10-K 1 d18214d10k.htm 10-K 10-K
Table of Contents

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 10-K

 

 

(Mark One)

 

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

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

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 001-39425

 

 

Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Delaware   36-4813934

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

Incorporation or Organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

245 Main Street, 2nd Floor

Cambridge, MA

  02142
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)   (Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (617) 682-3625

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

 

Title of each class

  

Trading Symbol(s)

  

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share    CMPI    The Nasdaq Global Select Market

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

 

 

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

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

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

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted 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 and post 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 checkmark 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 Exchange Act).    Yes  ☐    No  ☒

The aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $314,566,207 as of December 31, 2020 (based on a closing price of $14.59 per share as quoted by the Nasdaq Global Select Market as of such date). In determining the market value of non-affiliate common stock, shares of the registrant’s common stock beneficially owned by officers, directors and affiliates have been excluded. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes.

As of March 29, 2021, the total number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s Common Stock was 21,618,395 shares.

Documents Incorporated by Reference:

Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K incorporates by reference certain information from the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for its 2021 annual meeting of shareholders, 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 end of December 31, 2020. Except with respect to information specifically incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K, the Proxy Statement is not deemed to be filed as part of this Form 10-K.

 

 

 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

         Page  
PART I

 

Item 1.  

Business

     6  
Item 1A.  

Risk Factors

     41  
Item 1B.  

Unresolved Staff Comments

     99  
Item 2.  

Properties

     99  
Item 3.  

Legal Proceedings

     99  
Item 4.  

Mine Safety Disclosures

     99  
PART II

 

Item 5.  

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

     100  
Item 6.  

Selected Financial Data

     101  
Item 7.  

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

     101  
Item 7A.  

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

     114  
Item 8.  

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

     115  
Item 9.  

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

     115  
Item 9A.  

Controls and Procedures

     115  
Item 9B.  

Other Information

     116  
PART III

 

Item 10.  

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

     116  
Item 11.  

Executive Compensation

     117  
Item 12.  

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

     117  
Item 13.  

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

     117  
Item 14.  

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

     117  
PART IV

 

Item 15.  

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

     117  
Item 16  

Form 10-K Summary

     117  

 

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SUMMARY OF THE MATERIAL RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH OUR BUSINESS

 

   

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a very limited operating history. We have incurred net losses since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur substantial and increasing net losses in the foreseeable future. We may never achieve or sustain profitability.

 

   

A pandemic, epidemic, or outbreak of an infectious disease, such as the global novel coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) pandemic, may materially and adversely affect our business, including our preclinical studies, clinical trials, third-parties on whom we rely, our supply chain, our ability to raise capital, and our financial results.

 

   

We have never generated any revenue from product sales, and our ability to generate revenue from product sales and become profitable will depend significantly on our success in achieving a number of goals and on other factors.

 

   

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

 

   

We are heavily dependent on the success of CMP-001, our only product candidate.

 

   

We will not be able to commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates if our preclinical studies do not produce successful results and our clinical trials do not demonstrate the safety and efficacy of CMP-001 and future product candidates.

 

   

CMP-001 is based on a novel approach to the treatment of cancer, which makes it difficult to predict the time and cost of product candidate development.

 

   

Difficulty in enrolling patients could delay or prevent clinical trials of CMP-001 and future product candidates. We may find it difficult to enroll patients in our clinical trials or any subsequent trials that we may conduct.

 

   

CMP-001 is being, and future product candidates may be, evaluated in combination with third-party drugs, and we do not have control over the supply, regulatory status, or regulatory approval of such drugs.

 

   

We currently rely on third-party contract manufacturing organizations (“CMOs”) for the production of clinical supply of CMP-001 and may rely on CMOs for the production of commercial supply of CMP-001, if approved. This reliance on CMOs increases the risk that we will not have sufficient quantities of such materials, product candidates, or any therapies that we may develop and commercialize, or that such supply will not be available to us at an acceptable cost, which could delay, prevent, or impair our development or commercialization efforts.

 

   

We rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties to conduct, supervise, and monitor our preclinical studies and clinical trials. If those third parties do not perform satisfactorily, we may be unable to obtain regulatory approval for CMP-001 or any future product candidates or any approvals that may be obtained may be delayed.

 

   

Our collaboration agreements with any future third-parties may not be successful, which could adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize CMP-001 or any future product candidates.

 

   

The regulatory approval processes of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”) and comparable foreign regulatory authorities are lengthy, time consuming and inherently unpredictable. If we are not able to obtain, or experience delays in obtaining, required regulatory approvals, we will not be able to commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates as expected, and our ability to generate revenue may be materially impaired or eliminated.

 

   

Our relationships with patients and third-party payors will be subject to applicable anti-kickback, fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations, which could expose us to criminal sanctions, civil penalties, exclusion from government healthcare programs, contractual damages, reputational harm and diminished profits and future earnings.

 

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We face significant competition, which may result in others discovering, developing or commercializing products more quickly or marketing them more successfully than us. If competitive product candidates are shown to be safer or more effective than ours, our commercial opportunity may be reduced or eliminated.

 

   

If we are unable to obtain, maintain and protect our intellectual property rights for our technology and our product candidates, or if our intellectual property rights are inadequate, our competitive position could be harmed.

 

   

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

 

   

We identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. However, if we identify additional material weaknesses in the future or otherwise fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may not be able to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations, which may adversely affect our business.

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, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). These statements involve risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from the information expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including statements regarding our strategy, future operations, future financial position, future revenue, projected costs, prospects, plans and objectives of management and expected market growth are forward-looking statements. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “target,” “would” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words.

These forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements about:

 

   

our current expectations and anticipated results of operations;

 

   

the timing and the success of preclinical studies and clinical trials of CMP-001 and future product candidates, including our current Phase 2 trial for anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma, randomized Phase 2 trial for first-line melanoma and our current Phase 2 proof of concept study in advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (“HNSCC”);

 

   

the initiation and completion of any clinical trials of CMP-001 and future product candidates;

 

   

the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business;

 

   

our need to raise additional funding before we can expect to generate any revenues from product sales and our ability to raise capital, including in light of the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the related potential impact on the US and global economies;

 

   

our ability to conduct successful clinical trials or obtain regulatory approval for CMP-001 or any future product candidates that we may identify or develop;

 

   

our ability to ensure adequate supply of CMP-001 and any future candidates;

 

   

our ability to maintain third-party relationships necessary to conduct our business;

 

   

our dependence upon the success of our research to generate and advance additional product candidates;

 

   

our ability to establish an adequate safety and efficacy profile for CMP-001 or any future product candidates that we may pursue;

 

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the implementation of our strategic plans for our business, CMP-001 and any other product candidates we may develop and our technology;

 

   

our intellectual property position, including the scope of protection we are able to establish and maintain for intellectual property rights covering our product candidates and technology;

 

   

the rate and degree of market acceptance and clinical utility for CMP-001 and any other product candidates we may develop;

 

   

our estimates about the size of our market opportunity;

 

   

our ability to maintain and establish collaborations and strategic relationships, including our clinical trial collaboration with an affiliate of Merck KGaA (“Merck”), Pfizer Inc. (“Pfizer”) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (“BMS”);

 

   

the potential benefits of the continued existence of research, development, testing and manufacturing services provided by contract manufacturing organizations;

 

   

our financial performance and liquidity;

 

   

our ability to effectively manage our anticipated growth;

 

   

developments relating to our competitors and our industry, including the impact of government regulation;

 

   

our ability to retain the continued service of our key professionals and to identify, hire and retain additional qualified professionals;

 

   

our ability to maintain adequate internal controls over financial reporting;

 

   

our expectations regarding the period during which we qualify as an “emerging growth company” under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the “JOBS Act”);

 

   

our expectations regarding the period during which we qualify as a “smaller reporting company”;

 

   

our use of proceeds from our initial public offering (“IPO”) and our expectations regarding our estimated expenses, the sufficiency of our cash resources, our expected cash runway and our need for additional financing, and

 

   

other risks and uncertainties, including those listed under the section titled “Risk Factors.”

The forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K represent our views as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We anticipate that subsequent events and developments will cause our views to change. However, while we may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we have no current intention of doing so except to the extent required by applicable law. You should therefore not rely on these forward-looking statements as representing our views as of any date subsequent to the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

We may from time-to-time provide estimates, projections and other information concerning our industry, our business and the markets for our product candidates. Information that is based on estimates, forecasts, projections, market research or similar methodologies is inherently subject to uncertainties and actual events or circumstances may differ materially from events and circumstances that are assumed in this information. Unless otherwise expressly stated, we obtained this industry, business, market, and other data from our own internal estimates and research as well as from reports, research surveys, studies, and similar data prepared by market research firms and other third parties, industry, medical and general publications, government data and similar sources. These estimates involve numerous assumptions, are subject to risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various factors, including those discussed under the section titled “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

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PART 1

All brand names or trademarks appearing in this report are the property of their respective owners. Unless the context requires otherwise, references in this report to “Checkmate,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its subsidiary.

 

Item 1.

Business.

Overview

We are a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing our proprietary technology to harness the power of the immune system to combat cancer. Our product candidate, CMP-001, is an advanced generation Toll-like receptor 9 (“TLR9”) agonist delivered as a biologic virus-like particle (“VLP”) utilizing a CpG-A oligonucleotide as a key component. When injected into a tumor, CMP-001 is designed to trigger the body’s innate immune system, thereby altering the tumor microenvironment and directing activated anti-tumor T cells to attack both the injected tumor and also tumors throughout the body. In a clinical trial of CMP-001 in combination with a systemic checkpoint inhibitor (“CPI”) in patients with melanoma whose tumors were unresponsive or no longer responsive to a CPI, we have observed a best objective response rate (“ORR”) of 28% (27/98), including post-progression responders. We have assembled a strong management team and infrastructure to evaluate CMP-001 across multiple tumor types in combination with other immunotherapy agents. Our founder, Art Krieg, first reported the discovery of immunostimulatory cytosine-phosphate-guanine(“CpG”) DNA in 1995, which, combined with the discovery of TLR9, led to the recognition that synthetic CpG-A oligonucleotides have the ability to stimulate the TLR9 receptor for therapeutic purposes. Our goal is to establish CMP-001 as a foundational immuno-oncology therapy that engages the innate immune system to fight cancer and improve outcomes for patients with a broad range of solid tumors.

Many tumors possess mechanisms to evade the immune system. One such evasion mechanism is through the expression of signaling molecules known as immune checkpoint proteins, which inhibit some immune cells that are capable of mounting an immune response against the tumor. Checkpoint inhibitors, such as antibodies that block programmed death receptor 1 (“ PD-1”) have the ability to reverse this mechanism of evasion, thereby unleashing anti-tumor T cells to destroy tumors. However, except with respect to certain rare tumor types, these therapies are only effective in a minority of patients, as many patients do not have an activated T cell response targeting their tumors. We have observed increased anti-tumor T cell activity in preclinical and clinical studies of the combination of a CPI with an innate immune activator of Type I interferons (“IFN-α”) a large subgroup of interferon proteins that help regulate the immune system. Of the many different IFN-α inducers that have been tested in human immune cells, TLR9 agonist CpG-A oligonucleotides have been found to be the most potent in inducing IFN-α. We believe that the distinct mechanism of action of CMP-001, along with its structure as a VLP, leads to the activation of innate immunity in a way that initiates or restores a systemic adaptive immune response with anti-tumor T cells.

Our top priorities are to (1) Advance the clinical development of CMP-001 toward marketing authorizations for the treatment of melanoma, and (2) Develop CMP-001 for use across other relevant tumor types and indications. We are conducting a Phase 2 trial of CMP-001 in combination with nivolumab in anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma. We believe that data from this trial, if successful, could help support submission of a biologics license application (“BLA”). Additionally, we are conducting a randomized Phase 2 trial of CMP-001 in combination with nivolumab in first-line melanoma. In addition to these studies in melanoma, we are conducting a study of CMP-001 in combination with pembrolizumab in relapsed / refractory metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (“HNSCC”) and actively exploring potential trials in other tumor types.

Our Phase 1b clinical study has evaluated CMP-001 in subjects with advanced anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma in combination with pembrolizumab and as a monotherapy. In this study, as of September 30, 2020, we observed a best ORR of 28% (27/98), including post-progression responders, when CMP-001 was combined with pembrolizumab. Treatment related adverse events were generally manageable, the most common consisting of flu-like symptoms and injection site reactions.

 

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We are also supporting an investigator-sponsored Phase 2 trial with CMP-001 in combination with nivolumab in the pre-surgery, or neoadjuvant, setting in patients with resectable melanoma not previously treated with PD-1 blockade. Data presented at The Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) on November 11, 2020 showed a Pathological Response (pCR, pMR, and pPR) of 70%, a pathological Complete Response (“pCR”) rate of 50%, and a Major Pathological Response (“MPR”) (pCR and pMR), rate of 60%. We believe these pathological response rates in the neoadjuvant setting support the development of CMP-001 in other anti-PD-1 naïve melanoma indications, such as first-line melanoma, which we are pursuing in a clinical trial. Historical response rates of other TLR9 agonists in combination with anti-PD-1 antibodies in the anti-PD-1 naïve metastatic or unresectable melanoma setting have shown objective response rates ranging from 49 to 76% as compared to an average of only 34 to 40% with PD-1 therapy alone. We expect that we will be required to conduct a randomized trial comparing CMP-001 in combination with PD-1 blockade versus PD-1 blockade alone if we pursue marketing authorization in the future in neoadjuvant melanoma. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“ FDA”) has granted CMP-001as a TLR9 agonist Orphan Drug Designation for the treatment of Stages IIb-IV melanoma and Fast Track designation for unresectable Stage III or Stage IV melanoma and unresectable or metastatic melanoma refractory to prior anti-PD-1 blockaded.

To date, CMP-001 has been studied in more than 250 melanoma patients in clinical trials. Based on the clinical data we have generated to date, including the generally manageable adverse events we have observed, we believe there is an opportunity for CMP-001 to be developed as a differentiated immuno-oncology therapy. On the strength of the clinical results observed in multiple settings of melanoma, we intend to conduct additional trials with CMP-001 in combination with anti-PD-1 antibodies. The following table sets forth the current status of our existing trials and our key clinical trials evaluating CMP-001 in melanoma as well as our expansion into new indications with our trial in HNSCC.

Clinical Pipeline

 

 

LOGO

We believe that our novel mechanism of action creates significant potential to synergize with CPIs in two unique ways: (1) through the Type A class of CpG molecule, and (2) through the immunostimulatory effects of the VLP. To our knowledge, CMP-001 is the only investigational CpG-A class TLR9 agonist in clinical trials, and we believe the CpG-A class differs from other CpG classes in clinical development in their ability induce high levels of IFN-α. CpG-A oligonucleotides contain a native phosphodiester DNA backbone that is cleaved during TLR9 activation in order to generate the strongest possible IFN-α production. In contrast, CpG-B and CpG-C oligonucleotides, used in other TLR9 clinical studies, consist of TLR9 agonists constructed with a phosphorothioate backbone that cannot be cleaved during plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) activation, and therefore induce a lower level of IFN-α production. We believe the differences in molecular structure have a meaningful impact on molecular signaling, and potentially on clinical efficacy. CpG-A activates TLR9 in early endosomes, which is in turn associated with high IFN-α production.

 

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Our VLP technology is designed to encapsulate and protect the CpG-A oligonucleotide from degradation in the tumor. The first injection of the VLP stimulates the production of antibodies to the VLP. On subsequent injections, the antibodies may then bind to the VLP, potentially promoting the uptake of the CpG-A cargo into the pDCs via an activating receptor on the pDCs, FcgRIIA, which has been shown in pre-clinical models to enhance the systemic anti-cancer immune effect. In contrast, CpG-B and CpG-C oligonucleotides are taken up via oligonucleotide receptors without this added immune effect from the FcgRIIA. We believe this is another important differentiating factor in the efficacy of our approach.

We believe our VLP technology confers unique properties that enhance therapeutic immune stimulation. We plan to explore the applicability of our VLP technology as we pursue other innate immune targets beyond TLR9. In addition to our internal drug discovery and development efforts, we plan to explore potential strategic collaborative relationships, partnerships, acquisitions and licensing opportunities to enhance the development of our current programs and access additional novel product candidates.

To support our business efforts, we have assembled a management team with extensive experience in pharmaceutical and biologic discovery, development and commercialization at leading biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies including Biogen, Coley, Human Genome Sciences, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, Takeda, Moderna and Amgen. Since our inception in 2015, through venture funding and our IPO in August 2020, we have raised $241.7 million. Our private rounds included prominent biotechnology institutional investors including Sofinnova Investments, venBio Partners, F-Prime Capital, Decheng Capital, Longitude Capital, Novo Holdings, Medixci, Omega Funds, Clough Capital Partners, Sectoral Asset Management, and BrightEdge, the venture investment fund of the American Cancer Society.

Our CMP-001 Program

CMP-001 is based on a novel therapeutic approach that consists of two components: (1) a capsid protein that is produced by fermentation, and is derived from a QBeta RNA bacteriophage and (2) a CpG-A DNA oligonucleotide that is manufactured by solid phase synthesis. These two components are combined together under controlled conditions where they self-assemble to form the VLP.

To date, CMP-001 is the only CpG-A oligodeoxynucleotide in clinical development to our knowledge and is differentiated in several important ways from other TLR9 agonists in advanced clinical development, which are CpG-C oligodeoxynucleotides. We believe these differences have resulted in encouraging and differentiated clinical data.

First, CpG-A oligodeoxynucleotides are structurally distinct from CpG-C oligodeoxynucleotides, and they induce higher levels of IFN-α. In contrast, CpG-C oligodeoxynucleotides induced less IFN-α and more inflammatory cytokines and Interleukin-10 (IL-10), a key immune-suppressive cytokine produced by regulatory T-cells, when evaluated in pre-clinical models. Second, the CpG-A in CMP-001 is packaged in an immunogenic virus-like particle (VLP). A facilitating antibody response develops to the VLP, which is taken up by the target cells (plasmacytoid dendritic cells, or pDCs) through a specific receptor, FcgRIIA (CD32), that provides an additional positive signal to the pDC. In animal models, delivery via the VLP has enhanced the regression of non-injected, distant tumors.

We believe that the clinical data we have generated with CMP-001, both in monotherapy and in combination with PD-1 blockade, demonstrate compelling proof-of-concept consistent with the distinct molecular structure. In combination with pembrolizumab in patients with PD-1 refractory melanoma, the ORR was 23% (23/98) by RECIST v1.1, and 28% (27/98) when including post-progression responses. The median duration of response was 19.9 months. Furthermore, we believe that CMP-001 is the only TLR9 agonist to date to demonstrate compelling evidence of single-agent activity, despite the modest duration of response. Finally, we believe CMP-001 is the only TLR9 agonist to date to demonstrate compelling activity in combination with PD-1 blockade in patients with high-risk, Stage III neoadjuvant melanoma.

 

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Based upon the totality of the data generated to date, we are developing CMP-001 in combination with PD-1 blockade in melanoma and other tumor types. We believe the combination with anti-PD-1 antibodies is scientifically sound and, if approved, will be commercially attractive compared to combinations with other immune checkpoint inhibitors such as ipilimumab.

Mechanism of Action of CMP-001

The human immune system possesses an innate ability to recognize and attack a wide variety of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, as well as an ability to continuously surveil for dead, dying and diseased tissue. Like humans, bacteria and some viruses have DNA that encode their genome. Unlike humans, however, the DNA of viruses and bacteria has a distinct molecular structure with unmethylated CpG DNA which activates dedicated TLR9 receptors in pDCs. CpG DNA are relatively common in bacterial and viral DNA but are suppressed and methylated in human and other vertebrate DNA.

Once in an activated state, pDCs secrete large quantities of IFN-α to put the innate and adaptive immune system in a position to fight off infections and foreign bodies, such as tumors. This activation is critical since, in their resting, unactivated state in the microenvironment of many solid tumors, pDCs play an immunoinhibitory role in which they protect tumors from immune attack. We believe that CMP-001 can reverse this unfavorable pDC phenotype present in many tumors by causing these innate immune cells to trigger the body’s adaptive immune system, leading to a tumor-specific, T cell response.

CMP-001 is structurally and biologically distinct from other TLR9 agonists in clinical development. It consists of unmethylated CpG-A DNA on a natural phosphodiester backbone and self-aggregates into G-quadruplex structures that are encapsulated in a virus-like particle to make it appear like a virus to pDCs. The graphic below illustrates the hypothetical mechanism of action of CMP-001.

Unactivated pDCs can be recruited into tumors and protect them from immune attack. Injections of CMP-001 cause an antibody response to the VLP, which has been shown in preclinical studies to enhance the uptake of antibody-coated CMP-001 into pDCs through the activating Fc receptor, CD32. These studies also demonstrated that the VLP enhanced the systemic effect of the CpG-A beyond that of unencapsulated CpG-A. The natural phosphodiester backbone allows the CpG DNA to be cleaved inside the early endosome of the pDC, and has been shown to mediate greater activation of pDCs through TLR9. Activated pDCs can release large amounts of Type I interferons, which facilitate recruitment and activation of other immune cells, such as conventional dendritic cells, and T cells. We believe these effects can potentially culminate in the generation of large numbers of tumor-targeted T cells capable of killing the tumor both locally and systemically.

 

 

LOGO

 

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Our Development Strategy

Our clinical development strategy for CMP-001 is focused on two key pillars. First, on the strength of our clinical data to date, we intend to continue advancing clinical development toward a regulatory submission seeking approval of CMP-001 for the treatment of advanced melanoma. Second, because we believe that the mechanism of action for CMP-001 and the potential to enhance the effectiveness of PD-1 blockade are not limited to melanoma, we intend to develop CMP-001 in other relevant tumor types and indications, with an initial focus on head and neck cancer.

Clinical Data Supporting Our CMP-001 Development Plan

We have based our development plan on clinical data from three data sets:

 

  1.

CMP-001 in combination with pembrolizumab in patients with PD-1 refractory melanoma

 

  2.

CMP-001 in combination with nivolumab in patients with PD-1 naïve neoadjuvant melanoma

 

  3.

Single-agent CMP-001 treatment in patients with PD-1 refractory melanoma

These data, which are described in further detail below, show that CMP-001 has been generally well-tolerated and has demonstrated preliminary anti-tumor activity in patients in combination with a PD-1 blockade in both PD-1 refractory melanoma and PD-1 naïve, neoadjuvant melanoma settings. While there has not been a head-to-head clinical trial comparing the CMP-001 and anti-PD-1 therapy combination with single agent anti-PD-1 therapy, we believe that the data generated to date supports further clinical evaluation of this combination.

Melanoma is a particularly dangerous form of cancer because of its ability to spread to other organs rapidly if not surgically removed at an early stage, as well as low response rates and limited durability of response when treated with commonly used chemotherapeutics. In 2020, melanoma of the skin is estimated to be the fifth most diagnosed cancer, and accounts for approximately 1% of all skin cancers in the United States. Estimates by the American Cancer Society of new diagnoses and deaths as a result of melanoma in the United States are 100,350 and 6,850 respectively. Most cases of melanoma are diagnosed at an early-stage and can often be cured with surgery alone. Patients diagnosed with early-stage melanoma typically have a five-year survival rate of 99%. More advanced melanoma can result in widespread metastasis to organs, including the skin, lung, brain, liver or intestines, and is less responsive to systemic therapy. Until the introduction of CPIs, treatment for metastatic melanoma primarily included surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, interferon, or a combination of these treatments. According to data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (“SEER”) program, the five-year survival rate for metastatic melanoma patients is only approximately 25%. Despite the significant rates of responses achieved with CPIs compared to historical standards of care in patients with metastatic melanoma, a large portion of patients still do not respond to immunotherapy and only about half of all melanomas have genetic mutations that make them suitable for treatment with targeted therapies. Therefore, additional novel therapies are needed to expand the potential of immunotherapy to more patients.

Based on key opinion leader discussions, we believe a substantial proportion of patients with melanoma have at least one lesion that is accessible for intratumoral injection. These include cutaneous and sub-cutaneous lesions as well as palpable lymph nodes. To the extent that injection of a single lesion has been shown to have a systemic (abscopal) effect, patients with a single accessible lesion may be candidates for treatment with drugs administered by intratumoral injection. In clinical trials with CMP-001, injections have often been performed in outpatient clinics, by physicians, nurse practitioners, and nurses—often without the need for any imaging to assist in the procedure. These injections have been generally described to be similar to subcutaneous injections with various agents.

 

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Phase 1b Study of Intratumoral CMP-001 in Patients with anti-PD-1 Refractory Melanoma

In October 2015, we initiated a two-part Phase 1b clinical trial to assess the effects of intratumoral CMP-001 in adult patients with advanced melanoma. In this trial, treatment with CMP-001 in combination with pembrolizumab has been generally well-tolerated, and CMP-001 reversed or overcame resistance to anti-PD-1 therapy in some patients with melanoma that progressed on prior anti-PD-1 therapy. We believe these data provide the foundation to pursue further Phase 2 studies with CMP-001 in combination with an anti-PD-1 antibody in patients who have metastatic or unresectable melanoma, particularly those with disease progression despite prior treatment with PD-1 blockade.

Part 1—Combination Treatment with CMP-001 and Pembrolizumab

Trial Design and Endpoints

In Part 1 of the Phase 1b study, which is fully enrolled, adult patients with metastatic or unresectable melanoma who did not respond or had disease progression after at least four doses of treatment that included PD-1 blockade were eligible for enrollment in the trial. The objectives of the study are to determine the recommended dose and schedule of CMP-001 when given in combination with pembrolizumab, or KEYTRUDA, and to assess and describe the safety profile, pharmacodynamics, and anti-tumor activity of the combination. Clinical benefit is being assessed through measurements of objective tumor response and duration of response every 12 weeks by the site investigators according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (“RECIST”) v1.1. Patients with progressive disease were allowed to continue study treatment at the discretion of the investigator.

As of September 30, 2020, we enrolled 159 patients and assessed five dose levels, two dose schedules, and two formulations of CMP-001 (polysorbate 20 (“PS20”) at 0.01% and 0.00167% concentrations) in Part 1 of this study given intratumorally in combination with pembrolizumab, which was administered intravenously every three weeks according to the US Prescribing Information. The median age of the patients was 64 years and 56% were male. The median number of prior therapies was two (with a range of one to eight), and all patients received one or more prior regimens containing PD-1 blockade. Seventy-five percent (119/159) of patients received monotherapy PD-1 blockade and 50% (80/159) received PD-1 blockade in combination with other agents. Forty-seven percent of the patients had prior ipilimumab as a single agent and/or in combination with other drugs. The best response to prior therapy that included PD-1 blockade was progressive disease (“PD”) in 43% of the patients, stable disease (“SD”) in 31% of the patients, PR in 13% of patients and a complete response, or CR, in 4% of patients and 8% were unknown. Prior to enrollment, the last response assessment of PD-1 blocking antibody therapy was PD in 93% of patients, SD in 3% and unknown in 4%. Sixty-five percent of patients had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (“ECOG”) performance status of zero and 35% had an ECOG performance status of one. Thirty-six percent had melanoma with a BRAF mutation. The lactate dehydrogenase (“LDH”) an adverse prognostic factor in patients with melanoma, was elevated in 42% of patients at baseline. The baseline disease locations in patients enrolled to the study included skin only in 8% of patients, lymph nodes (with or without skin lesions) in 19%, soft tissue (with or without skin lesions or lymph node metastases) in 13%, bone (with or without skin, lymph nodes, or soft tissue but without visceral metastases) in 4%, and any visceral metastases in 55%.

Anti-tumor Activity

We believe that we have demonstrated proof of concept for CMP-001 in combination with pembrolizumab in the PD-1 refractory melanoma patient setting based on the results from this trial. In the 98 patients who initiated treatment with intratumoral CMP-001 in 0.01% PS20, which was selected for subsequent development based on the results of this study, we observed that 28% (27/98) of these patients had a partial or complete response, including patients who responded to continued treatment after initial disease progression. The group of 98 also had a best ORR by RECIST v1.1 of 23% (23/98). The best ORR by RECIST v1.1 in the 61 patients who initiated treatment with intratumoral CMP-001 0.00167% PS20 was 11% (7/61). A publication in 2020 from the KEYNOTE-002 study reported that six patients out of 78 (7.7%) achieved an objective response with continued pembrolizumab treatment after initial disease progression. Based on this report, we believe that a response rate above 7% would be indicative of a treatment effect in excess of anti-PD-1 treatment alone.

 

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In all the 159 patients who were treated by CMP-001 in combination with pembrolizumab, the Kaplan-Meier analysis produced a median duration of response of 19.9 months for all 37 responders including post-progression responders, and 19.9 months for the 30 responders with a RECIST v1.1 response as of the cutoff date.

We believe that the response rate and durability of response observed with CMP-001 treatment in combination with pembrolizumab in these patients provides strong evidence that CMP-001 administered intratumorally in combination with PD-1 blockade has the potential to address the unmet medical need for patients with melanoma that is progressing despite administering a PD-1 blockade. The activity of CMP-001 in combination with pembrolizumab was observed in both injected and non-injected target lesions, as shown in the figure below. The magnitude of regression between the injected and non-injected lesions was similar. In these responding patients, the mean regression across all injected target lesions was 71% and the mean regression across all non-injected target lesions was 62%.

CMP-001 + Pembrolizumab in Anti-PD-1 Refractory Melanoma: Regression in Injected and Noninjected Lesions

 

 

LOGO

Safety Results

As of September 30, 2020, of the 159 patients enrolled in Part 1 of the Phase 1b clinical trial, all but three have experienced at least one adverse event assessed as treatment-related by the investigator. The most common adverse events were Grade 1 or 2 and include flu-like symptoms and injection site reactions. Treatment-related adverse events reported in at least 20% of patients included: chills (119 patients, 75%); pyrexia (98 patients, 62%); fatigue (87 patients, 55%); nausea (77 patients, 48%); vomiting (51 patients, 32%); injection site pain (48 patients, 30%); headache (48 patients, 30%); diarrhea (35 patients, 22%); decreased appetite (34 patients, 21%); back pain (33 patients, 21%), and hypotension (32 patients, 20%). Sixteen patients (10%) discontinued treatment due to an adverse event. Adverse events leading to treatment discontinuation which were considered related to treatment included pneumonitis (n=2) and atrial fibrillation, chills, diarrhea, disseminated intravascular dissemination, dyspnea, generalized edema, injection related reaction, injection site pain, muscular weakness, pancreatitis (n=1 each). Twenty-seven patients (17%) experienced a treatment-related serious adverse event (“SAE”) which included hypotension (n=7, 4%); pyrexia, cytokine release syndrome, muscular weakness (n=2, 1.3%); adrenal insufficiency, arthritis, asthenia, increased AST, atrial fibrillation, basal ganglia infarction, bronchitis, cardiac failure congestive, chills, confusional state, deep vein thrombosis, diarrhea, disseminated intravascular coagulation, encephalopathy, eye inflammation, fatigue, generalized edema, intracranial hemorrhage, nausea, peripheral edema, peripheral ischemia, pneumonitis, tumor pain, vomiting (n=1 patient, 0.6%). Fifty-eight patients (36%) experienced one or more treatment-related adverse events of Grade 3 or higher. The most common Grade 3 or 4 treatment-related

 

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adverse events reported in at least three patients included hypotension (n=11, 7%), hypertension (n=8, 5%), chills, back pain (n=5 each, 3%), increased AST, hypoxia, pyrexia (n=4 each, 2.5%), anemia, increased ALT, arthralgia, and hypophosphatemia (n=3 each, 2%).

Part 2—Monotherapy Treatment with CMP-001

Trial Design and Endpoints

In Part 2 of the Phase 1b clinical trial, which has been fully enrolled, adult patients with metastatic or unresectable melanoma who did not respond or had disease progression after at least four doses of PD-1 blockade were eligible for treatment. The objectives of Part 2 are to evaluate the safety, tolerability and anti-tumor activity of monotherapy CMP-001. Patients with progressive disease on CMP-001 monotherapy had the option to receive CMP-001 in combination with pembrolizumab.

Interim Anti-tumor Activity

In an interim analysis of the ongoing trial as of the data cut-off date of September 30, 2020, 40 patients were treated with intratumoral CMP-001 at initial doses of 5 mg or 10 mg. The median age of the patients was 68 years and 65% were male. The median number of prior lines of treatment was two (with a range of one to seven). Lactate dehydrogenase was elevated in 45% of the patients and 30% had a BRAF mutation. The ECOG PS was 0 in 50% and 1 in 50% of the patients. The last response on therapy containing a PD-1 blocking antibody was progressive disease in 80% (32 patients), stable disease in 10% (4 patients), partial response in 5% (2 patients), and unknown in 5% (2 patients). The best response on therapy containing a PD-1 blocking antibody was progressive disease in 23% (9 patients), stable disease in 45% (18 patients), partial response in 13% (5 patients), complete response in 5% (2 patients), and unknown in 15% (6 patients). Forty-three percent of the patients (17 patients) received prior treatment with ipilimumab as a single agent and/or in combination with other agents. As of the cutoff date, seven patients achieved a partial response for a best ORR of 18%.

Patients enrolled in Part 2 are allowed to have pembrolizumab added to their CMP-001 continuing regimen at the time of disease progression. While we believe the early activity observed in patients treated with of CMP-001 is encouraging, the duration of response with CMP-001 monotherapy has been less than observed in combination with PD-1 blockade. We therefore plan to focus subsequent development of CMP-001 in combinations that include PD-1 blockade.

Safety Results

As of September 30, 2020, forty patients enrolled and 38 (95%) had at least one treatment-related adverse event. The most common treatment-related adverse events (reported in at least 20% of patients) to single-agent CMP-001 included chills (21 patients, 53%); nausea (19 patients, 48%); pyrexia (18 patients, 45%); fatigue (15 patients, 38%), headache (14 patients, 35%), hypotension (10 patients, 25%); back pain, decreased appetite, vomiting (9 patients, 23%), and pruritus(8 patients, 20%).

Nine patients (23%) experienced one or more treatment-related Grade 3 adverse events, which included hypotension, infusion related reaction (2 patients, 5%), and increased ALT, increased AST, bone pain, bradycardia, flank pain, headache, hypertension, pyrexia, rash, spinal pain, and syncope (1 patient, 3%). There were no Grade 4 or 5 treatment-related adverse events reported at the time of data cut-off.

Six patients (15%) experienced one or more treatment-related SAEs. SAEs considered related to study treatments included hypotension (3 patients, 8%) and bradycardia, chills, cytokine release syndrome, dizziness, headache, nausea, pemphigoid, presyncope, rash, and syncope (1 patient, 3%). Three patients discontinued study treatment due to adverse events considered related to study treatment including one subject who had bradycardia, hypotension, and presyncope, one subject who had an injection site reaction, and one subject who had headache, nausea, chills and rigors.

 

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Trial Design and Treatment Extension

The safety of CMP-001 when administered in combination with pembrolizumab or as monotherapy will continue to be evaluated in the Treatment Extension. Enrollment into the Treatment Extension is available to patients receiving treatment in Part 1 or Part 2 at the discretion of the investigator. Patients will continue their current treatment regimen with reduced study assessments focused on the collection of safety data.

Investigator-sponsored Clinical Trial of CMP-001 in Combination with Nivolumab in PD-1 Naïve Neoadjuvant Melanoma Patient Setting

We are currently supporting an investigator-sponsored clinical trial in PD-1 naïve neoadjuvant melanoma. In August 2018, investigators at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center began a trial to evaluate CMP-001 in combination with nivolumab as neoadjuvant therapy in patients with resectable melanoma not previously treated with PD-1 blockade. Data from this trial, as described below, have shown that CMP-001 in combination with nivolumab has been generally well-tolerated and has not delayed or complicated surgery. We believe the high pathological response rate, including pCR and MPR rates, observed in this investigator-sponsored trial, combined with the generally manageable adverse events we have observed in our clinical trials of CMP-001, provide supporting evidence for the potential of CMP-001 in combination with PD-1 blockade in patients with melanoma naïve to PD-1 blockade in both the neoadjuvant and first-line settings.

Trial Design and Endpoints

Eligible patients had resectable Stage IIIB, IIIC, or IIID melanoma and had never received treatment that included PD-1 blockade. The trial enrolled 31 patients of which all patients were evaluable for safety and 30 patients were evaluable for the primary endpoint. The trial design consisted of weekly doses of CMP-001 for seven consecutive weeks in combination with three doses of nivolumab at two-week intervals. Patients undergo surgical resection and recovery between weeks eight and 10, after which they will receive adjuvant nivolumab in combination with CMP-001 administered local regionally and draining of lymph nodes for up to 54 weeks.

The primary endpoint of this trial was to evaluate MPR in patients with stage IIIB/C melanoma following 7 weeks of nivolumab and injected CMP-001. The secondary objectives were to evaluate safety, relapse-free survival (RFS), and overall survival (OS) after 52 weeks of nivolumab/CMP-001 combination. Final data on the primary endpoint from this ongoing trial were presented on November 11, 2020 at the 35th Annual Meeting of The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer and are described below.

Final Anti-Tumor Activity

As of the cut-off date of October 1, 2020, 31 patients were enrolled in the trial, and 30 completed neoadjuvant treatment and surgery and were evaluable for the primary endpoint. One patient experienced systemic progression prior to surgery and was evaluable for safety but not for pathological response. Patients had a median age of 61 years (with a range from ages 19-93), and 16 male and 14 female patients were included in the efficacy analysis for pathological response.

The Pathologic Response rate was 70%, including pCR of 50% (15/30), pMR of 10% (3/30), and pPR of 10% (3/30). The MPR (pCR and pMR) rate was 60%, and 9 patients (30%) did not have a pathological response (pNR). The landmark 1-year RFS was 90% in patients with a pathological response and 89% in patients with a MPR.

Biopsies from patients with a pathological response to CMP-001 in combination with nivolumab showed increased density of intratumoral cluster of differentiation 8 (“CD8+”) and T cells and immunophenotyping studies revealed an increased fraction of circulating CD8+Ki67+ T cells in the blood, suggesting that treatment with CMP-001 and nivolumab was able to activate CD8+ T cells and facilitate T cell infiltration of the tumor

 

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microenvironment. Additional studies demonstrated a rim of CD303+ pDCs surrounding non-viable tumor in biopsies from some patients. We believe this is important, as tumors that exclude T cells are less likely to respond to immunotherapy with PD-1 blockade, and the potential involvement of pDCs supports our proposed mechanism of action for CMP-001.

Interim Safety Results

The treatment with CMP-001 and nivolumab was observed to be generally well-tolerated and most treatment related adverse events were Grade 1 or 2, including flu-like symptoms and injection site reactions. The incidence of immune-related adverse events was low, and one patient had Grade 3 colitis. No dose limiting toxicities were observed, and the most frequent Grade 3 toxicity was hypertension, which was reversible in all cases. No Grade 4 or 5 treatment related adverse events were observed. One patient with a Grade 4 skin infection (not related to CMP-001 and nivolumab) had a delay in surgery although disease remained resectable. There were no delays in planned surgery due to treatment related adverse events.

Third-Party Neoadjuvant Clinical Trial Data

In a randomized, non-comparative trial of four doses of nivolumab at two-week intervals in 12 patients and nivolumab plus ipilimumab at three week intervals in 11 patients conducted at MD Anderson Cancer Center, nivolumab yielded a pCR rate of 25% and ORR of 25% as measured by RECIST v.1.1, while nivolumab plus ipilimumab resulted in a pCR rate of 45% and ORR of 73%. This trial was stopped early due to the inferior outcomes with nivolumab monotherapy and the high rate of Grade 3 or higher adverse events (75%) with the combination. In the OpACIN-neo trial conducted by the Netherlands Cancer Institute, 86 patients were randomized and treated in one of three cohorts of nivolumab and combined with ipilimumab at varying doses and schedules. The objective response rate ranged from 35% to 63%, and the pCR rate ranged from 23% to 57% across the cohorts. The rate of Grade 3 or higher adverse events ranged from 20 to 50%, and one of the three cohorts was closed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board for toxicity. The PRADO Trial, which was an extension of the OpACIN-neo trial, reported a pCR rate of 50% and an MPR rate of 61% from 99 patients treated with two doses of neoadjuvant ipilimumab (1 mg/kg) and nivolumab (3 mg/kg) at a 3-week interval prior to surgery. Twenty-two percent of the patients experienced a treatment-related Grade 3 or higher immune-related adverse event.

Phase 1b Trial of Subcutaneous CMP-001 In Patients with Advanced Melanoma

Trial Design and Endpoints

In January 2017, we initiated a two-part clinical trial of CMP-001 administered subcutaneously in combination with pembrolizumab in patients with advanced melanoma to evaluate whether subcutaneous CMP-001 is a viable route of treatment in combination with PD-1 blockade. This trial was undertaken to evaluate whether subcutaneous injection near the tumor or in the tumor-draining lymph node bed is able to generate a T cell-specific anti-tumor immune response. To be eligible for this trial, patients are required to have metastatic or unresectable melanoma and have continued disease progression despite at least four doses of treatment that included PD-1 blockade. The objectives of the trial are to determine the recommended Phase 2 dose of CMP-001 when administered subcutaneously in combination with pembrolizumab, and to assess and describe the safety profile, pharmacodynamics, and anti-tumor activity of the combination. CMP-001 was to be injected into an area corresponding to the lymphatic drainage for one or more melanoma lesions. Clinical benefit was assessed through measurements of objective tumor response and duration of response every 12 weeks by the site investigators according to RECIST v1.1. Patients with progressive disease are allowed to continue study treatment at the discretion of the investigator.

 

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Trial Status

As of a cutoff date of June 1, 2020, in the Part 1 dose-escalation phase of the trial, 27 patients were administered CMP-001 subcutaneously at doses ranging from 5 mg to 17.5 mg. The highest planned CMP-001 dose was 20 mg. No patients have been enrolled to Part 2 of the trial. Given our plan to initiate registration studies with CMP-001 in advanced melanoma, we decided to discontinue enrollment to this trial.

Interim Anti-tumor Activity

As of the cutoff date, 25 patients were evaluable for efficacy assessments, and the best ORR was 8% (2 of 25 evaluable patients by RECIST v.1.1 criteria) and included best responses of one CR and one PR, both in the 10 mg dose group (n=8). There were eight (32%) patients with a RECIST v1.1 best response of stable disease, eleven (42%) patients with a RECIST v1.1 best response of progressive disease, and four (16%) patients who discontinued prior to having a post baseline tumor assessment.

Interim Safety Results

As of the cutoff date, in the Part 1 dose-escalation phase of the trial, 27 patients received CMP-001 SC. All but four patients had at least one adverse event assessed as treatment-related by the Investigator. Most were Grade 1 or 2 adverse events, and included flu-like symptoms and injection site reactions. Four patients (15%) had one or more treatment-related adverse events of Grade 3 or higher which included increased LDH, erythema multiforme, fatigue, pain and tumor pain (1 patient, 4%). One patient (4%) discontinued treatment due to an adverse event of pain due to disease progression that was unrelated to study treatment. Two patients (8%) had a treatment-related serious adverse event. One patient had Grade 3 tumor pain in the abdomen and one had Grade 3 erythema multiforme. Adverse events considered related to study treatment occurring in at least 20% of patients included fatigue (14 patients, 52%); chills (6 patients, 22%), and nausea (6 patients, 22%).

Clinical Development Plans

Our clinical development strategy is to pursue registration of CMP-001 in combination with a PD-1 blocking antibody for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma, and to establish Proof of Concept in other advanced cancers, beginning with HNSCC. To this end, we are conducting three new clinical studies:

 

  (1)

a single-arm Phase 2 trial of CMP-001 and nivolumab in patients with anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma,

 

  (2)

a randomized Phase 2/3 trial of CMP-001 and nivolumab vs. nivolumab in patients with first-line melanoma, and

 

  (3)

a single-arm Phase 2 trial of CMP-001 and pembrolizumab in patients with HNSCC.

In addition to our studies in melanoma and HNSCC, we intend to conduct additional studies to evaluate CMP-001 in combination with PD-1 blockade in other cancers.

Subject to the impact of COVID-19 and the timely initiation and enrollment of these trials, we anticipate reporting ORR data for our Phase 2 trials in first-line melanoma and HNSCC in the second half of 2022, and we expect to complete our planned Phase 2 trial in anti PD-1 refractory melanoma in 2023. If data from the Phase 2 melanoma trials are positive, we may potentially submit a BLA in the second half of 2023.

I. Development Plan for CMP-001 For the Treatment of Melanoma

The first priority in our development strategy is to progress toward registration for the treatment of both first-line and PD-1 refractory melanoma. We believe that the interim data described above provide supportive evidence of CMP-001’s activity in combination with PD-1 blockade, and we intend to initiate clinical trials to advance toward applications for marketing authorization for CMP-001 for the treatment of anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma and first-line melanoma.

 

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Collaboration with BMS

On December 7, 2020, we entered into a clinical collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (“BMS”), pursuant to which BMS agreed to provide nivolumab for our Phase 2 refractory melanoma study and Phase 2 first-line melanoma study, at its own expense.

Phase 2 Clinical Trial in Anti-PD-1 Refractory Melanoma

We are conducting Trial CMP-001-010, a multicenter, open-label, Phase 2 trial of intratumoral CMP-001 in combination with intravenous nivolumab in patients with anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma. We plan to conduct this trial at clinical sites in the United States. The primary outcome measure is to determine the confirmed objective response (ORR) based on RECIST v1.1 as assessed by blinded independent central review (BICR). The secondary outcome measures include safety and tolerability, duration of response (DOR), treatment response in non-injected target lesions, progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), immune objective response rate (iORR), immune duration of response (iDOR), immune progression-free survival (iPFS), pharmacokinetics, and immunogenicity. Trial sites have been activated and patient screening is underway. Approximately 100 patients are planned to be enrolled.

Randomized Phase 2/3 Clinical Trial in First-line Melanoma

We are conducting Trial CMP-001-011, a multi-center, Phase 2/3 randomized, active-controlled, open-label trial of intratumoral CMP-001 in combination with intravenous nivolumab versus nivolumab alone in patients with previously untreated advanced or metastatic melanoma. The primary outcome measure for Phase 2 is to determine the confirmed ORR of CMP-001 in combination with nivolumab versus nivolumab monotherapy based on RECIST v1.1 as determined by BICR. The secondary outcome measures for Phase 2 include safety and tolerability. A total of 140 patients will be enrolled in Phase 2, and if the primary endpoint of Phase 2 is met, the trial may proceed into Phase 3 with a total trial sample size of approximately 450 patients. The primary outcome measure for Phase 3 is to evaluate the PFS of CMP-001 in combination with nivolumab versus nivolumab monotherapy based on RECIST v1.1 as determined by BICR. The secondary outcome measures for 3 include safety and tolerability, OS; confirmed ORR, DOR, and disease control rate (DCR) based on RECIST v1.1 as determined by BICR; treatment response in non-injected target lesions, iPFS, iDOR, and iORR. In March 2021, we initiated patient dosing in the trial.

We believe that these two trials will inform and enable a registration strategy in PD-1 naïve first-line melanoma, PD-1 refractory melanoma, or both, including a potential Phase 3 registrational trial in first-line melanoma.

Regulatory Status of Melanoma Development Program

In February 2020, we received Orphan Drug Designation for a TRL9 agonist (CMP-001) for the treatment of Stages IIb-IV melanoma.

In March 2020, we met with the FDA to discuss the potential for pursuing accelerated approval of CMP-001 based upon the single-arm trial in anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma described above, and to pursue full approval in CPI-naïve first-line melanoma based upon a randomized trial comparing CMP-001 in combination with PD-1 blockade vs. PD-1 blockade alone. With respect to our plans to seek accelerated approval in anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma, the FDA indicated that we would likely be required to provide ORR data from a randomized trial to assess the contribution of individual components to the effect of the combination. In July 2020, we received Fast Track designation for CMP-001 for unresectable Stage III or Stage IV melanoma and unresectable or metastatic melanoma refractory to prior anti-PD-1 blockade. We plan to generate ORR data from the planned randomized first-line melanoma trial described above, but there is no guarantee that such ORR data will support a BLA seeking accelerated approval of CMP-001 in anti-PD1 refractory melanoma.

 

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We intend to seek data exclusivity or market exclusivity for our product candidates provided under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”) and similar laws in other countries. We believe that CMP-001 could qualify for 12 years of data exclusivity, from the date of approval, under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (“BPCIA”), which was enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under the BPCIA, a BLA cannot be submitted to the FDA until four years, or if approved by the FDA, until 12 years, after the original brand product identified as the reference product is approved under a BLA. The BPCIA provides an abbreviated pathway for the approval of biosimilar and interchangeable biological products.

II. Develop CMP-001 For Use Across Other Tumor Types and Indications

We believe CMP-001 has the potential to be developed for any cancer type where PD-1 blockade has shown some degree of efficacy, but where significant unmet medical need remains. We are conducting a clinical trial in HNSCC in patients who have not yet received treatment with PD-1 blockade. We are also collaborating with an affiliate of Merck KGaA (“Merck”) and Pfizer, Inc. (“Pfizer”), and supporting a small number of investigator-sponsored studies in melanoma and other cancers.

HNSCC represents a number of different malignant tumors that develop in or around the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses and mouth, and accounts for approximately 3.6% of all cancers in the United States. Most head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 53,260 new diagnoses and approximately 10,750 patients will die as a result of head and neck cancer in the United States in 2020. HNSCC is more than twice as prevalent among men, and most cases are believed to be related to tobacco or alcohol use. The human papilloma virus is an important and common cause of head and neck cancer, particularly in younger patients. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for HNSCC is approximately 65%. Treatments for HNSCC include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of treatments. HNSCC tumors are an attractive setting for immunotherapy clinical research as they have a high tumor mutation burden leading to the expression of a number of tumor-specific antigens that could lead to recognition by the adaptive immune system and killing of the tumor by tumor-specific T cells. While nivolumab was approved for treatment of patients with recurrent and metastatic HNSCC with ORR of 13.3% and pembrolizumab was approved for first-line treatment of HNSCC with ORR of 19%, based on the ORR for these agents, we believe there is a significant unmet clinical need for new treatment options.

CMP-001 and Pembrolizumab in PD-1 Naïve HNSCC

We are conducting a Phase 2 trial of CMP-001 and pembrolizumab in approximately 43 patients with HNSCC that have not been previously treated with PD-1 blockade. Eligible patients for this trial are expected to have recurrent or metastatic cancers of the oropharynx, oral cavity, hypopharynx, or larynx that are incurable with available therapies. Treatment is expected to include intratumoral injections of CMP-001 combined with pembrolizumab at its approved dose and schedule. The primary outcome measure is to determine the confirmed, investigator-assessed ORR based on RECIST v1.1. The secondary outcome measures include safety and tolerability; efficacy characterized by DOR, PFS, OS, iORR, iDOR, and iPFS; and the effect of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression on efficacy. Trial sites have been activated and patient screening is underway.

CMP-001 and Avelumab in PD-1 Refractory HNSCC

Collaboration with Merck KGaA and Pfizer

In September 2018, we entered into a clinical collaboration with Merck and Pfizer in the Pfizer-sponsored JAVELIN Medley Trial. Combination F in the JAVELIN Medley Trial evaluates the safety and efficacy of three cohorts: (1) avelumab in combination with CMP-001; (2) avelumab in combination with CMP-001 and utomilumab, and (3) avelumab in combination with CMP-001 and PF-04518600 in patients with advanced

 

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SCCHN resistant to prior PD-1 blocking antibody. Each combination will be studied individually in 2 trial parts: (1) a Phase 1b lead-in part to evaluate safety, and determine the maximum tolerated dose (“MTD”) or maximum administered dose and recommended Phase 2 dose (if applicable), of the combination, and 2) a Phase 2 part to evaluate efficacy and further evaluate safety of the selected dose from the Phase 1b portion. Up to 60 patients are expected to be enrolled in the trial. The first patient was dosed in this ongoing trial in October 2019. To date, no data have been publicly disclosed by Pfizer.

Interim Safety from Checkmate-Sponsored Trials and Clinical Collaboration

As of November 15, 2020, the identified risks associated with CMP-001 administration in three Checkmate-sponsored trials and one clinical collaboration are hypotension and a variety of flu-like symptoms which can include but may not be limited to nausea, vomiting, chills, and/or rigors. Headache, tachycardia, rash, or hypoxia may also occur. The potential risks for CMP-001 when combined with a PD-1 blocking antibody include allergic reactions, immune-mediated AEs, including, but not limited to, dermatologic, gastrointestinal, hepatic, endocrine and other less common inflammatory events.

Investigator-Sponsored Clinical Trials in Cancers with High Unmet Medical Need

In addition to the clinical trial in patients with PD-1 naive neoadjuvant melanoma described above, we are currently supporting four other investigator-sponsored studies, each under their own investigator IND, where CMP-001 is administered in combination with other cancer immunotherapy treatments, with or without radiation therapy, in patients with metastatic mismatch repair proficient colorectal cancer, lymphoma, triple negative breast cancer, and pancreas cancer. Of these, the trials in metastatic colorectal cancer and lymphoma, described below, have initiated enrollment.

Combined Immunotherapy and Radiosurgery for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

In December 2018, investigators from Sheba Medical Center in Israel initiated a single institution trial to evaluate the safety and tolerability of CMP-001 in combination with nivolumab, ipilimumab, and radiosurgery in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer and liver metastases. To be eligible to participate, patients must have colorectal cancer with at least two metastases to the liver and have previously received two or more standard therapies. Patients with a phenotype with high microsatellite instability or a known mismatch repair deficiency are excluded from the trial. The objectives of the trial are safety, response in the non-injected, non-irradiated lesions and PFS. To date, no data have been publicly disclosed by Sheba Medical Center.

CMP-001 for Relapsed and Refractory Lymphoma

In January 2020, investigators from the University of Iowa initiated a single institution trial to evaluate CMP-001 in combination with pembrolizumab in patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma or Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The objectives of the trial are to determine the dose limiting toxicities and objective response rate of treatment with intratumoral CMP-001 combined with intravenous pembrolizumab. To date, no data have been publicly disclosed by the University of Iowa.

Competition

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, and the immuno-oncology subsector, are characterized by the rapid evolution of technologies, fierce competition and strong defense of intellectual property. While we believe that our CMP-001 program and our technology, knowledge, experience and scientific resources provide us with certain competitive advantages, we face competition from many sources including pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic institutions, governmental agencies and public and private research institutions. Any product candidate that we successfully develop and commercialize will compete with a range of currently approved cancer therapies and any new therapies that may become available in the future. Our competitors include

 

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larger and better funded biopharmaceutical, biotechnology and therapeutics companies, specifically companies focused on cancer immunotherapies, such as Amgen, Inc., AstraZeneca plc, BMS, Genentech, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Merck & Co., Inc., Novartis AG, Pfizer Inc., Roche Holding Ltd and Sanofi S.A. Paradoxically, many of these companies are developing systemic immunotherapeutics which have the potential to be developed in combination with CMP-001 and so we view them both from a competitive and complementary perspective.

Oncology drugs and therapeutics on the market range from traditional cancer therapies, including chemotherapy, to antibody-drug conjugates, such as Genentech Inc.’s KADCYLA, to immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting CTLA-4, such as BMS’ YERVOY, and PD-1/PD-L1, such as BMS’ OPDIVO, Merck & Co.’s KEYTRUDA and Genentech’s TECENTRIQ, to T cell-engager immunotherapies, such as Amgen’s BLINCYTO and to oncolytic immunotherapies, including Amgen’s T-Vec, an FDA-approved oncolytic immunotherapy for treating advanced melanoma.

Additionally, we view as our most direct potential competitors companies such as TriSalus Life Sciences, Exicure, Inc., and Idera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which are conducting clinical trials utilizing TLR9 agonists in cancer immunotherapy that may have utility for similar indications that we are targeting. We believe that CMP-001 is unique and differentiated from other agents targeting TLR9. Moreover, we may also compete with smaller or earlier-stage companies, universities and other research institutions that have developed, are developing or may be developing current and future cancer therapeutics.

Our success will be based in part upon our ability to successfully commercialize CMP-001 and to identify, develop and manage a portfolio of therapeutics that are safer and more effective than competing products in our target indications. Our market opportunity has the potential to be reduced or eliminated if our competitors develop and commercialize products that are safer, more effective, have fewer side effects, are more convenient or are less expensive than any therapeutics we may develop. Our competitive position will also be dependent upon our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel, to obtain patent protection or otherwise develop proprietary products or processes, and protect our intellectual property, and to secure sufficient capital resources for the period between technological conception and commercial sales. The availability of reimbursement from government and other third-party payors will also significantly affect the pricing and competitiveness of our products. Our competitors may also obtain FDA or other regulatory approval for their products more rapidly than we may obtain approval for ours, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market.

Intellectual Property

We believe our rights under issued patents and if allowed, our patent applications, will provide a competitive advantage. Our success depends in part on our ability to obtain and maintain proprietary protection for our product candidates, technology and know-how, to operate without infringing the proprietary rights of others and to defend and enforce our intellectual property rights. Our policy is to seek to protect our proprietary position by, among other methods, filing United States and foreign patent applications related to our proprietary technology, inventions and improvements that are important to the development of our business. We also rely on trade secrets, know-how and continuing technological innovation to develop and maintain our proprietary position.

For the core technology related to CMP-001 and its component parts, we are prosecuting seven families of patent applications which we own, including composition of matter, methods of use, combination therapies, drug delivery, dose volume, aggregation, packaging and pDC recruitment claims. Further, we have an exclusive license for 10 families of patents and patent applications including composition of matter, manufacturing methods, aggregation, packaging and synthesis claims. Some of our patents have issued in the United States and internationally and others are pending in the United States and internationally (either in foreign jurisdictions or under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (“PCT”)). As of June 30, 2020, we own or exclusively license the rights to 14 issued US granted patents and

 

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20 pending patent applications worldwide for almost every human and veterinary therapy. We or our licensors have filed patent applications in 33 foreign jurisdictions including the EU, Canada, Japan, China, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, India, France and Germany. The patents include claims directed to combination therapy of TLR9 agonists and checkpoint inhibitors, Fc receptor-mediated drug delivery, volumes and methods for administration, pDC recruitment, aggregation and packaging and methods of treatment claims. We estimate, without taking potential patent term extensions into account, that these issued patents will expire between 2036 and 2038.

The term of individual patents depends upon the legal patent term in the countries in which they are obtained. In most countries in which we file, the patent term is 20 years from the earliest date of filing a non-provisional patent application. In the United States, a patent that covers an FDA-approved drug may also be eligible for a patent term extension, which permits restoration of a portion of the patent term elapsed during the U.S. clinical development and FDA regulatory review process. The Hatch-Waxman Act permits a patent term extension of up to five years beyond the expiration of the patent. The length of the patent term extension is related to the length of time the drug is under clinical development in the United States and the length of time the drug is under regulatory review. Patent term extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval and only one patent applicable to an approved drug may be extended. Similar provisions are available in Europe and other foreign jurisdictions to extend the term of a patent that covers an approved drug. In the future, if and when our products receive FDA approval, and if and when patents are granted, we expect to apply for patent term extensions on patents covering those products. We plan to seek patent term extensions for each of our issued patents in any jurisdiction where these are available, however there is no guarantee that the applicable authorities, including the FDA in the United States, will agree with our assessment of whether such extensions should be granted, and if granted, the length of such extensions.

We may rely, in some circumstances, on trade secrets to protect our technology. We seek to protect our proprietary technology and processes, in part, by confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, scientific advisors and other contractors, as well as physical security of our premises and our information technology systems.

We intend to seek data exclusivity or market exclusivity for our product candidates provided under the FDCA and similar laws in other countries. We believe that CMP-001 could qualify for 12 years of data exclusivity, from the date of approval, under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (“BPCIA”), which was enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under the BPCIA, a BLA cannot be submitted to the FDA until four years, or if approved by the FDA, until 12 years, after the original brand product identified as the reference product is approved under a BLA. The BPCIA provides an abbreviated pathway for the approval of biosimilar and interchangeable biological products.

License Agreement with Kuros

In June 2015, we entered into an exclusive license agreement with Cytos Biotechnology LTD (now Kuros Biosciences AG (“Kuros”)) as amended in August 2017 and as further amended in January 2018 (the “Kuros License Agreement”). Pursuant to the Kuros License Agreement, we were granted an exclusive, royalty-bearing, sublicensable, worldwide license, under all of Kuros’ intellectual property rights, including any intellectual property rights arising during the term of the agreement, to commercially develop, manufacture, use, distribute, and sell certain therapeutic products, including CMP-001, or the Licensed Products, for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of all indications in humans and animals. Under the terms of the Kuros License Agreement, we are required to use commercially reasonable efforts to develop at least one Licensed Product.

Under the Kuros License Agreement, we have paid Kuros licensing fees totaling $1.25 million, including $1.0 million paid upon execution of the agreement in 2015 and $250 thousand paid upon execution of the second amendment in 2018. We also agreed to make payments to Kuros for each product that achieves certain development and regulatory milestones, including payments of up to $56 million for the current oncology programs. To date, we have paid a $1.0 million milestone payment in connection with the dosing of the first patient in our first Phase 1 clinical trial in 2016. Additional milestones of $2 million and $4 million are payable upon the respective dosings of first patient in Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials. The $2 million milestone was

 

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triggered in March 2021 with our initiation of patient dosing in the front-line melanoma trial and the $4 million milestone is anticipated to be achieved in the first half of 2021. We are also required to pay tiered royalties of high single-digit to low teens percentages on annual net sales of Licensed Products that are covered by a licensed patent, as well as royalties at 50% of the foregoing amounts with respect to sales of Licensed Products that are not covered by a licensed patent, but are covered by licensed know-how. The royalty obligation will terminate on a country-by-country basis on the later of (i) the expiration date of the last valid claim, including composition of matter, manufacturing methods, aggregation, packaging or synthesis claims, within the licensed patent rights, each of which will expire between 2022 and 2027 with potential patent term extensions ranging from two months to five years, (ii) the loss of regulatory exclusivity in such country, and (iii) the tenth anniversary of the first commercial sale of such product in such country.

The Kuros License Agreement shall expire upon the expiration of the last-to-expire royalty term for the Licensed Products in the territory. Either party has the right to terminate the agreement in full for an uncured material breach of the agreement upon written 60 days’ notice to the other party. We have the right to terminate the agreement for any reason upon 90 days’ written notice to Kuros.

Clinical Trial Collaboration and Supply Agreements

On December 7, 2020, we entered into the Master Clinical Trial Collaboration Agreement (“MCTCA”) with BMS. The MCTCA dictates the general terms that govern specific collaborative studies between the companies, including our Phase 2 refractory melanoma study and Phase 2 first-line melanoma study (collectively, the “collaborative studies”). Pursuant to the MCTCA, BMS agreed to provide nivolumab, a drug to be used in combination with CMP-001, in the collaborative studies, at its own expense. As part of the MCTCA, the parties granted each other non-exclusive licenses to use background intellectual property and regulatory documentation to seek regulatory approval of the other party’s compound solely for use as a combination therapy. We do not expect to incur any future costs in connection with the MCTCA.

On July 2018, we entered into a clinical trial collaboration and supply agreement with Ares Trading, S.A., an affiliate of Merck, and Pfizer (together with Merck, the “Alliance”), as amended in March 2019, under which we are conducting a clinical trial evaluating CMP-001 in combination with MSB0010718C (“avelumab”) and with Pfizer’s PF-04518600 (“utomilumab”), together with avelumab and CMP-001, the compounds, in patients with advanced cancers. This is part of a larger trial known as the JAVELIN Medley trial. Pfizer is acting as sponsor of the clinical trial and each party will supply their applicable compound for use in the clinical trial at no charge. The trial costs are shared by the parties and Checkmate’s reasonability for the trial costs is approximately 40%.

Manufacturing & Supply

We do not have any manufacturing facilities or personnel. We currently rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties for the manufacture of CMP-001 and any future product candidates for preclinical and clinical testing, as well as for commercial manufacture if our product candidates receive marketing approval. We source our manufacturing and supply requirements with a number of contract manufacturing organizations (“CMOs”) through the issuance of work orders on an as-needed basis. We currently do not have any long-term supply contracts. We depend and will continue to depend on our CMOs to manufacture our drug candidates in accordance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (“cGMP”) regulations for use in clinical trials.

We manage multiple CMOs to develop and manufacture CMP-001 drug product. CMP-001 is a VLP comprised of a Qb (“Qbeta”) coat protein that is assembled around an immunostimulatory CpG-A oligodeoxynucleotide, G10. Qb is recombinantly produced by fermentation in E. coli, and then purified free of other cellular material at one of our CMOs. The G10 oligonucleotide is produced via solid support phosphoramidite chemistry at one of two additional CMOs. The two drug substance intermediates, Qb and G10, are combined in an aqueous salt buffer where they self-assemble into virus-like particles prior to final purification of the drug substance at another CMO. Another CMO performs the fill and finish of the final drug product.

 

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Sales and Marketing

In light of our stage of development, we have not yet established a commercial organization or distribution capabilities. We have retained worldwide commercial rights for our product candidates. If our product candidates receive marketing approval, we plan to commercialize them in the United States with our own focused, specialty sales force. We also plan to evaluate options for delivering CMP-001, if approved, to patients in other key markets such as Europe, Japan, and China, which may include strategic collaborations.

Government Regulation

The FDA and other regulatory authorities at federal, state and local levels, as well as in foreign countries, extensively regulate, among other things, the research, development, testing, manufacture, quality control, import, export, safety, effectiveness, labeling, packaging, storage, distribution, record keeping, approval, advertising, promotion, marketing, post-approval monitoring and post-approval reporting of biologics such as those we are developing. We, along with our vendors, collaboration third-parties, CROs and contract manufacturers, will be required to navigate the various preclinical, clinical, manufacturing and commercial approval requirements of the governing regulatory agencies of the countries in which we wish to conduct studies or seek approval of our product candidate. The process of obtaining regulatory approvals of drugs and ensuring subsequent compliance with appropriate federal, state, local and foreign statutes and regulations requires the expenditure of substantial time and financial resources.

In the United States, where we are initially focusing our product development, the FDA regulates biologics under the FDCA and the Public Health Service Act (“PHSA”) and their implementing regulations. Biologics are also subject to other federal, state and local statutes and regulations. Our product candidate is early-stage and has not been approved by the FDA for marketing in the United States.

The process required by the FDA before our product candidate is approved for therapeutic indications and may be marketed in the United States generally involves the following:

 

 

completion of extensive preclinical studies in accordance with applicable regulations, including studies conducted in accordance with Good Laboratory Practice (“GLP”) requirements;

 

 

submission to the FDA of an IND, which must become effective before clinical trials may begin and must be updated annually or when significant changes are made;

 

 

approval by an Institutional Review Board (“IRB”) or independent ethics committee at each clinical trial site before each trial may be initiated;

 

 

performance of adequate and well-controlled clinical trials in accordance with Good Clinical Practice (“GCP”) requirements and other clinical trial-related regulations to establish the safety, purity and potency of the proposed biological product candidate for its intended purpose;

 

 

preparation and submission to the FDA of a BLA after completion of all pivotal trials;

 

 

a determination by the FDA within 60 days of its receipt of a BLA, to file the application for review;

 

 

satisfactory completion of one or more FDA pre-approval inspections of the manufacturing facility or facilities where the product will be produced to assess compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements (“cGMPs”) to assure that the facilities, methods and controls are adequate to preserve the biological product’s continued safety, purity and potency;

 

 

potential FDA audit of the clinical trial sites that generated the data in support of the BLA;

 

 

payment of user fees for FDA review of the BLA; and

 

 

FDA review and approval of the BLA, including consideration of the views of any FDA advisory committee, prior to any commercial marketing or sale of the biologic in the United States.

 

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Preclinical and Clinical Trials for Biologics

Before testing any drug or biologic in humans, the product candidate must undergo rigorous preclinical testing. Preclinical studies include laboratory evaluations of chemistry, formulation and stability, as well as in vitro and animal studies to assess safety and in some cases to establish the rationale for therapeutic use. The conduct of preclinical studies is subject to federal and state regulations and requirements, including GLP requirements for safety and toxicology studies. The results of the preclinical studies, together with manufacturing information and analytical data must be submitted to the FDA as part of an IND. An IND is a request for authorization from the FDA to administer an investigational product to humans, and must become effective before clinical trials may begin. The central focus of an IND submission is on the general investigational plan and the protocol(s) for clinical studies. The IND also includes results of animal and in vitro studies assessing the toxicology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacology, and pharmacodynamic characteristics of the product; chemistry, manufacturing, and controls information; and any available human data or literature to support the use of the investigational product. The IND automatically becomes effective 30 days after receipt by the FDA, unless the FDA, within the 30-day time period, raises concerns or questions about the conduct of the clinical trial, including concerns that human research subjects will be exposed to unreasonable health risks, and imposes a clinical hold. In such a case, the IND sponsor and the FDA must resolve any outstanding concerns before the clinical trial can begin. Some long-term preclinical testing may continue after the IND is submitted. Accordingly, submission of an IND may or may not result in FDA authorization to begin a trial. A separate submission to an existing IND must also be made for each successive clinical trial conducted during product development of a product candidate, and the FDA must grant permission, either explicitly or implicitly by not objecting, before each clinical trial can begin.

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 GCP requirements, which include the requirements 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 and criteria to be used in monitoring safety and evaluating effectiveness. Each protocol, and any subsequent amendments to the protocol, must be submitted to the FDA as part of the IND. Furthermore, each clinical trial must be reviewed and approved by an IRB for each institution at which the clinical trial will be conducted to ensure that the risks to individuals participating in the clinical trials are minimized and are reasonable related to the 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. The FDA, the IRB, or the sponsor may suspend or discontinue a clinical trial at any time on various grounds, including a finding that the subjects are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk. Some studies also include oversight by an independent group of qualified experts organized by the clinical trial sponsor, known as a data safety monitoring board, which provides authorization for whether or not a trial may move forward at designated check points based on access to certain data from the trial and may halt the clinical trial if it determines that there is an unacceptable safety risk for subjects or other grounds, such as no demonstration of efficacy. There also are requirements governing the reporting of ongoing clinical trials and completed clinical trials to public registries. Information about applicable clinical trials, including clinical trials results, must be submitted within specific timeframes for publication on the www.clinicaltrials.gov website.

While we may conduct international clinical trials under INDs in the future, a sponsor who wishes to conduct a clinical trial outside of the United States may, but need not, obtain FDA authorization to conduct the clinical trial under an IND. The FDA will accept a well-designed and well-conducted foreign clinical trial not conducted under an IND if the trial was conducted in accordance with GCP requirements, and the FDA is able to validate the data through an onsite inspection if deemed necessary.

 

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Clinical trials to evaluate therapeutic indications to support BLAs for marketing approval are typically conducted in three sequential phases, which may overlap.

 

 

Phase 1—Phase 1 clinical trials involve initial introduction of the investigational product into healthy human volunteers or patients with the target disease or condition. These studies are typically designed to test the safety, dosage tolerance, absorption, metabolism and distribution of the investigational product in humans, evaluate the side effects associated with increasing doses, and, if possible, to gain early evidence of effectiveness.

 

 

Phase 2—Phase 2 clinical trials typically involve administration of the investigational product to a limited patient population with a specified disease or condition to evaluate the preliminary efficacy, optimal dosages and dosing schedule and to identify possible adverse side effects and safety risks. Multiple Phase 2 clinical trials may be conducted to obtain information prior to beginning larger and more expensive Phase 3 clinical trials.

 

 

Phase 3—Phase 3 clinical trials typically involve administration of the investigational product to an expanded patient population to further evaluate dosage, to provide statistically significant evidence of clinical efficacy and to further test for safety, generally at multiple geographically dispersed clinical trial sites. These clinical trials are intended to establish the overall risk/benefit ratio of the investigational product and to provide an adequate basis for product approval. Generally, two adequate and well-controlled Phase 3 clinical trials are required by the FDA for approval of a BLA.

Post-approval trials, sometimes referred to as Phase 4 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 and are commonly intended to generate additional safety data regarding use of the product in a clinical setting. In certain instances, the FDA may mandate the performance of Phase 4 clinical trials as a condition of approval of a BLA.

Progress reports detailing the results of the clinical trials, among other information, must be submitted at least annually to the FDA and written IND safety reports must be submitted to the FDA and the investigators fifteen days after the trial sponsor determines the information qualifies for reporting for serious and unexpected suspected adverse events, findings from other studies or animal or in vitro testing that suggest a significant risk for human participants exposed to the biologic and any clinically important increase in the rate of a serious suspected adverse reaction over that listed in the protocol or investigator brochure. The sponsor must also notify the FDA of any unexpected fatal or life-threatening suspected adverse reaction as soon as possible but in no case later than seven calendar days after the sponsor’s initial receipt of the information.

Concurrent with clinical trials, companies usually complete additional animal studies and must also develop additional information about the biological characteristics of the product candidate and finalize a process for manufacturing the drug 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 manufacturers must develop, among other things, methods for testing the identity, strength, quality and purity of the final drug 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 and to identify appropriate storage conditions for the product candidate.

BLA Submission and Review by the FDA

We intend to seek data exclusivity or market exclusivity for CMP-001. Assuming successful completion of the required clinical testing, the results of the preclinical studies and clinical trials, together with detailed information relating to the product’s chemistry, manufacture, controls and proposed labeling, among other things, are submitted to the FDA as part of a BLA requesting approval to market the product for one or more indications. A BLA is a request for approval to market a new biologic for one or more specified indications. The BLA must

 

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include all relevant data available from pertinent pre-clinical and clinical studies, including negative or ambiguous results as well as positive findings, together with detailed information relating to the product’s chemistry, manufacturing, controls, and proposed labeling, among other things. Data may come from company-sponsored clinical trials intended to test the safety and efficacy of a product’s use 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, purity and potency 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.

In addition, under the Pediatric Research Equity Act (“PREA”), a BLA or supplement to a BLA must contain data to assess the safety and effectiveness of the biological product candidate for the claimed indications in all relevant pediatric subpopulations and to support dosing and administration for each pediatric subpopulation for which the product is safe and effective. The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act requires that a sponsor who is planning to submit a marketing application for a biological product that includes a new clinically active component, new indication, new dosage form, new dosing regimen or new route of administration submit an initial Pediatric Study Plan (“PSP”) within sixty days after an end-of-Phase 2 meeting or as may be agreed between the sponsor and FDA. Unless otherwise required by regulation, PREA does not apply to any biological product for an indication for which orphan designation has been granted.

The FDA reviews all submitted BLAs before it accepts them for filing, and may request additional information rather than accepting the BLA for filing. The FDA must make a decision on accepting a BLA for filing within 60 days of receipt, and such decision could include a refusal to file by the FDA. Once the submission is accepted for filing, the FDA begins an in-depth substantive review of the BLA. The FDA reviews a BLA to determine, among other things, whether the product is safe, pure and potent and whether the facility in which it is manufactured, processed, packaged or held meets standards designed to assure the product’s continued safety, quality and purity. Under the goals and polices agreed to by the FDA under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (“PDUFA”), the FDA targets ten months, from the filing date, in which to complete its initial review of an original BLA and respond to the applicant, and six months from the filing date of an original BLA filed for priority review. The FDA does not always meet its PDUFA goal dates for standard or priority BLAs, and the review process is often extended by FDA requests for additional information or clarification.

Further, under PDUFA, as amended, each BLA must be accompanied by a user fee, and the sponsor of an approved BLA is also subject to an annual program fee. FDA adjusts the PDUFA user fees on an annual basis. Fee waivers or reductions may be available in certain circumstances, including a waiver of the application fee for the first application filed by a small business. Additionally, no user fees are assessed on BLAs for products designated as orphan drugs, unless the product also includes a non-orphan indication.

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

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

The FDA also may require submission of a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (“REMS”) as a condition for approving the BLA to ensure that the benefits of the product outweigh its risks. The REMS could include medication guides, physician communication plans, assessment plans, and/or elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries, or other risk-minimization tools.

 

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After evaluating the BLA and all related information, including the advisory committee recommendation, if any, and inspection reports regarding the manufacturing facilities and clinical trial sites, the FDA may issue an approval letter, or, in some cases, a Complete Response Letter. A Complete Response Letter indicates that the review cycle of the application is complete and the application is not ready for approval. A Complete Response Letter will usually describe all of the deficiencies that the FDA has identified in the BLA, except that where the FDA determines that the data supporting the application are inadequate to support approval, the FDA may issue the Complete Response Letter without first conducting required inspections, testing submitted product lots, and/or reviewing proposed labeling. In issuing the Complete Response Letter, the FDA may recommend actions that the applicant might take to place the BLA in condition for approval, including requests for additional information or clarification. Even with submission of this additional information, the FDA ultimately may decide that the application does not satisfy the regulatory criteria for approval. If and when those conditions have been met to the FDA’s satisfaction, the FDA will typically issue an approval letter. An approval letter authorizes commercial marketing of the product with specific prescribing information for specific indications.

Even if the FDA approves a product, depending on the specific risk(s) to be addressed, the FDA may limit the approved indications for use of the product, require that contraindications, warnings or precautions be included in the product labeling, require that post-approval studies, including Phase 4 clinical trials, be conducted to further assess a product’s safety after approval, require testing and surveillance programs to monitor the product after commercialization, or impose other conditions, including distribution and use restrictions or other risk management mechanisms under a REMS, which can materially affect the potential market and profitability of the product. The FDA may prevent or limit further marketing of a product based on the results of post-marketing studies or surveillance programs. After approval, some types of changes to the approved product, such as adding new indications, manufacturing changes, and additional labeling claims, are subject to further testing requirements and FDA review and approval.

Expedited Development and Review Programs for Biologics

The FDA maintains several programs intended to facilitate and expedite development and review of new drugs and biologics to address unmet medical needs in the treatment of serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions. These programs include Fast Track designation, Breakthrough Therapy designation, priority review and Accelerated Approval.

A new biologic is eligible for Fast Track designation if it is intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and demonstrates the potential to address unmet medical needs for such disease or condition. Fast track designation applies to the combination of the product and the specific indication for which it is being studied. Fast Track designation provides increased opportunities for sponsor interactions with the FDA during preclinical and clinical development, in addition to the potential for rolling review once a marketing application is filed, meaning that the FDA may consider for review sections of the BLA on a rolling basis before the complete application is submitted, if the sponsor provides a schedule for the submission of the sections of the BLA, the FDA agrees to accept sections of the BLA and determines that the schedule is acceptable, and the sponsor pays any required user fees upon submission of the first section of the BLA.

In addition, a new drug or biological product may be eligible for Breakthrough Therapy designation if it is intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the biologic, alone or in combination with or more other drugs or biologics, may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development. Breakthrough Therapy designation provides all the features of Fast Track designation in addition to intensive guidance on an efficient development program beginning as early as Phase 1, and FDA organizational commitment to expedited development, including involvement of senior managers and experienced review staff in a cross-disciplinary review, where appropriate.

 

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Any product submitted to the FDA for approval, including a product with Fast Track or Breakthrough Therapy designation, may also be eligible for additional FDA programs intended to expedite the review and approval process, including priority review and Accelerated Approval. A product is eligible for priority review if it is intended to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition, and if approved, would provide a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness. For original BLAs, priority review designation means the FDA’s goal is to take action on the marketing application within six months of the 60-day filing date (compared with ten months under standard review).

A product intended to treat serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions may receive Accelerated Approval upon a determination that the product has an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit, or on a clinical endpoint that can be measured earlier than on irreversible morbidity or mortality which is reasonably likely to predict an effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality or other clinical benefit, taking into account the severity, rarity, or prevalence of the condition and the availability or lack of alternative treatments.

Accelerated Approval is usually contingent on a sponsor’s agreement to conduct additional post-approval studies to verify and describe the product’s clinical benefit. The FDA may withdraw approval of a drug or biologic approved under Accelerated Approval if, for example, the sponsor fails to conduct the confirmatory trials in a timely manner or the confirmatory trial fails to verify the predicted clinical benefit of the product. In addition, unless otherwise informed by the FDA, the FDA currently requires, as a condition for Accelerated Approval, that all advertising and promotional materials that are intended for dissemination or publication within 120 days following marketing approval be submitted to the agency for review during the pre-approval review period, and that after 120 days following marketing approval, all advertising and promotional materials must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the intended time of initial dissemination or publication.

Fast Track designation, Breakthrough Therapy designation, priority review and Accelerated Approval do not change the scientific or medical standards for approval or the quality of evidence necessary to support approval but may expedite the development or review process.

Orphan Designation and Exclusivity

Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may grant orphan drug designation (“ODD”) to a drug or biologic intended to treat a rare disease or condition, defined as a disease or condition with either a patient population of fewer than 200,000 individuals in the United States, or a patient population greater of than 200,000 individuals in the United States when there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing and making available the drug or biologic in the United States will be recovered from sales in the United States of that drug or biologic. ODD must be requested before submitting a BLA. After the FDA grants ODD, the generic identity of the therapeutic agent and its potential orphan use are disclosed publicly by the FDA.

If a product that has received ODD and subsequently receives the first FDA approval for a particular clinically active component for the disease for which it has such designation, the product is entitled to orphan product exclusivity, which means that the FDA may not approve any other applications, including a full BLA, to market the same biologic for the same indication for seven years from the approval of the BLA, except in limited circumstances, such as a showing of clinical superiority to the product with orphan drug exclusivity or if the FDA finds that the holder of the orphan drug exclusivity has not shown that it can assure the availability of sufficient quantities of the orphan drug to meet the needs of patients with the disease or condition for which the drug was designated. Orphan drug exclusivity does not prevent the FDA from approving a different drug or biologic for the same disease or condition, or the same drug or biologic for a different disease or condition. Among the other benefits of ODD are tax credits for certain research and a waiver of the BLA application user fee.

A designated orphan drug may not receive orphan drug exclusivity if it is approved for a use that is broader than the indication for which it received ODD. In addition, orphan drug exclusive marketing rights in the United States may

 

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be lost if the FDA later determines that the request for designation was materially defective or if the manufacturer is unable to assure sufficient quantities of the product to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition.

U.S. Post-approval Requirements for Biologics

Drugs and biologics manufactured or distributed pursuant to FDA approvals are subject to pervasive and continuing regulation by the FDA, including, among other things, requirements relating to recordkeeping, periodic reporting, product sampling and distribution, reporting of adverse experiences with the product, complying with promotion and advertising requirements, which include restrictions on promoting products for unapproved uses or patient populations (known as “off-label use”) and limitations on industry-sponsored scientific and educational activities. Although physicians may prescribe approved products for off-label uses, manufacturers may not market or promote such uses. The FDA and other agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses, including not only by Company employees but also by agents of the Company or those speaking on the Company’s behalf, and a company that is found to have improperly promoted off-label uses may be subject to significant liability. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in, among other things, adverse publicity, warning letters, corrective advertising and potential civil and criminal penalties, including liabilities under the False Claims Act where products carry reimbursement under federal health care programs. Promotional materials for approved biologics must be submitted to the FDA in conjunction with their first use or first publication. Further, if there are any modifications to the product, including changes in indications, labeling or manufacturing processes or facilities, the applicant may be required to submit and obtain FDA approval of a new BLA or BLA supplement, which may require the development of additional data or preclinical studies and clinical trials.

The FDA may impose a number of post-approval requirements as a condition of approval of a BLA. For example, the FDA may require post-market testing, including Phase 4 clinical trials, and surveillance to further assess and monitor the product’s safety and effectiveness after commercialization.

In addition, drug and biologics manufacturers and their subcontractors 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 ongoing regulatory requirements, including cGMP, which impose certain procedural and documentation requirements upon us and our contract manufacturers. Changes to the manufacturing process are strictly regulated, and, depending on the significance of the change, may require prior FDA approval before being implemented. FDA regulations also require investigation and correction of any deviations from cGMP and impose reporting requirements upon us and any third-party manufacturers that we may decide to use. Accordingly, manufacturers must continue to expend time, money and effort in the area of production and quality control to maintain compliance with cGMP and other aspects of regulatory compliance. Failure to comply with statutory and regulatory requirements can subject a manufacturer to possible legal or regulatory action, such as warning letters, suspension of manufacturing, product seizures, injunctions, civil penalties or criminal prosecution. There is also a continuing, annual program fee for any marketed product.

The FDA may withdraw approval if compliance with regulatory requirements and standards is not maintained or if problems occur after the product reaches the market. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with a product, including adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, or with manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, may result in revisions to the approved labeling to add new safety information, requirements for post-market studies or clinical trials to assess new safety risks, or imposition of distribution or other restrictions under a REMS. Other potential consequences include, among other things:

 

 

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

 

 

safety alerts, Dear Healthcare Provider letters, press releases or other communications containing warnings or other safety information about the product;

 

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mandated modification of promotional materials and labeling and issuance of corrective information;

 

 

fines, warning letters, or untitled letters;

 

 

holds on clinical trials;

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties; and

 

 

consent decrees, corporate integrity agreements, debarment or exclusion from federal healthcare programs.

Biosimilars and Exclusivity

The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, includes a subtitle called the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”), which created an abbreviated approval pathway for biological products that are biosimilar to or interchangeable with an FDA-licensed reference biological product. The FDA has issued several guidance documents outlining an approach to review and approval of biosimilars. Biosimilarity, which requires that there be no clinically meaningful differences between the biological product and the reference product in terms of safety, purity, and potency, can be shown through analytical studies, animal studies, and a clinical trial or studies. Interchangeability requires that a product is biosimilar to the reference product and the product must demonstrate that it can be expected to produce the same clinical results as the reference product in any given patient and, for products that are administered multiple times to an individual, the biologic and the reference biologic 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 biologic. However, complexities associated with the larger, and often more complex, structures of biological products, as well as the processes by which such products are manufactured, pose significant hurdles to implementation of the abbreviated approval pathway that are still being worked out by the FDA.

Under the BPCIA, an application for a biosimilar product may not be submitted to the FDA until four years following the date that the reference product was first licensed by the FDA. In addition, the approval of a biosimilar product may not be made effective by the FDA until 12 years from the date on which the reference product was first licensed. During this 12-year period of exclusivity, another company may still market a competing version of the reference product if the FDA approves a full BLA for the competing product containing that applicant’s own preclinical data and data from adequate and well-controlled clinical trials to demonstrate the safety, purity and potency of its product. The BPCIA also created certain exclusivity periods for biosimilars approved as interchangeable products. At this juncture, it is unclear whether products deemed “interchangeable” by the FDA will, in fact, be readily substituted by pharmacies, which are governed by state pharmacy law.

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

The BPCIA is complex and continues to be interpreted and implemented by the FDA. In addition, government proposals have sought to reduce the 12-year reference product exclusivity period. Other aspects of the BPCIA, some of which may impact the BPCIA exclusivity provisions, have also been the subject of recent litigation. As a result, the ultimate impact, implementation, and regulatory interpretation of the BPCIA remain subject to significant uncertainty.

 

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Other Regulatory Matters

Manufacturing, sales, promotion and other activities of product candidates following product approval, where applicable, or commercialization are also subject to regulation by numerous regulatory authorities in the United States in addition to the FDA, which may include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), other divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), the Department of Justice, 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 and governmental agencies.

Other Healthcare Laws

Healthcare providers, physicians, and third-party payors will play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of any products for which we obtain marketing approval. Our business operations and any current or future arrangements with third-party payors, healthcare providers and physicians may expose us 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 develop, market, sell and distribute any drugs for which we obtain marketing approval. In the United States, these laws include, without limitation, state and federal anti-kickback, false claims, physician transparency, and patient data privacy and security laws and regulations, including but not limited to those described below.

 

 

The federal Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits, among other things, persons and entities from knowingly and willfully soliciting, offering, paying, receiving or providing any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe, or certain rebate), directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward, or in return for, either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, order or recommendation of, any good or service, for which payment may be made, in whole or in part, under a federal healthcare program such as Medicare and Medicaid; a person or entity need not have actual knowledge of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. Violations are subject to civil and criminal fines and penalties for each violation, plus up to three times the remuneration involved, imprisonment, and exclusion from government healthcare programs;

 

 

The federal civil and criminal false claims laws, including the civil False Claims Act (“FCA”), which prohibit individuals or entities from, among other things, knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, to the federal government, claims for payment or approval that are false, fictitious or fraudulent; knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used, a false statement or record material to a false or fraudulent claim or obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the federal government; or knowingly concealing or knowingly and improperly avoiding or decreasing an obligation to pay money to the federal government. Manufacturers can be held liable under the FCA even when they do not submit claims directly to government payors if they are deemed to “cause” the submission of false or fraudulent claims. In addition, the government may assert that a claim that includes items or services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the civil False Claims Act. The FCA also permits a private individual acting as a “whistleblower” to bring actions on behalf of the federal government alleging violations of the FCA and to share in any monetary recovery. When an entity is determined to have violated the federal civil False Claims Act, the government may impose civil fines and penalties for each false claim, plus treble damages, and exclude the entity from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs;

 

 

The federal civil monetary penalties laws, which impose civil fines for, among other things, the offering or transfer or remuneration to a Medicare or state healthcare program beneficiary if the person knows or should know it is likely to influence the beneficiary’s selection of a particular provider, practitioner, or supplier of services reimbursable by Medicare or a state health care program, unless an exception applies;

 

 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) imposes criminal and civil liability for knowingly and willfully executing a scheme, or attempting to execute a scheme, to defraud any

 

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healthcare benefit program, including private payors, knowingly and willfully embezzling or stealing from a healthcare benefit program, willfully obstructing a criminal investigation of a healthcare offense, or falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making any materially false statements in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services. Similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity need not have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;

 

 

HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (“HITECH”) and their respective implementing regulations, imposes, among other things, specified requirements on covered entities and their business associates relating to the privacy and security of individually identifiable health information including mandatory contractual terms and required implementation of technical safeguards of such information. HITECH also created new tiers of civil monetary penalties, amended HIPAA to make civil and criminal penalties directly applicable to business associates in some cases, and gave state attorneys general new authority to file civil actions for damages or injunctions in federal courts to enforce the federal HIPAA laws and seek attorneys’ fees and costs associated with pursuing federal civil actions;

 

 

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (collectively, the “ACA”), imposed new annual reporting requirements for certain manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics, and medical supplies for which payment is available under Medicare, Medicaid (the “Children’s Health Insurance Program”) for certain payments and “transfers of value” provided to physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors) and teaching hospitals, as well as ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. In addition, many states also require reporting of payments or other transfers of value, many of which differ from each other in significant ways, are often not pre-empted, and may have a more prohibitive effect than the Sunshine Act, thus further complicating compliance efforts. Effective January 1, 2022, these reporting obligations will extend to include transfers of value made in the previous year to certain non-physician providers such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners;

 

 

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

 

 

Analogous state and foreign laws and regulations, such as state anti-kickback and false claims laws, which may apply to sales or marketing arrangements and claims involving healthcare items or services reimbursed by non-governmental third party-payors, including private insurers, and may be broader in scope than their federal equivalents; state and foreign laws require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government or otherwise restrict payments that may be made to healthcare providers; state and foreign laws that require drug manufacturers to report information related to payments and other transfers of value to physicians and other healthcare providers, and restrict marketing practices or require disclosure of marketing expenditures and pricing information; state and foreign laws that govern the privacy and security of health information in some circumstances. These data privacy and security laws may differ from each other in significant ways and often are not pre-empted by HIPAA, which may complicate compliance efforts.

The distribution of biological 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 scope and enforcement of each of these laws is uncertain and subject to rapid change in the current environment of healthcare reform, especially in light of the lack of applicable precedent and regulations. For example, On November 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, or OIG, finalized further modifications to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. Under the final rules, OIG

 

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added safe harbor protections under the Anti-Kickback Statute for certain coordinated care and value-based arrangements among clinicians, providers, and others. Pursuant to an order entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the portion of the rule eliminating safe harbor protection for certain rebates related to the sale or purchase of a pharmaceutical product from a manufacturer to a plan sponsor under Medicare Part D has been delayed to January 1, 2023. Implementation of the this change and new safe harbors for point-of-sale reductions in price for prescription pharmaceutical products and pharmacy benefit manager service fees are currently under review by the Biden administration and may be amended or repealed. Federal and state enforcement bodies have recently increased their scrutiny of interactions between healthcare companies and healthcare providers, which has led to a number of investigations, prosecutions, convictions and settlements in the healthcare industry. It is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices do not comply with current or future statutes, regulations or case law involving applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of these laws or any other related governmental regulations that may apply to us, we may be subject to significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, fines, imprisonment, disgorgement, exclusion from government funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, reputational harm, additional oversight and reporting obligations if we become subject to a corporate integrity agreement or similar settlement to resolve allegations of non-compliance with these laws and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations. If any of 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 similar actions, penalties and sanctions. Ensuring business arrangements comply with applicable healthcare laws, as well as responding to possible investigations by government authorities, can be time- and resource-consuming and can divert a company’s attention from its business.

Coverage and Reimbursement

In the United States and markets in other countries, patients who are prescribed treatments for their conditions and providers performing the prescribed services generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the associated healthcare costs. Thus, even if a product candidate is approved, sales of the product will depend, in part, on the extent to which third-party payors, including government health programs in the United States such as Medicare and Medicaid, commercial health insurers and managed care organizations, provide coverage, and establish adequate reimbursement levels for, the product. In the United States, no uniform policy of coverage and reimbursement for drug products exists among third-party payors, but the principal decisions about reimbursement for new medicines are typically made by CMS. CMS decides whether and to what extent a new medicine will be covered and reimbursed under Medicare and private payors tend to follow CMS to a substantial degree. However, coverage and reimbursement for drug products can differ significantly from payor to payor. The process for determining whether a third-party payor will provide coverage for a product may be separate from the process for setting the price or reimbursement rate that the payor will pay for the product once coverage is approved. Third-party payors are increasingly challenging the prices charged, examining the medical necessity, and reviewing the cost-effectiveness of medical products and services and imposing controls to manage costs. Third-party payors may limit coverage to specific products on an approved list, also known as a formulary, which might not include all of the approved products for a particular indication.

In order to secure coverage and reimbursement for any product that might be approved for sale, a company may need to conduct expensive pharmacoeconomic studies in order to demonstrate the medical necessity and cost-effectiveness of the product, in addition to the costs required to obtain FDA or other comparable regulatory approvals. Additionally, companies may also need to provide discounts to purchasers, private health plans or government healthcare programs. Factors payors consider in determining reimbursement are based on whether the product is:

 

   

a covered benefit under its health plan;

 

   

safe, effective and medically necessary;

 

   

appropriate for the specific patient;

 

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cost-effective; and

 

   

neither experimental nor investigational.

Nonetheless, product candidates may not be considered medically necessary or cost effective. A decision by a third-party payor not to cover a product could reduce physician utilization once the product is approved and have a material adverse effect on sales, our operations and financial condition. Additionally, a third-party payor’s decision to provide coverage for a 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 reimbursement for the product, and the level of coverage and reimbursement can differ significantly from payor to payor.

The containment of healthcare costs has become a priority of federal, state and foreign governments, and the prices of products have been a focus in this effort. 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 a company’s revenue generated from the sale of any approved products. Coverage policies and third-party payor reimbursement rates may change at any time. Even if favorable coverage and reimbursement status is attained for one or more products for which a company or its collaborators receive regulatory approval, less favorable coverage policies and reimbursement rates may be implemented in the future.

Healthcare Reform

In the United States and some foreign jurisdictions, there have been, and likely will continue to be, a number of legislative and regulatory changes and proposed changes regarding the healthcare system directed at broadening the availability of healthcare, improving the quality of healthcare, and containing or lowering the cost of healthcare. For example, in March 2010, the United States Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act, which, among other things, includes changes to the coverage and payment for products under government health care programs. The Affordable Care Act includes provisions of importance to our potential product candidate that:

 

 

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

 

 

expanded eligibility criteria for Medicaid programs by, among other things, allowing states to offer Medicaid coverage to certain individuals with income at or below 133% of the federal poverty level, thereby potentially increasing a manufacturer’s Medicaid rebate liability;

 

 

expanded manufacturers’ rebate liability under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program by increasing the minimum rebate for both branded and generic drugs and revising the definition of “average manufacturer price,” or AMP, for calculating and reporting Medicaid drug rebates on outpatient prescription drug prices;

 

 

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

 

 

expanded the types of entities eligible for the 340B drug discount program;

 

 

established the Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program by requiring manufacturers to provide point-of-sale-discounts off the negotiated price of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period as a condition for the manufacturers’ outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D; and

 

 

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

 

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Since its enactment, there have been numerous judicial, administrative, executive, and legislative challenges to certain aspects of the ACA, and we expect there will be additional challenges and amendments to the ACA in the future. Various portions of the ACA are currently undergoing legal and constitutional challenges in the United States Supreme Court; the former Trump Administration issued various Executive Orders eliminating cost sharing subsidies and various provisions that would impose a fiscal burden on states or a cost, fee, tax, penalty or regulatory burden on individuals, healthcare providers, health insurers, or manufacturers of pharmaceuticals or medical devices; and Congress has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at significantly revising or repealing the ACA. The United States Supreme Court is expected to rule on a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the ACA in early 2021. The implementation of the ACA is ongoing, the law appears likely to continue the downward pressure on pharmaceutical pricing, especially under the Medicare program, and may also increase our regulatory burdens and operating costs. Litigation and legislation related to the ACA are likely to continue, with unpredictable and uncertain results.

Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. In August 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, included aggregate reductions of Medicare payments to providers of 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect in April 2013 and, due to subsequent legislative amendments to the statute, will remain in effect through 2029 unless additional Congressional action is taken. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) which was signed into law on March 27, 2020, designed to provide financial support and resources to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as subsequent legislation, suspended these reductions from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021, and extended the sequester by one year, through 2030. Proposed legislation, if passed, would extend this suspension until the end of the pandemic. In addition, in January 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was signed into law, which, among other things, further 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.

Moreover, payment methodologies may be subject to changes in healthcare legislation and regulatory initiatives. For example, CMS may develop new payment and delivery models, such as bundled payment models. In addition, recently there has been heightened governmental scrutiny over the manner in which manufacturers set prices for their commercial products, which has resulted in several Congressional inquiries and proposed and enacted state and federal legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to product pricing, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for pharmaceutical products. For example, at the federal level, the Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2021 included a $135 billion allowance to support legislative proposals seeking to reduce drug prices, increase competition, lower out-of-pocket drug costs for patients, and increase patient access to lower-cost generic and biosimilar drugs. On March 10, 2020, the Trump administration sent “principles” for drug pricing to Congress, calling for legislation that would, among other things, cap Medicare Part D beneficiary out-of-pocket pharmacy expenses, provide an option to cap Medicare Part D beneficiary monthly out-of-pocket expenses, and place limits on pharmaceutical price increases. Further, the Trump administration also previously released a “Blueprint” to lower drug prices and reduce out of pocket costs of drugs that contains additional proposals to increase manufacturer competition, increase the negotiating power of certain federal healthcare programs, incentivize manufacturers to lower the list price of their products and reduce the out-of-pocket costs of drug products paid by consumers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, has already implemented certain measures. For example, in May 2019, CMS issued a final rule to allow Medicare Advantage Plans the option of using step therapy for Part B drugs beginning January 1, 2020. However, it is unclear whether the Biden administration will challenge, reverse, revoke or otherwise modify these executive and administrative actions after January 20, 2021. In addition, individual states in the United States have also increasingly passed legislation and implemented regulations designed to control pharmaceutical product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing.

 

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On May 30, 2018, the Right to Try Act was signed into law. The law, among other things, provides a federal framework for certain patients to access certain investigational new drug products that have completed a Phase 1 clinical trial and that are undergoing investigation for FDA approval. Under certain circumstances, eligible patients can seek treatment without enrolling in clinical trials and without obtaining FDA permission under the FDA expanded access program. There is no obligation for a drug manufacturer to make its drug products available to eligible patients as a result of the Right to Try Act, but the manufacturer under the Cures Act must make publicly available its policy for expanded access requests. We review each individual request for access through the Cures Act, the Right to Try Act and similar state laws, and may or may not provide access depending upon the facts of each request. Checkmate has adopted an Expanded Access Policy which is available on our website.

Outside the United States, ensuring coverage and adequate payment for a product also involves challenges. Pricing of prescription pharmaceuticals is subject to government control in many countries. Pricing negotiations with government authorities can extend well beyond the receipt of regulatory approval for a product and may require a clinical trial that compares the cost-effectiveness of a product to other available therapies. The conduct of such a clinical trial could be expensive and result in delays in commercialization.

In the European Union, pricing and reimbursement schemes vary widely from country to country. Some countries provide that products may be marketed only after a reimbursement price has been agreed. Some countries may require the completion of additional studies that compare the cost-effectiveness of a particular product candidate to currently available therapies or so-called health technology assessments, in order to obtain reimbursement or pricing approval. For example, the European Union provides options for its member states to restrict the range of products for which their national health insurance systems provide reimbursement and to control the prices of medicinal products for human use. European Union member states may approve a specific price for a product or they may instead adopt a system of direct or indirect controls on the profitability of the company placing the product on the market. Other member states allow companies to fix their own prices for products, but monitor and control prescription volumes and issue guidance to physicians to limit prescriptions. Recently, many countries in the European Union have increased the amount of discounts required on pharmaceuticals and these efforts could continue as countries attempt to manage healthcare expenditures, especially in light of the severe fiscal and debt crises experienced by many countries in the European Union. The downward pressure on healthcare costs in general, particularly prescription products, has become intense. As a result, increasingly high barriers are being erected to the entry of new products. Political, economic and regulatory developments may further complicate pricing negotiations, and pricing negotiations may continue after reimbursement has been obtained. Reference pricing used by various European Union member states, and parallel trade, i.e., arbitrage between low-priced and high-priced member states, can further reduce prices. 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 products, if approved in those countries.

Compliance with Other Federal and State Laws or Requirements; Changing Legal Requirements

If any products that we may develop are made available to authorized users of the Federal Supply Schedule of the General Services Administration, additional laws and requirements apply. Products must meet applicable child-resistant packaging requirements under the U.S. Poison Prevention Packaging Act. Manufacturing, labeling, packaging, distribution, sales, promotion and other activities also are potentially subject to federal and state consumer protection and unfair competition laws, among other requirements to we may be subject.

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.

 

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The failure to comply with any of these laws or regulatory requirements subjects firms to possible legal or regulatory action. Depending on the circumstances, failure to meet applicable regulatory requirements can result in criminal prosecution, fines or other penalties, injunctions, exclusion from federal healthcare programs, requests for recall, seizure of products, total or partial suspension of production, denial or withdrawal of product approvals, relabeling or repackaging, or refusal to allow a firm to enter into supply contracts, including government contracts. Any claim or action against us for violation of these laws, even if we successfully defend against it, could cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business. Prohibitions or restrictions on marketing, 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 or packaging; (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.

Other U.S. Environmental, Health and Safety Laws and Regulations

We may be subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, including those governing laboratory procedures and the handling, use, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes. From time to time and in the future, our operations may involve the use of hazardous and flammable materials, including chemicals and biological materials, and may also produce hazardous waste products. Even if we contract with third parties for the disposal of these materials and waste products, we cannot completely eliminate the risk of contamination or injury resulting from these materials. In the event of contamination or injury resulting from the use or disposal of our hazardous materials, we could be held liable for any resulting damages, and any liability could exceed our resources. We also could incur significant costs associated with civil or criminal fines and penalties for failure to comply with such laws and regulations.

We maintain workers’ compensation insurance to cover us for costs and expenses we may incur due to injuries to our employees, but this insurance may not provide adequate coverage against potential liabilities. However, we do not maintain insurance for environmental liability or toxic tort claims that may be asserted against us.

In addition, we may incur substantial costs in order to comply with current or future environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. Current or future environmental laws and regulations may impair our research, development or production efforts. In addition, failure to comply with these laws and regulations may result in substantial fines, penalties or other sanctions.

Government Regulation of Drugs Outside of the United States

To market any product outside of the United States, we would need to comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements of other countries regarding safety and efficacy and governing, among other things, clinical trials, marketing authorization or identification of an alternate regulatory pathway, manufacturing, commercial sales and distribution of our products. For instance, in the European Economic Area (the “EEA”) (comprised of the 27 EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, medicinal products must be authorized for marketing by using either the centralized authorization procedure or a national authorization procedures.

 

 

Centralized procedure—If pursuing marketing authorization of a product candidate for a therapeutic indication under the centralized procedure, following the opining of the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, (“CHMP”), the European Commission issues a single marketing authorization valid throughout the EEA. The centralized procedure is compulsory for human medicines derived from biotechnology processes or advanced therapy medicinal products (gene therapy, somatic cell therapy and

 

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tissue engineered products), products that contain a new active substance indicated for the treatment of certain diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and other immune dysfunctions, viral diseases, and officially designated orphan medicines. For medicines that do not fall within these categories, an applicant has the option of submitting an application for a centralized marketing authorization to the EMA, as long as the medicine concerned contains a new active substance not yet authorized in the EEA, is a significant therapeutic, scientific or technical innovation, or if its authorization would be in the interest of public health in the EEA. Under the centralized procedure the maximum timeframe for the evaluation of an MAA by the EMA is 210 days, excluding clock stops, when additional written or oral information is to be provided by the applicant in response to questions asked by the CHMP. Clock stops may extend the timeframe of evaluation of a MA application considerably beyond 210 days. Where the CHMP gives a positive opinion, the EMA provides the opinion together with supporting documentation to the European Commission, who make the final decision to grant a marketing authorization, which is issued within 67 days of receipt of the EMA’s recommendation. Accelerated assessment might be granted by the CHMP in exceptional cases, when a medicinal product is expected to be of a major public health interest, particularly from the point of view of therapeutic innovation. The timeframe for the evaluation of an MAA under the accelerated assessment procedure is 150 days, excluding clock stops.

 

 

National authorization procedures—There are also two other possible routes to authorize products for therapeutic indications in several countries, which are available for products that fall outside the scope of the centralized procedure:

 

 

Decentralized procedure—Using the decentralized procedure, an applicant may apply for simultaneous authorization in more than one EEA country of medicinal products that have not yet been authorized in any EEA country and that do not fall within the mandatory scope of the centralized procedure.

Mutual recognition procedure—In the mutual recognition procedure, a medicine is first authorized in one EEA Member State, in accordance with the national procedures of that country. Following this, additional marketing authorizations can be sought from other EEA countries in a procedure whereby the countries concerned recognize the validity of the original, national marketing authorization.

Now that the UK (which comprises Great Britain and Northern Ireland) has left the EU, Great Britain will no longer be covered by centralized MAs (under the Northern Irish Protocol, centralized MAs will continue to be recognized in Northern Ireland). All medicinal products with a current centralized MA were automatically converted to Great Britain MAs on January 1, 2021. For a period of two years from January 1, 2021, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the UK medicines regulator, may rely on a decision taken by the European Commission on the approval of a new marketing authorization in the centralized procedure, in order to more quickly grant a new Great Britain MA. A separate application will, however, still be required.

In the EEA, new products for therapeutic indications that are authorized for marketing (i.e., reference products) qualify for eight years of data exclusivity and an additional two years of market exclusivity upon marketing authorization. The data exclusivity period prevents generic or biosimilar applicants from relying on the preclinical and clinical trial data contained in the dossier of the reference product when applying for a generic or biosimilar marketing authorization in the EEA during a period of eight years from the date on which the reference product was first authorized in the EEA. The market exclusivity period prevents a successful generic or biosimilar applicant from commercializing its product in the EEA until ten years have elapsed from the initial authorization of the reference product in the EEA. The ten-year market exclusivity period can be extended to a maximum of eleven 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.

 

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The criteria for designating an “orphan medicinal product” in the EEA are similar in principle to those in the United States. In the EEA a medicinal product may be designated as orphan if (1) it is intended for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of a life-threatening or chronically debilitating condition; (2) either (a) such condition affects no more than five in 10,000 persons in the EU when the application is made, or (b) the product, without the benefits derived from orphan status, would not generate sufficient return in the EU to justify the necessary investment in its development; and (3) there exists no satisfactory method of diagnosis, prevention or treatment of such condition authorized for marketing in the EU, or if such a method exists, the product will be of significant benefit to those affected by the condition. Orphan medicinal products are eligible for financial incentives such as reduction of fees or fee waivers and are, upon grant of a marketing authorization, entitled to ten years of market exclusivity for the approved therapeutic indication. During this ten-year orphan market exclusivity period, no marketing authorization application shall be accepted, and no marketing authorization shall be granted for a similar medicinal product for the same indication. A “similar medicinal product” is defined as a medicinal product containing a similar active substance or substances as contained in an authorized orphan medicinal product, and which is intended for the same therapeutic indication. An orphan product can also obtain an additional two years of market exclusivity in the EU for pediatric studies. The ten-year market exclusivity may be reduced to six years if, at the end of the fifth year, it is established that the product no longer meets the criteria for orphan designation, for example, if the product is sufficiently profitable not to justify maintenance of market exclusivity. Additionally, marketing authorization may be granted to a similar product for the same indication at any time if (i) the second applicant can establish that its product, although similar, is safer, more effective or otherwise clinically superior; (ii) the applicant consents to a second orphan medicinal product application; or (iii) the applicant cannot supply enough orphan medicinal product.

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

The Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC, the Directive 2005/28/EC on GCP and the related national implementing provisions of the individual EU Member States govern the system for the approval of clinical trials in the European Union. Under this system, an applicant must obtain prior approval from the competent national authority of the EU Member States in which the clinical trial is to be conducted. Furthermore, the applicant may only start a clinical trial at a specific trial site after the competent ethics committee has issued a favorable opinion. The clinical trial application must be accompanied by, among other documents, an investigational medicinal product dossier (the Common Technical Document) with supporting information prescribed by Directive 2001/20/EC, Directive 2005/28/EC, where relevant the implementing national provisions of the individual EU Member States and further detailed in applicable guidance documents.

In April 2014, the new Clinical Trials Regulation, (EU) No 536/2014 (Clinical Trials Regulation) was adopted. The Regulation is anticipated to come into application in 2019. The Clinical Trials Regulation will be directly applicable in all the EU Member States, repealing the current Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC. Conduct of all clinical trials performed in the European Union will continue to be bound by currently applicable provisions until the new Clinical Trials Regulation becomes applicable. The extent to which ongoing clinical trials will be governed by the Clinical Trials Regulation will depend on when the Clinical Trials Regulation becomes applicable and on the duration of the individual clinical trial. If a clinical trial continues for more than three years from the day on which the Clinical Trials Regulation becomes applicable the Clinical Trials Regulation will at that time begin to apply to the clinical trial. The new Clinical Trials Regulation aims to simplify and streamline the approval of clinical trials in the European Union. The main characteristics of the regulation include: a streamlined application procedure via a single-entry point, the Clinical Trials Information System (“CTIS”), a single set of documents to be prepared and submitted for the application as well as simplified reporting procedures for clinical trial sponsors; and a harmonized procedure for the assessment of applications for clinical trials, which is divided in two parts. Part I is assessed by the competent authorities of all EU Member States in which an application for authorization of a clinical trial has been submitted (Member States concerned). Part II is assessed separately by each Member State concerned. Strict deadlines have been established for the assessment of clinical trial applications. The role of the relevant ethics committees in the assessment procedure will continue

 

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to be governed by the national law of the concerned EU Member State. However, overall related timelines will be defined by the Clinical Trials Regulation. The Clinical Trials Regulation will only become applicable six months after the European Commission confirms the full functionality of CTIS. Such a confirmation will only occur once CTIS is audited. The CTIS audit is currently planned for December 2020.

The collection and use of personal health data in the European Union, previously governed by the provisions of the Data Protection Directive, is now governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), which became effective on May 25, 2018. While the Data Protection Directive did not apply to organizations based outside the EU, the GDPR has expanded its reach to include any business, regardless of its location, that provides goods or services to residents in the EU. This expansion would incorporate any clinical trial activities in EU members states. The GDPR imposes strict requirements on controllers and processors of personal data, including special protections for “sensitive information” which includes health and genetic information of data subjects residing in the EU. GDPR grants individuals the opportunity to object to the processing of their personal information, allows them to request deletion of personal information in certain circumstances, and provides the individual with an express right to seek legal remedies in the event the individual believes his or her rights have been violated. Further, the GDPR imposes strict rules on the transfer of personal data out of the European Union to the United States or other regions that have not been deemed to offer “adequate” privacy protections. Failure to comply with the requirements of the GDPR and the related national data protection laws of the European Union Member States, which may deviate slightly from the GDPR, may result in fines of up to 4% of global revenues, or €20,000,000, whichever is greater. As a result of the implementation of the GDPR, we may be required to put in place additional mechanisms ensuring compliance with the new data protection rules.

There is significant uncertainty related to the manner in which data protection authorities will seek to enforce compliance with GDPR. For example, it is not clear if the authorities will conduct random audits of companies doing business in the EU, or if the authorities will wait for complaints to be filed by individuals who claim their rights have been violated. Enforcement uncertainty and the costs associated with ensuring GDPR compliance are onerous and may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Should we utilize third party distributors, compliance with such foreign governmental regulations would generally be the responsibility of such distributors, who may be independent contractors over whom we have limited control.

Employees and Human Capital Management

As of March 29, 2021, we had 25 full-time employees, including seven with M.D. and/or Ph.D. degrees. Of these employees, 17 are in research and development and eight are general and administrative. We have never had a work stoppage, and none of our employees are represented by a labor organization or under any collective-bargaining arrangements. We consider our employee relations to be good.

Our human capital management objectives include, as applicable, identifying, recruiting, retaining, incentivizing and integrating our existing and new employees, advisors and consultants. The principal purposes of our equity and cash incentive plans , along with a comprehensive benefits package and a 401(k) plan, are to attract, retain and reward personnel through the granting of stock-based and cash-based compensation awards.

Corporate Information

We were incorporated in July 2015 under the laws of the State of Delaware. Our principal executive offices are located at 245 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Cambridge, MA 02142, and our telephone number is (617) 682-3625. Our website address is www.checkmatepharma.com. The information on our website is not incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in any other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).

 

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Available Information

We make available on or through our website certain reports and amendments to those reports that we file with or furnish to the SEC in accordance with the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These include our annual reports on Form 10-K, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and our current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act. We make this information available on or through our website free of charge as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file the information with, or furnish it to, the SEC.

A copy of our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and the charters of the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee are posted on our website, www.checkmatepharma.com, under “Investors – Corporate Governance.”

The SEC maintains an Internet website that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding us and other issuers that file electronically with the SEC. The SEC’s Internet website address is http://www.sec.gov.

 

Item 1A.

Risk Factors.

In evaluating the Company and our business, careful consideration should be given to the following risk factors, in addition to the other information set forth in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and in other documents that we file with the SEC. Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. If any such risks or uncertainties actually occur, our business, financial condition or operating results could differ materially from the plans, projections and other forward-looking statements included in this Annual Report, including in the foregoing Business section and later in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and elsewhere in this report and in our other public filings and public statements. The trading price of our common stock could decline due to any of these risks, and as a result, our stockholders may lose all or part of their investment. The risks described below are not intended to be exhaustive and are not the only risks facing the Company. New risk factors can emerge from time to time, and it is not possible to predict the impact that any factor or combination of factors may have on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.

Risks related to our financial position and need for additional capital

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a very limited operating history. We have incurred net losses since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur substantial and increasing net losses in the foreseeable future. We may never achieve or sustain profitability.

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a limited operating history, and we are early in our development efforts. We have no products approved for commercial sale and have not generated any revenue from product sales to date, and we continue to incur significant research and development and other expenses related to our ongoing operations. Investment in biopharmaceutical product development is highly speculative because it entails substantial upfront capital expenditures and significant risk that any potential product candidate will fail to demonstrate adequate efficacy or an acceptable safety profile, gain marketing approval and become commercially viable. We have financed our operations to date primarily through the sale of equity securities. Since our inception, most of our resources have been dedicated to the preclinical and clinical development of our CMP-001 program and our virus-like particle (“VLP”) technology. To date, no drugs based on our VLP technology have been approved. The size of our future net losses will depend, in part, on our future expenses and our ability to generate revenue, if any.

We are not profitable, have never generated any revenue and have incurred losses in each period since our inception. For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, we reported a net loss of $28.3 million and

 

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$36.9 million, respectively. At December 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $140.1 million. We expect to continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future, and we expect these losses to increase as we continue our research and development of, and seek marketing approvals for, CMP-001 and future product candidates we may develop.

Even if we succeed in receiving marketing approval for and commercializing CMP-001 or any other product candidate, we will continue to incur substantial research and development and other expenditures to develop and market additional potential indications or products. We may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other unknown factors that may adversely affect our business. The size of our future net losses will depend, in part, on the rate of future growth of our expenses and our ability to generate revenue. Our prior losses and expected future losses have had and will continue to have an adverse effect on our stockholders’ equity and working capital.

We have never generated any revenue from product sales, and our ability to generate revenue from product sales and become profitable will depend significantly on our success in achieving a number of goals and on other factors.

We have no products approved for commercial sale, have not generated any revenue from product sales, and do not anticipate generating any revenue from product sales until after we have received marketing approval for the commercial sale of a product candidate, if ever. Our ability to generate revenue and achieve profitability depends significantly on our success in achieving a number of goals, including:

 

   

initiating and completing preclinical and clinical development of CMP-001 and future product candidates, including our currently anticipated Phase 2 trials for anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma, a randomized Phase 2 trial for first-line melanoma and a Phase 2 proof of concept study in advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma;

 

   

obtaining regulatory and marketing approvals for CMP-001 and future product candidates for which we complete clinical trials;

 

   

achieving and maintaining compliance with all regulatory requirements applicable to CMP-001 or any other product candidates;

 

   

establishing and maintaining commercially viable supply and manufacturing relationships with third parties for CMP-001 and future product candidates;

 

   

launching and commercializing CMP-001, if approved, and future product candidates for which we obtain marketing approvals, either directly or with a collaborator or distributor;

 

   

obtaining market acceptance of CMP-001, if approved, and future product candidates as viable treatment options by patients, the medical community and third-party payors;

 

   

addressing any competing technological and market developments;

 

   

identifying, assessing, acquiring and developing new product candidates;

 

   

negotiating favorable terms in any collaboration, licensing, or other arrangements into which we may enter;

 

   

obtaining, maintaining, protecting, and expanding our portfolio of intellectual property rights, including patents, trade secrets, and know-how; and

 

   

attracting, hiring, and retaining qualified personnel.

Even if CMP-001 or any future product candidates that we develop are approved for commercial sale, we anticipate incurring significant costs associated with commercializing any such product candidate. Our expenses could increase beyond expectations if we are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”) or comparable foreign regulatory authorities to change our manufacturing processes or assays, or to perform clinical, nonclinical, or other types of studies in addition to those that we currently anticipate.

 

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If we are successful in obtaining regulatory approvals to market CMP-001 or any future product candidates, our revenue will be dependent, in part, upon the size of the markets in the territories for which we gain marketing approval, the accepted price for the product, the ability to get reimbursement at any price, and whether we own the commercial rights for that territory. If the number of our addressable patients is not as significant as we estimate, the indication approved by regulatory authorities is narrower than we expect, the labels for CMP-001 and future product candidates contain significant safety warnings, regulatory authorities impose burdensome or restrictive distribution requirements, or the reasonably accepted patient population for treatment is narrowed by competition, physician choice or treatment guidelines, we may not generate significant revenue from sales of such products, even if approved. If we are not able to generate revenue from the sale of any approved products, we could be prevented from or significantly delayed in achieving profitability.

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

Our operations have consumed substantial amounts of cash since inception. We expect to continue to spend substantial amounts to continue the clinical and preclinical development of CMP-001 and future product candidates. Accordingly, we will need to obtain substantial additional funds to achieve our business objectives. If we are able to gain marketing approval of any product candidate, we will require significant additional amounts of cash in order to launch and commercialize such product. In addition, other unanticipated costs may arise.

Our future capital requirements depend on many factors, including:

the scope, progress, results and costs of researching and developing CMP-001 and our VLP technology and future product candidates, and conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials, including our currently anticipated Phase 2 trials for anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma, a randomized Phase 2 trial for first-line melanoma and our currently anticipated Phase 2 proof of concept study in advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, including any unforeseen costs we may incur as a result of trial delays or other impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, discussed below;

 

   

the timing of, and the costs involved in, obtaining regulatory and marketing approvals for CMP-001 and future product candidates if clinical trials are successful;

 

   

the success of existing or any future collaborations;

 

   

the cost of commercialization activities for any approved product, including marketing, sales and distribution costs;

 

   

the cost of manufacturing CMP-001 and future product candidates for clinical trials;

 

   

our ability to establish and maintain strategic licensing or other arrangements and the financial terms of such agreements, including the Kuros License Agreement;

 

   

the costs involved in preparing, filing, prosecuting, maintaining, expanding, defending and enforcing patent claims, including litigation costs and the outcome of such litigation;

 

   

the timing, receipt, and amount of sales of, or royalties on, our future products, if any; and

 

   

the emergence of competing cancer therapies and other adverse market developments.

We do not have any committed external source of funds or other support for our development efforts. Until we can generate sufficient product revenue to finance our cash requirements, which we may never do, we expect to finance our future cash needs through a combination of public or private equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations, strategic alliances, licensing arrangements and other marketing or distribution arrangements.

 

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We expect that our existing cash and cash equivalents and available-for-sale investments, will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements into the first half of 2023. We have based this estimate on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could exhaust our available capital resources sooner than we expect. In addition, because the design and outcome of our planned and anticipated clinical trials are highly uncertain, we cannot reasonably estimate the actual amounts necessary to successfully complete the development and commercialization of CMP-001 or any future product candidates.

Raising additional capital may cause dilution to our stockholders, restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies or CMP-001 and future product candidates.

Until such time, if ever, as we can generate substantial drug revenues, we may finance our cash needs through a combination of private and public equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations, strategic alliances and licensing arrangements. We do not have any committed external source of funds. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of common stock or securities convertible or exchangeable into common stock, our stockholders’ ownership interest will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that materially adversely affect your rights as a common stockholder. Debt financing, if available, would increase our fixed payment obligations and may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends.

If we raise funds through additional collaborations, strategic alliances or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our intellectual property, future revenue streams, research programs or CMP-001 and future product candidates or to grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. Market volatility resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic could also adversely impact our ability to access capital as and when needed. If we are unable to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our drug development or future commercialization efforts or grant rights to develop and market CMP-001 and future product candidates that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves.

Risks related to our business and industry

We are heavily dependent on the success of CMP-001, our only product candidate.

We currently have no products that are approved for commercial sale and may never be able to develop marketable products. We expect that a substantial portion of our efforts and expenditures over the next several years will be devoted to our CMP-001 program, which is currently our only product candidate. Accordingly, our business currently depends heavily on the successful development, regulatory approval, and commercialization of CMP-001. We can provide no assurance that CMP-001 will receive regulatory approval or be successfully commercialized even if we receive regulatory approval. If we were required to discontinue development of CMP-001 or if CMP-001 does not receive regulatory approval or fails to achieve significant market acceptance, we would be delayed by many years in our ability to achieve profitability, if ever.

The research, testing, manufacturing, safety, efficacy, recordkeeping, labeling, approval, licensure, sale, marketing, advertising, promotion and distribution of CMP-001 is, and will remain, subject to comprehensive regulation by the FDA and foreign regulatory authorities. Failure to obtain regulatory approval for CMP-001 in the United States, Europe, Japan, China and other major markets around the world will prevent us from commercializing and marketing CMP-001 in such jurisdictions.

Even if we were to successfully obtain approval from the FDA and foreign regulatory authorities for CMP-001, any approval might contain significant limitations related to use, including limitations on the stage or type of cancer CMP-001 is approved to treat, as well as restrictions for specified age groups, warnings, precautions or contraindications, or requirement for a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (“REMS”). Any such limitations or

 

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restrictions could similarly impact any supplemental marketing approvals we may obtain for CMP-001. Furthermore, even if we obtain regulatory approval for CMP-001, we will still need to develop a commercial infrastructure or develop relationships with collaborators to commercialize, establish a commercially viable pricing structure and obtain coverage and adequate reimbursement from third-party payors, including government healthcare programs. If we, or any future collaborators, are unable to successfully commercialize CMP-001, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to continue our business.

If we fail to develop additional product candidates, our commercial opportunity could be limited.

We expect initially to focus our resources on the development of CMP-001. Part of our strategy, however, is to pursue clinical development of additional product candidates using our VLP technology. Developing, obtaining marketing approval for, and commercializing any future product candidates will require substantial additional funding and will be subject to the risks of failure inherent in drug product development. We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully advance any future product candidates through the development process.

Even if we obtain approval from the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities to market any future product candidates for any indication, we cannot assure you that any such product candidates will be successfully commercialized, widely accepted in the marketplace, or more effective than other commercially available alternatives. If we are unable to successfully develop and commercialize additional product candidates, our commercial opportunity may be limited and our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects may be materially harmed.

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

Due to our limited financial and managerial resources, we must focus on a limited number of research programs and product candidates and on specific indications. As a result, we may forego or delay pursuit of opportunities with other product candidates or for other indications that later prove to have greater commercial potential. Our resource allocation decisions may cause us to fail to capitalize on viable commercial products or profitable market opportunities. Our spending on current and future discovery and preclinical development programs and product candidates for specific indications may not yield any commercially viable products.

We will not be able to commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates if our preclinical studies do not produce successful results and our clinical trials do not demonstrate the safety and efficacy of CMP-001 and future product candidates.

We are currently conducting clinical studies with CMP-001 in patients with melanoma, both in combination with certain checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies and as a monotherapy, and currently anticipate conducting clinical studies evaluating CMP-001 in HNSCC in combination with avelumab and other immunomodulators. CMP-001 and future product candidates that we may develop will require extensive preclinical and clinical trials before we can submit a marketing application to the applicable regulatory authorities. These product candidates are susceptible to the risks of failure inherent at any stage of product development, including the occurrence of unexpected or unacceptable adverse events or the failure to demonstrate efficacy in clinical trials. Clinical development is expensive and can take many years to complete, and its outcome is inherently uncertain.

The results of preclinical studies, preliminary study results, and early clinical trials of CMP-001 and future product candidates may not be predictive of the results of later-stage clinical trials or of the results of clinical trials conducted in other types of cancer or non-cancer indications. Even if early-stage clinical trials are successful, we may need to conduct additional clinical trials of our product candidates in additional patient populations or under different treatment conditions before we are able to seek regulatory approvals from the FDA or other regulatory authorities. CMP-001 and future product candidates may not perform as we expect, and we

 

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may be unable to demonstrate to the FDA’s satisfaction that CMP-001 or any future product candidates are safe, pure, and potent, or effective for their desired indications. These setbacks may result in enhanced scrutiny by regulators or institutional review boards (“IRBs”) of clinical trials of product candidates, including CMP-001, which could result in regulators or IRBs prohibiting the commencement of clinical trials, requiring additional nonclinical studies as a precondition to commencing clinical trials or imposing restrictions on the design or scope of clinical trials, as well as increasing the costs of trials or limiting the significance of the results of trials. Such setbacks could also adversely impact the desire of investigators to enroll patients in, and the desire of patients to enroll in, clinical trials of our product candidates.

Additionally, some of our trials may be open-label studies, such as our current Phase 1b and the Phase 2 trials, where both the patient and investigator know whether the patient is receiving the investigational product candidate or an existing approved drug, introducing bias in early interpretation of the results. Most typically, open-label clinical trials test only the investigational product candidate and sometimes may do so at different dose levels. Open-label clinical trials are subject to various limitations that may exaggerate any therapeutic effect as patients in open-label clinical trials are aware when they are receiving treatment. Open-label clinical trials may be subject to a “patient bias” where patients perceive their symptoms to have improved merely due to their awareness of receiving an experimental treatment. In addition, open-label clinical trials may be subject to an “investigator bias” where those assessing and reviewing the physiological outcomes of the clinical trials are aware of which patients have received treatment and may interpret the information of the treated group more favorably given this knowledge. The results from an open-label trial may not be predictive of future clinical trial results with any of our product candidates for which we include an open-label clinical trial when studied in a controlled environment with a placebo or active control.

We may also experience numerous unforeseen events during, or as a result of, clinical trials that could delay or prevent our ability to receive marketing approval or commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates, including that:

 

   

we may fail to reach an agreement with regulators or IRBs regarding the scope, design, or implementation of our clinical trials;

 

   

the FDA, comparable foreign regulators or IRBs may not authorize us or our investigators to commence a clinical trial, to conduct a clinical trial at a prospective trial site or to amend trial protocols, or such regulators or IRBs may require that we modify or amend our clinical trial protocols in ways that make further clinical trials impractical or not financially prudent;

 

   

we may experience delays in reaching, or fail to reach, agreement on acceptable clinical trial contracts or clinical trial protocols with prospective trial sites or contract research organizations (“CROs”);

 

   

we may be unable to initiate or complete preclinical studies or clinical trials on time or at all due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the spread of COVID-19 may affect the operations of research sites, CROs, IRBs, or key governmental agencies, such as the FDA, which may delay the development of CMP-001 or any future product candidates;

 

   

the supply or quality of raw materials or manufactured product candidates (whether provided by us or third parties) or other materials necessary to conduct clinical trials of our product candidates may be insufficient, inadequate or not available at an acceptable cost, or in a timely manner, or we may experience interruptions in supply;

 

   

the number of patients required for clinical trials of CMP-001 and future product candidates may be larger than we anticipate, enrollment in these clinical trials may be slower than we anticipate or participants may drop out of these clinical trials or be lost to follow-up at a higher rate than we anticipate;

 

   

patients that enroll in our studies may misrepresent their eligibility or may otherwise not comply with the clinical trial protocol, resulting in the need to drop the patients from the study or clinical trial, increase the needed enrollment size for the clinical trial or extend its duration;

 

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clinical trial participants may elect to participate in alternative clinical trials sponsored by our competitors with product candidates that treat the same indications as CMP-001 and future product candidates;

 

   

our third-party contractors may fail to comply with regulatory requirements or the clinical trial protocol, or meet their contractual obligations to us in a timely manner, or at all, and we may be required to engage in additional clinical trial site monitoring to review our contractors’ performance;

 

   

we, regulators, or IRBs may require that we or our investigators suspend or terminate clinical trials for various reasons, including noncompliance with regulatory requirements or a finding that the participants are being exposed to unacceptable health risks, undesirable side effects, or other unexpected characteristics of the product candidate, or if such undesirable effects are found to be caused by a chemically or mechanistically similar therapeutic or therapeutic candidate;

 

   

clinical trials of CMP-001 and future product candidates may produce negative or inconclusive results, or our studies may fail to reach the necessary level of statistical significance, and we may decide, or regulators may require us, to conduct additional clinical trials, analyses, reports, data, or preclinical trials or abandon product development programs;

 

   

regulators may revise the requirements for approving our product candidates, or such requirements may not be as we expect or statutes, regulations clinical trial or site policies could be amended or new ones could be adopted;

 

   

the cost of clinical trials of CMP-001 and future product candidates may be greater than we anticipate or we may have insufficient funds or resources to pursue or complete certain aspects of our clinical trial program or to do so within the timeframes we planned;

 

   

we may have insufficient funds to pay the substantial user fees required by the FDA upon the submission of a Biologics License Application (“BLA”) or equivalent authorizations from comparable foreign regulatory authorities;

 

   

we may have delays in adding new investigators or clinical trial sites, or we may experience a withdrawal of clinical trial sites;

 

   

there may be regulatory questions or disagreements regarding interpretations of data and results, or new information may emerge regarding CMP-001 and future product candidates;

 

   

the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may not accept data from studies with clinical trial sites in foreign countries;

 

   

the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may disagree with our proposed indications, fail to approve or subsequently find fault with the manufacturing processes or our manufacturing facilities for clinical and future commercial supplies, and may take longer than we anticipate to review any regulatory submissions we may make for CMP-001 or any future product candidates;

 

   

the data collected from clinical trials of CMP-001 and future product candidates may not be sufficient for or to the satisfaction of the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities to support the submission of a BLA or other comparable submission in foreign jurisdictions or to obtain regulatory approval in the United States or elsewhere;

 

   

we may not be able to demonstrate that a product candidate provides an advantage over current standards of care or current or future competitive therapies in development; and

 

   

regarding trials managed by our existing or any future collaborators, our collaborators may face any of the above issues, and may conduct clinical trials in ways they view as advantageous to them but potentially suboptimal for us.

 

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In addition, disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may increase the likelihood that we encounter such difficulties or delays in initiating, enrolling, conducting or completing our planned and ongoing clinical trials. We could also encounter delays if a clinical trial is suspended or terminated by us, by the IRBs of the institutions in which such trials are being conducted, by a Data Safety Monitoring Board for such trial or by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. For example, in March 2020, Pfizer temporarily paused enrollment of new patients in the ongoing JAVELIN Phase 2 trial due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed our plans to initiate a clinical trial evaluating CMP-001 for the treatment of HNSCC. A suspension or termination of a trial may be imposed due to a number of factors, including failure to conduct the clinical trial in accordance with regulatory requirements or our clinical protocols, inspection of the clinical trial operations or trial site by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities resulting in the imposition of a clinical hold, unforeseen safety issues or adverse side effects, failure to demonstrate a benefit from using a drug, changes in governmental regulations or administrative actions or lack of adequate funding to continue the clinical trial. In addition, changes in regulatory requirements and policies may occur, and we may need to amend clinical trial protocols to comply with these changes. Amendments may require us to resubmit our clinical trial protocols to IRBs for reexamination, which may impact the costs, timing or successful completion of a clinical trial.

Further, conducting clinical trials in foreign countries, as we may do for CMP-001 or any future product candidates, presents additional risks that may delay completion of our clinical trials. These risks include the failure of enrolled patients in foreign countries to adhere to clinical protocol as a result of differences in healthcare services or cultural customs, and managing both additional administrative burdens associated with foreign regulatory schemes, and the political and economic risks relevant to such foreign countries.

Moreover, principal investigators for our clinical trials serve as scientific advisors or consultants to us from time to time and receive compensation in connection with such services. Under certain circumstances, we may be required to report some of these relationships to the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority may conclude that a financial relationship between us and a principal investigator has created a conflict of interest or otherwise affected interpretation of the study. The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority may therefore question the integrity of the data generated at the applicable clinical trial site and the utility of the clinical trial itself may be jeopardized. This could result in a delay in approval, or rejection, of our marketing applications by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority, as the case may be, and may ultimately lead to the denial of marketing approval of one or more of our product candidates. If we experience delays in testing or approvals, our development costs will also increase, and we may not have sufficient funding to complete the testing and approval process for CMP-001 and future product candidates. We may be required to obtain additional funds to complete clinical trials and

prepare for possible commercialization of CMP-001 and future product candidates. See “Risks related to our financial position and need for additional capital.” We do not know whether any preclinical tests or clinical trials beyond what we currently have anticipated or planned will be required, will begin as anticipated or planned, will need to be restructured, or will be completed on schedule, or at all. Significant delays relating to any preclinical or clinical trials also could shorten any periods during which we may have the exclusive right to commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates or allow our competitors to bring products to market before we do and impair our ability to successfully commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates and may harm our business and results of operations. In addition, many of the factors that cause, or lead to, delays in clinical trials may ultimately lead to the denial of marketing approval of CMP-001 and future product candidates. If any of these occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects may be materially harmed.

CMP-001 is based on a novel approach to the treatment of cancer, which makes it difficult to predict the time and cost of product candidate development.

While oncolytic immunotherapies are an emerging class of cancer treatment, they remain a novel approach. We have concentrated all of our research and development efforts on CMP-001, and our future success depends on the successful development of this therapeutic approach. Should we encounter development problems, the FDA

 

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and foreign regulatory authorities may refuse to approve CMP-001, or may require additional information, tests, or trials, which could significantly delay product development and significantly increase our development costs. Moreover, even if we are able to provide the requested information or clinical data to the FDA or foreign regulatory authority, there would be no guarantee that the FDA or foreign regulatory authority would accept them or approve CMP-001. We or our CMOs may also experience delays in developing a sustainable, reproducible and scalable manufacturing process, or developing or qualifying and validating product release assays, other testing and manufacturing methods, and our or their equipment and facilities in a timely manner, which may prevent us from completing our clinical trials or commercializing CMP-001 or future product candidates on a timely or profitable basis, if at all.

In addition, the clinical trial requirements of the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities and the criteria these regulators use to determine the safety and efficacy of a product candidate vary substantially according to the type, complexity, novelty and intended use and market of the potential products. The FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities have limited experience with the approval of oncolytic immunotherapies, which could lengthen the regulatory review process. Any product candidates that are approved may be subject to extensive post-approval regulatory requirements, including requirements pertaining to manufacturing, distribution, and promotion. We may need to devote significant time and resources to compliance with these requirements which could increase our development costs and delay or prevent commercialization of CMP-001 or any future product candidates.

Further, negative clinical trial results for other oncolytic immunotherapies may adversely impact product development and medical interest in CMP-001, which may prevent us from completing our clinical trials, obtaining regulatory approval or commercializing CMP-001 on a timely or profitable basis, if at all

Difficulty in enrolling patients could delay or prevent clinical trials of CMP-001 and future product candidates. We may find it difficult to enroll patients in our clinical trials or any subsequent trials that we may conduct.

Identifying and qualifying patients to participate in clinical studies of CMP-001 and future product candidates is critical to our success. The timing of completion of our clinical studies depends in part on the speed at which we can recruit patients to participate in testing CMP-001 and future product candidates, and we may experience delays in our clinical trials if we encounter difficulties in enrollment or due to other unforeseen factors such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, Pfizer temporarily paused enrollment of new patients in the ongoing JAVELIN Phase 2 trial due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed our plans to initiate a clinical trial evaluating CMP-001 for the treatment of HNSCC. We may not be able to initiate or continue clinical trials for CMP-001 and future product candidates if we are unable to locate and enroll a sufficient number of eligible patients to participate in these trials as required by the FDA or similar regulatory authorities outside the United States. In particular, because we are initially focused on patients with melanoma and HNSCC, our ability to enroll eligible patients may be limited or may result in slower enrollment than we anticipate. For example, with respect to CMP-001, we cannot be certain of the status of other competitive products in development, whether trial designs and sites for other similar products are more accessible for eligible patients or that we will be able to find enough qualified investigators and sites willing to participate in our trials. In addition, some of our competitors or potential competitors have ongoing clinical trials for product candidates that treat the same indications as CMP-001, and patients who would otherwise be eligible for our clinical trials may instead enroll in clinical trials of our competitors’ product candidates.

The eligibility criteria of our planned clinical trials will further limit the pool of available study participants, as we will require that patients have specific characteristics that we can measure to assure their cancer is at the appropriate level to include them in a study. Additionally, the process of finding patients for our planned clinical trials may prove costly. We also may not be able to identify, recruit and enroll a sufficient number of patients to complete our clinical studies because of the perceived risks or lack of benefits of the product candidate under study, the availability and efficacy of competing therapies and clinical trials, the proximity and availability of clinical study sites for prospective patients, the patient referral practices of physicians or as a result of disruptions

 

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caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If patients are unwilling to participate in our studies for any reason, the timeline for recruiting patients, conducting studies and obtaining regulatory approval of potential products may be delayed. Since the number of qualified clinical investigators is limited, we expect to conduct some of our clinical trials at the same clinical trial sites that some of our competitors use, which may further reduce the number of patients who are available for our clinical trials at such clinical trial sites.

The enrollment of patients further depends on many factors, including:

 

   

the design of the clinical trial;

 

   

our ability to recruit clinical trial investigators with the appropriate competencies and experience;

 

   

our ability to obtain and maintain patient consents;

 

   

reporting of the preliminary results of any of our clinical trials;

 

   

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

 

   

the risk that patients enrolled in clinical trials will drop out of the clinical trials before clinical trial completion.

If we experience delays in the completion of, or termination of, any clinical trial of CMP-001 or any future product candidates, the commercial prospects of CMP-001 or such future product candidates will be harmed, and our ability to generate product revenue from such product candidates could be delayed or prevented.

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

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

From time to time, we may also disclose interim data from our preclinical studies and clinical trials. For example, we have reported interim data from our ongoing clinical trials of CMP-001 elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Interim data from clinical trials that we may complete are subject to the risk that one or more of the clinical outcomes may materially change as patient enrollment continues and more patient data become available or as patients from our clinical trials continue other treatments for their disease. Adverse differences between preliminary or interim data and final data could significantly harm our business prospects.

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

 

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CMP-001 is being, and future product candidates may be, evaluated in combination with third-party drugs, and we will have limited or no control over the supply, regulatory status, or regulatory approval of such drugs.

CMP-001 is being, and future product candidates may be, evaluated in combination with checkpoint inhibitors (“CPIs”) or other compounds. In September 2018, we entered into a clinical collaboration with Merck and Pfizer to evaluate CMP-001 in combination with avelumab, and in December 2020, we entered into a clinical collaboration with BMS to evaluate CMP-001 in combination with nivolumab. Our ability to develop and ultimately commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates used in combination with avelumab, nivolumab, pembrolizumab, atezolizumab, ipilimumab or any other CPIs or other compounds will depend on our ability to access such drugs on commercially reasonable terms for the clinical trials and their availability for use with the commercialized product, if approved. We cannot be certain that current or potential future commercial relationships will provide us with a steady supply of such drugs on commercially reasonable terms or at all.

Any failure to maintain or enter into new successful commercial relationships, or inability to source or purchase CPIs or other potential combination agents in the market, may delay our development timelines, increase our costs and jeopardize our ability to develop CMP-001 and future product candidates as potential combination therapies, which may materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

Moreover, the development of product candidates for use in combination with another product or product candidate may present challenges that are not encountered when developing single-agent product candidates. For example, the FDA may require us to use more complex clinical trial designs in order to evaluate the contribution of each product and product candidate to any observed effects. During an end-of-Phase 1 meeting held in March 2020 to discuss the planned registration path for CMP-001 in melanoma, the FDA indicated that one single-arm Phase 2 trial may not be sufficient to support accelerated approval of a BLA for CMP-001 for the treatment of anti-PD-1 failure patients with metastatic or unresectable melanoma in combination with pembrolizumab. The FDA also recommended that we conduct a randomized trial in the proposed patient population to evaluate the contribution of each component to the potential treatment effect of the combination. Additionally, following product approval, the FDA may require that products used in conjunction with each other be cross labeled for combined use. To the extent that we do not have rights to the other product, this may require us to work with a third party under terms unfavorable to us to satisfy such a requirement. Moreover, developments related to the other product may impact our clinical trials for the combination as well as our commercial prospects should we receive marketing approval. Such developments may include changes to the other product’s safety or efficacy profile, changes to the availability of the approved product, and changes to the standard of care.

In the event that Merck, Pfizer, BMS or any future collaborator or supplier cannot continue to supply their products on commercially reasonable terms, we would need to identify alternatives for accessing such CPIs. Additionally, should the supply of products from Merck and Pfizer, or any future collaborator or supplier be interrupted, delayed or otherwise be unavailable to us or our collaborators, our clinical collaborations may be delayed. In the event we are unable to source an alternative supply, or are unable to do so on commercially reasonable terms, our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects may be materially harmed.

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

As product candidates are developed through preclinical studies to later-stage clinical trials towards approval and commercialization, it is common that various aspects of the development program, such as manufacturing methods and formulation, are altered along the way in an effort to optimize processes and results. Any of these changes could cause CMP-001 or any future product candidates to perform differently and affect the results of planned clinical trials or other future clinical trials conducted with the altered materials. Such changes may also require additional testing, or notification to, or approval by the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority. This could delay completion of clinical trials, require the conduct of bridging clinical trials or studies, require the repetition of one or more clinical trials, increase clinical trial costs, delay approval of CMP-001 and future product candidates and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and generate revenue.

 

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If we are unable to successfully commercialize CMP-001 or any product candidate for which we receive regulatory approval, or experience significant delays in doing so, our business will be materially harmed.

If we are successful in obtaining marketing approval from applicable regulatory authorities for CMP-001 or any future product candidates, our ability to generate revenues from CMP-001 or any future product candidates will depend on our success in:

 

   

launching commercial sales of CMP-001 and future product candidates, whether alone or in collaboration with others;

 

   

receiving an approved label with claims that are necessary or desirable for successful marketing, and that does not contain safety or other limitations that would impede our ability to market CMP-001 or any future product candidates;

 

   

creating market demand for our product candidates through marketing, sales and promotion activities;

 

   

hiring, training, and deploying a sales force or contracting with third parties to commercialize CMP-001 or any future product candidates in the United States;

 

   

manufacturing, either on our own or through third parties, product candidates in sufficient quantities and at acceptable quality and cost to meet commercial demand at launch and thereafter;

 

   

establishing and maintaining agreements with wholesalers, distributors, and group purchasing organizations on commercially reasonable terms;

 

   

creating partnerships with, or offering licenses to, third parties to promote and sell product candidates in foreign markets where we receive marketing approval;

 

   

maintaining patent and trade secret protection and regulatory exclusivity for CMP-001 or any future product candidates;

 

   

achieving market acceptance of CMP-001 or any future product candidates by patients, the medical community, and third-party payors;

 

   

achieving appropriate reimbursement for CMP-001 or any future product candidates;

 

   

effectively competing with other therapies; and

 

   

maintaining an acceptable tolerability profile of CMP-001 or any future product candidates following launch.

To the extent we are not able to do any of the foregoing, our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects will be materially harmed.

We face significant competition from other biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic institutions, government agencies, and other research organizations, which may result in others discovering, developing or commercializing products more quickly or marketing them more successfully than us. If their product candidates are shown to be safer or more effective than ours, our commercial opportunity may be reduced or eliminated.

The development and commercialization of cancer immunotherapy products is characterized by rapidly advancing technologies, intense competition and a strong emphasis on proprietary rights. We face competition with respect to CMP-001, and will face competition with respect to any product candidates that we may seek to develop or commercialize in the future, from major biopharmaceutical companies, specialty biopharmaceutical companies, and biotechnology companies worldwide. There are a number of large biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that currently market and sell products or are pursuing the development of products for the treatment of solid tumors, including oncolytic immunotherapy and cancer vaccine approaches. Additionally, certain companies whom we view as our most direct potential competitors are currently developing therapies

 

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utilizing TLR9 agonists in cancer immunotherapy that may have utility for similar indications that we are targeting. Potential competitors also include academic institutions, government agencies, and other public and private research organizations that conduct research, seek patent protection, and establish collaborative arrangements for research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization.

While CMP-001 is intended to be used in combination with other drugs with different mechanisms of action, if and when marketed it will still compete with a number of drugs that are currently marketed or in development that also target cancer. To compete effectively with these drugs, CMP-001 or any future product candidates will need to demonstrate advantages in clinical efficacy and safety compared to these competitors when used alone or in combination with other drugs.

Our commercial opportunities could be reduced or eliminated if our competitors develop and commercialize products that are safer, more effective, have fewer or less severe side effects, are easier to administer or are less expensive alone or in combination with other therapies than any products that we may develop alone or in combination with other therapies. Our competitors also may obtain the FDA’s or comparable foreign regulatory authorities’ approval for their products more rapidly than we may obtain approval for ours, which could result in our competitors establishing a strong market position before we are able to enter the market. In addition, our ability to compete may be affected in many cases by insurers or other third-party payors coverage decisions.

Many of the companies with which we are competing or may compete in the future have significantly greater financial resources and expertise in research and development, manufacturing, preclinical testing, conducting clinical trials, obtaining regulatory approvals, and marketing approved products than we do. Mergers and acquisitions in the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industries may result in even more resources being concentrated among a smaller number of our competitors. Early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly through collaborative arrangements with large and established companies. These third parties compete with us in recruiting and retaining qualified scientific and management personnel and establishing clinical trial sites and patient registration for clinical trials, as well as in developing or acquiring technologies complementary to, or necessary for, our programs. If we are unable to successfully compete with these companies our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects may be materially harmed.

If we are unable to establish effective marketing, sales and distribution capabilities or enter into agreements with third parties to market and sell CMP-001 or any future product candidates, if they are approved, the revenues that we generate may be limited and we may never become profitable.

We currently do not have a commercial infrastructure for the marketing, sale, and distribution of our cancer immunotherapies. If CMP-001 or any future product candidates receive marketing approval, we intend to commercialize such product candidates on our own in the United States and potentially with pharmaceutical or biotechnology partners in other geographies. In order to commercialize our products, we must build our marketing, sales, and distribution capabilities or make arrangements with third parties to perform these services. We may not be successful in doing so. Should we decide to move forward in developing our own marketing capabilities, we may incur expenses prior to product launch or even approval in order to recruit a sales force and develop a marketing and sales infrastructure. If a commercial launch is delayed as a result of the FDA’s or comparable foreign regulatory authority’s requirements or for other reasons, we would incur these expenses prior to being able to realize any revenue from sales of CMP-001 and future product candidates. Even if we are able to effectively hire a sales force and develop a marketing and sales infrastructure, our sales force and marketing teams may not be successful in commercializing CMP-001 or any future product candidates. This may be costly, and our investment would be lost if we cannot retain or reposition our sales and marketing personnel.

We may also or alternatively decide to collaborate with third-party marketing and sales organizations to commercialize any approved product candidates in the United States, in which event, our ability to generate product revenues may be limited. To the extent we rely on third parties to commercialize any products for which

 

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we obtain regulatory approval, we may receive less revenues than if we commercialized these products ourselves, which could materially harm our prospects. In addition, we would have less control over the sales efforts of any other third parties involved in our commercialization efforts, and could be held liable if they failed to comply with applicable legal or regulatory requirements.

We have no prior experience in the marketing, sale, and distribution of biopharmaceutical products, and there are significant risks involved in building and managing a commercial infrastructure. The establishment and development of commercial capabilities, including compliance plans, to market any products we may develop will be expensive and time consuming and could delay any product launch, and we may not be able to successfully develop this capability. We will have to compete with other biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including oncology-focused companies, to recruit, hire, train, manage, and retain marketing and sales personnel, which is expensive and time consuming and could delay any product launch. Developing our sales capabilities may also divert resources and management attention away from product development. In the event we are unable to develop a marketing and sales infrastructure, we may not be able to commercialize CMP-001 or any future product candidates in the United States or elsewhere, which could limit our ability to generate product revenues and materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects. Factors that may inhibit our efforts to commercialize CMP-001 or any future product candidates include:

 

   

the inability to recruit, train, manage, and retain 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 CMP-001 or any future product candidates;

 

   

our inability to effectively oversee a geographically dispersed sales and marketing team;

 

   

the costs associated with training sales and marketing personnel on legal and regulatory compliance matters and monitoring their actions;

 

   

an inability to secure adequate coverage and reimbursement by government and private health plans;

 

   

the clinical indications for which the products are approved and the claims that we may make for the products;

 

   

limitations or warnings, including distribution or use restrictions, contained in the product’s approved labeling;

 

   

any distribution and use restrictions imposed by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities or to which we agree as part of a mandatory REMS or voluntary risk management plan;

 

   

liability for sales or marketing personnel who fail to comply with the applicable legal and regulatory requirements;

 

   

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

 

   

unforeseen costs and expenses associated with creating an independent sales and marketing organization or engaging a contract sales organization.

If CMP-001 or any future product candidates do not achieve broad market acceptance, the revenues that we generate from their sales may be limited, and we may never become profitable.

We have never commercialized a product candidate for any indication. Even if CMP-001 and future product candidates are approved by the appropriate regulatory authorities for marketing and sale, they may not gain acceptance among physicians, patients, third-party payors, and others in the medical community. If any product candidates for which we obtain regulatory approval do not gain an adequate level of market acceptance, we could be prevented from or significantly delayed in achieving profitability. Market acceptance of CMP-001 and future

 

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product candidates by the medical community, patients, and third-party payors will depend on a number of factors, some of which are beyond our control. For example, physicians are often reluctant to switch their patients and patients may be reluctant to switch from existing therapies even when new and potentially more effective or safer treatments enter the market.

Efforts to educate the medical community and third-party payors on the benefits of CMP-001 and our novel approach to cancer treatment, and future product candidates, may require significant resources and may not be successful. If CMP-001 or any future product candidates are approved but do not achieve an adequate level of market acceptance, we could be prevented from or significantly delayed in achieving profitability. The degree of market acceptance of CMP-001 and future product candidates will depend on a number of factors, including:

 

   

the efficacy of our CMP-001 and our VLP modality, and future product candidates alone or in combination with checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies or other therapies;

 

   

the commercial success of the checkpoint blockade drugs with which CMP-001 or future products are or may be co-administered;

 

   

the prevalence and severity of adverse events associated with CMP-001 and future product candidates or those products with which they are co-administered;

 

   

the clinical indications for which the products are approved and the approved claims that we may make for the products;

 

   

limitations or warnings contained in the product’s FDA-approved labeling or those of comparable foreign regulatory authorities, including potential limitations or warnings for CMP-001 and future product candidates that may be more restrictive than other competitive products;

 

   

changes in the standard of care for the targeted indications for CMP-001 and future product candidates, which could reduce the marketing impact of any claims that we could make following FDA approval or approval by comparable foreign regulatory authorities, if obtained;

 

   

the relative convenience and ease of administration of CMP-001 and future product candidates and any products with which they are co-administered;

 

   

the cost of treatment compared with the economic and clinical benefit of alternative treatments or therapies;

 

   

the availability of adequate coverage or reimbursement by third parties, such as insurance companies and other healthcare payors, and by government healthcare programs, including Medicare and Medicaid;

 

   

the price concessions required by third-party payors to obtain coverage;

 

   

the extent and strength of our marketing and distribution of CMP-001 and future product candidates;

 

   

the safety, efficacy, and other potential advantages over, and availability of, alternative treatments already used or that may later be approved;

 

   

distribution and use restrictions imposed by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities with respect to CMP-001 and future product candidates or to which we agree as part of a REMS or voluntary risk management plan;

 

   

the timing of market introduction of CMP-001 and future product candidates, as well as competitive products;

 

   

our ability to offer CMP-001 and future product candidates for sale at competitive prices;

 

   

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

 

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the extent and strength of our third-party manufacturer and supplier support;

 

   

the actions of companies that market any products with which CMP-001 and future product candidates are co-administered;

 

   

the approval of other new products;

 

   

adverse publicity about CMP-001 and future product candidates or any products with which they are co-administered, or favorable publicity about competitive products; and

 

   

potential product liability claims.

The size of the potential markets for CMP-001 or any future product candidates is difficult to estimate and, if any of our assumptions are inaccurate, the actual markets for CMP-001 or any future product candidates may be smaller than our estimates.

The potential market opportunities for CMP-001 or any future product candidates are difficult to estimate and will depend in large part on the drugs with which CMP-001 or any future product candidates are co-administered and the success of competing therapies and therapeutic approaches. Our estimates of the potential market opportunities in melanoma, HNSCC and other indications are predicated on many assumptions, which may include industry knowledge and publications, third-party research reports, and other surveys. Although we believe that our internal assumptions are reasonable, these assumptions involve the exercise of significant judgment on the part of our management, are inherently uncertain, and their reasonableness has not been assessed by an independent source. If any of the assumptions proves to be inaccurate, the actual markets and patient populations eligible for CMP-001 and future product candidates could be smaller than our estimates of the potential market opportunities.

Negative developments in the field of immuno-oncology could damage public perception of CMP-001 or any future product candidates and negatively affect our business.

The commercial success of CMP-001 or any future product candidates will depend in part on public acceptance of the use of cancer immunotherapies. Adverse events in clinical trials of CMP-001 or any future product candidates or adverse outcomes or adverse events in clinical trials of others developing similar products and the resulting publicity, as well as any other negative developments in the field of immuno-oncology that may occur in the future, including in connection with competitor therapies, could result in a decrease in demand for CMP-001 or any future product candidates that we may develop. These events could also result in the suspension, discontinuation, or clinical hold of or modification to our clinical trials. If public perception is influenced by claims that the use of cancer immunotherapies is unsafe, whether related to our therapies or those of our competitors, CMP-001 and future product candidates may not be accepted by the general public or the medical community and potential clinical trial subjects may be discouraged from enrolling in our clinical trials. As a result, we may not be able to continue or may be delayed in conducting our development programs. Future negative developments in the field of immuno-oncology or the biopharmaceutical industry could also result in greater governmental regulation, stricter labeling requirements and potential regulatory delays in the testing or approvals of CMP-001 or any future product candidates. Any increased scrutiny could delay or increase the costs of obtaining marketing approval for CMP-001 or any future product candidates.

Product liability lawsuits against us could cause us to incur substantial liabilities and could limit commercialization of CMP-001 and future product candidates that we may develop.

We will face an inherent risk of product liability exposure related to the testing of CMP-001 and future product candidates in human clinical trials and will face an even greater risk if we commercially sell CMP-001 or any future product candidates that we may develop. If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against claims that CMP-001 and future product candidates caused injuries, we could incur substantial liabilities. Regardless of merit or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:

 

   

decreased demand for any of CMP-001 and future product candidates that we may develop;

 

   

injury to our reputation and significant negative media attention;

 

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regulatory investigations that could require costly recalls or product modifications;

 

   

withdrawal of clinical trial participants;

 

   

significant costs to defend the related litigation;

 

   

substantial monetary awards to trial participants or patients;

 

   

loss of revenue;

 

   

the diversion of management’s attention away from managing our business; and

 

   

the inability to commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates that we may develop.

Although we maintain product liability insurance coverage, it may not be adequate to cover all liabilities that we may incur. We anticipate that we will need to increase our insurance coverage when we begin clinical trials and if we successfully commercialize any product candidate. Insurance coverage is increasingly expensive. We may not be able to maintain product liability insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or in an amount adequate to satisfy any liability that may arise.

Even if we are able to commercialize CMP-001 or any future product candidates, such drugs may become subject to unfavorable pricing regulations or third-party coverage and reimbursement policies, which would harm our business.

The regulations that govern regulatory approvals, pricing and reimbursement for new drugs vary widely from country to country. Some countries require approval of the sale price of a drug before it can be marketed. In many countries, the pricing review period begins after marketing approval is granted. In some foreign markets, prescription pharmaceutical pricing remains subject to continuing governmental control even after initial approval is granted. As a result, we might obtain marketing approval for a product candidate in a particular country, but then be subject to price regulations that delay our commercial launch of the product candidate, possibly for lengthy time periods, and negatively impact the revenues we are able to generate from the sale of the product candidate in that country. Adverse pricing limitations may hinder our ability to recoup our investment in CMP-001 or any future product candidates, even if CMP-001 and future product candidates obtain marketing approval.

Our ability to commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates successfully also will depend in part on the extent to which coverage and reimbursement for CMP-001 and future product candidates and related treatments will be available from third-party payors. In the United States and markets in other countries, patients generally rely on third-party payors to reimburse all or part of the costs associated with their treatment. Adequate coverage and reimbursement from governmental healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and commercial payors is critical to new product acceptance. Our ability to successfully commercialize our product candidates will depend in part on the extent to which coverage and adequate reimbursement for these products and related treatments will be available from government health administration authorities, private health insurers and other organizations. Government authorities and other third-party payors, such as private health insurers and health maintenance organizations, decide which medications they will pay for and establish reimbursement levels. In the United States, the principal decisions about reimbursement for new medicines are typically made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CMS decides whether and to what extent a new medicine will be covered and reimbursed under Medicare and private payors tend to follow CMS to a substantial degree. Factors payors consider in determining reimbursement are based on whether the product is:

 

   

a covered benefit under its health plan;

 

   

safe, effective and medically necessary;

 

   

appropriate for the specific patient;

 

   

cost-effective; and

 

   

neither experimental nor investigational.

 

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A primary trend in the U.S. healthcare industry and elsewhere is cost containment. Government authorities and other third-party payors have attempted to control costs by limiting coverage and the amount of reimbursement for particular drugs. Increasingly, third-party payors are requiring that drug companies provide them with predetermined discounts from list prices and are challenging the prices charged for drugs. For products administered under the supervision of a physician, such as CMP-001, obtaining coverage and adequate reimbursement may be particularly difficult because of the higher prices often associated with such drugs. We cannot be sure that coverage will be available for any product candidate that we commercialize and, if coverage is available, the level of reimbursement. Reimbursement may impact the demand for, or the price of, any product candidate for which we obtain marketing approval. If reimbursement is not available or is available only to limited levels, we may not be able to successfully commercialize any product candidate for which we obtain marketing approval.

There may be significant delays in obtaining reimbursement for newly approved drugs, and coverage may be more limited than the purposes for which the drug is approved by the FDA or similar regulatory authorities outside the United States. Moreover, eligibility for reimbursement does not imply that any drug will be paid for in all cases or at a rate that covers our costs, including research, development, manufacturing, sale and distribution. Interim reimbursement levels for new drugs, if applicable, may also not be sufficient to cover our costs and may not be made permanent. Reimbursement rates may vary according to the use of the drug and the clinical setting in which it is used, may be based on reimbursement levels already set for lower cost drugs and may be incorporated into existing payments for other services. Net prices for drugs may be reduced by mandatory discounts or rebates required by government healthcare programs or private payors and by any future relaxation of laws that presently restrict imports of drugs from countries where they may be sold at lower prices than in the United States. Our inability to promptly obtain coverage and profitable payment rates from both government-funded and private payors for any approved drugs that we develop could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, our ability to raise capital needed to commercialize drugs and our overall financial condition.

Risks related to COVID-19

A pandemic, epidemic, or outbreak of an infectious disease, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, may materially and adversely affect our business, including our preclinical studies, clinical trials, third parties on whom we rely, our supply chain, our ability to raise capital and our financial results.

We are subject to risks related to the public health crises such as the global pandemic associated with COVID-19, which we refer to as the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has since spread to multiple countries, including the United States and most European countries. The pandemic and government measures taken in response have also had a significant impact, both direct and indirect, on businesses and commerce, as worker shortages have occurred, supply chains have been disrupted, facilities and production have been suspended, and demand for certain goods and services, such as medical services and supplies, has spiked, while demand for other goods and services, such as travel, has fallen. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic may impact our preclinical studies or clinical trial operations, as well as our supply chain, will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, such as the duration of the pandemic, the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, or the effectiveness of actions to contain and treat COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic may also affect employees of third-party contract research organizations (“CROs”) located in affected geographies that we rely upon to carry out our clinical trials. In addition, in March 2020, Pfizer temporarily paused enrollment of new patients in the ongoing JAVELIN Phase 2 trial, which delayed our plans to initiate a clinical trial evaluating CMP-001 for the treatment of advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. As COVID-19 continues to spread around the globe, we may experience additional disruptions that could severely impact our business and clinical trials, including:

 

   

delays or difficulties in enrolling patients in our clinical trials;

 

   

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

 

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diversion of healthcare resources away from the conduct of clinical trials, including the diversion of hospitals serving as our clinical trial sites and hospital staff supporting the conduct of our clinical trials or absenteeism due to the COVID-19 pandemic that reduces site resources;

 

   

interruption of key clinical trial activities, such as clinical trial site monitoring, due to limitations on travel imposed or recommended by federal or state governments, employers and others or interruption of clinical trial subject visits and study procedures, the occurrence of which could affect the integrity of clinical trial data;

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

   

delays in receiving authorizations from local regulatory authorities to initiate our planned clinical trials;

 

   

delays in clinical sites receiving the supplies and materials needed to conduct our clinical trials;

 

   

interruption in global shipping that may affect the transport of clinical trial materials, such as investigational drug product used in our clinical trials;

 

   

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

 

   

interruptions or delays in preclinical studies due to restricted or limited operations at research and development laboratory facilities;

 

   

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

 

   

refusal of the FDA to accept data from clinical trials in affected geographies outside the United States.

Any negative impact COVID-19 has to patient enrollment or treatment or the development of CMP-001 and future product candidates could cause costly delays to clinical trial activities, which could adversely affect our ability to obtain regulatory approval for and to commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates, if approved, increase our operating expenses, and have a material adverse effect on our financial results. The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused significant volatility in public equity markets and disruptions to the U.S. and global economies. This increased volatility and economic dislocation may make it more difficult for us to raise capital on favorable terms, or at all.

Although we have begun to experience the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and operations, we cannot currently predict the scope and severity of any potential business shutdowns or disruptions. If we or any of the third parties with whom we engage, however, were to experience shutdowns or other business disruptions, our ability to conduct our business in the manner and on the timelines presently planned could be materially and negatively affected, which could have a material adverse impact on our business and our results of operations and financial condition. To the extent the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affects our business and financial results, it may also heighten many of the other risks described in this “Risk Factors” section, such as those relating to the timing and completion of our clinical trials and our ability to obtain future financing.

 

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Risks related to government regulation

Even if our development efforts are successful, we may not obtain regulatory approval of CMP-001 or any future product candidates in the United States or other jurisdictions, which would prevent us from commercializing CMP-001 and future product candidates. Even if we obtain regulatory approval for CMP-001 and future product candidates, any such approval may be subject to limitations, including with respect to the approved indications or patient populations, which could impair our ability to successfully commercialize CMP-001 or any future product candidates.

We are not permitted to market or promote or sell CMP-001 or any future product candidates before we receive regulatory approval from the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, and we may never receive such regulatory approval. Securing marketing approval requires the submission of extensive preclinical and clinical data and supporting information to regulatory authorities for each therapeutic indication to establish the product candidate’s safety and efficacy for that indication. Securing marketing approval also requires the submission of information about the product manufacturing process to, and inspection of manufacturing facilities and clinical trial sites by, the regulatory authorities. If we do not receive approval from the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities for any of CMP-001 and future product candidates, we will not be able to commercialize such product candidates in the United States or in other jurisdictions. If significant delays in obtaining approval for and commercializing CMP-001 and future product candidates occur in any jurisdictions, our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects will be materially harmed. Even if CMP-001 and future product candidates are approved, they may:

 

   

be subject to limitations on the indicated uses or patient populations for which they may be marketed, distribution restrictions, or other conditions of approval;

 

   

contain significant safety warnings, including boxed warnings, contraindications, and precautions;

 

   

not be approved with label statements necessary or desirable for successful commercialization; or

 

   

contain requirements for costly post-market testing and surveillance, or other requirements, including the submission of a REMS to monitor the safety or efficacy of the products.

We have not previously submitted a BLA to the FDA, or a similar marketing application to comparable foreign regulatory authorities, for CMP-001 or any product candidate, and we can provide no assurance that we will ultimately be successful in obtaining regulatory approval for claims that are necessary or desirable for successful marketing, if at all.

The regulatory approval processes of the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities are lengthy, time consuming and inherently unpredictable. If we are not able to obtain, or experience delays in obtaining, required regulatory approvals, we will not be able to commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates as expected, and our ability to generate revenue may be materially impaired.

The time required to obtain approval by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities is unpredictable but typically takes many years following the commencement of clinical trials and depends upon numerous factors, including the substantial discretion of the regulatory authorities. In addition, approval policies, regulations, or the type and amount of clinical data necessary to gain approval may change during the course of a product candidate’s clinical development and may vary among jurisdictions. These regulatory requirements may require us to amend our clinical trial protocols, conduct additional preclinical studies or clinical trials that may require regulatory or IRB approval, or otherwise cause delays in obtaining approval or rejection of an application. Any delay in obtaining or failure to obtain required approvals could materially adversely affect our ability to generate revenue from the particular product candidate, which may materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

Regulatory authorities have substantial discretion in the approval process and may refuse to accept any application or may decide that our data are insufficient for approval and require additional preclinical, clinical or

 

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other studies. In addition, varying interpretations of the data obtained from preclinical and clinical testing could delay, limit or prevent marketing approval of a product candidate. The number and types of preclinical studies and clinical trials that will be required for regulatory approval also varies depending on the product candidate, the disease or condition that the product candidate is designed to address, and the regulations applicable to any particular product candidate. Approval policies, regulations or the type and amount of clinical data necessary to gain approval may change during the course of a product candidate’s clinical development and may vary among jurisdictions, and there may be varying interpretations of data obtained from preclinical studies or clinical trials, any of which may cause delays or limitations in the approval or a decision not to approve an application. It is possible that CMP-001 and future product candidates will never obtain the appropriate regulatory approvals necessary for us to commence product sales.

If we experience delays in obtaining approval, if we fail to obtain approval of CMP-001 or any future product candidate or if the label for a product candidate does not include the labeling claims necessary or desirable for the successful commercialization of that product candidate, the commercial prospects for such product candidate may be harmed and our ability to generate revenues from that product candidate may be materially impaired.

CMP-001 or future product candidates may cause undesirable side effects or have other properties 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. Serious adverse events or undesirable side effects caused by CMP-001 and future product candidates could cause us, IRBs, and other reviewing entities or regulatory authorities to interrupt, delay, or halt clinical trials and could result in a more restrictive label or the delay or denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities. For example, if concerns are raised regarding the safety of a new therapeutic as a result of undesirable side effects identified during clinical or preclinical testing, the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority may order us to cease further development, decline to approve the product candidate or issue a letter requesting additional data or information prior to making a final decision regarding whether or not to approve the product candidate. The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities, or IRBs and other reviewing entities, may also require, or we may voluntarily develop, strategies for managing adverse events during clinical development, which could include restrictions on our enrollment criteria, the use of stopping criteria, adjustments to a study’s design, or the monitoring of safety data by a data monitoring committee, among other strategies. For example, patients enrolled in our ongoing clinical trials of CMP-001 have experienced mild to moderate adverse events, consisting mainly of flu-like symptoms and injection site reactions. In response to these adverse events, we have implemented prophylactic measures, including intravenous fluids, antiemetics, and antipryetics. The FDA’s or a comparable foreign regulatory authority’s requests for additional data or information could also result in substantial delays in the approval of CMP-001 and future product candidates.

Further, clinical trials by their nature utilize a sample of the potential patient population. With a limited number of patients and limited duration of exposure, rare and severe side effects of a product candidate may only be uncovered when a significantly larger number of patients are exposed to the product candidate or when patients are exposed for a longer period of time.

Undesirable side effects caused by CMP-001 or any future product candidates could also result in denial of regulatory approval by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities for any or all targeted indications or the inclusion of unfavorable information in our product labeling, such as limitations on the indicated uses for which the products may be marketed or distributed, a label with significant safety warnings, including boxed warnings, contraindications, and precautions, a label without statements necessary or desirable for successful commercialization, or may result in requirements for costly post-marketing testing and surveillance, or other requirements, including REMS, to monitor the safety or efficacy of the products, and in turn prevent us from commercializing and generating revenues from the sale of CMP-001 and future product candidates. Any such limitations or restrictions could similarly impact any supplemental marketing approvals we may obtain for CMP-001. Undesirable side effects may limit the potential market for any approved products or could result in restrictions on manufacturing processes, the discontinuation of the sales and marketing of the product, or withdrawal of product approvals. We could also be sued and held liable for harm caused to patients, or become subject to fines, injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.

 

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If CMP-001 and future product candidates are associated with serious adverse events or undesirable side effects or have properties that are unexpected, we may need to abandon development or limit development of that product candidate to certain uses or subpopulations in which the undesirable side effects or other characteristics are less prevalent, less severe or more acceptable from a risk-benefit perspective. The therapeutic-related side effects could affect patient recruitment or the ability of enrolled patients to complete the trial or result in potential product liability claims. Any of these occurrences may materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

Regulatory approval by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities is limited to those specific indications and conditions for which approval has been granted, and we may be subject to substantial fines, criminal penalties, injunctions, or other enforcement actions if we are determined to be promoting the use of our products for unapproved or “off-label” uses, or in a manner inconsistent with the approved labeling, resulting in damage to our reputation and business.

We must comply with requirements concerning advertising and promotion for any product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. Promotional communications with respect to therapeutics are subject to a variety of legal and regulatory restrictions and continuing review by the FDA, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, state attorneys general, members of Congress, and the public. When the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities issue regulatory approval for a product candidate, the regulatory approval is limited to those specific uses and indications for which a product is approved. If we are not able to obtain FDA approval for desired uses or indications for CMP-001 and future product candidates, we may not market or promote them for those indications and uses, referred to as off-label uses, and our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects will be materially harmed. We also must sufficiently substantiate any claims that we make for any products, including claims comparing those products to other companies’ products, and must abide by the FDA’s strict requirements regarding the content of promotion and advertising.

Physicians may choose to prescribe products for uses that are not described in the product’s labeling and for uses that differ from those tested in clinical trials and approved by the regulatory authorities. Regulatory authorities in the United States generally do not restrict or regulate the behavior of physicians in their choice of treatment within the practice of medicine. Regulatory authorities do, however, restrict communications by biopharmaceutical companies concerning off-label use.

If we are found to have impermissibly promoted any of CMP-001 and future product candidates, we may become subject to significant liability and government fines. The FDA and other agencies actively enforce the laws and regulations regarding product promotion, particularly those prohibiting the promotion of off-label uses, and a company that is found to have improperly promoted a product may be subject to significant sanctions. 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.

In the United States, engaging in the impermissible promotion of any products, following approval, for off-label uses can also subject us to false claims and other litigation under federal and state statutes. These include fraud and abuse and consumer protection laws, which can lead to civil and criminal penalties and fines, agreements with governmental authorities that materially restrict the manner in which we promote or distribute therapeutic products and conduct our business. These restrictions could include corporate integrity agreements, suspension or exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs, and suspension and debarment from government contracts and refusal of orders under existing government contracts. These False Claims Act lawsuits against manufacturers of drugs and biologics have increased significantly in volume and breadth, leading to several substantial civil and criminal settlements pertaining to certain sales practices and promoting off-label uses. In addition, False Claims Act lawsuits may expose manufacturers to follow-on claims by private

 

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payers based on fraudulent marketing practices. This growth in litigation has increased the risk that a biopharmaceutical company will have to defend a false claim action, pay settlement fines or restitution, as well as criminal and civil penalties, agree to comply with burdensome reporting and compliance obligations, and be excluded from Medicare, Medicaid, or other federal and state healthcare programs. If we do not lawfully promote our approved products, if any, we may become subject to such litigation and, if we do not successfully defend against such actions, those actions may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

In the United States, the promotion of biopharmaceutical products is subject to additional FDA requirements and restrictions on promotional statements. If, after CMP-001 or any future product candidates obtains marketing approval, the FDA determines that our promotional activities violate its regulations and policies pertaining to product promotion, it could request that we modify our promotional materials or subject us to regulatory or other enforcement actions, including issuance of warning letters or untitled letters, suspension or withdrawal of an approved product from the market, requests for recalls, payment of civil fines, disgorgement of money, imposition of operating restrictions, injunctions or criminal prosecution, and other enforcement actions. Similarly, industry codes in foreign jurisdictions may prohibit companies from engaging in certain promotional activities, and regulatory agencies in various countries may enforce violations of such codes with civil penalties. If we become subject to regulatory and enforcement actions, our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects will be materially harmed.

We have received orphan drug designation for CMP-001, and we may in the future seek orphan drug status for additional indications for CMP-001 or for our future product candidates, but we may be unable to obtain such designations or to maintain the benefits associated with orphan drug status, including market exclusivity, which may cause our revenue, if any, to be reduced.

We have received Orphan Drug Designation for CMP-001 for Stage IIb-IV melanoma in the U.S., and we may seek Orphan Drug Designation for future product candidates. Regulatory authorities in some jurisdictions, including the U.S. and the European Union, may designate drugs for relatively small patient populations as orphan drugs. Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may designate a product as an orphan drug if it is a drug intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is generally defined as a patient population of fewer than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., or a patient population of greater than 200,000 individuals in the United States, but for which there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing the drug or biologic will be recovered from sales in the United States.

In the United States, orphan designation entitles a party to financial incentives such as opportunities for grant funding towards clinical trial costs, tax advantages and user-fee waivers. In addition, if a product with an Orphan Drug Designation subsequently receives the first marketing approval for the indication for which it has such designation, the product is entitled to a period of marketing exclusivity, which precludes the FDA or the EMA from approving another marketing application for the same drug for that time period.

The applicable period is seven years in the U.S. and ten years in the European Union. The exclusivity period in the European Union can be reduced to six years if a drug no longer meets the criteria for Orphan Drug Designation or if the drug is sufficiently profitable so that market exclusivity is no longer justified. Orphan Drug exclusivity may be lost if the FDA or EMA determines that the request for designation was materially defective or if the manufacturer is unable to assure sufficient quantity of the drug to meet the needs of patients with the rare disease or condition.

Even if we obtain Orphan Drug exclusivity for a product candidate, that exclusivity may not effectively protect the product candidate from competition because competing drugs containing a different active ingredient can be approved for the same condition. In addition, even after an orphan drug is approved, the FDA can subsequently approve the same drug for the same condition if the FDA concludes that the later drug is clinically superior in that it is shown to be safer, more effective or makes a major contribution to patient care. Orphan Drug Designation neither shortens the development time or regulatory review time of a drug nor gives the drug any advantage in the regulatory review or approval process.

 

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We have received Fast Track designation by the FDA for CMP-001 for certain designations and may seek such designation for any future product candidates, but such designation may not lead to a faster development or regulatory review or approval process and does not increase the likelihood that CMP-001 and future product candidates will receive marketing approval.

If a drug 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 drug sponsor may apply for FDA Fast Track designation for a particular indication. In July 2020, the FDA granted Fast Track designation for CMP-001 in combination with a PD-1 blocking antibody (nivolumab or pembrolizumab) in both anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma and first-line metastatic melanoma.

We may seek Fast Track designation for our future product candidates, but there is no assurance that the FDA will grant this designation to any of our product candidates. Marketing applications filed by sponsors of products receiving Fast Track designation may qualify for priority review under the policies and procedures offered by the FDA, but the Fast Track designation alone does not assure qualification for priority review. The FDA has broad discretion whether or not to grant Fast Track designation, so even if we believe a particular product candidate is eligible for this designation, there can be no assurance that the FDA would decide to grant it. Even though CMP-001 has received Fast Track designation, and any future product candidates may receive Fast Track designation, we may not experience a faster development, regulatory review or approval process compared to conventional FDA procedures, and receiving a Fast Track designation does not provide assurance of ultimate FDA approval or that approval will be granted in any particular time frame. In addition, the FDA may withdraw Fast Track designation at any time if it believes that the designation is no longer supported by data from our clinical development program or that the relevant criteria are no longer met.

We may attempt to secure approval from the FDA through the use of the accelerated approval pathway by the FDA. If we are unable to obtain such approval, we may be required to conduct additional preclinical studies or clinical trials beyond those that we contemplate, which could increase the expense of obtaining, and delay the receipt of, necessary marketing approvals. Even if we receive accelerated approval from the FDA, if our confirmatory trials do not verify clinical benefit, or if we do not comply with rigorous post-marketing requirements, the FDA may seek to withdraw accelerated approval.

We currently intend to seek approval of CMP-001 for the treatment of refractory melanoma and first-line melanoma, and may seek approval of future product candidates, under the FDA’s accelerated approval pathway. A product may be eligible for accelerated approval if it is designed to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition and generally provides a meaningful advantage over available therapies upon a determination that the product candidate has an effect on a surrogate endpoint or intermediate clinical endpoint that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit. The FDA considers a clinical benefit to be a positive therapeutic effect that is clinically meaningful in the context of a given disease, such as irreversible morbidity or mortality. For the purposes of accelerated approval, a surrogate endpoint is a marker, such as a laboratory measurement, radiographic image, physical sign, or other measure that is thought to predict clinical benefit, but is not itself a measure of clinical benefit. An intermediate clinical endpoint is a clinical endpoint that can be measured earlier than an effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality that is reasonably likely to predict an effect on irreversible morbidity or mortality or other clinical benefit. The accelerated approval pathway may be used in cases in which the advantage of a new drug over available therapy may not be a direct therapeutic advantage, but is a clinically important improvement from a patient and public health perspective. If granted, accelerated approval is usually contingent on the sponsor’s agreement to conduct, in a diligent manner, additional post-approval confirmatory studies to verity and describe the drug’s clinical benefit. If the sponsor fails to conduct such studies in a timely manner, or if such post-approval studies fail to verify the drug’s predicted clinical benefit, the FDA may withdraw its approval of the drug on an expedited basis.

Prior to seeking accelerated approval for CMP-001 or future product candidates, we would intend to seek feedback from the FDA and will otherwise evaluate our ability to seek and receive accelerated approval. There

 

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can be no assurance that after our evaluation of the feedback and other factors we will decide to pursue or submit a BLA for accelerated approval or any other form of expedited development, review or approval. Similarly, there can be no assurance that after subsequent FDA feedback we will continue to pursue or apply for accelerated approval or any other form of expedited development, review or approval, even if we initially decide to do so. Furthermore, if we decide to submit an application for accelerated approval or receive an expedited regulatory designation for our product candidates, there can be no assurance that such submission or application will be accepted or that any expedited development, review or approval will be granted on a timely basis, or at all. The FDA or other comparable foreign regulatory authorities could also require us to conduct further studies prior to considering our application or granting approval of any type. Specifically, during an end-of-Phase 1 meeting held in March 2020 to discuss our plans for a registration path for CMP-001 in melanoma, the FDA indicated that one single-arm Phase 2 trial may be unlikely to support accelerated approval of a BLA for CMP-001 for the treatment of anti-PD-1 refractory patients with metastatic or unresectable melanoma in combination with pembrolizumab, and recommended that we conduct a randomized trial in the proposed patient population to evaluate the contribution of each component to the potential treatment effect of the combination. A failure to obtain accelerated approval or any other form of expedited development, review or approval for our product candidate would result in a longer time period to commercialization of such product candidate, could increase the cost of development of such product candidate and could harm our competitive position in the marketplace.

Obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of CMP-001 or any future product candidates in one jurisdiction does not mean that we will be successful in obtaining regulatory approval of CMP-001 or any future product candidates in other jurisdictions.

Obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval of CMP-001 or any future product candidates in one jurisdiction does not guarantee that we will be able to obtain or maintain regulatory approval in any other jurisdiction, while a failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approval in one jurisdiction may have a negative effect on the regulatory approval process in others. For example, even if the FDA grants marketing approval of a product candidate, comparable regulatory authorities in foreign jurisdictions must also approve the manufacturing, marketing and promotion of the product candidate in those countries. Approval procedures vary among jurisdictions and can involve requirements and administrative review periods different from, and greater than, those in the United States, including additional preclinical studies or clinical trials, as clinical trials conducted in one jurisdiction may not be accepted by regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions. In many jurisdictions outside the United States, a product candidate must be approved for reimbursement before it can be approved for sale in that jurisdiction. In some cases, the price that we intend to charge for our products is also subject to approval.

We may also submit marketing applications in other countries. Regulatory authorities in jurisdictions outside of the United States have requirements for approval of product candidates with which we must comply prior to marketing in those jurisdictions. Obtaining foreign regulatory approvals and compliance with foreign regulatory requirements could result in significant delays, difficulties and costs for us and could delay or prevent the introduction of our products in certain countries. If we fail to comply with the regulatory requirements in international markets or receive applicable marketing approvals, our target markets will be reduced and our ability to realize the full market potential of CMP-001 or any future product candidates will be harmed.

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

The ability of the FDA and other government agencies to review and approve new products can be affected by a variety of factors, including government budget and funding levels, statutory, regulatory, and policy changes, the ability to hire and retain key personnel and accept the payment of user fees, and other events that may otherwise affect the ability to perform routine functions. Average review times at the agency have fluctuated in recent years as a result. In addition, government funding of other government agencies that fund research and development

 

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activities is subject to the political process, which is inherently fluid and unpredictable. Disruptions at the FDA and other government agencies may also slow the time necessary for new drugs, medical devices and biologics or modifications to cleared or approved drugs, medical devices and biologics to be reviewed and approved by necessary government agencies, which would adversely affect our business. For example, over the last several years, including for 35 days beginning on December 22, 2018, the U.S. government has shut down several times and certain regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, have had to furlough critical FDA employees and stop critical activities.

Separately, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 10, 2020, the FDA announced its intention to postpone most inspections of foreign manufacturing facilities and products, and subsequently, on March 18, 2020, the FDA announced its intention to temporarily postpone routine surveillance inspections of domestic manufacturing facilities. In addition, on April 16, 2020, the FDA announced that although its New Drug Program was continuing to meet program user fee performance goals, due to many agency staff working on COVID-19 activities it was possible that the FDA would not be able to sustain its current level of performance. Regulatory authorities outside the United States may adopt similar restrictions or other policy measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 23, 2020, the FDA noted it was continuing to ensure timely reviews of applications for medical products during the COVID-19 pandemic in line with its user fee performance goals and conducting mission critical domestic and foreign inspections to ensure compliance of manufacturing facilities with FDA quality standards. On July 10, 2020, the FDA announced its goal of restarting domestic on-site inspections during the week of July 20, 2020, but such activities will depend on data about the virus’ trajectory in a given state and locality and the rules and guidelines that are put in place by state and local governments. The FDA has developed a rating system to assist in determining when and where it is safest to conduct prioritized domestic inspections. Should FDA determine that an inspection is necessary for approval and an inspection cannot be completed during the review cycle due to restrictions on travel, FDA has stated that it generally intends to issue a complete response letter. Further, if there is inadequate information to make a determination on the acceptability of a facility, FDA may defer action on the application until an inspection can be completed. In 2020, several companies announced receipt of complete response letters due to the FDA’s inability to complete required inspections for their applications. Regulatory authorities outside the U.S. may adopt similar restrictions or other policy measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and may experience delays in their regulatory activities. Regulatory authorities outside the U.S. may adopt similar restrictions or other policy measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and may experience delays in their regulatory activities. However, the FDA may not be able to maintain this pace and delays or setbacks are possible in the future. If a prolonged government shutdown occurs, or if global health concerns continue to prevent the FDA or other regulatory authorities from conducting their regular inspections, reviews, or other regulatory activities, it could significantly impact the ability of the FDA or other regulatory authorities to timely review and process our regulatory submissions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Even if CMP-001 or any future product candidates receive regulatory approval, we will be subject to ongoing obligations and continued regulatory review, which may result in significant additional expense and limit how we manufacture and market our products.

Any product candidate for which we may obtain marketing approval will be subject to extensive and ongoing requirements of and review by the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities, including requirements related to the manufacturing processes, post-approval clinical data, labeling, packaging, distribution, adverse event reporting, storage, recordkeeping, export, import, advertising, marketing, and promotional activities for such product. These requirements further include submissions of safety and other post-marketing information, including manufacturing deviations and reports, registration and listing requirements, the payment of annual fees, continued compliance with current good manufacturing practices (“cGMPs”), requirements relating to manufacturing, quality control, quality assurance, and corresponding maintenance of records and documents, and good clinical practices (“GCPs”) for any clinical trials that we conduct post-approval.

 

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The FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities will continue to closely monitor the safety profile of any product even after approval. If the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities become aware of new safety information after approval of any of CMP-001 and future product candidates, they may withdraw approval, issue public safety alerts, require labeling changes or establishment of a REMS or similar strategy, impose significant restrictions on a product’s indicated uses or marketing, or impose ongoing requirements for potentially costly post-approval studies or post-market surveillance. Any such restrictions could limit sales of the product.

We and any of our suppliers or collaborators, including our contract manufacturers, could be subject to periodic unannounced inspections by the FDA to monitor and ensure compliance with cGMPs and other FDA regulatory requirements. Application holders must further notify the FDA, and depending on the nature of the change, obtain FDA pre-approval for product and manufacturing changes.

In addition, later discovery of previously unknown adverse events or that the product is less effective than previously thought or other problems with any products, manufacturers or manufacturing processes, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements both before and after approval, may yield various negative results, including:

 

   

restrictions on manufacturing, distribution, or marketing of such products;

 

   

restrictions on the labeling, including required additional warnings, such as boxed warnings, contraindications, precautions, and restrictions on the approved indication or use;

 

   

modifications to promotional pieces;

 

   

issuance of corrective information;

 

   

requirements to conduct post-marketing studies or other clinical trials;

 

   

clinical holds or termination of clinical trials;

 

   

requirements to establish or modify a REMS or similar strategy;

 

   

changes to the way the product is administered to patients;

 

   

liability for harm caused to patients or subjects;

 

   

reputational harm;

 

   

the product becoming less competitive;

 

   

warning or untitled letters;

 

   

suspension of marketing or withdrawal of the products from the market;

 

   

regulatory authority issuance of safety alerts, Dear Healthcare Provider letters, press releases, or other communications containing warnings or other safety information about the product;

 

   

refusal to approve pending applications or supplements to approved applications that we submit;

 

   

recalls of products;

 

   

fines, restitution or disgorgement of profits or revenues;

 

   

suspension or withdrawal of marketing approvals;

 

   

refusal to permit the import or export of our products;

 

   

product seizure or detention;

 

   

FDA debarment, suspension and debarment from government contracts, and refusal of orders under existing government contracts, exclusion from federal healthcare programs, consent decrees, or corporate integrity agreements; or

 

   

injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties, including imprisonment.

 

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Any of these events could prevent us from achieving or maintaining market acceptance of any particular product or could substantially increase the costs and expenses of commercializing such product, which in turn could delay or prevent us from generating significant revenues from its marketing and sale. Any of these events could further have other material and adverse effects on our operations and business and could adversely impact our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

Further, the FDA’s policies or those of comparable foreign regulatory authorities may change and could impose extensive and ongoing regulatory requirements and obligations on any product candidate for which we obtain marketing approval. If we are slow or unable to adapt to changes in existing requirements or the adoption of new requirements or policies, or if we are not able to maintain regulatory compliance, we may lose any marketing approval that we may have obtained and be subject to regulatory enforcement action, which would adversely affect our business, prospects and ability to achieve or sustain profitability.

Healthcare legislative reform measures may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

The United States and many foreign jurisdictions have enacted or proposed legislative and regulatory changes affecting the healthcare system that could prevent or delay marketing approval of CMP-001 and future product candidates, restrict or regulate post-approval activities and affect our ability to profitably sell a product for which we obtain marketing approval. 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.

In the United States, there have been and continue to be a number of legislative initiatives to contain healthcare costs. For example, in March 2010, the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) was passed, which substantially changed the way healthcare is financed by both governmental and private insurers, and significantly impacted the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. The ACA, among other things, subjects biological products to potential competition by lower-cost biosimilars, addresses a new methodology by which rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program are calculated for drugs that are inhaled, infused, instilled, implanted or injected, increases the minimum Medicaid rebates owed by manufacturers under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program and extends the rebate program to individuals enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations, establishes annual fees and taxes on manufacturers of certain branded prescription drugs, and creates a new Medicare Part D coverage gap discount program, in which manufacturers must agree to offer 70% (increased pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, effective as of 2019) point-of-sale discounts off negotiated prices of applicable brand drugs to eligible beneficiaries during their coverage gap period, as a condition for the manufacturer’s outpatient drugs to be covered under Medicare Part D.

Since its enactment, there have been numerous judicial, administrative, executive, and legislative challenges to certain aspects of the ACA, and we expect there will be additional challenges and amendments to the ACA in the future. Various portions of the ACA are currently undergoing legal and constitutional challenges in the United States Supreme Court; the former Trump Administration issued various Executive Orders eliminating cost sharing subsidies and various provisions that would impose a fiscal burden on states or a cost, fee, tax, penalty or regulatory burden on individuals, healthcare providers, health insurers, or manufacturers of pharmaceuticals or medical devices; and Congress has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at significantly revising or repealing the ACA. The United States Supreme Court is expected to rule on a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the ACA in early 2021. The implementation of the ACA is ongoing, the law appears likely to continue the downward pressure on pharmaceutical pricing, especially under the Medicare program, and may also increase our regulatory burdens and operating costs. Litigation and legislation related to the ACA are likely to continue, with unpredictable and uncertain results.

 

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Other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted in the United States since the ACA was enacted that may impact our business if we are able to commercialize any product candidates. In August 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011, among other things, included aggregate reductions of Medicare payments to providers up to 2% per fiscal year, and, due to subsequent legislative amendments, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) will remain in effect through 2030 unless additional Congressional action is taken. Pursuant to the CARES Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020 to provide financial support and resources to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, these reductions have been suspended from May 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020. Proposed legislation, if passed, would extend this suspension until the end of the pandemic. In addition, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, among other things, 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.

There has been increasing legislative and enforcement interest in the United States with respect to specialty drug pricing practices. Specifically, there have been several recent U.S. Congressional inquiries and proposed federal and state legislation designed to, among other things, bring more transparency to drug pricing, reduce the cost of prescription drugs under Medicare, review the relationship between pricing and manufacturer patient programs, and reform government program reimbursement methodologies for drugs. At the federal level, the Trump administration’s budget for fiscal year 2021 included a $135 billion allowance to support legislative proposals seeking to reduce drug prices, increase competition, lower out-of-pocket drug costs for patients, and increase patient access to lower-cost generic and biosimilar drugs. On March 10, 2020, the Trump administration sent “principles” for drug pricing to Congress, calling for legislation that would, among other things, cap Medicare Part D beneficiary out-of-pocket pharmacy expenses, provide an option to cap Medicare Part D beneficiary monthly out-of-pocket expenses, and place limits on pharmaceutical price increases. Additionally, the Trump administration released a “Blueprint” to lower drug prices and reduce out of pocket costs of drugs that contains additional proposals to increase manufacturer competition, increase the negotiating power of certain federal healthcare programs, incentivize manufacturers to lower the list price of their products and reduce the out-of-pocket costs of product candidates paid by consumers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), ”), has already implemented certain measures. For example, in May 2019, CMS issued a final rule to allow Medicare Advantage Plans the option of using step therapy, a type of prior authorization, for Part B drugs beginning January 1, 2020. This final rule codified CMS’s policy change that was effective January 1, 2019. However, it is unclear whether the Biden administration will challenge, reverse, revoke or otherwise modify these executive and administrative actions after January 20, 2021.

Further, on May 30, 2018, the Right to Try Act was signed into law. The law, among other things, provides a federal framework for certain patients to access certain investigational new product candidates that have completed a Phase 1 clinical trial and that are undergoing investigation for FDA approval. Under certain circumstances, eligible patients can seek treatment without enrolling in clinical trials and without obtaining FDA permission under the FDA expanded access program. There is no obligation for a pharmaceutical manufacturer to make its product candidates available to eligible patients as a result of the Right to Try Act. We review each individual request for access through the Cures Act, the Right to Try Act and similar state laws, and may or may not provide access depending upon the facts of each request. Checkmate has adopted an Expanded Access Policy which is available on our website.

At the state level, individual state governments are increasingly becoming aggressive in passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, and, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. In addition, regional health care authorities and individual hospitals are increasingly using bidding procedures to determine what pharmaceutical products and which suppliers will be included in their prescription drug and other health care programs. These measures could reduce the ultimate demand for our products, if approved, or put pressure on our product pricing.

 

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We expect that additional state and federal healthcare reform measures will be adopted in the future, any of which could limit the amounts that federal and state governments will pay for healthcare products and services, which could result in reduced demand for CMP-001 and future product candidates or additional pricing pressures.

Our revenue prospects could be affected by changes in healthcare spending and policy in the United States and abroad. We operate in a highly regulated industry and new laws, regulations or judicial decisions, or new interpretations of existing laws, regulations or decisions, related to healthcare availability, the method of delivery or payment for healthcare products and services could negatively impact our business, operations and financial condition.

There have been, and likely will continue to be, legislative and regulatory proposals at the foreign, federal and state levels directed at broadening the availability of healthcare and containing or lowering the cost of healthcare. We cannot predict the initiatives that may be adopted in the future, including repeal, replacement or significant revisions to the ACA. The continuing efforts of the government, insurance companies, managed care organizations and other payors of healthcare services to contain or reduce costs of healthcare and impose price controls may adversely affect:

 

   

the demand for CMP-001 and future product candidates, if we obtain regulatory approval;

 

   

our ability to set a price that we believe is fair for our products;

 

   

our ability to obtain coverage and reimbursement approval for a product;

 

   

our ability to generate revenue and achieve or maintain profitability;

 

   

the level of taxes that we are required to pay; and

 

   

the availability of capital.

Any reduction in reimbursement from Medicare or other government programs may result in a similar reduction in payments from private payors, which may adversely affect our future profitability.

Our relationships with patients and third-party payors will be subject to applicable anti-kickback, fraud and abuse and other healthcare laws and regulations, which could expose us to criminal sanctions, civil penalties, exclusion from government healthcare programs, contractual damages, reputational harm and diminished profits and future earnings.

Although we do not currently have any drugs on the market, once we begin commercializing CMP-001 and future product candidates, if approved, we will be subject to additional healthcare statutory and regulatory requirements and enforcement by the federal government and the states and foreign governments in which we conduct our business. Healthcare providers, physicians and third-party payors will play a primary role in the recommendation and prescription of CMP-001 and future product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. Our future arrangements with third-party payors and customers may expose us 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 market, sell and distribute CMP-001 and future product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval. Restrictions under applicable federal and state healthcare laws and regulations, include the following:

 

   

the federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits, among other things, persons from knowingly and willfully soliciting, offering, receiving or providing remuneration, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind, to induce or reward either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, order or recommendation of, any good or service, for which payment may be made under federal and state healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. A person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. On November 20, 2020, the U.S.

 

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Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, (“OIG”), finalized further modifications to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. Under the final rules, OIG added safe harbor protections under the Anti-Kickback Statute for certain coordinated care and value-based arrangements among clinicians, providers, and others. Pursuant to an order entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the portion of the rule eliminating safe harbor protection for certain rebates related to the sale or purchase of a pharmaceutical product from a manufacturer to a plan sponsor under Medicare Part D has been delayed to January 1, 2023. Implementation of the this change and new safe harbors for point-of-sale reductions in price for prescription pharmaceutical products and pharmacy benefit manager service fees are currently under review by the Biden administration and may be amended or repealed;

 

   

the federal civil and criminal false claims laws and civil monetary penalty laws, such as the federal False Claims Act, impose criminal and civil penalties, including through civil whistleblower or qui tam actions, against individuals or entities for knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, to the federal government, 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. In addition, the government may assert that a claim including items and services resulting from a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false of fraudulent claim for purposes of the False Claims Act;

 

   

the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), imposes criminal and civil liability for executing a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, or knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making any materially false statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services; similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation;

 

   

the federal physician payment transparency requirements, sometimes referred to as the “Sunshine Act” under the ACA require manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies that are reimbursable under Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program to report to HHS information related to physician (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors) payments and other transfers of value and the ownership and investment interests of such physicians and their immediate family members. Effective January 1, 2022, these reporting obligations will extend to include transfers of value made in the previous year to certain nonphysician providers such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners;

 

   

HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (the “HITECH Act”) and its implementing regulations, which also imposes obligations on certain covered entity healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses as well as their business associates that perform certain services involving the use or disclosure of individually identifiable health information, including mandatory contractual terms, with respect to safeguarding the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information;

 

   

analogous state laws and regulations, such as state anti-kickback and false claims laws, which may apply to sales or marketing arrangements and claims involving healthcare items or services reimbursed by non-governmental third-party payors, including private insurers, and may be broader in scope than their federal equivalents; some state laws require pharmaceutical companies to comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s voluntary compliance guidelines and the relevant compliance guidance promulgated by the federal government in addition to requiring drug manufacturers to report information related to payments to physicians and other health care providers or marketing expenditures; and

 

   

state laws governing the privacy and security of health information in certain circumstances, many of which differ from each other in significant ways and often are not preempted by HIPAA, thus complicating compliance efforts, and analogous foreign laws and regulations.

 

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Because of the breadth of these laws and the narrowness of the statutory exceptions and safe harbors available, it is possible that some of our business activities could be subject to challenge and may not comply under one or more of such laws, regulations, and guidance. Law enforcement authorities are increasingly focused on enforcing fraud and abuse laws, and it is possible that some of our practices may be challenged under these laws. Ensuring that our future business arrangements with third parties comply with applicable healthcare laws and regulations could involve substantial costs. We have entered into certain advisory board and consulting agreements with physicians, including some who are compensated in the form of stock or stock options who may influence the ordering or use of our product candidates, if approved, in the future. It is possible that governmental authorities will conclude that our business practices do not comply with current or future statutes, regulations or case law involving applicable fraud and abuse or other healthcare laws and regulations. If our operations, including anticipated activities to be conducted by our sales team, were to be 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, exclusion from government funded healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and the curtailment or restructuring of our operations. If any of the physicians or other providers or entities with whom we expect to do business is found to be not in compliance with applicable laws, they may be subject to criminal, civil or administrative sanctions, including exclusions from government funded healthcare programs.

Our future growth may depend, 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 may depend, in part, on our ability to commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates in foreign markets for which we may rely on collaborations with third parties. We are not permitted to market or promote any of CMP-001 and future product candidates before we receive regulatory approval from the applicable regulatory authority in that foreign market, and we may never receive such regulatory approval for CMP-001 or any future product candidates. To obtain separate regulatory approval in many other countries we must comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements of such countries regarding safety and efficacy and governing, among other things, clinical trials and commercial sales, pricing and distribution of CMP-001 and future product candidates, and we cannot predict success in these jurisdictions. If we obtain approval of CMP-001 and future product candidates and ultimately commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates in foreign markets, we would be subject to additional risks and uncertainties, including:

 

   

our customers’ ability to obtain reimbursement for CMP-001 and future product candidates in foreign markets;

 

   

our inability to directly control commercial activities because we are relying on third parties;

 

   

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;

 

   

potential liability under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 or comparable foreign regulations;

 

   

the existence of additional potentially relevant third-party intellectual property rights;

 

   

foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations; and

 

   

the interpretation of contractual provisions governed by foreign laws in the event of a contract dispute.

 

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Foreign sales of CMP-001 and future product candidates could also be adversely affected by the imposition of governmental controls, political and economic instability, trade restrictions and changes in tariffs. For example, in some countries of the European Union, the pricing of prescription pharmaceuticals is subject to governmental control. In these countries, pricing negotiations with governmental authorities can take considerable time after the receipt of marketing approval for a drug. To obtain reimbursement or pricing approval in some countries, we, or our future collaborators, may be required to conduct a clinical trial that compares the cost effectiveness of our drug to other available therapies. If reimbursement of our drugs is unavailable or limited in scope or amount, or if pricing is set at unsatisfactory levels, our business could be materially harmed.

Risks related to intellectual property

If we are unable to obtain, maintain and protect our intellectual property rights for our technology and our product candidates, or if our intellectual property rights are inadequate, our competitive position could be harmed.

Our commercial success will depend in part on our ability to obtain and maintain patent and other intellectual property protection in the United States and other countries with respect to our VLP and other technology, CMP-001 and future product candidates. We rely on trade secret, patent, copyright and trademark laws, and confidentiality, licensing and other agreements with employees and third parties, all of which offer only limited protection. We seek to protect our proprietary position by filing and prosecuting patent applications in the United States and abroad related to our technology and CMP-001 and future product candidates.

The patent positions of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies generally are highly uncertain, involve complex legal and factual questions and have in recent years been the subject of much litigation. As a result, the issuance, scope, validity, enforceability and commercial value of our licensed patents and any patents we own in the future are highly uncertain. The steps we have taken to protect our proprietary rights may not be adequate to preclude misappropriation of our proprietary information or infringement of our intellectual property rights, both inside and outside of the United States.

Further, the examination process may require us to narrow the claims for our pending patent applications, which may limit the scope of patent protection that may be obtained if these applications issue. The scope of a patent may also be reinterpreted after issuance. The rights that may be granted under our future issued patents may not provide us with the proprietary protection or competitive advantages we are seeking. If we are unable to obtain and maintain patent protection for our technology or for CMP-001 or any future product candidates, or if the scope of the patent protection obtained is not sufficient, our competitors could develop and commercialize products similar or superior to ours, and our ability to successfully commercialize CMP-001 or any future product candidates and future technologies may be adversely affected. It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of inventions made in the course of our development and commercialization activities before it is too late to obtain patent protection on them.

In addition, the patent prosecution process is expensive, time-consuming and complex, and we may not be able to file, prosecute, maintain, enforce or license all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. Although we enter into non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with parties who have access to confidential or patentable aspects of our research and development output, such as our employees, collaborators, and other third parties, any of these parties may breach the agreements and disclose such output before a patent application is filed, thereby jeopardizing our ability to seek patent protection. It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of our research and development efforts in time to obtain patent protection.

For the core technology related to CMP-001 and its component parts, we are prosecuting seven families of patent applications which we own including composition of matter, methods of use, combination therapies, drug delivery, dose volume, aggregation, packaging and pDC recruitment claims. Further, we have an exclusive

 

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license for 10 families of patents and patent applications including composition of matter, manufacturing methods, aggregation, packaging and synthesis claims. Some patents have issued in the United States and internationally and additional patent applications are pending in the United States and internationally (either in foreign jurisdictions or under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (“PCT”)). As of April 30, 2020, we own or exclusively license the rights to 13 issued US patents. The 15 families include a total of 141 issued or granted patents worldwide. Any future provisional patent applications are not eligible to become issued patents until, among other things, we file a non-provisional patent application within 12 months of filing of one or more of our related provisional patent applications. If we do not timely file any non-provisional patent applications, we may lose our priority date with respect to our provisional patent applications and any patent protection on the inventions disclosed in our provisional patent applications. Although we intend to timely file non-provisional patent applications relating to our provisional patent applications, we cannot predict whether any of our future patent applications will result in the issuance of patents that effectively protect our technology or CMP-001 or any future product candidates, or if any of our future issued patents will effectively prevent others from commercializing competitive products. Publications of discoveries in the scientific literature often lag behind the actual discoveries, and patent applications in the United States and other jurisdictions are typically not published until 18 months after filing or in some cases not at all until they are issued as a patent. Therefore, we cannot be certain that we were the first to make the inventions claimed in our pending patent applications, or that we were the first to file for patent protection of such inventions.

Our pending applications cannot be enforced against third parties practicing the inventions claimed in such applications unless and until a patent issues from such applications. Because the issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its inventorship, scope, validity or enforceability, issued patents that we license from third parties or own in the future may be challenged in the courts or patent offices in the United States and abroad, including through opposition proceedings, derivation proceedings, inter partes review, interference proceedings or litigation. Such proceedings may result in the loss of patent protection, the narrowing of claims in such patents or the invalidity or unenforceability of such patents, which could limit our ability to stop others from using or commercializing similar or identical products, or limit the duration of the patent protection for our technology. Protecting against the unauthorized use of our patented inventions, trademarks and other intellectual property rights is expensive, time consuming, difficult and in some cases may not be possible. In some cases, it may be difficult or impossible to detect third-party infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property rights, even in relation to issued patent claims, and proving any such infringement may be even more difficult. If we are unable to obtain, maintain, and protect our intellectual property our competitive advantage could be harmed, and it could result in a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

If we fail to comply with our obligations in the agreements under which we collaborate with or license intellectual property rights from third parties, or otherwise experience disruptions to our business relationships with our licensors, we could lose intellectual property rights that are important to our business.

We are a party to the Kuros License Agreement and we expect to enter into additional license agreements in the future. The Kuros License Agreement imposes, and we expect that future license agreements will impose, various diligence, milestone payment, royalty and other obligations on us. In spite of our efforts, Kuros and any future licensors may allege that we have materially breached our obligations under the relevant license agreement and may therefore attempt to terminate the license agreements, thereby removing or limiting our ability to develop and commercialize products and technology covered by these license agreements. If these in-licenses are terminated, or if the underlying patents fail to provide the intended exclusivity, competitors or other third parties might have the freedom to seek regulatory approval of, and to market, products identical to ours and we may be required to cease our development and commercialization of our lead products or other product candidates that we may identify. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position, business, financial conditions, results of operations, and prospects.

 

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Moreover, disputes may arise regarding intellectual property subject to a licensing agreement, including:

 

   

the scope of rights granted under the license agreement and other interpretation-related issues;

 

   

the extent to which our product candidates, technology and processes infringe on intellectual property of the licensor that is not subject to the licensing agreement;

 

   

the sublicensing of patent and other rights under our collaborative development relationships;

 

   

our diligence obligations under the license agreement and what activities satisfy those diligence obligations;

 

   

the inventorship and ownership of inventions and know-how resulting from the joint creation or use of intellectual property by our licensors and us and our third-party vendors; and

 

   

the priority of invention of patented technology.

In addition, the agreements under which we currently license intellectual property or technology from third parties are complex, and certain provisions in such agreements may be susceptible to multiple interpretations. The resolution of any contract interpretation disagreement that may arise could narrow what we believe to be the scope of our rights to the relevant intellectual property or technology, or increase what we believe to be our financial or other obligations under the relevant agreement, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects. Moreover, if disputes over intellectual property that we have licensed prevent or impair our ability to maintain our current licensing arrangements on commercially acceptable terms, we may be unable to successfully develop and commercialize the affected product candidates, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions, results of operations, and prospects.

If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our proprietary information and know-how, the value of our technology and products could be adversely affected.

In addition to seeking patent protection, we also rely on other proprietary rights, including protection of trade secrets, know-how and confidential and proprietary information. To maintain the confidentiality of our trade secrets and proprietary information, we enter into confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, collaborators and other third parties who have access to our trade secrets. Our agreements with employees also provide that any inventions conceived by the individual in the course of rendering services to us shall be our exclusive property. However, we may not obtain these agreements in all circumstances, and individuals with whom we have these agreements may not comply with their terms. The assignment of intellectual property rights may not be self-executing or the assignment agreements may be breached, and we may be forced to bring claims against third parties, or defend claims that they may bring against us, to determine the ownership of what we regard as our intellectual property. In addition, in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure of our trade secrets or proprietary information, these agreements, even if obtained, may not provide meaningful protection, particularly for our trade secrets or other confidential information. To the extent that our employees, consultants or contractors use technology or know-how owned by third parties in their work for us, disputes may arise between us and those third parties as to the rights in related inventions.

Adequate remedies may not exist in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure of our confidential information including a breach of our confidentiality agreements. Enforcing a claim that a party illegally disclosed or misappropriated a trade secret is difficult, expensive, and time consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. In addition, some courts in and outside of the United States are less willing or unwilling to protect trade secrets. If any of our trade secrets were to be lawfully obtained or independently developed by a competitor or other third party, we would have no right to prevent them from using that technology or information to compete with us. The disclosure of our trade secrets or the independent development of our trade secrets by a competitor or other third party would impair our competitive position and may materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

 

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

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

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

In addition, the laws of certain foreign countries may not protect our rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States, and those foreign laws may also be subject to change. For example, methods of treatment and manufacturing processes may not be patentable in certain jurisdictions, and the requirements for patentability may differ in certain countries. Furthermore, biosimilar product manufacturers or other competitors may challenge the scope, validity and enforceability of our patents, requiring us to engage in complex, lengthy and costly litigation or proceedings.

Moreover, many countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner may be compelled to grant licenses to third parties. Many countries limit the enforceability of patents against government agencies or government contractors. In these countries, the patent owner may have limited remedies, which could materially diminish the value of such patent. If we are forced to grant a license to third parties with respect to any patents relevant to our business, our competitive position may be impaired and our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.

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

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO”) and various foreign governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payments and other similar provisions during the patent application process and to maintain patents after they are issued. For example, periodic maintenance fees, renewal fees, annuity fees and various other government fees on issued patents and patent applications often must be paid to the USPTO and foreign patent agencies over the lifetime of our licensed patents or any patents we own in the future. In certain circumstances, we may rely on future licensing partners to take the necessary

 

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action to comply with these requirements with respect to licensed intellectual property. Although an unintentional lapse can be cured for a period of time by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules, there are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of the patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. Non-compliance events that could result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application include, but are not limited to, failure to respond to official actions within prescribed time limits, non-payment of fees and failure to properly legalize and submit formal documents. If we fail to obtain and maintain the patents and patent applications covering our products or procedures, we may not be able to stop a competitor from marketing products that are the same as or similar to CMP-001 or any future product candidates, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Changes to the patent law in the United States and other jurisdictions could diminish the value of patents in general, thereby impairing our ability to protect CMP-001 and future product candidates.

As is the case with other biopharmaceutical companies, our success is heavily dependent on intellectual property, particularly patents. Obtaining and enforcing patents in the biopharmaceutical industry involves both technological and legal complexity and is therefore costly, time consuming and inherently uncertain. Changes in either the patent laws or interpretation of the patent laws in the United States could increase the uncertainties and costs. Patent reform legislation in the United States and other countries, including the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (the “Leahy-Smith Act”), signed into law on September 16, 2011, could increase those uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our issued patents. The Leahy-Smith Act includes a number of significant changes to U.S. patent law. These include provisions that affect the way patent applications are prosecuted, redefine prior art and provide more efficient and cost-effective avenues for competitors to challenge the validity of patents. They also include allowing third-party submission of prior art to the USPTO during patent prosecution and additional procedures to attack the validity of a patent by USPTO administered post-grant proceedings, including post-grant review, inter partes review, and derivation proceedings. After March 2013, under the Leahy-Smith Act, the United States transitioned to a first inventor to file system in which, assuming that the other statutory requirements are met, the first inventor to file a patent application will be entitled to the patent on an invention regardless of whether a third party was the first to invent the claimed invention. However, the Leahy-Smith Act and its implementation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our issued patents, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on several patent cases in recent years, either narrowing the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances or weakening the rights of patent owners in certain situations. Depending on future actions by the U.S. Congress, the U.S. courts, the USPTO and the relevant law-making bodies in other countries, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that would weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce our existing patents and patents that we might obtain in the future.

Patent terms may be inadequate to protect our competitive position with respect to CMP-001 and future product candidates for an adequate amount of time.

Given the amount of time required for the development, testing and regulatory review of new product candidates, such as CMP-001 and future product candidates, patents protecting such candidates might expire before or shortly after such candidates are commercialized. In the United States, the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984 permits a patent term extension of up to five years beyond the normal expiration of the patent, but no longer than 14 years from the product’s approval date, which is limited to the approved indication (or any additional indications approved during the period of extension). However, the applicable authorities, including the USPTO in the United States, and any equivalent regulatory authorities in other countries, may not agree with our assessment of whether such extensions are available, and may refuse to grant

 

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extensions to our patents, or may grant more limited extensions than we request. If this occurs, our competitors may be able to take advantage of our investment in development and clinical trials by referencing our clinical and preclinical data and launch their products earlier than might otherwise be the case, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

CMP-001 and future product candidates for which we intend to seek approval as biologic products may face competition sooner than anticipated.

CMP-001 is a biological product candidate. We believe that any of our product candidates approved in the United States as a biological product under a BLA should qualify for the 12-year period of regulatory exclusivity. The enactment of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (“BPCIA”) as part of the ACA, created an abbreviated pathway for the approval of biosimilar and interchangeable biological products. The abbreviated regulatory pathway establishes legal authority for the FDA to review and approve biosimilar biologics, including the possible designation of a biosimilar as “interchangeable” based on its similarity to an existing brand product. Under the BPCIA, an application for a biosimilar product cannot be approved by the FDA until 12 years after the original branded product was approved under a BLA. Certain changes, however, and supplements to an approved BLA, and subsequent applications filed by the same sponsor, manufacturer, licensor, predecessor in interest, or other related entity do not qualify for the 12-year exclusivity period. The law is complex and is still being interpreted and implemented by the FDA. As a result, its ultimate impact, implementation, and meaning are subject to uncertainty. While it is uncertain when such processes intended to implement the BPCIA may be fully adopted by the FDA, any such processes could have a material adverse effect on the future commercial prospects for our biological products.

However, there is also a risk that this exclusivity could be changed in the future. For example, this exclusivity could be shortened due to congressional action or through other actions, including future proposed budgets, international trade agreements and other arrangements or proposals. The extent to which a biosimilar, 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 is not yet clear, and will depend on a number of marketplace and regulatory factors that are still developing. It is also possible that payers will give reimbursement preference to biosimilars over reference biologics, even absent a determination of interchangeability.

To the extent that we do not receive any anticipated periods of regulatory exclusivity for CMP-001 and future product candidates or the FDA or foreign regulatory authorities approve any biosimilar, interchangeable, or other competing products to CMP-001 and future product candidates, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

Intellectual property rights do not necessarily address all potential threats.

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

 

   

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

 

   

others may independently develop similar or alternative technologies or duplicate our technology without infringing our owned or in-licensed intellectual property rights;

 

   

it is possible that our pending patent applications or those we may own or in-license in the future will not lead to issued patents;

 

   

issued patents that we hold rights to may be held invalid or unenforceable, including as a result of legal challenges by our competitors;

 

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

 

   

we cannot ensure that any of our pending patent applications, if issued, or those of our licensors, will include claims having a scope sufficient to protect our product candidates;

 

   

we cannot ensure that any patents issued to us or our licensors will provide a basis for an exclusive market for our commercially viable product candidates or will provide us with any competitive advantages;

 

   

we cannot ensure that our commercial activities or product candidates will not infringe upon the patents of others;

 

   

we cannot ensure that we will be able to successfully commercialize our product candidates on a substantial scale, if approved, before the relevant patents that we own or license expire;

 

   

we may not develop additional proprietary technologies that are patentable;

 

   

the patents of others may harm our business; and

 

   

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

Should any of these events occur, they could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

Third parties may in the future initiate legal proceedings alleging that we are infringing their intellectual property rights, the outcome of which would be uncertain and could harm our business.

Our commercial success depends on our ability and the ability of our current or future collaborators to develop, manufacture, market and sell CMP-001 and future product candidates, and to use our related proprietary technologies without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating the intellectual property and proprietary rights of third parties. The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are characterized by extensive litigation regarding patents and other intellectual property rights. We may become party to, or threatened with, adversarial proceedings or litigation regarding intellectual property rights with respect to CMP-001 and future product candidates, including interference proceedings, post-grant review, inter partes review and derivation proceedings before the USPTO. Third parties may assert infringement or other intellectual property claims against us based on existing patents or patents that may be granted in the future. If we are found to infringe a third party’s intellectual property rights, and we are unsuccessful in demonstrating that such intellectual property rights are invalid or unenforceable, we could be required to obtain a license from such third party to continue developing, manufacturing and commercializing CMP-001 and future product candidates. However, we may not be able to obtain any required license on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Even if we were able to obtain a license, it could be non-exclusive, thereby giving our competitors and other third parties access to the same technologies licensed to us, and it could require us to make substantial licensing and royalty payments. We also could be forced, including by court order, to cease developing, manufacturing, and commercializing CMP-001 or any future product candidates. In addition, in any such proceeding or litigation, we could be found liable for significant monetary damages, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees, if we are found to have willfully infringed a patent or other intellectual property right. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects. Any claims by third parties that we have misappropriated their confidential information or trade secrets could have a similar material adverse effect on our business.

In addition, we are developing CMP-001 in combination with certain PD-1 blockades, including avelumab, pembrolizumab and nivolumab, which are covered by patents or licenses held by Merck and Pfizer, or Merck US

 

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and BMS, respectively, to which we do not have a license other than for use in connection with the applicable clinical trial. We also may develop any future product candidates in combination with products developed by additional companies that are covered by patents or licenses held by those entities to which we do not have a license. In the event that a labeling instruction is required in product packaging recommending that combination, we could be accused of, or held liable for, infringement of the third-party patents covering the product candidate or product recommended for administration with CMP-001 or any future product candidates. In such a case, we could be required to obtain a license from the other company or institution to use the required or desired package labeling, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.

We may become involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our intellectual property, which could be expensive, time-consuming and unsuccessful and have a material adverse effect on the success of our business.

Competitors may infringe any licensed patents or any patent we own or misappropriate or otherwise violate our intellectual property rights. We may also be required to defend against claims of infringement and our licensed patents and any patents we own may become involved in priority or other intellectual property related disputes. To counter infringement or unauthorized use, litigation may be necessary in the future to enforce or defend our intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets or to determine the validity and scope of our own intellectual property rights or the proprietary rights of others. Also, third parties may initiate legal proceedings against us to assert that we are infringing their intellectual property rights or to challenge the validity or scope of our owned or licensed intellectual property rights. These proceedings can be expensive and time consuming. Many of our current and potential competitors have the ability to dedicate substantially greater resources to conduct intellectual property related litigations or proceedings than we can. We may not have sufficient financial or other resources to conduct such litigation or proceedings adequately. Accordingly, despite our efforts, we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing upon or misappropriating our intellectual property. Litigation and other intellectual property related proceedings could result in substantial costs and diversion of management resources, which could harm our business and financial results. In addition, in an infringement proceeding, a court may decide that a patent owned by or licensed to us is invalid or unenforceable, or may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our patents do not cover the technology in question. An adverse result in any litigation or other intellectual property related proceeding could put one or more of our patents at risk of being invalidated, held unenforceable or interpreted narrowly.

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

We may be subject to claims by third parties asserting that our collaborators, employees or we have misappropriated their intellectual property, or claiming ownership of what we regard as our own intellectual property.

Many of our employees, including our senior management team, were previously employed at, or consulted for, universities or other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Our collaborators’ employees may currently be or previously have been employed at universities or other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Some of these persons, including each member of our senior management team, executed proprietary rights, non-disclosure and non-competition agreements, or similar agreements, in connection with such previous employment or consulting agreements, that assigned ownership of intellectual property relating to work performed under such agreements to the contracting third party. Although we try to ensure that our employees do not use, claim as theirs, or misappropriate the intellectual property, proprietary information or know-how of others in their work for us, we

 

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may be subject to claims that we or these employees have used, claimed as theirs, misappropriated or disclosed intellectual property, including trade secrets or other proprietary information, of any such individual’s current or former employer. Litigation may be necessary to defend against such claims. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel or sustain damages. Such intellectual property rights could be awarded to a third party, and we could be required to obtain a license from such third party to commercialize our technology or products. Such a license may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management. Any of the foregoing may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

We may be subject to damages resulting from claims that we or our employees have wrongfully used or disclosed confidential information of third parties or are in breach of non-competition or non-solicitation agreements with our competitors.

We could be subject to claims that we or our employees, including senior management, have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed alleged trade secrets or other confidential information of former employers or competitors or others. Although we try to ensure that our employees and consultants do not use the intellectual property, proprietary information, know-how or trade secrets of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that we caused an employee to breach the terms of their non-competition or non-solicitation agreement, or that we or these individuals have, inadvertently or otherwise, used or disclosed the alleged trade secrets or other proprietary information of a former employer or competitor or other party. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. Even if we are successful in defending against these claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and could be a distraction to management. If our defenses to these claims fail, in addition to requiring us to pay monetary damages, a court could prohibit us from using technologies or features that are essential to CMP-001 and future product candidates, if such technologies or features are found to incorporate or be derived from the trade secrets or other proprietary information of the former employers, competitors or other parties. An inability to incorporate such technologies or features would have a material adverse effect on our business, and may prevent us from successfully commercializing CMP-001 and future product candidates. In addition, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel as a result of such claims. Moreover, any such litigation or the threat thereof may adversely affect our ability to hire employees or consultants. A loss of key personnel or their work product could hamper or prevent our ability to develop and commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

If we obtain any issued patents covering our technology, such patents could be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged in court or before the USPTO or comparable foreign regulatory authority.

If we or one of our licensing partners initiate legal proceedings against a third party to enforce a patent covering any of our technology, the defendant could counterclaim that the patent covering CMP-001 and future product candidates is invalid or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity or unenforceability are commonplace, and there are numerous grounds upon which a third party can assert invalidity or unenforceability of a patent. Grounds for a validity challenge could be, among other things, an alleged failure to meet any of several statutory requirements, including lack of novelty, obviousness, or non-enablement. Grounds for an unenforceability assertion could be, among other things, an allegation 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, inter partes review, post-grant review, interference proceedings, derivation proceedings and equivalent proceedings in foreign jurisdictions, such as opposition proceedings. Such proceedings could result in revocation, cancellation or amendment to our patents in such a way that they no longer cover and protect CMP-001 and future product candidates. The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability is unpredictable. For example, with respect to the validity of our licensed patents or any patents we obtain in the future, we cannot be certain that there is no invalidating prior art of

 

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which we, our or our licensing partner’s patent counsel, and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution. If a third party were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on CMP-001 and future product candidates. Such a loss of patent protection could have a material adverse impact on our business.

Risks related to manufacturing and our reliance on third parties

We currently rely on third-party CMOs for the production of clinical supply of CMP-001 and may continue to rely on CMOs for the production of commercial supply of CMP-001, if approved. This reliance on CMOs increases the risk that we will not have sufficient quantities of such materials, product candidates, or any therapies that we may develop and commercialize, or that such supply will not be available to us at an acceptable cost, which could delay, prevent, or impair our development or commercialization efforts.

We currently have no plans to build our own clinical or commercial scale manufacturing capabilities. Instead, we expect to rely on third parties for the manufacture of our product candidates and related raw materials for future pre-clinical and clinical development, as well as for commercial manufacture if any of our product candidates receive marketing approval. We have entered into an arrangement with a number of third-party CMOs as part of our clinical development for CMP-001. These CMOs provide drug substance intermediate and drug product that is subsequently labeled, packaged and distributed to our CROs. We may also enter into agreements with additional companies for the supply of substances for use in the development of CMP-001 or any future product candidates or for the manufacture of such product candidates.

We or our third-party suppliers or manufacturers may encounter shortages in the raw materials or active pharmaceutical ingredient (“API”) necessary to produce CMP-001 and future product candidates we may develop in the quantities needed for our clinical trials or, if CMP-001 or any future product candidates we may develop are approved, in sufficient quantities for commercialization or to meet an increase in demand, as a result of capacity constraints or delays or disruptions in the market for the raw materials or API, including shortages caused by the purchase of such raw materials or active pharmaceutical ingredients (“API”) by our competitors or others. Even if raw materials or API are available, we may be unable to obtain sufficient quantities at an acceptable cost or quality. The failure by us or our third-party suppliers or manufacturers to obtain the raw materials or API necessary to manufacture sufficient quantities of CMP-001 or any future product candidates we may develop could delay, prevent or impair our development efforts and may have a material adverse effect on our business.

The facilities used by third-party manufacturers to manufacture CMP-001 or any future product candidates must be authorized by the FDA pursuant to inspections that will be conducted after we submit a BLA to the FDA. We do not control the manufacturing process of, and are completely dependent on, third-party manufacturers for compliance with cGMP requirements for manufacture of drug products and other laws and regulations. If these third-party manufacturers cannot successfully manufacture material that conforms to our specifications and the strict regulatory requirements of the FDA or others, they will not be able to secure and maintain regulatory approval for their manufacturing facilities. Some of our contract manufacturers may not have produced a commercially-approved product and therefore may not have obtained the requisite FDA approvals to do so. In addition, we have no control over the ability of third-party manufacturers to maintain adequate quality control, quality assurance and qualified personnel. If the FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority does not approve these facilities for the manufacture of our product candidates or if it withdraws any such approval in the future, we may need to find alternative manufacturing facilities, which would significantly impact our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval for or market our product candidates, if approved.

Finding new CMOs or third-party suppliers involves additional cost and requires our management’s time and focus. In addition, there is typically a transition period when a new CMO commences work. Although we generally have not, and do not intend to, begin a clinical trial unless we believe we have on hand, or will be able to obtain, a sufficient supply of our product candidates to complete the clinical trial, any significant delay in the

 

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supply of our product candidates or the raw materials needed to produce our product candidates, could considerably delay conducting our clinical trials and potential regulatory approval of our product candidates. Additionally, any changes implemented by a new CMO could delay completion of clinical trials, require the conduct of bridging clinical trials or studies, require the repetition of one or more clinical trials, increase clinical trial costs, delay approval of CMP-001 and future product candidates and jeopardize our ability to commence product sales and generate revenue.

If any CMO with whom we contract fails to perform its obligations, we may be forced to manufacture the materials ourselves, for which we may not have the capabilities or resources, or enter into an agreement with a different CMO, which we may not be able to do on reasonable terms, if at all. In either scenario, our clinical trials supply could be delayed significantly as we establish alternative supply sources. In some cases, the technical skills required to manufacture our products or product candidates may be unique or proprietary to the original CMO and we may have difficulty, or there may be contractual restrictions prohibiting us from, transferring such skills to a back-up or alternate supplier, or we may be unable to transfer such skills at all. In addition, if we are required to change CMOs for any reason, we will be required to verify that the new CMO maintains facilities and procedures that comply with quality standards and with all applicable regulations. We will also need to verify, such as through a manufacturing comparability study, that any new manufacturing process will produce our product candidate according to the specifications previously submitted to the FDA or another regulatory authority. The delays associated with the verification of a new CMO could negatively affect our ability to develop product candidates or commercialize our products in a timely manner or within budget. Furthermore, a CMO may possess technology related to the manufacture of our product candidate that such CMO owns independently. This would increase our reliance on such CMO or require us to obtain a license from such CMO in order to have another CMO manufacture our product candidates. In addition, changes in manufacturers often involve changes in manufacturing procedures and processes, which could require that we conduct bridging studies between our prior clinical supply used in our clinical trials and that of any new manufacturer. We may be unsuccessful in demonstrating the comparability of clinical supplies which could require the conduct of additional clinical trials.

As part of their manufacture of our product candidates, our CMOs and third-party suppliers are expected to comply with and respect the intellectual property and proprietary rights of others. If a CMO or third-party supplier fails to acquire the proper licenses or otherwise infringes, misappropriates or otherwise violates the intellectual property or proprietary rights of others in the course of providing services to us, we may have to find alternative CMOs or third-party suppliers or defend against applicable claims, either of which would significantly impact our ability to develop, obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize our product candidates, if approved.

Our failure, or the failure of our third-party manufacturers, to comply with applicable regulations could result in sanctions being imposed on us, including clinical holds, fines, injunctions, civil penalties, delays, suspension or withdrawal of approvals, seizures or recalls of product candidates or products, operating restrictions and criminal prosecutions, any of which could significantly and adversely affect supplies of our products. In addition, we may be unable to establish any agreements with third-party manufacturers or to do so on acceptable terms.

Even if we are able to establish agreements with third-party manufacturers, reliance on third-party manufacturers entails additional risks, including:

 

   

failure of third-party manufacturers to comply with regulatory requirements and maintain quality assurance;

 

   

breach of the manufacturing agreement by the third party;

 

   

failure to manufacture our product according to our specifications;

 

   

failure to manufacture our product according to our schedule or at all;

 

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production difficulties caused by unforeseen events that may delay the availability of one or more of the necessary raw materials or delay the manufacture of CMP-001 or any future product candidates for use in clinical trials or for commercial supply, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

   

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

 

   

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

CMP-001 and any other product candidates that we may develop may compete with other product candidates and products for access to manufacturing facilities. Any performance failure on the part of our existing or future manufacturers could delay clinical development or marketing approval, and any related remedial measures may be costly or time-consuming to implement. We do not currently have arrangements in place for redundant supply or a second source for all required raw materials used in the manufacture of our product candidates. If our current third-party manufacturers cannot perform as agreed, we may be required to replace such manufacturers and we may be unable to replace them on a timely basis or at all. Our current and anticipated future dependence upon others for the manufacture of CMP-001 or any other future product candidates or products may adversely affect our future profit margins and our ability to commercialize any products that receive marketing approval on a timely and competitive basis.

We rely, and expect to continue to rely, on third parties to conduct, supervise, and monitor our preclinical studies and clinical trials. If those third parties do not perform satisfactorily, including failing to meet deadlines for the completion of such trials or failing to comply with regulatory requirements, we may be unable to obtain regulatory approval for CMP-001 or any future product candidates.

We rely on third-party CROs, study sites, and others to conduct, supervise, and monitor our preclinical studies and clinical trials for CMP-001 and future product candidates. We expect to continue to rely on third parties, such as CROs, clinical data management organizations, medical institutions, and clinical investigators, to conduct our preclinical studies and clinical trials. Although we have agreements governing their activities, we have limited influence over their actual performance and control only certain aspects of their activities. The failure of these third parties to successfully carry out their contractual duties or meet expected deadlines, including as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, could substantially harm our business because we may be delayed in completing or unable to complete the studies required to support future approval of CMP-001 and future product candidates, or we may not obtain marketing approval for, or commercialize, CMP-001 and future product candidates in a timely manner or at all. Moreover, these agreements might terminate for a variety of reasons, including a failure to perform by the third parties. If we need to enter into alternative arrangements our product development activities would be delayed and our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects may be materially harmed.

Our reliance on these third parties for development activities reduces our control over these activities. Nevertheless, we are responsible for ensuring that each of our studies is conducted in accordance with the applicable protocol, legal, regulatory, and scientific standards and our reliance on third parties does not relieve us of our regulatory responsibilities. For example, we will remain responsible for ensuring that each of our trials is conducted in accordance with the general investigational plan and protocols for the trial. We must also ensure that our preclinical trials are conducted in accordance with the FDA’s Good Laboratory Practice regulations, as appropriate. Moreover, the FDA and comparable foreign regulatory authorities require us to comply with GCPs for conducting, recording, and reporting the results of clinical trials to assure that data and reported results are credible and accurate and that the rights, integrity, and confidentiality of trial participants are protected. Regulatory authorities enforce these requirements through periodic inspections of trial sponsors, clinical investigators, and trial sites. If we or any of our third parties fail to comply with applicable GCPs or other regulatory requirements, we or they may be subject to enforcement or other legal actions, the data generated in our trials may be deemed unreliable and the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may require us to perform additional studies.

 

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In addition, we will be required to report certain financial interests of our third-party investigators if these relationships exceed certain financial thresholds or meet other criteria. The FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authorities may question the integrity of the data from those clinical trials conducted by investigators who may have conflicts of interest.

We cannot assure you that upon inspection by a given regulatory authority, such regulatory authority will determine that any of our trials complies with the applicable regulatory requirements. In addition, our clinical trials must be conducted with product candidates that were produced under cGMP regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations may require us to repeat clinical trials, which would delay the regulatory approval process. We also are required to register certain clinical trials and post the results of certain completed clinical trials on a government-sponsored database, ClinicalTrials.gov, within specified timeframes. Failure to do so can result in enforcement actions and adverse publicity.

The third parties with which we work may also have relationships with other entities, some of which may be our competitors, for whom they may also be conducting trials or other therapeutic development activities that could harm our competitive position. In addition, such third parties are not our employees, and except for remedies available to us under our agreements with such third parties we cannot control whether or not they devote sufficient time and resources to our ongoing clinical, non-clinical, and preclinical programs. If these third parties do not successfully carry out their contractual duties, meet expected deadlines or conduct our preclinical studies or clinical trials in accordance with regulatory requirements or our stated protocols, if these parties are adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic limiting or materially affecting their ability to carry out their contractual duties, if they need to be replaced or if the quality or accuracy of the data they obtain is compromised due to the failure to adhere to our protocols, regulatory requirements or for other reasons, our trials may be repeated, extended, delayed, or terminated; we may not be able to obtain, or may be delayed in obtaining, marketing approvals for CMP-001 and future product candidates; we may not be able to, or may be delayed in our efforts to, successfully commercialize CMP-001 and future product candidates; or we or they may be subject to regulatory enforcement actions. As a result, our results of operations and the commercial prospects for CMP-001 and future product candidates would be harmed, our costs could increase and our ability to generate revenues could be delayed. To the extent we are unable to successfully identify and manage the performance of third-party service providers in the future, our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects may be materially harmed.

If any of our relationships with these third parties terminate, we may not be able to enter into arrangements with alternative providers or to do so on commercially reasonable terms. Switching or adding additional third parties involves additional cost and requires management’s time and focus. In addition, there is a natural transition period when a new third party commences work. As a result, delays could occur, which could compromise our ability to meet our desired development timelines.

We also rely on other third parties to store and distribute our products for the clinical trials that we conduct. Any performance failure on the part of our distributors could delay clinical development, marketing approval, or commercialization of CMP-001 and future product candidates, which could result in additional losses and deprive us of potential product revenue.

Our collaboration agreements with any future third-parties may not be successful, which could adversely affect our ability to develop and commercialize CMP-001 or any future product candidates.

We may in the future seek collaboration arrangements with other parties for the development or commercialization of CMP-001 or any future product candidates. The success of existing or any future collaboration arrangements may depend on the efforts and activities of our collaborators. Collaborators generally have significant discretion in determining the efforts and resources that they will apply to these arrangements. Disagreements between parties to a collaboration arrangement regarding clinical development and commercialization matters can lead to delays in the development process or commercializing the applicable product candidate and, in some cases, termination of the collaboration arrangement. These disagreements can be difficult to resolve if neither of the parties has final decision making authority.

 

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Collaborations with biopharmaceutical companies and other third parties often are terminated or allowed to expire by the other party. Any such termination or expiration could adversely affect us financially and could harm our business reputation.

Any future collaborations we might enter into may pose a number of risks, including the following:

 

   

collaborators may not perform their obligations as expected;

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

   

collaborators could fail to make timely regulatory submissions for a product candidate;

 

   

collaborators may control the public release of information regarding the developments, and we may not be able to make announcements or data presentations on a schedule favorable to us;

 

   

collaborators may not comply with all applicable regulatory requirements or may fail to report safety data in accordance with all applicable regulatory requirements, which could subject them or us to regulatory enforcement actions;

 

   

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

 

   

product candidates discovered in collaboration with us may be viewed by our collaborators as competitive with their own product candidates or products, which may cause collaborators to cease to devote resources to the commercialization of CMP-001 and future product candidates;

 

   

a collaborator with marketing and distribution rights to CMP-001 or any future product candidates that achieve regulatory approval may not commit sufficient resources to the marketing and distribution of such product candidate or product;

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

   

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

If any collaborations we might enter into in the future do not result in the successful development and commercialization of products or if one of our collaborators subsequently terminates its agreement with us, we may not receive any future research funding or milestone or royalty payments under such potential future collaboration. If we do not receive the funding we expect under the agreements, our development of CMP-001 and future product candidates could be delayed and we may need additional resources to develop CMP-001 and future product candidates and our product platform.

 

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Additionally, if any future collaborator of ours is involved in a business combination, the collaborator might deemphasize or terminate development or commercialization of any product candidate licensed to it by us. If one of our collaborators terminates its agreement with us, we may find it more difficult to attract new collaborators and our reputation in the business and financial communities could be adversely affected.

We face significant competition in seeking appropriate collaborators. Our ability to reach a definitive agreement for any collaboration will depend, among other things, upon our assessment of the collaborator’s resources and expertise, the terms and conditions of the proposed collaboration and the proposed collaborator’s evaluation of a number of factors.

If we are unable to reach agreements with suitable collaborators on a timely basis, on acceptable terms, or at all, we may have to curtail the development of a product candidate, reduce or delay its development program or one or more of our other development programs, delay its potential commercialization or reduce the scope of any sales or marketing activities, or increase our expenditures

and undertake development or commercialization activities at our own expense. If we elect to fund and undertake development or commercialization activities on our own, we may need to obtain additional expertise and additional capital, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all. If we fail to enter into collaborations and do not have sufficient funds or expertise to undertake the necessary development and commercialization activities, we may not be able to further develop CMP-001 and future product candidates or bring them to market or continue to develop our product platform and our business may be materially and adversely affected.

If we materially breach or default under our current or future license agreements, the licensor party to such agreement may have the right to terminate the license agreement, which termination may materially harm our business.

Our commercial success will depend in part on the maintenance of our license agreements. Currently, we are a party to the Kuros License Agreement, and we expect to enter into additional license agreements in the future. The Kuros License Agreement imposes, and we expect that future license agreements will impose, various diligence, milestone payment, royalty and other obligations on us. For example, under the Kuros License Agreement, we are required to use commercially reasonable diligence to develop and commercialize a product and to satisfy specified payment obligations. If we fail to comply with our obligations under the Kuros License Agreement or any future license agreements with any party, or we are subject to a bankruptcy, the licensor may have the right to terminate the license, in which event we would not be able to market products covered by the license. The Kuros License Agreement further provides Kuros with a right to terminate the license agreements for our material breach or default under the agreement, including the failure to make any required milestone or other payments. Should Kuros exercise such a termination right, we would lose our right to the intellectual property under the license agreement, and such loss may materially harm our business. Moreover, the termination of the Kuros License Agreement or any reduction in our collaboration with Kuros may delay or impair our development efforts.

Risks related to our operations

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

We are highly dependent on the research and development, clinical and business development expertise of Barry Labinger, our President and Chief Executive Officer and Art Krieg, our founder and Chief Scientific Officer, as well as the other principal members of our management, scientific and clinical team. Although we have entered into employment agreements with our executive officers, each of them may terminate their employment with us at any time. In addition, we rely on consultants and advisors, including scientific and clinical advisors, to assist

 

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us in formulating our research and development and commercialization strategy. Our consultants and advisors may be employed by employers other than us and may have commitments under consulting or advisory contracts with other entities that may limit their availability to us. If we are unable to continue to attract and retain high quality personnel, our ability to pursue our growth strategy will be limited.

Recruiting and retaining qualified scientific, clinical, manufacturing and sales and marketing personnel will also be critical to our success. The loss of the services of our executive officers or other key employees could impede the achievement of our research, development and commercialization objectives and seriously harm our ability to successfully implement our business strategy. Furthermore, replacing executive officers and key employees may be difficult and may take an extended period of time because of the limited number of individuals in our industry with the breadth of skills and experience required to successfully develop, gain regulatory approval of and commercialize drugs. Competition to hire from this limited pool is intense, and we may be unable to hire, train, retain or motivate these key personnel on acceptable terms given the competition among numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for similar personnel. We also experience competition for the hiring of scientific and clinical personnel from universities and research institutions. Failure to succeed in clinical trials may make it more challenging to recruit and retain qualified scientific personnel.

We will need to develop and expand our company, and we may encounter difficulties in managing this development and expansion, which could disrupt our operations.

As of December 31, 2020, we had 22 full-time employees, and in connection with becoming a public company, we expect to increase our number of employees and the scope of our operations. To manage our anticipated development and expansion, we must continue to implement and improve our managerial, operational and financial systems, expand our facilities and continue to recruit and train additional qualified personnel. Also, our management may need to divert a disproportionate amount of its attention away from its day-to-day activities and devote a substantial amount of time to managing these development activities. 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. See “ —We previously identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. If our internal control over financial reporting is not effective, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or file our periodic reports in a timely manner, which may cause adverse effects on our business and may cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information and may lead to a decline in our stock price.” The physical expansion of our operations may lead to significant costs and may divert financial resources from other projects, such as the development of CMP-001 and future 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 CMP-001 and future product candidates, if approved, and to compete effectively will depend, in part, on our ability to effectively manage the future development and expansion of our company.

If we engage in future acquisitions or strategic partnerships, our capital requirements may increase, our stockholders may be diluted, we may incur debt or assume contingent liabilities, and we may be subject to other risks.

We may evaluate various acquisitions and strategic partnerships, including licensing or acquiring complementary products, intellectual property rights, technologies, or businesses. Any potential acquisition or strategic partnership may entail numerous risks, including:

 

   

increased operating expenses and cash requirements;

 

   

the assumption of additional indebtedness or contingent liabilities;

 

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the issuance of our equity securities;

 

   

assimilation of operations, intellectual property and products of an acquired company, including difficulties associated with integrating new personnel;

 

   

the diversion of our management’s attention from our existing product programs and initiatives in pursuing such a strategic merger or acquisition;

 

   

retention of key employees, the loss of key personnel, and uncertainties in our ability to maintain key business relationships;

 

   

risks and uncertainties associated with the other party to such a transaction, including the prospects of that party, their regulatory compliance status, and their existing products or product candidates and marketing approvals; and

 

   

our inability to generate revenue from acquired technology or products sufficient to meet our objectives in undertaking the acquisition or even to offset the associated acquisition and maintenance costs.

In addition, if we undertake acquisitions, we may issue dilutive securities, assume or incur debt obligations, incur large one-time expenses and acquire intangible assets that could result in significant future amortization expense. Moreover, we may not be able to locate suitable acquisition opportunities and this inability could impair our ability to grow or obtain access to technology or products that may be important to the development of our business. Any of the foregoing may materially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, stock price and prospects.

If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls over financial reporting our ability to produce accurate and timely financial statements could be impaired.

We are required to maintain internal controls over financial reporting. Commencing with the end of our next fiscal year, we must perform system and process design evaluation and testing of the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting to allow management to report on the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting in our Form 10-K filing for that year, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This will require that we incur substantial additional professional fees and internal costs to expand our accounting and finance functions and that we expend significant management efforts. We have not yet been required to test our internal controls within a specified period and, as a result, we may experience difficulty in meeting these reporting requirements in a timely manner. In addition, in connection with the audits of our financial statements as of and for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019, we identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. See “—We previously identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. If our internal control over financial reporting is not effective, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or file our periodic reports in a timely manner, which may cause adverse effects on our business and may cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information and may lead to a decline in our stock price.” In addition, our independent registered public accounting firm will be required to provide an attestation report on our internal control over financial reporting. However, while we remain an emerging growth company, we will not be required to provide the attestation report.

If we are not able to comply with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a timely manner or we are unable to maintain proper and effective internal controls over financial reporting we may not be able to produce timely and accurate financial statements. As a result, our investors could lose confidence in our reported financial information, the market price of our stock could decline and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities.

We believe that any internal controls and procedures, no matter how well-conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met. We may discover

 

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weaknesses in our system of internal financial and accounting controls and procedures that could result in a material misstatement of our financial statements. Our internal control over financial reporting will not prevent or detect all errors and all fraud. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that misstatements due to error or fraud will not occur or that all control issues and instances of fraud will be detected.

These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision-making can be faulty, and that breakdowns can occur because of simple error or mistake. For example, our directors or executive officers could inadvertently fail to disclose a new relationship or arrangement causing us to fail to make a required related party transaction disclosure. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons, by collusion of two or more people or by an unauthorized override of the controls. Accordingly, because of the inherent limitations in our control system, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.

Our disclosure controls and procedures may not prevent or detect all errors or acts of fraud.

As a public company, we are subject to the periodic reporting requirements of the Exchange Act. We must design our disclosure controls and procedures to reasonably assure that information we must disclose in reports we file or submit under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to management, and recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the rules and forms of the SEC. Decision-making can be faulty and breakdowns can occur because of simple error or mistake. For example, our directors or executive officers could inadvertently fail to disclose a new relationship or arrangement causing us to fail to make a required related party transaction disclosure. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons, by collusion of two or more people or by an unauthorized override of the controls. Accordingly, because of the inherent limitations in our control system, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.

We previously identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. If our internal control over financial reporting is not effective, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or file our periodic reports in a timely manner, which may cause adverse effects on our business and may cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information and may lead to a decline in our stock price.

Effective internal control over financial reporting is necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports in a timely manner. In connection with the audits of our financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, we concluded that there was a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. As of December 31, 2020, we concluded that this material weakness had been remediated, but there can be no assurance that we will not identify future material weaknesses or reportable conditions.

The material weaknesses we identified related to the maintenance of an effective control environment commensurate with our financial reporting requirements. Specifically, we lacked sufficient personnel to maintain effective segregation of duties in the processing and recording of financial transactions.

To remediate this weakness, we expanded our finance organization to allow for the segregation of duties in the processing and recording of financial transaction by hiring a full-time chief financial officer and accounting manager to augment our accounting staff and to provide more resources for control environment. We also redesigned our processes and related controls to maintain effective segregation of duties in the processing and recording of financial transactions.

If we identify any future significant deficiencies or material weaknesses, the accuracy and timing of our financial reporting may be adversely affected, a material misstatement in our financial statements could occur, we may be unable to maintain compliance with securities law requirements regarding timely filing of periodic reports, which may adversely affect our business and our stock price may decline as a result.

 

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Nevertheless, we will be required to expend significant time and resources to further improve our internal controls over financial reporting, including by further expanding our finance and accounting staff to meet the demands that are placed upon us as a public company, including the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“Sarbanes-Oxley”). If we fail to adequately staff our accounting and finance function, or fail to maintain adequate internal control over financial reporting, any new or recurring material weaknesses could prevent our management from concluding our internal control over financial reporting is effective and impair our ability to prevent material misstatements in our financial statements, which could cause our business to suffer.

Risks related to our common stock

The price of our common stock may be volatile and fluctuate substantially.

Our stock price is and is likely to continue to be volatile. The stock market in general and the market for biopharmaceutical companies in particular have experienced extreme volatility that has often been unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies. As a result of this volatility, a holder may not be able to sell its common stock at or above the initial public offering price. The market price for our common stock may be influenced by many factors, including:

 

   

the success of competitive drugs or technologies;

 

   

results of clinical trials of CMP-001 and future product candidates or those of our competitors;

 

   

regulatory or legal developments in the United States and other countries;

 

   

the regulatory status of our product candidates;

 

   

failure of any of our product candidates, if approved, to achieve commercial success;

 

   

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

 

   

the recruitment or departure of key personnel;

 

   

the level of expenses related to any of CMP-001 and future product candidates or clinical development programs;

 

   

the results of our efforts to discover, develop, acquire or in-license future product candidates or drugs;

 

   

actual or anticipated changes in estimates as to financial results, development timelines or recommendations by securities analysts;

 

   

variations in our financial results or those of companies that are perceived to be similar to us;

 

   

changes in the structure of healthcare payment systems;

 

   

market conditions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors;

 

   

the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. and global economies and global equity markets;

 

   

general economic, industry and market conditions; and

 

   

the other factors described in this “Risk Factors” section.

Anti-takeover provisions under our charter documents and Delaware law could delay or prevent a change of control, which could limit the market price of our common stock and may prevent or frustrate attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws contain provisions that could delay or prevent a change of control of our company or changes in our board of directors that our stockholders might consider favorable. Some of these provisions include:

 

   

a board of directors divided into three classes serving staggered three-year terms, such that not all members of the board will be elected at one time;

 

   

a prohibition on stockholder action through written consent, which requires that all stockholder actions be taken at a meeting of our stockholders;

 

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a requirement that special meetings of stockholders be called only by the board of directors acting pursuant to a resolution approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of the directors then in office;

 

   

advance notice requirements for stockholder proposals and nominations for election to our board of directors;

 

   

a requirement that no member of our board of directors may be removed from office by our stockholders except for cause and, in addition to any other vote required by law, upon the approval of not less than two-thirds of all outstanding shares of our voting stock then entitled to vote in the election of directors;

 

   

a requirement of approval of not less than two-thirds of all outstanding shares of our voting stock to amend any bylaws by stockholder action or to amend specific provisions of our certificate of incorporation; and

 

   

the authority of the board of directors to issue preferred stock on terms determined by the board of directors without stockholder approval and which preferred stock may include rights superior to the rights of the holders of common stock.

In addition, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporate Law, which may prohibit certain business combinations with stockholders owning 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock. These anti-takeover provisions and other provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws could make it more difficult for stockholders or potential acquirers to obtain control of our board of directors or initiate actions that are opposed by the then-current board of directors and could also delay or impede a merger, tender offer, or proxy contest involving our company. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for you and other stockholders to elect directors of your choosing or cause us to take other corporate actions you desire. Any delay or prevention of a change of control transaction or changes in our board of directors could cause the market price of our common stock to decline.

Our amended and restated bylaws designate a certain court as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or employees.

Pursuant to our amended and restated bylaws, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the sole and exclusive forum for any state law claims for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers, employees or agents to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws, (iv) any action to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our certificate of incorporation or by-laws or (v) any action asserting a claim that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine, in each case subject to the Court of Chancery having personal jurisdiction over the indispensable parties named as defendants therein (the “Delaware Forum Provision”). The Delaware Exclusive Forum Provision will not apply to any causes of action arising under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction. Unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternate forum, the United Stated District Court for the District of Massachusetts shall be the sole and exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act (the “Federal Forum Provision”), as our principal office is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition, our amended and restated bylaws provide that any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in our shares of common stock is deemed to have notice of and consented to the Delaware Forum Provision and the Federal Forum Provision; provided, however, that stockholders cannot and will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder.

 

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The Delaware Forum Provision and the Federal Forum Provision may impose additional litigation costs on stockholders who assert the provision is not enforceable and may impose more general additional litigation costs in pursuing any such claims, particularly if the stockholders do not reside in or near the State of Delaware or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, these forum selection clauses in our bylaws may limit our stockholders’ ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that they find favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and employees even though an action, if successful, might benefit our stockholders. Moreover, while the Delaware Supreme Court ruled in March 2020 that federal forum selection provisions purporting to require claims under the Securities Act be brought in federal court were “facially valid” under Delaware law, there is uncertainty as to whether other courts will enforce our Federal Forum Provision. If the Federal Forum Provision is found to be unenforceable, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters. The Federal Forum Provision may also impose additional litigation costs on stockholders who assert that the provision is not enforceable or invalid. The Federal Forum Provision may also impose additional litigation costs on stockholders who assert the provision is not enforceable or invalid. The Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware may also reach different judgments or results than would other courts, including courts where a stockholder considering an action may be located or would otherwise choose to bring the action, and such judgments may be more or less favorable to us than our stockholders.

General risk factors

We will continue to incur increased costs as a result of operating as a public company, and our management will be required to devote substantial time to compliance initiatives.

As a newly public company, we have been and will continue to incur significant legal, accounting, and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, which require, among other things, that we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) annual, quarterly, and current reports with respect to our business and financial condition. In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as rules adopted by the SEC and Nasdaq to implement provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, impose significant requirements on public companies, including requiring establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure and financial controls and changes in corporate governance practices. Further, in July 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) was enacted. There are significant corporate governance and executive compensation related provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act that required the SEC to adopt additional rules and regulations in these areas, such as “say on pay” and proxy access. The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”) permits emerging growth companies and smaller reporting companies like us to implement many of these requirements over a longer period and up to five years from the pricing of our IPO. We intend to take advantage of this extended time period for compliance, but cannot guarantee that we will not be required to implement these requirements sooner than budgeted or planned and thereby incur unexpected expenses. Stockholder activism, the current political and economic environment, and the high levels of government intervention and regulatory reform may lead to substantial new regulations and disclosure obligations, which may lead to additional compliance costs and impact the manner in which we operate our business in ways we cannot currently anticipate.

We expect the rules and regulations applicable to public companies to substantially increase our legal and financial compliance costs and to make some activities more time-consuming and costly. If these requirements divert the attention of our management and personnel from other business concerns, they could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. The increased costs will increase our net loss and may require us to reduce costs in other areas of our business. For example, we expect these rules and regulations to make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance and we may be required to incur substantial costs to maintain the same or similar coverage. We cannot predict or estimate the amount or timing of additional costs we may incur to respond to these requirements. The impact of these requirements could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors, our board committees, or as executive officers.

 

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If securities analysts do not continue to publish research or reports about our business or if they publish negative evaluations of our stock, the price of our stock could decline.

The trading market for our common stock relies in part on the research and reports that industry or financial analysts publish about us or our business. We may never obtain research coverage by industry or financial analysts. If no or few analysts commence coverage of us, the trading price of our stock would likely decrease. Even if we do obtain analyst coverage, if one or more of the analysts covering our business downgrade their evaluations of our stock, the price of our stock could decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover our stock, we could lose visibility in the market for our stock, which in turn could cause our stock price to decline.

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock by our existing stockholders in the public market could cause our stock price to fall.

If our existing stockholders sell, or indicate an intention to sell, substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market after the lockup and other legal restrictions on resale lapse, the trading price of our common stock could decline. Members of our Board of Directors and shareholders affiliated with our Board of Directors hold common stock and if any of them were to sell a portion of their holdings of our common stock, our stock price could be negatively affected.

In addition, shares of common stock that are either subject to outstanding options or reserved for future issuance under our 2020 Stock Option and Grant Plan, as amended and our 2020 Employee Stock Purchase Plan will become eligible for sale in the public market to the extent permitted by the provisions of various vesting schedules, the lock-up agreements and Rule 144 and Rule 701 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). If these additional shares of common stock are sold, or if it is perceived that they will be sold, in the public market, the trading price of our common stock could decline.

We are an emerging growth company and a smaller reporting company, and we cannot be certain if the reduced reporting requirements applicable to emerging growth companies and smaller reporting companies will make our common stock less attractive to investors.

We are an emerging growth company, as defined in the JOBS Act. For as long as we continue to be an emerging growth company, we may take advantage of exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, including not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended (“Sarbanes-Oxley Act”) reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding nonbinding advisory votes on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of (i) the last day of the fiscal year (a) following the fifth anniversary of the closing of our IPO, (b) in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.07 billion or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which requires the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates to exceed $700 million as of the prior June 30th , and (ii) the date on which we have issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period.

Under the JOBS Act, emerging growth companies can also delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have elected to not “opt out” of this exemption from complying with new or revised accounting standards and, therefore, we will adopt new or revised accounting standards at the time private companies adopt the new or revised accounting standard and will do so until such time that we either (i) irrevocably elect to “opt out” of such extended transition period or (ii) no longer qualify as an emerging growth company.

Even after we no longer qualify as an emerging growth company, we may still qualify as a “smaller reporting company,” which would allow us to continue to take advantage of many of the same exemptions from disclosure

 

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requirements, including not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements. We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile.

Because we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our capital stock in the foreseeable future, capital appreciation, if any, will be your sole source of gain.

We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain all of our future earnings, if any, to finance the growth and development of our business. As a result, capital appreciation, if any, of our common stock will be your sole source of gain for the foreseeable future.

Changes in tax law could adversely affect our business and financial condition.

The rules dealing with U.S. federal, state and local income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury Department. Changes to tax laws (which changes may have retroactive application) could adversely affect us or holders of our common stock. In recent years, many such changes have been made and changes are likely to continue to occur in the future.

For example, the TCJA was enacted in 2017 and significantly reformed the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). The TCJA, among other things, contained significant changes to corporate taxation, including reduction of the corporate tax rate from a top marginal rate of 35% to a flat rate of 21%, limitations on the tax deduction for net interest expense (except for certain small businesses), limitations on the utilization of net operating losses (“NOLs”) from taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, immediate deductions for certain new investments instead of deductions for depreciation expense over time, and modification or repeal of many business deductions and credits. The CARES Act, signed into United States law on March 27, 2020, modifies certain provisions of the TCJA with respect to net operating losses. Under the CARES Act, the limitation on the deduction of net operating losses to 80% of annual taxable income is suspended for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2021.

It cannot be predicted whether, when, in what form or with what effective dates new tax laws may be enacted, or regulations and rulings may be promulgated or issued under existing or new tax laws, which could result in an increase in our or our shareholders’ tax liability or require changes in the manner in which we operate in order to minimize or mitigate any adverse effects of changes in tax law or in the interpretation thereof.

Our ability to utilize our net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be limited.

As of December 31, 2020, we had U.S. federal NOL carryforwards of $114.2 million including $81.6 million which have an indefinite carryforward period and $32.6 million which expire at various dates through 2038. As of December 31, 2020, we had state net operating loss carryforwards of $94.6 million which expire at various dates between 2037 and 2040. As of December 31, 2020, we had federal and state research and development tax credit carryforwards of approximately $6.5 million available to reduce future tax liabilities, which begin to expire in 2031.

Under Sections 382 and 383 of the Code, and certain corresponding provisions of state law, a corporation that undergoes an “ownership change” is subject to limitations on its ability to utilize its pre-change NOL carryforwards or credits to offset future taxable income or taxes. For these purposes, an ownership change generally occurs where the aggregate stock ownership of one or more stockholders or groups of stockholders who owns at least 5% of a corporation’s stock increases its ownership by more than 50 percentage points over its lowest ownership percentage within a specified testing period. We may have experienced such ownership

 

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changes in the past, and we may experience ownership changes in the future as a result subsequent shifts in our stock ownership, some of which are outside our control. If finalized, Treasury regulations currently proposed under Section 382 of the Code may further limit our ability to utilize our pre-change NOL carryforwards or credits if we undergo a future ownership change. In addition, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2020, the deductibility of federal NOLs generated in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 is limited to 80% of our taxable income in such year (after taking into account utilization of NOLs generated in taxable years beginning before January 1, 2018), where taxable income is determined without regard to such NOL deduction itself. Our NOLs or credits may also be impaired under state law. Accordingly, due to these limitations, we may not be able to utilize a material portion of our NOLs or credits. Furthermore, our ability to utilize our NOLs or credits is conditioned upon our attaining profitability and generating U.S. federal and state taxable income. We have incurred significant net losses since our inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses for the foreseeable future; and therefore, we do not know whether or when we will generate the U.S. federal or state taxable income necessary to utilize our NOLs or credits.

Unstable market and economic conditions may have serious adverse consequences on our business, financial condition and stock price.

Global financial markets are experiencing, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have in the past experienced, extreme volatility and disruptions, declines in consumer confidence, declines in economic growth, increases in unemployment rates and uncertainty about economic stability. There can be no assurance that further deterioration in credit and financial markets and confidence in economic conditions will not occur. Our general business strategy and ability to raise capital may be adversely affected by any such economic downturn, volatile business environment or continued unpredictable and unstable market conditions. If the current equity and credit markets deteriorate, it may make any necessary debt or equity financing more difficult, more costly, and more dilutive. Failure to secure any necessary financing in a timely manner and on favorable terms could have a material adverse effect on our growth strategy, financial performance and stock price and could require us to delay or abandon clinical development plans. In addition, there is a risk that one or more of our current service providers, manufacturers and other third-parties may not survive these difficult economic times, which could directly affect our ability to attain our operating goals on schedule and on budget.

In addition, the stock markets have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have affected and continue to affect the market prices of equity securities of many companies, including very recently in connection with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in decreased stock prices for many companies notwithstanding the lack of a fundamental change in their underlying business models or prospects. These fluctuations have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. Broad market and industry factors, including potentially worsening economic conditions and other adverse effects or developments relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, political, regulatory and other market conditions, may negatively affect the market price of shares of our common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance.

As of December 31, 2020, our cash, cash equivalents and available-for-sale investments were $125.9 million. While we are not aware of any downgrades, material losses, or other significant deterioration in the fair value of our cash equivalents since December 31, 2019, no assurance can be given that further deterioration of the global credit and financial markets would not negatively impact our current portfolio of cash equivalents or our ability to meet our financing objectives. Furthermore, our stock price may decline due in part to the volatility of the stock market and the general economic downturn.

We or the third parties upon whom we depend may be adversely affected by natural or other disasters, and our business continuity and disaster recovery plans may not adequately protect us from a serious disaster.

Any unplanned event, such as earthquake, flood, fire, explosion, extreme weather, medical epidemic, pandemic, power shortage, telecommunication failure or other natural or manmade accidents or incidents, including the

 

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COVID-19 pandemic, 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 headquarters, 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. We plan to put disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place; however, these 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, could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Our internal computer systems, or those of our third-party CROs or other contractors or consultants, may fail or suffer security breaches, which could result in a material disruption of CMP-001 and future product candidates’ development programs.

Despite our implementation of security measures, our internal computer systems, and those of our CROs, CMOs, IT suppliers and other contractors and consultants are vulnerable to damage from computer viruses, cyber-attacks and other unauthorized access, natural disasters, terrorism, war, and telecommunication and electrical failures. If such an event were to occur and cause interruptions in our operations, it could result in a material disruption of our development programs for CMP-001 and future product candidates. For example, the loss of clinical trial data from completed, ongoing or planned clinical trials could result in delays in our regulatory approval efforts and significantly increase our costs to recover or reproduce the data. To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of or damage to our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of personal, confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability and the further development of any of CMP-001 and future product candidates could be delayed.

We may be unable to adequately protect our information systems from cyberattacks, which could result in the disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, including personal data, damage our reputation, and subject us to significant financial and legal exposure.

We rely on information technology systems that we or our third-party providers operate to process, transmit and store electronic information in our day-to-day operations. In connection with our product discovery efforts, we may collect and use a variety of personal data, such as names, mailing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and clinical trial information. A successful cyberattack could result in the theft or destruction of intellectual property, data, or other misappropriation of assets, or otherwise compromise our confidential or proprietary information and disrupt our operations. Cyberattacks are increasing in their frequency, sophistication and intensity, and have become increasingly difficult to detect. Cyberattacks could include wrongful conduct by hostile foreign governments, industrial espionage, wire fraud and other forms of cyber fraud, the deployment of harmful malware, denial-of-service, social engineering fraud or other means to threaten data security, confidentiality, integrity and availability. A successful cyberattack could cause serious negative consequences for us, including, without limitation, the disruption of operations, the misappropriation of confidential business information, including financial information, trade secrets, financial loss and the disclosure of corporate strategic plans. Although we devote resources to protect our information systems, we realize that cyberattacks are a threat, and there can be no assurance that our efforts will prevent information security breaches that would result in business, legal, financial or reputational harm to us, or would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. Any failure to prevent or mitigate security breaches or improper access to, use of, or disclosure of our clinical data or patients’ personal data could result in significant liability under state (e.g., state breach notification laws), federal (e.g., HIPAA, as amended by the HITECH Act), and international law (e.g., the GDPR) and may cause a material adverse impact to our reputation, affect our ability to conduct new studies and potentially disrupt our business.

We rely on our third-party providers to implement effective security measures and identify and correct for any such failures, deficiencies or breaches. If we or our third-party providers fail to maintain or protect our information

 

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technology systems and data integrity effectively or fail to anticipate, plan for or manage significant disruptions to our information technology systems, we or our third-party providers could have difficulty preventing, detecting and controlling such cyber-attacks and any such attacks could result in the losses described above as well as disputes with physicians, patients and our third-party contractors, regulatory sanctions or penalties, increases in operating expenses, expenses or lost revenues or other adverse consequences, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, prospects and cash flows. Any failure by such third parties to prevent or mitigate security breaches or improper access to or disclosure of such information could have similarly adverse consequences for us. If we are unable to prevent or mitigate the impact of such security or data privacy breaches, we could be exposed to litigation and governmental investigations, which could lead to a potential disruption to our business. By way of example, the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which went into effect on January 1, 2020, creates individual privacy rights for California consumers and increases the privacy and security obligations of entities handling certain personal data. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that is expected to increase data breach litigation. The CCPA may increase our compliance costs and potential liability, and many similar laws have been proposed at the federal level and in other states. By way of example regarding foreign laws and regulations with respect to data privacy and security, the GDPR went into effect in the European Union in May 2018 and introduces strict requirements for processing the personal data of EU data subjects. Companies that must comply with the GDPR face increased compliance obligations and risk, including more robust regulatory enforcement of data protection requirements and potential fines for noncompliance of up to €20 million or 4% of the annual global revenues of the noncompliant company, whichever is greater.

Our employees, principal investigators, CROs and consultants may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including non-compliance with regulatory standards and requirements and insider trading.

We are exposed to the risk that our employees, principal investigators, CROs and consultants may engage in fraudulent conduct or other illegal activity. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional, reckless or negligent conduct or disclosure of unauthorized activities to us that violate the regulations of the FDA and other regulatory authorities, including those laws requiring the reporting of true, complete and accurate information to such authorities; healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations in the United States and abroad; or laws that require the reporting of financial information or data accurately. 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 may restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting, marketing and promotion, sales commission, customer incentive programs and other business arrangements. Activities subject to these laws also involve the improper use of information obtained in the course of clinical trials or creating fraudulent data in our pre-clinical studies or clinical trials, which could result in regulatory sanctions and cause serious harm to our reputation. We adopted a code of conduct applicable to all of our employees, but it is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct by employees and other third parties, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to comply with these laws or regulations. Additionally, we are subject to the risk that a person could allege such fraud or other misconduct, even if none occurred. 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 civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, monetary fines, possible exclusion from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, and curtailment of our operations, any of which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our results of operations.

 

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Our third-party manufacturers and suppliers use biological materials and may use hazardous materials, and any claims relating to improper handling, storage or disposal of these materials could be time consuming or costly and could have a material adverse effect on the success of our business.

Our third-party manufacturers and suppliers may use hazardous materials, including chemicals and biological agents and compounds that could be dangerous to human health and safety or the environment. The operations of our third-party manufacturers and suppliers also produce hazardous waste products. We and our third-party manufacturers are subject to numerous environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, including those governing laboratory procedures and the handling, use, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes. We cannot entirely eliminate the risk of contamination or injury from these materials or wastes. In the event of contamination or injury resulting from our use of hazardous materials, we could be held liable for any resulting damages, and any liability could exceed our resources.

Although we maintain workers’ compensation insurance to cover us for costs and expenses, we may incur due to injuries to our employees resulting from the use of hazardous materials, this insurance may not provide adequate coverage against potential liabilities. We do not maintain insurance for environmental liability or toxic tort claims that may be asserted against us in connection with our storage or disposal of biological, hazardous or radioactive materials. Accordingly, in the event of contamination or injury, we could be held liable for damages or be penalized with civil or criminal fines in an amount exceeding our resources, and our clinical trials or regulatory approvals could be suspended.

In addition, we may incur substantial costs in order to comply with current or future environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. These current or future laws and regulations may impair our research, development or commercialization efforts. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations also may result in substantial fines, penalties or other sanctions.

 

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments.

None.

 

Item 2.

Properties.

We lease a facility containing of approximately 1,163 square feet of office space for our principal office, which is located at 245 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Cambridge, MA 02142. We license these private offices which are located within a shared workspace on a flexible lease with the Cambridge Innovation Center (the “CIC”), which is consistent with CICs terms for all tenants.

We believe that our facilities are adequate to meet our current needs and that suitable additional or substitute space at commercially reasonable terms will be available as needed to accommodate any future expansion of our operations.

 

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings.

From time to time, we may be involved in lawsuits, claims, investigations and proceedings, consisting of intellectual property, commercial, employment and other matters which arise in the ordinary course of business. While the outcome of any such proceedings cannot be predicted with certainty, as of December 31, 2020, we were not party to any legal proceedings that we would expect to have a material adverse impact on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

 

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.

 

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PART II

 

Item 5.

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

On August 7, 2020, our common stock began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “CMPI”. Prior to that time, there was no public market for our common stock.

Stockholders

As of March 22, 2021, there were 42 stockholders of record of our common stock. The actual number of holders of our common stock is greater than this number of record holders, and includes stockholders who are beneficial owners, but whose shares are held in street name by brokers or held by other nominees. This number of holders of record also does not include stockholders whose shares may be held in trust by other entities.

Dividend Policy

We have never paid or declared any cash dividends on our common stock, and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future. We intend to retain all available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and expansion of our business. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon a number of factors, including our results of operations, financial condition, future prospects, contractual restrictions, restrictions imposed by applicable law and other factors that our board of directors deems relevant.

Equity Compensation Plans

The information required by Item 5 of Form 10-K regarding equity compensation plans is incorporated herein by reference to Item 12 of Part III of this Annual Report.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

We did not purchase any of our registered equity securities during the period covered by this Annual Report.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities and Use of Proceeds

Set forth below is information regarding stock options granted and exercised by us during the period covered by this Annual Report on Form 10-K that were not registered under the Securities Act. Included is the consideration, if any, we received for such shares and options and information relating to the section of the Securities Act or the Securities and Exchange Commission, under which exemption from registration was claimed.

Grants and Exercises of Stock Options under Equity Plans

During the period covered by this Form 10-K, we granted options to purchase an aggregate of 1,522,248 shares of common stock, with exercise prices ranging from $10.72 to $15.05 per share, to directors, employees and consultants pursuant to our 2020 Stock Option and Grant Plan, as amended (the “2020 Plan”). In 2020, 13,807 shares of common stock were issued for gross proceeds of $20,000 upon the exercise of stock options pursuant to the 2020 Plan.

No underwriters were involved in the foregoing issuance of securities. The issuances of the securities described above were deemed to be exempt from registration pursuant to Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act or Rule 701 promulgated under the Securities Act as transactions pursuant to compensatory benefit plans. The

 

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shares of common stock issued upon the exercise of options are deemed to be restricted securities. All recipients either received adequate information about us or had access, through employment or other relationships, to such information.

Use of Proceeds from our Public Offering of Common Stock

On August 11, 2020, we closed our IPO, in which we issued and sold 5,000,000 shares of common stock, at a public offering price of $15.00 per share. All of the shares of common stock issued and sold in our IPO were registered under the Securities Act pursuant to a registration statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-239932), which was declared effective by the SEC on August 6, 2020. BofA Securities, Jefferies and BMO Capital Markets acted as joint book-running managers for the offering.

The aggregate net proceeds to us from the public offering, inclusive of the partial over-allotment exercise, was approximately $67.7 million, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses payable by us of approximately $8.9 million. No offering expenses were paid directly or indirectly to any of our directors or officers (or their associates) or persons owning 10% or more of any class of our equity securities or to any other affiliates.

There has been no material change in the planned use of IPO proceeds from that described in the Prospectus filed with the SEC pursuant to Rule 424(b)(4) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, on August 7, 2020.

 

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data.

As a smaller reporting company, we are not required to provide the information required by this Item.

 

Item 7.

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

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and accompanying footnotes appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or set forth elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business and related financing, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. See “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.” Because of many factors, including those factors set forth in Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, our actual results could differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis. We do not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Overview

We are a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing our proprietary technology to harness the power of the immune system to combat cancer. Our product candidate, CMP-001, is a differentiated Toll-like receptor 9 (“TLR9”), agonist delivered as a biologic virus-like particle (“VLP”), utilizing a CpG-A oligonucleotide as a key component. When injected into a tumor, CMP-001 is designed to trigger the body’s innate immune system, thereby altering the tumor microenvironment and directing activated anti-tumor T cells to attack both the injected tumor and also tumors throughout the body. In a clinical trial of CMP-001 in combination with a systemic checkpoint inhibitor (“CPI”), in patients whose tumors were unresponsive or no longer responsive to a CPI, we have observed a best objective response rate (“ORR”), of 28% (27/98), including post-progression responders. We are evaluating CMP-001 across multiple tumor types in combination with other immunotherapy agents. Our founder, Art Krieg, first reported the discovery of immunostimulatory cytosine-phosphate-guanine (“CpG”), DNA in 1995, which, combined with the discovery of TLR9, led to the recognition that synthetic CpG-A oligonucleotides have the potential to stimulate the TLR9 receptor for therapeutic purposes. Our goal is to establish CMP-001 as a foundational immuno-oncology therapy that engages the innate immune system to fight cancer and improve outcomes for patients with a broad range of solid tumors.

 

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Since our inception, we have devoted substantially all of our efforts and financial resources to the research and development activities related to our technology and our CMP-001 program, and the administrative support for such activities including raising capital, business planning, undertaking pre-clinical studies and clinical trials and other support activities. We do not have any products approved for sale and have not generated any revenue from product sales or any other sources and do not expect to generate any revenue for the next several years. We have not yet successfully completed any registrational clinical trials, obtained any regulatory approvals, manufactured a commercial-scale drug, or conducted sales and marketing activities.

We have funded our operations to date primarily with proceeds from the sale of preferred stock, convertible debt and common stock. Since inception and through December 31, 2020, we have received net cash proceeds of $241.7 million from sales of our preferred stock, convertible debt and common stock.

We have incurred recurring losses and had negative operating cash flows since inception and our ability to generate product revenue sufficient to achieve profitability will depend heavily on the successful development and eventual commercialization of CMP-001 or any other products we acquire or develop. Our net losses were $28.3 million and $36.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $140.1 million. We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and to increase operating losses for at least the next several years.

We expect our expenses and capital requirements will increase substantially in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we:

 

   

prepare for and initiate additional clinical trials and preclinical studies of CMP-001, including, among others, our currently anticipated Phase 2 trial in anti-PD-1 refractory melanoma and randomized Phase 2 trial in first-line melanoma and our currently anticipated Phase 2 proof of concept study in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma;

 

   

conduct the necessary scale-up activities to support the potential commercialization of CMP-001, if any;

 

   

hire additional clinical and scientific personnel to support our ongoing preclinical activities and clinical trials of CMP-001 and any other product candidates we choose to develop;

 

   

develop any future product candidates;

 

   

seek marketing approval for CMP-001 and any other product candidates that successfully complete clinical development;

 

   

acquire or in-license additional product candidates;

 

   

maintain compliance with applicable regulatory requirements;

 

   

maintain, expand, protect and enforce our intellectual property portfolio;

 

   

develop and expand our sales, marketing and distribution capabilities for CMP-001 and any other product candidates for which we obtain marketing approval;

 

   

take temporary precautionary measures to help minimize the risk of the coronavirus to our employees and encounter delays or interruptions related to current development activities, our supply chain, or the third-parties on whom we rely due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

   

expand our infrastructure and facilities to accommodate the planned growth of our employee base; and

 

   

expand our operational, financial and management systems and increase administrative personnel, including to support our clinical development and commercialization efforts and our operations as a public company.

As a result, we will need substantial additional funding to support our continuing operations and pursue our growth strategy. Until such time as we can generate significant revenue from product sales, if ever, we expect to finance our operations through a combination of equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations, strategic

 

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alliances and marketing and distribution or licensing arrangements. We may be unable to raise additional funds or enter into such other agreements or arrangements when needed on favorable terms, or at all. If we fail to raise capital or enter into such agreements as, and when, needed, we may have to significantly delay, scale back or discontinue the development and commercialization of CMP-001 or any of our future product candidates.

On August 11, 2020, we completed our IPO, pursuant to which we issued and sold 5,000,000 shares of our common stock, at a price to the public of $15.00 per share. On September 3, 2020, the underwriters of the IPO exercised a portion of their over-allotment option by purchasing an additional 109,861 shares from us at the IPO price. We received approximately $67.7 million in net proceeds, inclusive of the partial over-allotment exercise and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses payable by us. In connection with the IPO, on August 11, 2020, all redeemable convertible preferred stock was converted into shares of common stock.

Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with pharmaceutical product development, we are unable to accurately predict the timing or amount of increased expenses or when or if we will be able to achieve or maintain profitability. Even if we are able to generate product sales, we may not become profitable. If we fail to become profitable or are unable to sustain profitability on a continuing basis, then we may be unable to continue our operations at planned levels and be forced to reduce or terminate our operations. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, your ownership interest will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a common stockholder.

COVID-19

In March 2020 the World Health Organization declared the global novel coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) a pandemic. Although we have experienced some the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and operations, we cannot currently predict the scope and severity of any potential business shutdowns or disruptions or the resulting impact on future clinical trials. As of the date hereof, certain of our ongoing clinical trials are nearing completion and have not been materially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the schedules for the near-term manufacture of CMP-001 at our contract manufacturers have also been largely unaffected to date. We are also in the planning stages for new clinical trials, and a number of activities are required in order to initiate patient enrollment into these trials that could be impacted by COVID-19.

While the COVID-19 pandemic did not materially impact our results of operations during in 2020, the ultimate impact on our operations is unknown and will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, including the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, and any additional preventative and protective actions that governments, or we, may direct, which may result in an extended period of continued business disruption, reduced patient traffic and reduced operations. In particular, the speed of the continued spread of COVID-19 globally, and the magnitude of interventions to contain the spread of the virus, such as government-imposed quarantines, including shelter-in-place mandates, sweeping restrictions on travel, mandatory shutdowns for non-essential businesses, requirements regarding social distancing, and other public health safety measures, will determine the impact of the pandemic on our business. We are continuing to monitor the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. However, any resulting financial impact cannot be reasonably estimated at this time and may have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Components of Our Results of Operations

Revenue

To date, we have not generated any revenue from any sources and do not expect to generate any revenue from the sale of products for the next several years. If our development efforts for CMP-001 or any future product candidates are successful and result in regulatory approval, we may generate revenue in the future from

 

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product sales. However, we cannot predict if, when, or to what extent we will generate revenue from the commercialization and sale of CMP-001 or any future product candidates as we may never succeed in obtaining regulatory approval for any of our product candidates. If we enter into license or collaboration agreements for any of our product candidates or intellectual property, we may generate revenue in the future from payments as a result of such license or collaboration agreements, however there can be no assurance that we will be able to enter into any license or collaboration agreements.

Operating Expenses

Research and Development Expenses

Research and development expenses consist primarily of costs incurred for our research activities and the development of our technology and our CMP-001 program and include:

 

   

expenses incurred in connection with the preclinical and clinical development of our technology and CMP-001, including clinical trials under agreements with contract research organizations (“CROs”), clinical investigators and consultants;

 

   

employee-related expenses, including salaries, benefits and travel and stock-based compensation expense, for employees engaged in research and development functions;

 

   

the cost of contract manufacturing organizations (“CMOs”), that manufacture drug product for use in our preclinical studies and clinical trials and perform analytical testing, scale-up and other services in connection with our development activities;

 

   

costs related to compliance with regulatory requirements;

 

   

payments made under third-party licensing agreements, such as the Kuros License Agreement;

 

   

facilities and other expenses, which include direct and allocated expenses for facilities, insurance and supplies; and

 

   

costs related to compliance with regulatory requirements.

We recognize external development costs based on an evaluation of the progress to completion of specific tasks using information provided to us by our service providers. This process involves reviewing open contracts, communicating with our personnel to identify services that have been performed on our behalf and estimating the level of service performed and the associated cost incurred for the service when we have not yet been invoiced or otherwise notified of actual costs. Any nonrefundable advance payments that we make for goods or services to be received in the future for use in research and development activities are recorded as prepaid expenses. Such amounts are expensed as the related goods are delivered or the related services are performed, or until it is no longer expected that the goods will be delivered or the services rendered.

Upfront payments under license agreements are expensed upon receipt of the license, and any annual maintenance fees under license agreements are expensed in the period in which they are incurred. Milestone payments under license agreements are accrued and a corresponding expense is recognized in the period in which the milestone is determined to be probable of achievement and the related amount is reasonably estimable.

We do not track our research and development expenses by indication. Our direct external research and development expenses consist primarily of external costs, such as fees paid to CROs, CMOs, research/testing laboratories and outside consultants in connection with our preclinical development, process development, manufacturing and clinical development activities. Our direct research and development expenses also include fees incurred under licensing agreements. We do not allocate these costs to specific indications because they are deployed across the entire the CMP-001 development program and, as such, are not separately classified. We use internal resources primarily to manage our preclinical development, outsourced clinical trials, process development, manufacturing and clinical development activities. These employees work across the entire the CMP-001 development program and, therefore, we do not track their costs by indication.

 

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Research and development activities are central to our business model. Product candidates in later stages of clinical development generally have higher development costs than those in earlier stages of clinical development, primarily due to the increased size and duration of later-stage clinical trials. As a result, we expect that our research and development expenses will increase substantially over the next several years as we advance CMP-001 into later stages of clinical development toward potential regulatory approval, advance CMP-001 for additional indications, as well as conduct translational research efforts and other preclinical and clinical development, including submitting regulatory filings for any other product candidates we may acquire or develop. In addition to the expected increase in third-party costs, we expect our personnel costs, including costs associated with stock-based compensation, will also increase substantially in the future. In addition, as we advance CMP-001 into potentially registrational clinical trials and, subject to positive data and regulatory approvals, potentially commercialize CMP-001, we expect to incur additional expenses from milestone and royalty payments related to the Kuros License Agreement.

We do not believe that it is possible at this time to accurately project total program-specific expenses through commercialization of CMP-001 or any other product candidates we may acquire or develop. This is due to numerous factors, some of which are beyond our control, that are associated with the successful development and commercialization of CMP-001 and any other product candidates we may acquire or develop, including the following:

 

   

the scope, progress, outcome and costs of our preclinical studies and clinical trials for CMP-001 or any other product candidates we may acquire or develop;

 

   

making arrangements with third-party manufacturers for both clinical and commercial supplies of CMP-001 or any other product candidates;

 

   

successful patient enrollment in, and the initiation and completion of clinical trials;

 

   

raising additional funds necessary to complete clinical development and the potential commercialization, of CMP-001 or any other product candidates;

 

   

receipt, timing and related terms of marketing approvals from applicable regulatory authorities;

 

   

the extent of any required post-marketing approval commitments to applicable regulatory authorities;

 

   

developing and implementing marketing and reimbursement strategies;

 

   

establishing sales, marketing and distribution capabilities and launching commercial sales of CMP-001 or any other products, if approved, whether alone or in collaboration with others;

 

   

acceptance of CMP-001 or any other products, if approved, by patients, the medical community and third-party payors;

 

   

effectively competing with other therapies;

 

   

obtaining and maintaining third-party coverage and adequate reimbursement;

 

   

obtaining and maintaining patent, trade secret and other intellectual property protection and regulatory exclusivity for our product candidates;

 

   

protecting and enforcing our rights in our intellectual property portfolio;

 

   

significant and changing government regulations; and

 

   

maintaining an acceptable tolerability profile of the products following approval, if any.

A change in the outcome of any of these variables with respect to the development of CMP-001 or any future product candidates would significantly change the costs and timing associated with the development of that product candidate. We may never succeed in obtaining regulatory approval for any product candidate.

 

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General and Administrative Expenses

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries and benefits, stock-based compensation and travel expense for personnel in executive, business development, finance, human resources, legal and support functions. General and administrative expenses also include direct and allocated facility-related costs as well as insurance costs and professional fees for legal, patent, consulting, accounting and audit services, investor and public relations services and outsourced information technology services.

We anticipate that our general and administrative expenses will increase in the future as we increase our headcount to support the continued advancement of CMP-001 toward potential commercialization and the future development of any other product candidates that we may pursue. We also anticipate that we will experience a significant increase in accounting, audit, legal, regulatory, compliance and director and officer insurance costs as well as investor and public relations expenses associated with operating as a public company. Additionally, if we believe a regulatory approval of CMP-001 or any other product candidate appears likely, we anticipate an increase in payroll and other employee-related expenses as a result of our preparation for commercial operations to market and sell that product candidate.

Interest Income

Interest income consists of interest earned on our cash, cash equivalent and available-for-sale investments balances. We expect that our interest income will fluctuate based on prevailing interest rates, our ability to raise additional funds as well as the amount of expenditures for our clinical development of CMP-001 and ongoing business operations.

Change in Fair Value of Convertible Notes

The fair value of the convertible notes at the time of conversion into the Series C preferred stock in June 2020 was determined to be equal to the value of the Series C preferred stock into which the convertible notes were converted, which was determined to be $1.6016 per share. The change in fair value of the convertible notes prior to close of the Series C preferred stock financing of $0.1 million primarily related to the accrued interest earned on the convertible notes prior to such financing.

Income Taxes

There were no provisions for income taxes for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 because we have historically incurred operating losses and we maintain a full valuation allowance against our net deferred tax assets.

On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), was signed into United States law. The TCJA includes a number of changes to then existing tax law, including, among other things, a permanent reduction in the federal corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, effective as of January 1, 2018, as well as limitation of the deduction for net operating losses to 80% of annual taxable income, for losses arising in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 (though any such net operating losses may be carried forward indefinitely). The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), signed into United States law on March 27, 2020 modifies certain provisions of the TCJA with respect to net operating losses. Under the CARES Act, the limitation on the deduction of net operating losses to 80% of annual taxable income is suspended for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2021. The tax rate change under the TCJA resulted in (i) a reduction in the gross amount of our deferred tax assets as of December 31, 2017, without an impact on the net amount of our deferred tax assets, which are recorded with a full valuation allowance, and (ii) no income tax expense or benefit being recognized as of the enactment date of the TCJA. The provisions of the CARES Act did not have a material inpact on our financial statements.

 

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Results of operations

Comparison of the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019

The following table summarizes our results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019:

 

     Years ended        
     December 31,     Increase  
     2020     2019     (Decrease)  
     (in thousands)        

Operating expenses:

      

Research and development

   $ 26,719     $ 24,254     $ 2,465  

General and administrative

     10,185       4,635       5,550  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     36,904       28,889       8,015  

Loss from operations

     (36,904     (28,889     8,015  

Interest income

     79       197       (118

Change in fair value of Series B preferred stock tranche right liability

     —         400     (400

Change in fair value of convertible notes

     (83     —       (83
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total other income (expense)

     (4     597       (601
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

   $ (36,908   $ (28,292   $ 8,616  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Research and Development Expenses

Research and development expenses were $26.7 million in 2020 compared to $24.3 million in 2019. The increase of approximately $2.4 million was primarily related to increases in personnel and consulting costs of $2.6 million in connection with preparations for the initiation of planned additional clinical trials of CMP-001 and an increase of approximately $0.8 million in stock-based compensation expense related to stock option grants after our IPO in August 2020. These increases were partially offset by lower contract manufacturing costs in 2020 of $1.0 million due the timing of manufacturing runs of CMP-001 in 2020 compared to 2019.

General and Administrative Expenses

General and administrative expenses were $10.2 million in 2020 compared to $4.6 million in 2019. The increase of $5.6 million was primarily related to increases in personnel and consulting expense of $1.3 million, professional fees of $1.7 million and directors and officers insurance expense of $1.4 million, all related to the Company beginning operations as a publicly traded company. Also contributing to the 2020 increase was $0.9 million of additional stock compensation expense related to stock options grants issued after our IPO in August 2020.

Interest Income

Interest income was $0.1 million for 2020 compared to $0.2 million for 2019. The year-over-year decrease reflects the lower prevailing interest rates in 2020 offsetting the impact associated with higher principal balances in 2020 resulting from our financing activities. We expect interest income will increase in 2021 due to higher principal balances.

Change in Fair Value of Series B Preferred Stock Tranche Right Liability

The change in fair value of the Series B preferred stock tranche right liability was a gain of $0.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The gain was due to a decrease in the underlying fair value of the Series B preferred stock as of December 31, 2019 compared to the date of issuance in August 2019. The

 

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change in fair value of the Series B preferred stock tranche right liability associated with the November 2018 issuance of preferred stock was not material between the issuance date and the March 2019 settlement date. The change in fair value of the Series B preferred stock tranche right liability was not material from December 31, 2019 to January 14, 2020 when the tranche right was exercised.

Change in Fair Value of Convertible Notes

The fair value of the convertible notes at the time of conversion into the Series C preferred stock in June 2020 was determined to be equal to the value of the Series C preferred stock into which the convertible notes were converted, which was determined to be $1.6016 per share. The change in fair value of the convertible notes prior to close of the Series C preferred stock financing of $0.1 million primarily related to the accrued interest earned on the convertible notes prior to such financing.

Liquidity and capital resources

Overview

We have funded our operations to date primarily with proceeds from the sale of preferred stock, convertible debt and common stock. Since inception and through December 31, 2020, we have received net cash proceeds of $241.7 million from sales of our preferred stock, convertible debt and common stock. In April 2020, we received $10.0 million from the issuance of convertible notes and in June 2020, we received $74.6 million in additional net proceeds from the sale of Series C preferred stock. The convertible notes were converted into shares of Series C preferred stock in June 2020.

As noted above, in August 2020, we completed an IPO in which we received net proceeds of approximately $67.7 million, inclusive of the over-allotment exercise and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses payable by us. In connection with the IPO, all outstanding shares of our redeemable preferred stock were converted to common stock.

We have not yet commercialized any of our product candidates and we do not expect to generate revenue from sales of any product candidates for several years, if at all. As of December 31, 2020, we had cash, cash equivalents and available-for-sale investments of $125.9 million.

We believe that the net proceeds from the IPO, together with our existing cash, cash equivalents and available-for-sales investments as of December 31, 2020, will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements into the first half of 2023. We have based this estimate on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could exhaust our available capital resources sooner than we expect. Our future viability beyond that point is dependent on our ability to raise additional capital to finance our operations.

Cash Flows

The following table summarizes our sources and uses of cash for each of the periods presented:

 

     Year ended December 31,      Increase  
     2020      2019      (decrease)  
     ( in thousands)  

Net cash used in operating activities

   $ (38,111    $ (26,851    $ 11,260  

Net cash used in investing activities

     (83,290      —          83,290  

Net cash provided by financing activities

     160,271        18,977        141,294  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net increase (decrease) in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash

   $ 38,870      $ (7,874    $ 46,744  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

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Operating Activities

During the year ended December 31, 2020, net cash used in operating activities was $38.1 million, primarily resulting from our net loss of $36.9 million and cash used by changes in our operating assets and liabilities of $3.5 million, partially offset by non-cash charges of $2.3 million.

During the year ended December 31, 2019, net cash used in operating activities was $26.9 million, primarily resulting from our net loss of $28.3 million and the change in fair value of Series B preferred stock tranche right liability of $0.4 million, which were partially offset by additional non-cash charges of $0.3 million and cash provided by changes in our operating assets and liabilities of $1.5 million. Net cash provided by changes in our operating assets and liabilities for the year ended December 31, 2019 consisted primarily of a $2.0 million increase in accounts payable and accrued expenses, partially offset by an increase of $0.5 million in prepaid expenses and other current assets. Changes in accounts payable, accrued expenses and prepaid expenses in both periods were generally due to growth in our business and the timing of vendor invoicing and payments.

Investing Activities

Net cash used in investing activities of $83.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 reflects the investment of the proceeds from our Series B and Series C preferred stock financings and the IPO into investments.

Financing Activities

Net cash provided by financing activities in year ended December 31, 2020 was $160.3 million and consisted of the net proceeds from our IPO of $67.7 million, the issuance of Series B preferred stock and Series C preferred stock of $82.5 million and the proceeds from the issuance of convertible notes of $10.0 million.

Net cash provided by financing activities in the year ended December 31, 2019 was $19.0 million and consisted primarily of net proceeds from the issuance of Series B preferred stock of $18.9 million.

Funding Requirements

We expect our expenses to increase substantially in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we advance the preclinical activities and clinical trials for CMP-001 and any other product candidates that we may develop or acquire in the future. In addition, we have incurred, and expect to incur, additional costs associated with operating as a public company, including significant legal, accounting, investor relations and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. The timing and amount of our operating expenditures will depend largely on:

 

   

the initiation, progress, timing, costs and results of current and future preclinical studies and clinical trials for CMP-001 and any other product candidates we may develop or acquire in the future;

 

   

the cost and timing of the manufacture of additional clinical trial materials and the completion of commercial-scale outsourced manufacturing activities;

 

   

the costs to seek regulatory approvals for any product candidates that successfully complete clinical trials;

 

   

the extent to which we experience delays or interruptions to preclinical studies and clinical trials, to our third-party service providers on whom we rely, or to our supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

   

the need to hire additional clinical, quality assurance, quality control and other scientific personnel

 

   

the number and characteristics of product candidates that we develop or may in-license;

 

   

the outcome, timing and cost of meeting and maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”), the European Medical Agency (the “EMA”) and other comparable foreign regulatory authorities;

 

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the cost of filing, prosecuting, defending and enforcing our patent claims and other intellectual property rights;

 

   

the terms of any collaboration agreements we may choose to enter into;

 

   

the cost associated with the expansion of our operational, financial and management systems and increased personnel, including personnel to support our operations as a public company; and

 

   

the cost of establishing sales, marketing and distribution capabilities for any product candidates for which we may receive regulatory approval in regions where we choose to commercialize our products, if approved, on our own.

Until such time, if ever, as we can generate substantial product revenue, we expect to finance our operations through a combination of equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations, strategic alliances and marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements. We do not currently have any committed external source of funds. To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, ownership interests may be materially diluted, and the terms of such securities could include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect your rights as a common stockholder. Debt financing and preferred equity financing, if available, may involve agreements that include restrictive covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends. In addition, debt financing would result in fixed payment obligations. If we raise additional funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may have to relinquish valuable rights to our future revenue streams, research programs or product candidates or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. If we are unable to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings or other arrangements when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our research, product development or future commercialization efforts or grant rights to develop and market product candidates that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves.

Contractual obligations and other commitments

We do not have any material principal contractual obligations and commitments as of December 31, 2020.

We enter into contracts in the normal course of business with CROs, CMOs and other third parties for clinical trials, preclinical research studies and testing and manufacturing services. These contracts are cancelable by us upon prior written notice. Payments due upon cancellation consist only of payments for services provided or expenses incurred, including noncancelable obligations of our service providers, up to the date of cancellation. The amount and timing of such payments are not known.

We have also entered into license and collaboration agreements with third parties, which are in the normal course of business. We have not included future payments under these agreements since obligations under these agreements are contingent upon future events such as our achievement of specified development, regulatory, and commercial milestones, or royalties on net product sales.

Pursuant to the Kuros License Agreement, we are required to make payments to Kuros for each product that achieves certain development and regulatory milestones. At December 31, 2020, we were obligated to make up to $56.0 million in milestone payments to Kuros related to CMP-001. Included in this total are potential milestones of $2.0 million at the initiation of a Phase 2 trial for CMP-001 and $4.0 million at the initiation of a Phase 3 trial for CMP-001. We are also required to pay royalties on sales of future products, if any. As of December 31, 2020, we have incurred and paid license fees and milestone payments totaling $2.3 million pursuant to the Kuros License Agreement. These payments are comprised of a license fee of $1.0 million which was recognized in research and development expense in 2015, a $1.0 million milestone payment in connection with the dosing of the first patient in our first Phase 1 clinical trial, which was recognized in research and development expense in 2016, and a $0.3 million license amendment fee in connection with the signing of the second amendment to the Kuros License Agreement, which was recognized in research and development expense in 2018. In March 2021, the Company initiated patient dosing in the Phase 2 first-line melanoma trial for CMP-001, which triggered a $2.0 million milestone payment.

 

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We do not currently have any long-term leases. We rent our office space in Cambridge, Massachusetts based on a month-to-month license agreement with the landlord.

Critical accounting policies and significant judgments and estimates

Our consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with GAAP. The preparation of our consolidated financial statements and related disclosures requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, costs and expenses. We base our estimates on historical experience, known trends and events and various other factors that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. We evaluate our estimates and assumptions on an ongoing basis. Our actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.

While our significant accounting policies are described in more detail in Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements, we believe that the following accounting policies are the most critical to the judgement and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements.

Accrued Research and Development Expenses

As part of the process of preparing our financial statements, we are required to estimate our accrued research and development expenses. This process involves reviewing open contracts, communicating with our applicable personnel to identify services that have been performed on our behalf and estimating the level of service performed and the associated cost incurred for the service when we have not yet been invoiced or otherwise notified of actual costs. The majority of our service providers invoice us in arrears for services performed, on a pre-determined schedule or when contractual milestones are met; however, some require advance payments. We make estimates of our accrued expenses as of each balance sheet date in the financial statements based on facts and circumstances known to us at that time. We periodically confirm the accuracy of the estimates with the service providers and make adjustments if necessary. Examples of estimated accrued research and development expenses include fees paid to:

 

   

CROs in connection with preclinical and clinical trials;

 

   

CMOs and other providers in connection with the production of preclinical and clinical trial materials;

 

   

investigative sites in connection with clinical trials; and

 

   

other vendors in connection with our preclinical development activities.

We base our expenses related to preclinical studies and clinical trials on our estimates of the services received and efforts expended pursuant to quotes and contracts with multiple research institutions and CROs that conduct and manage preclinical studies and clinical trials on our behalf. The financial terms of these agreements are subject to negotiation, vary from contract to contract and may result in uneven payment flows. There may be instances in which payments made to our vendors will exceed the level of services provided and result in a prepayment of the expense. In accruing service fees, we estimate the time period over which services will be performed and the level of effort to be expended in each period. If the actual timing of the performance of services or the level of effort varies from the estimate, we adjust the accrual or prepaid expense accordingly. Although we do not expect our estimates to be materially different from amounts actually incurred, the estimated status and timing of services performed relative to the actual status and timing of services performed may vary and may result in reporting amounts that are too high or too low in any particular period.

 

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Stock-Based Compensation before Initial Public Offering

We measure all stock-based awards granted based on their estimated fair value on the date of the grant and recognize the corresponding compensation expense for those awarded to employees and directors over the requisite service period, which is generally the vesting period of the respective award, and for those awarded to nonemployees over the period during which services are rendered by nonemployees until completed. We have typically issued stock options and restricted stock awards with service-based vesting conditions and we record the expense for these awards using the straight-line method.

We estimate the fair value of each stock option grant using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model, which uses as inputs the fair value of our common stock and assumptions we make for the volatility of our common stock, the expected term of our stock options, the risk-free interest rate for a period that approximates the expected term of our stock options and our expected dividend yield.

Determination of the Fair Value of Common Stock

After our IPO in August 2020, the fair value of common stock was determined on the grant date using the closing price of the Company’s common stock. As there was no public market for our common stock before the IPO, the estimated fair value of our common stock was determined by our board of directors as of the date of each option grant, with input from management, considering our most recently available third-party valuations of common stock, and our board of directors’ assessment of additional objective and subjective factors that it believed were relevant and which may have changed from the date of the most recent valuation through the date of the grant. Third-party valuations of our common stock were performed in accordance with the guidance outlined in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Accounting and Valuation Guide, Valuation of Privately-Held-Company Equity Securities Issued as Compensation.

Our equity value at November 2018 was calculated using a market approach. In November 2018, we had a recent arm’s length transaction in our preferred stock, which was utilized to calculate the implied value of equity and common stock. In August 2019, we calculated our equity value using an income approach because the arm’s length transaction from November 2018 had occurred approximately 10 months prior and was deemed less relevant.

After our equity value was determined, our common stock values were estimated using both an option pricing method, or OPM, and a hybrid approach. The OPM treats common stock and preferred stock as call options on the total equity value of a company, with exercise prices based on the value thresholds at which the allocation among the various holders of a company’s securities changes. Under this method, the common stock only has value if the funds available for distribution to stockholders exceeds the value of the preferred stock liquidation preferences at the time of the liquidity event, such as a strategic sale or a merger. A discount for lack of marketability of the common stock is then applied to arrive at an indication of value for the common stock.

The hybrid method utilized both a probability-weighted expected return method, or PWERM, where the equity value in one or more scenarios is assigned, and the OPM. The PWERM is a scenario-based methodology that estimates the fair value of our common stock based upon an analysis of our future values, assuming various outcomes. The common stock value is based on the probability-weighted present value of expected future investment returns considering each of the possible outcomes available as well as the rights of each class of stock. The future value of the common stock under each outcome is discounted back to the valuation date at an appropriate risk-adjusted discount rate, and then probability weighted to arrive at an indication of value for the common stock.

These third-party valuations were performed at various dates, and resulted in valuations of our common stock of $0.35 per share as of November 30, 2018 and $0.44 per share as of August 14, 2019. In addition to

 

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considering the results of these third-party valuations, our board of directors considered various objective and subjective factors to determine the fair value of our common stock as of each grant date, including:

 

   

the prices at which we sold shares of preferred stock and the superior rights and preferences of the preferred stock relative to our common stock at the time of each grant;

 

   

the progress of our research and development programs, including the status and results of preclinical studies and clinical trials for our product candidates;

 

   

offers we have received to be purchased by prospective buyers;

 

   

the likelihood of achieving a liquidity event, such as an initial public offering, or IPO, or sale of our company in light of prevailing market conditions;

 

   

our stage of development and commercialization and our business strategy;

 

   

external market conditions affecting the biopharmaceutical industry and trends within the biopharmaceutical industry;

 

   

our financial position, including cash on hand, and our historical and forecasted performance and results of operations;

 

   

the lack of an active public market for our common stock and our preferred stock; and

 

   

the analysis of IPOs and the market performance of similar companies in the biopharmaceutical industry.

The assumptions underlying these valuations represented management’s best estimate, which involved inherent uncertainties and the application of management’s judgment. As a result, if we had used significantly different assumptions or estimates, the fair value of our common stock and our stock-based compensation expense could have been materially different.

Valuation of Preferred Stock Tranche Right Liability

In connection with our Series B preferred stock financings in November 2018 and August 2019, we issued shares under purchase agreements that provided investors the right, or obligated investors, to participate in subsequent offerings of Series B preferred stock in the event that we achieved specified milestone events. The preferred stock tranche rights associated with the November 2018 financing were settled in March 2019 in connection with the achievement of the specified milestone events and those associated with the August 2019 financing were settled in January 2020 in connection with the achievement of the specified milestone events. We determine the fair value of preferred stock tranche right liabilities based on significant inputs not observable in the market, which represent a Level 3 measurement within the fair value hierarchy. We determine the fair value of preferred stock tranche right liabilities using a binomial model, which considers as inputs the value of the Series B preferred stock, the expected return of the underlying Series B preferred stock during the period between the valuation date and the expected event date, the probability and timing of achieving the specified milestones as of each valuation date and a discount rate. We determine the fair value per share of the underlying Series B preferred stock by taking into consideration the most recent sales of our convertible preferred stock, results obtained from third-party valuations and additional factors we deem relevant. As of December 31, 2019, the fair value of each Series B preferred stock was $2.20. Preferred stock tranche right liabilities are initially recorded at fair value upon the date of issuance and are subsequently remeasured to fair value at each reporting date. Changes in the fair value of the preferred stock tranche right liability are recognized as a component of other income (expense) in the statement of operations and comprehensive loss. Changes in the fair value of the preferred stock tranche right liability continued to be recognized until the respective preferred stock tranche rights exercised on January 14, 2020.

 

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Off-balance Sheet Arrangements

We did not have during the periods presented, and we do not currently have, any off-balance sheet arrangements, as defined in the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

A description of recently issued and recently adopted accounting pronouncements that may potentially impact our financial position and results of operations is disclosed in Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Emerging Growth Company and Smaller Reporting Company Status

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the “JOBS Act”), permits an “emerging growth company” such as us to take advantage of an extended transition period to comply with new or revised accounting standards applicable to public companies until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. We have elected to not “opt out” of this provision and, as a result, we will adopt new or revised accounting standards at the time private companies adopt the new or revised accounting standard and will do so until such time that we either (i) irrevocably elect to “opt out” of such extended transition period or (ii) no longer qualify as an emerging growth company. Other exemptions and reduced reporting requirements under the JOBS Act for emerging growth companies include presentation of only two years of audited financial statements in a registration statement for an initial public offering, an exemption from the requirement to provide an auditor’s report on internal controls over financial reporting pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2012, an exemption from any requirement that may be adopted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding mandatory audit firm rotation, and less extensive disclosure about our executive compensation arrangements. We would cease to be an emerging growth company upon the earliest of: (1) the last day of the fiscal year ending after the fifth anniversary of our initial public offering; (2) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have more than $1.07 billion in annual revenue; (3) the last day of the fiscal year in which we qualify as a “large accelerated filer,” with at least $700.0 million of equity securities held by non-affiliates as of the prior June 30th; or (4) the issuance, in any three-year period, by our company of more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt securities held by non-affiliates.

We are also a “smaller reporting company” and we may take advantage of certain of the scaled disclosures available to smaller reporting companies until the fiscal year following the determination that (i) the market value of our stock held by non-affiliates is more than $250 million or (ii) our annual revenue was more than $100 million during the most recently completed fiscal year and the market value of our stock held by non-affiliates is more than $700 million measured on the last business day of our second fiscal quarter. If we are a smaller reporting company at the time we cease to be an emerging growth company, we may continue to rely on exemptions from certain disclosure requirements that are available to smaller reporting companies. Specifically, as a smaller reporting company we may choose to present only the two most recent fiscal years of audited financial statements in our Annual Report on Form 10-K and, similar to emerging growth companies, smaller reporting companies have reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation.

 

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.

Interest rate risk

We are exposed to market risk related to changes in interest rates. Our cash and cash equivalents were held in savings accounts at banking institutions and a money market fund that invests in U.S. Government securities. Our primary exposure to market risk is interest income sensitivity, which is affected by changes in the general level of U.S. interest rates. However, because of the short-term nature of the instruments in our portfolio, an immediate 10% change in the interest rate would not have a material impact on the fair market value of our investment portfolio or on our financial position or results of operations.

 

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As of December 31, 2020, we had no debt outstanding and therefore were not subject to interest rate risk related to debt.

Foreign Currency Exchange Risk

Our primary exposure to market risk is foreign exchange rate sensitivity to the British Pound. We recognized foreign currency losses of approximately $82,000 in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020. These foreign currency transaction losses were recorded as a component of general and administrative expense in our consolidated statements of operations. At December 31, 2020, an immediate 5% change in the British Pound exchange rate would not have a material effect on our results of operations.

As we continue to grow our business, our results of operations and cash flows may increasingly be subject to fluctuations due to changes in foreign currency exchange rates, which could adversely impact our results of operations. To date, we have not entered into any foreign currency hedging contracts to mitigate our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk.

 

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

The financial statement and supplemental data required by this item are included after the Signature page of the Annual Report on Form 10-K beginning on page F-1.

 

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

None

 

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures.

Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures

We maintain “disclosure controls and procedures,” as defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed in the reports that we file or submit under the Exchange Act is (1) recorded, processed, summarized and reported, within the time periods specified in the SEC’s rules and forms and (2) accumulated and communicated to our management, including our principal executive officer and principal financial officer, to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure. Management recognizes that any controls and procedures, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable assurance of achieving their objectives and management necessarily applies its judgment in evaluating the cost-benefit relationship of possible controls and procedures.

Our management, with the participation of our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, evaluated the effectiveness of the design and operation of our disclosure controls and procedures as of December 31, 2020. Based upon that evaluation, our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer concluded that as of such date, our disclosure controls and procedures were effective at the reasonable assurance level of December 31, 2020.

Remediation of Material Weaknesses in Internal Control over Financial Reporting

In connection with the audits of our consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

 

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Prior to the completion of our initial public offering, we were a private company and had limited accounting and financial reporting personnel and other resources with which to address our internal controls and procedures. Our lack of adequate accounting personnel resulted in the identification of a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. Specifically, we lacked sufficient personnel to maintain effective segregation of duties in the processing and recording of financial transactions.

To improve our internal control over financial reporting and address this material weakness, during the year ended December 31, 2020, we:

 

   

Expanded our finance organization to allow for the segregation of duties in the processing and recording of financial transactions by hiring a full time Chief Financial Officer and Accounting Manager; and

 

   

Redesigned our processes and related controls to maintain effective segregation of duties in the processing and recording of financial transactions.

In connection with its review of disclosure controls and procedures as of December 31, 2020, management concluded that the previously identified material weakness had been remediated.

Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

This Annual Report does not include a report of management’s assessment regarding internal control over financial reporting or an attestation report of our independent registered public accounting firm due to a transition period established by rules of the SEC for newly public companies.

Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting

The items described in “Remediation Activities” above are considered a change in our internal control over financial reporting (as defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) of the Exchange Act) that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.

 

Item 9B.

Other Information.

None.

PART III

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

Except as set forth below, the information required by this item is incorporated by reference from our definitive Proxy Statement to be filed with the SEC in connection with our 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

We have adopted a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics that applies to all of our directors, officers and employees, including our principal executive officer and principal financial officer. The Code of Business Conduct and Ethics is posted on our website at http://checkmatepharma.com.

We intend to satisfy the disclosure requirement under Item 5.05 of Form 8-K regarding an amendment to, or waiver from, a provision of this Code of Business Conduct and Ethics by posting such information on our website, at the address and location specified above and, to the extent required by the listing standards of The NASDAQ Global Select Stock Market, by filing a Current Report on Form 8-K with the SEC, disclosing such information.

 

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Item 11.

Executive Compensation.

The information called for by this item is incorporated by reference from our definitive Proxy Statement to be filed with the SEC in connection with our 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

 

Item 12.

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

The information called for by this item is incorporated by reference from our definitive Proxy Statement to be filed with the SEC in connection with our 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

 

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence.

The information called for by this item is incorporated by reference from our definitive Proxy Statement to be filed with the SEC in connection with our 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

 

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

The information called for by this item is incorporated by reference from our definitive Proxy Statement to be filed with the SEC in connection with our 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

Part IV

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

 

(a)

The following documents are filed as part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K:

 

  1)

The following Report and Consolidated Financial Statements of the Company are included in this Annual Report:

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

   F-2

Consolidated Balance Sheets

   F-3

Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Loss

   F-4

Consolidated Statements of Redeemable Convertible Preferred Stock and Stockholders’ Equity (Deficit)

   F-5

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

   F-6

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

   F-7-F-24

 

  2)

No schedules are submitted because they are not applicable, not required or because information is included in the consolidated financial statements or the notes thereto.

 

  3)

The exhibits required by Item 601 of Regulation S-K and Item 15(b) of this Annual Report on Form 10-K are listed in the Exhibit Index immediately preceding the signature page of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The exhibits listed in the Exhibit Index are incorporated by reference herein.

 

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

The Company has elected not to include summary information.

 

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Item 15.

Exhibits.

EXHIBIT INDEX

 

Exhibit
Number

  

Exhibit Description

3.1    Fourth Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation of the Registrant (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1 of the Registrant’s Current Report on Form 8-K (File No. 001-39425) filed on August 14, 2020)
3.2    Second Amended and Restated Bylaws of the Registrant (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.2 of the Registrant’s Current Report on Form 8-K (File No. 001-39425) filed on August 14, 2020)
4.1    Specimen Common Stock Certificate (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.1 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1/A (File No. 333-239932) filed on August 3, 2020)
4.2    Second Amended and Restated Investors’’ Rights Agreement among the Registrant and certain of its stockholders, dated June  9, 2020 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 4.2 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-239932) filed on July 17, 2020)
4.3*    Description of Securities
10.1#    2015 Stock Option and Grant Plan, as amended, and form of award agreements thereunder (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1/A (File No. 333-239932) filed on August 3, 2020)
10.2#*    2020 Stock Option and Grant Plan, and form of award agreements thereunder. (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.2 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1/A (File No. 333-239932) filed on August 3, 2020)
10.3#    2020 Employee Stock Purchase Plan (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.3 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1/A (File No. 333-239932) filed on August 3, 2020)
10.4#    2020 Non-Employee Director Compensation Policy (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.6 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1/A (File No. 333-239932) filed on August 3, 2020)
10.5#    Form of Indemnification Agreement between the Registrant and each of its executive officers (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.4 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1/A (File No. 333-239932) filed on August 3, 2020)
10.6#    Form of Indemnification Agreement between the Registrant and each of its directors (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.5 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1/A (File No. 333-239932) filed on August 3, 2020)
10.7#    Employment Agreement between the Registrant and Barry Labinger, dated November 26, 2018, as amended on August  2, 2020 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.14 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1/A (File No. 333-239932) filed on August  3, 2020)
10.8#    Employment Agreement between the Registrant and Kleem Chaudhary, dated October 14, 2019, as amended on August  2, 2020 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.15 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1/A (File No. 333-239932) filed on August  3, 2020)
10.9#    Employment Agreement between the Registrant and Art Krieg, dated April 8, 2020, as amended on August  2, 2020 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.17 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1/A (File No. 333-239932) filed on August  3, 2020)

 

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Exhibit
Number

  

Exhibit Description

10.10#    Executive Employment Agreement by and between the Registrant and James Wooldridge, dated September  19, 2019, as amended on August 2, 2020 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.18 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1/A (File No.  333-239932) filed on August 3, 2020)
10.11#    Executive Employment Agreement by and between the Registrant and Robert Dolski, dated January  4, 2021 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.1 of the Registrant’s Current Report on Form 8-K (File No. 333-39425) filed on January 5, 2021)
10.12#    Consulting Agreement between the Registrant and Danforth Advisors LLC, dated June  5, 2019 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.19 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-239932) filed on July 17, 2020)
10.13*    Master Clinical Trial Collaboration Agreement by and between the Registrant and Bristol Myers Squibb Company, dated December 7, 2020
10.14#    Non-Employee Director Compensation Policy (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 10.6 of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1/A (File No. 333-239932) filed on August 3, 2020)
21.1*    List of Subsidiaries of the Registrant
23.1*    Consent of KPMG LLP, independent registered public accounting firm
31.1*    Certification of Principal Executive Officer Pursuant to Rules 13a-14(a) and 15d-14(a)  under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended
31.2*    Certification of Principal Financial Officer Pursuant to Rules 13a-14(a) and 15d-14(a)  under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended
32.1+    Certification of Principal Executive Officer and Principal Financial Officer Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 1350, as adopted pursuant to Section 906 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
101.INS*    XBRL Instance Document
101.SCH*    XBRL Taxonomy Extension Schema Document
101.CAL*    XBRL Taxonomy Extension Calculation Linkbase Document
101.DEF*    XBRL Taxonomy Extension Definition Linkbase Document
101.LAB*    XBRL Taxonomy Extension Label Linkbase Document
101.PRE*    XBRL Taxonomy Extension Presentation Linkbase Document

 

#

Indicates a management contract or any compensatory plan, contract or arrangement.

*

Filed herewith.

**

Confidential treatment has been granted by the Securities and Exchange Commission as to certain portions.

Portions of this exhibit (indicated by asterisks) were omitted in accordance with the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

+

The certifications furnished in Exhibit 32.1 hereto are deemed to be furnished with this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and will not be deemed to be “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, except to the extent that the Registrant specifically incorporates it by reference.

 

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SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned thereunto duly authorized.

 

   

CHECKMATE PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.

 

Date: March 29, 2021     By:  

/s/ Barry Labinger

      Barry Labinger
      President and Chief Executive Officer
      (Principal Executive Officer)

POWER OF ATTORNEY

Each person whose individual signature appears below hereby authorizes and appoints Barry Labinger and Robert Dolski, and each of them, with full power of substitution and resubstitution and full power to act without the other, as his or her true and lawful attorney-in-fact and agent to act in his or her name, place and stead and to execute in the name and on behalf of each person, individually and in each capacity stated below, and to file any and all amendments to this annual report on Form 10-K and to file the same, with all exhibits thereto, and other documents in connection therewith, with the Securities and Exchange Commission, granting unto said attorneys-in-fact and agents, and each of them, full power and authority to do and perform each and every act and thing, ratifying and confirming all that said attorneys-in-fact and agents or any of them or their or his substitute or substitutes may lawfully do or cause to be done by virtue thereof.

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, this Annual Report on Form 10-K has been signed by the following persons in the capacities indicated below and on the dates indicated:

 

Signature

  

Title

  

Date

/s/ Barry Labinger

  

Chief Executive Officer, President

and Director (Principal Executive Officer)

   March 29, 2021
Barry Labinger

/s/ Robert Dolski

  

Chief Financial Officer

(Principal Financial and Accounting Officer)

   March 25, 2021
Robert Dolski

/s/ Mike Powell

   Director    March 25, 2021
Mike Powell

/s/ Peter Colabuono

   Director    March 25, 2021
Peter Colabuono

/s/ Keith Flaherty, M.D.

   Director    March 25, 2021
Keith Flaherty, M.D.

/s/ Alan Fuhrman

   Director    March 25, 2021
Alan Fuhrman

/s/ Oren K. Isacoff, M.D.

   Director    March 25, 2021
Oren K. Isacoff, M.D.

/s/ Nilesh Kumar, Ph.D.

   Director    March 25, 2021
Nilesh Kumar, Ph.D.

 

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Table of Contents

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Stockholders and Board of Directors

Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, Inc.:

Opinion on the Consolidated Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and subsidiary (the Company) as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, the related consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss, redeemable convertible preferred stock and stockholders’ equity (deficit), and cash flows for the years then ended, and the related notes (collectively, the consolidated financial statements). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the years then ended, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

Basis for Opinion

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

/s/ KPMG LLP

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2019.

Boston, Massachusetts

March 29, 2021

 

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CHECKMATE PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARY

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(In thousands, except share and per share amounts)

 

     December 31,  
     2020     2019  

Assets

    

Current Assets:

    

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 43,055     $ 4,185  

Restricted cash

     20       20  

Short-term investments

     51,831       —    

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

     7,195       921  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total current assets

     102,101       5,126  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Investments, non-current

     30,973       —    
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total assets

   $ 133,074     $ 5,126  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Liabilities, Redeemable Convertible Preferred Stock and Stockholders’ Equity (Deficit)

    

Current Liabilities:

    

Accounts payable

   $ 2,297     $ 2,234  

Accrued expenses

     5,578       3,100  

Series B preferred stock tranche right liability

     —         300  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total current liabilities

     7,875       5,634  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total liabilities

     7,875       5,634  

Commitments and Contingencies (Note 13)

    

Series A redeemable convertible preferred stock, $0.0001 par value, 0 and 25,000,000 shares authorized, issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. .

     —         32,482  

Series B redeemable convertible preferred stock, $0.0001 par value, 0 and 29,972,284 shares authorized as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively; 0 and 26,283,386 issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively

     —         64,446  

Stockholders’ Equity (Deficit):

    

Preferred stock, $0.0001 par value, 10,000,000 and 0 shares authorized as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively; no shares outstanding as of December 31, 2020 and 2019

     —         —    

Common stock, $0.0001 par value; 300,000,000 and 76,000,000 shares authorized as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively; 21,560,398 and 1,488,489 shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively

     2       1  

Additional paid-in capital

     265,342       —    

Accumulated other comprehensive gain (loss)

     (74     —    

Accumulated deficit

     (140,071     (97,437
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total stockholders’ equity (deficit)

   $ 125,199     $ (97,436
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total liabilities, redeemable convertible preferred stock and stockholders’ equity (deficit)

   $ 133,074     $ 5,126  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

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CHECKMATE PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARY

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS AND COMPREHENSIVE LOSS

(In thousands, except share and per share amounts)

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2020     2019  

Operating expenses:

    

Research and development

   $ 26,719     $ 24,254  

General and administrative

     10,185       4,635  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     36,904       28,889  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss from operations

     (36,904     (28,889
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Other income (expense):

    

Interest income

     79       197  

Change in fair value of Series B preferred stock tranche right liability

     —         400  

Change in fair value of convertible notes

     (83     —    
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total other income (expense)

     (4     597  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

   $ (36,908   $ (28,292
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Reconciliation of net loss attributable to common stockholders:

    

Net loss

   $ (36,908   $ (28,292

Accretion of Series B preferred stock tranche right liability

     —         (700

Accretion of issuance costs on redeemable convertible preferred stock

     (461     (97

Accrued dividends on redeemable convertible preferred stock

     (5,536     (5,955
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss attributable to common stockholders

   $ (42,905   $ (35,044
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Weighted-average common shares outstanding—basic and diluted

     9,559,898       1,450,501  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss per share attributable to common stockholders—basic and diluted

   $ (4.49   $ (24.16
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Comprehensive loss:

    

Net loss

   $ (36,908   $ (28,292

Unrealized loss on available-for-sale investments

     (74     —    
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Comprehensive loss

   $ (36,982   $ (28,292
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

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CHECKMATE PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARY

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF REDEEMABLE CONVERTIBLE PREFERRED STOCK AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY (DEFICIT)

(In thousands, except share and per share amounts)

 

    Series A Redeemable
Convertible Preferred Stock
    Series B Redeemable
Convertible Preferred Stock
    Series C Redeemable
Convertible Preferred Stock
    Common Stock     Additional
Paid-In
Capital
    Accumulated
Deficit
    Accumulated
Other
Comprehensive
Gain/(Loss)
    Total
Stockholders’
Equity (Deficit)
 
    Shares     Amount     Shares     Amount     Shares     Amount     Shares     Amount  

Balances at December 31, 2018

    25,000,000     $ 30,482       17,522,259     $ 41,491       —       $ —         1,394,961     $ 1     $ —     $ (62,802   $ —       $ (62,801

Issuance of Series B preferred stock at $2.1687 per share and Series B preferred stock initial tranche right, net of issuance costs of $97

    —         —         8,761,127       18,203       —         —         —         —         —         —         —         —    

Accretion of issuance costs related to redeemable convertible preferred stock

    —         —         —         97       —         —         —         —         —         (97     —         (97

Accretion of Series B preferred stock tranche right liability

    —         —         —         700       —         —         —         —         —         (700     —         (700

Exercise of stock options

    —         —         —         —         —         —         77,876       —         74       —         —         74  

Vesting of restricted stock awards

    —         —         —         —         —         —         15,652       —         —         —         —         —    

Stock-based compensation expense

    —         —         —         —         —         —         —         —         335       —         —         335  

Accrued dividends on redeemable convertible preferred stock