marketing activities; and
 
   
impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
If we fail to achieve announced milestones in the timeframes we expect, the commercialization of our product candidates may be delayed, our business and results of operations may be harmed, the trading price of the ADSs or ordinary shares may decline.
Access to raw materials and products necessary for the conduct of clinical trials, for commercialization, if approved, and manufacturing of our product candidates and product, if any, is not guaranteed.
We are dependent on third parties for the supply of various materials, chemical or biological products that are necessary to produce patches for our clinical trials or diagnosis patches, and will be necessary to produce patches for our commercial supply, if Viaskin Peanut is approved. The supply of these materials could be reduced or interrupted at any time, including as a result of shelter-in-place, stay-at-home or similar orders or other impacts due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In such case, we may not be able to find other suppliers of acceptable materials in appropriate quantities at an acceptable cost. If key suppliers or manufacturers are lost or the supply of materials is diminished or discontinued, we may not be able to continue to develop, manufacture and market our product candidates or products, if any, in a timely and competitive manner. In addition, these materials are subject to stringent manufacturing processes and rigorous testing. Delays in the completion and validation of facilities and manufacturing processes of these materials could adversely affect our ability to complete trials and commercialize our products, if any, in a cost-effective and timely manner. To prevent such situations, we intend to diversify our supply sources by identifying at a minimum a second source of supply for critical raw materials and materials, such as natural protein and polymer film with a titanium coating. If we encounter difficulties in the supply of these materials, chemicals or biological products, if we were not able to maintain our supply agreements or establish new agreements to develop and manufacture our products in the future, our business, prospects, financial condition, results and development could be significantly affected.
Relying on third-party manufacturers may result in delays in our clinical development or commercialization efforts.
Developing and commercializing new medicines entails significant risks and expenses. Our clinical trials may be delayed if third-party manufacturers are unable to assure a sufficient quantity of the drug product to meet our study needs. Currently, we have only one manufacturer, Sanofi S.A., or Sanofi, of the active pharmaceutical ingredients, or API, used in our Viaskin product candidates, including Viaskin Peanut, such as peanut protein extract and unmodified allergen milk extract. In February 2020, Sanofi announced that it plans to create a new
 
47

company dedicated to the production and marketing to third parties of API, which will consolidate Sanofi’s API commercial and development activities currently conducted in six of its European API production sites. While those API sites do not include the site in which the API used in our Viaskin product candidates is produced, there can be no assurances that this transition will not adversely impact our supply of API from Sanofi. If Sanofi does not continue to manufacture the API as required by us in a timely manner, we may not be able to find a substitute manufacturer on a timely basis and our commercialization efforts and clinic trials may be delayed. Further, we are aware that Sanofi has entered into a clinical collaboration with Regeneron and Aimmune Therapeutics, to evaluate treatment with Palforzia in combination with Dupilumab in peanut allergic patients, and commenced a Phase II clinical trial in October 2018 under this collaboration. This potential competitive dynamic may make Sanofi less inclined to continue or renew their manufacturing arrangement with us on commercially reasonable terms or at all and, notwithstanding contractual protections, Sanofi may be able to utilize knowledge gained through their relationship with us in furtherance of their development of competitive therapies.
We also expect to rely on Sanofi or other third-party manufacturers for the manufacturing of commercial supply of Viaskin Peanut, if approved, and any other product for which we obtain regulatory approval. Sanofi may not be able to effectively scale its manufacturing capacity of our API to meet our commercialization needs and we may be unable to establish any agreements with other third-party manufacturers or to do so on acceptable terms. Even if Sanofi is able to meet our commercialization needs or if we are able to establish agreements with other third-party manufacturers, reliance on third-party manufacturers entails additional risks, including:
 
   
reliance on the third party for regulatory compliance and quality assurance;
 
   
the possible breach of the manufacturing agreement by the third party;
 
   
the possible misappropriation of our proprietary information, including our trade secrets and know-how; and
 
   
the possible termination or non-renewal of the agreement by the third party at a time that is costly or inconvenient for us.
Once regulatory approval is obtained, a marketed product and its manufacturer are subject to continual review. The discovery of previously unknown problems with a product or manufacturer may result in restrictions on the product, manufacturer or manufacturing facility, including withdrawal of the product from the market. Any manufacturers with which we contract are required to operate in accordance with FDA-mandated current good manufacturing practices, or cGMPs. A failure of any of our contract manufacturers to establish and follow cGMPs and to document their adherence to such practices may lead to significant delays in the launch of products based on our product candidates into the market. Moreover, the constituent parts of a combination product retain their regulatory status (as a biologic or device, for example) and, as such, we or our contract manufacturers may be subject to additional requirements in the Quality System Regulation, or QSR, applicable to medical devices, such as design controls, purchasing controls, and corrective and preventive action. Failure by third-party manufacturers to comply with applicable regulations could result in sanctions being imposed on us, including fines, injunctions, civil penalties, revocation or suspension of marketing approval for any products granted pre-market approvals, seizures or recalls of products, operating restrictions, and criminal prosecutions.
Our current and anticipated future dependence upon others for the manufacture of our product candidates or products, if approved, may adversely affect our future profit margins and our ability to commercialize any products that receive marketing approval on a timely and competitive basis.
Our Viaskin product candidates may not be able to be manufactured profitably on a large enough scale to support commercialization.
To date, our Viaskin product candidates have only been manufactured at a scale which is adequate to supply our research activities and clinical trials. There can be no assurance that the procedures currently used to manufacture our product candidates will work at a scale which is adequate for commercial needs and we may encounter
 
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difficulties in the production of Viaskin patches due to our or our partners’ manufacturing capabilities. For example, in large-scale use, there is a possibility that our electrospray manufacturing tool, ES GEN4.0, may have issues related to maintenance of production quality, protein stability, and allergenicity. Additionally, during production, the containment of the electrospray function and the use of the allergen in liquid form keep the environment from being contaminated by the allergens. However, if there is a malfunction in the handling or storage phases or during the production phases, allergens could be released into the atmosphere and sensitize anyone present in the environment. We have not built commercial-scale manufacturing facilities, and we have limited manufacturing experience with Viaskin patches.
Additionally, while the production process was developed in strict compliance with current regulations, due to the originality of the product, we cannot predict if European or U.S. regulatory authorities will make new regulations applicable to our production process, or if we will have any future disagreements with such regulatory authorities regarding our interpretation of the regulatory requirements.
We rely on a single supplier to produce, or contract for the production of, active ingredients for our clinical trials and for our commercial supplies of any future approved products. Even if we were to obtain access to quantities of active ingredients sufficient to allow us otherwise to expand our Viaskin manufacturing capabilities, we may not be able to produce sufficient quantities of the product at an acceptable cost, or at all. In the event our Viaskin product candidates cannot be manufactured in sufficient quantities for commercialization, our future prospects could be significantly impacted and our financial prospects would be materially harmed.
We or the third parties upon whom we depend may be adversely affected by earthquakes, other natural disasters or outbreaks of contagious diseases and our business continuity and disaster recovery plans may not adequately protect us from a serious disaster.
Earthquakes, other natural disasters or an outbreak of a contagious disease, such as COVID-19, could severely disrupt our operations, and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects. If a natural disaster, power outage or other event occurred that prevented us from using all or a significant portion of our facilities or infrastructure, that damaged critical infrastructure, such as the manufacturing facilities of our third-party contract manufacturers, or that otherwise disrupted operations, it may be difficult or, in certain cases, impossible for us to continue our business for a substantial period of time. The disaster recovery and business continuity plans we have in place may prove inadequate in the event of a serious disaster or similar event. We may incur substantial expenses as a result of the limited nature of our disaster recovery and business continuity plans, which, particularly when taken together with our lack of earthquake insurance, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
We rely, and will rely in the future, on third parties to conduct our clinical trials and perform data collection and analysis, which may result in costs and delays that prevent us from successfully commercializing product candidates.
We rely, and will rely in the future, on medical institutions, clinical investigators, CROs, contract laboratories and collaborators to perform data collection and analysis and others to carry out our clinical trials. Our development activities or clinical trials conducted in reliance on third parties may be delayed, suspended, or terminated if:
 
   
the third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties or fail to meet regulatory obligations or expected deadlines;
 
   
we replace a third party; or
 
   
the quality or accuracy of the data obtained by third parties is compromised due to their failure to adhere to clinical protocols, regulatory requirements, or for other reasons.
Third party performance failures may increase our development costs, delay our ability to obtain regulatory approval, and delay or prevent the commercialization of our product candidates. While we believe that there are
 
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numerous alternative sources to provide these services, in the event that we seek such alternative sources, we may not be able to enter into replacement arrangements without incurring delays or additional costs.
Even if collaborators with which we contract in the future successfully complete clinical trials of our product candidates, those candidates may not be commercialized successfully for other reasons.
Even if we contract with collaborators that successfully complete clinical trials for one or more of our product candidates, those candidates may not be commercialized for other reasons, including:
 
   
failing to receive regulatory approval to market them as drugs;
 
   
being subject to proprietary rights held by others;
 
   
failing to obtain approval from regulatory authorities on the manufacturing of our products;
 
   
being difficult or expensive to manufacture on a commercial scale;
 
   
having adverse side effects that make their use less desirable;
 
   
failing to compete effectively with products or treatments commercialized by competitors; or
 
   
failing to show long-term risk/benefit ratio of our products.
Currently, we do not have commercial-ready marketing and sales infrastructure . If we are unable to establish effective sales or marketing capabilities or enter into agreements with third parties to sell or market our product candidates, we may not be able to effectively sell or market our product candidates, if approved, or generate product revenues.
We currently have a limited commercial infrastructure. To achieve commercial success for any approved product candidate for which we retain sales and marketing responsibilities, we must build our sales, marketing, managerial, and other non-technical capabilities or make arrangements with third parties to perform these services. For example, we are planning to hire sales representatives for the marketing of Viaskin Peanut in the United States, if approved. There are risks involved with both establishing our own sales and marketing capabilities and entering into arrangements with third parties to perform these services. For example, recruiting and training a sales force is expensive and time consuming and could delay any product launch. If the commercial launch of a product candidate for which we recruit a sales force and establish marketing capabilities is delayed or does not occur for any reason, we would have prematurely or unnecessarily incurred these commercialization expenses. This may be costly, and our investment would be lost if we cannot retain or reposition our sales and marketing personnel.
Factors that may inhibit our efforts to commercialize our product candidates on our own include:
 
   
our inability to recruit, hire, retain and incentivize adequate numbers of effective sales and marketing personnel;
 
   
the inability of sales personnel to obtain access to physicians or persuade adequate numbers of physicians to prescribe any future products;
 
   
the lack of complementary products to be offered by sales personnel, which may put us at a competitive disadvantage relative to companies with more extensive product lines; and
 
   
unforeseen costs and expenses associated with establishing an independent sales and marketing organization.
If we enter into arrangements with third parties to perform sales, marketing and distribution services for the commercialization of Viaskin Peanut in the United States or the European Union, if approved, our product revenues or the profitability of these product revenues to us are likely to be lower than if we were to market and
 
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sell any product candidates that we develop ourselves. In addition, we may not be successful in entering into arrangements with third parties to sell and market Viaskin Peanut or any of our other product candidates or may be unable to do so when needed or on terms that are favorable to us. We likely will have more limited control over such third parties, and any of them may fail to devote the necessary resources and attention to sell and market our product candidates effectively, or they may fail to comply with promotional requirements for prescription products that could render our products misbranded in violation of government regulations and thus potentially subject to enforcement. If we do not establish sales and marketing capabilities successfully, either on our own or in collaboration with third parties, we will not be successful in commercializing Viaskin Peanut or any of our other product candidates that receive marketing approval, or any such commercialization may experience delays or limitations. If we are not successful in commercializing Viaskin Peanut or any of our other product candidates, either on our own or through collaborations with one or more third parties, our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects will be materially and adversely affected.
Our product candidates are regulated as biological products, or biologics, which may subject them to competition sooner than anticipated.
The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, or BPCIA, established an abbreviated licensure pathway for biological products shown to be biosimilar to, or interchangeable with, an FDA-licensed biological reference product. “Biosimilarity” means that the biological product is highly similar to the reference product notwithstanding minor differences in clinically inactive components and there are no clinically meaningful differences between the biological product and the reference product in terms of safety, purity, and potency of the product. To meet the higher standard of “interchangeability,” an applicant must provide sufficient information to show biosimilarity and demonstrate that the biological product can be expected to produce the same clinical result as the reference product in any given patient and, if the biological product is administrated more than once to an individual, the risk in terms of safety or diminished efficacy of alternating or switching between the use of the biological product and the reference product is not greater than the risk of using the reference product without such alternation or switch.
Under the BPCIA, an application for a biosimilar or interchangeable product cannot be approved by the FDA until 12 years after the reference product was first licensed, and the FDA will not even accept an application for review until four years after the date of first licensure. The law is evolving, complex and is still being interpreted and implemented by the FDA. As a result, its ultimate impact, implementation, and meaning are subject to uncertainty and could have a material adverse effect on the future commercial prospects for our biological products.
We believe that any of our product candidates approved as a biological product under a BLA should qualify for the 12-year period of exclusivity. However, there is a risk that this exclusivity could be shortened due to congressional action or otherwise, potentially creating the opportunity for biosimilar or interchangeable competition sooner than anticipated. Moreover, the process by which an interchangeable product, once approved, will be substituted for any one of our reference products in a way that is similar to traditional generic substitution for non-biological products (
i.e.
, drugs) is not yet clear, and will depend on a number of marketplace and regulatory factors that are still developing and subject to interpretation.
Even if any of our product candidates are commercialized, they may not be accepted by physicians, patients, or the medical community in general. Even if we, or our collaborators, are able to commercialize our product candidates, the products may become subject to market conditions that could harm our business.
Even if the medical community accepts a product as safe and efficacious for its indicated use, physicians may choose to restrict the use of the product if we or any collaborator is unable to demonstrate that, based on experience, clinical data, side-effect profiles and other factors, our product is preferable to any existing drugs or
 
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treatments. We cannot predict the degree of market acceptance of any product candidate that receives marketing approval, which will depend on a number of factors, including, but not limited to:
 
   
the demonstration of the clinical efficacy and safety of the product;
 
   
the approved labeling for the product and any required warnings;
 
   
the advantages and disadvantages of the product compared to alternative treatments;
 
   
our and any collaborator’s ability to educate the medical community about the safety and effectiveness of the product;
 
   
the coverage and reimbursement policies of government and commercial third-party payors pertaining to the product;
 
   
the market price of our product relative to competing treatments; and
 
   
our ability to effectively implement a scientific publication strategy.
We face substantial competition from companies with considerably more resources and experience than we have, which may result in others discovering, developing, receiving approval for, or commercializing products before or more successfully than us.
The biopharmaceuticals industry is highly competitive. Numerous biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, universities and other research entities are actively involved in the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutic options to treat allergies, making it a highly competitive field. We have competitors in several jurisdictions, many of which have substantially greater name recognition, commercial infrastructures and financial, technical and personnel resources than we have. Although we believe we are currently in a unique position with respect to the testing and treatment of food allergies in children, established competitors may invest heavily to quickly discover and develop novel compounds that could make any of our product candidates obsolete or uneconomical. Any new product that competes with an approved product may need to demonstrate compelling advantages in efficacy, convenience, tolerability and safety to be commercially successful. Other competitive factors, including generic competition, could force us to lower prices or could result in reduced sales. In addition, new products developed by others could emerge as competitors to any of our product candidates. If we are not able to compete effectively against our current and future competitors, our business will not grow and our financial condition and operations will suffer.
In the case of food allergies, we are aware of several food allergy academic studies and pharmaceutical developmental efforts connected with such studies that are currently being conducted in major medical centers and hospitals worldwide. These studies are evaluating forms of allergen desensitization treatments such as oral, or OIT, sublingual or SLIT, subcutaneous, or SCIT; or intranasal immunotherapy, or products using synthetic allergens, or denatured allergens, medicinal herbs, or combinations of medicines or methods, or medicines using traditional methods such as Chinese herbs.
Studies combining other methods of allergen immunotherapy, such as OIT, with anti-IgE monoclonal antibodies treatments are being conducted currently. These types of co-administrations may significantly improve the safety of specific allergen immunotherapies administered orally or subcutaneously. In addition, the use of monoclonal antibodies as monotherapy for certain food allergies, including peanut allergy, is being studied in clinical trials. Monoclonal antibodies, used alone or in combination with allergen immunotherapy, may become significant competitors with to our products.
There is one FDA- and EMA-approved treatment for peanut allergy: Palforzia, a formulation of peanut flour developed by Aimmune Therapeutics, Inc., or Aimmune. Nestlé S.A., with whom we have an existing license and collaboration agreement, acquired Aimmune in October 2020. Aimmune continues to function as a stand- alone business unit that will manage all of Nestlé’s global pharmaceutical business.
 
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Government restrictions on pricing and reimbursement, as well as other healthcare payor cost-containment initiatives, may negatively impact our ability to generate revenues if we obtain regulatory approval to market a product.
The continuing efforts of the government, insurance companies, managed care organizations and other payors of healthcare costs to contain or reduce costs of healthcare may adversely affect one or more of the following:
 
   
our ability or our collaborators’ ability to set a price we believe is fair for our products, if approved;
 
   
our ability or our collaborators’ ability to obtain and maintain market acceptance by the medical community and patients;
 
   
our ability to generate revenues and achieve profitability; and
 
   
the availability of capital.
Sales of our products, when and if approved for marketing, will depend, in part, on the extent to which our products will be covered by third-party payors, such as federal, state, and foreign government health care programs, commercial insurance and managed healthcare organizations. There may be significant delays in obtaining coverage and reimbursement for newly approved products, and coverage may be more limited than the purposes for which the drug is approved by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. Moreover, eligibility for coverage and reimbursement does not imply that a product will be paid for in all cases or at a rate that covers our costs, including research, development, manufacture, sales and distribution. Third-party payors are increasingly reducing reimbursements for medical products, drugs and services. In addition, the U.S. government, state legislatures and foreign governments have continued implementing cost containment programs, including price controls, restrictions on coverage and reimbursement and requirements for substitution of generic products. Adoption of price controls and cost containment measures, and adoption of more restrictive policies in jurisdictions with existing controls and measures, could further limit our net revenue and results. Limited third-party reimbursement for our product candidates or a decision by a third-party payor not to cover our product candidates could reduce physician usage of our products once approved and have a material adverse effect on our sales, results of operations and financial condition.
Various provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, or collectively, the ACA, were designed to impact the provision of, or payment for, health care in the United States, including expanded Medicaid eligibility, subsidized insurance premiums, provided incentives for businesses to provide health care benefits, prohibited denials of coverage due to pre- existing conditions, established health insurance exchanges, and provided additional support for medical research. With regard to biopharmaceutical products, among other things, the ACA expanded and increased industry rebates for drugs covered under Medicaid programs and made changes to the coverage requirements under the Medicare prescription drug benefit. However, there have been executive, judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the ACA. For example, on December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, or Tax Act, which includes a provision repealing the individual mandate to maintain health insurance coverage under the ACA effective January 1, 2019. In addition, the 2020 federal spending package permanently eliminated, effective January 1, 2020, the ACA-mandated “Cadillac” tax on high-cost employer- sponsored health coverage and medical device tax and, effective January 1, 2021, also eliminates the health insurer tax. On June 17, 2021 the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge on procedural grounds that argued the ACA is unconstitutional in its entirety because the “individual mandate” was repealed by Congress. Thus, the ACA will remain in effect in its current form. Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, on January 28, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order that initiated a special enrollment period for purposes of obtaining health insurance coverage through the ACA marketplace. The executive order also instructed certain governmental agencies to review and reconsider their existing policies and rules that limit access to healthcare, including among others, reexamining Medicaid demonstration projects and waiver programs that include work requirements, and policies that create unnecessary barriers to obtaining access to health insurance coverage through Medicaid or the ACA. It is possible that the ACA will be subject to judicial or
 
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Congressional challenges in the future. It is unclear how such challenges and the healthcare reform measures of the Biden administration will impact the ACA.
Following ACA, both the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, or the ATRA, include, among other things, mandatory reductions in Medicare payments to certain providers. Additionally, in the United States, there have been several recent Congressional inquiries and federal and state legislative activity designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drugs. At the federal level, the Trump administration used several means to propose or implement drug pricing reform, including through federal budget proposals, executive orders and policy initiatives. For example, on July 24, 2020 and September 13, 2020, the Trump administration announced several executive orders related to prescription drug pricing that seek to implement several of the administration’s proposals. As a result, the FDA concurrently released a final rule and guidance in September 2020 providing pathways for states to build and submit importation plans for drugs from Canada. Further, on November 20, 2020, HHS finalized a regulation removing safe harbor protection for price reductions from pharmaceutical manufacturers to plan sponsors under Medicare Part D, either directly or through pharmacy benefit managers, unless the price reduction is required by law. The implementation of the rule has been delayed by the Biden administration from January 1, 2022 to January 1, 2023. The rule also creates a new safe harbor for price reductions reflected at the point-of-sale, as well as a new safe harbor for certain fixed fee arrangements between pharmacy benefit managers and manufacturers, the implementation of which have also been delayed until January 1, 2023. On November 20, 2020, CMS issued an interim final rule implementing the Trump administration’s Most Favored Nation executive order, which would tie Medicare Part B payments for certain physician-administered drugs to the lowest price paid in other economically advanced countries, effective January 1, 2021. As a result of litigation challenging the Most Favored Nation model, on December 27, 2021, CMS published a final rule that rescinded the Most Favored Nation model interim final rule. In July 2021, the Biden administration released an executive order, “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” with multiple provisions aimed at prescription drugs. In response to Biden’s executive order, on September 9, 2021, HHS released a Comprehensive Plan for Addressing High Drug Prices that outlines principles for drug pricing reform and sets out a variety of potential legislative policies that Congress could pursue as well as potential administrative actions HHS can take to advance these principles. No legislation or administrative actions have been finalized to implement these principles. It is unclear whether these or similar policy initiatives will be implemented in the future. 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. It is also possible that additional governmental action is taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional legislative proposals to reform healthcare and government insurance programs, along with the trend toward managed healthcare in the United States, could influence the purchase of medicines and reduce demand and prices for our products, if approved. This could harm our or our collaborators’ ability to market any products and generate revenues. Cost containment measures that healthcare payors and providers are instituting and the effect of further healthcare reform could significantly reduce potential revenues from the sale of any of our product candidates approved in the future, and could cause an increase in our compliance, manufacturing, or other operating expenses.
In some foreign countries, the proposed pricing for a drug must be approved before it may be lawfully marketed. In addition, in certain foreign markets, the pricing of prescription drugs is subject to government control and reimbursement may in some cases be unavailable. The requirements governing drug pricing vary widely from country to country. For example, the European Union provides options for its member states to restrict the range of medicinal products for which their national health insurance systems provide reimbursement and to control the prices of medicinal products for human use. A member state may approve a specific price for a medicinal
 
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product or it may instead adopt a system of direct or indirect controls on the profitability of the company placing the medicinal product on the market. There can be no assurance that any country that has price controls or reimbursement limitations for biopharmaceutical products will allow favorable reimbursement and pricing arrangements for any of our products. Historically, biopharmaceutical products launched in the European Union do not follow price structures of the United States and generally tend to have significantly lower prices. We believe that pricing pressures at the federal and state levels in the United States, as well as internationally, will continue and may increase, which may make it difficult for us to sell our potential products that may be approved in the future at a price acceptable to us or any of our future collaborators.
Guidelines and recommendations published by various organizations may impact the use or reimbursement of Viaskin Peanut, if approved.
Government agencies promulgate regulations and guidelines that may be directly applicable to us and any approved products. However, professional societies, practice management groups, insurance carriers, physicians’ groups, private health and science foundations and organizations involved in various diseases also publish guidelines and recommendations to healthcare providers, administrators and payors, as well as patient communities.
Recommendations by government agencies or other groups and organizations may relate to such matters as usage, dosage, route of administration and use of related therapies, and a growing number of organizations are providing assessments of the value and pricing of pharmaceutical products. These assessments may come from private organizations, such as the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, or ICER, which publish their findings and offer recommendations relating to the products’ reimbursement by government and private payors. In July 2019, ICER published its final report assessing the comparative clinical effectiveness and value of treatments for peanut allergy, including Viaskin Peanut and a competitor product candidate. The results of this or future ICER report or any similar recommendations or guidelines may affect our reputation, and any recommendations or guidelines that result in decreased use or reimbursement of Viaskin Peanut, if approved, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, the occurrence of any of the foregoing, or the perception by the investment community or shareholders that such recommendations or guidelines will result in decreased use or reimbursement of Viaskin Peanut, if approved, could adversely affect the market price of our securities.
Our product candidates may cause undesirable side effects that could delay or prevent their regulatory approval, limit the commercial profile of an approved label, or result in significant negative consequences following marketing approval, if any.
Our product candidates are being developed to address the needs of severely allergic patients, for some of whom they can have a profound and life-threatening adverse reaction if exposed to even minute amounts of an allergen. Accordingly, safety is of paramount importance in developing these product candidates. To date, more than ten clinical trials of Viaskin Peanut and Viaskin Milk product candidates have been conducted both outside and inside of the United States in over 1,000 human patients to evaluate the safety and efficacy of these product candidates for the treatment of peanut allergies and milk allergies, respectively. Adverse events observed in these clinical trials have primarily involved general disorders such skin and subcutaneous tissue, immune system and administration site conditions, such as erythema, pruritus, edema and urticaria. However, in clinical trials to date, one case of mild to moderate anaphylaxis has been reported, and it is possible that anaphylaxis or other systemic reactions may occur in the future. It is worth noting that, as a desensitization patch bringing the allergen into contact with the skin, reactions, which are a source of itching and discomfort for the patient, are common. This reaction is typically temporary in duration and fades after a few weeks of use. In addition, during daily administration of the patches during treatments, depending on the severity of the allergies and patient response to treatment, precautionary measures are necessary when handling the patches after use due to risk of contamination.
Undesirable side effects caused by our product candidates could cause us or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay, halt or terminate clinical trials and could result in a more restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory
 
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approval by the FDA or other regulatory authorities. Further, if our Viaskin patch product candidates receive marketing approval and we or others identify undesirable side effects caused by the products (or any other similar products) after the approval, a number of potentially significant negative consequences could result, including:
 
   
regulatory authorities may withdraw or limit their approval of the products;
 
   
regulatory authorities may require the addition of labeling statements, such as a “boxed” warning or a contraindication;
 
   
we may be required to change the way the products are distributed or administered, conduct additional clinical trials or change the labeling of the products;
 
   
we may decide to remove the products from the marketplace;
 
   
we could be sued and held liable for injury caused to individuals exposed to or taking our products; and
 
   
our reputation may suffer.
Any of these events could prevent us from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of the affected products and could substantially increase the costs of commercializing our products and significantly impact our ability to successfully commercialize our products and generate revenues.
Our future growth depends, in part, on our ability to penetrate foreign markets, where we would be subject to additional regulatory burdens and other risks and uncertainties.
Our future profitability will depend, in part, on our ability to commercialize product candidates based on our Viaskin technology platform in multiple markets, including but not limited to those within the United States and Europe. If we commercialize product candidates based on our Viaskin technology platform in foreign markets, we would be subject to additional risks and uncertainties, including:
 
   
the burden of complying with complex and changing foreign regulatory, tax, accounting and legal requirements;
 
   
different medical practices and customs in foreign countries affecting acceptance in the marketplace;
 
   
import or export licensing requirements;
 
   
longer accounts receivable collection times;
 
   
longer lead times for shipping;
 
   
language barriers for technical training;
 
   
reduced protection of intellectual property rights in some foreign countries, and related prevalence of generic alternatives to therapeutics;
 
   
foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations;
 
   
patients’ ability to obtain reimbursement for Viaskin patch products in foreign markets; and
 
   
the interpretation of contractual provisions governed by foreign laws in the event of a contract dispute.
Foreign sales of Viaskin patch products could also be adversely affected by the imposition of governmental controls, political and economic instability, trade restrictions and changes in tariffs.
We are subject to healthcare laws and regulations, which could expose us to criminal sanctions, civil penalties, integrity obligations, exclusion from government healthcare programs, individual imprisonment, contractual damages, reputational harm and diminished profits and future earnings, among other consequences.
Healthcare providers, physicians and others will play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of Viaskin patch products, if approved. Our arrangements with such persons and third-party payors will expose us
 
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to broadly applicable fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations that may constrain the business or financial arrangements and relationships through which we research, market, sell and distribute Viaskin patch products, if we obtain marketing approval. Restrictions under applicable federal, state and foreign healthcare laws and regulations include but are not limited to the following:
 
   
The federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits, among other things, persons and entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, offering, receiving or providing remuneration (including any kickback, bribe or rebate), directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward, or in return for, either the referral of an individual for or the purchase, lease, order or recommendation of any item, good, facility or service for which payment may be made under federal healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Although there are a number of statutory exceptions and regulatory safe harbors protecting some common activities from prosecution, the exceptions and safe harbors are drawn narrowly. Practices that involve remuneration that may be alleged to be intended to induce prescribing, purchases or recommendations may be subject to scrutiny if they do not qualify for an exception or safe harbor. The intent standard under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute was amended by the ACA to a stricter standard such that a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. Moreover, 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 civil False Claims Act.
 
   
The federal civil and criminal false claims laws, including the civil False Claims Act, impose criminal and civil penalties, including those from civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, and civil monetary penalties laws, which prohibit, among other things, knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, claims for payment that are false or fraudulent or making a false statement to avoid, decrease, or conceal an obligation to pay money to the federal government.
 
   
The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, which created federal criminal and civil liability for, among other things, executing a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or knowingly and willingly falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making false statements relating to healthcare matters. Similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it to have committed a violation.
 
   
HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH, and its implementing regulations, which impose certain requirements on covered entities and their business associates, and their covered subcontractors, including mandatory contractual terms, with respect to safeguarding the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information.
 
   
The federal transparency requirements under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, enacted as part of the ACA, that require applicable manufacturers of covered drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, with specific exceptions, to track and annually report to CMS payments and other transfers of value provided to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors), other healthcare professionals (such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners), and teaching hospitals and certain ownership and investment interests held by physicians or their immediate family members in the applicable manufacturer, and disclosure of such information will be made by CMS on a publicly available website.
 
   
Analogous state, local or foreign laws and regulations, such as state anti-kickback and false claims laws, which may apply to items or services reimbursed by any third-party payor, including commercial insurers; state and local marketing and/or transparency laws applicable to manufacturers that may be broader in scope than the federal requirements, state laws that require biopharmaceutical companies to comply with the biopharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government, state and local laws that require
 
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licensure or registration of pharmaceutical sales representatives; state laws that require disclosure of information related to drug pricing; and state and foreign laws governing the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and may not have the same effect as HIPAA.
Ensuring that our business arrangements with third parties comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations could be costly. 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 current and/or future business activities could be subject to challenge under one or more of these laws. If our operations were found to be in violation of any of these laws or any other governmental regulations that may apply to us, we may be subject to significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, imprisonment, exclusion from government funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, integrity obligations, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, and curtailment of operations, any of which could substantially disrupt our operations. Defending against any such actions can be costly, time-consuming and may require significant financial and personnel resources. Even if we are successful in defending against any such actions that may be brought against us, our business may be impaired. If the physicians or other providers or entities with whom we expect to do business are found not to be in compliance with applicable laws, they may be subject to significant criminal, civil or administrative sanctions, including exclusion from government funded healthcare programs.
Changes in regulatory requirements, FDA guidance or guidance from certain European regulatory authorities or unanticipated events during our clinical trials of Viaskin patch products may occur, which may result in changes to clinical trial protocols or additional clinical trial requirements, which could result in increased costs to us and could delay our development timeline.
Changes in regulatory requirements, FDA guidance or guidance from certain European regulatory authorities or unanticipated events during our clinical trials may force us to amend clinical trial protocols or the FDA or certain European regulatory authorities may impose additional clinical trial requirements. Discussions with regulatory authorities have caused us to adjust certain trial protocols. Amendments to our clinical trial protocols would require resubmission to the FDA and IRBs for review and approval, which may adversely impact the cost, timing or successful completion of a clinical trial. If we experience delays completing, or if we terminate, any of our clinical trials, or if we are required to conduct additional clinical trials, the commercial prospects for the Viaskin patch product candidates, or any other product candidates, may be harmed and our ability to generate product revenue will be delayed.
The FDA and other regulatory agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses. If we are found to have improperly promoted off-label uses, we may become subject to significant liability.
The FDA and other regulatory agencies strictly regulate the promotional claims that may be made about prescription products, such as Viaskin patch products, if approved. In particular, a product may not be promoted for uses that are not approved by the FDA or such other regulatory agencies, as reflected in the product’s approved labeling. If we receive marketing approval for Viaskin patch products as a treatment for a particular allergy, physicians, in their professional medical judgment, may nevertheless prescribe Viaskin patch products to their patients in a manner that is inconsistent with the approved label. Additionally, it is permissible to share in certain circumstances truthful and non-misleading information that is consistent with, but not contained in, the product’s approved labeling. If we are found to have promoted such off-label uses, we may become subject to significant liability under the FDCA and other statutory authorities, such as laws prohibiting false claims for reimbursement. The federal government has levied large civil and criminal fines against companies for alleged improper promotion and has enjoined several companies from engaging in off-label promotion. The FDA has also requested that companies enter into consent decrees or permanent injunctions under which specified promotional conduct is changed or curtailed. If we cannot successfully manage the marketing of Viaskin patch
 
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products, if approved, by restricting off-label promotion, we could become subject to significant liability, which would materially adversely affect our business and financial condition.
Our product development programs may require substantial financial resources and may ultimately be unsuccessful.
The success of our business depends primarily upon our ability to identify, develop and commercialize products to treat food allergies. In addition to Viaskin Peanut, we may pursue development of our other development programs, including Viaskin Milk, Viaskin Egg and Viaskin rPT. None of our other product candidates and potential product candidates has commenced any clinical trials since we scaled down our research and clinical development efforts in 2020 and 2021 to focus on Viaskin Peanut. There are a number of FDA requirements that we must satisfy before we can commence clinical trials. Satisfaction of these requirements will entail substantial time, effort and financial resources. We may never satisfy these requirements. We may never commence clinical trials of such development programs despite expending significant resources in pursuit of their development. If we do commence clinical trials of our other potential product candidates, such product candidates may never be approved by the FDA. If any of these events occur, we may be forced to abandon our development efforts for a program or programs, which would have a material adverse effect on our business and could potentially cause us to cease operations.
If we do not secure collaborations with strategic partners to test, commercialize and manufacture certain product candidates outside of food allergies, we may not be able to successfully develop products and generate meaningful revenues.
A key aspect of our current strategy is to selectively enter into collaborations with third parties to conduct clinical testing, as well as to commercialize and manufacture product candidates outside of food allergies. Our ability to generate revenues from these arrangements will depend on our collaborators’ abilities to successfully perform the functions assigned to them in these arrangements. We currently have multiple collaboration agreements in effect, including collaborations for the development of applications in the field of respiratory allergies or autoimmune disease, as well as other therapeutic domains, such as vaccines. Collaboration agreements, such as our exclusive global collaboration with Nestlé Health Science, typically call for milestone payments that depend on successful demonstration of efficacy and safety, obtaining regulatory approvals and clinical trial results. Collaboration revenues are not guaranteed, even when efficacy and safety are demonstrated. The current economic environment may result in potential collaborators electing to reduce their external spending, which may prevent us from developing our product candidates.
Even if we succeed in securing collaborators, the collaborators may fail to develop or effectively commercialize products using our product candidates. Collaborations involving our product candidates pose a number of risks, including the following:
 
   
collaborators may not have sufficient resources or decide not to devote the necessary resources due to internal constraints such as budget limitations, lack of human resources, or a change in strategic focus;
 
   
collaborators may believe our intellectual property is not valid, is not infringed by potential competitors or is unenforceable or the product candidate infringes on the intellectual property rights of others;
 
   
collaborators may dispute their responsibility to conduct development and commercialization activities pursuant to the applicable collaboration, including the payment of related costs or the division of any revenues;
 
   
collaborators may decide to pursue a competitive product developed outside of the collaboration arrangement;
 
   
collaborators may not be able to obtain, or believe they cannot obtain, the necessary regulatory approvals; or
 
   
collaborators may delay the development or commercialization of our product candidates in favor of developing or commercializing another party’s product candidate.
 
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Thus, collaboration agreements may not lead to development or commercialization of product candidates in the most efficient manner or at all.
Collaboration agreements are generally terminable without cause on short notice. Once a collaboration agreement is signed, it may not lead to commercialization of a product candidate. We also face competition in seeking out collaborators. If we are unable to secure new collaborations that achieve the collaborator’s objectives and meet our expectations, we may be unable to advance our product candidates and may not generate meaningful revenues.
Intellectual Property Risks Related to Our Business
Our ability to compete may decline if we do not adequately protect our proprietary rights.
Our commercial success depends on obtaining and maintaining proprietary rights to our product candidates for the treatment of common food allergies, as well as successfully defending these rights against third-party challenges. We will only be able to protect our product candidates, and their uses from unauthorized use by third parties to the extent that valid and enforceable patents, or effectively protected trade secrets, cover them. Our ability to obtain patent protection for our product candidates is uncertain due to a number of factors, including:
 
   
we may not have been the first to make the inventions covered by pending patent applications or issued patents;
 
   
we may not have been the first to file patent applications for our product candidates or the compositions we developed or for their uses;
 
   
others may independently develop identical, similar or alternative products or compositions and uses thereof;
 
   
our disclosures in patent applications may not be sufficient to meet the statutory requirements for patentability;
 
   
any or all of our pending patent applications may not result in issued patents;
 
   
we may not seek or obtain patent protection in countries that may eventually provide us a significant business opportunity;
 
   
any patents issued to us may not provide a basis for commercially viable products, may not provide any competitive advantages, or may be successfully challenged by third parties;
 
   
our compositions and methods may not be patentable;
 
   
others may design around our patent claims to produce competitive products which fall outside of the scope of our patents; or
 
   
others may identify prior art or other bases which could invalidate our patents.
Even if we have or obtain patents covering our product candidates or compositions, we may still be barred from making, using and selling our product candidates or technologies because of the patent rights of others. Others may have filed, and in the future may file, patent applications covering compositions or products that are similar or identical to ours. There are many issued U.S. and foreign patents relating to chemical compounds and therapeutic products, and some of these relate to compounds we intend to commercialize. Numerous U.S. and foreign issued patents and pending patent applications owned by others exist in the allergy treatment field in which we are developing products. These could materially affect our ability to develop our product candidates or sell our products if approved. Because patent applications can take many years to issue, there may be currently pending applications unknown to us that may later result in issued patents that our product candidates or compositions may infringe. These patent applications may have priority over patent applications filed by us.
Obtaining and maintaining a patent portfolio entails significant expense and resources. Part of the expense includes periodic maintenance fees, renewal fees, annuity fees, various other governmental fees on patents and/or
 
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applications due in several stages over the lifetime of patents and/or applications, as well as the cost associated with complying with numerous procedural provisions during the patent application process. We may or may not choose to pursue or maintain protection for particular inventions. In addition, there are situations in which failure to make certain payments or noncompliance with certain requirements in the patent process can result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. If we choose to forgo patent protection or allow a patent application or patent to lapse purposefully or inadvertently, our competitive position could suffer.
Legal actions to enforce our patent rights can be expensive and may involve the diversion of significant management time. In addition, these legal actions could be unsuccessful and could also result in the invalidation of our patents or a finding that they are unenforceable. We may or may not choose to pursue litigation or other actions against those that have infringed on our patents, or used them without authorization, due to the associated expense and time commitment of monitoring these activities. If we fail to protect or to enforce our intellectual property rights successfully, our competitive position could suffer, which could harm our results of operations.
Biopharmaceutical patents and patent applications involve highly complex legal and factual questions, which, if determined adversely to us, could negatively impact our patent position.
The patent positions of biopharmaceutical companies can be highly uncertain and involve complex legal and factual questions. The interpretation and breadth of claims allowed in some patents covering biopharmaceutical compositions may be uncertain and difficult to determine, and are often affected materially by the facts and circumstances that pertain to the patented compositions and the related patent claims. The standards of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, are sometimes uncertain and could change in the future. Consequently, the issuance and scope of patents cannot be predicted with certainty. Patents, if issued, may be challenged, invalidated or circumvented. U.S. patents and patent applications may also be subject to interference proceedings, and U.S. patents may be subject to reexamination proceedings, post-grant review and/or inter partes review in the USPTO. Foreign patents may be subject also to opposition or comparable proceedings in the corresponding foreign patent office, which could result in either loss of the patent or denial of the patent application or loss or reduction in the scope of one or more of the claims of the patent or patent application. In addition, such interference, reexamination, post-grant review, inter partes review and opposition proceedings may be costly. Accordingly, rights under any issued patents may not provide us with sufficient protection against competitive products or processes.
In addition, changes in or different interpretations of patent laws in the United States and foreign countries may permit others to use our discoveries or to develop and commercialize our technology and products without providing any compensation to us, or may limit the number of patents or claims we can obtain. The laws of some countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as U.S. laws and those countries may lack adequate rules and procedures for defending our intellectual property rights.
If we fail to obtain and maintain patent protection and trade secret protection of our product candidates, we could lose our competitive advantage and competition we face would increase, reducing any potential revenues and adversely affecting our ability to attain or maintain profitability.
Developments in patent law could have a negative impact on our business.
From time to time, the United States Supreme Court, or the Supreme Court, other federal courts, the United States Congress, the USPTO or similar foreign authorities may change the standards of patentability and any such changes could have a negative impact on our business.
In addition, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, or the America Invents Act, which was signed into law in
2011, includes a number of significant changes to U.S. patent law. These changes include a transition from a “first-to-invent” system to a “first-to-file” system, changes to the way issued patents are challenged, and changes
 
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to the way patent applications are disputed during the examination process. These changes may favor larger and more established companies that have greater resources to devote to patent application filing and prosecution.
The USPTO has developed new and untested regulations and procedures to govern the full implementation of the
America Invents Act, and many of the substantive changes to patent law associated with the America Invents Act, and, in particular, the first-to-file provisions, became effective on March 16, 2013. Substantive changes to patent law associated with the America Invents Act may affect our ability to obtain patents, and if obtained, to enforce or defend them. Accordingly, it is not clear what, if any, impact the America Invents Act will have on the cost of prosecuting our patent applications, our ability to obtain patents based on our discoveries and our ability
to enforce or defend any patents that may issue from our patent applications, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our trade secrets, our business and competitive position would be harmed.
In addition to patent protection, because we operate in the highly technical field of development of therapies, we rely in part on trade secret protection in order to protect our proprietary technology and processes. However, trade secrets are difficult to protect. We expect to enter into confidentiality and intellectual property assignment agreements with our employees, consultants, outside scientific collaborators, sponsored researchers, and other advisors. These agreements generally require that the other party keep confidential and not disclose to third
parties all confidential information developed by the party or made known to the party by us during the course of the party’s relationship with us. These agreements also generally provide that inventions conceived by the party in the course of rendering services to us will be our exclusive property. However, these agreements may not be honored and may not effectively assign intellectual property rights to us.
In addition to contractual measures, we try to protect the confidential nature of our proprietary information using physical and technological security measures. Such measures may not, for example, in the case of misappropriation of a trade secret by an employee or third party with authorized access, provide adequate protection for our proprietary information. Our security measures may not prevent an employee or consultant from misappropriating our trade secrets and providing them to a competitor, and recourse we take against such misconduct may not provide an adequate remedy to protect our interests fully. Enforcing a claim that a party illegally disclosed or misappropriated a trade secret can be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. In addition, courts outside the United States may be less willing to protect trade
secrets. Trade secrets may be independently developed by others in a manner that could prevent legal recourse by us. If any of our confidential or proprietary information, such as our trade secrets, were to be disclosed or misappropriated, or if any such information was independently developed by a competitor, our competitive position could be harmed.
We will not seek to protect our intellectual property rights in all jurisdictions throughout the world and we may not be able to adequately enforce our intellectual property rights even in the jurisdictions where we seek protection.
Filing, prosecuting and defending patents on our product candidates in all countries and jurisdictions throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive, and our intellectual property rights in some countries outside the United States could be less extensive than those in the United States, assuming that rights are obtained 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. The statutory deadlines for pursuing patent protection in individual foreign jurisdictions are based on the priority dates of each of our patent applications.
Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we do not pursue and obtain patent protection to develop their own products and further, may export otherwise infringing products to territories where we have
 
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patent protection, but enforcement is not as strong as that in the United States. These products may compete with our products and our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing. Even if we pursue and obtain issued patents in particular jurisdictions, our patent claims or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent third parties from so competing.
The laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States. Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in certain foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of some countries, particularly developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property protection, especially those relating to biopharmaceuticals or biotechnologies. This could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents, if obtained, or the misappropriation of our other intellectual property rights. For example, many foreign countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner must grant licenses to third parties. In addition, many countries limit the enforceability of patents against third parties, including government agencies or government contractors. In these countries, patents may provide limited or no benefit. Patent protection must ultimately be sought on a country-by-country basis, which is an expensive and time- consuming process with uncertain outcomes. Accordingly, we may choose not to seek patent protection in certain countries, and we will not have the benefit of patent protection in such countries.
Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly, could put our patent applications at risk of not issuing and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. In addition, changes in the law and legal decisions by courts in the United States and foreign countries may affect our ability to obtain adequate protection for our technology and the enforcement of intellectual property. 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.
Third parties may assert ownership or commercial rights to inventions we develop.
Third parties may in the future make claims challenging the inventorship or ownership of our intellectual property. We have written agreements with collaborators that provide for the ownership of intellectual property arising from our collaborations. These agreements provide that we must negotiate certain commercial rights with collaborators with respect to joint inventions or inventions made by our collaborators that arise from the results
of the collaboration. In some instances, there may not be adequate written provisions to address clearly the resolution of intellectual property rights that may arise from a collaboration. If we cannot successfully negotiate sufficient ownership and commercial rights to the inventions that result from our use of a third-party collaborator’s materials where required, or if disputes otherwise arise with respect to the intellectual property developed with the use of a collaborator’s samples, we may be limited in our ability to capitalize on the market potential of these inventions. In addition, we may face claims by third parties that our agreements with employees, contractors, or consultants obligating them to assign intellectual property to us are ineffective, or in conflict with prior or competing contractual obligations of assignment, which could result in ownership disputes regarding intellectual property we have developed or will develop and interfere with our ability to capture the commercial value of such inventions. Litigation may be necessary to resolve an ownership dispute, and if we are not successful, we may be precluded from using certain intellectual property, or may lose our exclusive rights in that intellectual property. Either outcome could have an adverse impact on our business.
Third parties may assert that our employees or consultants have wrongfully used or disclosed confidential information or misappropriated trade secrets.
We employ individuals who were previously employed at universities or other biopharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Although we try to ensure that our employees and consultants
 
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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 intellectual property, including trade secrets or other proprietary information, of a former employer or other third 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 may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management and other employees.
A dispute concerning the infringement or misappropriation of our proprietary rights or the proprietary rights of others could be time consuming and costly, and an unfavorable outcome could harm our business.
There is significant litigation in the biopharmaceutical industry regarding patent and other intellectual property rights. While we are not currently subject to any pending intellectual property litigation, and are not aware of any such threatened litigation, we may be exposed to future litigation by third parties based on claims that our product candidates, technologies or activities infringe the intellectual property rights of others. If our development activities are found to infringe any such patents, we may have to pay significant damages or seek licenses to such patents. A patentee could prevent us from using the patented drugs or compositions. We may need to resort to litigation to enforce a patent issued to us, to protect our trade secrets, or to determine the scope and validity of third-party proprietary rights. From time to time, we may hire scientific personnel or consultants formerly employed by other companies involved in one or more areas similar to the activities conducted by us.
Either we or these individuals may be subject to allegations of trade secret misappropriation or other similar claims as a result of prior affiliations.
If we become involved in litigation, it could consume a substantial portion of our managerial and financial resources, regardless of whether we win or lose. We may not be able to afford the costs of litigation. Any adverse ruling or perception of an adverse ruling in defending ourselves against these claims could have a material adverse impact on our cash position and the price of the ADSs. Any legal action against us or our collaborators could lead to:
 
   
payment of damages, potentially treble damages, if we are found to have willfully infringed a party’s patent rights;
 
   
injunctive or other equitable relief that may effectively block our ability to further develop, commercialize, and sell products; or
 
   
us or our collaborators having to enter into license arrangements that may not be available on commercially acceptable terms, if at all, all of which could have a material adverse impact on our cash position and business and financial condition. As a result, we could be prevented from commercializing current or future product candidates.
We 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, if approved.
Our success will depend in part on our ability to operate without infringing the intellectual property and proprietary rights of third parties. We cannot assure you that our business, products and methods do not or will not infringe the patents or other intellectual property rights of third parties.
The biopharmaceutical industry is characterized by extensive litigation regarding patents and other intellectual property rights. Other parties may allege that our product candidates or the use of our technologies infringes patent claims or other intellectual property rights held by them or that we are employing their proprietary technology without authorization. Patent and other types of intellectual property litigation can involve complex factual and legal questions, and their outcome is uncertain. Any claim relating to intellectual property
 
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infringement that is successfully asserted against us may require us to pay substantial damages, including treble damages and attorney’s fees if we are found to be willfully infringing another party’s patents, for past use of the asserted intellectual property and royalties and other consideration going forward if we are forced to take a license. In addition, if any such claim were successfully asserted against us and we could not obtain such a license, we may be forced to stop or delay developing, manufacturing, selling or otherwise commercializing Viaskin patch products.
Even if we are successful in these proceedings, we may incur substantial costs and divert management time and attention in pursuing these proceedings, which could have a material adverse effect on us. If we are unable to avoid infringing the patent rights of others, we may be required to seek a license, defend an infringement action or challenge the validity of the patents in court, or redesign our products. Patent litigation is costly and time consuming. We may not have sufficient resources to bring these actions to a successful conclusion. In addition, intellectual property litigation or claims could force us to do one or more of the following:
 
   
cease developing, selling or otherwise commercializing our product candidates;
 
   
pay substantial damages for past use of the asserted intellectual property;
 
   
obtain a license from the holder of the asserted intellectual property, which license may not be available on reasonable terms, if at all; and
 
   
in the case of trademark claims, redesign, or rename, Viaskin or other trademarks we may own, to avoid infringing the intellectual property rights of third parties, which may not be possible and, even if possible, could be costly and time-consuming.
Any of these risks coming to fruition could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
Issued patents covering our product candidates could be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged in court.
If we or one of our licensing partners initiated legal proceedings against a third party to enforce a patent covering our product candidate, the defendant could counterclaim that the patent covering our product candidate is invalid and/or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity and/or unenforceability are commonplace. Grounds for a validity challenge include alleged failures to meet any of several statutory requirements, including lack of novelty, obviousness or non-enablement. Grounds for unenforceability assertions include allegations that someone connected with prosecution of the patent withheld relevant information from the USPTO, or made a misleading statement, during prosecution. Third parties may also raise similar claims before administrative bodies in the United States or abroad, even outside the context of litigation. Such mechanisms include re-examination, post grant review and equivalent proceedings in foreign jurisdictions, e.g., opposition proceedings. Such proceedings could result in revocation or amendment of our patents in such a way that they no longer cover our product candidates or competitive products. The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability is unpredictable. With respect to validity, for example, we cannot be certain that there is no invalidating prior art, of which we and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution. If a defendant were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity and/or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on our product candidates. Such a loss of patent protection would have a material adverse impact on our business.
Risks Related to Our Organization, Structure and Operations
We depend on key personnel and attracting qualified management personnel and our business could be harmed if we lose key personnel and cannot attract new personnel.
Our success depends to a significant degree upon the technical and management skills of our officers and key personnel. The loss of the services of any of these individuals would likely have an adverse effect on us. Our
 
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success also will depend upon our ability to attract and retain additional qualified management. Recruiting and retaining qualified scientific, clinical, manufacturing, sales and marketing personnel will also be critical to our success. The loss of the services of our key executives could impede the achievement of our research, development and commercialization objectives and seriously harm our ability to successfully implement our business strategy. Furthermore, replacing executive officers and key personnel may be difficult and may take an extended period of time because of the limited number of individuals in our industry with the breadth of skills and experience required to successfully develop, obtain marketing approval of and commercialize products.
Competition to hire from this limited pool is intense, and we may be unable to hire, train, retain or motivate these key personnel on acceptable terms given the competition among numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for similar personnel. We compete for such personnel against numerous companies, including larger, more established companies with significantly greater financial resources than we possess. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in attracting or retaining such personnel and the failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our employees may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including violating applicable regulatory standards and requirements or engaging in insider trading, which could significantly harm our business.
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 and applicable non-U.S. regulators, provide accurate information to the FDA and applicable non-U.S. regulators, comply with fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations in the United States and abroad, report financial information or data accurately or 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. These laws and regulations restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, sales commission, customer incentive programs and other business arrangements. Employee misconduct could also involve the improper use of, including trading on, information obtained in the course of clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions and serious harm to our reputation. We have adopted a code of conduct, but it is not always possible to identify and deter employee misconduct, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may be ineffective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to comply with these laws or regulations. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of significant fines or other sanctions.
Product liability and other lawsuits could divert our resources, result in substantial liabilities and reduce the commercial potential of our product candidates.
The risk that we may be sued on product liability claims is inherent in the development and commercialization of biopharmaceutical products. Side effects of, or manufacturing defects in, products that we develop could result in the deterioration of a patient’s condition, injury or even death. For example, product liability claims may be brought by patients participating in our clinical trials as a result of unexpected side effects from our product candidates. Once a product is approved for sale and commercialized, the likelihood of product liability lawsuits increases. Criminal or civil proceedings might be filed against us by patients, the regulatory authorities, biopharmaceutical companies and any other third party using or marketing our products. These actions could include claims resulting from acts by our partners, licensees and subcontractors, over which we have little or no control. These lawsuits may divert our management from pursuing our business strategy and may be costly to defend. In addition, if we are held liable in any of these lawsuits, we may incur substantial liabilities and may be forced to limit or forgo further commercialization of the affected products.
 
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We may incur significant costs from class action litigation.
The market price for our ordinary shares or ADSs recently has and may continue to fluctuate for many reasons, including as a result of public announcements regarding the progress of our development and commercialization efforts or the development and commercialization efforts of our collaborators and/or competitors, the addition or departure of our key personnel, variations in our operating results and changes in market valuations of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. When the market price of a security has been volatile as the market price for our ordinary shares and ADSs has been, holders of that security have occasionally brought securities class action litigation against the company that issued the security.
For example, in December 2018, we announced that we voluntarily withdrew our BLA for Viaskin Peanut following correspondence with the FDA regarding additional data needs on manufacturing procedures and quality controls, and our ADS price declined significantly as a result. Following this announcement, a class action complaint was filed on January 15, 2019 in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The complaint, as amended, alleged that we and our former Chief Executive Officer, our current Chief Executive Officer, our former Deputy Chief Executive Officer, and our former Chief Business officer violated certain federal securities laws, specifically under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages on behalf of a purported class of persons that purchased our securities between February 14, 2018 and August 4, 2020 and also held our securities on December 20, 2018 and/or March 16, 2020 and/or August 4, 2020. See the section of this Annual Report titled “Legal Proceedings” for additional information on this matter.
Whether or not the plaintiff’s claims are successful, this type of litigation is often expensive and diverts management’s attention and resources, which could adversely affect the operation of our business. If we are ultimately required to pay significant defense costs, damages or settlement amounts, such payments could adversely affect our operations.
We may be the target of similar litigation in the future. Any future litigation could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention and resources, which could cause serious harm to our business, operating results and financial condition. We maintain liability insurance; however, if any costs or expenses associated with this or any other litigation exceed our insurance coverage, we may be forced to bear some or all of these costs and expenses directly, which could be substantial.
We may be subject to legal or administrative proceedings and litigation other than product liability lawsuits which may be costly to defend and could materially harm our business, financial condition and operations.
Our inability to obtain and retain sufficient product liability insurance at an acceptable cost to protect against potential product liability claims could prevent or inhibit the commercialization of product candidates we develop. We currently carry product liability insurance coverage for our clinical trials with a €15.0 million (equivalent to $18.4 million using closing exchange rate) annual aggregate coverage limit. Although we maintain such insurance, our insurance coverage may be insufficient to reimburse us for any expenses or losses we may suffer. In addition, in the future, we may not be able to obtain or maintain sufficient insurance coverage at an acceptable cost or to otherwise protect against potential product or other legal or administrative liability claims by us or our partners, licensees or subcontractors, which could prevent or inhibit the commercial production and sale of any of our product candidates that receive regulatory approval, which could adversely affect our business. Product liability claims could also harm our reputation, which may adversely affect our collaborators’ ability to commercialize our products successfully.
Our failure to maintain certain tax benefits applicable to French technology companies may adversely affect our results of operations.
As a French technology company, we have benefited from certain tax advantages, including, for example, the French research tax credit (
credit d’impôt recherche
), or CIR. The CIR is a French tax credit aimed at stimulating
 
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research and development. Beginning in the fiscal year ending December 31, 2021, the Company recovered its Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, or SMEs, status under EU law, and became therefore eligible again for the immediate reimbursement of the Research Tax Credit. The Company will request the immediate reimbursement of the 2021 fiscal year CIR, as well as former tax credit receivables, which were originally refundable three years after the tax declaration in case the Company wouldn’t have been able to offset it against corporate income tax due. The CIR is calculated based on our claimed amount of eligible research and development expenditures in France and represented $7.5 million and $9.9 million, as of December 31, 2021 and 2020 respectively. The French tax authority with the assistance of the Research and Technology Ministry may audit each research and development program in respect of which a CIR benefit has been claimed and assess whether such program qualifies in its view for the CIR benefit. The French tax authorities may challenge our eligibility to, or our calculation of certain tax reductions and/or deductions in respect of our research and development activities and, should the French tax authorities be successful, we may be liable to additional corporate income tax, and penalties and interest related thereto, which could have a significant impact on our results of operations and future cash flows. Furthermore, if the French Parliament decides to eliminate, or reduce the scope or the rate of, the CIR benefit, either of which it could decide to do at any time, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
We may be forced to repay conditional advances prematurely if we fail to comply with our contractual obligations under the applicable innovation grant agreements.
Since inception through December 31, 2021, we have received multiple conditional advances totaling around $5 million for innovation granted by OSEO, the French Agency for Innovation and part of the Banque Publique d’Investissement. If we fail to comply with our contractual obligations under the applicable innovation grant agreements, including if we lose our exclusive right to commercially develop our product candidates, we could be forced to repay the sums advanced ahead of schedule. Such premature repayment could adversely affect our ability to finance our research and development projects. In addition, we cannot ensure that we will then have the additional financial means needed, the time or the ability to replace these financial resources with others.
We may be exposed to significant foreign exchange risk. Exchange rate fluctuations may adversely affect the foreign currency value of our ADSs.
We incur portions of our expenses, and may in the future derive revenues, in currencies other than the euro, in particular, the U.S. dollar. As a result, we are exposed to foreign currency exchange risk as our results of operations and cash flows are subject to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. We currently do not engage in hedging transactions to protect against uncertainty in future exchange rates between particular foreign currencies and the euro. Therefore, for example, an increase in the value of the euro against the U.S. dollar could be expected to have a negative impact on our revenue and earnings growth as U.S. dollar revenue and earnings, if any, would be translated into euros at a reduced value. We cannot predict the impact of foreign currency fluctuations, and foreign currency fluctuations in the future may adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. The ADSs are quoted in U.S. dollars on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and our ordinary shares are trading in euros on Euronext Paris. Our financial statements are prepared in euros. Fluctuations in the exchange rate between euros and the U.S. dollar will affect, among other matters, the U.S. dollar value and the euro value of our ordinary shares and ADSs.
We may use hazardous chemicals and biological materials in our business. Any claims relating to improper handling, storage or disposal of these materials could be time consuming and costly.
Our research and development processes may involve the controlled use of hazardous materials, including chemicals and biological materials. We cannot eliminate the risk of accidental contamination or discharge and any resultant injury from these materials. For example, in production, the confinement of the electrospray function and the use of the allergen in liquid form make it possible to prevent the allergens from contaminating the environment. However, we cannot assure you that in case of malfunction during the handling, storage or
 
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production process, allergen would not be released into the atmosphere and sensitize the persons present in the environment. We may be sued for any injury or contamination that results from our use or the use by third parties of these materials, and our liability may exceed any insurance coverage and our total assets. Federal, state, local or foreign laws and regulations govern the use, manufacture, storage, handling and disposal of these hazardous materials and specified waste products, as well as the discharge of pollutants into the environment and human health and safety matters. Compliance with environmental laws and regulations may be expensive and may impair our research and development efforts. If we fail to comply with these requirements, we could incur substantial costs, including civil or criminal fines and penalties, clean-up costs or capital expenditures for control equipment or operational changes necessary to achieve and maintain compliance. In addition, we cannot predict the impact on our business of new or amended environmental laws or regulations or any changes in the way existing and future laws and regulations are interpreted and enforced.
We are subject to stringent and changing obligations related to data privacy and security. Our actual or perceived failure to comply with such obligations could lead to regulatory investigations or actions; litigation; fines and penalties; disruptions of our business operations; reputational harm; loss of revenue or profits; and other adverse business consequences.
In the ordinary course of business, we collect, receive, store, process, generate, use, transfer, disclose, make accessible, protect, secure, dispose of, transmit, and share (collectively, processing) personal data and other sensitive information, including proprietary and confidential business data, trade secrets, intellectual property, data we collect about trial participants in connection with clinical trials, and sensitive third-party data. Our data processing activities subject us to numerous data privacy and security obligations, such as various laws, regulations, guidance, industry standards, external and internal privacy and security policies, contracts, and other obligations that govern the processing of personal data by us and on our behalf.
In the United States, federal, state, and local governments have enacted numerous data privacy and security laws, including data breach notification laws, personal data privacy laws, and consumer protection laws. For example, HIPAA, as amended by HITECH, imposes specific requirements relating to the privacy, security, and transmission of individually identifiable health information. In addition, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, or CCPA, imposes obligations on covered businesses. These obligations include, but are not limited to, providing specific disclosures in privacy notices and affording California residents certain rights related to their personal data. The CCPA allows for statutory fines for noncompliance (up to $7,500 per violation). Although the CCPA exempts some data processed in the context of clinical trials, the CCPA may increase compliance costs and potential liability with respect to other personal data we maintain about California residents. In addition, it is anticipated that the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, CPRA, effective January 1, 2023, will expand the CCPA. The CPRA establishes a new California Privacy Protection Agency to implement and enforce the CPRA, which could increase the risk of enforcement. Other states have enacted data privacy laws. For example, Virginia passed the Consumer Data Protection Act, and Colorado passed the Colorado Privacy Act, both of which become effective in 2023. In addition, data privacy and security laws have been proposed at the federal, state, and local levels in recent years, which could further complicate compliance efforts.
Outside the United States, an increasing number of laws, regulations, and industry standards apply to data privacy and security. For example, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or EU GDPR, and the United Kingdom’s GDPR, or UK GDPR, impose strict requirements for processing personal data. For example, under the EU GDPR, government regulators may impose temporary or definitive bans on data processing, as well as fines of up to 20 million euros or 4% of annual global revenue, whichever is greater. Further, individuals may initiate litigation related to processing of their personal data.
Certain jurisdictions have enacted data localization laws and cross-border personal data transfer laws, which could make it more difficult to transfer information across jurisdictions (such as transferring or receiving personal data that originates in the EU or in other foreign jurisdictions). Existing mechanisms that facilitate cross-border personal data transfers may change or be invalidated. For example, absent appropriate safeguards or
 
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other circumstances, the EU GDPR generally restricts the transfer of personal data to countries outside of the European Economic Area, or EEA, such as the United States, that the European Commission does not consider to provide an adequate level of data privacy and security. The European Commission released a set of “Standard Contractual Clauses,” or SCCs, that are designed to be a valid mechanism to facilitate personal data transfers out of the EEA to these jurisdictions. Currently, these SCCs are a valid mechanism to transfer personal data outside of the EEA, but there exists some uncertainty regarding whether the SCCs will remain a valid mechanism. Additionally, the SCCs impose additional compliance burdens, such as conducting transfer impact assessments to determine whether additional security measures are necessary to protect the at-issue personal data. In addition, Switzerland and the UK similarly restrict personal data transfers outside of those jurisdictions to countries, such as the United States, that do not provide an adequate level of personal data protection, and certain countries outside Europe (e.g., Russia, China, Brazil) have also passed or are considering laws requiring local data residency or otherwise impeding the transfer of personal data across borders, any of which could increase the cost and complexity of doing business.
If we cannot implement a valid compliance mechanism for cross-border data transfers, we may face increased exposure to regulatory actions, substantial fines, and injunctions against processing or transferring personal data from Europe or other foreign jurisdictions. The inability to import personal data to the United States could significantly and negatively impact our business operations; limiting our ability to collaborate with parties that are subject to such cross-border data transfer or localization laws; or requiring us to increase our personal data processing capabilities and infrastructure in foreign jurisdictions at significant expense.
Our obligations related to data privacy and security are quickly changing in an increasingly stringent fashion, creating some uncertainty as to the effective future legal framework. Additionally, these obligations may be subject to differing applications and interpretations, which may be inconsistent or conflict among jurisdictions. Preparing for and complying with these obligations requires significant resources and may necessitate changes to our information technologies, systems, and practices and to those of any third parties that process personal data on our behalf. Although we endeavor to comply with all applicable data privacy and security obligations, we may at times fail (or be perceived to have failed) to do so. Moreover, despite our efforts, our personnel or third parties upon whom we rely may fail to comply with such obligations, which could negatively impact our business operations and compliance posture. For example, any failure by a third-party processor to comply with applicable law, regulations, or contractual obligations could result in adverse effects, including inability to or interruption in our ability to operate our business and proceedings against us by governmental entities or others.
If we fail, or are perceived to have failed, to address or comply with data privacy and security obligations, we could face significant consequences. These consequences may include, but are not limited to, government enforcement actions (e.g., investigations, fines, penalties, audits, inspections, and similar); litigation (including class-related claims); additional reporting requirements and/or oversight; bans on processing personal data; and orders to destroy or not use personal data.
Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, or financial condition, including but not limited to: loss of customers; interruptions in our business operations (including, as relevant, clinical trials); inability to process personal data or to operate in certain jurisdictions; limited ability to develop or commercialize our products; expenditure of time and resources to defend any claim or inquiry; adverse publicity; or revision or restructuring of our operations.
If our information technology systems or sensitive information, or those of third parties upon which we rely, are or were compromised, we could experience adverse consequences resulting from such compromise, including but not limited to regulatory investigations or actions; litigation; fines and penalties; disruptions of our business operations; reputational harm; loss of revenue or profits; and other adverse consequences.
In the ordinary course of our business, we may process proprietary, confidential, and sensitive data, including personal data (such as health-related data), intellectual property, and trade secrets (collectively, sensitive
 
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information). We may rely upon third-party service providers and technologies to operate critical business systems to process sensitive information in a variety of contexts, including, without limitation, third-party providers of cloud-based infrastructure, encryption and authentication technology, employee email, and other functions. Our ability to monitor these third parties’ information security practices is limited, and these third parties may not have adequate information security measures in place. We may share or receive sensitive information with or from third parties.
Cyberattacks, malicious internet-based activity, and online and offline fraud are prevalent and continue to increase. These threats come from a variety of sources, including traditional computer “hackers,” threat actors, personnel (such as through theft or misuse), sophisticated nation states, and nation-state-supported actors. Some actors now engage and are expected to continue to engage in cyber-attacks, including, without limitation, nation-state actors for geopolitical reasons and in conjunction with military conflicts and defense activities. During times of war and other major conflicts, we and the third parties upon which we rely may be vulnerable to a heightened risk of these attacks, including cyber-attacks that could materially disrupt our systems and operations, supply chain, and ability to produce, sell and distribute our goods and services. We and the third parties upon which we rely may be subject to a variety of evolving threats, including, but not limited to, social-engineering attacks (including through phishing attacks), malicious code (such as viruses and worms), malware (including as a result of advanced persistent threat intrusions), denial-of-service attacks (such as credential stuffing), personnel misconduct or error, ransomware attacks, supply-chain attacks, software bugs, server malfunctions, software or hardware failures, loss of data or other information technology assets, adware, telecommunications failures, and other similar threats.
Ransomware attacks, including by organized criminal threat actors, nation-states, and nation-state-supported actors, are becoming increasingly prevalent and severe and can lead to significant interruptions in our operations, loss of data and income, reputational harm, and diversion of funds. Extortion payments may alleviate the negative impact of a ransomware attack, but we may be unwilling or unable to make such payments due to, for example, applicable laws or regulations prohibiting such payments. Similarly, supply-chain attacks have increased in frequency and severity, and we cannot guarantee that third parties and infrastructure in our supply chain or our third-party partners’ supply chains have not been compromised or that they do not contain exploitable defects or bugs that could result in a breach of or disruption to our information technology systems or the third-party information technology systems that support us and our services. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic and our remote workforce poses increased risks to our information technology systems and data, as more of our employees work from home, utilizing network connections outside our premises. Future or past business transactions (such as acquisitions or integrations) could also expose us to additional cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities, as our systems could be negatively affected by vulnerabilities present in acquired or integrated entities’ systems and technologies.
Any of the previously identified or similar threats could cause a security incident or other interruption. A security incident or other interruption could result in unauthorized, unlawful, or accidental acquisition, modification, destruction, loss, alteration, encryption, disclosure of, or access to our sensitive information. A security incident or other interruption could disrupt our ability (and that of third parties upon whom we rely) to conduct our business operations.
We may expend significant resources or modify our business activities to try to protect against security incidents. Certain data privacy and security obligations may require us to implement and maintain specific security measures, industry-standard or reasonable security measures to protect our information technology systems and sensitive information. While we have implemented security measures designed to protect against security incidents, there can be no assurance that these measures will be effective. We may be unable in the future to detect vulnerabilities in our information technology systems because such threats and techniques change frequently, are often sophisticated in nature, and may not be detected until after a security incident has occurred. Despite our efforts to identify and remediate vulnerabilities, if any, in our information technology systems, our efforts may not be successful. Further, we may experience delays in developing and deploying remedial measures designed to address any such identified vulnerabilities.
 
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Applicable data privacy and security obligations may require us to notify relevant stakeholders of security incidents. Such disclosures are costly, and the disclosures or the failure to comply with such requirements could lead to adverse consequences. If we (or a third party upon whom we rely) experience a security incident or are perceived to have experienced a security incident, we may experience adverse consequences. These consequences may include: government enforcement actions (for example, investigations, fines, penalties, audits, and inspections); additional reporting requirements and/or oversight; restrictions on processing sensitive information (including personal data); litigation (including class claims); indemnification obligations; negative publicity; reputational harm; monetary fund diversions; interruptions in our operations (including availability of data); financial loss; and other similar harms. Security incidents and attendant consequences may cause interruptions in our operations and could result in a material disruption of our programs. For example, the loss of clinical trial data for our product candidates could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data.
Our contracts may not contain limitations of liability, and even where they do, there can be no assurance that limitations of liability in our contracts are sufficient to protect us from liabilities, damages, or claims related to our data privacy and security obligations. We cannot be sure that our insurance coverage will be adequate or sufficient to protect us from or to mitigate liabilities arising out of our privacy and security practices, that such coverage will continue to be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all, or that such coverage will pay future claims.
We may acquire businesses or products, or form strategic alliances, in the future, and we may not realize the benefits of such acquisitions.
At this stage, our strategy does not involve plans to acquire companies or technologies facilitating or enabling us to access to new medicines, new research projects or new geographical areas, or enabling us to express synergies with our existing operations. However, if such acquisitions were to become necessary in future, we may not be able to identify appropriate targets or make acquisitions under satisfactory conditions, in particular, satisfactory price conditions. In addition, we may unable to obtain the financing for these acquisitions under favorable conditions, and could be led to finance these acquisitions using cash that could be allocated to other purposes in the context of existing operations. If we acquire businesses with promising markets or technologies, we may not be able to realize the benefit of acquiring such businesses if we are unable to successfully integrate them with our existing operations and company culture. We may encounter numerous difficulties in developing, manufacturing and marketing any new products resulting from a strategic alliance or acquisition that delay or prevent us from realizing their expected benefits or enhancing our business. We cannot assure you that, following any such acquisition, we will achieve the expected synergies to justify the transaction, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions, earnings and prospects.
We are subject to U.S. and certain foreign export and import controls, sanctions, embargoes, anti-corruption laws, and anti-money laundering laws and regulations. Compliance with these legal standards could impair our ability to compete in domestic and international markets. We can face criminal liability and other serious consequences for violations, which can harm our business.
We are subject to export control and import laws and regulations, including the U.S. Export Administration Regulations, U.S. Customs regulations, various economic and trade sanctions regulations administered by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, or FCPA, the U.S. domestic bribery statute contained in 18 U.S.C. § 201, the U.S. Travel Act, the USA PATRIOT Act, and other state and national anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws in the countries in which we conduct activities. Anti-corruption laws are interpreted broadly and prohibit companies and their employees, agents, contractors, and other collaborators from authorizing, promising, offering, or providing, directly or indirectly, improper payments or anything else of value to recipients in the public or private sector. We may engage third parties to sell our products sell our products outside the United States, to conduct clinical trials, and/or to obtain necessary permits, licenses, patent registrations, and other regulatory approvals. We have
 
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direct or indirect interactions with officials and employees of government agencies or government-affiliated hospitals, universities, and other organizations. We can be held liable for the corrupt or other illegal activities of our employees, agents, contractors, and other collaborators, even if we do not explicitly authorize or have actual knowledge of such activities. Any violations of the laws and regulations described above may result in substantial civil and criminal fines and penalties, imprisonment, the loss of export or import privileges, debarment, tax reassessments, breach of contract and fraud litigation, reputational harm, and other consequences.
We will need to develop and implement sales, marketing and distribution capabilities before we are able to bring any product candidate to market, and as a result, we may encounter difficulties in managing this development and expansion, which could disrupt our operations.
As of December 31, 2021, we had 90 full-time employees. Before we can commercialize of Viaskin Peanut, if approved, and any of our other product candidates in North America, we will need to implement and improve our managerial, operational and financial systems, expand our facilities and continue to recruit and train additional qualified personnel. Also, our management may need to divert a disproportionate amount of its attention away from our day-to-day activities and devote a substantial amount of time to managing any such development activities we may pursue. Due to our limited resources, we may not be able to effectively manage the expansion of our operations or recruit and train additional qualified personnel. This may result in weaknesses in our infrastructure, give rise to operational mistakes, loss of business opportunities, loss of employees and reduced productivity among remaining employees. Any physical expansion of our operations may lead to significant costs and may divert financial resources from other projects, such as the development of our product candidates. If our management is unable to effectively manage our expected development and expansion, our expenses may increase more than expected, our ability to generate or increase our revenue could be reduced and we may not be able to implement our business strategy. Our future financial performance and our ability to commercialize our product candidates, if approved, and compete effectively will depend, in part, on our ability to effectively manage the future development and expansion of our company.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Ordinary Shares and ADSs
The market price for our ordinary shares and ADSs may be volatile or may decline regardless of our operating performance.
The trading price of our ADSs and ordinary shares has fluctuated, and is likely to continue to fluctuate, substantially. The trading price of our securities depends on a number of factors, including those described in this “Risk Factors” section, many of which are beyond our control and may not be related to our operating performance.
Our ADSs were sold in our initial public offering on Nasdaq in October 2014 at a price of $21.64 per share, and the price per ADS has ranged from as low as $1.35 and as high as $7.38 during 2021. During this same period, our ordinary share prices have ranged from as low as €2.87 to as high as €13.69 The market price of our securities may fluctuate significantly in response to numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:
 
   
actual or anticipated fluctuations in our financial condition and operating results;
 
   
actual or anticipated changes in our growth rate relative to our competitors;
 
   
competition from existing products or new products that may emerge;